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9 practical ways to save on your renovation

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Collecting your keys soon? It’s time to start planning for your renovation! Purchasing and putting together a home calls for wise decisions to be made, especially so you don’t break the bank. Together with BankBazaar, we bring you a list of tips and tricks to help you balance your budget easily.

1. PLAN YOUR BUDGET (AND STICK TO IT)

Interior Designer: VoilaPhoto: Qanvast

Decide exactly what you need for your new home and list out the cost of each purchase. With this budget in mind, stick to it as closely as possible. However, there may be certain unforeseen circumstances that may cause you to exceed your pre-planned budget due to. With that in mind, be sure to give yourself an allowance of about 20 per cent on top of that pre-planned budget so that you don’t end up with an incomplete bathroom.

2. RESEARCH

Interior Designer: Livinci InteriorPhoto: Qanvast

Experience is the best teacher – read up on what people have done and learn from their experiences. Read reviews on interior designers and look at their portfolios. It is important to note that some interior designers are more skilled in certain home types than others. Try to get at least 3 quotations for your ideal home. Compare them before deciding on a designer.

3. PLAN YOUR PURCHASES

Interior Designer: Our InteriorPhoto: Qanvast

Home fairs attract a range of merchants selling products you might need, which can be a great place to check out! Warehouse sales are also a place to get furniture at a bargain. Compare prices across different merchants before your eventual purchase.

If the purchases are not urgent, wait for discounts during occasions like the Great Singapore Sale, National Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas. Keep on the lookout for cyber sales throughout the year where retailers will have discounts that can save you some money.

For the true bargain hunters, head over to Johor Bahru to get lights and furniture at a fraction of the cost. Tampoi Lighting Centre is immensely popular among Singaporeans, and JC Bespoke is great for good quality teak furniture.

4. DIFFERENTIATE YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS

Interior Designer: ID SensePhoto: Qanvast

Amidst the excitement of preparing for a new home, we tend to fail to consider what we really need. Do you really need that S$800 bright red professional mixer, or does it just look great on the kitchen counter?

Pro tip: Consider if your purchase will make your home a more functional one. If not, you may want to wait till you’ve moved into your home to really know. In that way, it may be wiser to leave some of the nice-to-have purchases till after you’ve moved in.

5. DO-IT-YOURSELF

Interior Designer: EMS RenovationPhoto: Qanvast

Try assembling your own furniture instead of paying someone to do it for you. Just imagine that sense of satisfaction after you’re done! Of course, be discerning as to what you can do. As a general rule of thumb, it might be wise to leave the specialised tasks, such as installation of gas pipes, to trained professionals.

Furniture stores such as IKEA are good bets to get the furniture needed at fairly reasonable prices. Check out Youtube’s home renovation videos, Pinterest or ikeahackers.net for nifty DIY tips.

6. DRAW INSPIRATION FROM OTHERS

Interior Designer: Forefront InteriorPhoto: Qanvast

The Internet is full of inspiration, from renovation saving tips to creative, style tips! Of course, Qanvast has thousands of local home ideas that’ll pique your interest – a real treasure trove of ideas on personalizing your home!!

7. DECIDE ON A COST-SAVING THEME FOR YOUR HOME

Interior Designer: D5 Studio ImagePhoto: Qanvast

The design of your home plays a role in your renovation cost as well. A home with a minimalist theme is likely to be cheaper to renovate than an apartment that is intended to exude a sense of opulence. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style: after all, simplicity is beauty.

8. DO AWAY WITH UNNECESSARY FRILLS

Interior Designer: The Makers Design StudioPhoto: Qanvast

It is important to focus on what is functional for your home. For example, it might not be very practical to get carpets if you have young children or pets at home. At the same time, wallpaper may not be the best idea in Singapore’s tropical climate as it causes the wallpaper to discolour and replacing wallpaper can be a little pricey as well.

9. REFURBISH OR REUSE WHEN POSSIBLE

Interior Designer: Luova Project ServicesPhoto: Qanvast

If you are moving into a second-hand home, consider what can be kept, such as structural elements or pieces of furniture. Refurbish them if they are still functional and in relatively good condition. If you have current furniture, consider what can be reused and brought to your new home.

For first-time homeowners, it is important to note that while you may want to have custom carpentry throughout the house, you won’t be able to bring these pieces to your next house if you plan on moving again.

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Real Estate

Not even real estate is immune from the impact of the coronavirus

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The novel coronavirus may have started as a health scare in China, but now that it has spread to more than 100 countries, its economic impact is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

The contagion has sent global stock markets into panic mode, with a record plunge on Monday and soaring volatility ever since.

Housing markets in Canada and Australia, however, appear undeterred by the jitters. In fact, they have even taking encouragement from recent rate cuts implemented to combat the crisis.

At the same time, home-refinance applications in the U.S. have surged by 79 per cent, as per the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association’s refinance index.

But is real estate really immune from the impact of the coronavirus, which was officially deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Wednesday?

Some real estate sectors are clearly more vulnerable than others. The surge in cancellations for tourist travel is not only affecting airlines but also hotels and others in the lodging industry.

The next week is usually one of the busiest travel seasons of the year as families travel during the March break. Already, cancellations are at an all-time high, something that is putting stress on the hotel industry, and one could see that part of the market come under pressure if conditions pressure.

Some investors, meanwhile, expect REITs to do well in times of uncertainty because, with long-term leases, landlords are likely to enjoy more stable cash flows than manufacturers and others who are more sensitive to short-term declines in the demand.

In addition to office and large retail real estate, where tenants usually have longer leases, investors are reportedly favouring purpose-built rental housing and self-storage real estate.

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Real Estate

Coronavirus is already taking its toll on Canada’s real estate market

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The real estate frenzy in Canada’s biggest markets is headed for a chill as anxiety rises over the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

A call for social distancing means far fewer people will be opening up their homes to potential buyers. 

RE/MAX wants its realtors in Ontario, the Atlantic provinces and Western Canada to cancel open houses until COVID-19 is under control.

“While almost all real estate brokerage firms have embraced digital tech and realtors are able to utilize signature platforms and other tools to conduct business, once showings, open houses and other in-person business is restricted, there will definitely be a drop off in transactions,” John Lusink, president and broker of record at Right at Home Realty, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“We expect to see a drop in sales but this will take a month or two to filter through into the actual results.”

Buyers will also likely put their plans on hold.

“Obviously there has been an immediate pause in market activity as everyone tries to figure out what happens next,” Steve Saretsky, realtor and author of real estate blog Vancity Condo, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“We are seeing buyers move to the sidelines and sellers put some of their listing plans on hold.” 

But that doesn’t mean the end result will be more affordable homes.

“The way I see it the housing market is basically frozen… no buyers and no sellers,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

“That in a way will limit or even eliminate any notable downward risk to prices. Simply the  number of sales will go down dramatically.”

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Real Estate

6 Ottawa Homes For Sale Along OC Transpo That Are Still Kinda Affordable

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Like many big cities, finding an affordable place to live in Ottawa can be challenging, especially for new home buyers. Though one benefit of living in the capital is having access to public transportation within minutes, which in the long run, might help offset any moving expenses. So if you’re a new buyer or just looking to relocate, cheap homes for sale near transit in Ottawa are perfect for those who are always on the go.

The Ottawa Real Estate Board reported back in February that the average cost to buy a home was 21% higher than the previous year. 

Despite these growing prices, it seems that Millenials are still flocking to the area to enjoy Ottawa’s culture.

There are so many beautiful places to explore and fun things to do that it’s not hard to love where you live no matter your budget. Being close to public transit is always a plus, especially if you don’t own a car but still want to enjoy the perks of the city. 

These spots are both affordable and travel-friendly, so you can save money and still explore the area without breaking the bank.

They are also OC Transpo accessible.

From charming bungalows to three-story units, there’s a place for everyone to call home.

If you want to feel more like a royal for the day, you can check out these luxurious Ottawa homes that are basically giant spa getaways.

Pull out your Presto Card and get ready to explore the city as soon as you step out the door!

According to the Ontario Real Estate Association, the Ontario government has currently prohibited open houses during the current state of emergency. 

The Real Estate Council of Ontario states homebuyers are still able to view listings online through virtual tours and 360 walk-throughs. 

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