3 renovations that offer the best ROI


(NC) Got resale on your brain? Renovating is a great way to increase your property’s value before it comes time to sell. But the cost can be challenging, especially if you’re on a budget and want to make sure the projects you choose give you the biggest bang for your buck before you commit to knocking down any walls. If you’re interested in cashing in on the red-hot housing market, here are a few projects worth investing in before the “for sale” sign goes up:

  1. Kitchen. The soul of any home, investing in a kitchen refresh can be one the best ways to wow perspective homebuyers. Although one of the costlier renovations, upgrading this space will pay off in the long run as it’s often the focal point of the home. If budgets are tight, you’ll find the biggest return on investment by replacing old appliances with new stainless steel fronts. Other great investments are a gas stove, upgrading countertops and refreshing cabinet façades. A simple, cost-effective DIY update is replacing dated hardware, which goes a long way toward making a great first impression.
  2. Flooring. Think flooring is beneath you? Taking up the highest square footage of a home, it’s often the first thing to be overlooked — but not by a prospective buyer. When entering a space for the first time, flooring will set the tone of the home’s interior. The most popular option is hardwood throughout, but pre-engineered flooring has also made huge advancements in terms of style, colour and realistic texture options.
  3. Exterior. Although what’s on the inside counts for a lot, impressions are made within seconds — and that also goes for your home. If buyer doesn’t like a home’s curb appeal, they’ll drive right past it and on to the next property. But investing in your home’s exterior — both the front and back of the house — doesn’t have to break the bank. Ensure your landscape is maintained, keep the windows clean and create an outdoor space potential new homeowner will want to use all year long to increase your selling price.

If you’re planning a renovation or are thinking of selling, help is available by visiting the Destination Renovation booth at the upcoming GTA Home & Reno Show or National Home Show. Find more information online at torontohomeshows.com.


How to get high heat without the high bills


(NC) There’s nothing cozier than a warm home during the winter months. But does your jaw drop every time you see your bill? High energy costs are a burden and frustration for many of us who are looking to reduce our monthly expenses while still keeping our home warm.

Fortunately there are a number of energy efficient heat source options to consider. Before making a transition, make sure that you carefully weigh all your heating options. Research thoroughly and choose the option that’s best suited for your home.

“No matter what type of renovation project you’re working on, contact your insurance company to let them know,” recommends Glenn Cooper from Aviva Canada. “New features such as a new heating system can impact your coverage, so it’s something you need to tell your insurer about.”

Here are three alternative ways that many people are now using to heat their homes:


  1. Solar power. Perhaps the most popular alternative way to heat your home and water, solar power uses panels, collectors, or evacuated tubes to power heating or water.
  2. Geothermal heating. This method of heating is efficient and environmentally friendly. This system uses the earth’s heat, large coils that are buried underground, and a compressor to extract heat from water stored in tubes. While the initial cost to install the system is expensive, it may increase the resale value of your home.
  3. Hydronic heating. Also referred to as radiant floor heating, this energy efficient method uses tubes that run under the floors of your home. Hot water is pumped through the plastic tubes to heat your floors and rooms.


Find more information from your insurance company.


Protect your roof this winter with these tips!



(NC) Winter can be tough on many parts of a home — our windows, porches, and driveways take quite a beating with all the snow and ice. But did you know that your roof is one of the most vulnerable areas?

No matter what material your roof is made of, snow and ice can cause severe and expensive damage. If left untended, the result could be water damage that trickles inside.

“Canadians are always clearing their driveways or scraping their windshields after the snow or ice, but the roof is out of sight so it can get overlooked,” explains Glenn Cooper from Aviva Canada. “By taking steps to check and care for your roof during the season you can help avoid a leakage and extend the life of your roof at the same time.”


Try these four tips to protect your roof this season:

  1. Hire a professional snow removal company. If your roof is particularly high, it’s much safer to hire a professional snow removal service to clear the snow off.
  2. Use binoculars. You can check the condition of your roof by using binoculars; in most cases, you can see everything you need without having to climb up there.
  3. Rake it up. Use a rake to force built-up snow onto the ground.
  4. Do warm weather installations. Consider installing electric radiant heat in the warmer months to keep your roof temperature above freezing during the cold of winter. You can also install an ice barrier, used mostly on metal roofs, to prevent snow from sticking.


Find more information from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada.com.