Upgrade Your Home’s Worth with these Five Tips

If you want to build equity or raise your home’s selling price, often it takes money to make money. Investing in your property by renovating or making design improvements can really pay off, both in the long and short term. As a rule of thumb, if you can upgrade your property so that buyers can see themselves having a cocktail party on the same weekend they’re moving in, that’s a strong sign that you’ve maximised your value. If your property is considered to be moving-in ready, you can attract more offers and higher prices.

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In that sense, here are five investments you can make that will increase the value of your property this fall.

1. Design a Clean and Cohesive Kitchen

When you’re trying to add value to your house, don’t forget that the kitchen is a big ticket item. If you only have the budget to concentrate on one of these five projects, we will highly recommend investing your time and money in upgrading your kitchen.
There are countless possibilities to renovate your room, but a few main improvements are going a long way. Updating cabinets is a good starting point. If you’re building brand-new cabinets or only upgrading their doors and handles, investing here is going a long way to add value to your home. Flooring is another way you can add value, and while it’s a highly debated subject, installing hardwood or laminate flooring in your kitchen looks great and won’t cause any major issues if you have a moisture solution.

The final investment that we would suggest in your kitchen would be countertops and appliances. A good quartz countertop is a perfect choice for counters. Quartz slowly becomes as popular as marble and granite in high-end kitchens as it looks fantastic and is extremely durable. Stainless steel countertops are another great investment, as their sharp finish communicates cleanliness to prospective buyers.

2. You Guessed It: Paint

This is a must if you’re getting ready to sell, because it can conceal daily wear and tear and really brighten things up. If you can afford it, you can get busy painting the whole house (the outside too), but if you don’t, we’d at least recommend you cover the inside. Choose a neutral colour throughout, and be sure to apply a few additional coats of paint if you’re using white to finish it properly. If you haven’t painted for a long time, you should also consider looking up and seeing how the ceilings look. Adding a fresh coat of white paint to the ceilings can really go a long way to refreshing your room.

Painting is a DIY home improvement that almost everyone can do, even if you’re always going to have to invest in some supplies if you do the job yourself. One of the best advice you can get when you have your home painted is not to skimp on the paint itself. Using high-quality paint and apply several coats of paint. It’s not meant to spill or run and after a few coats, the original colours should be fully hidden. If you’re doing the job yourself, note that you’re still saving money on the labour market, so spend some extra money in your supplies and do the job right.

3. Make Your Layout Standout

Layout improvements are some of the greater investments you may make on your land, and if you’re really trying to optimise your value, they shouldn’t be ignored.
The basement is the first. If you have an unfinished basement, putting in a rental suite is a great project to tackle this fall if you want to add value to your house. Buyers and developers enjoy rental suites as they tend to cover mortgage expenses with rental income. Work with the contractor and be sure to bear in mind what you need to include in the suite to optimise your investment. Most of the tenants are interested in the laundry units offered, and a separate entrance is a must.

Another big layout improvement that can improve the value of your property is investing in an open floor plan. If you’ve ever turned on HGTV, you’ve definitely seen this suggestion made, and it’s a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Most of the unrenovated 30 + -year-old homes have closed in kitchens that cut space in the living room and removing the wall will really open things up-you’ll be surprised at how much more space you feel. Check with the contractor to see if the walls are load-bearing and if they are, you can still remove them and add the support beam.

4. Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Energy conservation isn’t just saving you money when you’re at home, it’s also becoming a big selling point. There are a lot of energy-efficient features that consumers enjoy and want to see already built in a home they’re considering living in the long term.
Programmable and smart thermostats are a great place to get started. They’re also linked to a wifi that makes it easy to monitor or programme directly from your smartphone. Low and high-end systems are available, but even merely connecting to one of the cheaper options is a good idea when it comes to sale.
Another home-efficiency expenditure that you can look into is installing double-pane windows. Heat can escape through thin windows, and buyers want to make sure that every home they live in is air-tight. Tackling this project is a perfect way to add value to your property and ease energy efficiency issues.

5. Upgrade Your Flooring

We addressed this earlier when referring to the kitchen, but you also need to look at the flooring in your home if you want to maximise the value of your house. Start by evaluating any carpeted rooms. If you have some stains or old carpet, it’s a perfect time to repair it or switch to hardwood or laminate flooring. Ugly carpets are a top project to tackle, since they can automatically put off potential buyers.
On the other hand, one of the styles of flooring most likely to attract customers is the heated floors in your bathroom. Just as sure as old carpets produce negative feedback from prospective customers, heated floors elicit positive feelings.
There are fantastic laminate flooring options if you’re looking for brand new floors. Prices vary, but there are a number of models that range from $3 to $6 a square foot. Tackling a project like this isn’t going to take that long, and it can radically change the look and feel of your home.

With many homeowners remaining close to home this fall, investment in home improvement will be as common as ever. Try bringing one of these five projects to the value of your land.

Top Features Home Renters Request

Every renter has their own unique criteria for what they’re looking for in a home. However, there are a few notable features that are always in high demand. Whether you’re a renter who wants to know what options are out there in the market or a property owner who is looking to get more eyes on your listing, here are ten features that are frequently requested by renters today.

1. Storage

For many renters, storage can be a make or break feature – and that’s including storage both inside and outside of the rental property. Inside the unit, renters are looking for closets in the bedrooms and hallways, and preferably some sort of pantry or broom closet. Pre-installed closet organizers in these spaces can be a plus, and make things more attractive on a walkthrough. If it’s a renovated basement suite with no built-in closets, consider installing free-standing storage units and wardrobes, instead.

External storage can also be very important. While most apartments and condos will come with storage lockers, renters looking at basement suites may need to negotiate coveted garage space or bins that can be kept safely and securely outside.

2. Outdoor space

Since many Canadians are spending more time at home, the appeal of outdoor space has never been greater. If you’re not lucky enough to have a private patio or balcony at your rental unit, there’s still hope. Many multi-unit buildings are adding in community gardens, where tenants get a small garden box or part of a larger, shared box, to tend to on their own. We’ve seen these on rooftops as well as on ground level. In rental homes or basement suites, many landlords are gracious enough to share their outdoor space with tenants, or at least have a dedicated space for the renters to use.

3. Office space

The pandemic drastically shifted the needs of renters. That Ikea is warning of a potential shortage of office furniture points to the fact that renters, now more than ever, need a dedicated space to sit down in front of a computer and remain comfortable and engaged while they work or study from home. This has caused the demand for multi-bedroom or bedroom-plus-den rental units to rise. If you’re an owner with a property on the market, consider staging a dedicated home office space to help renters envision themselves working in the space. If you’re a renter that needs a home office, while you scope out where to set up your desk be sure you also ask your prospective landlord about internet speed and capacity to ensure it meets your needs.

4. Noise insulation

Renters today are paying close attention to noise insulation, and noting whether a unit is in a wood-frame building or sits underneath hardwood or laminate flooring is important if you’re noise sensitive. Renters who work or study from home: aside from just asking the landlord about the quality of noise insulation, if you can, try viewing rental space during the day so you can experience it yourself. Owners: consider small, affordable upgrades you can make to the property to make noise more manageable.

5. Heat insulation

Again, as many people now work and study at home, utility bills have been on the rise. Ensuring the rental space has good heat insulation can ensure these bills are reasonable and that the renter is comfortable. This can include properly sealed doors, multi-pane windows, or a variety of other upgrades. Check out our post on energy-efficient features for more ideas on how to properly insulate a home, or what to look out for when you’re rental hunting.

6. Ceiling fans, central air, etc.

On the flip side, many Canadians are no longer able to benefit from the office air conditioning during the hot summer months. So, pay attention to cooling systems such as ceiling fans and central air. If the space doesn’t have either of those, scope out where you might be able to put a window-mounted or portable air conditioning unit in the property.

7. Carpet-free spaces

Even though there are some pros to having carpeted floors in a living area, many renters prefer hardwood or laminate flooring. Along with the style and aesthetic, this type of flooring is easier to clean and more durable, which is important for renters hoping to get back their security deposit. If you’re a homeowner thinking about renovations for your rental property, laminate flooring is a relatively affordable upgrade that can increase the value of and interest in your rental.

8. Kitchen counter space

Depending on the renter, the kitchen might be the most important room in the home. For that reason, many renters pay close attention to the amount of counter space the kitchen has. Ideally, the layout will accommodate a comfortable amount of room, but if not, both renters and homeowners could consider installing an island. You can find reasonably priced temporary and movable islands at stores like Canadian Tire and Rona.

9. In-suite laundry

Very few renters relish the thought of lugging laundry up and down multiple flights of stairs while paying $2.00+ per load, so having in-suite laundry is a huge perk. While this can be a bigger investment for a homeowner to put in a rental property, it does have the potential to up the value for renters who are willing to pay for convenience (and there are many out there!). Stackable machines are a great way to save on space, or deals can be found at appliance outlets stores, where it’s typical to find perfectly operating machines for a discount due to a cosmetic defect like a scratch.

10. Pets

Certain markets (Vancouver being one of them) are notoriously hard for pet owners. While there are many valid reasons a homeowner might not want pets in their rental property, there are also many valid reasons why they should. The BC SPCA offers a few benefits to consider.
First, pet owners are often willing to pay more monthly, in addition to putting down a pet deposit. Second, pet owners typically stay in their rentals for longer, which is one of the most important considerations of any landlord. Third, studies from FIREPAW have shown that there is no significant difference in damage between tenants with and without pets. Renters: even if the unit isn’t listed as pet friendly, don’t be afraid to ask the landlord about this and see if you can come to an agreement, as it could be in the best interest of both parties.


Find the Best Place to Buy a Home

Canada has it all with an endless frontier, stunning mountainscapes, rugged coastline and new, prosperous cityscapes. There are a variety of items depending on where you plan to live:

Quality of Life:

In a survey of more than 20,000 individuals across 73 countries , Canada ranked as no. 1 in the Quality of Life Index 2020, looking at nine different dimensions, including economic prosperity, job market, family friendliness, and more.

Best places to live:

Moneysense.ca’s conclusion is that the crown goes to Oakville, Ontario, thanks to its good economy, low crime rates and great weather. Ontario is not only the best place to live in general, it has been voted the best place for new Canadian immigrants, the third best place to retire, and the fifth best place to raise a family.

Cost of Living:

Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver are among the world’s top 30 most expensive cities, according to the 2020 Cost of Living Ranking.

Property affordability:

Numbeo rated Canada as 85th in the 2020 Affordability Index with property prices that are high relative to other countries around the world, but it really depends on which state you want to move to.


The climate of Canada varies greatly, so make sure that when investigating properties you look into this or you might be in for surprising quantities of snow!

Dealing with Household Fungus

Other than the unwelcome incursion of fungus, nothing stains a beautiful home interior. The reputation of mould carries with it more than just an unsightly appearance, it can cause serious illness, and expensive repairs can result if left unchecked. Let’s take a closer look at what the mold is, how to stop it, and if you encounter it at home, what to do.

What is mould?

Mould is the term used to describe fungus that grows on food and in damp environments in our homes, presenting in patches of dark grey, green, black or white. Although spores exist naturally in our environment and are ever-present in the air we breathe, when conditions are right for their growth, they can become a concern in our homes.

Mould and mildew are often used as two distinct terms, though both describe fungi which we find in our homes. The difference is mildew grows on surfaces causing only cosmetic damage, while mould (referring to toxic fungus) spreads more easily, penetrating building materials and can cause structural damage, and severe illnesses.

What are common causes of mould incursion?

We know mould prefers damp environments, but it doesn’t take much to create a suitable scenario for incursion. Most common causes of mould incursion are:

  • persistent humidity;
  • leaky pipes;
  • a leaky roof;
  • condensation build-up;
  • poor ventilation;
  • wet laundry;
  • flooding; and
  • damp basements.

Be cautious when it comes to the previous flooding. Years can pass with no issues, but as soon as the right humidity conditions occur, dormant mould spores can reactivate.

How can you detect mould?

Detecting mould can be tricky because it’s not always visible. It’s only when it blooms and spreads that it becomes easily detectable. Dank, musty, or mildew odours are good indicators of possible mould problems.
Mould spreads, so be sure to check all rooms in your home, especially dark and damp areas like the basement. Also check under the carpeting, flooring and behind wallpaper or drywall.

But what if I can’t see or smell any mould? If you or your family members have a persistent allergy, cold, or flu symptoms that subside when away from the house for any length of time, it could be an indicator of mould in your home. While mould test kits can be purchased, it’s a good idea to seek a professional to investigate further.

Dealing with mould

If you’ve discovered a small spot of mould, it’s possible to address it safely on your own. Use warm soapy water to help get deeper into semi-porous surfaces then use undiluted white vinegar to neutralize the bacteria that causes mould spores.

Large or widespread incursions, require a mould remediation professional, and it’s best not to disturb it further. If you attempt this scenario solo, there is a risk of spreading the spores, feeding the mould—cleaners are often diluted using water which is what mould eats!—causing further structural damage. You can also miss something and have to remediate again or become ill from breathing in the spores.

An ounce of prevention

As the old adage goes—there are some key things you can do to keep mould incursions out of your home, saving you a pound of cure down the road.

Do not allow wet materials to sit: Mould needs less than 48 hours to start growing, so never leave damp laundry or towels lying around.

Keep household surfaces clean: Quirouette recommends giving surfaces in your home—especially around sinks, tubs, and tiles in your kitchen and bathroom—a good cleaning, disinfection, and drying. Leaving dry surfaces after each cleaning is key.
Reduce moisture levels in your home: Always run the exhaust fan during and after showering in your bathroom or when cooking in the kitchen to minimize moisture levels.

Stow your belongings securely: Store seasonal items in secure bins with tight-closing lids to keep moisture out. Be sure to store any gear or boxes in a way that allows adequate airflow between them.

Maintain your plumbing: Monitor your plumbing, and repair or replace as needed to prevent leaky or weeping pipes.

Optimize airflow in your home: Keep furniture away from walls and open windows when possible to allow natural airflow through your home. Make sure any confined spaces, like your attic or crawl spaces, are well ventilated so moisture does not become trapped.

Reduce moisture in the basement: If the humidity is more than 50%, it’s advisable to run a dehumidifier or install a foundation drain. Keep an eye out for foundation cracks and repair without delay—this is especially important if you own an older home. Installing insulation and thermal or storm windows helps keep basements warmer and drier.

Mould is certainly nothing to ignore, especially when it comes to your household’s health and well being. If you keep a keen eye on your home with periodic inspections, maintenance, and prevention measures, you will have more reason to rest easy. If by chance your inspections lead to a well-deserved renovation, then check out these eco-friendly tips for waste removal.

7 Steps to Decluttering

We’ve compiled the top seven steps to declutter your home, so you can list your home for sale with confidence.

#1. Start early

It’s never too early to start the decluttering process. That’s because decluttering often takes much, much longer than you would expect. Thinking of listing your home for sale in March? Use January and February to declutter and update your home. Start early, be persistent, and before you know it you won’t recognize your own house (and that’s a good thing).

#2. Get organized

As soon as you start, you’ll probably notice your biggest nemesis: disorganization. It’s one reason why many people will trot out the cliche: A disorganized home is a cluttered home. The key to decluttering and getting your home organized is to stop sticking things in temporary locations. Every day, make a commitment to finding a home—a permanent home—for three to five items. To help, buy, closet organizers, and extra shelving, just don’t fall into the trap of buying these items only to create more junk boxes. The key is to use dedicated storage solutions and a permanent place for that storage solution to create a tidy space for all that you own.

#3. Get tough on yourself

By asking this question and being honest with your answers, it might surprise you how many things you have that aren’t as useful as you once thought. For instance, did you buy those plastic contraptions that allow you to store five hangers in one closet space? How often do you really use that contraption? More to the point, how often do you really wear that item of clothing? Get tough and ask yourself: Do I need it? Do I use it? Only keep something if you answer yes to these questions—and never keep if the answer is closer to, “well, in the future,” or “just maybe.”
There are lots of items we tend to collect that we need to let go of. That encyclopedia set you never open? Ditch it. The board games you haven’t played in a decade? Gift them.
No one is asking you to donate grandma’s precious heirlooms, but you need to get real about what you really need and use.

#4. Be generous

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s often easier to donate your gently used items than it is to throw them out. While letting go of items can be tough, it’s nice to know that someone else could use it.
There are many charities that are willing to come to your house to pick up donations. You can also bring over friends and family, pointing out things that you’re willing to part with. After this process, you may end up with a lot less clutter. Not to mention, it feels great to give to those in need.

#5. Have a yard sale

For some, decluttering is worth it if they can earn something from the effort. The best way to do this is to hold a yard sale.
There’s lots of great advice on how to hold the best yard sale, so before you commit, just keep in mind the ultimate goal is to get rid of clutter not add more pressure to your pre-listing process.

#6. Resist the urge

Once you start the process of decluttering you will need to resist the urge to fill the space again. Why? Quite often, we become accustomed to how a place looks and feels with all our personal clutter. When we start to declutter it can feel frightening, exciting, or even too empty. That’s when you may feel the urge to fill up space. Tempted to buy more books? More souvenirs from your latest trip? It’s all-important, but not all of it’s necessary. Think twice before buying more stuff. You’ll save money and time spent packing when you prepare for that next big move.

#7. Rent a storage locker

If you’re the type of person who has a lot of collectibles, a collection of antique furniture or memorabilia that you just can’t part with consider renting a storage locker to effectively declutter your home for sale. Some professional organizers say that for every box of clutter you remove from your house, you add $500 worth of valuable space—so a few boxes in a storage unit is well worth the cost if it means you can show off a spacious, clean home to would-be buyers. Keeping your favorite sentimental items, while also making your home more sellable is just the win-win you may have been looking for.
While minimalism isn’t for everyone, decluttering a home before listing it for sale is a must. A clean space allows potential buyers to get a clear picture of the home’s value and helps them imagine how their own memories and personal items will fit into the home.

Your Exterior Home Painting Guide

Holding our homes in tip-top shape — while looking stunning — is a source of pride for many homeowners. Painting the exterior of your house, an important maintenance project helps you to help maintain the beauty of your home and improve the attractiveness of your home while providing an opportunity to convey your personality through colour. External painting is very different from the interior, so let’s have a look at what this means.


External painting keeps your home fresh and colourful and protects against weather and deterioration while prolonging the life of its underlying materials. It’s also a great opportunity to get up close to detecting any damage, wear, or rot you may not notice otherwise — a technique that can save on expensive long-term repairs.


  • Test your colour palette
  • Choose the right paint for the job
  • Buy enough paint
  • Paint in ideal weather conditions
  • Watch out for lead Consider hiring a pro


If you plan on flexing your DIY muscles for this project, then you’ll need to obtain the following tools and materials:

  • A ladder (extension or multi-use are best)
  • Pressure washer Masking tape (also called painter’s tape)
  • Drop cloths
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint sprayer
  • Paint roller (if you decide not to use a sprayer)
  • Paint pail with roller grid
  • Paint scraper Plastic sheeting to cover windows, fixtures, and trim
  • Paint thinner if you’re using oil-based paints
  • Paint primer Paint (of course!)
  • Caulk gun with exterior caulking
  • Epoxy filler for gaps and gouges
  • Medium grain sanding block
  • Mortar (for brick homes)
  • Steel bristle brush if you’re repainting wrought iron


  1. Pressure wash the outside of your house.
  2. Fix surface damage — use epoxy to fill holes and cover any rotted material.
  3. Re-mortar, if possible, between bricks.
  4. Remove the missing paint and the old caulking.
  5. Add fresh caulking to your trim.
  6. Apply primer to stains — this means that the fresh paint sticks to these spots.
  7. Using the tape and plastic sheeting to cover your doors, windows, trims, and fixtures.
  8. Using drop cloths to cover some of the trees, gardens, or other items below where you paint.
  9. Using your sprayer to paint the walls.
  10. Apply a second coat of paint and, if necessary, a third coat of paint after each application has been dried.
  11. Remove the covers from your doors, windows, trim, and fixtures and add the masking tape around them.
  12. Paint the paint, fixtures, doors, or windows as you wish.
  13. Look at the results of your hard work — you did a great job!

There is no argument for the size and complexity of this type of project, nor for its long-term benefits. Any project that keeps your home looking gorgeous while prolonging your life is always worth the effort.