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Do you know what buying your house will really cost?
Do you know what buying your house will really cost?When you're house-hunting it's easy to focus on the “big” numbers like asking price and offer price. But before you sign the purchase agreement, you should take time to budget for the additional costs that come with every home purchase.


The most significant costs for most purchasers are taxes: property taxes, land transfer tax, and in some cases, harmonized sales tax (HST). Property taxes can vary widely by region, and need to be considered when comparing properties.

Land transfer tax is a one-time tax, payable on closing. It's calculated according to a formula, so you'll know the number upfront. Properties in Toronto have an additional layer of land transfer tax – knowing this can save you an unpleasant closing-day surprise.

HST doesn't generally apply to resale homes. Buyers of new homes owe HST, but some can apply for a rebate. Ask a lawyer whether you qualify.


We all know what they say about death and taxes, but when buying a home, insurance is equally unavoidable. Lenders require proof of insurance before providing mortgage funds. Most buyers know that home insurance covers risks like fire and theft, but there's more to your insurance needs than just that.

As a homeowner, you will purchase “title” to the land on which your house is built. While damage to bricks and mortar can generally be repaired, a title flaw can impair your right to transfer, renovate, or mortgage your home. Title insurance protects you against defects in title and complements the work that lawyers do to protect your legal interests. Premiums are very affordable when the benefits of title protection are considered. Talk to your lawyer to learn more.

Legal fees

Your budget should leave room for legal fees. A real estate lawyer can identify and solve potential problems, such as liens (debts) on the property or missing building permits. Your lawyer can confirm whether your plans for using or renovating the property are permissible, and will ensure that your ownership is official by registering your title. That's considerable assurance for a few hundred dollars. For more information, visit the Real Simple Real Estate Guide at titleplus.ca.


4 unexpected upgrades to increase your home's value
4 unexpected upgrades to increase your home's valueWith home prices increasingly steadily, now is the time to invest in your home. Whether you're ready to sell now, or want to boost your home's value for the future, there are a few upgrades that can make a big impact.

When it comes to renovations, we typically head straight to the bathroom and kitchen. While new shiny faucets and stainless steel appliances give off a striking first impression, there are other unexpected areas that can affect the overall look and feel of your home.

1. Window coverings

Lighting can accentuate the positive elements in your home, or highlight the negative ones. Sunlight is warm and welcoming, but without ultraviolet protection, over time it can fade and damage a room's furnishings and décor. Hunter Douglas's line of products offers ultraviolet protection to help counter the sun's harmful effects. Their Pirouette window shadings are designed with soft, horizontal fabric vanes attached to a single sheer backing. This innovation allows natural light into your room and it also lets you control the light in an entirely new way.

2. The front door

This is the very first impression that a potential buyer will have of your home. Even if the inside of your home is stunning, a tired front door can set the wrong tone for anyone who walks in. Replacing the front door can provide a fresh new look. Consider whether you need to replace locks, knobs, and other door hardware and ensure that it coordinates with the rest of your home.

3. Outdoor landscaping

Even if you aren't planning to sell your home, think for the future with landscaping improvements that will add valuable curb appeal. Planting a tree will not only make your home more visually desirable but it can also help to save energy. Choose a leaf shedding tree that will provide shade from the summer sun, but will let light in during the winter months to maximize solar warmth and light.

4. Home tech

Technology is not just for smartphones anymore. Homebuyers are increasingly interested in smart homes with elements that will make their lives easier. The new Hunter Douglas PowerView motorized operating system lets you customize the perfect combination of light, privacy and warming, keeping your home perfectly in sync with the time of day and your mood. The PowerView Pebble Remote allows you to control exactly how light will play throughout your home from the palm of your hand.

More information is available at www.hunterdouglas.ca.


Five quirky facts about Canada you may not know
With three coastlines, six time zones, 10 provinces and three territories spread out over almost 10 million square kilometres, Canada is one of the most geographically diverse nations on earth. We also have one of the most diverse populations.

As Canadians prepare for the 2016 Census, it's worth looking back at some of the more interesting findings from the last census in 2011.

1. Grey power is growing. The number of seniors 65 and over has jumped 14 per cent to nearly five million. In fact, Canada has more seniors than ever before. The fastest growing age group was people between 60 and 64, while the second fastest growing age group was those 100 and over, also known as centenarians (5,825). There are five female centenarians for every male one.

2. Reduce, reuse and replace. Canadians seem to be boosting our population and having more babies. The number of children under four increased by 11 per cent between 2006 and 2011, the biggest increase in 50 years.

3. There's something about that Prairie air. Saskatchewan had the highest fertility rate and the highest number of centenarians of any province.

4. Land of the midnight sun shining bright. Nunavut was the most youthful territory or province, with 32.7 per cent of the population under 14. The population of Nunavut has also jumped 8.3 per cent since 2006. In addition, the three most common non-official mother tongue languages in Nunavut were Inuktitut (67.8 per cent), Inuinnaqtun (0.9 per cent) and Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (0.3 per cent).

5. Newfoundland and Labrador really is paradise. The town of Paradise had a 40 per cent increase in population since 2006, rising to 17,695. Population density in Paradise is 605.2 people per square kilometre while in contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole measures 1.4 persons per square kilometre.

More information on the benefits of completing your census can be found online at www.census.gc.ca.


Simple ways to save on household expenditures
Save on household expenditures - Jim Pauls Real EstateAs a homeowner, there are many simple ways to reduce monthly expenditures and realize savings, and the easiest place to start is with your monthly energy bill. Here are a few changes you can make that can have a lasting impact on your wallet and the planet:

• Cool your house with a ceiling or electric fan and open the windows at night. Ceiling fans cost about 1 cent for two hours of use, compared to 67 cents to a dollar for central air. Use your AC only when necessary and be sure to turn it off when you're going to be away from home long periods of time.

• Invest in a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the temperature in your house, saving you energy while you're away or sleeping.

• Use insulation with a high R-value. Experts and professionals often use a stone wool product called Roxul Comfortbatt, which can be used to top up the insulation in your attic. Topping up insulation to a depth of 16 inches (41 cm) or an R-value of 50 will help to keep your house cool in the warm weather and take the stress off your air conditioning unit.

• Check the tightness of your refrigerator seal by closing the door on a piece of paper. If it's held in place, the seal is still good, if not, it's time to replace the seal or fix the door's alignment.

• Only do laundry or dishes when you have full loads. If you have smaller loads, make sure to use the correct settings and if you only have a couple of items, wait it out or wash them by hand.

Also consider low-cost DIY projects such as caulking around windows, adding weather stripping to doors, installing low-flow shower heads, putting aerators on faucets, and switching to energy-efficient LED or compact florescent light bulbs for even greater impact.


Prepare backyard furniture for endless summer fun
Endless Summer Fun - Jim Pauls Real Estate LtdWhether you have a garden oasis or an activity filled pool in your back yard, outdoor living has evolved past a picnic table and a few folding chairs. Today you have the option of sunshades, privacy curtains, coffee conversation furniture, outdoor kitchens and decorative pillows. Ultimately the goal is to create a warm and inviting area where you can relax and enjoy the warmer months.

The increased popularity of cushions, throw pillows, curtains, sunshades and umbrellas add beauty and colour to your space, but outdoor fabrics need protection from the sun and rain. Some fabrics have built-in protection which can break down as the material spends more time exposed to the elements. Eventually you will start to notice fading and water absorption.

Since no one likes to sit on a wet cushion, there is something you can do ahead of time. Spray the fabric with a UV retardant formula, like Thompson's Fabric Seal.

If dirt and stains have become an issue Thompson's WaterSeal provides a multipurpose cleaning product for fabrics, vinyl furniture, sidings and wood surfaces. Look for their Oxy line, which is bio-degradable and since it won't freeze, it stores well in the shed, garage or cottage.

Fabric Seal protects all types of outdoor fabrics from rain and UV rays, including:

• Canvas awnings

• Tents

• Umbrellas

• Outdoor cushions

• Hammocks

• Sport, fishing and hunting gear

• Patio chairs

• Flags and pendants

Keep your outdoor furniture in tip top shape to ensure your backyard décor stays fabulous all summer.


What new homeowners need to know about renovations and repairs
New Homeowners - Jim Pauls Real EstateAttention new home owners. We know you've waited a long time to finally move into your home and make it your own. But we offer these words of advice: Hold off on doing any renovations or repairs. Since your new home is under warranty, it's your builder's responsibility to take care of any defects which you identify. What's more, renovating a new home can actually jeopardize your warranty rights.

We've all heard the expression: “If you to need something done well, do it yourself.” But if you are a new homeowner, it's actually best to have your builder handle the work. The same caution applies to having other trades work on your house. The new home warranty is a builder's warranty. As soon as you, or someone other than your builder, starts renovating or repairing your new home, the warranty is in peril.

While the warranty is provided by your builder, it is backed by Tarion. It includes protection against defects in workmanship and materials, violations of the Ontario Building Code as well as major structural defects. If you notice defects in your new home, make sure you follow the warranty process. Submitting warranty forms can be done online, and it will trigger a mandatory builder repair period. Any alterations, deletions, or additions made by the homeowner are excluded from the warranty. So if you make the repairs yourself, they won't be covered.

The same is true for renovations. If you are thinking of finishing your basement, put those thoughts on hold. Many builders include a clause in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale that states you should not finish your basement within the first two years of possession, as the foundation needs time to settle. What's more, if a renovation damages an item under warranty, then that item will no longer be covered.

So what happens if you experience an issue that needs urgent repairs? Both your builder and Tarion have emergency contact information and procedures in place to handle these situations. Only if you cannot reach your builder or Tarion, should you hire another contractor. In that case, ensure the contractor provides a detailed report of the emergency problem and provides an invoice explaining the method of repair.

While repairs and renovations should wait, regular and proper maintenance should start right away. Your Homeowner Information Package, provided by your builder and available online at Tarion.com, includes a complete home maintenance checklist. Year-round maintenance is essential to ensuring your home stays healthy, and your warranty rights are protected.


5 landscaping tips to increase your property value
5 landscaping tips to increase your property valueInvesting in landscaping can bring some of the biggest returns for homeowners, yet too often it remains overlooked or underdone. The same care and attention we apply to interior renovations should be applied to the garden. “Curb appeal plays a huge role in selling your home and adding value to it,” says Michelle Sordi, director of marketing at Husqvarna, the world's largest producer of outdoor power products. “Enhancing your outdoor space with smart landscaping solutions is a great way to invest in your home.”

Sordi shares the following landscaping tips for homeowners looking to increase their property value:

Nurture your lawn – Once the snow melts, do an assessment of your lawn and look for any dead grass or thinning patches so you can quickly treat them. Also, remove any weeds as early as possible so you can avoid breeding pests and diseases.

Landscape with a purpose – If you're planning to sell your home in the near future, tailor the landscaping plan to appeal to your target buyer. Families typically enjoy more greenery and yard space for children to play, and a small patio for entertaining. They are also likely to have less time to groom the property, so select plants that are native to the region and easy to maintain.

Be equipped with the right tools – Quality tools produce professional grade results and help you complete tasks more efficiently. A lawn mower with an adjustable cutting deck makes it easier to select the height for cutting while a lightweight trimmer that is compatible with multiple attachments minimizes the number of tools in your shed.

Pave the way – Commonly referred to as hardscaping, consider adding a stone walkway or patio section. As well, care for the shrubs and greenery that surround your home. This adds immediate curb appeal and helps buyers understand the outdoor living space available.

Consult a pro – Take a walk around your property with a realtor or landscaper for tips and additional pointers on where to make improvements. Their industry insights will ensure you are investing dollars in the right places.

More tips and information can be found online at www.husqvarna.ca.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Spring cleaning for your kitchen
Spring cleaning for your kitchenSpring is a great time for a fresh start, but spring cleaning is something that most people dread. That dusty refrigerator top, cluttered cabinets and an oven that smokes when you use it have been ignored long enough. It may seem like an ominous task but here are some tips to make spring cleaning a breeze:

One task at a time

Tackling the bigger, dirtier jobs first will make the rest of the work seem not so daunting. Start by emptying out the fridge, cupboards and drawers and giving them a good wipe down. Don't forget to pull out the fridge and stove to clean behind and under them. You should also empty the toaster crumb tray and wipe down the microwave.


Take this opportunity to sort and discard older, expired items. Throw out multiple opened condiment jars and nearly-empty containers and start a donation bin for the non-perishable food items. Rearrange your cupboards making the most used items more accessible.


Over time, your bright and shiny stainless steel cookware can become stained and discoloured. They can easily be brought back to life using specialty non-abrasive cleaners, or even cooking high-acid foods like tomato sauce or washing the pan with vinegar. You can also use spring cleaning as an occasion to polish the silverware and sharpen those kitchen knives.

Short-cuts to save on time

Oven cleaning used to be one of the toughest tasks. Taking advantage of self-cleaning features on ovens can significantly reduce cleaning time and the use of harsh cleaning chemicals. New LG ovens can sparkle in just three easy steps by simply spraying with water, pressing LG's EasyClean and after just 10 minutes wiping away any leftover grime. The Aqua Clean Enamel (ACE) coating means that water can penetrate between the surface and the residue, making baked-on food much easier to separate from your oven walls.

More information is available online at LG.com.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



How to clean up the house quickly for spring
How to clean up the house quickly for springOut with the old and in with the new. Sally Morse, director of creative services for leading window fashions company, Hunter Douglas, offers the following tips to give your home a blast of spring fever:

Clothing – Store your winter clothes in a clean, cool, dark and dry place. Before storing, be sure each item is thoroughly cleaned, as any stains can darken and become worse during storage and make the garment attractive to insects. Remember that mothballs can be hazardous to children and pets if not used carefully and according to instructions. Cedar blocks or cedar-lined storage is another option.

Clutter – Focus on tidying one area at a time. Throw away or take to a thrift store or local charity what is not needed. You could even save it for a garage sale. Then, designate a spot for every belonging so that there are a few items on tables, counters and desks. Try putting small items in neutral-coloured boxes or decorative bins.

Appliances – Carefully inspect all appliances– refrigerator, oven, washer and dryer, dishwasher, blender, coffee maker, heating and cooling units – for functionality, cleanliness and faulty wiring. Be sure to follow the manual or information posted online on a manufacturer's website for complete instructions. Always unplug an appliance before cleaning it and never immerse electrical components in water.

Carpets and Upholstery – Give your carpets a shampoo and clean upholstery. You may want to call in a professional for assistance. Gather up throw rugs and take them outside for a shake; then air them out on a clothesline or railing.

Walls, Cabinets, Baseboards and Woodwork – Use a sponge and hand dishwashing detergent, washing the surface in sections. A sponge mop can make it easier to reach higher spots.

Window Treatments – Inspect and clean window treatments, dusting down window casing, washing window sills and cleaning any window hardware as well. Did you know that many Hunter Douglas shade fabrics are specially treated to repel dirt and dust? For example, the aluminum horizontal blinds are treated with DustShield, an anti-static paint additive that inhibits dust build-up.

Morse says that while regular light dusting maintains a like-new appearance for most of the company's window fashions, for deeper cleaning there are various options depending on the select style. These include: gentle vacuuming with a brush attachment; blowing off dust with compressed air or hair dryer (non-heat setting); and spot-cleaning. For even deeper cleaning, there are a number of options that also depend on the window covering type. Possibilities include: bathtub cleaning/water immersion as well as ultrasonic or injection/extraction cleaning by a professional.

Ceiling and Lighting Fixtures, Vents – Remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans and vents with a cloth and a vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment. Clean lighting fixtures with an all-purpose cleaner, sponge and polish cloth.

Bedding – Wash the mattress pad, pillows and coverings. All, except foam pillows should be fine to put in the washer, but check labels for specific laundering instructions.

More information is available at www.hunterdouglas.ca.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Tips from top designers to make open-plan designing easy

Tips from top designers to make open-plan designing easyIncreasingly, people are foregoing the traditional kind of home they grew up in – a warren of rooms separated by walls – and opting for open-plan homes featuring multi-purpose areas such as great rooms that combine the kitchen, dining room and living room. And, no surprise, decorators are devising new techniques to enhance this most livable style.

So how do you decorate one large space and make it beautiful and workable for all the things you need to do – eat, entertain, help kids with homework, relax and more?

“The key is continuity,” says Kim Kiner, vice president of design for window fashions company, Hunter Douglas. “And as some of today's most talented designers explain, continuity can be produced in a variety of ways.”


To keep an open-plan interior open, designer Glenn Lawson says: “The number one element for achieving continuity is wall colour. Whether “warm” or “cool” you can use the same one throughout or paint moldings variations of the main colour, from light to dark.”

He continues, “Large furnishings such as sofas and area rugs are most successful when they are colour-wise, 'cousins' of the walls – three shades of blue, for example. This way the eye keeps travelling around the space and is not interrupted by large disparate areas.”


“When you have an open-concept living space,” advises Shea Soucie of Soucie Horner, “it's important to keep the flooring material consistent so you don't chop up the flow. You can make it interesting by laying wood planks on the diagonal, for instance, or by setting reclaimed European tiles in a herringbone pattern. Whatever you choose, make it the same throughout.

“Then, layer your rugs on top to soften it, warm it and identify 'rooms' within it. Rugs are amazingly versatile. No matter what kind you choose, they add personality, colour, texture and style.”

Art and Accessories

All these designers use art to help create a beautiful home. In addition to art, Glenn Lawson likes to use glass, Lucite, polycarbonate and acrylic accessories. “They can provide sculptural interest without blocking anything, which keeps the interior open. Think glass coffee tables and ghost chairs. Their presence is beautiful yet implied, adding form in a subtle fashion.”

Furniture Arrangement “How you position the furniture is crucial when developing beautiful, open-plan interiors,” says Whitney Stewart of Whitney Stewart Interior Design “Separate, but equally useful and good-looking 'zones' can be as simple as an entry table with a paneled screen behind it or as complex as an entire kitchen.”

Even in small spaces, Stewart likes to bring furniture “off the walls” and arrange it “like clouds” for a specific purpose – conversation, reading, dining. She leaves an allée on the periphery to act as a frame, which “produces a feeling of lightness and airiness,” she explains.

Window Treatments

“Whatever window treatments you choose, arrange them with an eye toward the long view, that is the entire interior not solely one particular zone, to further unify the space,” counsels Kim Kiner.

Making this a no-brainer is the all-new PowerView Motorization system from Hunter Douglas, she adds. Its wireless technology permits operation with more than 36 different styles and configurations of the company's window fashions for both horizontal and vertical applications.

Once reserved for the privileged few who reside in lofts, open-plan homes are now available to everyone. Make the most of the abundant light and space they offer with a thoughtfully crafted design. You'll never regret it.

More information is available at www.hunterdouglas.ca.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Quick and easy ways to bring order to the bath
Bring Order to the Bathroom - Jim Pauls Real Estate LtdThe bathroom is one of the most used rooms in a house, which means it can also become home to a lot of clutter. But, that doesn't mean getting organized has to be difficult or even complicated.

Bring order to the bath with these easy tips:

Stash Your Stuff Where You Can See ItYou don't need a large bathroom to find the perfect spot for all your stuff. If you have blank space on the walls, consider adding a few open shelves. Above a toilet is the perfect spot for a head-height shelf to stash extra towels or toilet paper rolls.

Extend the “everything in its place” mentality to other bathroom staples – towels. Make sure towels are in their place by ensuring there is ample space to hang them, so they end up neatly stored instead of on the floor. Everything now has a chance to dry properly and keep the space looking neat. The Boardwalk accessory collection from Moen features a cool, vintage design to keep you stylishly organized. Towel rings, double rob hooks and double towel bars all boast Moen's exclusive Spot Resist finish, keeping them finger-print free.

Storage Space that Works Better – and SmarterClutter is like a magnet − once it starts, it's hard to control. If you're lucky enough to have a vanity, it can often become a catch all for random products, makeup and styling tools. Keep your countertops looking pristine by stripping away nonessentials, use shallow baskets, cosmetics organizer trays or bathroom totes to clear the countertop and organize items beneath the sink. You can also take to the back of doors, outfit short cabinets with slim caddies or try a pegboard and narrow hooks for taller spaces to keep grooming and makeup tools and supplies close at hand for easy-see decluttering.

If you have drawers, make your primping process a breeze by limiting the top drawer to products you use often. Drawer dividers are essential for keeping neat, otherwise you'll quickly have a junk drawer on your hands. Wooden boxes and trays help categorize items and are available in various sizes and materials, so they can be mixed and matched to fit any drawer.

The key to staying organized is making the best use of the space you have. With a little imagination and the right additions, get your bathroom organized once and for all.

More information is available online at moen.ca.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Helpful hints to make money goals stick
Make money goals stick - Jim Pauls Real EstateWhile everyone sets out with the best of intentions, the truth is that making goals is easier than following through with them, especially when it comes to personal finance. But with a little preparation you can be the exception to the rule.

Prioritize Goals

While you may think that saving money, getting promoted at work and earning a significant pay increase are all great aspirations, you may be biting off more than you can chew. Determine one or two top priorities so you can fully devote yourself to them.

Make Measurable, Attainable Objectives

Once you've set your money-saving aspirations, determine how you'll measure success. For example, if you are saving for your dream vacation, how much do you need to set aside for the trip and how much do you need to save each month to reach that goal. Then, set short- and long-term milestones to help you stay motivated. 

Save for a Rainy Day

Putting away a small amount every week for emergencies can add up to big savings in the long run. The $4 coffee you purchase each morning and weeknight takeout can add up quickly – start by cutting these nonessential costs and deposit the money in your savings account.

Replace Household Items

Even though your refrigerator or fixtures may be working fine, they may be using more energy or water than they should. To save on water bills choose a quality faucet with a lower flow rate. For example, in the bath, the new Glyde lavatory faucet from Moen offers a low flow rate with a sleek, transitional design that's easy on the wallet. It's long-lasting, too, which also saves money in the long run, as it's offered in Moen's LifeShine Brushed Nickel finish, which provides enhanced resistance to abrasion, corrosion and chemicals.

Repurpose Your Stuff

One way to save is by repurposing what you already own. Take a weekend to clean out closets, empty storage units and breathe new life into items by refinishing furniture or updating existing pieces of clothing. You can even sell clothes you don't wear as often on websites like eBay or Poshmark.

Heat up Your Savings

If you rely on oil to heat your home, contact your energy provider to determine whether you can pre-pay to lock into lower rates. This way, you won't have to worry about rising prices.

Setting achievable goals and planning ahead can put you on the right track toward long-term success. 


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Protect your children from liquid laundry detergent packets
Liquid Laundry Detergetn PacketsLiquid laundry detergent packets are small and often brightly coloured, and with their squishy texture, children can easily mistake them for candy. These products often contain highly concentrated cleaning products that are dangerous if ingested or if they come into contact with eyes or skin. Similar products, like dishwasher detergent packets, could pose the same risks.

Young children often put things in their mouths, and small objects such as liquid laundry detergent packets easily fit into a child's hand. Children who swallow the packets may experience a variety of serious symptoms including severe abdominal pain, vomiting, breathing difficulty or even death.

The best way to protect your child and prevent a serious injury is to store liquid laundry detergent packets safely. Keep them locked away and out of sight and reach of children. It's also best to keep the local poison control centre number handy, in case of an emergency.

To report an incident, contact the manufacturer or retailer. You are also encouraged to contact Health Canada.

More tips on poison prevention can be found online at Canada.ca.

Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Bathroom renos continue to top lists
Bathroom renos continue to top lists Home renovations continue to be important investments for Canadians, According to a recent report by Scotiabank, Canadians spent over $53 billion on home improvements in 2015, and this trend is likely to continue.

For homeowners considering renovations this year, adding value is a common concern. Bathroom, along with kitchen renovations, top the list of the most valuable projects with an expected return of five to six times the cost, according to Genworth Canada.

Upflush toilet systems, like those offered by Saniflo, are great options for homeowners looking to maximize their return on a bathroom addition because of their comparatively low installation costs. These systems can be quickly installed on top of any finished surface and do not require a rough in. This allows homeowners to install a half or full bathroom for a fraction of the cost, wherever it is most convenient, whether it is in a basement, attic or garage, under the stairs or inside a newly remodelled space.

These systems process water through the back of the toilet instead of under the concrete. Toilet paper and waste is broken down using a rotating blade, so it can be pumped away through a 3/4 to 1-inch pipe to a connecting drain stack. The advantage of using a small-diameter pipe is that that drain lines can be installed without breaking walls and concrete, which reduces renovation mess and installation time.

More information on upflush toilet systems is available online at www.saniflo.ca or toll-free at 1-800-363-5874.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



Transform your home today to stay safe tomorrow

Transform your home today to stay safe tomorrowWhile many can only dream of the day they'll retire, for Baby Boomers, that dream is becoming a reality. But retirement doesn't necessarily mean relocating to a senior community. More and more, adults choose to “age in place,” remaining in their current home, even after retirement. Here are a few ways to add extra convenience today – and ensure a safe home in the future.

Change Up Common Areas

When thinking about the long-term, start with the layout. In a perfect world, it's ideal to have all the key living spaces – bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom on the first floor. If your home wasn't built with a first-floor bedroom or bath, and stairs have to be a part of your plan, install no-slip strips on the edge of each stair to limit trips and falls.

Next, make sure there's plenty of room to move. Aim for doorways that are at least 31 inches, though 35 inches is ideal. Tight corners and doorways are a challenge for those with walkers or canes. For stress-free opening and closing, change out door handles from traditional knobs to lever handles for an easier grip.

Then, focus on the flooring. Installing carpeting can provide warmth and cushioning for you to enjoy now, and offers an added element of safety when it might be harder to maneuver around in the future. Choose a low pile carpet to minimize tripping – too much shag is a safety hazard. Area rugs are a major no-no, as unsecured rugs and loose carpet are one of the main causes for slips and falls. If you can't bear the thought of losing your area rug, use carpet tape to secure it firmly to the floor.

Boost the Bath

If you can only update one place in your home, make it the bathroom. The bathroom typically offers the most opportunities for injury. In fact, one in three seniors will experience a fall in their home each year, as stated by the Public Health Agency of Canada. An easy way to incorporate safety is to install grab bars. Today's grab bars are stylish, fitting in seamlessly with your space, rather than seeming obtrusive and sterile. Install them near the toilet, (make sure you have a comfort-height commode for easy sitting and standing) as well as in the shower. Some models, like the corner shelf with grab bar from Moen, pull double duty, adding an element of additional storage where you can store your shampoo, while also helping keep you safe while entering and exiting the bath.

A handheld showerhead, like the Magnetix from Moen Canada, is an ideal option for those who may want to be seated while they bathe. Magnetix hand showers are also handy for cleaning, by eliminating bending and squatting. Finally, at the vanity, choose a faucet with lever handles – they're easiest to grip and turn – and install sconces near the mirror for additional lighting.

The most important advice for any room in your home is to think efficiently. Locate items that work together near each other to make tasks easier.


Susan Pauls-Valerio, Broker of Record, Jim Pauls Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage

www.jimpaulsrealestate.com – 905-667-8877



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