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Ontario property market

Maximizing your chalet’s potential

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Whether you already own a chalet in the beautiful Ontario, north-country or whether you are looking to get into the market, having a country-place to which you can escape every weekend is a great way to have the best of city living and country solitude. However, if the thought of financially maintaining two households seems overwhelming, don’t despair! There are realistic ways of helping your bottom line by renting your chalet out when it isn’t being used. 

Determining usage

First, figure out whether you want to use your chalet every weekend or only sporadically through the year. Create a calendar where you block off the times you will be using it. The rest of the days can be made available for short term rental. Naturally, to maximize the amount of revenue you can make from the property, the prime vacation times should be left open for rentals – such as over the winter holidays and at the summer peak. In many instances, just those two peak periods of the year would bring in enough revenue to cover the costs of maintaining your chalet year-round. 

Make it attractive

To make your chalet rental more attractive to potential renters, it is important to offer them incentives that others don’t. If there are lots of place to enjoy outdoor activities, make sure that you have the gear they would need to partake in those activities without having to rent them. You can include items such as:

  • Snowshoes
  • Toboggans
  • Canoes/paddles/lifejackets
  • Fishing rods
  • Bikes and helmets

Make it easy

Having the gear is one thing, but leaving information on the local attractions is also a very good idea. If you have access to trails – have those maps handy. If there are bike paths nearby – have those maps ready as well. If there is a great Farmer’s Market every Saturday in the summer, make sure that your guests are aware of it and know how to get there! Your guests will thank you for it and remember their visit fondly. 

Make it convenient

At some point most people have been on vacation and realized that they have forgotten something essential – toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc… While hotels will have these supplies available to purchase, in a cabin rental situation those amenities are usually harder to come by. Why not make a little kit that includes a small tube of toothpaste, skin/body care products and an extra toothbrush, so that guests have access to them if needed? It is a nice gesture that doesn’t cost very much and if a guest does need it, they will remember you fondly because of it. 

Renting out your Ontario cabin is a great way to have your cake and eat it too. If the idea of maintaining two houses scares you, renting one out to help defray the cost of the other is a safe and effective way of achieving your cottage goal

January sales

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Welcome back! For our first post of the year, we wanted to cover the merits of buying a house in January. 

Buying a home in Toronto has been a competitive sport over the past two decades. With the rise of interest rates in 2022 the market finally started to cool and the pendulum started to swing back in favor of buyers over sellers. If you have been wanting to buy a house but are hesitant about the best time to do so, then despite the current high interest rates, January is probably the month to finally make a purchase. 

January slump

Toronto home sales in January are always very low. There are several reasons for this:

  • Buyers don’t want to face the cold when shopping for a house.
  • January tends to be the month buyers need to recover from the Holiday expenses and are not looking to spend more money right away. 
  • Homes are not seen at their best – landscaping is often covered by snow and house showings to require more effort to keep clean.  

As a result, listings tend to sit for longer and prices are often much lower than during other times of the year. Depending on how long a listing has been sitting on the market sellers are also more inclined to accept a lower offer. 

Housing cycle

Toronto housing sales start picking up again in February. Prices begin increasing through the spring and usually hit their peak during the summer months. They then taper off again starting in the fall until things really slow down for the end of the year. 

With analysts expecting interest rates to remain high through 2023, it is not worth waiting for rates to fall again if you require a home this year. In fact, January is probably when you can maximize the value for your investment. 

If you decide that, yes, now is the right time, then just be sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage before beginning your search. Determine the area(s) you want to target and hire a realtor who is familiar with those neighbourhoods. Next, set a price range so you don’t waste time looking at properties you can’t afford. And, make a list of the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. By narrowing your search to what you truly want/need, you will be able to find the right home for you, at the right price and in the perfect location. 

In the end, instead of trying to time the housing market, make decisions based on your personal circumstances. If you are expecting to live in the home long-term, then interest rates don’t really matter as long as you are locked into an amount you can afford. And, once rates start going down you can always renegotiate for a better rate.

Holiday Closure Dates 2022/23

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Holiday Closure Dates 2022/23

Tis’ the season to be Jolly! Fa la la la la, la la la la. We would like to inform you that Imaginahome will be closing for the holidays on Dec 23rd at 4:30pm and will be opening Jan 3rd, 2023.

In the event you would like to book an appointment for Jan 3rd, please email your request to [email protected] before 3pm on Dec 31st and someone will get back to you that day.

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Holiday as well as a prosperous New Year!

Holiday ready!

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With the holidays just around the corner preparations are most likely in full swing. We’ve compiled a few handy tips to help you properly prepare your Toronto home for the guests, the gifts and the general celebrations of the season. 

Outside

Preparations for the holidays usually start on the inside of people’s homes. The deep cleaning and decluttering tend to be understood when it comes to getting your Toronto home ready to receive guests. But, making sure that your driveway, walkway or any path leading to an entrance are all ready. Shoveling any snow, getting rid of ice and making sure that there is enough illumination so people can see easily are all very important. So, make sure to change any burnt out light bulbs, melt the ice and hang some festive decorations to make your entrance even more inviting. 

Electricity

Putting up holiday decor normally involved festive lights and trees. If you have lights and a tree up, be smart about how everything is wired and plugged in. Be sure to have the proper power bars or surge protectors to prevent potential electrical issues. Also make sure that any live trees are not placed close to dry heating sources or too close to electrical outlets to avoid potential fire hazards. 

Allergens

If you have pets and you will be entertaining guests with known pet allergies, then cleaning and vacuuming with a machine that has a hepa filter is a good idea. Hepa filters are very good at reducing particulate matter like dust mites, pet dander, pollen and mold spores in the air. Getting rid of as many allergens as possible will make your home friendlier to those who suffer from allergies. 

Scented candles

Use scented candles to freshen the air so that your home always smells fresh in case of unexpected guests. There are a number of seasonal scents that will even lend themselves really well to making your Toronto home “smell” like the holidays. Scents that include mulled wine, cinnamon and/or pine/fir in their composition are all wonderful for the holiday season. 

The holidays are a wonderful time of year and we, at the Imaginahome team, hope that you and yours have a truly enchanting and magical festive season and we wish you all the very best for the coming year!

To buy or not?

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Toronto homebuyers have shown a recent reluctance to hit the market. With interest rates currently higher than they have been in decades, the rising cost of living and a potential recession on the horizon, it is seems natural to question whether to wade into the housing market now or wait to see whether the price drops have stabilized. 

There are a few things to consider if you are in this position and we’ll delve a little bit into each one. 

How urgent is your need for a home?

If you are on the market because your apartment lease is up and you need to find a new place to live and you are either unwilling to continue renting or unable to find a new rental, then regardless of the market conditions, finding a home to live in is necessary. In such a situation, negotiating the best deal possible is the most advisable route to take. However, if you are able to wait and there is no real urgency to find a new living situation, then holding off might be a better idea. We’ll discuss why a little further in this article. 

If prices drop further and you find yourself paying more than your house is currently worth on the market – will that bother you?

If you are purchasing a property to live in long term, then having the cost of the house drop below your current mortgage shouldn’t be an issue as such a drop would be temporary. Although being in such a position might be unpleasant, you can rest assured that prices will rise eventually and return to what they were. However, if you are planning on only remaining in a home purchased now for a brief period, then you might want to consider renting in the short term. As prices are likely to drop further – in some areas more than others, if you are averse to being in such a position, then waiting for prices to stabilize is the better option for you. 

Do you prefer paying more for your mortgage or paying more in interest? 

The final consideration on whether to buy a Toronto home this year or to wait, is whether you prefer having a smaller mortgage with more interest or a larger mortgage with lower interest. In the end, it might work out to be almost the same thing, but the reality is this: interest rates are likely to rise again. The Bank of Canada is set to announce another potential rate hike on Dec 07, 2022. Should this happen, depending on the hike announced, the interest being paid on mortgages by homeowners will increase quite significantly. If you have a locked-in rate, then you might not be affected by any future announcements but, if not, then you have to factor in the rate as it might affect how much house you can afford. 

Heading into the housing market in the current climate is not as risk-free as it has been for the last two decades. However, real estate is still a solid investment for anyone wanting to build a nest egg in something tangible. 

Is it worth building a green home?

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The Encyclopedia Britannica describes green architecture as, “the philosophy of architecture that advocates sustainable energy sources, the conservation of energy, the reuse and safety of building materials, and the siting of a building with consideration of its impact on the environment.”  

Green architecture in Toronto and elsewhere has come a long way in nearly a decade. 

What were once seen as the domain of alternative lifestyles, green homes have gained enough ground to almost be considered main-stream. Larger numbers of builders are now incorporating green architecture philosophies in their plans and larger numbers of homebuyers are demanding better green options. 

But is it really worth building a fully green home?

Green homes generally have the following attributes:

  • passive envelopes
  • renewable energy options 
  • water capture features
  • natural wastewater treatment for reuse in non-potable functions
  • living, reflective or adobe style roofs
  • repurpose existing materials
  • use recycled materials
  • compostable sewage options

If you want a home that gives off zero emissions and that generates its own energy, then yes, it is definitely worth building green. Although it might cost you more up front, the cost savings you’ll see by producing your own energy will certainly off-set the initial investment in the long run. And, now with rising energy costs, more homebuyers are becoming curious about renewable energy sources. 

Should you decide to go the green route, make sure you hire the proper installers/builders. There are now architectural firms specialized in green home design and construction. Using someone who knows what they are doing will maximize the efficiency of your design and how your home is built. Even if you simply want to retrofit your existing home with solar panels or install a wind capture machine, using the proper company to help you get the right combination of passive energy sources is very important. 

Once you have all of that in place, you will greatly reduce your footprint and even increase the value of your home.

October decluttering

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October is nearing its end and that signals that it’s time for a more in-depth cleaning of your Toronto home to really get ready for the winter months. Since winter can be a time of hoarding for many people, it is important to go into the cold season prepared with plenty of space to spare. 

Junk drawers

We all have junk drawers that seem to pile up with random doo-dads that don’t have any other spot in the house. Instead of just piling more “stuff” into this drawer – or drawers, if you have more than one! Now is the time to sort through the accumulated items and get rid of what is truly unnecessary and find proper places to store those items you do deem worthy of saving. 

Other drawers

While your Toronto home’s junk drawer is the most obvious place to start with your deep clean, it should end there – now is the time to tackle all of the drawers in your home and to throw out everything old, unneeded and unnecessary. Chances are very high that once you have organized your drawers, you won’t even miss what they contained. If you have old tea towels, cleaning rags, aprons, dish cloths, etc… fall is a great time to weed out the really used and only keep those that you use. 

Cupboards and pantries

Cupboards can get just as full and messy as drawers. When going through cupboards or pantries, make sure to throw away any past-good foods, medications, creams or ointments. Keep only those items that still have a decent shelf-life remaining and those items that you actually use. Too many of us collect things that we mean to use, but never actually do because it would be out of our habit to do so. Take the time to acknowledge this and then let go of them. 

Storage rooms

If you have a storage room then you know just how full and cluttered it can get. Again, you need to be merciless when decluttering. And, if you are having trouble letting go of something, look at it this way: if you died tomorrow – would anyone else in your home want it? If the answer is no, and you no longer need/use it, then just get rid of it. The sentimental attachments we form to “stuff” only mean something to us. And, if we no longer see it the same way, then it is time to let go of it. 

What to do with your extra “stuff” 

If the stuff you want to get rid of is still in good shape and usable, consider donating them to goodwill. You can also recycle them via organizations that repurpose old furniture, clothing and goods. If it is really old and dilapidated, 

By the time the real cold weather hits you will be very glad to have an organized and uncluttered space for enjoying the warmth.

Creating a relaxing bedroom

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Torontonians work hard. So, at the end of the day they want to come home to a relaxing place to escape. There are several ways to create a tranquil and inviting bedroom. From using diffusers to choosing the right colours, creating an oasis that speaks to you is easier than you might think. Let’s take a look at some of the simplest ways to make your bedroom your personal sanctuary. 

Scent

A great way to diffuse the tension of any space is to use proper scents. For millennia essential oils have been used to promote sleep and well-being. Some of the top scents to achieve these goals include:

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Jasmin
  • Bergamot

Whether you use a diffuser, a scented candle or incense sticks, adding the right fragrance to the air in your room can create an instant calm to help you unwind. 

Colours

Colours have a very strong influence on our moods and behavior. The right colour can ease your worry while the wrong colour will keep you up at night stressing over everything you might have done differently during the day. Among the top colours that soothe and calm are;

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Light pink
  • White
  • Beige

In this instance it’s best to leave the reds, purples, blacks and browns for your entertaining areas as these bold and vibrant colours are definitely not the best for encouraging sleep. 

Declutter

One of the best ways to make any room – but especially your bedroom, more relaxing is to keep it clean and tidy with no clutter. Clutter tends to stress a person’s mind, which is the opposite of what you want in your bedroom. Have enough storage space to file your things away so there is no reason for things to pile up. 

Keep bed linen fresh

Washing your sheets regularly is very important. Not only is it hygienic, but the freshness of the sheets will also help you sleep better. Using a detergent with a smell you like will make it even better. 

Lighting

Forget the overhead lights. To create a serene ambiance opt, instead for indirect or mood lighting. This is easily done with a couple of floor or table lamps or even LED lights placed under a shelf or your bed. 

Creating a tranquil retreat in your primary bedroom is not difficult – but can mean the difference between 40 winks and a night of tossing and turning.

Winter ready home

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Caring for your Toronto home is a constant cycle. Whether you are checking to make sure everything is working properly, maintaining things or cleaning, these routine tasks can be dull but are absolutely necessary. In fact, it’s when you neglect certain tasks for a few years that cracks begin to show, leaks spring up and grass begins to grow where it shouldn’t. 

More than just cleaning

Among the other items that need to be done every year, twice a year every home should be deep-cleaned. In the spring, you need to get rid of the dust that collects over the winter and in the fall, you need to sweep away the dust brought in from the summer! However, along with the deep clean, you should also take the time to prepare your home for the coming cold. We’ve compiled a handy list of items that should be on your checklist every fall. 

Inside

  • Wash windows
  • Wash down walls
  • Dust light fixtures
  • Dust/wash window treatments 
  • Vacuum and clean upholstery
  • Deep clean carpeting
  • Vacuum refrigerator condenser coil
  • Declutter and clean garage and/or attic
  • Wash comforters and pillows

Inside Tips!

Vertical blinds can be especially challenging to clean. A good rule of thumb for getting them spotless is to first vacuum the loose dust, then soak them in soapy water to loosen and remove the caked in dust. 

Swiffers or similar mops/brooms work particularly well when it comes to cleaning walls and ceilings. They have a longer reach, versatile mop heads and can be maneuvered easily. 

If you don’t have a deep cleaner, you can rent one inexpensively for a day at most grocery stores. 

Outside

  • Clean out gutters
  • Rake and compost leaves
  • Prep garden for winter
  • Check weather stripping around doors and windows
  • Clean and store patio furniture
  • Drain and store hoses
  • Clean, drain and close pool (if necessary)
  • Clean and store barbeque

Outside tips!

Raked leaves make excellent cover for garden beds as the cover they produce when composting will help fertilize soil.

Adding mesh gutter covers will prevent leaves from falling into your gutters and clogging them up. 

The list might seem long, but it requires just a few dedicated hours that can be spread over a few weekends to see all the tasks do

Unexpected office

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Toronto homeowners who work from home and don’t have access to a dedicated office space can create an unexpected office. Even if you don’t have a spare room there are ways of setting yourself up properly and without necessarily needing a ton of space. We’ve compiled a list of easy ways to set yourself up comfortably. 

Extra closet 

One of the cleverest and sneakiest ways of setting up an office is in an unused or underused closet. There are a number of ways to get this done, however, installing proper shelving and lighting are key to functionality while paint, wallpaper and accessories will add the sparkle needed to make it conducive to working. If you want to further extend your workspace you could remove the closet door, however, keeping it on means being able to close your office off after hours. 

Staircase landing

If you have space at the top of your staircase landing, it might be enough to set up a desk and some shelves. Most landings are brightly lit and open – two elements that contribute to a great work environment. All you need are furnishings that are small enough to fit into your space and a creative way of arranging them. Installing an office at the top of your stairs will provide 

Under a staircase

There is usually plenty of dead space under a staircase. Instead, turn this overlooked area into a cozy home office. This is an easy DIY or can be done professionally. Simple wall shelving and some good work lighting along with a slimline desk are all that such a space really needs. 

Hallway stealth office

If you really don’t have space, you can always set up a stealth office in your hallway. This would require purchasing a wall cabinet that converts into a desk for when you are working and looks like a regular cabinet for when you are not. They are handy desks in a pinch and can definitely be set-up for a more permanent solution if you live in a small apartment or condo.