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Stand-alone showers have been rising in popularity as the primary bathing method in many homes—they’re practical, spacious, and downright gorgeous. If you’ve been reconsidering your bathroom’s space with a shower conversion, think about the following important considerations to help you get started.

Can it affect my home’s resale value?

While it’s usually recommended to maintain at least one bathtub in a home, some Houzz polls indicate this may not be as important to homeowners as it used to be. One poll showed that 67% of respondents agreed that having only a large shower stall would not hurt a home’s resale value. Another poll indicated 54% of respondents believed having a shower is more important over either a tub, or both a shower and a bathtub, while only 6% believed having only a tub was most important.


Demographics for urban condos are shifting towards younger buyers whose preference leans towards maximizing the use of bathroom space. Homeowners are using tubs less and prefer the spacious appeal of shower stalls.

Clearances and codes


Before running out to your local building centre or calling contractors, it’s best to do some preliminary planning. There are codes that must be followed. It’s best to adhere to the International Plumbing Code, which indicates a minimum of 24” clearance between your shower stall and any object or adjacent wall—the ideal amount of space is at least 30”.


Rona has broken down these codes into a helpful set of measurement guidelines that you can follow when planning your space. Be sure to check your local and provincial building codes as well to ensure compliance. Having a good understanding of your space will help guide your design decisions and avoid any last-minute disappointments.


This is also a good time to determine if your space allows for a swinging door on your shower stall. If space is at a premium, then a sliding door or shower curtain are the solutions to consider.



You should also keep an eye on your overhead clearance, especially when dealing with a bathroom in an attic conversion. You need to ensure there is always a minimum ceiling clearance of seven feet.

Custom or kit?

Whether you use a custom design or shower kit really comes down to budget. Kits can be found at most major building centres, and run from $470 for a Basic 36” x 36” shower stall kit, right up to $3,900 for a 60” x 32” alcove shower stall. You’ll find the majority of kits within the $1,000 to $2,000 range. 

If you have a heftier budget and a desire for a unique installation, then consider hiring a professional contractor. Be prepared for a minimum budget of $5,000, though if you are renovating your entire bathroom this could jump to more than $10,000 depending on your bathroom’s size and materials used.


Curbed over curbless?

This is another design decision that should be carefully considered and decided on early in the process. Curbed showers are relatively uncomplicated installations and are more widely used, but if this is the home you plan on living in through retirement, then a curbless shower can address possible future mobility restrictions. If an accessible bathroom is a must, whether for immediate or future need, then a curbless shower is the way to go for ease of access with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches. Just be aware that while a curbless shower will make your bathroom feel more like a professional spa, the drainage system requires precision installation to avoid water damage.


Demolition and plumbing

If you’re doing your own conversion, you’ll need to remove any tiles and backing board from the walls and disconnect and remove the bathtub. Be sure to shut off the water, and also be on the lookout for any possible water damage to your framing and underflooring, plus wear and tear to your plumbing. If you detect any issues, now is a good time to repair and if needed, update the plumbing. If you encounter black mold, take precautions to remove it safely. 

The two videos below demonstrate how to remove both a porcelain and a cast iron tub, as well as tiled walls.


https://youtu.be/--7B9ZrfX6A

https://youtu.be/a2FtGH8uATI


Now that you have your pipes exposed, it’s time to update to a pressure balancing valve and say good-bye to unpleasant surprises whenever someone flushes the toilet!

Windows

It’s advisable to avoid having a window where your shower is located. If the window and frame are not sealed properly, you’re risking water incursion, mould—and unpleasant financial headaches. If you do have a window that can’t be avoided, check for water damage and mold when removing the tub and wall coverings, and ensure your window is properly sealed and waterproofed when installing your shower.

youtube.com/watch?v=YB98UHdvouE

 

Accessories


Once all the basics are covered, then it’s time to consider accessories, like specific types of showerheads, a bench, or something to hold extra shampoos and body washes. Waterproof benches are a lower-cost option over custom bench installs and run from $100 to well over $500. If you installed a custom shower—or even if you used a kit—there’s likely a ledge or shelf to hold personal care products, but if you need some extra space, a shower caddy is the simplest solution. Shower caddies come in a wide range of styles that either hang from an existing fixture or are spring-loaded to stand between the floor and ceiling.



There’s a lot to consider when converting a bathtub into a shower stall, but once it’s done you might find the hardest part at the end of all this will be having to get out of the shower before the hot water runs out.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca


 
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If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve come to the right place. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy, REALTOR.ca can guide you through the entire process and a REALTOR® can help take care of the rest.

Here’s an overview of what to think about:

Prepare to buy

Few joys can match the pride of owning a home, but the responsibility can also come with sacrifices – from the financial commitment to the required care and maintenance. You’ll want to be sure both fit within your current or preferred lifestyle.


Plan your finances

Buying a home is a big deal; it’s probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make. Being prepared means also understanding that expenses go beyond purchase price.

To secure your new home, you’ll likely need to arrange for a mortgage but before you do, take a look at how much you can afford each month. Based on your income and expenses, our affordability calculator can help you estimate your maximum affordable mortgage payments.

View properties

A REALTOR® can review your wants and needs to help you determine your price range, as well as answer questions about the markets you’re interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods. Your REALTOR® can also provide access to exclusive listing information, preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget and make appointments and show you homes that interest you.

Make an offer

You’ve found the perfect home? Congratulations! Now, if you actually want to make it yours, you have to make a successful offer, one the seller will accept. REALTORS® can prepare the offer for you.

Close the purchase

Buying a home involves piles of legal documents. You need someone to translate the ”legalese” and ensure your best interests are protected.

There are many experienced real estate lawyers out there. Like choosing any other professional, ask your friends, family and co-workers for their recommendations. Your REALTOR® can also give you the name(s) of experienced real estate lawyers in your area.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca

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Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the number of transactions in the Metro Vancouver housing market.


This morning, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver announced a 56.1 percent decline in sales in April compared to the previous month.


The April sales were a whopping 62.7 percent below the 10-year average for that month and the lowest since the deep recession of 1982.


Listings through the multiple-listing service dropped 2.3 percent from the previous month to 9,389.


“Predictably, the number of home sales and listings declined in April given the physical distancing measures in place,” REBGV president-elect Colette Gerber said in a news release.


Then she tried to put a positive spin on the situation by saying this: “People are, however, adapting. They’re working with their realtors to get information, advice and to explore their options so that they’re best positioned in the market during and after this pandemic.”


The MLS Home Price Index's benchmark price rose 0.2 percent from March to $1,036,000.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver includes Whistler, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast.


White Rock, North Delta, Surrey, and Langley are part of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.


Original Article from: Straight


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From virtual picnics to video-chat mimosas, you can still celebrate her from afar.


From birthday car parades to virtual happy hours, we're starting to navigate this whole "shelter in place" thing relatively well, all things considered. But a socially distanced Mother's Day feels particularly hard, doesn't it? After all, your mother's likely the very person you need most right now—for a reassuring hug, for her homemade lasagna, and, okay, for occasional supervision of the grandchildren. (They. Are. Climbing. The. Walls.) And while those things may not be possible at this given moment, you can find solace in her voice as you catch up during a virtual brunch, seek refuge in her laughter while tuning into the perfect mother-daughter television show or movie, and watch her light up with the grandkids—even if she has to watch them pick strawberries via video ("We love you so berry much, Nana!") After you've shopped for the perfect Mother's Day gifts and put together some sweet Mother's Day crafts (yes, there's still time!), consider embracing one of these stay-connected activities that will serve up some much-needed quality time during quarantine. Whether you're socially distanced in the same town (surprise her with a Love Actually-esque poster board message!) or toasting her from many miles away, one of these ideas will leave you feeling a little bit closer in these distanced times. And if there's anything Mom taught you, it's to stand up straight, mind your manners, and always, always, look on the bright side.


Go on a Picnic "Together"



Mother's Day falls during that magical time of year when the weather is pleasantly warm and the trees and flowers are blooming. Surprise mom with a pre-packed picnic basket—either via porch drop-off or a snack-filled mail delivery—and schedule a time to enjoy your alfresco fixins at the same time (either on speakerphone or video chat). For another fancied up twist, make it a "Rose & Croquet" Mother's Day, and gift her the fun lawn game.


Original Article from: Country Living


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(BPT) – This year spring cleaning is more than ever about the deep clean. Spring typically inspires a little more time dedicated to cleaning, in fact, a recent survey commissioned by Bona and conducted by Harris Poll found that more than half of U.S. adults say that the start of spring triggers extra cleaning in the household. While in the past it might have been more about simply dusting hard-to-reach corners and cleaning out the fridge, this year it’s also about deep cleaning and disinfecting for health and safety.


Here are a few tips to deep clean this spring for anyone tackling the task.


Focus on high-use areas first

It may not be realistic to deep clean your whole home in one weekend so consider targeting busy areas of your home first. Bedrooms, bathrooms, family room, kitchen and entry areas likely get the most foot traffic, so start there and leave lesser used areas of the home for later. Gather some helpers and set a timeframe to establish a clear goal and end time. Consider a second round of cleaning if you’re unable to complete the task.

Clear out the clutter

Create a system that works for you to clear out the clutter and make space to deep clean. Set up boxes or bags clearly labeled “Trash,” “Recycle,” “Donate,” and “Belongs elsewhere.” Go through each target room, putting anything that shouldn’t be there in one of the labeled containers.


Be sure to get these boxes or bags where they belong to avoid additional house clutter (we’ve all been guilty of moving a pile from one room to another!). You’ll feel lighter and happier just seeing those boxes and bags head out the door. Consider tasking a family member with trash or donation drop-off.

Prioritize large surface areas

Once you’ve cleared the excess clutter, wipe down the room from top to bottom. Clean the dust accumulated on top of bookshelves or ceiling fans first, then wipe down walls from top to bottom to remove dust and grime, using a microfiber mop or cloth. Prioritize large surfaces like countertops and tables as well as potential germ hotspots like the kitchen sink. Finish up with the floors by vacuuming carpet or by using a cleaner tailored for your hardwood or hard-surface floors.

Disinfect

At every opportunity look for areas that can be disinfected. Focus on high-use items and areas like remote controls, doorknobs, drawer pulls, and keypads. Consider using products that use hydrogen peroxide, a proven, healthier way to kill germs. Many traditional antibacterial cleaners use quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats.” This specific class of chemicals is linked to skin irritation and respiratory problems and use of quats is contributing to the global problem of antimicrobial resistance.


For example, Bona PowerPlus® Antibacterial Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner is a new, hydrogen peroxide powered cleaning solution specifically designed to clean and disinfect hard, non-porous flooring surfaces. This ready-to-use antibacterial cleaner is formulated to clean and remove stubborn stains while killing 99.9% of household germs* with the power of hydrogen peroxide when used as directed. It also leaves your home smelling fresh and clean with no residue left behind.

Finishing touches

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned and refreshed your rooms, brainstorm other ways to improve your living space:


· Donate excess, little-used furniture to create more space


· Identify tasks best left to professionals, like exterior window cleaning or hardwood floor refinishing


· Display brightly colored artwork to renew your walls


· Set out a vase or two of colorful flower arrangements


Let your deep cleaning this spring bring a little renewal and brightness to your home. A clean home is also a healthy home for family, pets and friends.


*Kills 99.9% of Influenza A H1N1 Virus, Rhinovirus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], and Trichophyton mentagrophytes on hard, non-porous surfaces in 10 minutes.


Original Article from: My Motherlode

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Sure, you can afford your home now, but what if mortgage rates go up?


Low interest rates and mortgages have been a fact of life in Canada for some time now. At the time of publication, the 5-year average mortgage rate has hovered around 5% for nearly a decade. This is a far cry from late 1981 when mortgage rates were as much as 21%.


New mortgage rules

In 2017, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) took steps to help protect lenders and home buyers alike against future interest rate increases. Since January 1, 2018, new mortgages are subject to comparison with higher interest rates than the one issued at the time of the mortgage. Homeowners must be able to afford a mortgage at the Bank of Canada’s current five-year average posted rate or at an interest rate that’s 2% above what they’re currently applying for, whichever rate is highest.


Why OFSI made the move

Perhaps motivated by the foreclosure crisis in the United States, the OSFI felt Canadian consumers needed protection from forces deemed outside of homeowners’ control.


The effect of the stress test means you may not qualify for the home you desire. If you’re targeting a home with a $700,000 mortgage, for example, you may only qualify for about $550,000 under the new stress test rules. This could make a big difference in your choice of neighbourhoods in certain markets.


Working the stress test process

The new mortgage rules don’t have to be a barrier, however. First, there are ways around the stress test standard, which only applies to federally–regulated lenders. Credit unions, which are regulated at the provincial level, are exempt from stress test provisions. The same is true for private lenders. Alternatively, adding a co-signer to your mortgage can increase your mortgage target, even with the stress test rule in place.


How REALTORS® help

There’s always lots to consider, particularly if you’re a first-time home buyer. In addition to helping you find your dream home, your REALTOR® can also help you navigate the new stress test rules and requirements.


Start by downloading a copy of the Homebuyers’ Road Map—a guide covering virtually every aspect related to buying a home. Then, to get an idea of what you might be able to afford, our mortgage calculators include interest rate risk in its parameters, assuring your estimates will pass the mortgage stress test.


Armed with a little know-how and backed by the support and expertise of your REALTOR®, you’ll be on your way to holding the keys to your new home in no time!  


The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca


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Is It Different This Time? Recessions and the BC Housing Market

Summary Findings:
  • The 2020 COVID-19 driven recession will be deep, though the duration may be shorter than past recessions
  • We expect that home sales will post an initial sharp decline as households and the real estate sector adhere to social distancing
  • As measures implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are gradually lifted, we expect that low interest rates and pent-up demand will translate to a significant recovery in home sales and prices
The Canadian economy has weathered three recessions in the past 40 years, each unique in cause, depth and duration. However, there is considerable similarity in how the BC housing market has both endured and recovered from those recessions.

In this market intelligence, we examine the impact of past recessions on the BC housing market and provide preliminary projections on how COVID-19 may impact provincial home sales and prices over the next 24 months.

The 2020 Recession – How bad and how long?

The 2020 recession likely began in February, meaning it is still in its very early stages. Since 1980, the average Canadian recession has lasted between 8 and 25 months and is characterized by a contraction of about 4 per cent in real GDP and a jump in the unemployment rate of 4.5 percentage points.

Provincial economic data is only available annually, making it much harder to track the duration of recessions. We know that during the 1981/82 recession, the BC economy contracted by 6.4 per cent, and the unemployment rate jumped nearly 10 points in the worst recession on record for British Columbia. The provincial economy performed much better in the 1990-92 recession, with real GDP eking out meager growth over that period, though the provincial unemployment rate did spike to nearly 11 per cent. During the 2008- 09 Financial Crisis and recession, we estimate the BC economy peaked in November of 2008 and contracted 3.7 per cent over the following 12 months while the unemployment rate rose more than 4 points.

Historical Recessions: Canada and BC
Our current forecast is for the Canadian economy to contract approximately 4 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, followed by a startling 21 per cent decline in the second quarter on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis (on a non-annualized basis,
the second quarter decline is roughly 5 per cent). The peak-to-trough decline in total Canadian output will likely be on the order of about 7 per cent before the economy starts to grow again.
Likewise, our tracking of the BC economy indicates that provincial real GDP growth will turn negative in February and the contraction of the economy may reach double digits by April, reflecting the shutdown in economic activity.
The COVID-19 recession is unprecedented in that it is not man-made. It did not evolve due to collective poor business decisions, bad loans, or misadventures in financial engineering.
Rather, the economy has been purposely halted for the greater good. The implication being that, the shorter the duration of this unusual period, the more likely it is that demand can snap back to near where it was pre-COVID-19. However, the longer the duration, the more likely that jobs do not return, businesses fail, and the recovery is much slower.
While a recession looks to be unavoidable, the country has already experienced staggering job losses in March and, just as there are necessary measures to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we can also implement measures to flatten the recession curve. Fortunately, Canadian policy makers are following the playbook to do just that. If these policies are working, we expect the pace of job losses to slow considerably, and the number of EI   claims and business failures to decline.
COVID-19, Past Recessions and the BC Housing Market

In past recessions, BC home sales typically posted an initial steep decline before bouncing back along with the wider economy. In the year following the start of a recession, home sales have recorded significant recoveries, rising 24 to 46 per cent, largely as a result of pent- up demand and low interest rates.
In the COVID-19 recession, we expect home sales will decline approximately 30-40 per cent year-over-year in April 2020 and remain depressed over the summer as households and the real estate sector adhere to social distancing. As measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are gradually lifted, we expect that pent-up demand
and low interest rates will entice buyers back into the market. We project home sales will return to a baseline 85,000-unit annual pace by early 2021.

The response of home prices to prior recessions was broadly similar to that of home sales, with average home prices initially declining before springing back as the Bank of Canada lowers interest rates, and pent-up demand builds. Those factors are often powerful enough that home prices finish the year higher following the initial decline. The one clear outlier is the 1981/82
recession in which prices were crashing following a 41 per cent increase the year prior and an increase in mortgage rates to a now unimaginable 22 per cent.

Crucially, the impact on prices is largely determined by the reaction of supply. If the inventory of listings accumulates significantly, and particularly if  that inventory represents foreclosures or desperation selling by those impacted by rising unemployment,  then prices will be more severely impacted.
Our COVID-19 model assumes that listings accumulate as in past recessions. However, given the unusual nature of COVID-19, listings are likely to decline for at least the first month due to social distancing before normal recession dynamics take over and listings begin to rise. That alternative scenario is represented by the broken line in the adjacent chart.
Conclusions
While a recession in Canada and BC is at this point unavoidable, the one thing all recessions have in common is that they end. We know from history that the housing market bounces back with vigor following recessions, usually aided by a steep drop in interest  rates. We expect this time around will be no different. Given historically low interest rates and pent-up demand, we expect the impact of this recession will evolve as in the past, with home sales and prices recovering into 2021.


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Moe Pourtaghi


"Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my buyers & sellers have success in their Real Estate endeavours. I hope you find the articles on my blog inspiring and educating in your ventures." - Moe Pourtaghi

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.