Pretty Patios & Balconies

Summer-Porch-with-CoffeeJune is almost here and it won’t be long before we’re enjoying our morning coffee on the front porch or catching some rays on our backyard patios! At this early stage in the season, trees and shrubs are still budding, your gardens are rather barren and you might be craving a little colour! Luckily, there are so many ways that you can add some serious style to your patio, porch, decks and backyards without spending a fortune!

For some instant green foliage, bring your indoor plants outside. May is usually a safe time to start acclimating plants to the outdoors for the summer season but be sure to bring them inside at night if it’s still cool, and don’t place them in direct sunlight for more than a few hours. Strategically place plants around the seating area, just as you would indoors.

53c89868f757cd09f217eaa1dcdf9bbc
Using fabric is a wonderful way to make an outdoor space homier. Search clearance bins for colourful throw pillows you won’t mind tossing after the summer season and find a couple outdoor rugs to really bring the space together. Place a larger, neutral-coloured rug down first, underneath your patio furniture and place a smaller, more vibrant area rug centred on top of the first to add a little pizzazz. If your space is very exposed, you can create privacy with a screen, some old shutters or a few curtain panels. Bed, Bath and Beyond sells outdoor curtains in a variety of pretty patterns that are built to withstand the elements.

11260816_435608033290661_5842759587118264704_n

A hot trend in 2017 is the vertical garden. Ideal for backyards where space is a commodity, a vertical garden will become a gorgeous focal point in your outdoor space while providing privacy, visual interest and even food! You can DIY the project using old pallets, chicken wire, wooden boxes, an old dresser, even old, plastic pop bottles! Check Pinterest for ideas and step-by-step instructions. Love to cook? Plant herbs in your vertical garden and enjoy fresh, flavourful dishes all summer long.

For the finishing touches on your outdoor space, hang some artwork or a mirror on outside walls, add some mood lighting or place a few sturdy candle holders on tables.

Jennifer Birch – Realtor

How to Fund your Renovation Project?

FINDING MONEY

 

Finding money for your renovation project can be tough.  Unless Grandma is handing you money you may be stuck looking for ways to fund your renovation project.  In the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) flipping houses can be a good investment but it has to be done right without breaking your budget.

 

Here are some ways to help you get the money you need to get you started on your project.If you aren’t doing all the renos youself and will be hiring a contractor,ask the contractor if he/she is willing to be a partner in your venture.  You can offer them a slice of the investment in exchange for their work.  If they are interested in this investment you can be assured they will do their best work on the house.

 

First and foremost as I’ve said in earlier posts – make sure you come up with a very realistic budget.  One that involves the unexpected expenses that come up with every project.  You don’t want any surprises that will cost you and extra $5000 – $10,000

 

Do your homework!!  Know what’s going on in the market in the area where the house is located.  If there are lots of older homes that have not been taken care of it may not be worth it for you to put top dollar into your house/investment.  You know that old saying “Location, Location, Location!”  Well, this is a time to be absolutely sure that the money you put in will also get you a return.

 

Know where to spend your money – there’s pretty cosmetic fixes and there’s necessary fixes – Know the difference!

 

Contact a Realtor – they know the market better than any one else.

 

If you aren’t doing all the renos youself and will be hiring a contractor,ask the contractor if he/she is willing to be a partner in your venture.  You can offer them a slice of the investment in exchange for their work.  If they are interested in this investment you can be assured they will do their best work on the house.

 

 If you decide to use a partner make sure you have each other’s roles and responsibilities in writing to avoid blurred lines and hurt relationships.  Creating some kind of contract give each person a very clear understanding of what is expected of them and also what they will get in the end.

 

Now to get to the Money Part:

 

Talk to your bank or mortgage broker.  There are options for you to get money to use towards an investment, however there are lots of restrictions.  Borrowing on a line of credit may be one way of doing it if you can convince the lender that the return will be a good one.

In Canada we hear a lot about the Smith Manoeuvre – something you can check out. We also hear a lot about the Manulife One mortgage option – talk to your lender or Financial Advisor about how this works.  Another way is to borrow from your RRSP’s  or if you have a property with a lot of equity in it then you can get a second mortgage on it to finance your new investment.  These are just a few of the creative solutions you can talk to your lender or Financial Advisor about.  If you have the desire to get this project done then your passion will lead you to the right people.

If you have questions about the Real Estate Market or Renovations in the Burlington, Oakville or surrounding areas, contact me today.  Jennifer Birch 905-633-4607

RENOVATION RESOURCE

RENOVATION RESOURCE

Are you wondering if you should do some renovations before you sell your house? Wondering if the aggravation and money spent will be worth it in the end? If you are thinking of doing some renos to get your house ready to sell – keep reading.

Here are some renovation suggestions:

Curb appeal – This might sound like a no – brainer but cut your lawn and keep it nice and short. Edge the garden, plant some colourful flowers and lay down some mulch. A little under $100 can make your curb appeal pop. Fix all cracks in the walkways, and dig out those weeds between any interlocking brick. If pulling weeds is not your thing pay your kids to do it or pay a neighbours kids to do it, kids are always looking for ways to make money. Give your front door and garage doors a fresh coat of paint (after you take off the flaky paint). Hang flower boxes or plant some big pots by the front door. There is a large Home Depot in the Rio Can centre off of Burloak in Oakville and it is a great place to get ideas and they have a range of products that can fit any budget. Spending a few hours on the front of your house will ensure that it is appealing for any potential buyers.

Upgrade the kitchen – One of the biggest return on your investment will be in the kitchen and in Burlington and Oakville, people expect a decent kitchen. Buyers want granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, modern cabinets and hardware and updated light fixtures. Not sure where to start? Pick up a House & Home decorating magazine or Style at Home. Both are Canadian publications and they will give you a visual picture of what people in the GTA and across Canada are looking for in homes. IKEA, just off of Plains Road in Burlington is a great place to start looking for a budget friendly update. Home Depot would be your next step. There are also many DIY (Do it yourself) stores out there where you can pick and choose from bargain pieces that were floor models. Expect to spend anywhere from $500 and up depending on how dated your kitchen is.

Beautiful bathrooms – After kitchens, bathrooms are the next place in your house that will see the biggest return on investment. Granite countertops, modern faucets and light fixtures and tile floors are popular with buyers. The more you can do yourself, the more money you’ll save. Expect to spend about $200 – $1500. You can save even more by buying store floor models for sinks and vanities or going to ReStore at 1800 Appleby Line in Burlington it is a great place to find used or slightly damaged products.

Basements – If you have the money, consider finishing your basement properly. If you have an older home and it’s got the good old wood paneling then consider painting it. This is a budget friendly way to update and neutralize the space. It will make your basement appear large and open. If you have cement walls, talk to a contractor to see what the cost would be for dry walling the basement. If you don’t know a contractor – I’ve got a great guy who can help you out – just give me a call. Another thing to consider is that if your basement has old carpeting you may want to replace it. If it’s been there for years there is probably a bit of a smell that goes along with it. Basements are prone to dampness and removing the smell will be more appealing to potential buyers.

Before starting any renovations, make sure you do your homework.

Think about what you want to do
Make a budget
Figure out what you can do yourself
Contact a contractor for jobs you don’t want to do
Don’t go overboard or you won’t get your money back
One last thing my father always said: Remember to measure twice and cut once!

If you have any questions about Renovations please contact me and I would be happy to help you out. I can be reached at 905-407-3274 or you can email me @ jennifer@jenniferbirch.ca

Renovation 911

Flipping Houses – It’s easy right?

 HGTV has so many great shows that feature flipping houses as a great way to make money.  It looks messy but fun AND you can make a profit!  We watch them with voyeuristic pleasure and wonder if we could do the same thing.

What the TV shows do not allow us to see is the aggravation that comes with trying to get all the renovations done on time and within budget.

As someone who has flipped a few houses, albeit over a period of time while living in them, I have to say, it is NOT for the faint of heart.

It’s Flippin’ Fun

I will share with you the short story of one of my homes that I got excited about that had great “bones” as they say.  It was an old brick home that was 90 years old and perched on the brow of a city with a great view.  I took video of the inside before I purchased it and sent the video to my father who lived 8 hours away.  His exact words to me were “Walk away, walk away!”

I balked, so what if the tenants had been evicted and there were holes in the walls, the stairs were falling out of their stringers and there were mice in the dishwasher!  This was going to be a great house for a flip – I could feel it!  So began the renovation that took a year and a half.

During this time I brilliantly decided to finish university, something I should have finished years before.  I had two children at home both under the age of 3 and I thought renovating, working with contractors, going to school and being a mom would be something I could handle.  No problem – I was a super mom!  In hindsight I look back at those years as the crazy years and tell people never, ever attempt to do that unless you are a wee bit crazy.

Help Please!

With a lot of help, and I mean a lot of help from my father – my husband and I got the job done.  There were many days that we sat around the kitchen table with drywall dust covering everything around us.  And there were areas of the house we could not live in for periods of time.

Then the moment finally came where the house was perfect and the vision of what I had in mind for this beautiful home was realized… then the For Sale sign went up on the lawn – that same day.  Bittersweet!

Lightbulb Moment

At that moment I realized that flipping is kind of like a wedding in the sense that you have a vision of what it will look like at the end and then all too soon the event is over.   The good news is – I learned a lot from mistakes made and –  did make money but it was a lot of time, mess and sacrifice to get there.

What About You?

Do you seek the thrill of turning something ugly into a profit? Do you see potential in older run down homes?Are you up for doing a flip?  Are you prepared to eat take out many nights during the week if your kitchen will be under renovations?  Or would you rather purchase a flipper that won’t be your primary residence?

 

Crucial points to think about before

buying a flipper:

 

  • Talk to a Real Estate agent before you begin shopping
  • Realtors know the market and know what will sell after you’ve done the renovations
  • Choose a Real Estate agent who has flipped or knows what is involved in flipping houses
  • Choose the right location!  It is key to getting a return on your investment
  • Figure out if you can afford to put 20% down on a secondary property (or look for private lenders who only require 10% down)
  • Do you have a budget to work with?  If so, add 25% to account for unexpected issues that may come up
  • What is your timeline for the project? 1 month? 3 months?
  • Do you have reliable contractors that you will work with?
  • Do you know exactly what adds value to a home in the area you are looking?
  • And lastly – are you truly ready to get your hands dirty?

 

I personally feel that there can be money made in flipping a house but it has to be done right.  All too often I see people who have put way too much money in a house and their asking price reflects the money they have invested, they are desperate to get back what they put in.  Unfortunately, they didn’t do their research.

Be Smart and do your homework!
If you have any questions about flipping a house in the Oakville or Burlington area, please contact me and I would be happy to give you more information. Jennifer@jenniferbirch.ca or call or text me @ 905-407-3274

 

Dreaming of Owning a Home?  Some lenders offer

Cash Back Mortgages to help you become a homeowner

 Here’s a simple explanation of Cash Back Mortgages

Purchase Price of home                                        $ 300,000

Down payment 5 % required for the purchase       $  15,000

 

Problem:  You do not have the funds for the down payment

Solution:   The lender / bank will provide these funds on closing   (hence the cash back mortgage)

You must have be working and have a decent income.  As with all deals that involve banks lending you money – you must qualify.

The purchase offer for the house is written conditional on financing.  The only costs to you are the closing costs.

For a $300,000 home here are the approximate closing costs.

 

Land Transfer Tax – first time buyer – do not have to pay

Commission to Real Estate agent – you do not pay – this is the seller’s responsibility

 

Legal – Lawyer                                                    $ 1800.00

HST on CMHC premium                                      $   750.00

 

Total out of pocket        $ 2550.00

 

Payment  $1561.00 per month – that’s cheaper than rent !


If you would like to know more about Cash Back Mortgages or Real Estate in general, please contact me at Jennifer@jenniferbirch.ca or call me
@ 905-407-3274

 

* Conditions apply; financial figures are only estimates, for exact details please contact Jennifer Birch

POP OF COLOUR

 

POP OF COLOUR

This is my first blog on decorating and design.  I figured the previous blogs would guide you in finding the real estate you want and now we can look at the decoration side of things – the fun stuff.

I wait patiently every month for all my decorating subscriptions to come in the mail and when they do I pile them up in my office and wait for a Saturday morning where I can dedicate time to read them.  I make my Starbucks coffee just right and then sit in my front living room where the morning light is perfect for flipping through the magazines.  Ahhh, bliss!

Summer time is a great time to get creative and use a “pop” of colour somewhere in your home.  This summer the emphasis is on bold colours like Benjamin Moore’s Fresno  which is a coral colour and is complimented well with neutrals, blues and greens.  If you like the blue green colours why not tryBrilliant Metals by Valspar.

 

ADDING COLOUR

  • Try painting a wooden accent chair in a glossy bold colour
  • Add cushions of varying complementary colours and textures
  • What about a bowl or vase that has colour
  • Placemats are an easy and non-committal way to add colour
  • Framed art can always add a little colour to your walls

Dressing your home is like dressing yourself – give it personality be a little bold and go with your gut!

POP OF COLOUR

 

POP OF COLOUR

This is my first blog on decorating and design.  I figured the previous blogs would guide you in finding the real estate you want and now we can look at the decoration side of things – the fun stuff.

I wait patiently every month for all my decorating subscriptions to come in the mail and when they do I pile them up in my office and wait for a Saturday morning where I can dedicate time to read them.  I make my Starbucks coffee just right and then sit in my front living room where the morning light is perfect for flipping through the magazines.  Ahhh, bliss!

Summer time is a great time to get creative and use a “pop” of colour somewhere in your home.  This summer the emphasis is on bold colours like Benjamin Moore’s Fresno  which is a coral colour and is complimented well with neutrals, blues and greens.  If you like the blue green colours why not tryBrilliant Metals by Valspar.

 

ADDING COLOUR

  • Try painting a wooden accent chair in a glossy bold colour
  • Add cushions of varying complementary colours and textures
  • What about a bowl or vase that has colour
  • Placemats are an easy and non-committal way to add colour
  • Framed art can always add a little colour to your walls

Dressing your home is like dressing yourself – give it personality be a little bold and go with your gut!