This Spring, Help Sell Your Home by Refreshing Your Kitchen

There isn’t ever a down-time in the Ottawa housing market, but the spring months are definitely the busiest each year.

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell, making adjustments to one of the most important rooms in the home - the kitchen - can help your house stand apart from others. Here are three of our favourite tips to help your kitchen appear larger and brighter, without breaking the bank.

Tip #1 for Refreshing Your Kitchen: Declutter

It may seem obvious, but clearing as much as possible from your countertops - including cookbooks, flower vases, and small appliances - can make a big difference. Consider storing items you don’t use every day, and create a dedicated spot for things like your mail, so it doesn’t end up collecting dust in the corner of the kitchen.

Tip #2 for Refreshing Your Kitchen: Downsize

Not downsize in terms of square-footage (obviously!), but downsize the amount of added fixtures that are unnecessary - hanging lamps, barstools, and islands, for example. Kitchen islands were a ‘must have’ feature a few years ago, but if you aren’t doing a lot of baking or meal prep on it, getting rid of it can create the illusion of a larger, more open kitchen.

If you have items like barstools in your kitchen that you’re planning on taking with you to your new home, consider putting them in storage or in another room so prospective buyers can envision the space with (or without!) their own furniture.

Tip #3 for Refreshing Your Kitchen: Brighten the Colour

If your kitchen cabinets and colours are outdated, adding a splash of white paint is an inexpensive way to bring new life to the space and make it appear more open. Whether it’s on your walls or the cabinets (or both!) a crisp white finish can refresh the space and make it feel like new.

The kitchen is often said to be the most central spaces in the home. Be sure to impress buyers with these small, inexpensive upgrades and help your home stand out from the crowd in the busy Ottawa market.

April Showers Bring May Flowers - And Flood Warnings, too

I was driving through the city last week, and suddenly it hit me - I could actually see over the snowbanks! And in most spots, the sight-blocking piles of snow had melted away altogether. It’s a welcome sign of spring, especially after a winter that broke records here in Ottawa (almost 102cm of snow fell in January alone!). But those signs of spring and warmer weather also signal the start of something a lot less exciting: flood season.

With so much snow falling and melting so quickly, it’s not just homeowners and cottage dwellers close to rivers and lakes who need to be concerned about their basements. Water that seeps into your home through cracks in the foundation is the most common cause of damage as the snow begins to melt.

Follow these tips to give your home the best chance of coming out of the flood season unscathed.

Tip #1 to Prevent Spring Water Damage: Shovel the snow

Yes, even the snow that’s not in your driveway. The closer snow is to your home, the more likely it is that it will melt and form pools of water around the house. Before the warmer weather hits, shovel the snow away from the foundation and give your home at least 3-5 feet of clearance.

Tip #2 to Prevent Spring Water Damage: Extend Drain pipes

Clear away any leaves that may have gathered in gutters and drain pipes that can cause rain water or melting snow to get blocked and pool. If water pools, it can easily seep into attics, walls, or foundations. You’ll also want to make sure you have extensions on the drain pipes long enough to drain the water at least 3 feet from the house.

Tip #3 to Prevent Spring Water Damage: Cover Window Wells

Make sure any window wells are well covered (no pun intended!). As the snow melts, this will prevent any water from pooling against windows and saturating the ground immediately next to the home.

Tip #4 to Prevent Spring Water Damage: Pre-planning

There are some things you can do before the snow even starts to fall to help prevent water damage from occurring during the spring thaw. If possible, grade your landscape so water drains away from the home instead of towards it. You can also install sump pumps to help send water away from the home.

Tip #5 to Prevent Spring Water Damage: Protect Valuables

If you do live in an area prone to flooding, or have a lot of snow sitting on your property, it is a good idea to move any valuables you may have out of your basement and onto higher ground. This way should any flooding or water leaks occur, you’ll know your sentimental pieces will be safe from damage.

For more information on flooding in Ottawa and more tips on how to protect your home this spring, take a look at the City of Ottawa website.

Spring Forward: Five Tips and Tricks to Maximize Your Home Value

Despite what you see when you look out of the window (the snow WILL melt eventually, I promise!), spring is just around the corner. Although the Ottawa housing market doesn’t actually have a down period, the spring months are traditionally the busiest. To make the most of it - and to take your mind off that snow - here are five tips and tricks to maximize your home value this spring.

Tip One to Maximize Your Home Value: Fix the little things

The longer you’ve lived in your home, the bigger the chances are that small things have popped up in various rooms that should be fixed. You might see them as inconsequential, but to a potential buyer all of those little things could add up to a big to-do list. Take a walk through your home and patch up the little scrapes and bumps and make your house feel like new again!

Tip Two to Maximize Your Home Value: Remove, Replace, Repair

Remove, Replace, or Repair anything that a potential buyer might turn their nose up at. Popcorn ceilings, anyone? Outdated features can make your home seem old and uninviting, but many of these changes can be done by yourself (popcorn ceilings can be removed by soaking them in a solution found at a local hardware store and scraping the texture off). If you have items in your home with sentimental value that may not be the most visually appealing, you don’t have to get rid of them altogether. Simply move them out of the direct view of potential buyers until you’re ready to display the item again at your new home.

Tip Three to Maximize Your Home Value: Give your Lawn an Upgrade

Curb appeal is a big factor in attracting buyers. After-all, you only get one first impression! Planting trees, planting low-maintenance greenery, and maintaining your lawn all go a long way in maximizing your home value.

Tip Four to Maximize Your Home Value: Check your flooring

Next time you walk into a room, look down. What does your flooring look like? Especially with soft surfaces like carpets or rugs, if your floors look dirty, stained or worn, buyers will see nothing but a big project ahead of them. Hire a carpet cleaning company to bring life back to old floors, and replace any that are torn or worn out.

Tip Five to Maximize Your Home Value: Ask An Expert

If you’re really not sure where to start, or know that you need to paint but aren’t confident in your colour scheme, spend an hour with an interior designer. For a small consultation fee, they’ll take the time to come to you and give you personalized tips to improve the look and feel (and value) of your home and get it ready to go to market.

If you’re going to be doing any spring cleaning, you might as well add value to your home while you’re at it! Check out this blog for more tips and tricks on increasing the value of your home in time for Ottawa’s busiest season!

Winter in the Nation’s Capital - It’s Not All Bad!

One of the great things about living in the Nation’s Capital is the amount of events that take place all year round. While summer in Ottawa is so good it convinces us all to stick around through the harsh winters, we tend to hibernate through them instead of enjoying them. But, the amount of great activities going on in the city don’t stop just because we’d prefer to stay wrapped up indoors.

Here are some of the reasons we’re getting out of the house and braving the cold this month:

Winterlude: February 1 - February 18

The event Ottawa Tourism calls The Capital’s Winter Celebration! No list of activities is complete without mentioning this 3-week winter festival. The event features everything from ice sculpture competitions, sporting events, and more. On February 2nd, beginning at Dow’s Lake Pavillion, athletes participate in the Winterlude Triathlon: 8km skate, 8km ski, and a 5km run. Honestly, where else but in Ottawa can you participate in a winter-themed triathlon along the world’s longest skating rink?

Skate the Rideau Canal

Speaking of, skating on the world’s longest skating rink is an activity not to miss all on it’s own! With Beavertails and hot chocolate stands lining the canal which you can skate right up to, and the city lights guiding you along on nighttime rides, what’s not to like? If you don’t have skates, you can rent them from Capital Skates at Rideau and Fifth Ave locations. Check out ice conditions here.

Snowshoe Under the Stars

Take a guided hike with a Friends of Gatineau Park nature interpreter through the park, to learn about how plants and animals survive the winter weather and the challenges it imposes. The 3km hike ends with hot chocolate by the woodstove, in the Sugarbush Shelter. Check dates and ticket information here.

Accora Village Bed Race

A can’t miss event! Watch as 50 teams made up of four runners and one rider race decorated, modified beds along York Street in the Byward Market. Teams compete for prizes for the fastest bed, the best decorated bed, and the best fundraisers - with all proceeds going to the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa.

TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest

A three-day line-up of world-renowned Jazz players, featuring sounds from Modern, Latin, Swing, Funk, Contemporary, Afro Cuban, Avante-Garde, and more! Get the full line-up and ticket information here.

Have another event you’re excited about? What gets you excited about winter in Ottawa? Let us know, and we hope to see you out there soon!

New Year, New You - And A New Reno, Too?

We all like starting projects on a day that marks the beginning of something new - Mondays, the first of the month, January. The new year in particular sparks a desire for change in most of us. “New Year, New You” flies across social media and most of us will use those gym memberships again, eat more greens, or find another resolution to keep us busy for three weeks.

If you want to make your New Years Resolution have more impact this year, consider adding value to your home with some trendy upgrades. Some New Year Reno-lutions, if you will. We did some research, and here are four of our favourite 2019 Home Trends (just in case you get that itch for something new).

2019 Home Trends #1: Bigger Windows

Open-concept floor-plans have been popular for years, and many are opting to take it to the next level. Large, bright windows with minimalist coverings allow more natural light into rooms, giving the open-concept floor-plan even more oomph than it achieves on it’s own. As a bonus, larger windows will help bring the outside and inside closer together, maximizing living space and bringing you closer to the outdoors. Bring on the Vitamin D!

2019 Home Trends #2: Pops of fun

Fun, bright colours aren’t just for nurseries and playrooms anymore. Patterns and colours are making bold statements all around the home. People are beginning to view their homes less rigidly and more as places to relax and unwind. Try painting a bold accent wall, adding patterned wallpaper, or experimenting with coloured furniture and textiles throughout the home.

2019 Home Trends #3: Tech. Everywhere.

Technology in the home is going mainstream. While early adopters might feel like tech in the home isn’t new, basic smart home features are starting to become more popular. Basic home functions such as heating and cooling, lighting, and security can be controlled right from your smartphone or by Alexa or Google. Gadgets like these are common examples, but if you’re looking to take your home to the next level, there are tech appliances such as refrigerators that can update your grocery list for you.

2019 Home Trends #4: Seeing Double

A modern twist on kitchens: double islands! If you’re renovating your kitchen and dining room, why not combine the two? When space is available, adding a second island in the kitchen with bar stools can replace the standard dining table, while adding additional storage and counter space.

If you still haven’t figured out your New Year's Resolution, think about adding one (or more!) of these 2019 home trends throughout your house. Do you have a favourite that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.