7 Simple Ways to Invest in Your Yard for Big Returns

To potential buyers, what’s out in the front yard and in behind a house can be just as important as what’s inside it. Spending a little time (and money) elevating the outdoor areas can have a significant payoff when the offers start rolling in this selling season.


3 Secrets for Staging Your Home in Vancouver

We all know the importance of staging a home that’s about to hit the market, but when it comes to standing out, some homes in Vancouver are simply staged better than others.

So how do you take your staging game to the next level?

We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—and asked them to share the most impactful things they’ve seen in a staged home.

The Right Décor

Choosing décor in a staged home can be a difficult task. Too much of it and you’ll make the space look cluttered and potentially even ugly. Too little and your space may seem dull and uninviting. Our Influencers agreed that a minimal, artistic look will have a positive effect on a potential buyer.

“What always stands out to me is cohesiveness,” says Shauna Bailey, RE/MAX Crown Real Estate North (Regina, SK). “When everything flows without being too overdone.”

Distinctive art furniture, clever furniture placement—to make the room seem as large as possible—and proper curtains are a good starting place for the living room.

“I love the idea of a mirror on the opposite wall of a view window to really highlight the view,” says Arietta Fischlin, RE/MAX Little Oak Realty (Langley, BC).

Try hanging luxurious towels in the bathroom, clear the counters and consider setting fresh flowers near the sink. Setting the table in the kitchen may help buyers visualize themselves living in the space.

Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget the outside! First impressions are important, so you want to make sure your yard is equally as inviting as the inside of your home.

“Staged homes allow a person to see how spaces can be used. The smartest thing I’ve seen a stager do is use a clear plastic table and chairs in a small space to make it look bigger,” says the Briar Hill Group, RE/MAX Camosun (Victoria, BC).

Neutrals with a Pop of Colour

Some people may love walls that are painted purple; some people may not.

Your safest bet when it comes to the hues in your home is neutral-coloured walls and furniture, with injections of colour here and there. These colourful accessories could come in the form of accent pillows, flowers or area rugs.

A few Influencers also pointed out that silver and turquoise can have a calming effect, and may be quite appealing for prospective buyers.

“Go with the ‘less is more’ approach,” says Sarah Leib, RE/MAX River City (Edmonton, AB).

Get Rid of the Clutter

Last—but certainly not least when it comes to staging—it is essential that your home is spotless if you want to earn top dollar.

Floors should shine, countertops should sparkle and all clutter should be removed. Keep in mind, although your personal items are of great importance to you, they likely don’t mean anything to those who may be interested in purchasing your house. It’s best to keep these keepsakes out of sight. By getting rid of excess items, you’ll also make your house seem bigger, which is appealing to anyone.

“Keep it simple. Even staged homes can get over-cluttered with items that look nice, but aren’t necessary. Keep it minimal and clutter-free,” says Adrian Michelutti, RE/MAX Professionals (St. Alberta, AB).

7 Ways to Update Your Kitchen in Vancouver for Less Than $1,000

You’ve finally made the decision to sell, but as you sit in your kitchen and look around, you realize the space could use a little love to attract the kind of buyer you’re hoping for. Here’s how to get top dollar for your place in Vancouver without spending a penny over $1,000.


B.C. Government loan program to first-time homebuyers

Here is more information to help you understand how the program works.

Since this BC first-time homebuyers loan program is very new and only effective on Jan 16, 2017, a lot of terms and conditions are still pending to be fine-tuned. Here are the highlights of the program:

To be eligible for the program, the property must be a legal, self-contained, mortgageable residence located in B.C. and be used as the homebuyer’s principal residence for the first 5 years, with a purchase price that does not exceed $750,000 (Rental properties and seasonal/recreational properties are not eligible). Furthermore, the buyer(s) has/have to;

  • Be a first-time homebuyer
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years
  • Have resided in B.C. for at least one year
  • Have a combined gross income of $150,000 or less
  • Have saved at least half of the minimum down payment they will require
  • Applicants must be pre-approved for a 1st mortgage before applying (Note: 1st mortgage must be high-ratio for more than 80% of the purchase price and CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty are participating in the program)

Additional loan details:

  • The loan can be up to a 25 year term, and is registered as a second mortgage
  • Monthly principal and interest payments begin in year six, amortized over remaining 20 years
  • Interest rate for years 6 to10 set near first mortgage rate at time mortgage is registered (The rate is being set at the RBC prime rates plus 50 bps)
  • Interest rate reset to near first mortgage rate at years 10, 15 and 20 (This provides great security if rates increase over time)
  • Homeowner may repay in full or in part at any time without penalty

The loan will be due and payable in full upon:                    

  • The home ceasing to be the principal residence in the first five years
  • Default on the first mortgage
  • Sale of home or change of ownership (E.g., adding anyone to title)
  • Any other default on the loan (second mortgage)

Starting January 16, 2017, eligible applicants will be able to apply online via the BC Housing website.

The program will run for three years with loans advanced from February 15, 2017 to March 31, 2020.

4 Reasons Why Staging Makes a Difference in Vancouver


We’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, but first impressions usually impact our decision-making, whether we care to admit it or not.

Therefore, a well-staged home typically has a better chance of selling at a higher price than one that hasn’t been staged in Vancouver.

We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to discover why sellers shouldn’t have “stage fright” when it comes to selling their home.

Faster sale, higher price

Our Influencers agreed that effective staging will help sellers get the deal done quicker, for a higher price.

“I guarantee sellers that, while I don’t know the exact amount they will receive as a result of staging, I know they will get more than their money back and they will sell their home in a shorter period of time than they would without staging,” said one RE/MAX Influencer.

A buyer can tap into his/her imagination when a home is shown in its best light. When potential buyers can see themselves living in your home in Vancouver, they will be motivated to make a reasonable offer.

The ‘Wow’ factor

Simply put: Homes look their best when they are staged.

Staged homes in Vancouver are also depersonalized, which is important because buyers don’t want to feel like they’re purchasing somebody else’s home. They want it to feel as though it’s theirs.

Stagers understand how to professionally present homes to appeal to the emotions of the broader spectrum of prospective purchasers. Photographs of a staged home are also more likely to garner increased interest online.


When potential buyers walk into a home, they’re thinking beyond what their eyes are showing them. They’re visualizing themselves living in the space. Is the home an ideal place for their children to grow up? Does the house have what they need to enjoy retirement?

Personal clutter can often hinder these visions, which is not ideal for the seller. A professional stager will take an objective look at the property and make sure prospective purchasers will be able to see themselves in the space.

A positive first impression

First impressions are incredibly important. On many occasions, buyers will form their opinions by the time they’ve taken a few steps into your home. A bad smell, a crooked frame or a bit of dirt on the floor can be the difference between whether or not you get an offer.

Great books deserve stunning covers; great homes deserve to be staged.


Featured image (c) ambiance-athome.com

6 Things Luxury Home Buyers in Vancouver will be Looking for in 2017

There’s no denying the allure of touring a luxury home, even when it’s way over your budget. So, here’s what the wealthy will be adding to their property wish lists in 2017.


3 Spectacular Apartment/ Condo in Vancouver & Burnaby that you need to see!

1. #606 1887 Crowe St. Vancouver, BC, V5Y 0B4

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Spectacular southeast facing suite features 956 sf 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom + den and indoor storage, corner unit with city view. Pinnacle Living False Creek centrally located in South False Creek, a few minutes walk to Canada Line Olympic Village Station and walk distance to Main Street-Science World Station. Close to the Yaletown and about 2.5 kilometres from downtown Vancouver. Short walk to shopping, Cambie Street, West Broadway and Olympic Village. Building includes gym, amenity room, rooftop garden, secured parking and concierge daytime Monday to Friday.


2. #1305 888 Hamilton St. Vancouver BC, V6B 5W4

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Spectacular Bright northeast facing suite features 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms in great Downtown location. Rosedale Gardens is right in the heart of Downtown, short walk to Robson Street, GM Place, BC Place & library. Spacious 980 sqft with insuite laundry, one big storage room or office den, and one large balcony. Full amenity package include Indoor Pool, Sauna, Gym at Rosedale Hotel for $125/year. Cool city view.


3. #204 9202 Horne St. Burnaby, BC, V3N 4K2

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Rare to find 3 bedroom spacious CORNER unit in a quiet building. Welcome home to 9202 Horne St. — a cozy apartment building in a quiet cul-de-sac, yet only a short walk from Lougheed Town Centre, skytrain, Keswick Park, shops & restaurants. Fast access to HWY 1. Features include a spacious kitchen with plenty of cabinets and counter space. Large covered balcony; newer appliances; laminate flooring; in suite laundry and gas fireplace. Well managed complex with indoor pool, workshop and tranquille garden. HEAT, HOT WATER & GAS included in maintenance fees.

Get in touch with Denise Mai, your local agent in Vancouver for more details.

7 Ways to Deter Burglars While You’re on Vacation

The airline tickets are booked, bags are packed and your family is finally about to head out on a much-anticipated vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about home sweet home just yet. Take a bit of time to follow these tips to deter a potential break-in and avoid home heartbreak.


Why Moving in Vancouver during Winter is Actually Awesome

It might seem counter-intuitive, but moving in Vancouver during the winter—from house-hunting to getting all your worldly belongings from point A to point B—can actually be easier, cheaper and more convenient than any other time of the year. Here’s why it pays to move during the colder months.


5 Thrifty Ways to Make Your Home in Vancouver Feel More Luxurious

Avoid the cost and chaos of a major renovation and transform your home in Vancouver into a luxurious living space with these simple steps. Money may be tight, but you can still live the luxe life.


Clean Off Surfaces

clean surface luxuryThe first step to making a space feel more luxurious is to clear it out. While it may seem counterintuitive to remove things from a space rather than add them, clutter is a killer when trying to create a luxe décor aesthetic. Clearing off countertops, windowsills, shelves and tabletops opens up sight lines throughout the house, making it the focal point rather than knickknacks, piles of papers and abandoned crafting projects.


Paint It All White

white paint house bedroom

Keeping the interior paint palette neutral is an easy way to make a home feel more high-end, almost like a gallery. If your walls are a mishmash of trendy shades or four different variations of off-white, it’s time to head to the paint store to stock up on rollers, trays, painters tape and a few gallons of a single hue. While painting the space yourself may seem like a major undertaking, with a bit of careful planning, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars and still get fabulous results.


Dress The Windows

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What covers the windows in a room can have a major effect on the feel of the space as a whole — mismatched blinds, sun-bleached curtains and wonky rods will stick out like a sore thumb. Each room should have a unified window treatment, be it customized chintz drapes or made-to-measure roll blinds from Home Depot, what’s important is that each window has a matching cover. Also, making sure the glass is sparkling clean…dirty windows are a real downer. The more natural light in your home, the more uplifting it’ll feel.


Cover The Floor

floor rug area rug
From sprawling English manor houses to the sleek penthouses of New York, chances are you’ll spy a Persian kilim rug somewhere in there. Available in every shade, pattern and price point, picking up one of these mulitcoloured rugs adds instant cache to a cash-strapped space. Not to mention, it covers up cheaper flooring treatments or floorboard imperfections perfectly.


Add Warmth and Texture

warmth blanket couch
If the first stage was to declutter, the last step is to add in super-luxurious materials such as velvet, cashmere and faux fur — and the easiest way to do this is with throw pillows and blankets. Rather than replace your existing set of couch cushions, seek out a new set of velvet covers in a single, rich hue. A faux fur blanket draped over the edge of a worn-out couch creates a cosy vignette. Or tap into the Scandinavian aesthetic and throw sheepskins over everything from bar stools to office chairs.


With these five tips on hand, you can easily turn your ho-hum house in Vancouver into a space that exudes luxury.

Courtesy of HGTV.ca.