Karelyn Campbell

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1. How do I pick a contractor?

Ideally, you want to build the same kind of relationship with your contractor as you do with your real estate agent: one built on trust that makes you want to go back to that person for any future needs. Your contractor should be a very good listener and communicator. You want them to “get” your vision for your home, and to keep you in the loop every step of the way. Do your due diligence by checking out contractors’ reputations, talking with other clients, and looking at work they have done previously before you make your selection.


2. How much will my project cost?

Of course, the answer depends upon the scope of your project, but in order to get the best estimate from your contractor, take time to write down each detail of your plan so that the contractor can include everything in their estimate. Renovations are famous for taking longer and costing more than originally planned, but this is often because the homeowner makes additions or changes along the way, or they don’t realize that, for example, if you move a wall in your home, you may have to then reroute electricity and outlets. One item often leads to another, so you have to look at everything piece by piece.


3. How long will renovations take to complete?

As we said above, this depends on the amount of work being done– and how many changes are made along the way. The more pre-planning you do, the better estimate your contractor can give you.


4. How do I prioritize projects?

If you are living in your home during renovations, you may want to plan out the project in phases, so you can live out of some rooms while others are being worked in. You may also need to phase projects based on cost and availability of funds.


5. Where do I begin?

You begin by conducting a lot of research. Start a look book for your home, either in a notebook or online, collecting pictures of the look and finishes you want. Talk to different contractors, and visit kitchen, bathroom, appliance, and flooring showrooms to get ideas on selections and pricing.


6. Do I need permits?

Your contractor will know what projects require permitting. Make sure that you do abide by permitting regulations, as failure to secure proper permits can come back to bite you if further work is needed down the road. As well, when you sell your home in BC you'll have to report any renovations made without a permit as a "material latent defect". 


7. How much will renovations increase my home value?

Every homeowner hopes that making improvements will increase their home’s value, and this is usually the case, but sometimes what homeowners view as improvement can turn out to be liabilities to future buyers. For example, don’t put so much money into the house that it becomes more expensive than the rest of the neighborhood. And be careful not to add personal style preferences that can’t be easily changed, like ornamental fixtures, radical architecture, or unusual landscape features.


8. How should I pay for renovations?

If you have the cash to pay for your renovations, that’s certainly a good way to go. Otherwise, you might consider a home equity loan with a manageable monthly payment or a revolving line of credit that you can use for renovations as well as emergencies that may arise later.

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Buying your first home is an exciting step and first-time buyers are eager to skip right to house hunting before they are ready. To avoid disappointment, follow these steps to ensure you are ready and able to make a successful offer on your dream home when you find it. 

  1. SAVE

You’re ready to buy a home. The first thing you need to do is start saving for a downpayment (appx 20% of the purchase price). This may seem like a daunting task but it’s not impossible. Look for ways to earn extra money (freelance, pick up overtime shifts), cut expenses, or invest your savings so that your money is working for you!

  1. Build Your Credit Score

The higher your credit score the lower your interest rate will be so a healthy credit score is essential. Be sure you pay all of your bills on time, start paying off debt, keep credit card balances low and only apply for/close credit cards as absolutely necessary.

  1. Calculate What You Can Afford

As a general rule, you want to spend less than 30% of your monthly income on housing. Calculate your currently monthly payments and what they will be once you purchase a home and compare to your monthly income. 


Things to consider:

  • Income: What is your monthly income?

  • Debt: Add up your monthly payments (car, insurance, mortgage etc.)

  • Closing Costs: how much you will need at closing (adjustments, insurance, taxes, legal fees etc.)

  1. Get Mortgage Pre-Approval

Mortgage brokers have access to products from multiples sources so they can shop around for the best deal on your behalf. They will review your income, expenses, and credit score to determine what size of loan you qualify for. Once you are pre-approved, you can shop with confidence for homes at or below your approved price-point. 


What you will need to get pre-approved:

  • Proof of income

  • Proof of assets

  • Good credit

  • Employment verification

  • Documentation (ID)

  1. Decide What You Want In A Home

Visit different neighbourhoods to narrow your search. Create a checklist and be realistic about what you can afford and what you are willing to compromise on. 

  1. Choose A Realtor

An experienced REALTOR can be a valuable source of expert advice and local market information. They will guide you through the process, and act as your advocate when negotiating and closing a deal. 

  1. START LOOKING FOR HOMES

Now the fun begins: you are ready to start looking at homes! Visit open houses and tour homes with your REALTOR. 


Happy House Hunting!

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1. Depersonalize

You’ve spent time personalizing your home and adding finishing touches to your space. But when it's time to sell it’s best to get back to the basics so you can showcase your home, not your things. This is the perfect time to start packing so go ahead and put away those cherished family photos, sports-themed posters, collections, awards, and antique china set. Your goal is to create a neutral space where buyers can visualize themselves moving in.


2. Declutter

Create a clean visual for buyers by removing any unnecessary items. Focusing on functionality will help you decide what to keep and what to put away (photos, accessories, books, out-of-season clothing, and small appliances). Keeping the clutter to a bare minimum will help make spaces feel much bigger.


3. Paint

Patch any dents in the walls and apply a fresh coat of paint. If you’ve painted a room in the last few years, you can probably get away with a few quick touch ups rather than painting the entire room. You may also want to cover any brightly painted areas with an inviting neutral tone such as a cool grey or a warm beige.


4. Clean

Clean every surface until it shines! Presenting a clean home shows buyers you take care of your home. Wash the windows inside and out, clean the floors, pressure wash the driveway and don't forget to clean under sinks and appliances.


5. Make Small Upgrades

Make some small but impactful upgrades such as updating light fixtures or door handles. These updates can completely change the look of a room and can help increase the value of your home.


6. Add Curb Appeal

You can add a lot of curb appeal without investing a lot of money. A new door mat and a beautiful pot of flowers at the front door make a great first impression. If you’re feeling bold, try painting the front door red or navy blue.


7. Get Professional Help

Hire a handyman to fix leaky faucets, clean out the gutters, patch drywall, repair broken tiles and make other small repairs around the home. Buyers will notice if there is anything wrong so it’s a good idea to ensure everything is in good repair before listing your home.  


8. Tidy Up Outside

Tidy up the yard by cutting the lawn, raking the leaves and weeding the garden. For a bigger impact on a budget, add fresh mulch and some brightly coloured flowers.



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