Advice tips and ideas for home owners
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
House and Home Buying and Selling
If you’re a current homeowner, or in the market to buy, you’re probably curious about the latest trends in home design.
Sellers who make strategic updates before listing a property can generate increased interest from buyers and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.
Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, clients are advised to be thoughtful about the colors, materials, and finishes they select when planning a remodel. Making over-personalized or unpopular design choices could hurt a home’s value when it does come time to sell. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your renovation to feel dated quickly.
To help, I’ve rounded up eight of the hottest home design trends for 2019. Keep in mind, not all trends will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, consult a professional who can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.
1. WARMER PAINT COLORS
White and grey aren’t going anywhere, but expect to see warmer tones and more earthy neutrals popping up in 2019. Cold whites are being replaced by warmer, softer whites. And warmer tones of grey have become a popular alternative to the cooler grays we were seeing earlier in the decade. Dove grey—with a lilac undertone—is a particular favorite with designers this year.
Sherwin Williams chose Cavern Clay, a warm terracotta, as its 2019 color of the year, while Behr selected Blueprint, a mid-tone blue. Benjamin Moore’s selection is Metropolitan, a sophisticated grey.
If you’re preparing to sell your home, consider a light, neutral paint color. Neutral colors provide a blank canvas upon which a buyer can envision placing their belongings, and lighter colors make a room appear larger and brighter.
2. MIXED METALS
Don’t feel limited to using one metallic finish throughout your home—or even throughout a single room. Designers are mixing metals in 2019, and their favorites include copper, brass, pewter, gunmetal, and matte black.
Experts suggest picking one metal hue to dominate your color palette and a contrasting tone to complement it. If your room has a warm color palette, choose a warm-hued primary metal, such as brass or copper. For cool palettes, choose a cool-toned metal, like pewter or stainless steel. You can also experiment with mixing finishes, such as polished and hammered copper.
From faucets to cabinet pulls to accent pieces, swapping out your old or dated fixtures is an easy—and relatively inexpensive—way to modernize your decor. Mixing metals adds depth and gives your room a more curated look.
3. OUTDOOR ELEMENTS
Bringing outdoor elements into the home can help warm up a sterile space. And natural materials can soften a modern design esthetic.
Homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to incorporate these materials throughout their home. Especially popular right now: stone, copper, concrete, and wood. From concrete showers to agate stone tiles, designers are finding unexpected ways to bring the outside in.
One notable exception: granite countertops. Engineered quartz—a combination of ground quartz and resin—overtook natural granite stone as the most popular countertop material in 2018. This durable, low-maintenance, highly-customizable product has won over homeowners and designers alike.
4. ALTERNATIVE APPLIANCES
Stainless steel has been the industry standard for years, but the market is trending toward variety and fresh alternatives. Homeowners have more options available than ever to personalize their kitchens with vibrant colors, black stainless, or modern white appliances. Another favorite? Integrated appliances that blend seamlessly into cabinetry. Built-in column refrigerators, which allow you to customize the design and size of your freezer and refrigerator, are becoming a “must-have” in high-end homes.
Advancements in technology have also brought a new wave of appliances to the market. Induction cooktops are replacing commercial gas ranges as a gourmet favorite. And french door ovens and steam ovens are also gaining in popularity—especially ones with smart features you can control from an app on your smartphone.
5. COLORFUL KITCHENS
White will always be a classic choice, but color is finally coming back to kitchens. More homeowners are choosing cabinets in alternative neutrals like black, cream, and grey, along with colorful options like green and blue. Also popular? Wood cabinets in stains like warm chestnut and fruitwood.
Two-tone kitchen cabinets remain a homeowner favorite, as well. To incorporate this trend, try pairing darker lower cabinets with lighter upper cabinets or a colorful kitchen island with neutral-colored perimeter cabinets.
6. OPEN SHELVING
Swapping upper kitchen cabinets for open shelves continues to be a popular choice in 2019. It’s a cost-effective update that can make a kitchen feel larger and brighter. However, it’s not a practical option for everyone. Before you commit, test it out by removing your cabinet doors for a few weeks. See how it feels to have your glasses and dishware on display.
Not ready to give up all your upper cabinet storage space? Replace just one or two upper cabinets with open shelves for a lower-commitment but still-updated look.
7. STATEMENT TILE
The ubiquitous white subway tile is finally fading in popularity. In 2019, homeowners are gravitating toward more colorful choices, creative textures and finishes, and alternative shapes. Especially hot right now: hexagons, arabesques, diamonds, and Moroccan fish scales.
Natural stone remains a favorite, including marble, quartzite and river rock. But advancements in porcelain tile that mimics stone, and even concrete, has made it an attractive, affordable, and low-maintenance alternative.
8. SHOWCASE CEILINGS
Once an afterthought, ceilings are taking center stage. While 2018 was all about statement walls, statement ceilings are shaping up to be the darling of 2019. Designers are using bold paint colors, wallpaper, intricate moldings, fabric, and other materials to transform a ceiling into something truly special.
Want to incorporate this trend without going too bold? Choose a classic design, like coffered or wooden beams. Or stick with wood paneling or tin tiles for a more timeless look. Even something as simple as painting a ceiling the same color as the walls can make your space feel more modern.
DESIGNED TO SELL
Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Give me a call for a free consultation!
Buyer preferences can vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share the insights we’ve gathered from working with buyers in this market … and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your remodeling investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area.
Want to learn more about how to stage your home to sell? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-330-5201 to request a free copy of our report: 10 Staging Secrets From the Pros for a Quick Sale at Top Dollar!
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- Gates Interior Design –
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Thursday, January 3, 2019
House and Home Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
As we begin another year, everyone wants to know: “Where is the housing market headed in 2019?”
The Canadian real estate market experienced a cool-down in 2018 following years of rapid growth. This left many homeowners and potential buyers feeling skittish. Fortunately, economists expect the market to stabilize in 2019 and continue to appreciate at a more sustainable rate. To help guide you through this shifting landscape, below are some of the expert predictions and key factors expected to shape the housing market in 2019 and beyond.
SALES LEVELS WILL STABILIZE
A combination of rising interest rates, provincial policy changes, and a newly-implemented “stress test” requirement for mortgages pushed sales activity to a five-year low in 2018. However, economists expect the impact to taper off over time due to positive economic fundamentals: a strong economy, low unemployment, rising incomes, and rapid population growth.
“Far from a sign of trouble, we view this cooling as a healthy correction that would prevent overheating conditions from re-emerging in parts of Canada such as the Vancouver and Toronto areas. We expect a modest recovery to take shape in 2019,” noted the Royal Bank of Canada in its Canadian Housing Market Forecast. “We see little risk of a downward spiral because demand and supply conditions are balanced in the majority of local markets and expected to remain so over the forecast horizon.”1
What does it mean for you? If you’ve been scared off by reports of a market slowdown, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Policy changes were put in place to cool down an overheated market that had led to increased debt levels, decreased affordability, and historically-low inventory levels. A gradual and sustainable pace of growth is preferable for long-term economic stability.
PRICES WILL HOLD STEADY
Economists expect prices to hold steady this year, rising slightly to keep pace with inflation. While the national average price declined by 4.2 percent in 2018, the Canadian Real Estate Association predicts it will rebound slightly this year by 1.7 percent.2
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also expects prices to remain high, but stable. “By 2020, demand is expected to continue to shift towards relatively less expensive housing options such as apartment condominiums. This combined with slowing growth in economic conditions will lead to modest average price growth over the forecast horizon.”3
The Royal Bank of Canada agrees, cautioning that “would-be buyers hoping for a meaningful [price] break will likely be disappointed—we don’t expect aggregate prices to fall on an annual basis either this year or next.”1
What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer waiting on the sidelines for prices to drop, you may want to reconsider. The current sales slowdown has made many sellers more willing to negotiate. Don’t miss out on the most favourable market we’ve seen for buyers in years.
NEW CONSTRUCTION WILL SLOW
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicts new home construction will trend down over the next two years from a 10-year high in 2017. “Single-detached housing starts are anticipated to decrease over the forecast horizon. Construction of this housing type will continue to be limited by residential lot availability, but also by elevated price and borrowing costs in some major CMAs that represent an important portion of national starts.”3
However, economists expect the decline to be gradual. According to Fotios Raptis, a senior economist at TD Bank, “a steep downturn in homebuilding nationwide appears unlikely. Canada's population is on the rise, medium-term income growth should remain healthy, and most markets are generally not overbuilt.”4
What does it mean for you? Buyers will continue to have options in new construction. But the decreased rate of supply should help prop up the resale market, which is good news for sellers.
INTEREST RATE HIKES WILL TAKE A BREATHER … FOR NOW
After a series of interest rate hikes, the Bank of Canada announced in December that it will likely slow its pace of rate increases. “We no longer expect the Bank of Canada to hike its policy interest rate in January. Spring 2019 now appears to be the more likely timing, allowing for the bank to ensure that the growth narrative is back on track,” commented Brian DePratto, a senior economist with TD Bank.5
At the same time, the impact of the mortgage stress test has slowed the pace of new mortgages being issued by traditional lenders. So even as funding costs have risen, banks have been hesitant to raise the 5-year qualifying rate. In its latest Mortgage Rate Forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association predicts that the 5-year mortgage rate will hold steady this year—and may even decline in the first quarter.6
What does it mean for you? If you currently have a variable rate mortgage, the bank’s revised policy should offer some welcome relief. And if you thought rising interest rates would prevent you from buying a home this year, you may be pleasantly surprised.
I’M HERE TO GUIDE YOU
While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as a local market expert, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home sales and values in your particular neighbourhood.
If you have specific questions or would like more information about where real estate is headed in our market, let me know! I’m here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape.
START PREPARING TODAY
If you plan to BUY this year:
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide you with more confindence in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
- Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? I can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
- Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. I’d love to guide you through it. I can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give me a call to schedule an appointment today!
If you plan to SELL this year:
- Call for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
- Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. I can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
- Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!
- RBC Canadian Housing Market Forecast –
- CREA Resale Housing Market Forecast Update –
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Housing Market Outlook –
- TD Economics –
- TD Economics –
- BCREA Mortgage – http://www.bcrea.bc.ca/docs/economics-forecasts-and-presentations/mortgagerateforecast.pdfRate Forecast
Monday, November 26, 2018
House and Home
Sometimes small spaces are inevitable in our homes and it can be overwhelming trying to contain all of our belongings in these areas. Implement the following changes into your home and make the most out of your small living spaces.
Small kitchens often mean limited storage. Consider storage options in places you may have never thought of. The inside of cupboard doors in your pantry, for example, are a great place to hide small items like cans, brooms, etc. Magnetic strips can be glued to hold knives or steel spice jars. Hooks can be added to hold the family calendar, kitchen towels and oven mitts. Small baskets can be hooked around the door for storing tin foil, saran wrap, baggies and other kitchen essentials.
Living rooms are often the hub of family get-togethers, slumber parties and games nights but in a small space things can feel cramped quickly. To make the space feel bigger and brighter, hang mirrors strategically, paint the room in lighter colours and declutter. Adding a console table behind the couch adds functional storage, and using canvas baskets to store magazines and throw blankets helps to keep the space organized in a flash!
To maximize space in a bedroom ditch the clunky dresser and opt for a bed with built-in drawers. Under-the-bed storage is great for bigger items like blankets, warm clothes, pajamas and seasonal clothing. By eliminating the need for a dresser you will have more walking space and your room won’t seem as cramped. This option is great for any room as beds with storage can be found in all sizes.
Be bold with your bathroom decor and try using large scale prints. Big patterns on your shower curtain, or wallpaper can trick the eye into thinking the space is much bigger than it actually is. It is also important to keep your bathroom accessories to a minimum. Keep toiletries stored away and consider only having a hand towel and soap visible. The more clutter there is the more cramped the bathroom will feel.
If your closet is small, consider custom built-in storage. Built-in storage maximizes all of the space in the closet by using hanging rods, drawers and shelving systems. Custom closets allow for you to choose your preferred clothing storage and ensure that every space is being used effectively.
Small spaces don’t have to be a bad thing. By using these small space hacks you’ll be creating functional and open spaces to enjoy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
House and Home Buying and Selling
The holidays are an exciting time for many and as a home seller you have the double duty of celebrating the season and selling your home at the same time. Check out these great tips and learn how to properly stage your home for showings throughout the holiday season.
Clean it first
Before you bring out the holiday decor be sure to clean your house from top to bottom. Vacuum, dust and reorganize the furniture to maximize the space in each room. After you clean, put away personal items such as family photos, personal trinkets, and other items that will make it hard for the buyer to picture themselves in your home. Once you’re done, you can begin adding some seasonal decor to your space.
Less is more
Always remember that less is more when staging your home. The more that the buyer is able to visualize their belongings and style in the home, the better. Avoid displaying all of your holiday decorations over every surface and in every corner as it can be extremely overwhelming and take away from the home’s features. Consider picking a seasonal colour palette and using that as your inspiration. Use pillows, vases, blankets and other household items in these colours as your decor. Bring in some winter touches by displaying greenery and pinecones in vases and table tops. This decor won’t overwhelm buyers but still shows off your holiday spirit.
Make your traditions your decorations
Even if you aren’t displaying all of your favourite holiday decor, there are still so many ways to make your home reflect the holiday season while entertaining guests. Play classical or Christmas music throughout the house while guests are over, bake holiday treats for your family and friends to enjoy and keep the house warm by turning up the heat a little higher. These decor-less tips will make your home feel festive and fun.
Think of your curb appeal
Stay away from the oversized lawn ornaments and instead put lights around bushes or on the roof. During day, when potential buyers are coming through the house, the lights won’t be as noticeable but they will still make your home look like a winter wonderland when turned on in the evening. Remember to also have a salted walkway and a driveway clear of snow for safety during showings and open houses.
With these great staging tips your home will look great to potential buyers and still show off your holiday spirit when entertaining guests!
Need more tips and advice? I'd be happy to help you on your real estate journey! Contact me anytime! Email me at email@example.com or call 905-335-8808.
Monday, November 12, 2018
House and Home
The cooler nights and shorter days are a sign that it’s time to make sure your home is winter ready. We may not be able to predict what the winter will bring but we can definitely prep our home for whatever comes our way.
Seal the windows
Sealing the windows is a very important task and for good reason. With the cold months quickly approaching you’ll want to keep the elements where they belong…outside! To prevent icy cold drafts from coming through the windows you’ll want to get a good quality silicon sealant. By sealing the windows you’ll save money on energy bills as your heater won’t have to work as hard to keep the house warm.
Service the furnace
After resting for the warm months it’s almost time to put the furnace back to work but before you do you’ll want to make sure to service it first. Tune-ups help to make sure everything is in good working order to ensure the most comfort for you and your family throughout the winter. By staying on top of furnace maintenance you will increase its life span, catch any potential problems and in the long run save time and money.
Protect the pipes
Don’t forget to turn off all outdoor pipes and store away the hose. With below freezing temperatures, outdoor pipes can crack or even burst if left on during the winter. You’ll also want to make sure to store your hose properly too. All you have to do is drain it, coil it, and store it in a warmer area such as the garage or basement. If you forget to put away the hose, accumulated ice can create pressure in your pipes and cause some serious damage. To erase a major headache in the spring, be sure to include these simple tasks in your winter preparations.
Run fans in reverse
A great winter tip is to change the direction of your ceiling fan. By changing your ceiling fan to move in a clockwise motion (when you’re looking up at it) you will be creating an updraft. This helps the warm air that has risen to the ceiling to be pushed back down to those using the room. Don’t turn the fan up too high, a gentle and slow speed is all you need to do the trick.
By following these simple tips, you’ll enjoy a warmer and stress-free winter.