360renos - Home Improvement & Decor

How to make your home stand out when selling

We can help your house sell quickly and at a good price -- even in a slow market.

It takes a lot more than sparkling windows, scented candles and chocolate-chip cookies to sell a home in today's market.

Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments.

Beyond any doubt, the best investment you can make is new paint. Painting can make a room or an exterior fa├žade look brand-new, and totally transform the look and feel of a room or the entire residence. It is always wise to be somewhat restrained when choosing colors for a home-staging paint project. Avoid choosing colors that are too individual or flashy and favor neutral colors and schemes. This does not mean painting everything white, however.

Use subtle color schemes to accentuate the home's strengths and minimize weaknesses. Dark colors, for example, tend to make a room feel smaller, while lighter colors and pastels can make a room feel bigger.

There is another benefit to painting as well: the process of preparing the interior or exterior surfaces of a home for painting automatically allows us to go over the entire area receiving paint in great detail, and this can often expose items or areas requiring repair. It seems you always discover where the caulking has let go, where the wall is dinged.

It is always preferable that we discover and deal with these items before the real estate agent (or worse, the prospective buyer) points them out to you!

Dave - 360renos

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

CFL Bulbs and Dimmer Switches

Are your CFL bulbs "buzzing" when they are installed in a fixture that is controlled by a dimmer switch?

If so, then you have the wrong type of CFL bulb installed.

To use a compact fluorescent bulb on a dimmer switch, you must buy a bulb that's specifically made to work with dimmers (check the package). GE makes a dimming compact fluorescent light bulb (called the Energy Smart Dimming Spirals®) that is specially designed for use with dimming switches. I don't recommend using regular compact fluorescent bulbs with dimming switches, since this can shorten bulb life. Using a regular compact fluorescent bulb with a dimmer will also nullify the bulb's warranty.

Also most photocells, motion sensors and electric timers are not designed to work with a CFL. check with the manufacturer for the use of a CFL for these types of fixtures.

Dave - 360renos

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Decks and Summer!!

Busy week with a deck build for a customer. Large enough for fabulous evening entertaining and even enough room for the bbq!!

About 4 feet off the ground and will have two landings for the stairway down to the main deck level.

Dave - 360renos

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Little Extra Marketing

Small promo video put together by BestBiddy for businesses listing on their website

Maybe I should dust off Windows Movie Maker and put together a rockin vid!!

Dave - 360renos

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Deck Disaster

A 2 month old deck that was installed by a home owner and subsquently had major structural problems.

Hard to see in this picture but the cedar deck boards are not secured at every joist with 2 screws per joist. In some cases there are only 6 screws in a 10' board when there should be 48+. This will lead to major twisting, cupping and bowing of the deck surface.
The 4x4 post for the second floor deck in the picture is not plumb vertically. It had to be removed from a hole 5 feet deep and it was in concrete and a new post intalled.

The beam is buried in the ground when at minimum it should be on deck blocks but preferably on concrete piers. This major structural weight bearing point will therefore fail much sooner due to sitting in wet earth. The joists are not attached to the rim joist and where attempts were made in some areas to attach them, the screws missed the joists completely.

The ledger board was not attached to house correctly. The board was not level and the anchor screws were not tightened completely.
The joist hangers did not have the nails completely hammered in and there should be 6 nails per joist hanger. Some only had 4 or even 2!!

That is why there is a permit process to ensure decks are installed correctly to ensure a homeowners safety and subsquent owners of the home know they have a well built product. Home owners should always understand and inform themselves of how to complete a project correctly. Lots of advice out there for DIY handy person, you just need to track it down.

Dave - 360renos

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Interior Paint charges and Costs

Here are some factors to consider:

-First, paint and painting contractors are not fungible. They are not a commodity. In other words, the quality varies widely. How? A sloppy painter will get paint on your hinges and your hardware. An unexperienced painter won't know how to deal with rotted wood that needs repair. A careless painter will not show up on time or will delay your job or get the colors wrong.

-So, interior paint charges and costs reflect the quality of the painter and the paint used. My recommendation would be to get at least three quotes from painting contractors that have been referred to you by friends, neighbours and Contractor sites. Then, don't automatically go with the lowest. Consider how much headache you're willing to tolerate if the company is not recommended or cannot provide you with past references. An excellent resource for Ottawa area consumers is Ask Around Ottawa Review closely what is included in the quoted price.

-Other issues that are reflected in interior paint charges and costs include whether or not the painter will pick up the paint for you from the paint store. How well will the painter clean up after himself? I find that usually, but not always, you get what you pay for when it comes to interior paint charges and costs.

-Interior paint charges and costs will be higher for painting contractors who have a large and regular crew of painters. Also, the interior paint charges and costs will be higher if there is a lot of "prep" work to be done: filling holes with drywall mud and cracks with caulk, sanding down rough spots, removing wall plates, door knobs, etc.

-Remember, when it comes to costs and charges for interior paint, you may overpay for mediocre painting, but you will almost never underpay for high quality painting.

Dave - 360renos

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Create the Right Impression with a Home Stager

by Best Biddy -

The answer to grabbing an edge in a tough real estate market is to find a home staging professional. Homes that are professionally staged usually command a higher selling price and sell in a shorter period than homes that are not professionally staged.

Home stagers are at your service to assist you in displaying your home in such a way that buyers will remember it out of a group of many that they have viewed. This is not about redesigning your entire home. This is about adding a few touches to each room and bringing out their best qualities while diverting attention from the imperfections.

When a potential buyer goes through your home, they may require some help envisioning how to make the most out the space provided. By adding a few small accents, a professional home stager can change the look and feel of an entire room. A home stager is not there to clean or do minor home repairs; they are there to add some smart finishing touches that will make buyers want to buy your house.

Hiring a home stager does not mean that you do not know to decorate. However, it does give a person with an unbiased and critical eye the opportunity to honestly make an assessment and to determine what would be the best way to present your house on the open market. You see your house every day and your friends may want to try and save your feelings, but a home stager brings a fresh, new perspective to the table.

Once you find home stager professionals you can expect your home to be scoured over with a critical eye. Some of your furniture and nick knacks may very well be stored while your house is on the market. This is because the home stager is going to want to paint a selling picture versus a living picture of your home.

Adding some pillows, a mirror or some strategically placed linens can completely change the mood of a room. There are very few houses out on the market that do not have any flaws or could not use a few decorative touches here or there.

Remember that you are looking to find a home staging professional - not just someone who is into home decor as a hobby. You want to ensure that the professional home stager has the appropriate certifications and is indeed a professional. Ask for and check references from previous jobs before you decide on the home stager for you.

The cost of a home stager will be determined by the local demand in your area, the size and number of rooms that need to be staged and the overall reputation of the home stager's business. Remove some of the stress of having to wonder why your home is not moving on the market and find home staging professionals to do the worrying for you. You will find that the investment will be returned in the selling price.

Dave - 360renos

Monday, July 6, 2009

Triple-dip on Reno rebates

By Stephen Dupuis - President & CEO of BILD

Homeowners have a very rare, albeit time-limited opportunity to triple-dip on some federal and provincial government assistance programs designed to stimulate the economy while reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and your heating, cooling and electrical bills.
Between the federal Home Renovation Tax Credit, the federal EcoENERGY Retrofit-Homes program and the provincial home energy retrofit program, there are three pools of grant money available to homeowners.

The federal EcoENERGY program has a pre-requisite home energy audit requirement which will determine which retrofits are eligible for the maximum grant of up to $5,000. The energy audit will identify the inefficiencies in your home, whether windows, insulation, appliances (furnace, hot water heater, air conditioner) and the federal government will issue grant money based on the work undertaken as verified by a post-renovation audit.

Grants range from $650 for a super high-efficiency furnace to $315 for an ENERGY STAR hot water heater to $40 per window unit. Insulation grants range depending upon the amount of space being insulated (ceiling, walls, basement) and the R-value attained. For example, insulating the entire basement to R23 levels gets you $1,250.

Ontario homeowners are fortunate that our provincial government has replicated the federal program and upped the ante by kicking in $150 towards the cost of the energy audit itself, so Ontarians can recover an additional $5,150 (total $10,150) for green renovations.
Meanwhile, the Home Renovation Tax Credit program was announced by the federal government in late January of this year to stimulate jobs and spending in the home renovation sector. Under the Program, homeowners can get a tax credit of up to $1,350 on renovation expenses over $1,000 up to $10,000. You can spend more than $10,000, but the tax credit caps out there. Still, that's not bad considering you were likely considering the project anyway.

Examples of eligible expenses including renovating a kitchen, bath or basement, new carpet or hardwood floors, building an addition, garage or deck, re-shingling a roof, installing a new furnace, fireplace, water softener or hot water heater or painting. Ineligible expenses would include furniture, appliances or audio-visual systems, cleaning, maintenance contracts and financing costs.
The work can be done by a professional contractor or you can do-it-yourself. In the case of contract work, you can claim the value of the contract whereas in the case of do-it-yourself, you can only claim the materials you purchase, not your labour.

It is important to note that the Home Renovation Tax Credit applies to work performed or goods acquired before February 1, 2010. This is your perfect opportunity for greening your reno, which means you need to book that energy audit as soon as possible. To find a certified energy evaluator in your area, visit www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca.

Dave - 360renos