Renovating for Resale

Renovating your home for your own enjoyment is very different than renovating it to sell. Keep these tips in mind when giving your property a makeover intended for the market.

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  1. Kitchens & bathrooms are tops. These areas, more than any others in your home, have the ability to “make or break” it, for prospective buyers, so you’d be wise to concentrate your renovating efforts and budget on these rooms – the kitchen, in particular – before upgrading other rooms
  2. It’s the little things. Don’t go overboard with your renovations. Numerous studies have shown its the simple, low-cost projects that offer home sellers the greatest return on investment. So, think small: a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, and new hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  3. Appearance is everything. Get more bang for your renovation buck by focusing on upgrades with high visibility, like those made to flooring, walls, counters & cabinetry. These are more enticing to buyers than the kinds of functional improvements that aren’t obvious in photos or at first sight.
  4. Don’t replace what you can renew. Why install new hardwood floors if a simple (and much cheaper) refinishing will make them look good as new? Are your cabinets structurally sound? A refinishing or refacing may be all the upgrading they need. Where possible, work with what you already have.
  5. Tailor to your target market. When you’re renovating to sell, the changes you make need to appeal more to the general market, not necessarily to your specific tastes.

Money-Saving Maintenance

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What better incentive to stop putting chores off than a financial one? By regularly taking care of these home-maintenance tasks, you can start saving money right away!

  1. Identify and seal leaks in your house’s envelope. By making sure air sin’t entering or escaping around windows, doors, and plumbing and electrical fixtures that pass through your house’s exterior, you can keep a more comfortable, consistent temperature inside without having to set your thermostat quite as high or low.
  2. Change your HVAC system’s filter. A dirty filter restricts airflow, forcing your system to work harder, making it more expensive to use. Change the filter according to manufacturer recommendation (typically every 30-90 days) and your system will be more energy efficient and, as a result, cheaper to run.
  3. Clean your appliances. Remove the lint build-up from your clothes dryer’s exhaust duct; clean the dust off your fridges condenser coils; clear away any obstructions around your dishwasher’s drain and clean its filter, if it has one. Clean appliances do their jobs more efficiently.
  4. Check for and fix water leaks. Faucets and shower heads that drop, pipes that leak, toilets that run – these seemingly small issues can cause your water bill to grow surprisingly big. Stop the unnecessary flow of water throughout your house and you’ll stop your money from going down the drain.

Turn on the Charm

Is there a room in your home that feels a bit cold and uninviting? A room lacking a certain something that gives a space warmth and personality? Want to avoid creating such a room? Then keep reading! Below are some sure-fire ways to imbue a room with that cozy, lived-in feeling that truly says home.

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More Mixing, Less Matching

Avoid matching furniture sets. A room with pieces too similar to one another can feel sterile and impersonal, like a catalogue spread or showroom. So mix things up a little! Already have a matching set? Try breaking it up into different rooms. In the market for new furniture? Focus more on buying pieces you like, rather than making sure they match. Eclectic is in! It’s how you combine pieces of seemingly disparate styles that give your room personality that is uniquely you.

Just-Right Light

A room that;s too dark or too bright is hardly one that feels cozy and welcoming. Your light bulbs can make a difference: those rated 3,500K or higher cast a cool, bluish light; for a warmer, softer glow, opt for 2,700K-3,000K. Take the edge off harsh overhead lighting by installing dimmer switches. Be sure to balance your light sources by having floor or table lamps in opposing sides of the room, rather than just a single overhead light fixture.

Colour Your World

If painting walls in neutral hues is, as home sellers are advised, a way to de-personalized interiors before entering the market, then it stands to reason that vibrant, bold colours are an effective way to add personality to a room. Want that large or open-concept space to feel more intimate and cozy? Paint it a dark colour, which has the effect of bringing the walls in. Warm, energetic colours – red, yellow & oranges – will make a room feel just that.

Get in Touch

If your décor falls flat, the problem may be texture – or rather lack of it. A design element that’s every bit as important as colour, texture gives spaces a sense of dimension. There’s no shortage of ways to make a room more inviting to the touch, for example: seating upholstered in brushed corduroy; weathered wood tables,; plush wood area rugs, velvet drapes, suede accent pillows, chenille throws,and even textured wallpaper. Just don’t overdo it! Too many textured touches in a room can be overwhelming on the eyes.

It’s the Little Things

There’s a reason plants are considered an ideal house-warming gift – they add life to a room, as do the photos you frame, the artwork you hang and that collection of books (or records, or tea pots) you display. Nothing expresses your unique style and personality quite like all those little accessories that are the last things put in a room, thus completing it. Finishing touches like these tend to be the things in our home that guests find most inviting.

 

Fall is the Time to Check Your Windows & Doors

By: Michelle Hopkins for Luxury Living Magazine

Rusco

When Stacey Anderson purchased a 1987 split-level home in Hawkwood, she knew that windows and some of the doors had to be replaced. All were original and many of the windows had condensation between the panes of glass, allowing for heat to escape during winter.

“I actually had five different window and door companies come into our home to give us quotes,” says Stacey, “Rusco Industries wasn’t the cheapest, but we were so impressed by their knowledge, by the fact that they listened to our concerns and gave us solutions to our issues.”

She went on t say that Dave (David McDonald, Manager, Rusco Industries Calgary Ltd.) was willing to explore ideas and work with her vision.

“Dave seemed to know more about window styles and designs that the others we spoke to,” she says.

In the end, Stacey is thrilled with how her new windows, window frames and doors transformed the look of her home.

“They look amazing… in fact, my neighbour has window and door envy.” she quips, adding Rusco went above and beyond. “My neighbour was so impressed she said to me ‘I wish I had known about Rusco.’ Also, our installer was professional, so friendly and made us feel like we were a priority.”

Thinking of replacing your windows? You’re not alone. Many homeowners are concerned about the efficiency (or lack there of) of their windows. As Dave McDonald says: “If you are sitting next to a window, and you’re feeling a draft and cold, and your energy bills are high, it’s usually your windows”

He suggests homeowners walk around their home to make sure the wood window frames are solid, not chipped or showing signs of peeling paint, as moisture can get in resulting in deterioration. In addition, ensure your windows are well sealed and caulked. If your windows do need replacing, Dave has the following suggestions: Buy from a reputable supplier, purchase renovation quality grade windows (initially, they might cost more but in the long run, you will never have to replace them again), and finally, ensure the warranty is transferable should you sell your home down the road.

“Make sure the installers are professionally trained and certified,” adds Dave.

With more than six decades in Calgary, Rusco Industries is a multiple award-winning leaded in the industry. This family-run company is where Calgarians go to purchase and install top of the line windows, doors, siding & sunrooms on everything from single family homes to condos, to commercial buildings.

“Our windows keep the heat out in the summer and keep the heat in during the wainter,” says Dave, adding all windows, including the window seals, and doors have a lifetime guarantee.

Rusco Industries’ windows are approved and certified by the nationally recognized Window Wise – a replacement window quality assurance program designed to give homeowners peace of mind that its window replacements and installations will last.

Rusco is one of the most experienced renovators in the business. Its quality renovation services and attention to detail ensures they transform your home into the one you always envisioned.

“Our workmanship will stand the test of time, ensuring that your home will stay beautiful for years to come,” adds Dave.

Rusco
Complete Exterior Renovation Services
403-250-9951
www.ruscoindustries.com
Showroom @ #3, 1430 40th Ave NE, Calgary 

Paper or Paint?

Which should you choose for your next (re)decorating project: wallpaper or paint? That depends on factors like your budget, skill level, decor needs and goals, and where you plan to apply it. Consider the following advantages and disadvantages of each:

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Wallpaper – Cons

  • From matching patterns to getting corners just right, installing wallpaper is harder – as is getting rid of it. If you’re not handy or patient, consider hiring a professional.
  • Wallpaper itself is more expensive, and if you do decide to hire someone to hand it, they’ll likely charge you more than a painter would.
  • Since wallpaper can stain, tear, and fade – problems for which there’s no quick fix – it’s a less practical choice for high-traffic areas and walls that get a lot of sun.
  • Humidity can cause adhesive to loosen and wallpaper to peel away from walls, so it’s not well suited for use in kitchens or bathrooms.

Wallpaper – Pros

  • Given the variety of colours, textures, and patters available, wallpaper offers you more versatility than paint in terms of customizing your décor to your specific tastes.
  • A smooth, flawless surface is not as crucial when hanging wall paper (particularly thicker, textures varieties), which is handy for camouflaging flaws like rough walls.
  • Wallpaper can last 10, even 15 years, so while its up-front cost is higher, it’s durability may make it the more economical choice in the long run.

Paint – Cons

  • While faux finishes like ragging and sponging give paint more creative possibilities, it just doesn’t offer as much versatility as wallpaper in terms of pattern or texture.
  • A clean, smooth, flaw-free surface is more critical to achieving satisfactory results with painting, as it can actually make dirt and imperfections more noticeable.
  • Paint can be messy. In addition to prepping your walls, you’ll need to prep your floors, molding, furniture etc.  in order to protect them from splashes and drips.

Paint – Pros

  • Paint is less difficult to apply than wallpaper. Even with little experience, achieving results you’ll be pleased with is easier with paint than with wallpaper.
  • As paint costs less to buy and you’re less likely to need a professional to do the job, painting is usually your cheapest, easiest option for changing the look of a room.
  • Unlike papered walls, painted walls are easily “spot treated” when damaged. Chips, holes, and scuffs can be easily repaired then painted over to look like new.
  • With paint, there’s no laborious removal process (which can damage your walls); when you’re tired of your paint job, just paint, or wallpaper right over it.

Can’t decide? You needn’t choose between paint and wallpaper; consider combining them in the same room or on the same wall for an even more customized look! Want to make a focal point of a particular wall? Paper it and paint the other three. In love with a wallpaper but concerned that scuffs from kids or pets may soon damage it? Paper above a chain rail and paint below. Compromises like these are a great way to enjoy the beauty of wallpaper with the practicality of paint.

Cabinetry Cures

Kitchens and bathrooms are arguably the most important rooms in a home, and their cabinetry is their focal point. Do you have cabinetry that’s looking worse for wear or is just plain outdated? If so, rest assured there’s a makeover method to suit every budget and need.

If your cabinetry is structurally sound (solid joinery, doors and drawers open and close as they should) and there are no signs of water damage or excessive wear and tear (rot, cracks), then there’s likely no need to spend your money replacing it entirely, as your cabinetry is a good candidate for refurbishing. Lets look at your options:

Refinishing: This is a great option if you like everything about your cabinetry but the color or finish. It’s certainly the cheapest way to give your cabinetry a face lift, but as it involved stripping, sanding, and painting or staining, refinishing can be labor intensive, time consuming and messy. Keep in mind your cabinetry must be in great shape (surface prep is key!); not all materials take paint well (wood is good, laminate isn’t); and it’s harder to lighten cabinetry than darken it.

Refacing: This involves installing new (or veneering over) door and drawer fronts, and veneering the visible parts of cabinet boxes. Even if you hire a professional for the job, refacing is substantially cheaper than replacing your cabinets. Unlike refinishing, you can completely change your cabinetry;s style, giving you greater freedom to shake up the look of your kitchen or bathroom, which can remain functional while the work’s being done, making refacing a less intrusive process.

Replacing: If, on the other hand, your cabinetry has simply seen too much wear and tear, was never good quality in the first place, or you’d like a different layout (maybe one with more storage space), replacement makes the most practical sense. If money is no object, go for custom cabinetry, but if it is, opt for unfinished cabinetry and finish it yourself. Be warned: the replacing process is relatively long and disruptive, as all contents must be removed, and appliances and plumbing need to be disconnected.

Rejuvenating: After all the effort and expense of refinishing, refacing, or replacing your cabinetry, it would be a shame to use the same old hardware. Installing new knobs, pulls, and hinges is an easy, inexpensive way to update your cabinetry. In fact, if you do nothing else to it, do this! In addition to aesthetic appeal, hardware can add functionality. Take self-closing hinges and drawer guides – by preventing slamming, they help preserve your cabinetry’s finish extending it’s life.

Speaking of functionality, consider outfitting the insides of your cabinetry (which, by the way, can also be veneered, painted, or stained for a new look) with accessories that save space and make your kitchen or bathroom more user-friendly. Drawer organizers, lazy Susans, roll-out shelving, pull-out garbage bins – there is no shortage of options!

Inspection Initiative

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Some say it’s really the home inspector that sellers should be concerned about. Don’t get caught by a big surprise – examine (and repair as needed) these major components before listing your house.

  1. HVAC equipment: You might be selling your home in the dead of winter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your air conditioning won’t be checked.
  2. Plumbing system: Low pressure, leaky pipes, dripping faucets, backed-up drains, running or clogged toilets – you may have learned to live with such flaws, but the inspector will be looking for them.
  3. Electrical system: Test all light switches and outlets (regular and GFCIs), and turn all your breaker switches or fuses off then on, one at a time, to make sure everything is working properly.
  4. Appliances: The inspector will be testing all your appliances to make sure they’re in good working order, so now’s the time to fix that dishwasher or washing machine that’s been on the fritz – or delete it from the contract.
  5. Roof: The inspector will be looking for signs of damage to the shingles, roofing underneath, chimney, flashing, eaves, gutters and downspouts.
  6. Basement/attic: You’ll want to take a close look before the inspector does, checking for signs of mold and mildew, as well as moisture.

If you’re interested in more home prep tips, call us today! 403-818-3907

Floor War

Alternatives like bamboo and cork are becoming increasingly popular, but for most homeowners installing new flooring in a home they’re moving into, selling, or renovating, the choice comes down to carpet versus hardwood. To help you decide which is best fit for your lifestyle and circumstances, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Carpet – Pros

  • Price: carpet is less expensive per square foot than hardwood, costs less to install, and is easier and less time-consuming to put down
  • Comfort: soft and warm, carpet is cozy. The fact it helps cushion falls makes it an appealing choice in homes with toddlers or older adults.
  • Noise: carpeting provides sound insulation, ideal for homes where impact noise is a concern, such as condos.
  • Selection: with so many colors, patterns and textures to choose from, carpet’s the covering that makes to easier to have floors that are more personalized to your particular taste and decor.

Carpet – Cons

  • Heath: if anyone in your home suffers from asthma or allergies, hardwood may be the more health-conscious choice, as carpet fibers harbor dust, dancer and other allergens.
  • Wear: carpeting doesn’t retain its good looks as long as  (well maintained) hardwood does. This count be a problem in hgih-traffic areas like halls and living rooms.
  • Cleanliness: removing stains and odors from carpeting is much harder. Again, that’s something to consider when you’re deciding where to install it (low, or high, traffic areas), and if you have kids and/or pets.

Hardwood – Pros

  • Durability: unlike carpet, hardwood can last – and not just last, but continue to look attractive – for decades if it’s well maintained. For many homewoners, this helps justify hardwood’s relatively high initial costs.
  • Value: because they’re so long lasting, and because they’re perceived as being high end, hardwood floors add value to your home. Carpet, on the other hand, is seldom considered a selling feature.
  • Reparability: when hardwood floors become stained, scratched or dulled, they can be refinished. Sand them down, buff and re-stain them – it’s a big job, but your hardwood will look like new.
  • Cleanliness: there’s little place for dirt and odor to hide in hardwood. Debris and spills can be swept away in a snap.

Hardwood – Cons

  • Damage: hardwood floors are susceptible to scratches and dents, so you’ll want to be careful about where you install them, but knowing they can be refinished makes this con less of a deal breaker.
  • Vulnerability to moisture: wood expands and contracts. Humidity levels can cause warping of and gaps between planks, and direct contact with liquids from drops, spills, or leaks can cause stains, cupping, crowning and buckling.

Original source: Market Connections – Volume 11, Issue 2

Paint & Paper Prep

You’ve finally found the perfect print or paint colour and are itching to give that room a facelift! Not so fast, though – surface preparation is key to being happy with your results; as such, problems like the following need to be addressed before you go applying that wallpaper or fresh coat of paint.

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  • Popped nails, holes, and cracks: Wallpaper might disguise these problems, but painting over them can actually make them more noticeable. Small imperfections like popped nails can be hard to see, though; to make them more apparent, hold a bright light up to your walls and mark them with painter’s tape or pencil so you can find and fix them later. How you make the repairs will depend on the size and nature of the hole or crack, as well as on the material the wall is made from.
  • Textured Walls: A technique often used to hide imperfections like those mentioned above, texturing is achieved by manipulating joint compound with patterning tools like sponges or brushes, or by applying textured paint. Smoothing textured walls is a laborious process, but it can be done. Either you remove the texturing by softening and loosening it with water then scraping or sanding it off, or you fill the surface by applying thing layers of joint compound in a process known as skim coating.
  • Stuck-on Wallpaper: Today’s wallpapers are much easier to remove, but if you’re up against the old stuff, you have messy work ahead. What can’t be scraped off may need to be steamed off or chemically removed. You’ll want to score the problem paper so the steam or chemical remover can better penetrate the paper and break down it’s adhesive. You can use a utility knife, but there is also a tool made just for this purpose, called a wallpaper perforate, that can help move the job along.
  • Boldly Colored Walls: Bright or dark colours can show through lighter paint layers and even some wallpapers. The good news is you won’t need to limit your choices to what will effectively mask what’s underneath or apply multiple coats of new paint – if you apply primer first. A coat of high-hiding primer goes a long way towards achieving results that are more true to colour with fewer coats. You can even have your primer tinted to match your new colour, ,making it even easier to cover up the old colour.
  • Dirt: Even if they aren’t newly covered in drywall dust as a result of your hole-repairing or texture-removing, your walls still hold dirt from everyday wear-and-tear – grease, cigarette smoke, pet dancer, and particulate are some examples. If you skip cleaning, you’ll seal the dirt in, making for walls that aren’t as smooth and that have a harder time holding onto paint or wallpaper. Available at your local home improvement store, trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a powerful cleaner that also etches your walls so your paint or wallpaper will better adhere to them. Just mix with water, scrub onto walls, and rinse.

A Clean Sweep

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While just about everyone enjoys a clean house, there are precious few who enjoy the work involved. Even the most hygienic of homeowners would rather spend their time doing something else. Make cleaning your home an easier, faster and less unpleasant process with the following tips/

First things first, have the right tools – your cleaning equipments should be easy to maintain while making your task easier. For instance, brooms with angled heads and dusters with telescopic handles make it easier to clean hard-to-reach places; mops with removable heads are easier to clean, and those with loops (as opposed to cut) ends are more effective and durable.

Be sure to keep your cleaning equipment in good working order, too. You’ll spend considerably more time passing a poorly maintained vacuum over the same area of carpeting – and still leave more dirt behind – than you will with a vacuum whose filter you’ve regularly cleaned/replaced or belt you’ve changed as needed.

Now that you’re well equipped, it’s time to get organized. Gather all your essential cleaning supplies – you all-purpose cleaner, sponges, microfiber cloths and gloves, for example – into some kind of caddy that can travel with you from room to room. Having everything you need within handy reach will help prevent you from wasting time or getting distracted as you retrieve that forgotton item.

Organize a plan of attack, too. Figure our what chores need to be done, when, and by whom. Create cleaning checklists and/or schedules that will work for your particular family/lifestyle. You might have a different checklist for each room or person in your home, for example, or checklists for each day, week and/or month.

When it comes time to get down to business, do whatever you need to do to get in the right head space. That might mean cranking up the high-energy music, playing that newly downloaded podcast or streaming your favorite TV show. For those who need to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that may mean setting a timer – when your 15 or 30 minutes are over, so is your work. For parents, that may mean setting up a cleaning game like musical chores for children – when the music changes, the kids switch chores. If it helps motivate you (or your spouse/children) have a reward ready for when the chores are done.

Of course, another helpful way to make your home easy to clean is to design it that way. When you have the opportunity to redecorate, opt for finishes and materials that will help reduce the amount of time you need to spend cleaning, rather than adding to it. Walls needs a fresh coat? Choose a paint with a high scrubbability rating. Carpeting looking worse for wear? Consider it replacing it with carpet tiles rather than the wall-to-wall variety. Ditching those outdated appliances for new models? Avoid stainless steel unless you want to spend more time erasing fingers prints!