These 5 Rooms Are Key to Family Buyers

Do you have a home for sale in a great family neighbourhood? With reputable schools, plenty of greenspace and friendly neighbours nearby, you might be tempted to market it to young or growing families. These five rooms, however, are what will really sway buyers with a babe (or two!).

A kitchen that’s functional, durable and open-concept (so parents can keep an eye on the kids while they’re busy prepping dinner) is key.

Another room that gets a lot of use from families, your main bathroom should have up-to-date plumbing and be free of water damage. After all, it will have to endure a lot. If you’re thinking of renovating, keep in mind that a bath tub is essential for most families with small children, so think twice before swapping it out for a standalone shower.

All kids need a place to blow off some steam, and in Canada, when it’s freezing outside, that usually ends up being the basement. A finished basement can go a long way to encouraging family buyers, even if it’s pretty basic.

With kids, the laundry can pile up. If you have the space, consider adding some elements that make the laundry room as welcoming as it is utilitarian. This could include front-loading machines with a butcher block across the top for folding space, lots of closed storage, even heated floors if you feel like splurging.

As any parent knows, getting kids ready in the morning can be a struggle at worst, or just a mess at best. Outfitting your mudroom with plenty of storage, durable flooring that’s easy to clean and maybe even a sink if you have room, can be a lifesaver for young families.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

The Best Tips for Downsizing Into a Smaller Home

In today’s real estate market, plenty of buyers find themselves moving into a smaller space. Whether you’re a mature couple selling the family home and investing in a more manageable space or a single buyer moving into an urban core to be closer to work, you might just find yourself wondering how you’re going to fit all your belongings into your new space, and how to get rid of the things you don’t need. To start, try these tips:

Start with clothing. If you’re moving into a smaller space, it’s almost certain to have less closet space. This means that culling your clothing can be a natural place to start downsizing. Not to mention, almost everyone has clothing that either doesn’t fit or isn’t a style they wear any longer. Start by sorting through your out-of-season clothing, as you won’t need that on a day-to-day basis.

Go digital. Feel like you have endless books, CDs or DVDs to pack? Take the opportunity to transfer music or movies into a digital format and think about selling or donating some of your old books. Going forward, e-readers are a great way to save space if you read a lot. You can purchase and download digital books or use an app like OneDrive to access library books from all over the world.

Eliminate old products. Take stock of products in your bathroom or kitchen you haven’t used in over a year. Most cosmetics or body products expire after this time anyway, so if you haven’t used that organic face scrub in who knows how long, toss it. The same goes for products in your pantry. Bought that juicer on Boxing Day two years ago and haven’t even opened it? Time to go!

Swap furniture for multifunction. If you’re feeling like you need to get rid of some of your larger pieces, think about replacing them with furniture that does double duty. This could be a storage bed, a console table that stores out-of-season clothing in the hallway or a filing cabinet that serves as a side table.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

What You Can Learn at an Open House

Open houses can be a treasure trove of information. Here’s what you can learn.

How to stage and design. Use the space as inspiration. Check out how the sellers decorated their home.

What your price point is. Open houses can be a reality check. If the homes you’re seeing just don’t fit the bill, consider increasing your budget.

What doesn’t work. You can also see what styles clash and what clutter does to a home’s appeal.

There are all types of homes in Canada. Open houses can give you an idea of what works, what doesnt and what you want out of a home.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tips for Buying a Home With Kids in Tow

There’s no doubt that having children can change your perspective on what is important in a home. When it comes to looking for a property, you want a home that not only appeals to your aesthetics, but grows and adapts with your family. Here are some of the ways your home search may change with kids in tow.

You’ll want to evaluate the neighbourhood, as well as its future. If you’re house hunting with very young children, you might be looking for a neighbourhood with things like parks and homes with fenced backyards. But you’ll also want to think of your family as it grows, and whether those neighbourhoods have good schools, especially if you’re looking for private, and proximity to recreational options.

You might be less willing to compromise. When looking for a property by yourself or as a couple without children, you might be more flexible with some “must-have” items on your list. Do you really need five full bathrooms? Maybe you’re willing to look at luxury townhomes as well as fully detached houses? With children in the picture, however, many of these things become non-negotiable.

It might take you longer to find that perfect home. According to a study by real estate company Zillow, only 52 per cent of buyers with children ended up purchasing the first home they put an offer on, compared to 62.7 per cent for buyers without. This might be due to the aforementioned unwillingness to compromise, or it might be that families with children are less inclined to get into a bidding war.

Think about how you want to spend quality family time. In the chaos and glamour of house hunting, it can be easy to get swept up with things like chef’s kitchens and expansive home offices. It’s still important, however, to think about how your family spends quality time together, or wants to. Whether that’s on the tennis court after dinner or cuddled up in a cozy home cinema, make sure the home’s features will compliment your family time, not overshadow it.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

How to Move Without Losing It

Moving is all about perspective. Canadians are pretty laid back, and most of us would rather focus on the excitement of moving into what might be our first home or stepping up into a larger home or downsizing into a smaller home, condo or apartment. We can make it an adventure or a tedious chore.

Heres a timetable you might want to incorporate into your moving plans:

Sixty to 30 days before: Get all your boxes and reserve your movers. Its a good idea to schedule your move in the middle of the month since youll be able to save a sizeable chunk of cash in doing so"about 30 per cent. Avoiding the end of the month peak time is to your advantage.

Thirty days before: Declutter your home. Why move those items that you havent been using? You can give them away or donate them to charity. A good rule of thumb? If you havent used it or seen it in a year, its time for it to go. Maybe your Aunt Mary needs that rice cooker thats been collecting dust.

Two to three weeks before: Make the climb to the attic if you have one. You probably will have forgotten whats up there. The attic may be the place you store your holiday decorations or your now grown kids toys. The attic and basement are the first places you should clean out before beginning your packing. These are the things that you wont miss if theyre sitting a box for a few weeks.

Two weeks before: Work on a kit that you will be able to take with you from place to place (if your move is local). It can include things like cleaning items, toilet paper, scissors or an X-Acto knife. If you have kids, create a kit for them, as well, since they may find the move stressful. Fill it with books, puzzles and smaller toys.

One week before: Think about unloading when youre packing. Make sure you write the contents of each box on the upside. Newspaper makes great packing paper, so forget about spending all that money on bubble wrap.

Move-in day: Set up your beds first, because by the end of the day, youre going to need them. Unpack some essential kitchen items next, then move out to the less used areas like hallways. You dont need the chaos of unpacking everything at once. Take it easy and enjoy your new home.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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