Posts in Kijiji Real Estate

How to Turn a Basement into a Homey Hideaway

Whether you are looking for basement ideas for finishing your own family room, setting up an income basement apartment suite you can rent out, or setting up your own basement apartment, the challenges are the same. The basement space is one of the most challenging parts of a home to make feel inviting. They typically suffer from a lack of natural light, low ceilings, and less air flow than most would like. Luckily, there are ways to make this space not only livable, but desirable and inviting. Whether you are fully remodeling, looking for ideas to make a small basement space into a getaway, or trying to transform a basement apartment into a space that will attract a high quality tenant, you have lots of options to take any basement space from drab to fab.

Fake it til you make it. Is your basement room windowless? Whether it’s lacking entirely in windows (or just lacking a good one), don’t despair – you can fake it. This tutorial shows a creative way to make a basement room feel bright through faking a window.

Fake Window With LED Grow Lights

Finished Product from This Tutorial on IMGUR

Create height. Are your ceilings low? Floor length curtains (typically curtains that are 96” or 108” will be floor length, but measure your ceilings to be sure) will lengthen the look of your room. Be sure to select a sheer or semi-sheer curtain if putting it in front of a natural light source. Stay away from heavy fabrics that will shut out light entirely. If your window is in a high traffic area, and you need to obscure it for privacy reasons, consider an unconventional window treatment for privacy rather than curtains or blinds that will block out the light more than is necessary. This tutorial shows how you can create privacy without losing much in the way of light (that is easy to remove if you are renting).

Add some green. Dark rooms, especially in a basement, can feel lifeless. Nothing livens up a room quite like plants. They clear the air, and make a space come alive. It can be hard to have plants in a basement, but luckily, there are several options that thrive in the dark. If none of these options are to your liking, or if you don’t have enough natural light to grow plants, consider adding a grow light to add more options. Some ideas for your basement abode (or any dark space):


Peace lily thrives in low light, and makes a dramatic statement. If you have pets or children who might nibble plants, this one is toxic.
Snake Plant

Snake Plant via The Sill


The snake plant does great in the relative dark, though is also somewhat toxic (but not particularly appealing to chew on, as it has a very woody texture).
Spider Plant

Spider Plant via homedit.com


The spider plant can tolerate low light, and when happy, will produce many “babies”. Spider plants are a great choice to hang near a window.
ZZ Plant

ZZ Plant via Gear Patrol


ZZ plant thrives in the dark, and makes a stylish but low maintenance house plant. All parts of this plant are toxic, and hands should be washed after handling it.

Keep it light. Choose a light paint colour, but don’t create an entirely white space – be sure to add some contrast and visual interest so the space doesn’t seem institutional or boring.

Play with lighting. Create defined spaces with multiple light sources from different angles. Having some floor lamps, table lamps, or candles (real or otherwise) makes a space feel much cozier than if your overhead lighting is all you use.

Contemporary basement bar lighting

This contemporary basement bar uses lighting to define a space. See more at Decoist.


Create a focus. It could be a dramatic piece of art, a mantle, contrasting colours, or some interesting wall paper. If the room has a clear feature to work with (like an exposed brick wall or other visually interesting details), go with it; if not, figure out where the focus in the room should be, and draw the eye in. This could be as simple as some interesting throw pillows, or as elaborate as the fake window above.

Stay away from carpets and rugs. If you are installing a new floor, choose something that will reflect the light. Hardwood is an ideal choice, but this is not always possible in basements. Consider painting a concrete floor with a semi-glass paint, or buffing the floor if you can. Carpets, though warm and inviting, will make a basement space seem smaller (and if your basement is at all damp or prone to flooding, they can get very musky).

Reflect & refract. Add mirrors to make the most of any natural light you might have. Hang mirrors opposite any windows or doors that let light in, or use mirrored tiles to create a cool modern look. If you have a deep window well, you could also experiment with mirrors or mirrored art objects that will catch the light and refract it in in unexpected ways.

Banish clutter. Find storage solutions like armoires and storage chests to keep any knick knacks out of sight – or even better yet, sell them on Kijiji!

Let the sun in. Clear out plants and objects outside in front of windows. It seems like a no-brainer…but if your windows are being blocked by hedges, flower beds, or a fence, clear it out if you can. It will make a big difference to the total amount of light you receive.

Should I become a Landlord?

So you are thinking of buying an income property. Being a landlord isn’t all fun and games – even assuming you have the cash on hand to invest in real estate, managing a property is costly and time consuming, and can be a huge head ache. What should you consider, aside from your cash flow, before you take the plunge and become a first time landlord?

Thinking of becoming a landlord?

Legal:
Understanding your regional tenancy laws and regulations is extremely important. There are a lot of myths and half-truths out there about landlord and tenant interactions. One common misconception is around pets, can I take legal action against a tenant who brings a pet into the dwelling despite the terms of our lease restricting pets? The answer is… It depends. In Ontario, the Residential Tenancy Act [s.14] voids all “no pet” provisions in a lease agreement, whereas in most other provinces, you as the landlord can include this provision, and take action towards eviction if the tenant is in violation. You don’t want your newly renovated income unit torn up by dogs and cats, or maybe you don’t mind, either way this is a good one to check out. There are plenty of other legal issues that could affect your decision to become a landlord, you’ve put in a lot of work to get to this point, so be diligent and finish your homework. A good place to start is CMHC, specifically their territorial fact sheets.

Labour:
If you think it’s going to be smooth sailing, think again. Even a well-constructed or renovated unit will require upkeep and repairs. You don’t have to be Mike Holms, but you do need to know how to patch drywall and replace a fuse. You will be spending time during and in between tenancies on maintenance, otherwise you’ll be paying someone to do it which can take a serious bite into your profits. If you are not a handy person, but intent on making this work, be sure to include a nice buffer in your expenses to cover maintenance. Most repairs and labour are deductible, as long as you’re paying someone else to do the work, it’s always a good idea to speak to your accountant about which landlord expenses are tax deductible.

Personal:
There are some fantastic benefits to having an income property, you’ll probably be thrilled with your decision most of the time when you’re chipping away at your mortgage and planning that early-ish retirement plan. That said, the most important question to ask yourself after learning about everything from taxes to tenants is, am I ready to handle this type of a commitment? We’re talking mentally and emotionally ready. If you find that your schedule is packed from work, children, pets or school and is enough to cause you some stress, you may not be ready to take on more, and that’s okay. This is a big decision; don’t ignore the most important part of the equation, the health and well-being of you and yours.

How to Negotiate the Price of An Apartment

ThinkstockPhotos-87622282

Finding an apartment is stressful, especially when the monthly prices for the units you check out comes above your budget! Thankfully, advertised rents are not set in stone – but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to get the rent lowered. How can you get the price lowered on an apartment that you have your heart set on?

Research the rental market. If it is a landlord’s market and there are hardly any vacancies, you might have to be more competitive to find a place in your chosen location, but it is always worth your while to research extensively on classified rental ads to see what the going rate is for similar units nearby. Don’t forget to chat with locals who rent, if possible, asking people in the building or living on the street you are interested in about their monthly rent is a great way to get a sense of what is standard.

Figure out how long the apartment has been on the market. Check the date the apartment was posted on Kijiji, and do some online searches to see if you can find evidence that it has been on the market for longer than that. If it has been over a month, the landlord might be getting worried about having an empty apartment, and may be more willing than usual to negotiate.

Know the landlord. If you are a current tenant who may or may not renew, this is an ideal situation for you – provided you have been a good tenant who they would be eager to keep. If you are looking for an apartment with a new landlord, try to get a feel for their personality, and see if you can figure out if they have many vacancies in their units. If they have a fair number of vacancies, they may be more willing to negotiate.

Pick your time. A landlord is more likely to be open to negotiations near the end of the month if you are moving into a new apartment, as the likelihood is higher that the unit will sit empty for a month. If you are a current tenant looking for an adjustment, make sure to leave enough time that you could actually find a new apartment you will be happy with if negotiations don’t go as planned.
Practise negotiating. Remember that you deserve the break on rent you are asking for. Don’t hesitate or show weakness, and negotiate for smaller items leading up to your planned discussion.

Sell yourself. If you are a new tenant, bring prior landlord and character references. Point out your great credit score (these tactics are less likely to work if you haven’t been good about paying your bills on time in the past). If you are an existing tenant, point out the fact that you take great care of the unit, are quiet, a non-smoker, or whatever it is you think sets you apart and makes you a good choice.

Pick the right number. Say you want a break of $100 on your rent – it might be a good idea to ask for a break of $200, that way your landlord can meet you in the middle and neither of you feel ripped off. Be careful about asking for a price that is too low, as insulting the landlord will end negotiations before they even start. Be reasonable and in line with market rates.

Don’t obsess over a dollar amount. You might be able to get the unit professionally cleaned and painted in your choice of colours, a free storage space or parking spot, or something else to sweeten the deal. Think of these as wins and recognize a concession when one is granted.

Be willing to give. Would you sign a 2 year lease if the landlord meets your price? In a negotiation, you have to be prepared to give as well as take.

Be respectful. If the landlord is not willing to negotiate, drop it or move on to the next apartment.

Consider a broker. Many brokers are paid by the landlords for finding their tenant for them, not by the tenant. If you don’t think you will be able to negotiate a deal, enlisting a professional might save you money.

Ever wonder how large Canada’s rental market is?

Montreal had the most rental apartments available with 534,005 and Toronto followed next with 308,212 rental units.

There were 60,086 apartments for rent in Ottawa.

The smallest rental market was St. John’s in Newfoundland with 3,538 rental units.

Check out the infographic by RentSeeker.ca to see how many apartment rental units are available across Canada.

 

A Snapshot of Canada's Apartment Market INFOGRAPH -RentSeeker.ca

Check out all the rental apartments available on Kijiji now:

Montreal

Toronto

Vancouver

Quebec

Ottawa

Edmonton

Winnipeg

Halifax

Hamilton

 

Categories:Kijiji Real Estate

Coming Out Ahead When Selling Property

Getting Started

Whether you are upgrading, downgrading, or moving laterally when you embark on selling property, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you come out ahead in the sale. Though it may seem simple enough at the outset, selling property is a complex process that may require several difficult decisions along the way. By keeping a few things in mind, you can increase your chances of making a great sale.

Prepare to Invest in Selling Your House

It may seem contradictory – after all, you’re looking to make money, not spend it – but investing money in a home you are planning to sell can help you come out ahead in the long run.

Cleaning up scuff marks, making minor repairs, and even upgrading some items or areas before potential buyers come to view the property will help make the best impression, and it can also increase your selling price or leverage. Likewise, outfitting areas such as the kitchen and bathroom with higher-end appliances can boost a home’s appeal.

Be judicious in how much you invest, however. Keep in mind that buyers will want to make the home their own, so now is not the time for major renovations, such as a kitchen redesign or tearing down a wall to make space.

Curb appeal is a major determining factor for buyers, so pay as much attention to the exterior of the property, especially the front, you do to the interior. Some simple landscaping and a little paint can do wonders to entice potential buyers.

Research Comparable Home Sales

If you want to come out ahead as a seller, you need in-depth knowledge of the real estate market, both overall and in your particular neighbourhood. An important and highly informative step in gaining that knowledge is looking at comparable homes for sale.

To determine whether a home is truly comparable to your own, consider the size of the home, its condition and amenities, and its location. Ideally, you should seek out recently sold homes within the same neighbourhood, since they would provide the most accurate comparisons, but if that isn’t possible seek out neighbourhoods that are similar in terms of the quality of the schools and general demographics. For each property you compare, take note of both the listing price and the price they ultimately sold at.

Come Out Ahead When Selling Property

Be Prepared to Negotiate to Sell the Property

In an ideal world, your home would sell immediately for the exact price you have chosen; however, the market usually doesn’t work that easily. Selling a home is a lengthy procedure, and negotiation is part of that process.

It can take time to work with potential buyers to come up with a deal that satisfies everyone involved. Be prepared to make certain concessions – for example, repairing certain things before the new owner moves in as a part of the sale – but also be firm about what you will not concede on.

When negotiating price and other factors in selling your home, it is very important to keep an objective perspective and not take things personally. This is a business transaction, and regardless of how much the home means to you, its actual value may not be as high as you initially expect. Conducting a thorough home inspection – done by a professional home inspector, if possible – prior to putting your house on the market can keep you from overpricing or underpricing it as it goes up for sale.

Conclusion

With proper preparation, research, and dedication to the selling process, you can come out well ahead when selling your property. And lastly, be patient. Sometimes getting the best deal requires a little time to find the right buyer.