Oct. 3, 2022

The 6 Best Home Builders in Whitby

The 6 Best Home Builders in Whitby

Whitby has become one of the hottest Toronto suburbs for people to get a new home, and that could be why so many great home builders are in the area. If you are looking for a custom home build or a new home on a developed lot, you have plenty of great choices in Whitby. If you have been thinking about building a new home, have a look at this list of the best home builders in Whitby so you can find the one that suits your building needs. 

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Posted in Whitby
Sept. 30, 2022

The 7 Best Home Builders in Ajax

The 7 Best Home Builders in Ajax

Ajax is a gorgeous city with so many incredible features, which is probably why so many people have started to consider Ajax a place to build their new homes. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent new home builders in the city that would love to help you turn your dream into reality. If you are considering building a new home, look at this list to see the top 7 best new home builders in Ajax. 

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Posted in Ajax
Oct. 21, 2021

10 Ways to Maximize the Curb Appeal of Your Home

Maximizing Curb Appeal

It’s time to put your house on the market. You’ve diligently prepared each room, paying attention to even the smallest detail. Perhaps you’ve upgraded the plumbing and electric service, making sure everything from “the bones” out will appeal to potential buyers.

But, as they say, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression.” And when it comes to selling a house, that first impression begins at the curb. No matter how beautiful your home is on the inside, you want to create anticipation before visitors to your open house step out of their car.

Here are 10 ways to maximize the curb appeal of your home and give a positive first impression:

Have New Shingles Installed

If your shingles have seen better days, it may be time to have them replaced. A new roof will increase the value of your home. Plus, it will assure those considering making an offer that they won’t have to factor in the cost of a new roof for many years to come. 

(Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular, but you’ll want to check with your real estate agent before investing in one. Ask if it will increase the value of your home more than the cost of installation.)

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint

Do your soffits and fascia need painting? How about your window frames? Maybe the entire exterior of your home? A gleaming coat of fresh paint makes a world of difference to the curb appeal of your home. If you don’t have the time or inclination to tackle this job on your own, there are professionals who can make short work of it.

Maximize Curb Appeal with Paint

Wash the Windows (and the Shutters)

Sparkling windows set off by freshly painted frames and freshly laundered window coverings will attract attention—the good kind.

And if you have shutters, you’ll want them to appear as clean and well-maintained as possible, whether that means a new coat of paint (wooden shutters) or a good scrub (vinyl shutters).

Spruce Up the Driveway

Depending on the condition of your driveway, it may need repaving, resurfacing, or just a good hosing down. No matter how long or short your driveway, if it’s stained and cracked, it will take away from the curb appeal of your house. However, if it’s clean and looks new, your home will look significantly better.

Wash the Car

Whether there will be a car parked in the driveway or the garage, it’s a good idea to take it through the carwash or handwash it before each scheduled open house. It’s a little detail, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a lasting impression. Even an older model looks better when it’s clean.

Curb Appeal Clean Car

Put Away the Bikes and Other Yard Clutter

Whether potential buyers have children or not, when considering making an offer on a new house, they’ll almost always prefer a minimalist approach to the exterior and interior of your home. So, put away the bicycles, rollerblades, trampoline (if practical), and other items that are “cluttering” your yard.

Cut the Grass 

The smell of fresh cut grass can do for potential buyers what the scent of fresh baked goods can do for them when they walk through the front door. It can stir up all kinds of pleasant memories. Plus, a neat and tidy yard is one of the most important ways to increase the curb appeal of your home. 

Trim the Hedges & Overgrown Bushes

A well-manicured lawn will make a great first impression, but hedges that are overrun with new growth and overgrown bushes can distract from the appearance of your yard. Remember that this, and any other task you’re not able to complete on your own, can be done by professionals. If you plan to do the job yourself but are concerned about damaging the plants, it’s advisable to do some research or get a professional opinion about how best to trim back overgrowth without damaging hedges, bushes—and possibly, trees.

Clean Hedges Curb Appeal

Sweep or Blow Off the Sidewalks (and Driveway)

When you’re cutting the grass and trimming the hedges, it’s common to get clippings on the sidewalks and driveway. Even if you’ve spent hours working on the appearance of your property, grass and leaves on these surfaces give the appearance of an incomplete project and may be difficult to overlook. Have a blower? You can make short work of the task? If not, you can still bring out the straw broom and give everything a good sweeping.

Weed the Flower Gardens

Fresh paint. Clean windows. A well-manicured lawn. Trimmed hedges. And … gardens overrun with weeds. No. Just no.

Some tasks can be accomplished in an hour or two. Some in an afternoon. However, weeding the gardens can take several sessions, especially if you have extensive gardens—or this is the first time you’ve gotten to them since last year. Pace yourself. Weeding gardens can be one of the most physically demanding tasks you have on your list.

Once all the weeding is done, you may also want to spread several bags of mulch over the gardens and fill in the gaps. Talk about increasing curb appeal!

A Word about Selling Your Home in the Winter

When possible, plan your move several months ahead, especially if you’ll be moving in the winter. In this way, you can tend to outdoor tasks that are weather-dependent. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get your roof reshingled or the house repainted once the weather turns cold. And while you may be able to tidy up the gardens, depending on how much snow you get, you may not even be able to get to them. 

And one of the most important things to remember if you’re selling your house in the winter is to keep the driveway, sidewalks, and stairs free of ice and snow. It doesn’t matter how much curb appeal your home has if potential buyers are looking at it from their back after having fallen.

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 13, 2021

The Top 5 Restaurants in Oshawa You Need To Try

Restaurants Oshawa

Oshawa is a city in Ontario that lies right along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Oshawa is sixty kilometres east of downtown Toronto and is a vibrant city with many parks, playgrounds, walking paths, museums and marvelous restaurants to eat at. The restaurants in Oshawa are very diverse and feature dishes from all over the world. It's easy to find various restaurants such as Italian, Indian, and good, home-cooked family restaurants. Many restaurants in Oshawa, Ontario source their ingredients from local farmers' markets and local gardens, making their dishes stand out in freshness and taste. Below are the top five restaurants in Oshawa that you need to try!

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Posted in Oshawa
Sept. 22, 2021

The 5 Restaurants in Pickering You Need To Try

Pickering Restaurants

Pickering is a great place full of exciting activity, a diverse demographic, beautiful surroundings, and of course, a multitude of fantastic dining options! The city has everything from classic old-school diners to hot new restaurants. Want some recommendations? We've got you covered! We've compiled a list of the top 5 restaurants you just have to try in Pickering, each one offering a unique dining experience to suit all taste buds! 

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Posted in Pickering
Aug. 19, 2021

Ranked: The Best High Schools In Whitby, Ontario [2021 Edition]

The Best Highschools in Whitby, ON

Whitby is a city in the Greater Toronto Area, part of Durham Region, and has a population of approximately 130,000 residents of all ages. Whitby borders Oshawa and Brooklin to the east in Durham Region; Ajax and Pickering to the north; and the town of Georgina to the west. It's primarily composed of residential areas with some industries near Highway 401 and Highway 407 on the southeastern outskirts of town.

With such a growing population, there are obviously a number of schools in the area. Since the school system in Whitby is highly regarded, it's no surprise that there are several top-rated school options to be found within the city.

The public schools offer an excellent and affordable education for your children. The Catholic Schools are also renowned for providing top-notch academics and moral values. There are several schools dedicated to high-quality French immersion programs as well, offering the opportunity for the students of Whitby to expand their language skills in a fully immersive program. Finally, there's always private schooling if you're looking to invest more money in your child’s future education. You can't go wrong with any of these great options! 

The following are some of the very best high schools in Whitby, Ontario, to give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to education in this region of the Greater Toronto Area. 

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Posted in Whitby
Aug. 9, 2021

The 5 Restaurants in Whitby You Need to Try

5 Restaurants in Whitby You Need To Try

Whitby is a beautiful waterfront town located in the heart of Durham region, between Pickering and Oshawa and is about 48 km east of Toronto. Although the population here mainly consists of a Caucasian demographic, Whitby welcomes any and all diversity, and continues to grow its population year after year. 

Whitby is home to a great restaurant scene full of a little bit of everything. With restaurants offering a range of options, including local, farm-to-table cuisine, fresh seafood, pub fare, and multiple ethnic cuisines, to say Whitby is diverse in its food choices would be an understatement.  No matter what your tastes are, you’ll be sure to find something you enjoy! 

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Posted in Whitby
June 9, 2021

The 5 Restaurants in Ajax You Need To Try

Top 5 Restaurants in Ajax

Ajax, Ontario is a creative and cultural community located on the shores of Lake Ontario, approximately 40 minutes northeast of Toronto, and has a very diverse restaurant scene. In the article below, we have compiled the top five best restaurants (in no particular order!) that encompass the culture and diversity that this town has to offer.

View All Homes For Sale in Ajax, ON >>>

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Posted in Ajax
May 20, 2021

5 Things to Look for When Buying A House With A Pool

5 Things to Look For When Buying a House With a Pool

Having a pool in the backyard to enjoy each summer is something a lot of families consider to be an essential must-have. It is a great place for family fun to happen as well as physical activity. More benefits of a pool include increased home value, a place to host a summer pool party, saves you money; no need to travel as much when looking for a place to cool down during a heatwave. 

A pool isn’t for everyone but for the ones who are searching for a house with a pool, it is good to know some of the most important things to be looking for. Below are 5 things homebuyers should look for when buying a house with a pool.

View All Homes with Pool For Sale In Ajax, ON >>>

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Posted in Buying
April 25, 2021

The Complete Guide To Buying A New Construction Home

Complete Guide To Buying A New Construction Home

There are essentially two options when it comes to purchasing a new home: buy a pre-existing home or build a brand new one. There are pros and cons to both options, of course, but building a new construction home is the only way to truly get what you want for your home and is particularly appealing if this is going to be your Forever Home. 

When you go with a new build, you have the advantage of getting exactly what you want without the hassle of searching through copious homes that other families have already broken in. This exciting process can be intimidating, for sure, but with some research and a bit of know-how, it can be quite an enjoyable experience! 

The following is a guide to purchasing your new construction home and includes a step-by-step guide to the process, questions you’ll want to consider, and a few tips to save money on what can add up to be a pricey purchase. 

A Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1 - Acquire an Agent

Many people think that you don’t need a real estate agent if you’re building a home, but it’s recommended to have a buyer’s agent represent you. Find someone who is familiar with new construction builds and who will work well with you to get exactly what you want out of your dream home. With an agent by your side, someone who knows just what questions to ask and has plenty of connections and recommendations for your benefit, the whole process will be much smoother than if you take it on on your own. 

Step 2 - Find the Right Lender

Not all mortgage brokers will offer home construction loans. These loans differ from the traditional mortgage as the construction loans are released in the form of draws throughout the construction process rather than all at once. Builders will typically have a list of recommendations to lenders who provide this service or you can do your own research and meet with your financial advisor to find someone who will get you the loan you need. 

Step 3 - Research Builders

Take the time to do your research on a number of builders. Not everyone is the same and much of the time, you do get what you pay for. Look up online reviews, ensure they follow local building codes and check into companies with whom they partner. Find yourself a builder who is going to work with you to create everything you envision and will do so at a fair price.  

Step 4 - Visit the Home Site

It’s important that you’re familiar and happy with your potential new neighbourhood. Arrange a time to check out the project sites and scope out your new surroundings. Look into nearby schools, grocery stores, and other amenities that are important to you. Inquire about potential commercial expansions or any future plans for additional residential buildings that may encroach on your territory. Look into the demographics of the area you’re looking at, make sure it’ll be a good fit for you and your family. 

Step 5 - Start Designing!

The fun part of choosing to buy a new construction home is picking out the style that you like best. Plan your home to suit your lifestyle; will you need plenty of bedrooms for your budding family? Do you want a cozy bungalow to spend your retirement years? Do you prefer open floor plans complete with floor-to-ceiling windows to soak up all that natural light? There are so many options when it comes to building a home that you can pick and choose to fit your exact specifications. 

Step 6 - Choose Your Standards and Upgrades

All of your standard items include things such as flooring, paint colours, cabinets and countertops, light fixtures, and tiling. All these basic amenities that every home needs to have. The upgrades are all the little splurges you want to sink your teeth into! If you want the fancy appliances in your kitchen, factor them into your budget. It’s easy to get carried away with the upgrades, so if you’re on a strict budget, be very picky with what you choose to splurge on. You’ll be living in this home for the foreseeable future, so be sure you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for. 

Step 7 - Get a Home Inspection

Even though your house will be brand new, you’ll still want to get an inspection done before you officially close the deal and move in. If the builder happened to miss something or didn’t live up to your expectations, now is the time to get that taken care of. Home inspections can be done all throughout the building process to ensure each stage of the build is going according to plan. Home inspections are an important and necessary part of the home-building process, whether you’re purchasing an existing home or building a brand new one. 

Step 8 - Interim and Final Occupancy

This is an exciting stage during the closing process, it means your home is almost ready for you to take over! Your lawyer and real estate agent will help you through the final stages of the home-buying experience. Interim Occupancy means the house is just about ready for you and you’ll need to take care of any outstanding deposits and payments. The Final Occupancy is when your ownership will officially take place. At this time, your mortgage payments will commence and all builder fees will need to be paid before the contractor can sign over the house to your name. 

Step 9 - Time to Move In! 

At this point in the process, all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed. Your home is officially your home! The last step of the building process includes you taking ownership and moving into your beautiful new home! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the home created especially for you! 

Related Post: 10 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Home

Questions To Ask Your Builder (Early On)

It can be overwhelming to take on the process of buying a new construction home. It’s easy to get lost in the whole ordeal, sometimes it’s best to have a written list of questions before you meet with a realtor or a builder. Some questions you may want to jot down include:

How long will building take? It’s important to keep to a schedule when building a new home, particularly if you’re planning your current lease around the building process. Something many people don’t think about is permits; ask your builder if the build time is inclusive of acquiring the necessary building permits. 

Is the lot included in the costs? Sometimes when you’re picking from a model home, you can get swept up in the base cost of the house, the interior, and exterior features, and may forget about the land options. Larger lots may add to your expenses. 

What are the standard finishes? The builder may present you with the best of the best, including top-of-the-line appliances, fixtures, and finishes. Be sure to inquire about the base model options and then you can add on and upgrade from there. The design stage of your house will come later, so it’s best to know what kind of costs you’re looking at upfront in order to factor in the items you wish to splurge on in the later stages. 

Can you purchase your own appliances? Just because you’re working with a certain contractor or builder, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work with every vendor they recommend. If you want to do some research and find your own appliances or you have custom features in mind that the builder doesn’t offer, ask if it’s ok to bring in your own sources. Some builders will be more lenient than others when it comes to outside vendors, so be sure to find out right away what they offer and how flexible they are. 

Is landscaping included with the build? Depending on your lot size, you may have the opportunity to get creative with your landscaping. Some builders will offer basic landscaping services and others leave it completely up to you. You’ll want to be sure of what you can expect with your finished home. 

It’s Possible To Save On New Construction Homes

Despite what some might think, building a new home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Sure, it may cost more to build initially than to just purchase an existing home, but think long-term. When you build a brand new house, you won’t have to worry about repairs and renovations, you won’t need to tear down and reconstruct, you’ll be getting exactly what you want in the first place. When it comes to the initial building costs, here are some handy tips to keep in mind in order to keep expenses down:

  • Plan a budget and stick to it: Before you even begin to design your home or meet with contractors, sit down with a financial advisor to determine what kind of budget you can afford. Factor all costs into this budget. This allows you to splurge in some places and scale back where necessary.  
  • Choose the right builder: Not all builders are the same. You’re going to want to research and compare several different builders, preferably ones that come highly recommended in your area. Compare quality as well as cost, as in many cases, you get what you pay for. 
  • Inquire about closing cost incentives: Some builders offer incentives if you select their preferred lenders, this can include a few thousand dollars off of your closing costs. 
  • Is it possible to DIY?: A great way to skip costly prices is to just do it yourself. If you’re handy and willing to put in the time and effort, there are plenty of ways to save money. 
  • Research your appliances: There are so many options when it comes to appliances, from basic models to fancy upgrades, from different finishes and matching sets. Do your research, read the reviews, and find what will suit your home best. Keep in mind, you can always stick to the basics for now and upgrade later on down the road. 
  • Look at energy-efficient options: More and more, builders are offering green options when it comes to appliances, heating, plumbing, etc. These energy-efficient options may seem like the more expensive route, to begin with, but over the years they could save you a lot of money on utilities! 

Buying a new construction home can be an affordable and wonderful experience for all home buyers. Don’t let the lengthy process or the seemingly endless array of decisions that come with it intimidate you. With the right agent to guide you and the proper research when it comes to builders, appliances, and styles, you’ll end up getting the home of your dreams, custom-made, just for you that suits your exact lifestyle and preferences! 

Posted in Buying