The idea of conducting a spring cleaning in order to put your house on the market shifts the focus from “livability” to “sellability.” Spring is an ideal time to stage a house. As winter ends and the snow clears, signs spring up in front lawns and buyers come out in force. Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind in order to stage your home in preparation for the surge of homebuyers right around the corner.
Before you pick up a paintbrush or hammer, make sure to take the time to plan your course of action. For example, it can be wise to set a budget so that your repair costs don’t balloon out of control. It can also help to spend time researching the decorative trends that are popular at the moment. While they may not line up with your own individual tastes, incorporating these into your spaces as you go can do wonders when it comes to increasing the sellability of your home.
It is wise to take the time to measure out the size of your rooms and identify focal points to center each room around, such as a couch, coffee table, fireplace, or countertop. Work with the color, patterns, style, and technique in order to create a coherent, comfortable flow to each room.
Take the time to declutter your home before staging it. The KonMari method has been very popular in recent months due to its simplified approach to living spaces. Homeowners hoping to stage their homes after a winter spent indoors should adopt the KonMari or a similar minimalist cleaning method in order to clear out excess items that can tend to bring a feeling of disorganized confusion to a living space.
The importance of curb appeal in selling a home cannot be understated. It sets the initial expectations of prospective buyers as it is the first opportunity to hit them with the “wow” factor. That makes landscaping one of the most critical steps in staging a house.
Along with obvious elements like mowing and trimming the lawn, gardens should be carefully tended to, the driveway should be weeded and patched, if possible. Doors and windows should be cleaned, the exterior of the home, in general, should be pressure washed, and the roof should be checked for any missing or damaged shingles that need to be patched, as well. In addition, worn items like welcome mats and flags should be replaced.
Check the Basics
Next up, it’s important to take the extra step of reviewing all of your home’s amenities and appliances. Check carpets and flooring for wear. Ensure that toilets, sinks, and other water fixtures are all working and that no leaks are present. Light fixtures and electric lines should also all be functioning, and fire and carbon monoxide alarms should be both operative and equipped with fresh batteries.
Brightening Your Interior
Light and bright is ideal for selling a home. One of the key ways to do this is to repaint any rooms that require it. Keep the look simple by sticking to whites or neutral colors. This is also a good time to repair walls with any cracks, nail holes, etc.
Once your space is painted in lighter tones, the brightening process can continue via things like carefully selected and framed pictures, photo albums, and other decor along with sticking to a minimalist approach.
Decorate According to the Current Trends
IKEA’s guide to 2019 interior trends includes three primary categories:
Methodical Monochrome: An approach that relies on a stark, black and white focus that is both bold and retro.
Maximalist Scandi: This one brings a bright, colorful new twist to the popular concept of Scandinavian minimalism. It’s the definition of clean yet busy.
Rustic Coasts: The sea will always find a place in design. This year’s take comes with an azure, British inspired, coastal elegance.
Of course, these are just three of the numerous different styles and color palettes. Here is a list of 10 more styles trending in the spring of 2019. From paint to rugs, color palettes to picture frames, couches to storage baskets, and so on, find which trend works the best in your home, and incorporate it into your scheme.
Staging in 2019
Spring cleaning with the added pressure of properly staging your home can seem like a daunting task. But, in reality, the springtime is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of that cooped up feeling that accompanies an entire winter spent indoors in order to get motivated and start planning. From the foundations to the decorations and everything in between, it’s time to get ready for the 2019 market.
On Wednesday, the provincial government added further legislation to Bill 16, with the aim of protecting vulnerable tenants.
TL;DR: Additions to the bill include shorter waiting times for rental disputes, renovation funds, and mandatory, standardized inspection training.
Bill 16 is the biggest reform in the history of Quebec’s rental board (Régie du Logement). It will replace the current rental board with a new administrative housing tribunal with more staff to oversee dispute hearings. The aim is to reduce the average delay for a rental dispute hearing from 16 months to 2 months.
The bill provides for the addition of 30 new information officers, as well as more support staff. It also gives clerks more power, so that they will be able to judge reasons for non-payment of rent.
Tenant rights activists say that the current housing bill does not do enough to protect tenants, as it is too technical for the average tenant to understand without hiring a lawyer.
According to Roy-Allard, who was interviewed by CBC radio, high rental prices and low vacancy rates make it easy for landlords to kick out tenants, or discriminate against them. “When there’s a lack of housing, there is more discrimination, and tenants suffer from greater injustice,” Roy-Allard told Radio-Canada. “We need a functioning tribunal — one that tenants can make use of.”
Mandatory training for building inspectors
The housing bill also requires that all building inspectors undergo mandatory and standardized training. Building inspectors do not currently require any permit or training to operate.
Municipality given more power
Bill 16 also gives the municipality more powers when it comes to rental disputes. For example, in the case where a private seniors residence is threatened with closure, the municipality could have the authority to seize the building and keep it operating.
Co-op maintanance funds
Many older undivided condominium buildings in Quebec are in need of extensive renovation, but there is no current obligation for co-op landlords to maintain their properties at a status quo level. The new bill would oblige owners of undivided condominiums to contribute to a renovation fund, to pay for major repairs and damages.
It would also force co-owners to document all building maintenance and set aside funds monthly for future repairs.
The estimated cost to each co-owner per month would be $5.50, according to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Andrée Laforesté
This article, Quebec Imposes Additional Regulations For Landlords, To Protect Condo Tenants, appeared first on Shupilov News.
There are numerous reasons why homeowners are seeking out a small spaces during their
hunt for a new home. Perhaps they are empty nesters looking to downsize, or maybe they’re a
young couple embracing an urban lifestyle.
Here are some tips for moving from a large home to a smaller one:
Embrace the Concept of Minimalism
From tiny houses to shared community-based living spaces and #KonMari, the concept of minimalism is seemingly everywhere these days. Without a doubt, minimalism will be of the biggest players in the future of home design trends.
In response to rising rents and stagnant wages across the country, more and more people are choosing to cohabit in larger apartments and single-family homes. Others, especially in big cities like Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco, are renting tiny homes, which typically have less than
500 square feet of living space.
Contrary to popular belief, however, minimalism as a lifestyle comprises much more than just
the ideas of shared living and reduced possessions. Those living a minimalist lifestyle eliminate
anything that’s unnecessary — from clothing and clutter to unhealthy relationships. Living a
simple, uncluttered life is the cornerstone of minimalism.
Across Canada, the overall cost of homeownership has skyrocketed. The average homeowner
in Montreal, for example, spends 45.2 percent of their income on costs related to homeownership, but the recommended homeownership-to-income ratio is 30 percent. Buying
and fixing up an older or damaged home can help reduce homeownership costs.
There are a variety of home improvement loans options available to the savvy homeowner.
Whether a fixer-upper is in need of an updated kitchen or appliances, a new roof, or something
bigger, home improvement loans are one of the best ways to finance a project.
Loan types include home equity loans, a home equity line of credit, and personal loans.
Homeowners should consult with an accountant or banking professional to find the right loan
option for their unique needs.
Downsizing Possessions and Removing Clutter
Start by organizing items by room or family member into “keep,” “discard,” and “store” piles. Avoid becoming too sentimental when downsizing, as that can make it difficult to part with possessions. Rather than throwing out those items, donate them to a charitable organization.
As far as clothing goes, most people have way more items than are completely necessary. Consider creating what’s known as a “capsule” wardrobe of quality items. Pick a color palette and stick to it, discarding any items that don’t fit the color scheme. A simplified wardrobe can also simplify one’s life, reducing the time it takes to decide what to wear.
Consider the Benefits of Storage
While necessary when moving into a smaller space, the downsizing process can be difficult for
many homeowners. And for the items they can’t bear to part with, long-term storage is an ideal
option. Seasonal items, such as holiday decorations and season-specific clothing, can be stored
away from the home as well.
Storage units are typically climate-controlled and inexpensive, and most come in a variety of
sizes, usually starting with 5 feet by 5 feet. Many storage companies offer flexible payment
options with no contracts and 24/7 access.
Whether an individual is looking for short-term storage or needs to store items for the
foreseeable future, proper packing is paramount. Invest in plastic bins or crates rather than
cardboard boxes, which are vulnerable to weather and pests. Label everything clearly for easy
retrieval in the future, and make sure not to overload boxes.
There are many reasons for moving into a smaller space; thus, there is no one-size-fits all
method or game plan. The older couple selling their family home in favour of an apartment in a
retirement community has different needs than the recent college grad who prioritizes a downtown location over space, or an investment-savvy buyer looking to invest into a small fixer-upper.
Downsizing is an individualized process, but it’s necessary for most people who are moving into
a smaller space. By being selective about items that are staying, and by taking advantage of
neighborhood storage options, moving into a smaller space can be a smooth and simple
Acquiring a home can be a challenge for young buyers, with high closing costs and legal complexities to navigate.
Fortunately, Montreal offers a range incentive programs that first time buyers can apply for, to ease the financial burden of homeownership.
1. Home Buyer’s Plan
The most well known incentive program is the HBP, or Home Buyer’s Plan. The HBP is offered by the federal government and enables buyers to tap into their RRSP’s for up to $25,000. The loan is non-taxable, and borrowers have 15 years to reimburse the full withdrawal back into their retirement plan.
Young buyers who don’t have an RRSP account going yet can also borrow a loan from their financial institutions to pay towards their RRSPs, and then benefit from the HBP on the borrowed amount. Keep in mind that interest would apply, in this case, and that the interest amount is non deductible. Consult with your accountant as to whether this option would be beneficial in your particular case.
2. Municipal home ownership programs
In addition to the HBP, several municipal programs will offer financial advantages to families who choose to settle in a particular city. These incentives generally take the form of tax breaks or purchase cost rebates.
The Home Ownership Program assists with a lump sum financial gift when you purchase a new property, a refund of your welcome tax if you’re a family with at least one minor child (applicable to new developments and properties with 1, 2 or 3 above the ground dwellings), and easier eligibility to the city’s renovation programs should you buy an older property.
The First-Time Home Buyers’ (FTHB) Tax Credit allows Canadian buyers to claim a portion of their home purchase on their personal tax return that same year. This helps with closing costs such as notary fees and inspections.
To be eligible, you, your spouse or common-law partner must have acquired a primary residence after January 27, 2009.
Municipal perks can also extend to outside the buyer’s enjoyment of their new neighbourhood. Buyers with at least one child who is under 18 are entitled to receive 6 months of free public transit on purchase of a one-year OPUS full-fare pass (one free pass per household) and 2 Accès Montréal cards to take advantage of discounts on many activities offered in the cultural metropolis.
3. Private programs
Lastly, incentives are also often offered by developers. Since competition is fierce among condo projects, many builders offer incentive programs, such paying the first few months of your mortgage or offering the possibility of a smaller down-payment.
Apartment buildings recorded average CAP rates of 4.25% to 6.00%. Low rise buildings performed better than high rise buildings.
Downtown office spaces recorded average CAP rates between 4.50% – 6.75%. The highest CAP rate (6.75) was seen in class “B” types – older office products, typically in the range of 100,000 to 250,000 SF. Shorter lease commitments occur in this asset class with the average term ranging between 5 and 10 years.
Retail buildings recorded CAP rates ranging between 4.50% – 7.50%. The best CAP rate was among non anchored strip plazas.
Industrial buildings recorded average CAP rates from 5.75% (low) to 7.50% (high). The higher CAP rate was for older suburban products that attracted a wider range of tenants and covenants for lease terms ranging between 3 and 10 years.
Suburban office spaces ranged from 6% to 7.5%.
Hotels recorded CAP rates between 7.00% to 9.5%. The highest CAP rate was for limited-service suburban hotels.
How should investors interpret CAP rates?
Low cap rate: A building with a low CAP rate isn’t always a bad investment. Low cap rates can be a result of poor management in the past, or may indicate that the building needs renovation work to reach its full financial potential. Investors should consult with a broker to investigate whether current CAP rates match up with market averages, and whether there is room for upside.
High cap rate: A building with a high existing cap rate is already generating healthy income in respect to its market value. Buying into a building with a high cap rate ensures a “turn-key” investment, meaning you won’t need to renovate or restructure the building.
To project potential CAP rate, an investor should take into account:
Location and average rental rates
Location is key when buying a rental property, because location drives demand.
Research average rental rates in the building’s borough and on the building’s street, by looking at rental market reports or by consulting with your real estate broker.
If existing rental rates fall short of average rental rates in the area, you will want to investigate further and find out why. Does the building or the apartment units need work? How much will renovation cost? Has the building been poorly managed in the past?
Answering these questions will help you understand how much “upside” the building offers, and what your potential CAP rate could be.
How to Attract Multiple Offers in a Seller’s Market
Receiving multiple offers on a home requires more than just a sign on the front lawn. Here are a few easy steps you can take to maximize exposure on your listing.
Stage your home for sale. Prepare your home for sale under your real estate broker’s guidance. Depending on the type and condition of property you are selling, staging could range from simply decluttering the rooms to repainting the walls a light, neutral colour or replacing fixtures. It is important to create a great first impression without overspending on renovations. A real estate professional will be able to distinguish between a good investment and an unnecessary one, when it comes to staging your home.
Price your home slightly under market value. It may seem counterintuitive, but pricing your home slightly under market value will attract many more buyers, and is more likely to lead to a bidding war. If this strategy does not generate the expected interest, sellers can simply decline all offers and re-list the property at market value.
Invest in a professional photo shoot. A hot market is no excuse for publishing dark, unattractive photos of your home. 90% of buyers begin their property search online, so it’s important to make a good first impression with your listing photography. If you are working with a real estate broker, professional photography will be included in their services.
List your home on a Thursday. Most buyers plan their visits and open houses over the weekend. Going live on the market on a Thursday evening will give buyers enough time to discover the new listing on Friday, and book their visit for Saturday or Sunday.
Batch visits on certain days and hours. Restricting the timings of visits, rather than allowing buyers to visit at all hours of the day will force buyers to visit the property in groups. Seeing other buyers also interested in the same listing sparks a competitive nature, and prevents low-ball offers on your home. Planning an open house is also a great way of attracting multiple offers during a short period of time.
When comparing multiple offers, be sure to review the buyer’s terms along with their offering price.
Is the buyer pre-approved by their bank or lending institution?
When is the expected closing date?
Are there conditions attached to the offer, such as inspections or required renovations?
Is the purchase conditional to the sale of another property?
Responding to offers
Once you have reviewed the multiple offers, your broker will contact all other buyers and ask them to resubmit their highest offer.
You can then choose to:
Accept the best offer or
Issue a counter offer to the buyer with the most attractive conditions
Montreal’s real estate market currently favors sellers – which means that home buyers will need to take extra steps to save money and time during their purchase.
Here are some resolutions that will guide you on your journey to homeownership:
Resolution #1: Improve your credit rating
The lower your credit score, the higher your offered interest rate will be. Lending fees and terms are directly related to your credit rating – a good credit score will indicate a trustworthy borrower and will be favored by banks and other lending institutions. There are several things you can do to quickly increase your credit score: pay your credit balance before the due date, keep your balances below 15% of your credit limit, and don’t apply for any new loans or make any hard inquiries before applying for a mortgage.
Resolution #2: Save for your downpayment
Saving for a downpayment will require some prioritization. Take a look at your expenses over the past few months, and sort out the non-essential spending (eating out, membership costs, travel, shopping, and entertainment) from the essential spending (rent, groceries, bills, medical expenses). Then, decide which non-essential activities you can cut down on until you reach your financial goals. Try setting concrete resolutions with a fixed deadline – for example, deciding not to buy new pieces of clothing, or only eating home cooked meals, until your full downpayment amount has been saved.
Resolution #3: Get Pre-Approved!
A pre-approval strengthens your offer by proving to the sellers that you have already been qualified for a mortgage loan by a bank. In a competitive market, having a pre-approval could mean the difference between winning or losing a bidding war. Buyers putting in an offer without a pre-approval attached may need to go above the asking price in order to compete with other pre–approved offers. Avoid this easy mistake by requesting a pre-approval from your bank or from a mortgage broker.
Resolution #4: Set up an alert
In a hot market, a good deal will sell fast. Make sure you stay up to date on new listings by signing up for a property alert. Property alerts automatically send you homes listed on the market by and real estate broker or agency in Montreal. You can filter by price, location, and other buying criteria.
Resolution #5: Work with a trusted broker
An experienced broker will save you plenty of money and time, by steering you away from risky investments and negotiating on your behalf with the selling agent. In a hot market, their market knowledge will come in extra handy, as they will help you compete with other interested buyers. Buying with a broker is free (commissions are paid by the seller, not the buyer) so it makes sense to benefit from their professional guidance.
Is selling your home on your to-do list this year? Preparing a property for sale can be a lengthy process, but setting goals can help you tackle each step in a timely matter. Here are five New Year’s resolutions that will help get you on track to receiving an accepted offer:
Resolution #1: Renovate only where it matters
If you’re planning on selling an older home, you may well be considering some minor improvements to make your property more appealing to prospective buyers. It can be difficult to determine which renovations are actually worth the while in terms of increasing your home’s value. In general, sellers should focus on repainting walls, sprucing up the kitchen and bathroom, and touching up floors. Here’s a list of repairs you should not invest in when selling a home.
Resolution #2: Declutter and depersonalize
When cleaning and decluttering, keep in mind that the most important rooms in the house are the kitchen and the bathroom. For those still living in the home that listed for sale, these are the two rooms that should be absolutely spotless, flawless and sparkling before every visit. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home, so anything indicative of the current inhabitants should be kept out of sight.
Resolution #3: Get your documents in order
Don’t wait until the last minute before locating the paperwork required to sell your home.
A real estate agent will help you prepare a marketing strategy for your home, communicate with buying agents, and negotiate on price.
From their years of experience, brokers will also have accumulated a vast network of buyers and investor.Having access to this network of buyers and industry professionals is an essential part of getting a good price for your home, and making sure it sells as soon as possible.
Your home is more than a structure with an address. It’s the place you lay your head at night and where you spend time with those you love the most. Suffering a home fire is devastating. You will go through many emotions and will likely need some help in the days and months following the fire. Determining if its best to move or rebuild isn’t always an easy decision, but it’s one you will have to make quickly.
Here are a few things to take into consideration in the days after a house fire.
Evaluating the Damages
Fires can range from damage to one area of the home to a total loss. No matter what the extent of damage is, you’ll probably be asking, “What do I do?” as you prepare for the future. Once you’re sure everyone is safe, its critical that you contact your insurance company right away.
Notify your agent of the fire and estimated damage. If you weren’t able to secure essential items, you can ask your insurance company for an advance against the claim you will file. Keep track of your expenses while you’re unable to live in your home. You will also need to contact your lender if you have a mortgage.
You’ll need to make sure the property is secure. Your local fire department should help to make sure all smoldering has stopped to prevent further flare-ups. If the home was a total loss, you might need to secure the property by sealing up windows and doors, posting signs, or placing a fence or other border around your home. The last thing you want to think about is losing more of your belongings to looters. However, this happens after home fires, and securing the home can help to minimize further loss through theft.
Finding a Place to Stay
There are a number of health concerns when it comes to living in an area after a fire, even if your home only suffered partial damage. While breathing and eye irritation may seem like minor issues to deal with now, they can lead to the development of long-term conditions down the road, such as chronic bronchitis, cataracts, and dry eye syndrome, which can be dangerous when left untreated.
If damages are severe enough that you’re unable to live in your home, you might need to stay at a hotel or with family. Call your credit card company and bank to notify them of the fire and request that any necessary documents or cards be replaced. You can also contact your local Red Cross to help with food and clothes in the immediate days after the fire.
A Lifetime of Memories
The days or weeks after a fire are trying. You will be mourning the loss of part of or all of your home while trying to make big decisions for the future. Personal belongings, mementos, family photos, and heirlooms may be damaged or destroyed, and sorting through the debris can be emotionally devastating. Ultimately, there is no right answer when it comes to moving or rebuilding.
Staying in the same location can sometimes be easier for kids who don’t have to move to a new neighborhood or school. However, it’s essential to remember that living through a house fire and going back into the same home or location might be challenging too. Recovering emotionally after a residential fire can look different for each member of your family.
Plans to Rebuild or Repair
While the fire probably caused damage, the process of extinguishing a fire can be hard on your walls and roof, too. Sometimes chemicals are used to minimize the flames, leaving behind even more damage. When you return to the home to examine the extent of the loss, you might notice soot, along with damage to the actual structure.
Rebuilding or repairing isn’t always an option. However, if the insurance adjuster and your construction company feel that reconstruction is possible, you can probably get started quickly once the home is cleaned and surfaces are prepped for repair. If you decide to rebuild in the same spot, you can preserve many of the memories associated with the property and any buildings on the lot.
Many people choose to move after house fires for various reasons. Maybe you were ready to sell the home anyway, or building the house of your dreams isn’t possible on the current lot. Relocating can come with many moving fails that you can prevent. Be sure to upgrade furniture such as sofas or mattresses that suffered water or smoke damage in the fire.
Create a moving checklist to get you ready for the big day. Go through old belongings and get rid of donated items you no longer need. Stock up on moving supplies such as boxes, tape, blankets, and bubble wrap. Stop by the local post office to change your address.
Install smoke alarms and test the batteries once a month.
Keep the stove and oven clear of towels and other flammables when cooking.
Be careful with candles, maintain cords, and keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Talk to your family about the house fire and create an evacuation plan so that everyone knows where to meet should you ever have another house fire.
Planning for the worst is scary, but it can save the lives of you and your family. Taking these steps toward recovering after a home fire will help you build a new foundation for the fruitful years to come.
With the growing popularity of Airbnb, several homeowners have considered generating passive income from their property, or even purchasing a rental property with the sole intention of listing it on Airbnb.
TL;DR; Airbnb is legal in Quebec, but certain restrictions may apply. It is important for hosts to check with their condo associations and zoning laws before listing their property on Airbnb.
Before you calculate Airbnb revenues into your financial budget, it is important to fully understand the legalities surrounding short term rentals in your city, building, and neighborhood. Penalties of up to C$ 50,000 can be given in the case of non-conformity to short-term rental regulations.
The following article lists the bylaws for short term Airbnb rentals in Montreal and in the province of Quebec.
When renting a rental property in Quebec that is not your primary residence, Airbnb hosts are required to apply for a certification of classification.
The requirements for a certification of classification include:
An inspection done by the CITQ classifier, who will determine the cleanliness, safety and quality of your rental offering.
C$ 2 million liability insurance.
Regulations in Montreal
Homeowners and investors renting their Airbnb property in Montreal must (additionally) look into:
Business Licensing. A permit or certificate is required for certain types of businesses in Montreal. You should review these requirements to determine if they apply to your activity. Further information on permits and certificates for businesses in each borough is available here.
Zoning Laws. Regulations on zoning in a municipality in the province of Quebec may apply to your listing. In the case of Montreal, the Master Plan explains the city’s planning and development vision, including land use and building density policies in Part 1, Chapter 3.1. In Part II, the Master Plan contains information for individual boroughs, including land use designation. Zoning and other urban planning by-laws for the city of Montreal are available here.
Taxes. Under An Act respecting the Québec sales tax, a tax on lodging applies each time an accommodation unit is rented for more than six hours and up to 31 consecutive days in most tourism regions in Quebec, including Montreal, as explained here. The province of Quebec and the municipalities collect various other taxes that may apply to residents renting out accommodation units. More information on taxes is available here (provincial administration) and, for the Montreal, here(municipal).
Other rules. It is also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.
To ensure that your Airbnb is legal, contact the CITQ, the Régie du logement, or other agencies directly, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
Condo owners should check the bylaws in their declaration of co-ownership documents before listing their property on Airbnb.
Homeowner’s insurance covers the activities of the homeowner themselves, with liability coverage for their guests and family. But when a guest becomes a paying guest, your insurance policy must be changed accordingly. Once you start charging for access to your property, you are considered to fall under a different risk bracket and will be advised to switch to a business insurance category. Read more about insurance options here.