Thursday, November 10, 2011

Makeover your kitchen on a budget

A kitchen is normally one of the most expensive rooms of your home to remodel. Appliances, tile, and granite all add up to an eye-raising cost - beyond most first-time homeowners' budget. But a kitchen needn't cost a fortune or be beyond the reach of your modest budget. If the basics of your kitchen are sound - the cabinets essentially usable though ugly, the appliances in working order, the layout in no immediate need of structural changes - you can make some simple changes and bring your kitchen into the modern era. Here's how:

1. Paint. You have heard it before, but the cheapest way to change a space for the better is a gallon or two of paint. If you stick to neutral colors, you can add accessories, art, or curtains in a striking color as an accent. Neutral colors also sell if you decide to move.

2. Cabinets. There are four ways to change your cabinets on a budget.

Change the look - If your cabinet bases are in reasonably good shape, paint the cabinets and add new premade cabinet doors.

The dark side - If you would rather not paint, consider staining the cabinets if the wood is in good shape. A dark stain in cherry or dark teak will update the look. But remember to strip and sand them before you stain. The time spent stripping and sanding will pay off in the professional look of the stained result.

Open them up - After you paint the cabinets, take the doors off the top cabinets entirely to give them an open look.

Add new hardware - Adding updated hardware can do wonders for the look of the kitchen. Brushed nickel or pewter knobs is a modern style can take decades off the style of your kitchen.

3. Appliances. If your appliances are in good working order, you can update their look by painting them. If you are afraid to do it yourself, take them to an automobile paint shop and have them done. It is well worth the expense, which will be much less than new appliances.

4. Countertops. New countertops are available at most home improvement stores in standard sizes. They are precut and ready to install. And they are very cost effective, especially if you chose a color or style that is on sale or clearance.

5. Floor. The new styles of press and stick vinyl tiles look surprisingly high end. And they can be quickly installed. Try the new styles that look like slate - beautiful!

All of these ideas will cost you must less and will be faster than a standard remodel. And most can be done yourself - reducing the cost of labor. The resulting kitchen will enhance your home - and your bottom line!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 7,642 home sales through the TorontoMLS® in October 2011. This represented an increase of 17.5 per cent compared to the 6,504 transactions reported in October 2010.

Monthly sales data follow a recurring seasonal trend that should be removed before comparing monthly results within the same year. After adjusting for seasonality, the annualized rate of sales for October was 97,100, which was above the average of 90,700 for the first three quarters of 2011.

“The pace of October resale home transactions remained brisk in the GTA. This bodes well for a strong finish to 2011,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Richard Silver. “Home buyers who found it difficult to make a deal in the spring and summer due to a shortage of listings have benefitted from increased supply in the fall.”

The average selling price through the TorontoMLS® in October was $478,137 – up eight per cent compared to October 2010.

“Sellers’ market conditions remain in place in many parts of the GTA. The result has been above-average annual rates of price growth for most home types,” said Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Thanks to low interest rates, strong price growth has not substantially changed the positive affordability picture in the City of Toronto and surrounding regions.”

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