Friday, 14 June 2019

May 2019 Vancouver Real Estate Market Update

 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

 more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, contact 
Carmen Leal Personal Real Estate Corporation or visit www.carmenleal.ca


 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

 Vancouver-Realtor-Carmen-Leal

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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca



                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

11 Kitchen Styles - Which One's Yours?


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Style is easier to recognize with your eyes than with words: You know it when you see it, and the photo that inspires you most can often surprise you. Think you know your kitchen style? Check out these guides to a dozen favourite kitchen design themes, then tell us in the comment below which one takes the cake.

1. Farmhouse kitchens


Warm and homey farmhouses anchored a life on the land, and they still offer great functionality and comfort. Their open shelving, wide sinks, classic flooring and big kitchen table make them easy to work in and easy to love. 


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2. Rustic kitchens

“Worn," "distressed" and "rough hewn" may not be the first words that come to mind when we think of kitchens. But today rustic kitchens rival the classic white kitchen in popularity - thanks to their timber, stone, brick, vintage appliances and fireplaces.



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3. Modern kitchens

Definitions of “modern” vary widely, but when we think of modern kitchen designs, we often think of frameless cabinets, sleek and simple hardware, strong horizontal lines and a lack of ornamentation, with the natural beauty of the materials shining through.



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4. Traditional kitchens

Traditional kitchens are defined by their details, which can include arches, decorative moldings and corbels, raised-panel cabinets, a mix of antique finishes and furniture-like turned legs - even a chandelier. Whether they have a classic American or old-world flavour, they still carry the stamp of their owners’ personal style.

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5. Contemporary kitchens

Contemporary kitchens can be very sleek, but while a purely modern kitchen often celebrates structure and grid, a contemporary kitchen is often more playful in form and finishes, including elements of other styles and creating its own reflection of the times.

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6. Transitional kitchens

Think of a transitional kitchen as the great moderator. With the warmth and welcome of traditional design and the clean, simple lines of contemporary style, transitional spaces project balance and harmony. Because they offer a great deal of flexibility, they're a great choice for homeowners whose taste spans the two.

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7. Craftsman kitchens


Craftsman style arose in the early 20th century as a reaction to the mass-produced fussiness of the Victorian era. Its rich woods, built-ins, handcrafted tiles and well-made simplicity continue to charm us. 

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8. Cottage kitchens 

Cozy, happy and unpretentious, a cottage kitchen harks back to simpler times and evokes a sense of easy, carefree living. Beadboard, soft colors, vintage hardware, wood floors and colorful accents and curtains will infuse your kitchen with cottage comfort.

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9. Classic kitchens

What is classic? The answer is as varied as cooks are. Still, white or cream kitchen cabinets, simple architectural details and black accents offer a blank slate that homeowners can personalize with contemporary, traditional and eclectic touches as they see fit. 

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10. Mediterranean-style kitchens

Flared hoods, hand-painted tile, warm wood cabinets, beamed ceilings and arched cooking alcoves are just some of the features that put Spanish revival kitchens on the most-wanted list. 

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11. Eclectic kitchens

Do you rebel against styles and? It’s your house; you can mix and match for your own distinct kitchen style however you please. The trick: Be a rebel with a cause. Get ideas for a very personal kitchen, with touches of modern and rustic styles, well-traveled flair, humor and irreverence.

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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca



                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

10 Steps of the Home Buying Process


How do I get there? Is there a road map?

Starting the journey to homeownership can be overwhelming and stressful. But with a little planning, you’ll get the home that’s right for you. A home that strikes a balance between your “wish list” items and the practical realities of the property, location and the housing market. Before you know it, you’ll have a place to call your very own. A place to entertain. A place to decorate. A place to raise a family. It really is an exciting time!

To help keep you on track, below is a step-by-step guide to buying your home.


1.  Build a Budget

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An effective budget will map out your plan to set aside money for your down payment and additional costs. It will also help determine the price of home you can afford.

2. Investigate Mortgage Options

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There are many different types of mortgages. If you don’t have the 20% down payment for a conventional mortgage, you can get a high ratio mortgage, combined with mortgage default insurance, that allows for a smaller down payment. You should be pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting.

3. Choose a Realtor

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Your realtor will play a vital role in your homebuying experience. The best realtor will be a combination of a personal advisor, consultant and negotiator. He/she will show you homes that match your criteria, guide you through the homebuying process, negotiate the best possible price for your home and deliver your closing documentation.

4. Get a Lawyer

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It’s important to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate. You could find yourself in a bidding war for the home you want, and it doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer look over any offer to purchase before you submit it. A real estate lawyer will also conduct a title search and check for outstanding taxes and liens on the property.

5. House Hunting

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  • Create a wish list
House hunting can be a lengthy process. To save yourself time, know exactly what you want in a home beforehand. Think about your immediate needs, future plans and lifestyle. When you look at homes, you may be tempted to concentrate on the home, but don’t forget to look at the whole property: the lot, the neighbourhood, the surroundings. How close is the home to facilities and services important to you?

  • Bring your checksheet
When you’re ready to begin shopping for a home – often called “house hunting” – bring along this House Hunting Checksheet. You may end up seeing multiple homes in one day. This checksheet will help you compare and keep track of the homes you visit. And help you remember the features you did or didn’t like.

6. Make the Offer

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Your agent presents the offer to the seller. This document includes the price, conditions, deposit and closing date. The seller either accepts, rejects or counters the offer.


7. Home Inspection or New Home Warranty

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Hiring an inspector is voluntary, but it’s a smart idea for resale homes. You can choose to make your offer to purchase the home conditional on the outcome of your inspection. If your inspection reveals major problems, you can negotiate those repairs with the seller before your deal closes, or legally withdraw your offer.


8. Finalizing The Deal


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Finalizing the deal will include the final approval of your mortgage, a meeting with your lawyer to finalize details like insurance and conditions, and the results of a title search.



9. Moving Preparations


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There’s a lot to do before you move. Line up utilities and other services like phone, cable and internet. If you rent, you must give your landlord notice. Also, forward your mail to your new address and hire a moving company. Preparing these things well in advance will help you make a smooth transition to your new home.


10. Closing Day

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This is the day you legally get possession of the house. Your lawyer completes the paperwork (so the home is in your name), payments are finalized and you receive your keys. 
     Congratulations on your new home!

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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca



                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

10 Ways to Babyproof Your House


The world can be a dangerous place for a baby on the move. Before your little one takes off crawling, you'll want to do some serious baby proofing to make your house a safe place for your curious new explorer. Get started by tackling these 10 baby hazards. Then get down on your hands and knees to see the world from your baby's eye view, and make sure you haven't missed anything.

Finally, prepare yourself: Expect to spend the next couple of years watching that little crawler-walker-runner's every move!


1. Plug Electrical Outlets

No little one can resist sticking her fingers in those tiny, dangerous holes in the wall. Plug up the temptation with plastic outlet covers -the ones that require two hands to pry off. Or go even safer by replacing your current electrical plates with ones that have spring-loaded outlet covers. Arrange furniture in front of outlets to further diminish the temptation.

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2. Babyproof You

You'll probably need to change your habits once your baby can grab and move - everything within reach is game for her, so it's your job to keep things out of the way.Water glasses, dinner plates, and silverware need to be set far back on the table, so your little one can't pull on them from your lap. Keep your cell phone out of reach too or your babe might send it flying. Swap out your dangly earrings for studs and skip the necklaces entirely for awhile. If you wear glasses, you might want to switch to contacts until your baby has outgrown this grabby phase.

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3. Barricade the Stairs

If your little one can crawl to the stairs, she can tumble down them as well. Install baby gates at the top of staircases at the minimum. A gate at the bottom is helpful to prevent adventurous climbers from starting to scale the stairs and tumbling backward down them. Baby gates can be useful for blocking off-limits rooms or areas as well.

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4. Remove Plants and Planters

Some house plants are poisonous when eaten, so you'll want to move those tasty-looking-to-a-baby treats up to a very high shelf or ledge. Relocate any large floor planters to an off-limits room even if the plants they house are harmless—your baby might just decide to fling around or feast on that dirt one day.

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5. Keep Floors Clean

With that tiny baby zooming along the floors, it's important to keep them clean and free of any hazards. All objects smaller than a tangerine need to be up and out of reach of your little one, who will put anything and everything in his mouth. Instigate a no-shoes policy in your home, which will help prevent fertilizer residue and germs from making their way indoors. Also sweep, mop, and vacuum regularly.

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6. Steady Furniture

Your baby will soon use the furniture as her own personal walker, so make sure all heavy pieces are stable and not at risk of toppling over on her. Use furniture straps or brackets to secure bookcases, dressers, and side tables to the wall. Apply corner guards to coffee tables, TV stands, windowsills, and anything else with sharp corners.

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7. Lock Up Hazardous Products

Absolutely everything that presents a danger to your baby if ingested - from toxic household products like cleaners, dishwasher tablets, paint, and laundry soap to all medicine and vitamins to alcohol - should be relocated out of baby's reach and secured in a high, locked cabinet.

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8. Install Cabinet Locks

Your little one will soon be displaying an amazing ability to open drawers and cabinets, and also to empty them. Cabinet locks are essential for keeping your crawler out of places he shouldn't be. Consider creating a baby-friendly cabinet in a safe spot in your kitchen - away from the stove - and fill it with plastic containers, wooden spoons, and stacking cups for your baby to empty to his heart's content.

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9. Banish Small Toys

Your older child's toys are likely a wonderland of choking hazards for your baby. Anything that can fit into a toilet paper tube presents a risk, so stash all small objects in a room that's off-limits for your baby. Teach your big kids about the dangers of leaving their tiny toys in an area where their curious, crawling sibling could find them.

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10. Clear Away Cords

Household cords can present a serious danger to babies, because they can quickly get tangled up in them and choke. Remove all hanging mobiles from baby's crib when your little one can sit up. Appliance and other electrical cords need to be covered, contained and out of reach of your baby, who might pull or chew on them. And all cords from window treatments should be wrapped up and secured tightly to the wall.

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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca



                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Top 14 Home Updates That Pay Off

Vancouver Realtor - Carmen Leal

                 PLEASE NOTE: ROI values and remodeling costs are subject to change.


1. Minor Bathroom Remodel

Vancouver Realtor - Carmen Leal

Average return at resale: 102 percent
It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. You’ll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.
If you can pipe a child’s name on a birthday cake, you can re-caulk a tub. Use a softener like CAULK-BE-GONE to get rid of the old caulk. Fill the tub with water after you’re done to stretch caulk while it dries.
If your old tub is too large to fit out the door, re-glaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300 to $400.
Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray-on texture provides quick coverage.
Replace old shower doors or remove them to add the illusion of space. 

2. Landscaping

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Average return at resale: 100 percent
The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery Landscape Association.
Not sure where to start? Local garden centers often offer free design services, or ask the neighbors what works for them.
Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000 sq. ft. yard would cost about $1,500 to sod. Budget for delivery fee if you buy less than 1,000 sq. ft. of sod.
A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. For maximum impact, use one color and vary the height of plants.
If your doorway is overwhelmed by greenery, get out the shears. Replace overgrown shrubbery with flowering foundation plants, mixing heights and colors for dramatic effect.
A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

3. Minor Kitchen Remodel

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Average return at resale: 98.5 percent
A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 for $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5 percent. Do a minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan.
A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.
If your home is worth more than $500,000, go with stone or trendy glass countertops.
Cover old vinyl with floor leveler so the pattern doesn’t bleed through. You can’t put a second layer of vinyl on if the subfloor is below-grade concrete.
Brighten up the kitchen by sanding and painting existing cabinets. It's much less expensive than buying new ones. 
Add decorator detail without the cost by changing drapes and window molding. 

4. Exterior Improvements

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Average return at resale: 95.5 percent
The average national cost to replace 1,250 sq. ft. of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5 percent.
A gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. of house.
Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combination for doors, trim and siding. 
If your house was painted before 1978, test for lead before sanding or scraping.
Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6 percent
If you need columns to hold up a pergola, purchase the load-bearing type. Fiberglass composite columns are popular and durable. Check salvage yards for unique historic columns.
For an updated look, remove old awnings from windows and doors.
Swap damaged wrought-iron railings for real wood supports for a more inviting entry.
Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.

5. Attic Bedroom Conversion

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Average return at resale: 93.5 percent
The average attic bedroom in a two- or three-bedroom house costs $39,188 and returns $36,649 at resale.
Add attic insulation to lower your utility bills. Making sure the foil vapor barrier is installed down toward the ceiling to prevent moisture from seeping up. 
Can your existing HVAC system handle the load of another room? If not, factor in the cost of a second unit.
A solar-powered attic fan is an efficient way to save on cooling costs. The attic fan exhausts heat from above your home and is powered by a solar cell on the roof. 

6. Major Bathroom Remodel

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Average return at resale: 93.2 percent
A major bathroom remodel involves expanding an existing bathroom, relocating and replacing the tub/shower and toilet and adding designer sinks and faucets, a linen closet, lighting, a ceramic tile floor and exhaust fan for a cost of $26,052, which brings in $24,286 at resale.
Start at the bottom. Replace old floors with fresh tile in ceramic or stone for a solid payoff. Buy extra tiles in case you break any during installation. Set some tiles aside at the end of the job for future repairs.
Give an old vanity a facelift with a new countertop for a clean, fresh look buyers will love.
Use eye-fooling tricks to make a small bath look larger. A new pedestal sink is a smart replacement for an old cabinet. The smaller footprint gives the illusion of space.

7. Major Kitchen Remodel

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Average return at resale: 91 percent
A complete kitchen remodel in a midrange home averages $43,862 and returns $39,920 at resale. That price buys 30 ft. of cabinets, an island, laminate countertops, stainless sink, wall oven, cook top, vinyl flooring and appliances.
If your home’s value rises and your kitchen’s finishes don’t, do a major remodel rather than small fix-ups. Budget 10 to 15 percent of your home’s value remodeling the kitchen.
Kitchens feel bigger when there are fewer obstacles. Remiove over-counter cabinets and make countertops truly useful by creating an eating bar.
An eat-in kitchen is a big plus. Try adding a deluxe touch with a built-in banquet, bench and designer pillows.
Local granite dealers that sell (or even give away) remnants then charge for cuts and installation can be a bargain option if you need 8 feet or less of countertop.
Planning to sell? Stick with neutral colors for walls and window treatments. Remodeling to please yourself? Choose colors you love.
Tin ceiling tiles make an affordable, custom backsplash.
Put your home in the best light. Perk up a dark kitchen with French doors that’ll let the sun shine in.

8. Deck, Patio or Porch Addition

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Average return at resale: 90.3 percent
Adding a deck with a simple pattern costs about $11,000. At resale, you’ll get about $10,000 of that back, a recoup rate of 90 percent.
Add eye-appeal with decorative planters on the front porch, patio and decks.
Give a courtyard an impressive entry with an inviting gate, lighting and mature plantings. Small improvements will have a big impact at closing.
Use bold plantings to emphasize features, or to distract the eye from flaws.
Run-down stairs lower your profit margin, so make sure porch railings are safe and attractive.
Camouflage unattractive air conditioning units with a wooden trellis.

9. Basement Remodel

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Average return at resale: 90.1 percent
The average basement remodel costs just over $51,051 and returns $46,010, so you’ll recoup about 90 percent of the cost.
What do you get for $51,051? A 20 x 30 entertaining area with wet bar, a 5x8 bath, recessed lighting and a laminate floor.
Remember when finishing walls, you should keep your drywall panels a half-inch away from concrete floors, so they don’t absorb moisture.
Always fix flooding problems first. Add French drains, bigger gutters or re-slope the yard to keep water out. Test to make sure the fixes work before investing time or materials in a basement.
Want just the wet bar? Buy 10 linear feet of cabinets, a laminate countertop, a stainless steel drop-in bar sink and an under-counter refrigerator for about $2,500.
Cover concrete floors with an easy-to-install modular subfloor so floors won’t be cold. Add carpet squares with a traction backing for an amazing transformation.

10. Replacement Windows

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Average return at resale: 89.6 percent
Replacing ten 3x5 ft. windows runs about $9,700. On average nationally, you’ll get back $8,700 when you sell, a recoup rate of nearly 90 percent.
For hot climates, there’s low-e glass that reflects heat. And for maximum efficiency, add argon gas inside the pane to prevent heat and cold transference within the window.

11. Porch Addition

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Average return at resale: 83 percent
The average porch addition costs $42,464 and adds $38,458 at resale, a recoup rate of 83 percent.
A sunroom counts in the home’s square footage only when the room is heated and cooled for year-round use.
A sunroom adds value only in upscale neighborhoods. It won’t bring in higher bids in lower-end neighborhoods.
An addition shouldn’t be obvious. Make sure it has an open transition. A wider interior doorway and more substantial steps visually connect the addition to the rest of the house.

12. Living Room Updates - Decor

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Average return at resale: 66 percent
It costs around $1,550 for staging and updating living room decor with new light switches, outlet covers, floor registers, crown molding, chair rails and drapes, plus fresh flowers and accessories.
Details add dollars. Crown molding gives a room a crisp, clean finish that buyers love. Choose molding that complements window trim and floorboards. Prices start at around $1.40 per linear foot.
Shift furniture away from the walls to make living rooms feel larger and more contemporary. Create a seating area around a feature you want buyers to notice, like a dramatic fireplace.
If you’re staging your home to sell, don’t move excess furniture and clutter into the garage. Rent a storage unit for about $1 per square foot per month.
New window treatments are a cost-conscious way to add a punch of designer color. For low ceilings, create the illusion of height by positioning drapes and valances higher on the wall.

13. Bedroom Updates

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Average return at resale: 52 percent
Cost for new lighting will vary from $100 - $700.
For a romantic design touch, swap the old light fixture for a small chandelier. The formula for sizing a chandelier: Room width + Room length in feet - chandelier diameter in inches.
When doing dry wall repair, less really is more. Using as little joint compound as possible makes it easier to even out the surface when sanding later.
Scale your window treatments to your room size. Cost to rent wallpaper steamer: $20; new bedding and window treatments: $300.
Hardwood floors are hotter than ever. Pull up worn carpeting and refinish old floors to let the wood shine. Sanding hardwoods is physically demanding and if you do it wrong, you ruin the floor. Hire a pro to do the sanding and then do your own staining and sealing to save money. Cost $1 to $1.50 a foot. Fill carpet tack holes with Color Putty.

14. Living Room Updates - Walls and Floors

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Average return at resale: 40 percent
For only $25, freshen the living room walls with a coat of paint in a light, neutral color. And don't overlook the trim — brighten it with a high-gloss white paint and caulk any open seams between the molding and ceiling and baseboard and wall.
On average, quality hardwood flooring ranges from $3-$8 per square foot. For a 200 square foot area, expect to spend about $1,200 if you install it yourself. Tack on another $3 per square foot if you have it professionally installed.
Sanding hardwoods is physically demanding. Make a mistake and you ruin the floor. Hire a pro to sand and then do your own staining and sealing to save money. 
If you have carpet in the living room, either have it professionally cleaned  or replaced if it's torn, stained or has an unrelenting odor.
Always test popcorn ceilings for asbestos before you start. Asbestos was used in textured paints manufactured before 1977.
Buy a new wood or stone mantel for as little as $500.
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Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area!   604.218.4846 & www.carmenleal.ca



                                                                 This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.