6 Upgrades for a Higher Return on Your Resale

Have you been thinking about selling your home? Or will you be in the next five years? There is no time like the present to be preparing for a resale that will bring you the highest return on your investment. If you are wondering where the best places to put your money into when fixing your home for resale, here is a list of the top upgrades that will give you the highest returns!

1. Kitchen: A state-of-the-art kitchen is one of the most popular renovations for earning back most, if not all, of its investment. Even if you don't fully gut and renovate, certain upgrades --granite counters, hardwood or high-end tile floors, premium appliances (especially stainless steel), islands and undermount sinks -- attract attention and can increase value.

2. Master Bath: An updated master bath is is extremely attractive to new home buyers. Isn't a dream master bath the top on most people's lists? Consider upgrading to a frameless glass shower enclosure (very popular in modern homes) as well as new fixtures, and a new vanity.

3. Paint. You would be surprised the length a few cans of paint will go in the eyes of a new home buyer. Repaint the interior of your home, keep the colors neutral with soft earth tones, and then make sure you pick up some fantastic pillows and accessories to add punches of color.

4. Curb appeal: This is one of the most important things that sellers forget. Curb appeal is huge, it is really the first impression that a potential buyer will have of your home, not to mention that it is a low-cost no-brainer. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a wonderful accent color, style your hedges, and give the grass some TLC. Then create a strong first impression by adding shiny new house numbers and some wonderful outdoor lighting.

5. Maintenance: Don't let silly things come up on a home inspection because you didn’t feel like keeping up with your maintenance! Make sure you have been regularly cleaning your home, watching for bugs and mold, and repairing any holes or cracks.

6. Hardwood flooring: No homebuyer wants to walk barefoot across your tired, stained, worn-out carpet. Instead, choose to go with hardwood flooring! This will not only give your home a quality look, but also will add great value onto your home's worth.

5 Reasons to Shop Locally in Kanata North

1.   Local businesses sell a wide range of great products at affordable prices. Many people fall out of the habit of shopping locally and are then surprised by the range of products and services available.

2.  Shopping local saves you money. Out of town shops have done a good job of convincing us that local business equals expensive. If you add travel, fees to transfer items, and your time, the overall cost is often much higher.

3.    Shopping local retains our communities. People don't like losing shops and services in their communities, but don’t equate this to how they spend their money.

4. Local independent businesses invest more in our communities. Local businesses are proportionally more generous in their support of local charities, schools, and community events. Supporting local businesses means a financial impact on our community.

5. Supporting local businesses creates jobs. Businesses in our community, create local employment and self-employment, these people in turn spend in the local community.



Cuts to Key Rates by the Bank of Canada, Great News for Potential Home Buyers!

If you're thinking about buying a home this year, now is the time! The Globe and Mail posted the article today, Bank of Canada cuts key rate as economy contracts, exports stall.

The article simply explains that in light of the current value of the Canadian Dollar the Bank of Canada has dropped their benchmark rate for the second time in 6 months, creating an incentive for Canadians to spend their money at home.

My associate mortgage broker, Karim Zein, Mortgage Development Manager from the National Bank of Canada had this to say today:

"The Bank of Canada has lowered their benchmark rate another .5 percent.  Usually when this is done, the prime rate will drop.  My prediction is that prime will drop ten basis points, going from 2.85% to 2.75%.  Also look for the five year fixed (rate) to drop to an all time low in the next few weeks.  For anyone looking to buy or re-finance their home, this is the best time to do so." 

This is a great opportunity for first time home buyers. Let me save you the most money possible and get you the most cash back with the best rates!

Want to learn more about how this can benefit you? Feel free to contact me at skreplin@royallepage.ca. 

To read the original article follow the link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/interest-rates/bank-of-canada-rate-announcement/article25514585/.

15 Steps for Staging Your Home


You only get one chance to make a great first impression to a potential Buyer when your house is on the market. You want your house to look like it’s worth every penny you’re asking. Putting your homes best foot forward – and then some – is a must! Here are some useful tips in getting your home ready for that great first impression!


1. Make sure everything in the house is in top condition. No torn screens, cracked plaster or burnt out pot lights. You may have gotten used to seeing them, so tour your house with a critical eye (or ask a friend to help), and repair anything that needs it.

2. Be aware of scale in the house when it comes to furnishings. You might have a giant sofa that you love, but if it makes the room look small, it has to go. Aim for small groupings of furniture (ideally more than one in a room, especially a large one), with plenty of space around them.

3. Lighting. Make sure that all rooms are brightly lit. Many houses don’t have enough lighting to begin with, so if you’re having the electrician in to do some work, have more overhead fixtures installed or at least buy some great lamps. They don’t have to be expensive ones; a large selection is available at box retail stores.

4. Detach personal flares. A homebuyer needs to picture themselves in your rooms, and quirky decorating or pictures of the kids, hurts the illusion. Remove all family photos and, paint brightly coloured walls a more neutral shade. 

5. Unclutter Kitchen. Kitchen counters should be clear and clutter-free. A single bowl of vase holding cooking utensils is okay, but that’s about it. Store small appliances in cupboards if you must.

6. Kitchen décor. If your kitchen doesn’t have a backsplash, this is a weekend job that a reasonably handy person can tackle for little money. Invest in some gorgeous tiles (since you’re doing such a small area, it shouldn’t cost too much) or consider glass mosaics, mirror tile, or plain tile.

7. Replace worn cabinet pulls with high-design new ones. Consider brushed steel, which looks great with stainless steel appliances, or a decorative ceramic.

8. Fresh linens. This is a simple one many people forget to think about. Make sure any visible linens (tea towels, chair cushions, oven mitts, ect.,) are brand new or at least look brand new. You can get reasonably priced linens just about anywhere.

9. Spotless kitchen. Hire a professional cleaning company to come in and get all the little nooks and crannies, down to the last detail. This rule, incidentally, should apply to the whole house.

10. Give your bathroom a face-lift. In the bathroom, an ugly builder’s mirror can be replaced with a pretty framed mirror inexpensively. Switch out the lighting for a nice chandelier or some attractive new sconces and the bathroom will look as if it’s been renovated.

11. Get a hotel-chic look. One of the best things about going to a hotel is the spotless homie feel they create. Replace bathroom towel bars with well-designed ones from a designer bath boutique. You can get matched ensembles that include toilet tissue holders, wastebasket, trays, etc… Aim for the hotel chic look: Crisp white towels neatly stacked in a towel holder, small trays on the vanity holding attractive toiletries or soaps (wrapped or unused) and scented candles.

12. Keep clutter to a minimum. Tidy and organize children’s toys into baskets or bins and organize closets. By doing this it makes the space look larger.

13. Fix up the master bedroom. Continue the luxury hotel look in the master bedroom. Multiple new pillows with shams or toss pillows in front, crisp white linens and a throw at the end of the bed. Keep end tables uncluttered with matching lamps and nothing else except, perhaps a tiny vase of flowers.

14. The exterior of your home should look as polished as the interior. This means neatly trimmed bushes, mulched flowerbeds and fresh seasonal arrangements in urns by the front door and fresh lush lawn.

15. A great smell makes a house memorable. Baking cookies has become a cliché, but buy a room spray with a fragrance you love and spray the house sparingly before each showing. Never spray too much as it could be a sign that you are trying to mast a more troubling odour.

Home staging can be easy and inexpensive, especially if you can focus on the small details. Then, just stand back and let your house impress potential homebuyers with that first impression!

Tamarack Wellington

   Image originally from http://www.tamarackwellington.com/.


Image originally from http://www.tamarackwellington.com/.

Hintonburg, a stone's throw away from Westboro has been largely established as a unique new community in Ottawa. The artsy stretch close to transit and the downtown core draws in a wide demographic of young couples and empty nesters. This has attracted the Tamarack Developers to hire Ottawa native and award winning architectural firm Barry Hobin & Associates to create the 52 unit Wellington. The development is complemented by outdoor balconies, underground bike storage, and two levels of underground parking.  We sat down with Anna Paquette, one of the Sales Representatives to speak more about the Tamarack Wellington.


Q. Why did Tamarack Developments decide to build in Hintonburg?


A. The location. Hintonburg is an up and coming neighborhood; it is forecasted in the real estate industry as the next up and coming neighborhood in Ottawa. It is also going through a redevelopment of the area. So there are other areas like Westboro, who has already gone through their redevelopment and Hintonburg has started in its cycle, but it really hasn’t peaked yet. We are also kind of in the center of everything. So we are still close to downtown, we are close to Westboro, there is easy access to transit, we already have buses that run along wellington to the east end and the west end of the city, we are close to the OTrain, Scott Street and the Queens Way. It is also close to hospitals, the Parkdale Market, and it is considered an artsy area.


Q: Who are you targeting to live in this area?


A: Our site does appeal to a wide demographic. I am finding purchasers who are purchasing in Hintonburg because they love the community and want to move within walking distance to the amenities and restaurants. It’s really a lifestyle way of living.  So as far as demographics for the current purchasers there is a very wide spread group. We have young professional who work in the area or downtown, we have people coming from Toronto and out of country, empty nesters, and young couples. Finally we also have downsizers who are moving from the suburban areas, looking to change their lifestyle to live closer to amenities. They are tired of commuting and want to be closer to all that Ottawa has to offer, as well as opening up the opportunity to participate a lot more in Ottawa events without the commute.


Q. How has the response been to the development?


A. That’s a great question. When you have new construction coming into the area, new development is actually good for the area because it brings interest into the community. One of the things that Tamarack was very conscious of was how and what they were contributing to the community. They were very conscious of the architecture of the building that it was actually going to compliment the community in terms of the look so that it would actually look like part of the existing streetscape and not a stand-alone building. Also Tamarack does participate in community events, and has sponsored events like Hintonburg Happening. They are looking to not just come in and build a new structure, but they want to be apart of the community as well. We have been very well received, and keeping the community well informed with our blog on our website where we make updates about the site.




For more information on the development check out www.tamarackwellington.com.




Hintonburg is the Place to Be In 2015

You will find the homes in Hintonburg grand in both size and character. The large mature trees running through the properties also extend to the many beautiful parks and walking trails in the area that you will see filled with both the friendly neighbors of all ages and their furry friends. The diversity of Hintonburg Park can only be summed up with its uses throughout this past month with the Brewery Market last weekend, and now it is completely equipped with a play park, swings, picnic tables, and a small water play area.Its safe to say: Hintonburg is the place to be in 2015.

It resembles the Glebe and Westboro in almost every way, but you can get that homie feel in the city without the cost. The price of land and homes are still affordable, unlike the Glebe, which is completely saturated with extremely high priced homes. What makes this area, once known as Mechanicsville, so spectacular in Ottawa is the transition is has made into the beautiful artsy Hintonburg we see today. Laced with sidewalk cafes and a variety of outdoor markets, the vast amount of remarkable family owned shops are doubling as more alike businesses are finding that this area is unrivaled to any other in Ottawa. There is still a Superstore around the corner, you’re a stones throw away from Downtown, and Tunney’s Pasture is only a hop and a skip down the street. For anyone commuting, it is prime locations to access the Queensway, making it an easy morning drive to Kanata or over the bridge to the Gatineau side! If you want that city feel with that country character, Hintonburg is your community.

Still not convinced? Lets talk real estate now. Like I’ve said, Hintonburg offers you a neighborhood with a nice feel AND price. The cost of land and homes are still affordable unlike the Glebe, or even Westboro, which has already completed its redevelopment.  The graph below explains the market in Hintonburg over the last 8 years, it shows home and land prices increasing at a steady rate and explains that we are now in a stable market. Hintonburg is in the middle of its redevelopment stage welcoming in developers like Tamarack Homes, who respect the area. I don’t predict there to be a drastic change in appearance for this area filled with character, but Hintonburg is definitely starting to be discovered. 

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     Stay tuned for market watch information from your local Wellington West Insider Development Watch. I will be keeping you up to date on the best time to sell your house or to be buying a house, along with great tips for making your property sale and rent ready.

Stay tuned for market watch information from your local Wellington West Insider Development Watch. I will be keeping you up to date on the best time to sell your house or to be buying a house, along with great tips for making your property sale and rent ready.


Meet Your Sales Representative!

Thank you for visiting my blog, my name is Stephanie Kreplin. Born and raised in Toronto Ontario, I was fortunate enough to spend many years traveling the world, experiencing different cultures, and seeing how different homes suit us distinctively. It only took a few trips to Canada’s capital to realize how amazing the city is. I knew this was exactly where I wanted to be. Between the amazing people, the community feel, the cleanliness, the green space, and not to mention the culture and history, I decided this is the place for me to call home. As a realtor I didn’t just want to work in Ottawa, but I wanted to also live, breathe, and experience everything it has to offer.

I have been dedicated to the real estate market for the past 3 years focusing my efforts on investments throughout Chicago, Toronto, and Ottawa. I have personally invested in the residential and condominium market, as well as the commercial market. Besides being a Sales Representative for Kellar Williams Integrity, I also own and operate a Real Estate Investment company aiding real estate investors in making sound decisions with their finances. Keeping a close watch on what is going on in different markets is the key to sound investments. With Royal Lepage’s extensive continuing training and information systems I have access to real time information, and the ability to bring it to you in a way for you to best understand how it affects you. Being a part of the Hintonburg community association keeps me in the know and attending Kanata North’s BIA means I hear what is going on first.

I am dedicated to keeping you, the Wellington West and Kanata Insider's up to date with everything you need to know in Ottawa, from current market trends to the hottest new patios to check out in the city. As an insider I will provide you with the latest up to date market information including monthly graphs highlighting the changing trends and home prices for specific types of homes in each neighborhood. You will be able to get a better understanding of market trends and how they can affect the market value of your home, learn about monthly stats on listings, sales, and comparable in your market and mortgage and financing updates from the top Ottawa mortgage brokers.  More specifically, I am dedicated to keeping you up to date on any new plans of development, how this will affect your home, any new purchase in the area, and the Wellington West and Kanata area's in general.

In my spare time I enjoy doing yoga, gardening, and hanging out on a patio on a beautiful day. In my blog you can also find tips on how to create curb appeal, gardening tips, DIYs, and what to do in Ottawa. I will keep you updated on events, what restaurants to go to for the best bang for your buck, where to find the best patios, and awesome new finds like hidden gems, and great family parks. I am very proud of where I live, that is why I run contests and sweepstakes to encourage you to showcase your community! There will be a variety of photo and essay contests with the opportunity for you to win prizes to some of my favorite places in the community like a free month of yoga, restaurant and clothing gift certificates, and everything in between! Sign up for my newsletter below!