for-sale-sign-home
Home & Garden

5 Tips for the First Time Home Seller

When you’ve reached the decision that it’s finally time to place your home up for sale, there are a few important factors to consider in order to make for smooth sailing during that process. Jumping headfirst without having a clear vision and map on how to navigate through the process can lead to a lot of stress and aggravation. So before you nail down that For Sale sign, consider these 5 tips first.

Purge

As soon as you’ve solidified your decision to move, begin the process of dejunking. You want to start as early as possible so that you don’t feel completely overwhelmed. So start by going through one room at a time and deciding whether to pack it or purge it. There’s no point in bringing along stuff to your new home that you no longer need. So save yourself the aggravation and you’ll make that moving process a whole lot easier.

Understand the Equity

It’s always smart to be aware of what the equity will be on your home that’s for sale in order to have a solid vision on how it will help you purchase your new home. So always have an accurate grasp on the status of your home and equity for your future.

Know your Worth

Be sure to have a firm understanding on how the market is doing when preparing to enter it. Depending on the status, it could make for some pretty frustrating negotiations – so be prepared. Keep your cool, and try to always keep emotions at bay. And of course, have a solid understanding of how much your home is worth before negotiating.

Staging

Staging is one of the most essential components for nailing down offers. It provides potential buyers with a vision of what their future home can look like. Buyers don’t want to see clutter or a home that seems like it was unkempt. You want a potential buyer to see your home at its best, so small investments could be worth it at this stage to help your home sell at its best. Consider if you need new windows, a new entry door, a fresh coat of paint (interior or exterior), etc.

Detach Personal Emotions

Finally, if the home you’re placing up for sale has a strong sentimental value – like many of them do, you must detach any personal emotions from it in order to move forward and allow the process to be successful.

Selling your home is a big decision and can be an overwhelming process. But with a few keys elements thrown into the mix, it can be simple and rewarding. Use these insightful tips before placing your house on the market and you’ll be prepped and ready for smooth sailing.

packing-boxes-downsize
Home & Garden

5 Questions to Ask When Downsizing

The “tiny homes” trend is sweeping the nation and people are taking notice of the many benefits of downsizing to smaller homes and rental units, especially as they get older. If you’re having trouble with the concept of downsizing and getting rid of your items, here are 3 questions to ask yourself:

Can you use this stuff anymore?

There are going to be a surprising amount of things in your home that just aren’t useful anymore, but for one reason or another you’re going to be tempted to keep it, telling yourself that you possibly could use it later down the line.

If you are serious about downsizing, you have to push yourself to make these hard decisions. Force yourself to be honest in gauging whether you will use an item in the near future or not. You’ll be shocked at just how much clutter you can clear away by asking whether or not you can use something right now or not.

Is this obsolete?

In today’s fast-paced world, things are becoming obsolete sooner than ever, and you’ll want to be sure that you aren’t holding onto anything that has already been replaced by something bigger, better, and faster.

You’ll want to finally kick your VCR and all of those VHS tapes to the curb since we’ve already gone through the DVD era, the Blu-ray era, have found our way to online streaming, and who knows what’s next!?

Does this have any sentimental value?

Some of the toughest decisions you’re going to have when it comes time to downsize is when you’re dealing with items that have sentimental value. To make this tough decision, try to be honest with yourself about what add to your life if you keep it.

Another strategy that can be helpful is to think about who else would appreciate this. For example, if your wrestling over the thought of getting rid of your grown child’s baby clothes, ask your children if they would like to keep them to pass on to their own children, or ask around to see if your friends or neighbours could use them. It is often much easier to get rid of sentimental items when you know they are being put to good use.

Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, the next step is to find your new home. Perhaps you are looking to purchase a condo, or perhaps finding a nice apartment for rent unit is the best option for your lifestyle. Whatever your decision, downsizing and decluttering will help you step into this new phase of your life feeling lighter and free to embrace new possibilities!

why-more-trucks-city
Lifestyle

Why More City Dwellers Are Buying Trucks

Trucks are not just for suburbanites anymore. Every year more and more city dwellers are purchasing trucks as their vehicle of choice to transport them around their urban areas. Here we look at some reasons why so many people living in the city are turning to trucks over cars:

Convenient Size

Not all trucks are monster trucks. You can still enjoy the power that a truck can provide but in a smaller more versatile model. Many short beds and smaller truck models provide utility, style and comfort for passengers. Plus, the size and handling of some of the smaller models are more equipped for everyday use. Some smaller cabs even come with seating for five so you can fit your entire family with ease.

Luxury Accessories

With all of the high-quality accessories trucks offer today you may feel like you’re driving a luxury vehicle more than a utility vehicle. From parking sensors, navigation systems, leather seating, and high performance sound systems, trucks now come with all the style and flair that city dwellers love.

More Storage Space

If you own a condo or townhome in the city, odds are you are left with little to no storage space. Having a truck can easily help you store any bulky, necessary items, like your sports equipment. And you can keep your belongings safe and sound by installing a tonneau cover, which entirely closes off your truck bed and provides an added layer of protection.

Maximum Adventure

Owning a truck can make all of your favourite weekend activities better and easier than ever. Whether you enjoy travelling to the cottage, riding the boat on the lake, or biking with the family, a truck can help you easily store and haul all the items you need for maximum entertainment. You can also add on additional storage accessories, like truck bed racks, so you can carry all your sports and water equipment, effortlessly.

Maximum Safety

Let’s face it, trucks are much safer to own than a car. Not only can they survive a stronger impact but they are also difficult to roll. Plus, you can add on accessories that offer an extra layer of protection, such as truck bed racks and bull bars.

With increased safety, hauling capacity, and all the accessories you can purchase to maximize your experience, owning a truck is better than ever. City, suburban and rural dwellers alike are turning to trucks over cars, and for good reason!

backyard-hot-tub-design
Home & Garden

Why You Need a Hot Tub in Your Backyard This Summer

With spring just around the corner, many of us are just dreaming of the days we can open up the patio doors and spend an afternoon or evening relaxing in the outdoor oasis of our own backyard. But is your backyard ready? Why not invest in your backyard this year and have the best summer yet?! The backyard is the perfect place to entertain and enjoy quality time with family and friends. Make it your own this year and create a place where memories will be made.

Here are just a few reasons a hot tub should be part of your backyard investment this year:

Entertaining

We all know the excitement of being invited over to someone’s house for a hot tub party. With the purchase of a hot tub, you could be that friend! Not to mention, you can enjoy a hot tub party of your own each and every night. There’s nothing better than relaxing with your friends and family in the hot tub, looking at the stars in the bright summer night sky.

Relaxation

You can’t deny that coming home from a long day at work to sit in the nice relaxing hot tub is worth the investment. When you’re feeling stressed, tense and overworked, getting to come home to a relaxing spa-like experience is what gets you through the day and is the grand reward you need for all your hard work. Let the powerful jets relax your knots and muscles and enjoy your evening!

Design

Is your backyard lacking a clear design aspect? Simply grass and fence? Boring, we know. A hot tub entertaining area really improves the overall look of your backyard. It is the perfect opportunity to create an oasis in your backyard – a place you can escape to when you need some peace and quiet.

Resale Value

Even if you are thinking of selling your home within the next 5 years, investing in elevating the design and function of your backyard space is a wise move. When perspective buyers tour your home, a backyard oasis will make it all the more inviting and attractive.

Now that you can’t wait to have a hot tub in your backyard, all you have to do is find the perfect one for your backyard! Don’t forget to invest in a good quality hot tub cover to retain heat and protect your water quality.

adult-colouring-books
Lifestyle

Join the Adult Colouring Book Craze

The recent adult colouring book trend started in France a few years ago, and rapidly spread throughout Europe before crossing the Atlantic to take Canada and the United States by storm. While adult colouring books have been available for quite a while, they have officially reached frenzy status over past years. The most popular among the titles, like Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book and Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book, have been in the top 10 best-sellers list online and in-store for months.

If you’re only just hearing about the adult colouring book phenomenon, the popularity should come as no surprise. For one, they’re easy to use. They are also extremely popular because they help adults focus, unwind, relax, spark creativity, and reconnect with their inner child.

As if you need an instructional guide, here’s how to use adult colouring books to their full effect.

Step 1: Choose Your Materials

You may choose to cobble together materials from around the house, lifting some pencil crayons from your kids’ collection or discovering a vibrant green marker that found its way between the couch cushions. Or you may want to invest in a fresh set of crayons, markers, pens, or colouring pencils. Maybe today’s task will be to colour using pencil crayons, or maybe you want to test out a new set of glittery gel pens – or maybe you’ll mix mediums.

Step 2: Turn Off Your Electronics

This is all about getting back to basics and reconnecting with days gone by. Of course, you are encouraged to use your devices to download new drawings, purchase a book online, or discuss tips or share your latest creations on social media. But when it comes to drawing, power down the desktop, shut off your tablet, and put your phone on silent. If you must have some form of electronic accompaniment, the “Musical Therapy” and “Creativity Boost” playlists on Spotify will put you in the right frame of mind for relaxation and focus.

Step 3: Find a Starting Point

Some people like to start from the beginning and work their way forward page by page in chronological order. Since most adult colouring books do have some form of story telling, this certainly makes sense. Others like to flip convention on its head and work from the back of the book to the beginning. Or, you can just flip to your favorite page in the book and start colouring once you find inspiration. You can fill in a little section on one page and then journey to another page, or stick with a given illustration for weeks until it has been perfected. Whatever route you choose is entirely up to you.

Step 4: Start Colouring!

Simple as that!

Step 5: Connect Your Mind & Body

As you start drawing, you may notice your worries float away, distractions dissipate, and stress evaporate. Millions of adults have noticed the same phenomenon. If you don’t notice anything, that’s fine too. Just enjoy the process and don’t worry about the end point. Adult colouring books are not about rushing to the finish line or trying to complete an illustration to perfection. The sensations and effects of colouring, clearing your mind, and connecting your mind and body are your rewards.

Step 6: When to Stop

Stop whenever you feel like it. There is no minimum or maximum time investment! Colour as long as you’re enjoying it, and stop whenever you don’t feel like colouring anymore.

Daydream, spark your creativity, enjoy a childlike delight, and take a break from the hectic pace of daily life, even if only for a few minutes. All of this and more is possible thanks to the adult colouring book craze. Check out these free adult colouring pages to get started!

5 Advantages of Replacement Windows
Home & Garden

5 Advantages of Replacement Windows

Looking to improve the functionality and appearance of your home? Whether your old windows are failing or you simply want to upgrade the value and look of your home, here are a few of the advantages of installing new windows:

Reduced Environmental Impact

Old windows are not efficient, which means your furnace and air conditioner need to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. The harder your HVAC equipment needs to work, the more natural resources are needed. High-efficiency replacement windows, on the other hand, use state-of-the-art design and technology to keep heat in during the winter and keep heat out in the summer. There is less demand on your HVAC equipment and thus, fewer natural resources used. As a result, your home has a smaller carbon footprint.

Save Money on Energy

Do you balk when you open your Enbridge or Hydro One bill? Rising utility bills serve as an alert that your home is not energy efficient. Switching to high-efficiency windows could cut your heating and cooling costs by 30%. In time, replacement windows basically pay for themselves!

Increase the Value of Your Home

Are you expecting to sell your home in the near future? Not only will replacement windows raise the resale value of your home, they’ll make your home more attractive in a competitive market. Nowadays, buyers are looking for turnkey, energy-efficient homes that don’t need any work. Replacement windows can return about 85%-100% on investment, making them one of the smartest home upgrades out there.

Design That Gets People Talking

New windows make a stunning addition to any home, from beautiful, bright bay windows to decorative glass windows to European tilt and turn windows with exceptional function.  Available in a wide range of colours with grills, lites, and hardware to suit any taste, the options are endless. If your old windows are faded, cracked, or simply out of style, there’s no better time to upgrade.

Low Maintenance Solution

On a crisp fall afternoon, would you rather be inside watching the big game or painting and cleaning windows on the second storey of your home? The answer goes without saying. Vinyl replacement windows are practically maintenance free, requiring nothing more than a quick clean on occasion. They will not rust, corrode, warp, bow, chip, or fade.

Ready to invest in replacement windows? Eco Choice Windows & Door is a leading supplier and installer of GTA vinyl windows. With top-quality products, expert installation, and caring customer service, your home will be in the best of hands.

 

Planning an Anniversary Dinner to Remember in Toronto
Food & Drink

Planning an Anniversary Dinner to Remember in Toronto

If you and your partner are among the many who found love in Toronto, you may soon be approaching a milestone anniversary. Whether it’s one, two or even ten years that you’ve been together, there are a wide variety of fun, interesting and romantic things to do in Toronto. But, of course, we all know that you can’t beat a romantic dinner in a dim, candle-lit setting with your other half, especially when it’s a special occasion.

Quaint Corner House Pub

There are so many romantic restaurants in Toronto that choosing just one may be more difficult than you imagined. If you and your other half tend to enjoy calm, laid-back settings, then the Corner House Pub might just be the ideal place. It looks like a quaint little cottage from the outside, and has an incredible rustic ambience in the inside. It is located on Gerrard Street East in the Upper Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto.

Delectable Splendido

On the other hand, if you prefer to do things a little more elaborately, try Splendido. This restaurant is perfect for special occasions, and it’s safe to say that the menu is rather impressive. If you love the feeling of a concoction of flavours exploding on your taste buds, then you’ll definitely leave this restaurant feeling satisfied. Splendido is located on Harbord Street just west of the University of Toronto St. George Campus.

Luxurious Auberge du Pommier

Furthermore, Auberge du Pommier is a fancy French restaurant that serves incredibly luxurious food. If you don’t mind spending a lot of money in restaurants on special occasions, then this charming eaterie is ideal for you. It is located on Yonge Street in York Mills, near the Don Valley Golf Course.

Don’t Forget Your Reservations!

As you can probably tell, Toronto has a lot to offer where romantic restaurants are concerned. If you’re planning on taking your other half to one for your anniversary, then it’s definitely important to make a reservation in advance – and yes, this might mean weeks in advance, depending on the type of restaurant you choose.

Dress to Impress

Once you’ve made the reservation at the restaurant of your choice, it’s important to consider which attire you’ll opt for on the special night itself. For men, the best option would be a pair of black trousers, black shoes, and a shirt of choice. Women, on the other hand, tend to wear a formal dress with mid-length heels on this kind of occasion. Of course, you go for a non-formal setting, then a specific dress code does not apply.

No matter what you choose, we wish you a wonderful anniversary – and many more to come!

Dress Your Home to Impress
Home & Garden

Dress Your Home To Impress

A lot of people are interested interior design but they do not know what they are doing. Interior design doesn’t have to be hard, and the skills of a professional are not needed to create a fabulous living space. This article will give you some great tips on interior design.

A great interior design tip is to spend your Saturday mornings going to yard sales and your free time visiting thrift stores. You wouldn’t believe some of the unique things you can find if you know where to look. The typical places like IKEA give homes a pleasant but cookie cutter look, which simply won’t cut it. You might happen to come across a great end table, a timeless mirror, or beautifully decorated vase, but you’ll never get the chance if you don’t pound the pavement.

One tip that you should follow is to use as many designs and patterns as you can. Textures and patterns can always be used to add contrast and create visual appeal. To get the idea, think of combining opposites: hard and soft, muted and shiny, rough and smooth. If you’re making a contemporary room, textures and patterns are definitely a must.

Learn to choose paint according to the light level that exists in a given room. If there isn’t sufficient window area in your room, you should paint the walls a light and bright colour.

If you are remodelling your kitchen, renovating, or creating a whole new kitchen or bathroom, it is beneficial to contact a professional contractor. Your ideas might involve plumbing work or electrical work that is beyond your scope of expertise, and things could go terribly wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. By contacting a professional renovator or contractor, they can help you to outline the exact scope of the project so it is done right and within budget.

This sounds simply, but use slipcovers. If you have old couches or chairs that you are getting bored with, think about simply buying a slipcover and giving the furniture a whole new look. Slipcovers come in all designs and colours, so you can definitely find one that suits the decor in your home. Make sure to wash the slipcover regularly, of course.

If you’re looking to add some elegance in a room, use sconces for lighting. The dim light emanating from a sconce creates an atmosphere that is fancy and romantic. You can also get sconces in a variety of shapes, colours, and designs. No matter the theme of your room, you’ll find an appropriate fit.

Armed with the information here, you are now well-informed and knowledgeable about interior design principles. It should certainly be a lot easier to make your home look great now. These dos and don’ts can act as a great guide, but don’t be afraid to trust your design instincts and come up with something unique. With everything that you gained from reading this article about interior design, there’s no doubt that you can make your home look stunning.

Winter Driving
Safety, Weather

Winter Safety in Toronto

We’re at the height of winter in Toronto, with chilly temperatures, heavy snowfalls, and gusty winds. Outdoor accidents can be deadly at this time of year, so it is very important to take precautions. Here are some tips to stay safe this winter:

Bundle Up

Even if you don’t actually expect to be out in the elements for long, it is paramount that you dress for the worst-case scenario. You could be driving to drop someone off and not expect to leave your car. But a stall or engine failure, very common in freezing temperatures, could leave you stranded for hours in the cold. So no matter your plans, make sure to dress with a warm coat, boots, hat, and gloves at all occasions. Scarves and neckwarmers are recommended, but the two most important items are undoubtedly a coat to protect your core and a hat to protect heat loss from your head.

Emergency Supplies

Make sure your car has a winter survival kit at all times. You never know when a snow squall or black ice will bring highway driving to a halt, or when freezing temperatures will prevent your car from starting. A winter survival kit should have blankets, non-perishable food like energy bars, water, extra clothing, a small snow kit (shovel, scraper, brush), flashlight, candles, a whistle, and a road map. Make sure to replace the water every six months, and replenish supplies as necessary. Hopefully you’ll never have to use your winter survival kit, but better safe than sorry.

Wear Suitable Footwear

All too often we think we can get away with wearing sneakers all year long. While it certainly saves money, this is a dangerous practice that can cause real harm when bad weather strikes. Proper winter boots, with strong traction and water resistance, can protect you from slips on the ice, and can keep your feet dry in deep snow or slushy weather. Wet shoes and socks are a recipe for hypothermia and frostbite. Proper footwear that keeps you dry and sturdy in tough winter weather is very important.

Be Smart

If it is particularly vicious weather, with freezing rain, black ice, or snow squalls, consider whether an outdoor trek is necessary. If your trip can be delayed or cancelled, then do so. Safety is more important than most tasks. If you absolutely must head out, be sure to consolidate your tasks to avoid driving all over the GTA. Drive slowly and safely, exercise extreme caution with limited visibility, and beware of pedestrians. Stay safe this winter, Torontonians!

Toronto Celebrity
Celebrity, Movies, Music, Sports

Our Favourite Toronto Celebrities

Toronto’s a big city, with more than six million people in the Greater Toronto Area. In such a big city with thriving music, art, movie, and sports scenes, there are a lot of very talented individuals who have gained international fame for their abilities. Here are some of our favourite Toronto celebrities and why they stand out from the crowd:

Jim Carrey

For more than twenty years now, Jim Carrey has been busting our guts with hilarious movies. After a bit of a lull, he returned to what he knows best with Dumb and Dumber To released in the fall of 2014. Carrey was born in Newmarket and raised in Scarborough. He’s a huge Leafs fan, and even wore their iconic blue and white jersey while hosting Saturday Night Live in October. Toronto has a great comedy scene and has produced many talented funnymen, but nobody beats Jim Carrey.

Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins was raised in Thornhill and Vaughan. While there has been a recent surge of Toronto-area basketball players making it big in the NBA, nobody beats the phenomenal Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins highly regarded as a college player, and chose to commit to Kansas. He was the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the massive Kevin Lowe deal this summer. The son of a former NBA player and former Olympic athlete, Torontonians should be proud to share the same hometown as this talented man.

Steven Stamkos

Stamkos was raised in Unionville and Markham, and was the first overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft. Stamkos is arguably the best goalscorer in the NHL. He was kept off the Canadian Olympic team last year due to a brutal broken leg, but he’s arguably the second-best player behind only Sidney Crosby and lights up the league with his incredible sniping abilities. Stamkos only has one more year on his contract after this season…could he come home to the Toronto Maple Leafs? We’d love it!

Drake

28-year old Drake was raised in the affluent Forest Hill neighbourhood of Toronto. He has been repping Toronto for more than a decade, first as Jimmy on Degrassi and now as a world-renowned rapper and entertainer. We love Drake because he is proud to come from Toronto and lets the world know about it. He features everything from Shoppers Drug Mart to his old Forest Hill neighbourhood in his music videos. He is an Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors and shares his love for the team all around the world. Plus, it helps to have such a talented artist with sky-high potential representing our great city.

Of course there are so many other talented Toronto celebrities to name, but there’s no doubt these four are our favourites right now!