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How to get your home holiday-ready

Thursday Nov 23rd, 2017

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Prep your home for a flurry of activity with these simple steps. 1. Incorporate magical seasonal scents. Fill your space with holiday-scented aromas from candles, or simmer your own potpourri with ingredients like vanilla, cinnamon, pine or bitter orange. 2. Build a fire to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Keep fuzzy blankets and pillows on hand for both decoration and functionality and bring out a board game for a little entertainment. If you need extra warmth, cozy up... [read more]

Simple home updates before the holidays

Monday Nov 06th, 2017

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Holiday entertaining can be stressful, and every good host wants to impress. Before the cooking begins and the guests arrive, consider tackling a few projects that will refresh your space to make a great impression without breaking the bank. Depending on your skill level, here are a few quick ideas from The Home Depot Canada to inspire and inform. Beginner: Modernize your hardware. Stay on trend by upgrading your cabinet knobs and pulls. To give your space a contemporary feel, look for... [read more]

Insulate your window and your wallet this winter

Wednesday Oct 25th, 2017

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While windows make our homes bright, cheerful places to live, they're also responsible for almost 25 per cent of heat loss, which results in a higher energy bill. So as the weather gets colder and we turn up the heat in our homes, make sure a draft doesn't creep in through your windows. Replacing your windows can be costly and is not always a practical solution. Instead, try these tips from Hydro One to stop the heat from escaping: 1. As much as 13 per cent of your home's heat... [read more]

How mortgages have changed

Thursday Oct 12th, 2017

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If you're like millions of Canadians, you're busy paying down your mortgage. It could take 25 years or so, but it can be a great way to accumulate personal wealth, especially if house prices rise. However, with changes to mortgages in recent years, it's important to understand just how they are different if you want to fully benefit from your home's potential to build your personal wealth over the long term, rather than your debt. Today, to finance your house most banks will... [read more]

How to hire a kitchen contractor

Thursday Oct 05th, 2017

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Just because every home has a kitchen doesn't mean every contractor is capable of delivering a great kitchen reno. Kitchen work is specialized, so you need to be sure the contractor you choose has the skills to make it a success. Besides asking for references and checking with past customers for every contractor you're considering, ask questions about the way the kitchen will be designed. Many kitchen specialists have computer software that allows you to see different layouts and... [read more]

5 facts you need to know about heating your home

Monday Sep 11th, 2017

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As Canadians, we rely on heating systems more than most nations in the world. But our need doesn't necessarily translate into knowledge. If you're unhappy with the comfort or cost of keeping your home warm in winter, here are some things to consider. Insulation is key. While the kind of energy source and heating equipment you have can affect annual costs a lot, don't even think about upgrading your system until you've optimized insulation levels in your home. For most... [read more]

Handy hacks to clean and refresh home appliances

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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As we juggle chaotic schedules, we often forgo a deeper level of household clean for a quick tidy. While this might sustain a relatively livable space, it may have unexpected consequences. Take your appliances, for example. Built-up grime from months of neglect can compromise their performance and longevity. But with these simple solutions, your appliances will be working and looking like new in no time. Dishwasher. Your dishwasher works hard to clean your dishes, but it could... [read more]

What you need to know before getting new windows

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Sooner or later every home needs new windows, and it's important to choose well. With many manufacturers and installers out there, you need to make an informed decision. Here are some tips to help you out: Choose proven windows. Every window company says they make great windows, but how do you know for sure? That's why the Canadian Standards Association and two American Standard writing organizations have developed a harmonized North American standard for window performance... [read more]

Inspect your new home carefully before you move in

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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When you buy a newly built home, there is an important step you need to take before you move in: a pre-delivery inspection. Commonly called a PDI, this inspection is more than just a quick tour. It is your first opportunity to view your home in its completed state and thoroughly assess its condition. All builders in Ontario are required by law to conduct a PDI with homeowners prior to a home's date of possession. This inspection is part of your new home warranty that is provided... [read more]

Modern meets rustic for fashionably fresh décor

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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With so many interior design styles to choose from, you may be torn between a chic rustic home or cool contemporary space. According to Sharon Grech, colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore, there is no need to limit your décor choices to one look. Combining two opposing styles can feel current and leave a lasting impression. Here, she shares suggestions on how to master the art of mixing modern and rustic interior décor. The 80/20 rule. “This is the perfect... [read more]

Expert-approved renovation tips for a seamless design

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Reducing visual clutter by creating streamlined sightlines is a home design trend that is here to stay. Whether it's hiding away wires in your living room or stowing kitchen appliances inside a cabinet, design expert Kimberley Seldon and the Electrical Safety Authority say the key to achieving an organized look is to plan early and hire the right professionals for the job, including a licensed electrical contractor. For a clutter-free space, follow this rule — if it can be... [read more]

How to power your outdoor living space

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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A gourmet kitchen, a ceiling fan and ambient lighting sound like the must-haves for an indoor reno. For today's homeowner, maxing out on summer means setting up al fresco living. Here is what you need to know about powering your outdoor space so it delivers all season long. Choose the right outlets for outdoors. Outlets are an essential element for a fully functioning backyard. Whether you're planning to power decorative lighting for romance or speakers to play the perfect... [read more]

Tips to protect your home from water damage

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Did you know that water is the leading cause of home damage in most provinces? Just this past May, communities across the country had to cope with flooding as heavy rainfalls hit various regions over many days. What can you do to protect your home? Here, Marc Barbeau, property claims manager of Intact Insurance shares his top four tips: 1. Water-resistant décor. The next time you're renovating your home, explore installing cement board instead of drywall in your... [read more]

Celebrate Canada's 150th on your family's dinner plate

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Canada turns 150 this year and families can feel fortunate for the many healthy and delicious local foods that inspire gatherings with great friends. In fact, more than eight out of 10 Canadians want to cook with more fresh, local or regional ingredients according to a recent study. Fortunately, celebrated Canadian chefs, like Toronto's Cory Vitiello, make it easy with delicious recipes for any kind of family gathering. For an easy-to-share reunion winner made with wholesome ancient... [read more]

Ninety per cent of Canadians agree: Nothing brings people together like eating together

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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New research reveals that many of us struggle to actually sit down and enjoy a meal with others — and the key to more meal gatherings could lie in the food we serve. Although a whopping 83 per cent of Canadians agree that families should eat together every night, only one in three are able to do so. Reasons for this include competing calendars of family members, busy work schedules and technology. These reasons are even more prevalent among the younger generation, indicating that... [read more]

Looking for a new home? Top tips before you sign

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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You've found the newly built home you've been looking for and are ready to make one of the biggest purchases of your life. But do you know how to protect your new home? Before you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, consider these tips: • Review the APS with a real estate lawyer to ensure you understand exactly what is included in the price of the home. If you are buying a condominium, review the disclosure statement to understand which items are part of your unit and... [read more]

What's yours and what's shared in a condo?

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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There's no doubt that condominiums are an increasingly popular choice for new homeowners. In 2016 alone, more than 22,600 new units became homes for Ontarians who are looking for the condo lifestyle and amenities. If you're thinking of joining them, a good first step is to understand the difference in responsibility between what you own and what all the building's unit owners share. A benefit of purchasing a new condominium is the mandatory warranty that is provided by your... [read more]

5 ways to make your older home feel new

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Dreaming of improving your home, but a major remodel isn't necessarily in the budget? It may seem basic, but a fresh coat of paint is an easy trick to give your home a new look. Try some of these simple, inexpensive paint projects that make for quick updates and keep the old-home charm. Paint kitchen cabinets. This is an economical way to transform an outdated kitchen into something timeless. Select a primer that is recommended for the type of surface you have, then remove the... [read more]

Buying a property with a rental unit? Read this first

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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As housing prices rise, homeowners may look to income from a rented suite to help carry a mortgage. This can be a great strategy if you follow the rules and are well-prepared for being a landlord. Here are five key things to know. 1. There are new rules. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation now allows homeowners to count 100 per cent of the expected rent from a tenant suite towards their income for a mortgage approval. However, there are strict conditions. The owner must... [read more]

3 tools to rent for a green and healthy lawn

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Whether you're working on your own yard or you're a professional with clients to serve, the arrival of warm weather is the perfect time to build a healthy lawn that will make the neighbours green with envy. “A well-kept lawn is about more than just looks. It also creates oxygen, reduces noise pollution and removes emissions from the air,” explains Jamal Hamad, who leads the pro and tool rental departments at The Home Depot Canada. Tool rentals are popular for lawn... [read more]

How to make the most of your renovation

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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As renovation season once again roars into full swing, I'm often asked what can be done to achieve the best renovation possible. My top advice is to be prepared. Here are a few steadfast tips that can lay the groundwork for success: 1. Have a clearly defined plan. Consider hiring an experienced designer to help bring your vision to life. 2. Choose a reliable contractor. Ask for references and proof of license, insurance, bonding and participation in a workman's... [read more]

Welcome back grilling season with a steak sandwich

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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The snow has melted and grilling season is around the corner. It may not be summer just yet, but you do not have to wait to enjoy that perfectly charred steak fresh off the grill. Open-faced Steak Sandwich Serves 2-3 Ingredients • 1 10oz New York Strip Steak, 1” thick • 2 red, green or orange peppers • 1 sweet onion • 1 bottle (341 mL) Rickard's Red • 1 lime • 1 baguette • Cilantro Directions 1. Thinly slice peppers and... [read more]

5 simple tips for loving your laundry room

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Considering how many hours you dedicate to washing load after load of clothes, its a surprise that more time and effort is not spent on the design and decor of your laundry room. Looking to update your space? Try these five simple tips: 1. Unique Flooring. Flooring does not have to be dull or boring. Use your laundry room floors to make a statement with fun pattern tiles or — for a quick-fix — use a chic area rug to give the space added warmth. 2. Consider colour. Do not... [read more]

Watch for these common basement flooding causes

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Basement flooding can occur at any time for a variety of reasons. Often, these floods are caused by lots of rain, or rapid snowmelts in the spring. However, they can also occur during dry weather. Anyone with a basement is at risk, but there are steps homeowners can take to reduce their chances of flooding. Experts from Restoration 1 Canada, a restoration company that specializes in flood mitigation and restoration, have advice on the most common causes of basement floods and the best... [read more]

Easily increase your home's resale appeal

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Homes that show well and have great features typically sell faster than their counterparts, sometimes for a premium. If you want your home to stand out, a little effort can go a long way. Try these tips to create an enticing first impression. 1. Clean. A neat, clean home shows pride of ownership and suggests that it is well maintained. 2. Paint. Opt for a neutral colour so buyers will feel like there's one less thing to do before moving in. Grey, beige or the popular combination... [read more]

5 organization tricks to make your home feel twice as big

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Organizing your home is just a natural part of spring cleaning, but sometimes, you end up with odds and ends you are not sure where to keep, or how to sort. Once you are done scrubbing and dusting, try out these tips to clear the clutter and help prevent a new mess from forming. 1. Use kitchenware in unexpected places. Bathroom and beauty supplies are often a hassle to organize, so think outside the box and use items you keep around the kitchen. A tiered cake stand makes for a great,... [read more]

Get your home resale ready

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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First impressions are everything when selling your home. While you may love your trendy, colourful home, your style may not resonate well with potential new homeowners. Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore Colour and Design Expert, shares her advice on how to make simple tweaks to increase your home's value. The power of colour. Colour is so subjective, which creates a challenge when showing and selling your home. “You can't please everyone. Staging your home for sale can make it... [read more]

Key changes to your tax information

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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You may have noticed your tax correspondence has a new look. That's because the Canada Revenue Agency has been taking steps to improve the way it communicates with taxpayers by making its correspondence easier to read. In February 2016, the CRA revealed its new Notice of Assessment and Notice of Reassessment for individuals, as part of its Simplified Correspondence project. The project was launched in 2015 to improve the readability, design and accessibility of more than 130 million... [read more]

What's that sound? Why your home goes Boom in the night!

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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It might not be easy going back to sleep after your house startles you awake during winter, but it's probably nothing to worry about. For 50 years most house roofs have been framed using triangular assemblies of wood called trusses. The top two sides of each truss sit directly below the roof surface, where the wood is subject to wide swings in temperature and humidity from summer to winter. This leads to changes in length that don't happen nearly as much on the bottom side of the... [read more]

3 things to consider before renovating

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Whether you're planning on staying or selling, you want your home renovation project to be beautiful and functional and go off without a hitch. So before picking up any tool, think about these tips. 1. Know your DIY limits. Assess which aspects of the project you can complete yourself, and which ones will require a professional. DIY-ing can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but overestimating your skills can delay or halt the project entirely due to unexpected costs,... [read more]

Winter home maintenance tips

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Winter can be a particularly tough season for a home – even if it's brand new. Since wind, snow and ice can't distinguish between old or new houses, don't make the mistake of thinking that your new home doesn't need regular maintenance, especially during a harsh Ontario winter. Fortunately, all new homes in Ontario come with the mandated builders' warranty that lasts up to seven years from the date of possession and is guaranteed by Tarion. To help protect your... [read more]

How to stop window condensation

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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If beads of water run down the inside of your windows during cold weather, it's not necessarily a sign you've got bad windows. In fact, your windows are probably doing just what they're supposed to do ( keeping outdoor air outside. Wet windows can simply be an indication of two different but related problems. Indoor humidity levels in your house may be too high, or the quality of air inside your home probably isn't what it should be. The solution to both these issues... [read more]

5 kitchen flooring ideas you'll love

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Kitchens are high-traffic rooms that need exceptional flooring. Besides having to look good, successful kitchen floors need to withstand spills, food, sliding chairs, dropped dishes and the occasional mopping. Here are the pros and cons of the five top flooring choices for this important room. Ceramics, porcelain and stone tiles: Ceramics are a favourite for kitchens because they're tough, easy to clean, long-wearing, and able to let you enjoy the warmth of in-floor heating. Natural... [read more]

Why your finished basement may be cold

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Chances are that your furnace has the capacity to heat your basement and the above-ground levels of your home. So why are so many finished basements cold in winter? Lack of cold air return ducting is often the culprit. For any furnace to deliver warm air to a given room, the cool air that's already there needs to get out of the way. Unfortunately, cold air return ducts are often forgotten when basements are finished. To function properly, they need to draw air from the... [read more]

Tips to make your renovation projects a success

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Looking for a new year's resolution that's safe, effective and easy to keep? If you're considering any home renovations in 2017, use these tips from the Ontario College of Trades to ensure the tradespeople you hire are qualified for the job. 1. Do your due diligence when hiring. While the vast majority of tradespeople are ethical and qualified, you should research the people and businesses you are considering for your own peace of mind. Keep in mind that there are 22... [read more]

How tax law changes impact your return

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Feeling overwhelmed by the recent tax changes announced? Check out a few of the most important changes that may impact your tax return, decoded by the experts at H&R Block. More money, more taxes. The lower-middle income tax rate went down from 22 to 20.5 per cent, and a new tax bracket of 33 per cent was created for those earning more than $200,000 per year. So if you made more than $216,975 in 2016, you can expect to pay more this year in taxes. Home sweet home. Did you sell... [read more]

5 tips when buying a home in winter

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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It may not be the busiest season for buying real estate, but the colder months offer many benefits to those shopping for a home. “Most buyers know they can look forward to less competition this season, but it's also a good time to see how the home holds up to the cold weather,” explains Ray Ferris, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “While the home's curb appeal may not be at its best in the middle of winter, it sure is a good time to see how well... [read more]

How to create a cozy finished basement

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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A warm, comfortable finished basement is a great feature that adds value to your home. But too few owners realize that finishing a basement the wrong way can bring mould, mildew and lower indoor air quality. Building a healthy finished basement comes down to these five elements: 1. Only finish a reliably dry basement. Even a small amount of leaked water can trigger mould, mustiness and poor indoor air quality. That's why your basement needs to prove itself reliably dry before you... [read more]

How to survive a renovation with kids

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Renovating your home is stressful enough on its own, but include children and the pressure can be overwhelming. Here are three tips to help your family survive an upcoming renovation. 1. Establish routines. Keeping life as normal as possible for your children will help maintain calm within your home. “As kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms most often renovated — and the rooms that must be accessed by everyone — trying to create temporary family routines... [read more]

How to curb out-of-control heating bills

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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As outdoor temperatures fall, energy bills tend to rise. While you can't stop Mother Nature, it's easy to protect your home and wallet from climbing heating costs. The simplest way to do this is to improve your home's building envelope––and the best place to start is your attic. Often, the attic is a primary source of energy loss due to insufficient levels of insulation. Topping up your attic insulation is an effective way to prevent heated air from escaping and... [read more]

Top 5 tips to get your home through winter

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Cold temperatures, snow and ice may be the ideal ingredients for a winter wonderland, but winter's harsh conditions can also wreak havoc on your home. A little preventative maintenance can help lower your energy bills, avoid more costly repairs and/or increase the lifespan of your home. Addressing the following priority items will make the greatest impact: 1. Insulation. One of the easiest and most effective defences against heat loss is proper insulation. Prevent cold drafts from... [read more]

Maintain your roof with this 5-point checklist

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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On average, Canadian homeowners replace their roofing materials every 18 years at an average cost of $4,500 per project, based on a standard 1,000 square foot bungalow roof. Fortunately, a roof's longevity and its ability to remain waterproof is increased with proper maintenance. Use this handy checklist to evaluate the condition of your roof and determine if it's time to consider a quick fix or a major overhaul. 1. Condition of the roof: Inspect the surface and list the required... [read more]

5 tips for better raking this season

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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You may not love it, but raking the leaves needs to be done —at least in your front yard, where the neighbours can see! Brushing up on your technique can make it easier on your body as well as your mind. “If you're smart about how you do it, it really does make raking much easier,” offers John Ladds, operations manager at Weed Man Canada. Ladds suggests a few easy tips to ameliorate an otherwise sore chore: 1. Pick your time wisely. Save raking for a day when the... [read more]

What you need to know before hiring a contractor

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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Before you hire a contractor for your home renovation or repair project, here are some important questions you need to answer. Remember that professional contractors can provide clear answers to your questions. If they can't, they're not the right contractor for you. Is this the right contractor? You need someone with experience, a solid track record, and proper business practices. Don't just take their word for it — get references and check things out. Ask about... [read more]

Everything you need to know about tenant insurance

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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There are two kinds of renters in Canada – those who have tenants insurance and those who don't. According to a recent study conducted by Substance Strategies, more than half (53 per cent) of tenants in Canada are the kind that go uninsured. So what is causing this risk-taking phenomenon? It seems to be a lack of awareness. Below are the top four important things you need to know on this topic: 1. Your landlord doesn't cover all risks and damages. The landlord has insurance... [read more]

Add space and value with a basement renovation

Thursday Aug 31st, 2017

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You spend more time indoors during the winter months, so it's inevitable that you might start to feel a little cramped, especially if you live in a smaller home. If that's the case, you may consider finishing your basement to increase your square footage. It can definitely add value and increase comfort, but there are a few things you'll want to do to ensure it's a surefire success: Address moisture. I've seen a lot of poorly executed basement renos, where the... [read more]

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