Are you thinking about purchasing home fitness equipment? Owning your own treadmill, exercise bike, or rowing machine can save you a lot of time and money compared to joining a fitness club. However, selecting the right equipment can be a challenge. Here are some tips:
- Try it first. Ask your home fitness equipment dealer to let you do a few minutes of exercise on the machine you’re considering. Most will agree. Be suspicious if they don’t.
- Ask around. Staff at local fitness clubs know the best equipment. Ask them for recommendations. Also ask friends and colleagues.
- Read on-line reviews. Type the name and model of the fitness machine you’re considering into Google along with the word “reviews”. Chances are you’ll find several websites that contain candid customer comments, complaints and testimonials.
- Make sure it fits. Home fitness equipment can take up a lot of space. Make sure the one you select fits in the room you have in mind. Pay particular attention to the ceiling height. You don’t want to hit your head while working out on your stair climber!
(BPT) – Whether you’ve heard it in the office, a classroom or a soccer field, that old saying about mistakes being valuable learning tools really rings true, doesn’t it? If those mistakes occur during the course of a kitchen renovation, however, it may be difficult to be philosophical about them. Bungle a kitchen redesign, and you’ll either have to live with the consequences for a long time or invest even more money to correct them.
It’s better by far to avoid making a big mistake when renovating a kitchen. Here are six totally wrong moves that you should never make when improving the most-used room in your home:
1. Give up cabinets.
Maybe you long for a window over the kitchen sink. Perhaps replacing or upgrading all the cabinets in the kitchen will take too big a bite out of your budget. Or maybe you intend to become a minimalist and need storage space for only two plates, two mugs and two wine glasses. Whatever you think your “reason” is for reducing the number of cabinets in your kitchen – don’t do it. Cabinet storage space is a top priority in any kitchen; it can help keep clutter off your countertops, and improve the room’s appeal to potential buyers. Never give up cabinet space unless you have a ridiculous number of cabinets, in which case, see move No. 2 ….
2. Cover every inch of wall with cabinets.
The only thing worse than not enough cabinets is having too many. We’ve all seen kitchens where the cabinets visually overwhelm the space. Sometimes they’re too large for the scale of the room. Other times there are just too many of them. Keep in mind the need for visual balance, and turn to online calculators to help you understand how much cabinetry is appropriate for your kitchen.
3. Cheap out on appliances.
New appliances can be a large part of your kitchen renovation budget, and the temptation to cut costs by buying cheaper quality products can be compelling. Yet kitchen appliances are among the most-used in any home. When you consider how often you’ll use them, how much wear and tear they’ll endure, and how great their impact is on the usability of the room, it makes sense to invest in the best appliances you can afford. What’s more, if you choose cheaper models – or worse yet, keep old, inefficient appliances – you may miss out on the energy savings that new appliances can deliver.
4. Give up even a single ray of sunlight or breath of fresh air.
More than one kitchen renovator has chosen to solve the problem of too little cabinet space by covering up a window. Not a smart move, especially when you consider the value of natural light and fresh air in a kitchen. If you have no wall space to spare for windows, adding Energy Star-qualified no-leak fresh-air skylights, like those from Velux America, can solve the problem.
Modern skylights are as dependable as high quality vertical windows and they admit much more natural light. Solar powered fresh air skylights passively vent humidity and cooking fumes from the kitchen while bringing in light. Pair them with solar-powered designer blinds, and your skylights become not just more energy efficient, but more functional, since both are operated by a programmable remote control. As an added plus, solar powered skylights, blinds and installation costs are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements.
5. Pick materials that are too fragile for life in the kitchen.
Just as you never pick a partner or a vehicle based on their looks alone, choosing kitchen materials based on beauty is doomed to disappoint. For example, recycled glass countertops can chip, scratch or crack more easily than other options, and may not stand up to rigorous use. Limestone has a lovely, luminous look but is vulnerable to stains. Before you choose a material for its looks, find out its durability and weigh that against your tolerance for cleaning and repairs, as well as how brutal you’re likely to be on the surfaces in your kitchen. And in that vein ….
6. Let looks trump practicality.
Choosing an overall design or materials that look great and are fashionable, but that aren’t practical for your lifestyle, is a recipe for regrets. Whether it’s buying a refrigerator that’s too big for the scale of the room, or opting for a countertop color that’s too unusual to be universally appealing, conceding practicality to appearance will make the kitchen harder to work in and harder to sell down the road.
A well-executed kitchen renovation can boost home value and improve your enjoyment of the kitchen, which is the heart of the home. With planning and care, it’s possible to avoid the kind of renovation mistakes that no one wants to live with.
CALL YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT
One mistake that home owners make when they are ready to sell their home is getting their home “ready” to sell before they call an agent. The home owners will make repairs or upgrades that have will little or no return on their investment. Your real estate agent (hey, that’s me) will give you tips on what renovations are necessary to sell, if any.
Remove everything but the essentials. Donate what you don’t want and store the rest. Plenty of people prefer to use storage units for items they want to keep. Take a minute to organize kitchen cabinets, closets, bathrooms and the pantry. It if looks like a clothing store in your closet and a well-fronted grocery store, you’re doing great.
Potential buyers want to be able to walk into your home and imagine themselves living there. They can’t do that if you have pictures of your family up and decor like “Thomas Family. Established in 1988” hanging on the front door. Remove these items, and any built-in items that you’ll be taking with you. Place personal items from your bathroom vanity in accessible boxes.
Wax the floors, dust everything, and polish metals. Get every single crack and crevice as clean as it can be and remove odd odors. If this seems like an overwhelming task, break it down into smaller tasks and put it on a calendar.
REPAIR THE BASICS
If the door squeaks, get some WD-40. If the bathroom needs re-caulked, that’s okay. Small projects are good, large ones are not (i.e. you do not need to replace all of the windows in your house). The biggest project you should tackle is painting bright colored walls. Bright colored walls says to potential buyers “this is going to take work.” Try neutral colors, off whites and light grays.
SPRUCE UP THE CURB APPEAL
Maintain the lawn, pressure wash the exterior, and clean up the shrubbery. Hire a professional or shell out a couple of bucks for flowers or seasonal plants for the garden!
When buying a home, there was a time when we began with a drive around the neighbourhood with a real estate agent. Today, most home buyers begin their homebuying journey online.
As technology has evolved over the last decade, homebuyers are more knowledgeable about their needs, desires and what they can afford. This is a welcome change since more informed buyers make for a better experience for everyone involved.
Here are some of the ways to put real estate at your fingertips through the online tools available:
• Many homebuyers begin online at www.realtor.ca where photographs, descriptions, maps, and 3D virtual tours can be found.
• The royallepage.ca website and app are popular choices to research neighbourhood information including schools, amenities and even walkability scores.
• Buyers can research agents within a specific area of interest on royallepage.ca. Agent information includes languages spoken and areas of expertise.
• Mortgage rates are available through banking and lender sites. These sites often provide tips on organizing your finances, mortgage calculators and answers to your mortgage-related questions. Pre-approval applications for your mortgage are also available.
• Homeowners can also organize a flawless move with tips and web forms to arrange for a free moving estimate on royallepage.ca.
With technology evolving as quickly as it has, the notion of holding up a smartphone to a home for sale and instantly garnering many of the details, is not far off. Your real estate agent provides an important role in marketing the home, negotiating the best price and pulling together the important details of the final sale. And, when homeowners are better prepared through today’s technology, it makes the process of buying or selling a home that much smoother.