Blowing the budget is everyone’s biggest fear when it comes to home renovation projects. Even if you follow standard guidelines—like building in a 20% cushion to cover unexpected costs, vetting contractors, and staying focused—it’s hard to prevent spending more than you’d like to. But with some strategic planning, you can save money in the lead-up to your big remodel and cut costs without cutting corners. 

1. Figure out your priorities

We get it: You’re super excited to get into your new house, and you can’t wait to make it yours. But before you start envisioning walls coming down, scale down your big dreams, suggests Toronto financial counsellor Jessica Moorhouse, who is also host of the Mo’ Money Podcast. 

“Yes, there’s a long list of things…

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Buying the perfect home is not as simple as it can look on TV. Buyers and sellers must first navigate the offer process, which can involve many steps and quick decisions. Here’s what first-time buyers and sellers can expect, and how your REALTOR® can help guide you throughout.

1) What must happen before you can make an offer?

Many renters think they can move on a house right away. But first, there are some things to take care of, says Katia Samson, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX L’ESPACE in Montreal.

“It’s very important to give your landlord notice three months before the end of the lease, because leases are usually renewed automatically every year,” explains Samson. 

Next, get pre-approved for your mortgage unless you’re paying cash, she adds. 

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                     Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

When you make the decision to sell your home, there can be incredible emotions and stress involved. Following the right steps to sell your home will help guide you in the right direction to make your selling experience is as easy as possible.

Here are some helpful tips when you prepare to sell your home!

Staging is one of the best ways to add value to your home for very little money, so what should you focus on first?

  • Decluttering! From counters to walls to floors, you want potential buyers to see the house, not your collectibles. Scrub everything from tile grout to window panes. Everywhere should sparkle!

  • Don’t forget your home’s exterior. Rent a power washer for a few hours and…

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Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

For our older loved ones, there comes a time when they may no longer be able to live on their own at home. In these cases, family members could find themselves dealing with the sale of a property they have not legally inherited while their relative transitions into an assisted-living facility or senior community. 

So, what exactly does the process of selling your older relative’s home entail, whether it’s your grandparent or mother or father?

Magda Zecevic, a REALTOR®, Toronto-based master accredited senior agent, and salesperson with Royal LePage Signature, walks us through the important steps of selling a home for an aging or ailing relative.

Recruit the right REALTOR®

Before you sign your listing…

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What size of mortgage can I afford

When purchasing a house, most people need a loan be able to afford the home. These loans are called mortgages. A mortgage is a legal agreement where a bank or other lender loans money and charges interest in exchange for taking the title of the borrower’s property. Upon repayment of the debt, the borrower owns the property.

In Canada, to purchase a home, the buyer must first save up a down payment for the home. The minimum amount required is five per cent of the purchase price up to $500,000; 10 per cent of the portion between $500,000 and $999,999; and 20 per cent for the amount above $1,000,000. As well, if the down payment is less than 20 per cent of the purchase price, the buyer must also purchase mortgage loan…

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We’ve all experienced the struggle of trying to find something in a dim space. Closets, cabinets, and drawers are notoriously dark, making it difficult to locate what you need when you need it. Lighting isn’t just for building ambiance, it’s necessary to complete everyday activities like getting dressed in a walk-in closet or chopping veggies on your countertop. It’s as much about function as it is atmosphere.

If you’re looking to brighten up your bookshelves or illuminate your pantry we’ll explore lighting options for those tricky underlit spaces.


Have you recently been asked if you got dressed in the dark? If so, it might be time to think about closet lighting. Good lighting is a must in any closet—walk-in or reach-in. The right…

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Kitchens aren’t just for cooking and eating; they’re gathering places, homework stations, and the spot where parties always end up. This room always tops homeowners’ remodelling wish lists, but if a major overhaul isn’t in your budget this year, there’s another way to maximize your space, while adding style and function: install a kitchen island or elevate the one you already have.

Islands provide more storage and prep space, extra seating, and they add character and a focal point to your kitchen. We asked a design expert for creative, affordable hacks to create fabulous kitchen islands.

Image courtesy of Rebekah Higgs

1. Repurpose what you can 

When Halifax-based interior design consultant and TV host Rebekah Higgs—also known as DIY Mom—began…

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What is the Mortgage Stress Test in Canada

A common goal for many Canadians upon completing their education and gaining employment is purchasing their first home. Home ownership is, after all, the Canadian dream. While it’s general knowledge that saving money for a down payment is the first step to eventually purchasing a home, many are not aware of the mortgage stress test. So, what is the mortgage stress test in Canada, anyway?

To put it simply, the mortgage stress test is a mortgage qualifier tool used to determine if the borrower would still be able to continue making mortgage payments, should they lose their job, undergo some other type of financial strain, or if interest rates were to rise.

Before being approved for a mortgage on a home, the borrower must…

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There’s a lot to consider when you decide to renovate. Aside from choosing the right tile for your new backsplash or the perfect shade of paint, you have to think about insurance. Though home insurance isn’t mandatory in Canada, most mortgage lenders require it before financing, and it can help protect your property and home contents against damages.

Canada’s home renovation sector is now an $80-billion market with a recent survey indicating that 27% of Canadian homeowners have renovated during the pandemic, and another 20% plan on tackling renovations in the near future. 

While some renovations can be costly, they can help increase the value of a home. Regardless of the size of your renovation, it’s always important to consider how any improvement…

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  • fixed vs variable rate mortgages

In 2022, financial experts have been homing in on mortgage rates. Market analysts believe the Bank of Canada (BoC) will raise interest rates. The debate among housing observers, economists and investors is by how much. And with all this talk of fixed vs variable rate mortgages, what is the difference between the two products anyway? Let’s explore.

With Canada’s inflation rate the highest it has been since 1991, some anticipate the central bank will be aggressive on rate hikes, while others believe it will adopt a more cautious approach after about two years of ultra-loose and accommodative monetary policy in response to the pandemic.

One corner of the mortgage market attracting plenty of attention is variable…

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