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The yard of your dreams just might be more achievable than you thought.

Poor neglected, thing.

You know your yard has some super curb appeal potential, but where to begin? 

Check out the Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features from the National Association of REALTORS®. It’s got some interesting data on how landscaping affects home value, especially those with tons of curb appeal. They beat out most indoor projects when it comes to adding value to your home!

Below are four projects with so much curb-appeal juice, any money you invest in them is likely to pay you back much more.

#1 Add or Replace a Few Landscaping Basics

Every few years, you overhaul your closet, replacing your worn-out basics with a few new pieces to ramp up your wardrobe. Why not do the same with your yard? Give it a basic makeover so it has some good, classic, value-boosting “bones” to build upon. 

Nicely landscaped front yard
Image: Night and Day Landscape Design

Landscape design basics like:

  • A winding flagstone walkway
  • A couple of stone planters (6 feet by 2 feet)
  • A few flowering shrubs 
  • A deciduous tree about 15 feet tall
  • Quality mulch

Why you can’t go wrong: The median cost for this makeover is $5,000. But the recoup (how much more your house would sell for after doing this project) is $4,000! Pretty sweet, right?

Dead or dying trees definitely hurt resale value. And if you remove dead trees and take care of your healthy trees, you won’t be throwing money away.

REALTORS® who advised their clients to do some tree triage before putting their home on the market say their clients almost always get their money back.

The typical cost to pay a pro to remove a dead tree and take care of the healthy ones with fertilizing, pruning and trimming is $2,000. And if you sell, you can expect 100% return on your investment in most cases, according to the RIR report.

Why you can’t go wrong: Just three trees in the right location can save up to $250 a year in heating and cooling costs, says the source for energy-saving stats: the U.S. Department of Energy.

Shade trees help boost curb appeal
Image: Robin Zebrowski

 

#3 Build a Deck If You Don’t Have One

If you’re spending sunny days admiring the great outdoors from indoors, it’s time for a change to get you outside… like finally building that deck you’ve been dreaming of.

Gray and white painted concrete patio floor
Image: Jill Bennett

Why you can’t go wrong: A new deck costs about $10,000 and recoups 80% at resale. Plus, how can you put a price on all those evening cookouts and Sunday brunches al fresco?

#4 Heap Loads of Love on Your Lawn

Yep, you read that right. Especially if you know you’re going to sell in the next year or so. 

It’s the easiest project to do — and it has a whopping ROI of 267%!

Slate walkway in home's front yard
Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Lawn maintenance is simple:

  • Fertilize
  • Aerate 
  • Weed
  • Rake 

Why you can’t go wrong: It’s the cheapest project to do with an annual cost of only $375. Every year, you’ll reap the benefits of a lush, barefoot-friendly lawn

(But note that unlike the other landscaping features listed in this article — deck, patio, hardscaping, trees, etc. — you’ll only get that fabulous 267% ROI on your maintenance costs for the year right before you sell. That’s because lawn maintenance has to be repeated annually, unlike the other projects).

 

 

There are many dramatic changes you can make when preparing a home for photos. Renovating a bathroom or kitchen can reap big resale rewards, while a fresh coat of paint or new siding can add serious curb appeal. But for those working with a limited budget or on a shorter timeline, there are more subtle changes that can have your house looking its best prior to an open house or having photos taken.

1. Put toilet seats down
While we’re all human, there’s no need to remind possible buyers of that fact when showcasing your home. Also, hide all toilet-related items, including plungers, extra toilet paper and toilet brushes. Make sure the top of your toilet is clear – or better yet, just exclude the toilet altogether when taking photos.

2. Open blinds and curtains
In addition to ensuring your home is nice and bright, opening all window coverings provides potential buyers with a view of what they’ll be seeing. If you have concerns about unsightly windows, at least turn your blinds open to provide some sun and to prevent anyone from thinking you’re hiding something.

3. Tidy your bathroom
Along with hiding all toilet-related accoutrements, sellers should also hide other hygiene products, such as toothbrushes, hairbrushes and deodorant. Remove shampoos and any other cleaners from your shower or bathtub and try to limit items on the counter to those that serve a decorative purpose.

4. Clean under your deck and tidy your yard
It may act as an easy area to stash outdoor items, but when it comes to photos, those items under your deck or patio make your yard look more chaotic than calming. It’s also best, when possible, to move large items like trampolines in order to maximize the size of your yard in photos.

5. Minimize counter clutter and tidy electrical cords
Necessary as they may be, all those appliances and gadgets in your home can add just as much clutter as they do convenience. It’s fine to keep the basics on the counter, but stow away anything that’s not needed on a daily basis. In addition, try to eliminate the number of cords that stretch across otherwise bare walls for any distance.

6. Remove large air conditioners, space heaters and fans
Although even the newest, most energy-efficient homes can sometimes benefit from a little extra cooling or heating, there’s no need to put any worries in the heads of potential buyers.

7. Hide cat trees, dog beds and all other pet toys
We all love our pets, but when preparing your home, it’s best to leave out pet-related items in case potential buyers are wary of the lingering smells or damage that can come with a pet.

8. Tidy closets and laundry rooms
They may not be the showcase rooms in your home, but most photographers will take photos of larger closets and laundry rooms, so have them looking their best. If possible, move all the clothing out of your master closet.

Like cutting your grass way short, or thinking you don’t need roof vents.

As you open the door to your exciting — and sometimes overwhelming — new life as a homeowner, steer clear of these eight common home ownership myths. Avoiding them will save you time, money, and protect your home value.

Myth #1: Only Homes In Warm Climates Need Roof Vents

Yes, roof vents do suck hot, humid air up and out through the roof. That act is called ventilation. Which is why you need roof vents if you live in a colder climate.

Huh?

Because ventilation pushes the warm away from your snow-covered roof and gutters. If warm air lingers under your roof, it could cause the snow to melt just enough to easily refreeze at night, melt again, refreeze (you get the picture) creating If you spot icicles hanging from your gutters, that’s a clue you might have ice dams forming. And when those ice dams melt come spring, that water could funnel into your insulation and walls causing mold, mildew — and a busted bank account.

Myth #2: I Should Re-Up On My Home Warranty

Illustration of person with bandages on their knees
Image: Malte Mueller/fStop/Offset

A home warranty is like a $500 bottle of wine. If someone else pays for it, why not enjoy it?

And sellers often do offer them as an incentive to help buyers (especially first-timers who often have limited budgets) feel more secure about having financial help for any unexpected repairs.

If your seller tosses one into your deal, great. Use it. But when the warranty runs out, resist the temptation to continue it. Put the money into a home maintenance savings account instead.

Because home warranties aren’t cost-effective for homeowners to purchase themselves. The coverage is often limited, and warranty companies have oodles of red tape that can delay repairs for days, even weeks.

Myth #3: Mowing Grass Extra Short Means Mowing Less Often

Garden gnome next to a home's lawn
Image: Chris Clor/Getty

Grass blades collect sunlight. Cut them too short and they can’t soak up enough to survive, which makes for brown, patchy grass and weeds galore. Which means you just killed your curb appeal, too.

Save the grass — and your home’s good looks — by cutting your lawn no more than one-third the length of the blades at each mowing. Overall, aim to keep the grass between two-and-a-half and three inches high.

Myth #4: If My Water Main Springs a Leak, The Water Company Will Cover It

Nope. The city fixes the public water lines from the road to your property, but you’re responsible for the main that runs from your property line to your dwelling.

A broken water main can cost anywhere from $500 to a shocking $3,000 (or more!) to repair. Plus: all that water everywhere.

And you may have to If you alert your utility, and address the leak as quickly as possible, they may forgive all or part of the cost of the water that leaked.pay for that water, too, which also can run into the thousands, especially if you don’t address the leak quickly.

The most common cause of water main breaks is tree roots getting into older pipes. If you have mature trees with roots pushing up the sidewalk or driveway, that could be a hint that you might encounter a water main break — or sewer line break (yup, just like the water line, the sewer line on your property is your responsibility).

And don’t waste money on special water pipe insurance. It’s not worth it. You’re better off putting that money into a home maintenance account. Besides it only covers fresh-water pipes.

Myth #5: I Can Remove a Tree or Paint My Mailbox Any Color

Tree stump in a yard
Image: David Crespo/Getty

Before yelling “Timber!” or choosing paint colors, think about your neighbors. If you bought a condo, co-op, or a home in a neighborhood with an HOA (homeowners’ association) you may not actually have the right to do that — without your neighbors’ consent, that is.

What an HOA (or condo association or co-op board) may control is surprising. Things like pet ownership, outdoor clotheslines, or even (true story) parking in the driveway instead of your garage.

So check the rules. Because breaking them could cost you — by making you redo a remodel, or fining you.

But keep in mind that HOAs are there to protect your home value. They’ve got your back. Just stay in touch with the rules so you don’t make a costly mistake.

Myth #6: When The Pipes Clog, Pour In a Bottle of Drain Cleaner

While drain cleaners are quick and convenient, they can cause more (and bigger) problems than they fix. They don’t typically remove the entire clog, making it more likely to recur — and their caustic chemicals can wear away the insides of the pipes, causing leaks.

Instead, invest in a $15, manually-operated drain snake at the hardware store, or rent an electric one to clear bigger clogs. Then use screens to prevent food scraps and hair from getting in your pipes.

And keep everything but sewage and TP out of the toilets. Always.

Myth #7: My Neighbor’s Tree Fell In My Yard, So They’ll Pay For It

Well …  that depends. Your first step, no matter what, is to call your insurance company. They’ll restore your property and then decide whether to pursue the neighbor for reimbursement.

That may be tough, though, (and awkward) because in order to collect the insurance company needs proof that the neighbor knew the tree was old or damaged, and didn’t maintain it.

The good news is that your policy should cover tree damage caused by wind, water, and storms. It may also cover hauling away tree debris if it damaged your home.

Likewise, if your tree falls on a neighbor’s property, don’t rush over with a wad of cash. Offer your sympathies, and let them know you’ll wait to proceed until their insurance company contacts you.

And always keep receipts for trimming and other tree care, should you need to prove your diligence.

Myth #8: I’ll Save Time And Money By Reroofing Over Old Shingles

An old roof that needs to be replaced
Image: Peter Horrox/Getty

Reroofing, or adding new shingles over existing roofing, may be cheaper than replacing the roof entirely.

But it’s not wise. A roof is like a cake of wooden sheathing beneath an icing of shingles. If the cake is spoiled, you can’t fix it (or even find out about it) by putting an extra layer of icing on top.

If there’s damage to your roof, get a new roof. Period.

CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie speaks to the media at the 2018 CREB® Forecast Conference and Tradeshow. CREB®Now Archive
 
 

A luxury market stats breakdown with CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie

CREB®Now: How do statistics for luxury homes fit into the overall housing market in Calgary?

Lurie: It’s usually the media that defines what the luxury market is. What I see as luxury is different from everyone else. To me, this reflects properties that have sold for over $1 million, and these properties account for roughly four per cent of all our sales activity

This is a fairly small share, and equivalent to sales at the lower end of the market (under $200,000), where those sales account for around five per cent of the share.

Ultimately, the average homeowner or buyer is not influenced by activity in the luxury market. It’s the tail of the bell curve.

CREB®Now: What trends are you seeing in the luxury market?

Lurie: This year, we have seen a recent rise in the supply level compared to demand. This is after briefly returning to a supply-demand balance that is more consistent with longer-term conditions last year. If this trend persists, we could see some downward pressure on prices in the higher end of the market. Year-to-date sales have eased a bit this year, and remain lower than the highs seen in 2014. Most of the sales activity is centred in the $1,000,000 – $1,249,999 segment of the market.

CREB®Now: What are the key stats homebuyers and sellers should look at for the luxury market?

Lurie: They should be looking at months of supply and how they compare to historical periods. The balanced measure of months of supply for this sector would clearly be different from lower-priced properties, as the demand pool is not as deep. However, it can give us some indication if this segment is oversupplied and how that can influence prices.

While we do not measure price activity within specific ranges, we can look to some higher-priced communities for price trends. The reality is it does depend on the area.

At the higher price ranges, there is more uniqueness with properties and they do appeal to a smaller demographic. Using aggregate trends does not necessarily relate to specific properties and I wouldn’t read too much into some of the figures released on specific properties.

The luxury life
In 2017, the following Calgary communities had an average sale price of $1 million or higher.

1. Bel-Aire – $1,936,875
2. Britannia – $1,570,763
3. Elbow Park – $1,469,731
4. Elboya – $1,290,118
5. Mayfair – $1,147,000
6. Upper Mount Royal – $1,900,050
7. Rideau Park – $1,121,500
8. Rosedale – $1,285,330
9. Scarboro – $1,086,769
10. Eagle Ridge – $1,487,917

Could it really be summer?!

Tackle these 5 summer maintenance tasks during June’s longer days and better weather — and save yourself time and money this winter.

 

#1 Update Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor stone steps lit with pathway lighting
Image: Rosann M. Kelley, photo/ Outdoor Artisan, Inc., design

In June, winter nights are probably the last thing on your mind. But early summer is the perfect time to plan for those “OMG it’s only 4:30, and it’s already dark ” moments by adding or updating landscape lighting.

The most energy-efficient, easy-to-install option is solar lighting, but it won’t perform as well on dark or snowy days. For light no matter the weather, install electric.

LED bulbs last up to five times longer and also use less energy than comparable bulbs.

#2 Clean Your House’s Siding

Home with bright green painted siding
Image: Kristin Diehl

With a bit of preventative maintenance, your home’s siding will stay clean and trouble-free for up to 50 years. Fifty years! Clean it this month with a soft cloth or a long-handled, soft-bristled brush to guarantee that longevity.

Start at the bottom of the house and work up, rinsing completely before it dries. That’s how you avoid streaks.

 

#3 Focus on Your Foundation

Brick exterior wall with damage
Image: Martb/Getty

There’s no better time for inspecting your foundation than warm, dry June. Eyeball it for crumbling mortar, cracks in the stucco, or persistently damp spots (especially under faucets). Then call a pro to fix any outstanding issues now, before it becomes an emergency later.

 

#4 Seal Your Driveway Asphalt

Sealed asphalt driveway at pink house
Image: Cveltri/Getty

Your driveway takes a daily beating. Weather, sunlight, cars, bikes, and foot traffic – all of these deteriorate the asphalt. Help it last by sealing it. Tip: The temperature must be 50 degrees or higher for the sealer to stick, making June a good month for this easy, cost-effective job.

 

#5 Buy Tools

Lawn tools hanging in a garage

Thanks to Father’s Day, June is the month everyone can get a deal on tools, tool bags, and that multitool you’ve had your eye on. If it’s time to replace a bunch of tools, or you’re starting from scratch, look for package deals that offer several at once. These can pack a savings wallop, offering 30% off or more over buying the tools individually.

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