Archives for July 2013

Tips For Overcoming Those First-time Home Ownership Jitters

Woman Stands By an Open Patio Door Examining a Document and Biting Her NailsFirst time home ownership brings with it a daunting list of fears and what-ifs that are accompanied by an equally emotional list of joys and rewards.

Much of our anxieties as first timers stem from a lack of knowledge and understanding. While you know you want a semi-detached home over a condo, your grasp of mortgages, closing costs and realtor sales commissions may be a little lacking.

Unless your parents are in the real estate business, don’t look to them for advice. Chances are they haven’t purchased real estate in many, many years. Try studying your local real estate market online or attend a free seminar for first-time home buyers.

On the plus side, home ownership gives you independence; it sets you on the path to your dream home and helps you build equity. If you have a green thumb or a decorator’s eye, you’ll find hours of pleasure and pride working on your house and garden.

Here are a few tips that might allay some of those first-time buyer fears:

Buyer’s Remorse – Prepare a list of the must-haves you require and stick with it. Stay within your price range and be sure to sleep on your decision before putting in an offer no matter how much you love the house. Try to view it a second time before placing an offer as the property will either come more into focus or go out of focus.

Devalued Property – Even Warren Buffett can’t predict how the real estate market will fare. If you can afford it, buy in an established neighbourhood where homes are well maintained and lived in by their owners.

Too High Maintenance Costs – To avoid getting saddled with a money pit, buy a home that is well maintained or one that has recently underwent new upgrades such as a new roof, new furnace or new electrical wiring. You may want to buy a new home to avoid unexpected costs, though that’s not always a guarantee. Always get your home inspected before buying. While there are no guarantees, a good home inspector can ferret out problems you would likely oversee.

To help you on your journey of first time home ownership, be sure to use the help of our Team.

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When Decorating, Don’t Forget To Decorate Your Fifth Wall – The Ceiling


When it comes to ceilings most times what you see is that ugly outdated popcorn ceiling, or one that’s just white and flat. Luckily, there are some really beautiful options out there to spice up your ceiling and add some flair to your room’s fifth wall.

There are so many patterns and colours to choose from, as well as some unique materials to finish your ceiling with that will add beauty and style to your home and at the same time can cover up any flaws.

The most common way to give your ceiling a makeover is with paint. It’s affordable and can really update the look of the space. There is no right or wrong colour to choose, as lighter colours on the ceiling expand space, while dark colours add warmth. You can create contrast in the room by painting the ceiling dark in a light or neutral room or vise versa. Continuing on the ceiling with the wall colour also looks great and creates the illusion of a taller space.

Wallpaper is another option for a sophisticated look and using patterns can give an interesting appeal to your ceiling. Another unique touch you can add is by using wall decals. These have become quite popular and there are many options out there to choose from.

Adding tiles or planks is a great way to add style or conceal ceiling damage, too. Choose square or rectangular tiles or planks made of PVC vinyl, laminate, or mineral fiber. Tin tiles have also become a popular choice for the ceiling. They provide a classy and vintage vibe. Embossed tin-plated steel tiles often reproduce mid-1800s patterns. Or choose polystyrene ceiling tiles, made of extruded polystyrene (high density styrofoam). They are light, elegant, moisture proof, paintable, easy to clean and can be installed directly over a popcorn ceiling.

Other options are tray ceilings, vaulted ceilings, beam ceilings, sculptural ceilings, cathedral ceilings, cove ceilings, suspended ceilings, and the highly popular drop ceilings.

Explore your options and turn your ceiling into something beautiful and unique and add a dramatic effect to your décor.

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Pre-Construction Condominiums: Pros And Cons Of Buying A Condo Before It’s Built

Condo Under ConstructionThere are several pros and cons to buying a condo before its foundation is poured or during construction. Here is a list to help you decide the best way for you to go:

Presale pros:
-You can customize your unit and make it your own.
-Buying early in the development is generally the time when prices are the lowest. Typically they appreciate over time.
-You only have to put down a 15-20 per cent deposit on the market value and when you sell, you reap 100 per cent of the value.
-More time to save or downsize while the project is under construction.
-A longer closing period means more time to save for the downpayment.
-Lower maintenance fees. Buying new means the monthly maintenance fee will likely stay the same as the day construction was completed and remain so for about 10 years.

Presale cons:
-On the investment front, your money is tied up for three to four years with no return on that until you sell and hopefully the value has appreciated by then.
-You’ve paid out cash for an intangible, something that’s a floor plan layout and artist renderings.
-Potential delays in completion. Time delays can occur due to weather, labour shortages, supplier problems, inspection problems, etc.
-Layout plans may alter without you having any say in it, as the developer has the right to do so. The hefty sales contract is riddled with phrases like “more or less” and “subject to change without notice,” giving the developer free reign to change the plans on which you initially signed.
-The market may change by the completion date bringing a drop in market value and interest rates may rise or your personal situation may change that would make condo life less appealing.
-There may be additional costs on closing.
-When you finally get the keys to your condo you don’t own it, yet, until the building is registered, and that could take up to a year. Meantime, you have to pay an occupancy fee to the developer. It’s much like paying rent on a condo you own.

Before you buy, make sure you have weighed all of the pros and cons of buying a condo on spec so that when you’re ready to move in years later, you love the place and have made a wise investment.

See what’s for sale in your neighbourhood – Do a quick search

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Thank-you for reading our article about Pros & Cons Of Buying A Condo Before It Is Built, contact us if you need anything or leave us a comment below.

Pathway Options for Your Outdoor Space

Garden Path

This is a very popular and durable choice and is available in a wide variety of shapes, colours and textures and can be laid in a variety of patterns. There are pre-cast concrete pavers or brick pavers to consider. Pavers are relatively inexpensive and installation can be accomplished by a do-it-yourselfer that has spent some time researching up on the process.
Creating a pathway can create a functional and visually appealing addition to your outdoor space. Here are some ideas on the different types of pathway materials to consider.
Lined Walkways
Sometimes the best pathways don’t require placing down any hardscape materials at all. Define a walkway boarder by using elements such as solar lighting, shrubs, or flowers to create a winding path throughout your backyard at a fraction of the price.
While its main purpose is to serve as a protective layer in your garden beds, mulch can also be used to make an affordable walkway. Before you lay the mulch, dig up the grass and remove the roots and any weeds first. Then simply line the path with plastic edging, or dig a trench to edge the path and lay about a 3-inch layer of mulch along your desired route.
Gravel is another low-maintenance and cost-effective path material. It’s best used when creating an informal look, but it can also be dressed up by simply adding a stone boarder on both sides. On the downside, having a gravel pathway can lead into pebbles being tracked into your home. If you’re looking to create a pathway that will lead right up to the house, gravel is not your best choice.
Natural Stone
Rich in colour and texture, stone is a beautiful option to consider. While not an inexpensive choice, each stone piece is unique and will add a timeless elegance to your yard. One way to save a bit of money is to create a stepping-stone pathway. Stepping-stone paths are those that have distance between the stones – about a stride’s length apart.  Because you’ll cover more distance with less stone, the cost will come down.
Whatever route you end up choosing, just be sure to do your homework and calculate accurate measurements before you buy your materials. A general rule of thumb is to add an additional 5 per cent to your calculated total square footage. This overage in materials will allow for any waste or mishaps that can pop up.

See what’s for sale in your neighbourhood – Do a quick search

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Thank-you for reading our article about Pathway Options for Your Outdoor Space, contact us if you need anything or leave us a comment below.

Summer Backyard Themes Make for Great Entertaining

water pitcher in southwest
Summer backyard parties are a great reason to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather with family and friends. So why not get creative with your entertaining and spice it up with a great them
e for your party. From a fish fry to a fiesta, have fun with your theme as the options are endless.
The first step is to think about which theme you’d like your party to have. Then you can brainstorm all of the details that will go along with it including finding a menu, decorations and even games to match the theme.
Here are just a few of the great theme ideas you could have for your outdoor bash.
Tropical/Hawaiian Luau
Bring the tropics to your backyard. Use bright and bold colours like blues, greens and corals as your colour scheme. Add the Hawaiian touch with grass skirts around the food tables and leis for the guests. Decorate with tropical flowers such as Bird of Paradise, Hybiscus, Red Anthurium, or Red Ginger flowers. And have plenty of pineapples and coconuts, for eating, drinking out of and decorating with. Bring out the limbo later when the party really gets started.
An outdoor fiesta just screams summertime fun. Use bold and colourful decorations, especially in hot pink, aqua, and lime colours, and include a sombrero, if you have one. Serve Mexican cuisine including chips and guacamole, fresh salsa, and add a burrito bar with all of the best toppings. And don’t forget the piñata and margaritas, margaritas, and more margaritas.
Bring the beach to your backyard with a traditional New England-style clambake. Your guests will love the lobster, crab, clams or whatever seafood you choose and don’t forget the butter for dipping. Provide crackers and bibs for the guests and buckets on the tables for the shells.
 Set the tables with red and white checkered tablecloths and decorate with starfish and shells. You can even serve snack foods out of beach buckets. Lemonade and beer are great beverages to serve at this party.
Fish Fry
Another seafood themed party that’s a hit is a fish fry. This casual
 and fun theme will have your guests feeling like they are away on a great fishing or camping trip without having to leave the backyard. Decorate with fishing rods, tackle boxes and lanterns. Serve the meal on metal camping plates and drinks in Mason jars. Of course, serve fried fish and other comfort foods like mac and cheese, hush puppies, coleslaw and other salads, and don’t forget lots of lemon wedges. Also, put out bowls of gummy worms and goldfish crackers.
Have fun this summer and make your backyard parties the place to be.

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Thank-you for reading our article about Summer Backyard Themes Make for Great Entertaining, contact us if you need anything or leave us a comment below.

Enjoy the spa experience in Thornhill

Spa Towel and Flower

Summer is here and along with it comes weather perfectly suited for sandals, shorts and, of course, bathing suits. After a long winter of hibernating and bulky layers, it’s time to show a little more skin and what better way to prepare your body than a trip to the spa?
Thornhill has become something of a “spa-utopia” in rece


nt years, with a collection of outstanding spots each offering a menu of enchanting treatments designed to relax you and ready your body for the beach.
OM Spa offers clients relaxing spa services in a serene, comfortable atmosphere. Their spa pedicures are the ultimate in pampering for your feet, beginning with a soothing warm soak and ending with relaxing foot massage and nail colour of your choice. There are also a number of facial treatments available, including microzone dermalogical treatments and revitalizing sugarcane peels.  OM Spa also offers waxing, eye care and massage therapy. It is located at 55 Glen Cameron Rd. in the Moksha Yoga Studio. Call 905-881-8359 or visit online at
Ocean Breeze Spa is committed to helping people look and feel great. They strive to bring clients the latest technology in skin care and the very best products on the market. Their photo facial treatment utilizes Intense Pulsed Light GEM technology that is painless and more effective than traditional laser therapy. They also offer laser hair removal, RF cellulite treatments, RF body contouring and massage therapy. Ocean Breeze Spa is located at 7398 Yonge St. Call 289-597-3570 or visit online at
Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa now offers seven locations in Ontario


, including one in Thornhill. Their goal is to provide affordable relaxation that fits into your busy daily schedule. They offer massage therapy, facial and waxing services and a number of fabulous spa packages designed to pamper and relax you.  Hand and Stone Massag
e and Facial Spa is located at 11 Disera Dr. Call 905-771-1772 or visit online at
Petals Laser and Esthetics Studio is a one-stop shop for all your skin-care needs. They offer microdermabrasion, foot and hand care, waxing, body treatments, hair removal and more. They are located at 8179 Yonge St. Call 905-707-6602 or visit online at

See what’s for sale in your neighbourhood – Do a quick search

Do a Quick Home Market Evaluation and see how much your home is worth.

Thank-you for reading our article about Enjoy the Spa Experience in Thornhill, contact us if you need anything or leave us a comment below.