Posts Tagged ‘home owner’


Posted on: September 4th, 2019 by Chris Scott


Ottawa is a great place to purchase investment properties. Our vacancy rates are low. As real estate prices in Ottawa continue to increase, some buyers are looking at ways to supplement their mortgage payments.

Owner-occupied main levels, with tenants renting out the basement, is a common cost-efficient approach to maximizing your profit margins.

Two common beliefs are that a basement bedroom becomes legal if there are

1) a closet in the room, and

2) a window in the room big enough and accessible to be used as a means of exit in case of emergency

In reality, this is not exactly correct. A window in the room is required but its dimensions are more to ensure that natural light covers at least 5% of the total floor area. It is also important to note that, while no height restrictions are included in the code, it is recommended that homeowners use furniture or other means to increase accessibility to windows that are higher off the ground, should there be a need to use them as an exit. There are also stipulations regarding minimum square footage required, with and without built-in closet space.

The most important thing to remember is that there must be a viable means of egress available on the same level as the bedroom, either by window or door (other than those that lead upstairs). If you choose to have a bar installed in front of the window, it must have one of two options. The keys must be within arms reach or the ability to be unlocked and opened without tools. This is to increase the likelihood of a safe exit in times of emergency.

Ensure you are comfortable with leaving a loved one in any circumstance created by your renovations. Keep abreast of any Building and Fire Code changes that occur. Ensure everyone in your home is aware of all possible means of exit, just in case. For more information, contact the City of Ottawa, or be in touch with us anytime and we can help!

This information is accurate but not guaranteed*

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Posted on: May 3rd, 2019 by Chris Scott

One of the best marketing campaigns I can remember growing up was Head and Shoulders shampoo. Their slogan was “because you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. It is so true in not having dandruff on your shirt and it can also be applied to real estate. Stay with me here. When home buyers walk into your house you want to be feeling good about what they see and excited about what is to come! First impressions are crucial!!

Side note: I looked up that campaign and it was from the ’80s (ageing myself a bit). I still use H&S today because I am petrified of dandruff and making the wrong first impression.

If you are a home buyer what room would make a good impression to you:

Well, I agree with your choice. We suggested the homeowner bring in some rental furniture to outfit this room properly. We then made the room come to life and accessorized it.

Of course, once you commit to the staging you can’t just stop at one room. It all has to come together. In this case, we had a pretty solid plan that the homeowners bought into. We ended up bringing some of our own furniture we use for lots of stagings, to bring it all together.

You will notice the kids room. We felt the demographic buying would be younger families so we showcased as such. That is Aiden’s (my son) old bed and some of his toys/books. 🤫 Don’t tell him! We also brought a desk and chair in for the loft among many other changes.





Why go through all this work?

This is really the big question, isn’t it? Is it really worth it to stage? My answer is, absolutely. Having a fresh, modern, clean look is the key. We want people to feel excited about the house and the possibility of owning it. I bet there are people who would not even offer on the house as it sat before. They might not even realize why. Hard to prove this theory but we have taken over many non-staged homes that could not sell. We keep the prices the same and then like magic! they sell for top dollar. That is why I also invested over $2500 to stage my own place when I sold. Anyways, I am ranting a bit here but it is what I believe with conviction.


Posted on: September 5th, 2018 by Chris Scott
Cannabis legalization house grow op


As an owner of Ottawa investment properties, the upcoming legalization of marijuana is another element that needs to be considered when finding tenants. When this law is passed it would grant the right for individuals to grow up to four plants in their home. I certainly don’t want them growing those plants in my investment properties. It can pose health risks from the potential growth of mould, fire risk, and the significant damage due to high humidity requires. Most importantly your property value could plummet if the house was deemed to be a “grow op” This is not a label you want. Also, smoking marijuana can be worse than cigarette smell in terms of getting rid of the bad odours.

It remains for the courts to determine if a tenant’s right to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes is greater than a neighbour’s right to not smell it, and a landlord’s right not to have it happen in their property.  Especially since there are alternative forms of medicinal marijuana including pills, capsules and oil. I am sure there will be lots of upcoming cases that examine this complicated legal question. Something to watch for.

So how can you protect yourself?

Having strong clauses in your lease agreement is important. Here is one example:

Smoking, which includes tobacco and marijuana, any electronic versions and anything smoked for medicinal, recreational or remedial purposes, and growing plants of any type or quantity which includes marijuana, cannabis and hydroponics, are not permitted to be grown or cultivated anywhere in or on the premises, including common areas and the tenant’s rented unit.

I also am a big believer that the due diligence process is an important step. To be honest, if I suspect they are smokers I will not rent it to them. Even if they say they would never smoke in the house. I just don’t take the chance.  Besides the credit checks, I will ask previous landlords if they were smokers and I often try to find pictures of them through facebook etc to get a sense of who they are. Might sound excessive but once your tenants are in they are hard to get out! For the record there is nothing wrong with smoking weed, I just don’t want people to smoke or grow it in my investment properties.


Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Chris Scott


With the anticipation of Spring, everyone seems to be in a better mood. People in Ottawa will soon come outside again after a long gruelling hibernation. It is also a great time to get a few things done around the house.  We are not there yet but I feel we are getting close!



Check Water Drainage

We are fortunate this year we will not have all the snow melt at once. However, April showers bring May flowers but, if you are having drainage issues, they may also bring expensive water damage. Pay attention to the way the melted snow runs off your roof – it should flow away from your home and its foundation. If you notice any issues, such as water seeping or pooling, it is important to investigate further. It is not a good idea to climb onto the roof so use binoculars to look for damage on shingles or soffits. This work can save you thousands down the road.







Clean Out Gutters

This is one that many people forget. A major cause for improper drainage is a blockage in your eavestroughs or downspouts caused by leaves and other debris. Cleaning out your clogged gutters is necessary when seeking to avoid water drainage catastrophes. Since safety is the most important thing, you should only take on this task if you can work safely from a ladder and if your home is no more than one storey. If your roof is any higher than that, you are better off to hire someone to do it. You can hire a service to clean your gutters for around $100.







Small Repairs – Big Payoffs

Tend to chipping paint, crumbling bricks, and small holes in your siding as soon as possible. Making these small repairs can save you money in the long run, not to mention the fact that your home looks newer for longer. These jobs can be done by you or a professional depending on your expertise or comfort level.

I always have my air conditioner serviced in the late Spring as well. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.