If you live in an older home—or even some modern builds—there’s a good chance popcorn ceilings are commanding the overhead views. If you’re getting tired of this feature and plan to remove it, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s find out what you need to know about removing popcorn ceilings from your home.

Image via Denis Agati, Unsplash

What is a popcorn ceiling?

Popcorn ceilings—also known as stucco, stipple or Artex—are marked by their bumpy texture, though they can be characterized by swirling designs, or peaks that look like the top of a meringue pie. The plaster-based material was originally called Artex, after the UK-based company that developed the textured finishing technique as a way to hide imperfections and seams in ceilings. The application also provided a minor sound-dampening effect.

Image via StockSnap, Pixabay

From 1945 until the 1980s, popcorn ceilings were a popular feature in the construction of most North American homes. Popularity peaked in the 1970s with a varying range of designs and textures gracing ceilings across the continent.

Asbestos fibers were originally incorporated into the plaster for added strength, while also acting as a fire retardant. Due to the severe health effects of air-born asbestos and the associated risks involved with building or renovating when it is present, it was eventually removed from production in the 1980s.

Testing for asbestos

Before attempting any kind of removal, make sure the material used for your popcorn ceiling is asbestos-free, especially if your home was built before 1986. While DIY asbestos test kits are available, they can sometimes be inaccurate. Although hiring a professional may cost more, it’s worth the extra peace of mind when this carcinogenic material is involved.

In the event asbestos is present, you’ll need to make a judgment call on moving forward with smoothing out your ceilings. It’s recommended to use an asbestos abatement professional to execute a safe removal. This may not be the ideal outcome for die-hard DIYers, but your household’s long-term health and safety–not to mention you and your family’s health and safety–always comes first.

Tools and supplies

You’ll want to pick up a few things at your local hardware store and be prepared for a messy undertaking. Here’s what you need:

  • dust mask or respirator;
  • safety goggles;
  • plastic sheeting (to cover furniture, floors, and walls);
  • painter’s masking tape;
  • popcorn ceiling scraper or floor scraper;
  • a wide, flexible putty/plaster knife;
  • spray bottle (a pump pressure sprayer is ideal);
  • garbage bags;
  • mud pan (to catch the wet plaster);
  • drywall sander;
  • drywall tape; and
  • a joint compound.

1. Test a small area first

Once you’re ready to dive into smoothing out your popcorn ceilings, start by testing out a small section. Mist a small inconspicuous area with water, allow the moisture to absorb for about 15 minutes, then use a flexible putty knife at a low angle to scrape the texture free. 

Pro tip: closets make the perfect test subjects as they will often have the same ceiling texture as the room they are in.

If the stipple comes off easily, then you’re looking at smooth sailing with this project. However, if you encounter a lot of resistance, or the water does not soak into the texture at all, this means it’s either been painted over or paint was mixed in with the material when it was applied—a serious wrench-in-gears situation.

What if there’s paint or asbestos?

If paint was mixed into the popcorn ceiling texture, if it’s been painted over, or if there’s asbestos present, it may just be simpler to cover over the ceiling with fresh drywall panels. This achieves your goal without disturbing any asbestos, dealing with the high costs of abatement, or heavily involved removal in the event of paint.

2. Cover everything

To save yourself a clean-up nightmare, remove large furniture pieces and cover the floor with plastic sheeting. Use painter’s tape and sheeting to line the walls, then cover all electrical outlets and light fixtures (remove any lights or chandeliers first).

Safety tip: Because you’re spraying water near electrical outlets and fixtures, it’s recommended to turn off the breakers for the room.

3. Spray, wait, scrape, repeat

Working in sections, use your spray bottle to moisten the stipple. As with your earlier test, wait 15 minutes and then use your scraper to remove the texture while holding the mud pan underneath to catch it. Repeat the process and as you near the edges and corners, switch to the smaller putty knife to avoid damaging your walls.

Pro tip: If you use a popcorn ceiling scraper, you can attach a bag to it to catch the material, negating the need for a mud pan.

Image via Ksenia Chernaya, Pexels

4. Sanding

Some rough patches or gouges are inevitable, and you can repair these easily with a drywall sander. If you wish to avoid excessive dust, aim for a sander that attaches to a vacuum or has a built-in vacuum assembly. Don’t forget to wear a dust mask or respirator!

Image via La Miko, Pexels

5. Touch-ups

If the underlying drywall tape gets damaged or if the seams become visible in the drywall, apply fresh drywall tape to affected areas and apply joint compound with your putty knife. If necessary, sand the areas smooth again.

Image via StuBaileyPhoto, Pixabay

At this point you’re ready to paint, clean up, replace the furniture and fixtures, and enjoy the smooth fruits of your labour. If you don’t mind getting a little dirty and incorporating some elbow grease into your efforts, this is a great project to handle on your own. Just don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals if needed, because safety always comes first.

Reposted from



It’s happening! The seasonal section at most stores is swimming in holiday décor, and your holiday plans are probably coming together nicely. Over the past 20 months, we’ve all had to get pretty creative at celebrating with loved ones far and near while still staying safe and respectful of everyone’s comfort. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can connect with each other in all sorts of ways, and maybe even open our eyes to new traditions we’d like to maintain in the years to come. 

For some of us it’s been a long while since we’ve been able to enjoy the bustling holiday celebrations we remember. However, the eagerness we’re feeling to get back to our traditions might be matched with a level of anxiety about doing so safely. Remember, if you’re going to be gathering, follow all public health guidelines to ensure you’re doing as much as you can to keep everyone safe. 

Here’s some inspiration on how to gather for this year’s holiday season, with tips on keeping all your merrymaking safe, sound, and fun!

Enjoy the fresh air 

Especially if you’re in areas that don’t see extreme cold during the winter months, an outdoor gathering could be the perfect choice for your holiday celebrations this year. Let your guests know to dress warmly, then set up some heaters or a firepit (be sure to check with bylaw to know what’s allowed in your area). With a few blankets, some chairs, a slow cooker of warm drinks, and some great food, you can create a winter wonderland in your backyard where people can feel more comfortable about gathering again. Consider renting a tent where the food and drinks can sit covered, or even use your garage. You can also find fun winter games for all ages to keep people moving—and warm!

Throw a mixed-attendance mixer 

For events with both virtual and in-real-life guests, your goal should be to make sure everyone feels heard and seen, especially the people joining from afar. Lots of fun and user-friendly online games have gained popularity in the last couple of years and can make a great addition to your party. Bear in mind when setting up for a game to keep the game’s audio and the sound coming from your guests separate, so nobody’s fighting to be heard. If possible, have more than one camera set up so virtual guests can still see people’s faces up close. You can also set up your own game, like family-specific trivia for example, as a fun way for everyone to contribute and feel a part of the celebration.

Do some good in the neighbourhood 

Let your neighbours know you and your party will be coming around to collect non-perishables or warm clothing for charity. Then, gather your party, bundle up, and grab something to carry your goods. If you want to sing carols, great! If none of your party can carry a tune, maybe your neighbours will give generously to get you to stop singing. Either way, it’s a feel-good way to celebrate outdoors. Plus, you come out of it with donations to give to those in need. Win-win!

Bring in an expert, virtually

It may feel a little counterintuitive, but having a little structure to your virtual social event can help it flow, avoid awkward pauses, or accidental interrupting. Having your family prepare funny slideshows to catch each other up on their lives is a surprisingly fun option, with a little creativity on the topics (e.g. “top 10 jokes Dad told this year” or “My kids’ year in homeschool outfits”). Another great option is to enlist the help of a local baker, chef, mixologist, or other type of maker to lead you and your guests through a virtual class. Besides being a cool way to feel connected in doing something hands-on, this is also an opportunity to support a local business around the holidays!

Stagger attendance

If you’re looking to host a lot of people, like with a festive open house, you may not be able to accommodate everyone all at once. However, you can stagger your invitations so there’s a constant stream of people coming in and out without too much overlap. Set up chunks of time for people to stop in, and be sure you set aside food for each time frame! You might also find people are more willing to stop in for a bit rather than committing to a full event. 

Wherever and however you choose to celebrate this holiday, there’s no shortage of options to keep everyone feeling connected. With a little creativity, the parameters we have to contend with can be an opportunity to explore traditions you’ll grow to cherish. Happy holidaying!


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Buying a flipped home—a property that’s been purchased, renovated, and re-sold by an investor—is all the rage these days, and for good reason! It’s an enticing idea, especially since you get to move into an already-updated home without having to handle the renovations yourself.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank of Canada saw evidence of “a lot more flipping” driving investor activity in some Canadian housing markets, as housing prices across the country rose 25% in February over the previous year.

It’s easy to jump headfirst into a flipped home because everything seems shiny and new. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to avoid a potential headache down the road. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking to purchase a flipped home.

1. What’s your budget?

Remember: Investors flip houses to make money. The average investor can make thousands in net profit on a property flip—that’s why they undertake the risk, effort, and financial investment to renovate a house they don’t intend to live in. As a result, you’ll probably end up paying a higher price as a sort of “convenience fee” for someone else taking care of all the renovations. You’re the one benefitting from buying a freshly renovated, move-in ready home, so it can be worth that extra cost. Just be sure the higher price tag for this convenience doesn’t strain your budget!

2. How long did the flip take?

Flipping a house takes time to do it properly, but the longer an investor holds onto the property, spending money on remodeling, the less profit they’re making. This may cause the investor to rush the flip and even cut corners on safety or quality of construction—not great for you, the potential buyer. 

It might be a red flag if a house has  been flipped in three months or less. However, different projects will take a different amount of time. A full flip will take longer than a kitchen or basement redo. Plus, timelines will vary depending on who’s completing it! 

Work with your REALTOR® to find the full history of the house, specifically the date and price of the property’s last sale, to help verify when work began. Additionally, contact your local building department to check if the investor obtained the proper permits and the home is up to code. More on this in a bit…

3. Inspect everything carefully.

A common pitfall experienced by first-time buyers of a flipped house occurs when they don’t inspect closely enough, avoid doing due diligence on the flipping process, and are shy about asking a lot of questions. They’ve become the proud new owners of a home that looks beautiful on the outside but may hide shoddy work on the inside.

A critical step to take once you’ve submitted an offer and secured your financing is to hire a professional home inspector to “kick the tires” of your new home. Learn more about the home inspection process including how to find a professional inspector in your area by visiting the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors. Your REALTOR® can also connect you with a reputable home inspector who knows and serves your neighbourhood. 

If you put in a conditional offer, your sale is not final until the inspection is complete. This means if the inspection uncovers any issues, you can go back to the seller to renegotiate the selling price or revoke the offer if the issues are too extreme. If you buy the home without conditions, you’re responsible for resolving any issues that arise during the home inspection, which could end up being pretty pricey if the flippers cut corners. A typical home inspection should take about three hours and can cost anywhere between $300 and $800 depending on the size of the house, but the peace of mind this will afford you is worth every penny. 

4. Ask questions about every single thing.

Be sure to accompany the inspector (if possible) during the walk-around of your flipped house and come equipped with more questions than you thought you needed to ask. Some of these questions include:

  • Can you provide all the work permits?
  • Can you provide the proof of inspection for the electrical work?
  • What was structurally changed?
  • What was done to the foundation?
  • What was done to the wiring?
  • Are there signs of mould?
  • What was done to the plumbing? 
  • How was the insulation upgraded? 
  • Did you touch the roof?
  • How did you address insect, water, fire, or other major damage discovered during the project?

You don’t want to be blind-sided if something happens to your new home, so asking these questions is crucial to ensuring you feel comfortable if and when you move in.

A good flip has its benefits

If you do your research, talk to the right people, and are OK with someone else making all the renovation choices, then purchasing a flipped house isn’t a bad option. While it may be a bit more expensive and require diligent inspection, you’ll sit comfortably in your newly remodeled living room knowing you invested in a new home that will stand the test of time.

If you are looking to buy a flipped home, be sure to connect with a REALTOR®. They’ve likely been through this experience before and know what you should be on the lookout for! Their knowledge of homes, inspections, housing markets, and the neighbourhood will be extremely beneficial to helping you make an informed decision. 


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When it comes to investment properties, there’s a lot to take into consideration. Aside from the financial and tax responsibilities, finding an investment property that makes sense for your situation requires some serious soul-searching. 

It’s best to take a look at some of the pros and cons before getting into the market, as each type comes with its own set. However, there are some pros and cons that apply to every type of investment property. One pro, of course, is you’ll have a second income—always a plus. The biggest con for any investment property is you’re not guaranteed to have tenants at all times, which means that second income may not be consistent. As the landlord you’re also on the hook for any repairs or issues that need to be dealt with. 

Let’s walk through some of the other pros and cons of the most common investment properties to see which one suits you best.


Duplexes are popular choices for investors looking to be close to their property—really close. They can also be great family investments, allowing different generations to live under the same roof but with private dwelling spaces. There are additional tax deductions available to you as well when you live on the property! Typically, work done to common spaces such as your yard, roof, or adjoining wall can be written off at 50% if the duplex is owner-occupied. Some people also consider the proximity to your investment to be a pro. If issues arise you can deal with them in a timely manner, plus you can keep an eye on how your tenants are treating the space. If you’re not living in the space and are instead choosing to rent out each portion of the duplex, the biggest advantage is collecting that additional rent. 

On the flip side, duplexes can be more expensive to purchase, which puts you at a bigger risk if you can’t find tenants. It can also be harder in general to find tenants for duplexes, as more and more people are looking for privacy and larger spaces. Living attached to your tenants, albeit in a designated space, can also be a bit strange depending on who they are. If you’re not choosing to live in the duplex, you’ll have double the tenants to find—and double the repairs to deal with. 

Single family homes

Over the last 18 months, single-family homes have been in demand as buying trends have changed. With an increase in working and schooling from home, the need for space has become paramount. Because of this shift, single-family homes could potentially be more attractive as investment properties. 

Let’s start with the pros! In comparison to a full duplex, single-family homes are typically less expensive (depending on the home), which could see higher gains in your net income. Plus, the market for single-family homes is hot right now, meaning if you need or want to sell your property you’ll likely have an easier time doing so. From a rental perspective, single-family homes tend to attract longer-term tenants, providing a sense of stability to your financial situation. 

In terms of cons, there’s one big one that stands out. Owning a single-family home as an investment property means a lower return on investment the longer it sits vacant. The costs to maintain a single-family home can be higher, and when the house sits empty those costs can quickly add up.


With new developments popping up all over the country, buying pre-construction properties (either homes, condos, or apartments) can seem enticing. It’s easy to find the big pros for this type of investment. The customization allows you to create a space potential renters will find appealing. When you choose fixtures and finishes for a new construction home, you can find options that are agreeable to most people without breaking the bank. Plus, newer builds are more attractive to renters since they know things are in good working order and there likely won’t be any repairs needed in the near future. 

That being said, pre-construction comes with a unique set of cons some people just don’t want to deal with. These cons can really be summed up into two words: the unknown. Your build could be unexpectedly delayed, leaving you to navigate these financial waters without additional income. Your down payment could be up to 30% up front for a new build, and it may not be complete for up to two years, which means you’ll be waiting a while to recoup that money as well as start making any profits. You should always consider the type of tenant you’re looking for (students, young professionals, growing families, etc.) so you can assess and align the property and neighbourhood with what they’ll need and want.

Basement apartments

Basement apartments have come a long way in the last 10 years or so! They can be spacious, private, cost-effective, exactly what young professionals are looking for as they save to buy their own home. Having a basement apartment in your home shares a lot of the same pros (and cons!) as duplexes. They help pay the mortgage of the home you’re in and you can write off a lot of the repairs since the space is owner-occupied. But it also means you’re living in the same home as your tenants and you lose a portion of your home. 

There are two additional cons to consider when it comes to basement apartments, though. The biggest one comes if you’re adding a basement apartment to your home vs. buying a home that already has one built. Adding a basement apartment requires money up front to ensure the space is up to code, not to mention any regional requirements (i.e. permits, inspections). You also have to consider things like parking for your tenants, how they’ll get into their portion of the home, etc. When it comes time to sell your home, not having a “typical” basement could affect your resale value. You eliminate the group of people who aren’t looking to purchase an investment property, which could make the home harder to sell. 

Something to consider when it comes to basement apartments is actually living in it yourself! I got my start in real estate by purchasing a home with a basement apartment and renting out the main floor while I lived in the basement apartment. I was able to charge a higher rent, allowing me to pay off the mortgage more quickly and ultimately make my way up the real estate ladder. If you’re going to purchase a home with a basement apartment, or are considering adding one to your current home, I really do recommend living in the basement portion yourself if possible!

Identifying risk factors

As with any investment, you need to identify the potential risks. There are four main risks to consider before purchasing an investment property. 


You need to spend money to make money, but owning an investment property does come with some financial risks. If you can’t find tenants for an extended period of time, you’ll need to cover the mortgage out of your primary income, which may leave things a little tight. 

Property location

Do some research on the neighbourhood to see if there’s a high demand for rentals in the area. If not, you may struggle to find people willing to commit to a lease. It’s also a good idea to ask a REALTOR® about the projected evolution of the neighbourhood. If it’s an up-and-coming spot, you may find yourself getting a great deal! Other things to consider include transit access, proximity to schools and daycare, nearby amenities, and access to the highway. 

Age of the property

Older homes can be appealing for a vintage look, but they may end up causing you more issues than they’re worth. Homes over a certain age will likely need more frequent (and more expensive) repairs, which will ultimately cut into your profits. 

The real estate market

No matter when you buy, this will always be an important thing to consider. The real estate market is unpredictable, which means any time you enter the market there are a lot of factors to consider. However, when you’re buying an investment property, you really want to be sure you’re getting a good deal so your profit margins can be higher. You’ll need to look at it as a longer-term investment and consider how it will affect you over a course of years, not months. 

Investment properties can be a great way to earn a secondary income while getting yourself onto the property ladder. There are plenty of different property types you can find, each with their own set of pros and cons, but one thing remains constant: owning an investment property is a commitment! It’s not something you can do on a whim, which is why doing your research is the most important first step you can take. 

*The information above is for informational purposes only and should not be used as investment or financial advice.



Whether it’s a hole from mounting hardware, or discovering a torn screen, minor damage and everyday wear-and-tear in our homes is a fact of life. Despite the rising popularity of DIY, not everyone feels comfortable making their own repairs, opting to employ professionals or family and friends, instead. Before starting your online search for a “local handyperson,” let’s look at eight easy repairs you can do around your home.

1. Repair or replace window screens

Small holes in a screen can be corrected in moments using a screen patch kit, while larger tears require a screen replacement kit. Nylon screen replacement kits are the easiest to install and contain a roll of nylon screen, spline (the vinyl cord which secures the screen inside the frame), and a spline roller (used to push the spline and screen into place).

The following video by Ace Hardware walks you through both a screen patch and replacement.

2. Fix squeaky hinges

A few drops—or sprays—of lubricating oil makes a quick fix for noisy door hinges. But, if that doesn’t do the trick, place a shim or wedge under the door for stability, and remove the hinge pins. Wipe each pin with steel wool, then replace and apply oil. Your door should operate smoothly (and silently) again.

Image via Theme Photos, Unsplash

3. Replace door knobs and locks

Damaged or aging door knobs can be replaced with a new one using a screwdriver or electric driver in about five minutes. While new knobs come with detailed installation instructions, the video below by Pretty Handy Girl shows just how quick and easy this job is.

4. Patch drywall holes

Small holes (¼ inch or less) in drywall (also called gypsum board) from old hooks, or small dents from furniture on moving day can quickly be corrected using a putty knife and spackle. Fill the hole using the putty knife and spackle, then allow it to dry completely. Sand it down lightly and repaint the area (if necessary). 

A drywall patch kit is best to handle larger holes up to 4 inches (10 cm) and typically cost less than $15. Larger holes require a sturdier material to actually bridge the gap and hold the repair for a long period of time. Follow the instructions included with the kit for the best results.

5. Replace weather stripping

The weather stripping around doors and windows deteriorates over time, so it’s important to replace them before they affect heating and cooling costs. You’ll generally need a flathead screwdriver and a utility knife or scissors, along with the replacement stripping.

The following video from HouseImprovements shows how you can replace your door’s weather stripping with ease.

Windows require a little more work as they need to be removed altogether and may have one of a variety of stripping types. If you’re choosing to take the windows out on your own, be sure to monitor window openings during this task, especially if you have young children in the house. This is more of an advanced fix, so we’d recommend leaving this to a professional or someone with more experience. Replacing windows is not quite a beginner’s activity.

6. Fix a leaky showerhead

If your showerhead leaks where it attaches to the fixture, it’s time to refresh the teflon plumber’s tape��at a cost of a few dollars. Remove the shower head, clean off any excess grime and tape using steel wool, then apply a few layers (three to five full wraps) of teflon tape in a clockwise direction (this is key so the tape won’t bunch up when you screw the showerhead back on). Then screw on your showerhead until it is hand-tight—don’t use tools to tighten as over-tightening can damage the shower attachment, causing further leaking.

7. Refresh bathroom caulking

Deteriorating or peeling caulking in your bathroom should be replaced promptly to avoid moisture incursion and mould. A utility knife can be used to peel and clean off any old caulking, then apply silicone bathroom caulking using a caulking gun.

Note: Caulking requires 24 hours to fully cure, so plan accordingly before resuming use of the respective sink, bathtub, or toilet.

8. Silence a squeaky floor

There are a few ways to correct creaky floors, which occur when the subfloor separates from the floor joists and rubs against the nails. 

For wood floors, locate the joist where it squeaks (using a stud-finder), and drive two finishing nails at opposing 45 degree angles into the joist through the subfloor, ensuring they are flush. If you can access the joists from underneath (from your basement for example), affixing a shim between the subfloor and joist with carpenter’s glue will correct this.

For carpet, cut a small hole in the carpet mesh using a utility knife, then drive a flooring screw into the subfloor and joist beneath. DIY Network provides a visual step-by-step guide to making these quick flooring fixes.

Image via Daniela Gisin-Krumsick, Unsplash

When to call a professional

Of course, when it’s a matter of scope or safety, there are times when the best thing to do is call a professional. Shoddy electrical wiring, mould incursion, basement foundation cracks, and DIY renovation foul-ups are just some of the many scenarios that are best managed by the pros.

Whether it’s your first home, an older model, or your first downsize from an empty nest, tackling your own home improvement tasks—even the simplest of repairs—can open the door to a whole new world of skills—and confidence—you never thought you had.



Do home renovation shows have you drooling over exposed brick wallscement tile backsplashes, and marble countertops, but you find yourself without the budget to make it happen? Don’t fret, these costly design and décor projects are easy to hack, allowing you to replicate expensive-looking designs with a few “fake it till you make it” ideas!

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your rental space, redecorate your home, or are a REALTOR® helping a client improve their home for resale, these easy design ideas will deliver impact without breaking the bank.

Image via HandyAndy.NYC on Instagram


Design hack: There’s no denying how much impact a tiled backsplash can have in a kitchen or bathroom. It completes the space and makes it feel finished. Tiling a backsplash yourself takes skill and patience, and hiring a contractor takes time and budget. If you don’t have either of those, consider faking it with peel-and-stick tiles. From funky to classic, peel-and-stick tiles have come a long way in terms of design. Available in large squares or single tiles, this budget décor project is perfect for renters or those looking for a quick, temporary, but stunning solution.

Estimated cost: $75 to $300+ depending on the size of the backsplash area.

Tip: When installing peel-and-stick tile, it’s important to make sure the area is clean and dry. This will ensure a strong hold, preventing the corners of the tiles from lifting, which is a common problem.

Image via NatalieSurdivalHome on Instagram

Feature walls

Design hack: Loving the look of shiplap, exposed brick, and barn board, but don’t have the resources? Fake it ‘til you make it! Forget about spending hours installing shiplap or the mess of exposing old brick, these eye-catching features can be brought to life with wallpaper or printed murals, and they look just as good as the real thing!

Estimated cost: $100 to $750+ depending on the size of the wall and type of covering selected.

Tip: If you are renting or sprucing up a space in order to sell, opt for the removable kind. This will prevent damage to the walls if it needs to be taken down.

Image via My City Apartment on Instagram

Marble countertops

Design hack: There’s nothing quite like the timeless look and durability of stone countertops, so if marble or granite is a must-have for you, start saving! In the meantime, you can hack those builder-basic laminate countertops into something just as beautiful using marble paint-based and epoxy resin kits or stone-like countertop film. While these products might not last as long as the real thing, you should be able to get a few years out of them.

Estimated cost: $300 to $700+ depending on the size of the countertop area.

Tip: Ensure these products look as real as possible by cleaning the surface thoroughly to remove any debris. This will allow you to apply the product smoothly, without air bubbles or streaks. Also, always follow the application instructions. Always!

Image via Desert_Hydrangea on Instagram


Design hack: What homeowner hasn’t dreamed of cozying up next to their fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book? In addition to their functional benefits, fireplaces have become a must-have design element and focal point. However, installing a real fireplace in your home isn’t without expense and caution, which is why more and more budget design enthusiasts are opting for electric. But how do you make those free-standing fireplaces and electric inserts look like they truly belong? Hack it! Build an insert surround from a real mantel, frame out your wall from floor to ceiling, or add built-ins to either side of a free-standing unit.

Estimated cost: $350 to $2,500+ depending on how elaborate you go.

Tip: Do your research when selecting an electric unit—not all are equal. Know how much clearance and airflow is required for your selected unit before building any type of structure and be sure to engage a certified electrician if needing to conduct any electrical work.

Image via Annavynguyen on Instagram

Black window frames

Design hack: Black window frames have quickly become part of the standard options when building a new home, but what about older homes with wooden panes, basic white vinyl, or dated coloured frames? If a $20,000+ window replacement project is out of reach, try bringing new life to the interior of your window frames using black paint. Want the industrial look? That might be as simple as applying some black electrical tape.

Estimated cost: $80 to $200+ depending on how many windows you are updating.

Tip: Success is in the prep work. Make certain your frames are clean and free from debris, then prime the frames with the appropriate primer and wait the recommended amount of time before applying any paint. This will ensure a good paint adhesion and prevent you from having to constantly touch up the windows due to flaking or peeling.

No matter the type of home project you are tackling, there are so many design ideas and easy hacks that can make your home look high-end and beautiful without breaking the bank!



From the classic Brooklyn brownstone to the exposed brick wall in what seems like every start-up’s office space, bricks offer both a classic and enduring design feature. While traditional brick laying is a time-consuming and expensive procedure for the average homeowner, installing interlocking bricks is a popular way to improve the appeal of any paved surface, be it a driveway, walkway, pool surround, or even walls. 

It’s important to understand the differences between interlocking and traditional bricks, as well as interlocking advantages and disadvantages, project ideas, and installation tips.

A bicycle sitting in front of a wooden garage with an interlocking drivewayImage via Unsplash

Interlocking bricks vs. ‘traditional’ bricks

Interlocking bricks are made by compressing a mixture of sand, soil and cement in an interlocking brick-making machine and curing them with water for seven days. They’re made to fit together, avoiding the use of mortar, using a self-locking shear-key and lock system. This allows for more aesthetically pleasing and functional designs when you’re using bricks for your driveway, patio, front walk, or other projects. 

Traditional cement bricks, like the ones used to build your home or buildings, are cut into their uniformly rectangular shape with a wire and bound together with mortar. Since they’re plastered, traditional bricks hold up longer to wear and tear, extreme weather, and insect infestation. That’s why they’re used for residential and commercial buildings, unlike interlocking bricks which are generally reserved for vanity projects.

If you’re using interlocking bricks for the exterior of your home, remember they can only be used for the first three stories of a building. It’s not safe to use interlocking bricks for tall commercial buildings. 

a home with stone facade and stone pathwayImage via Pixabay

The interlock advantage

Think of the savings

Depending on your project, interlocking bricks can be less expensive than traditional brick! They also require less labour for construction and maintenance, and a significantly shorter curing period—standard brick mortar can take up to 28 days to fully cure.

Reduce your emissions footprint

Since interlocking bricks are compressed and have more mass than standard ones, their internal temperatures provide a more environmentally friendly way to help keep building interiors cool in the summer heat

Earthquake safety

If you live in an earthquake-prone area, take note. Interlocking bricks used in retaining walls can be more resilient against earthquakes than traditional cement bricks. If the mortar that supports cement bricks fails, then so too does the entire structure, whereas interlocking bricks support each other. As a result, some governments have recommended building durable interlocking brick structures in earthquake-prone areas, like Nepal, California, and British Columbia.

How you can use them

The versatility and variety of interlocking bricks makes them ideal for improvements to your exterior landscape design. They’re also increasingly used for some interior features, like the much sought-after exposed brick wall in trendy loft spaces. 

A winding interlocking brick driveway


Driveways and walkways are among the most common uses, and for good reason. Interlock systems are more flexible and have a longer lifespan than poured concrete and asphalt. Plus, with a variety of shapes, colours and custom designs, interlocking driveways and walkways could boost your curb appeal and overall property value.

a set of patio furniture on an interlocking brick patio

Patios and garden features

Interlock brick features can also really tie your backyard together. An interlock patio can add texture, depth, and solid ground for al fresco dinner parties while reducing time spent on lawn care. Gardens encased in an interlock retaining wall help organize and protect your blooming flower beds

If you’re choosing an interlocking brick patio, keep in mind pesky weeds or anthills can eventually start to sprout through the cracks. Keep an eye on these and try some of our methods for keeping weeds and pests out.

an interlocking brick pool deck around an in ground pool

Pool decks

swimming pool surrounded by interlocking blocks or stones enhances appearance and improves pool safety by helping to reduce slippery surfaces. Plus, similar to how interlocking brick can help keep buildings cooler when it’s used for walls, it’s also cooler on your feet so you don’t have to worry about the heat while you sit poolside!

gray interlocking bricks being assembled on gravel

Adding interlocking brick to your home

You’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided an interlock feature is right for your building project. What’s next? It’s important to consider several factors that will affect your final product, such as: 

  • The size of the project (i.e., a long driveway or a small retaining garden wall?);
  • any borders or features that will affect the pattern and size or space;
  • the colours, patterns, textures, and mixture composition that work best for you; and 
  • maintenance and repair (i.e., do you want to seal your interlock for that extra layer protection from the elements?)

Once you’ve settled on the details, it’s time to start bricklaying. While in theory you could do this yourself, unless you’re a seasoned DIYer it may not be the best choice. More likely, you’ll want to seek out the help of a professional. Contact a landscaping contractor or ask a your REALTOR® if they have any contractors they tend to use. Your REALTOR® will also know the trends in your neighbourhood to see if interlocking brick features are the best option for your resale value. 

Interlocking brick is a great way to add personality and curb appeal to your home, and it comes with its advantages! Whether it’s your driveway, patio, and pool deck, you’re sure to end up with a design you love.



For many Canadians sheds are often seen as dingy storage spaces for seasonal equipment and oversized junk. Conversely, in Australia and New Zealand, sheds are passionately celebrated in documentaries, books, and magazines as places of invention, retreat, and productivity.

However, it looks like some Canadians are coming around, and realizing their sheds’ potential as stunning and functional extensions of their homes. From home office setups to backyard gyms, here are five amazing shed transformation ideas that go against the grain.

a tiny home shed that has been built in a backyard Image via Rob Cardillo – This Old House

Join the tiny house revolution!

If the explosion of #TinyHouse Instagram accounts and YouTube channels is any indicator, the growing appeal of living in more compact, efficient, and even portable “tiny homes” is reaching a fever pitch. According to SEMrush’s 2020 Canada Real Estate Trends report, average searches for “tiny homes for sale” have soared throughout the East Coast. 

Redeveloping your backyard shed or garage into a separate structure (built to code, of course) can also provide a new source of income as a rental unit. In cities like Toronto, where the housing market temperature continues to rise, some residents are renovating their backyard sheds and garages into self-contained dwellings made accessible through the city’s intricate network of laneways, and renting or selling them as smaller one-person units.

As with any property renovation in Canada, whether in an urban or rural community, you’ll want to ensure your tiny house project meets standards and regulations. Make sure to assess your renovation plans against local zoning laws, bylaws, and building codes before you break ground. Or better yet, ask your REALTOR® for their insight.

inside a shed that has been turned into a gym with a view of the backyard

Stretch out with a new gym or yoga studio

With gyms and fitness centres closed and Canadians staying home more than, it’s no surprise personal fitness equipment has seen a sharp increase in sales since the beginning of the pandemic. 

But in an already-crowded house with each room playing a specific role—“Honey, the dining room is for potatoes, not pilates!”—what better way to stretch out and use all your available space than by setting up a gym or yoga studio in your shed?

You can easily store your weights and machines in the shed when not in use, and bring them outside when the weather allows for a full-on outdoor iron-pumping session. Or, if zen is more your speed, clear out enough space for a yoga mat, plants, diffusers, and a Bluetooth speaker, and watch the stress melt away.

 inside a shed that has been converted into a home office with a desk and wooden accentsImage via Pinterest – Editions de L’Arkhan

Work from home…at the office

For those of us working from home but still crave a light commute and/or have a crowded household during the day, a backyard home office offers a quiet and separate space to take Zoom calls, finish up your daily deliverables, or simply collect your professional thoughts.

With the number of people working from home going up and up, Canadians are looking for contractors to help build new offices in their existing shed space. The only restrictions are space, so let your imagination run wild. That being said, just be sure your new backyard office doesn’t pose any insurance risks.

 a shed that has been turned into a greenhouse with shelves and windowsImage via Family Food Garden

Get back to basics with a greenhouse

For the budding gardeners among us, why not transform your backyard shed from a “fixed” state of storage to a “growth”-oriented hub by setting up your own sheltered greenhouse? By adding a few window openings and shelving units, you can take advantage of the shed’s access to sunlight and create a warm, insulated home for your seedlings. A shed-turned-greenhouse is also a great way to keep critters away from any fruits and vegetables you may be growing. So, whether planning a hydroponic herb garden or pop-up produce stand and flower shop, the options are ripe for the picking.

If you’re looking for some alone time, and perhaps a more stylish and less utilitarian use of your existing shed space, focus your shed makeover on creating your own backyard oasis. Whether it’s a meditation space or escape room, you can get away from it all while staying put.

Of course, all of these ideas will only be possible after a thorough spring cleaning. Good thing the weather is cooperating. Time to get started—your shed is waiting.

inside a shed that has been turned into a backyard oasis with pink walls, a table, and chairs

Ah, moving day. It can either be a joyous occasion or a mind-numbingly stressful ordeal. No matter how much we prepare, there always seems to be some tiny detail unaccounted for. Let’s unpack the subtle art of preparing for and managing a—hopefully—flawless move.

Man struggling to move a couch up a flight of stairsImage via memecandy, Giphy

Is everything worth moving?

Ever try to get a queen-size box spring up narrow stairs with 90º landings? Furniture that squeaks into one house may only jam up in another. Assess what will fit and what won’t by measuring your largest items ahead of time then test those measurements in the entries, stairs (especially around those corners and low suspended ceilings), and doorways of your new home.

On the flip side, unnecessary clutter tends to follow us from place to place, which makes moving the perfect opportunity to de-clutter, paving the way for a smoother move. 

Stack of cardboard boxesImage via Beeki, Pixabay

Think outside the box

Traditionally, we’ve scrounged local retailers for empty boxes or bought new ones. More sustainable options have presented themselves in recent years, making it easy to obtain high quality used moving boxes, or renting reusable bins

The Buy Nothing Project is dedicated to keeping items out of landfills by passing them onto others for free. They have Facebook groups across Canada and can be excellent resources for moving boxes. 

If you can’t find free or reusable moving materials, that’s OK too. You can buy tape, boxes, packing paper, and other materials from your local moving companies—even if you’re doing all the moving yourself.

3 men moversImage via 3 Men Movers, Giphy

Should I DIY or hire a moving company?

Hiring a moving company can be more costly than renting a truck and paying friends in pizza and beer. So why is it better to hire a professional? It’s simple. They’re professionals who do this every day, are insured against damage or injury, and their experience gives them the benefit of efficiency. Friends and family may be willing to help when called upon, but is it a fair test of your relationship to put them at risk of injury and expect them to assume responsibility for the safety of your most valued possessions?

Couple packing boxesImage via Ketut Sebiyanto, Pexels

About downsizing

Whether you’re an empty-nester who no longer needs a three-bedroom home, or find yourself unexpectedly moving into a smaller placedownsizing presents a unique challenge. If life teaches us anything, it’s challenges are opportunities in disguise. In this case, it’s a chance to take inventory of the possessions that are truly important and get rid of anything that isn’t necessary or doesn’t contribute to your happiness.

Person wrapping belongings for a moveImage via Ketut Sebiyanto, Pexels

Strategy is everything

The key to a successful, stress-free move is having an effective strategy in place. Consider these points when planning your move:

  • Start early: If you need to purge for a downsize, start 90 days before your move date. Otherwise aim to start two months before; 
  • Make a checklist: List everything that needs to get done, packed, moved, switched, rented or hired, and cleaned;
  • Stock up: Make sure you have enough boxes, packing tape, packing paper, tissue paper for delicates, and a pack of Sharpies;

moving straps

  • Get moving straps, a dolly and/or hand truck: These items are lifesavers when it comes to moving heavy or bulky objects over any distance and are essential if you plan to move on your own.
  • Choose a reputable mover: The Office of Consumer Affairs advises to obtain estimates from at least three certified movers. Read their reviews, but also obtain references and be sure to read their documentation carefully.
  • Get written estimates: Ideally, movers will give an in-house assessment with a detailed written estimate, although many movers have detailed estimate forms you can complete on their websites. 
  • Add insurance: Your home insurance and that of your movers is usually enough to cover any incidentals. Items of extreme value may not be covered, so check with the mover and your broker in case additional insurance is needed on moving day.
Books packed in a box for a moveImage via kohnrebecca0, Pixabay
  • Distribute your weight: It’s easy to underestimate the combined weight of your belongings once packed. Distribute weighty items, use the smallest boxes for books and dinnerware, and largest for lighter bulky items like duvets, comforters and pillows.
  • Inventory and label: Keep an inventory as you pack and label boxes accurately. Nothing is more frustrating than rifling through 20 kitchen boxes to find a spatula when it’s time to cook.
Couple sleeping on a mattress in a new homeImage via cottonbro, Pexels
  • Remember your moving day essentials: These are the final items to pack and should include a few days’ worth of everything you will need to cook, eat, clean, bathe, dress, and sleep. It’s advisable to move these items yourself to keep them close to hand.
  • Separate important valuables: As you pack, keep your most valued possessions together so you can pack them and move them over yourself. If you have a safe or lock box, this is the best place for these items. 
  • Change your address: It’s easy to let this one slip until the last minute. Make sure to update your address with all your service providers and accounts, and request a service change for utilities, internet and telephone. If needed, set up mail forwarding through Canada Post.
packed box with a key hanging from a stringImage via congerdesign, Pixabay

What once may have been a stressful ordeal can easily turn into a smooth-running operation. Taking the time and care to follow these strategies can help remove a lot of stress from the equation when moving into a new house—especially if it’s your first home—so you can enjoy the process rather than fear it. Happy packing!



We’ve enjoyed some unexpected benefits from spending so much more time at home. You may have discovered—or at least considered—your thumb is far greener than you ever thought. 

You’re not alone as nearly half of Canadians turned soil to grow their own food in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that it’s time to start planning for the next growing season, let’s take a look at why a DIY greenhouse could be the perfect thing to kick your gardening efforts up a notch.

exterior shot of a greenhouse in a backyardImage via hsvall, Pixabay

Why a greenhouse?

The Canadian growing season is short, especially farther north, and a greenhouse is the perfect way to start plants that need extra time to establish before planting them outside in the ground. It also provides protection to seedlings so pesky squirrels, slugs, and other insects don’t get to eat the fruits of your labour before you do—making it an outstanding alternative to an open air garden altogether. A greenhouse opens up more options for produce that would not normally thrive in our temperate climate. Plus, if you take the extra steps with a heated four-season greenhouse, you can grow year-round and add to your winter landscape.

exterior shot of a tented greenhouse with planters around itImage via DanielSjostrand, Pixabay

Can I really build my own?

You may question whether or not this is something you can do on your own with little or no building experience. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish this project. If you prefer a turn-key solution, there are plenty of kits of all sizes out there. 

If you prefer to build your own from scratch, then you may find the perfect set of plans in this epic list compiled by Morning Chores. For you expert builders, that list makes a good starting point to inspire your own design!

When planning for a greenhouse, one of the most common issues growers encounter is running out of space too quickly. Always plan a little larger than you think you might need (if space allows). There are also ways to make the most of your space like layering, increasing your surface area, or staggering crops.

a greenhouse box with rows of lettuce growing insideImage via titosoft, Pixabay

Although most kits are small, a building permit may be required to construct larger or more complex greenhouses, especially if your goal is a heated three-to-four season setup. Check with your municipality to ensure you’re following building codes and to apply for a permit if necessary.

To give some insight into what it’s like to build from scratch, check out the accounts from three Quebec residents, what they did, how they use them, and what was involved to accomplish their projects.

a row of seedlings in soil inside a greenhouseImage via jag2020, Pixabay

Plants for the beginner

If you’re just starting out, sticking to species that are easy to grow is an excellent way to build confidence and gain experience to succeed in this endeavour. Here are some veggies and herbs that can thrive under the most basic of conditions and care.

rows of tomato plants in orange pots with popsicle sticksImage via jag2020, Pixabay


Tomatoes can be remarkably easy to grow, and can produce loads of fruit through the late summer and into the fall. 

a close-up of a zucchini plant with flowersImage via ajcespedes, Pixabay


This delicious squash variety is perfect for the beginner gardener and will continue to flower and produce fruit right up until the first frost. Just make sure to harvest them every few days so they don’t get too big.

a close up of a pile of spinachImage via millenialab, Pixabay


Spinach is delicious and versatile, easily fitting into many raw and cooked dishes.

a close up of red and green heads of lettuceImage via blende12, Pixabay


From red and green leaf lettuce to juicy romaine or iceberg, your salad game will be spot-on with these easy-to-grow greens.

a pile of picked cucumbersImage via krzys16, Pixabay


Cucumber varieties are relatively easy to grow, and perfect for both raw and pickling applications. Like zucchini you need to keep an eye on their size once they start to ripen.

a pile of carrots freshly pulled from the groundImage via rauschenberger, Pixabay


These delicious and popular root vegetables are a breeze to plant and maintain in a greenhouse setting.

 stacks of green onions tied upImage via ArmbrustAnna, Pixabay

Green (spring) onions

A staple for salads, omelettes or garnish for stir-frygreen onions are super easy to grow. You can even start them from leftovers you bought at the grocery store as long as they still have their roots. You can also continually harvest them by snipping off the tops as needed and leaving the rest to re-grow.

strawberries growing off the plantImage via Bytran2710, Pixabay


This sweet, delicious early summer fruit is surprisingly simple to grow, and there are even varieties that produce continually as long as the ambient temperature remains moderate.

close up of multiple basil plantsImage via fabersam, Pixabay

Many herbs grow quite well in Canada’s climate, and will thrive in a greenhouse setting. If you’re planting outside, be aware most herbs are perennial and will come back each year. Varieties like mint, lemon balm, chives, and parsley spread quickly (keep an eye on them if you are planting outside). Here are a few must-haves:

  • Parsley;
  • Sage;
  • Summer Savoury;
  • Oregano;
  • Basil;
  • Thyme;
  • Dill;
  • Fennel;
  • Mint;
  • Cilantro;
  • Lemon Balm; and
  • Chives.

For more ideas on what can easily be grown in your greenhouse, this comprehensive list has you covered.

an outdoor greenhouseImage via EME, Pixabay

Two important considerations

Because the sun can be quite piercing and glass windows can amplify its heat and intensity, it may be necessary to take additional steps to moderate the temperature and light penetration, like employing a shade or enabling ventilation.

While some plants require little-to-no help with pollination, if you plan to grow in a fully enclosed greenhouse for the duration of your plants’ life cycles, some assistance may be necessary to ensure a healthy crop.

a basket full of fresh vegetablesImage via JillWellington, Pixabay

Building a greenhouse to grow your own produce is an amazing hobby with benefits to your health beyond just the expected fresh and nutritious harvest. It’s a great—even cost-friendly—way to learn new skills, relieve stress, build confidence, and make opportunities for valuable family time—even for the most timid of green thumbs.




Since the pandemic hit, more homeowners have been staying put. Many continue to invest money into their properties, especially their outdoor space, so they can entertain friends and families safely. That means deck-building companies have been very busy.

“The industry has absolutely exploded, with so many customers wanting to build decks,” says Justin Szekely, owner and co-founder of Ace of Decks, which designs and builds custom decks in BeaconsfieldQuebec.

Thinking of improving your outdoor living area by putting in a fabulous new deck? Here are Szekely’s top tips to get the right space for your lifestyle and budget.

View from a deck overlooking the water

Choose the right contractor

“A lot of companies claim to be able to do just about anything under the sun, and they’ll take jobs they’re not used to doing, so make sure your contractor is very comfortable installing the specific products you’re hiring them to build with,” says Szekely. “With products like composite decking, each manufacturer has very specific installation techniques, and if the contractors aren’t familiar with that product, they may install it wrong and void your warranty.”

Also, because municipalities have bylaws and permit processes that vary, you’ll want a contractor who’s familiar with your area. And don’t forget to ask for references and check out their work by inspecting the decks they’ve already built, if possible.

Image via Ace of Decks

Decide which materials match your lifestyle

Probably the biggest deck decision is cost  versus maintenance. A composite deck typically costs twice as much as treated wood, but it lasts at least twice as long, explains Szekely. 

“And while you own that deck, you’ll never spend any money or time maintaining it, so for that reason, the cost of ownership is actually less for a composite deck,” he says.

However, if you’re not planning to stay in your house for long, you might not want to invest in composite.

One more thing: Composite decks get a lot warmer in the sun than wood. 

“If the deck is being built near a pool where everyone will be barefoot, we recommend either wood or a lighter-coloured composite, because a dark-coloured composite can burn your feet,” says Szekely.

treated wood deck, big enough for a barbecue, a table and chairsImage via Ace of Decks

Select a deck size that makes sense and fits your budget

A treated wood deck, big enough for a barbecue, a table and chairs starts at about $3,000-$4,000. More elaborate projects run as high as $80,000-$100,000, says Szekely.

On paper–and on TV–multi-level decks look pretty awesome. But there’s no point building something without lots of usable space.

“Think about whether you need space for a four- or eight-person table and if you want a couch there or lighting? These decisions will forecast how big of a deck you need, but we recommend 12-x-24 feet as the smallest size that makes sense for a multi-level deck.”

Check with your city to see how close your deck can encroach onto your property line. Even if you have enough space for a massive deck, you may not be allowed to build it. 

“Privacy is always important, too. A big deck can quickly become a big stage for your neighbours,” explains Szekely.

deck being constructedImage via Ace of Decks

Get an early start

Believe it or not, now’s the perfect time to plan for your new deck. 

“You can build the deck anytime you want, as long as there’s no snow in the way; we start working in March, and we’re already booked until the end of May right now,” says Szekely.

The pandemic has also meant some construction materials are on back-order, so the earlier you start, the better. 

If you request a permit to build a deck now, you’ll probably get one within a week or two, adds Szekely. But if you wait until May, it could take up to two months. Booking early means there’s less chance your project will be delayed.  

“You also have to think about safety; the city won’t grant a permit for any project missing the proper railing requirements.”

Treated wood deck

If you want wood, be prepared for the upkeep

Treated wood decks are affordable and beautiful, but be aware that you’ll be committing yourself to maintaining it, says Skekely.

“Upkeep depends on how much sun your deck is exposed to, what product you put on there and just how critical you are of that product fading a little bit,” he explains. 

“If you put on an opaque paint, that’s going to be super high-maintenance, because the second a piece chips off, you’ll see it right away. And once you go with the opaque, you’re stuck with it, unless you’re going to sand and strip it all off, which is a huge job.”

If you use a clear oil or a stain that soaks into the wood, you won’t notice it deteriorating and it leaves a rustic patina. 

No matter what type of deck you choose, it will definitely boost enjoyment in your backyard for years to come, so it’s an investment you can feel good about.


Source: Scott's Blog

Most empty nesters have to face this decision at some point or another – to keep the family home or downsize to something smaller. Deciding to move from the home where you raised your kids can be an emotional process. For some, it’s sad, while for others it’s an exciting new chapter. Whatever you may be feeling, don’t let your emotions get in the way of making a smart decision. Like any real estate investment, there are a lot of things that need to be considered when downsizing to a smaller home. Here are a few downsizing tips to consider.

Why Downsize?

The first thing to figure out is why you’re downsizing. Some people choose to leave because the family home has become too much to manage, for some it feels too empty without the kids in the house, and for others it’s because they desire a lifestyle change. Whatever the reason it’s important to understand why you’re downsizing so you can determine the needs of your new home.

What Matters To You?

Before you settle on your new digs you have to determine what matters and what doesn’t. The best way to start is to make a list of the best and worst features of your current home. Do you love your big family-style kitchen? Will you miss it if you move to a tiny condo? What about the backyard? If outdoor entertaining is important to you a small bungalow with a yard might be a better option than a condo. While compromises will always have to be made, there’s no point in moving to a place that lacks the things you love.

Scott McGillivray Collection

Size Matters

Downsizing to a one or two-bedroom condo can be a tempting prospect for people who don’t want to deal with a lot of upkeep, but make sure the space can accommodate your lifestyle. Do you host a lot of holiday get-togethers? Make sure you can fit your loved ones in the space. Do family and friends come for overnight visits on a regular basis? In that case, a guest room is a must. And keep in mind that your kids may have moved out of the family home, but that doesn’t mean they might not come back! If this is something you want to encourage make sure there’s somewhere for them to stay.

Consider the Location

Location is as important when downsizing as it is at any other time, and the area you move to will affect your cost of living. While moving from a big home to a condo might seem like a money-saving venture, cutting square footage might not save you money if you move to a prime real estate location. And keep in mind that condos come with maintenance fees that must be budgeted for. When deciding on a location you also need to think about what’s important to you now and in the future. Staying close to family is very important for some people while being close to specific amenities is important to others.

Special Considerations

As an empty nester, you need to think about the needs of tomorrow as well as today. Townhouses can be great in terms of size and upkeep, but they tend to have a lot of stairs, which can become difficult as you get older. Other elements of universal design are also worthwhile to keep in mind. When looking for downsizing tips, think about things like curbless showers, door handles instead of knobs and under-counter appliances. While these things might not be a concern now, they could be important in the future.

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