December 27, 2016
Time For A Fresh Start?
The New Year is within sight. If your New Year's resolution is to make a housing move in 2017, now's the time to start working on it!
Current homeowners need to know that because of a lack of housing inventory in many areas, their home may sell faster and perhaps for more money than they expect. But as all real estate is local, you'll want to get the latest updates on sales activity in your immediate area to get the best understanding of what to expect for your own real estate activities.
"National sales and price trends continue to be heavily influenced by a handful of places in Ontario and British Columbia and mask significant variations in local housing market trends and conditions across Canada," notes Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) President Cliff Iverson.
CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump gave an example from this summer's real estate activity in western Canada: "Home sales continued to trend lower while price gains further accelerated in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia." He added, "This suggests that sales are being reined in by a lack of inventory and a further deterioration in affordability." Successful real estate transactions require the steady guidance of an experienced real estate sales professional. Please call today so we can review your current housing situation in relation to your plans for 2017.
December 19, 2016
Winter Proof Your Home
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
You may not want to admit it, but the days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping, and winter is on its way. No matter what the season means to you whether that’s embracing the snow, avoiding the outdoors altogether, or taking off for a sunny destination - winter-proofing your home should be at the top of your list.
Roof: Before it’s covered in snow be sure to have it checked for any damaged shingles, replacing them if necessary. Also have your gutters cleared to ensure drainage will flow smoothly when the snow melts.
Furnace: It’s no secret your furnace will be of paramount importance as temperatures continue to drop, so prevent a breakdown by making sure its service and maintenance is up to date.
Windows: Double check that all windows are tightly sealed and water isn’t collecting in the sills. Ensuring windows with multiple sliding panels are in the closed position is important to avoid drafts.
Doors: Similar to windows, it’s important to check door frames are securely sealed without any cracks. Consider sealing or insulating mail slots or doggy doors.
Floors: Check for gaps between exposed floorboards, especially in any unfinished rooms in the house. If you have central heating, it’s important to ensure ducts connected to floor vents are well insulated.
Everything else: When setting your home up for seasonal success, it makes sense to take a look at your current insurance policy as well. Winter often means extreme weather that can result in damage to your property.
November 30, 2016
Are you fed up with the style or design of your bathroom? Join the flood of homeowners who are throwing in the towel on their old bathrooms!
According to a recent survey of homeowners who started a bathroom renovation in 2015-2016*, a full 46 percent said they took on the project because they simply "couldn't stand" their old bathroom anymore, while 38 percent said it was always in the plans, they just previously didn't have the means to do it. On a practical level, 29 percent were prompted to renovate when their old bathroom deteriorated or broke down, while 19 percent chose to renovate as they had recently purchased their home and wanted to make the bathroom "their own."
So what are people doing to their bathrooms, and how much are they spending to get there?
More than four in five homeowners replaced major bathroom features such as showers, flooring, countertops and sinks in their master bathrooms. Even though 75 percent of survey respondents maintained the size of their bathrooms, a full 68 percent of them went for some more shower power by increasing the size of their shower.
When planning your bathroom reno, be honest about what you visually covet versus what you will actually use. For example, a deep, freestanding claw-foot bathtub is something to drool over in a renovating magazine, but on a practical level you might find yourself relating more to the 56 percent of survey respondents who said they never soak in a bathtub or to the 20 percent who say they only make the time once or twice a month. Is the expense and space a bathtub takes up worth it for you, or would a larger shower be more utilized and appreciated?
Continuing on a practical train of thought, "good lighting" was a priority for 46 percent of homeowners looking to make a change to their bathrooms, followed by "easy to clean and disinfect" by 43 percent and "easy to store and find things" by 42 percent. "Easy for more than one person to be in," at 39 percent, explained the popularity of renovations like double sinks and dual showers, and at 73 percent, the number of people who included at least one walled-off area within the master bathroom — for the shower, toilet area or vanity/make-up area, for example. Be honest with what you want compared to what you need versus how much money you're willing to dedicate to the project. The survey showed that 23 percent of homeowners budgeted $5,000 to $10,000 for their bathroom renovation, while 34 percent of homeowners budgeted $10,000 to $25,000 and 19 percent budgeted $25,000 to $50,000.
What you plan to spend and what the project actually ends up costing can be two completely different amounts. Make sure you sit down with a building specialist, general contractor, bathroom remodeler, plumber, electrician and/or other professionals to create a renovation plan that takes into account the many options available to create the practical yet stylish and beautiful bathroom of your dreams.
January 6, 2016
Source: Fire Prevention Canada
The winter season is the worst season for fires in Canada. That is why all Canadians must be mindful of the importance of fire prevention and safety. During the winter, we must heat our homes, most of our meals are prepared and eaten indoors, our clothing is dried indoors and people who smoke tend to do so indoors. For the winter remember that:
Heating appliances such as space heaters should not have anything combustible closeby and need at least one metre (three feet) of space around them. Inspect the electrical cord attached. If it overheats, you have a fire hazard. Keep young children away from them.
Electrical and heating systems can fail and become fire hazards. Ensure they are regularly checked by a professional, especially prior to the winter season when fireplaces, heaters, appliances and other electrical equipment are in maximum use.
Smoking while in bed, tired or under the influence of alcohol or medication is the most common cause of fires that kill.
Most chimney fires occur with wood-burning fireplaces. Ensure chimneys are cleaned and professionally inspected regularly. Burn only small quantities of wood at a time.
Teach children that fire is not a toy; it is a tool we use to cook food and heat our homes.
Educate your children about the dangers of fire and make sure they know that all fires, even small ones, can spread very quickly.
Never use a flammable liquid near a flame or source of spark. Beware of hidden sources of sparks like water heater pilot lights, electric motors or heaters. Never smoke while pouring or using flammable liquids.
If even a small doubt exists about any appliance/equipment that you use, do not hesitate to contact a qualified technician. It may save your life, and the lives of your loved ones.
A Fireplace becomes dangerous when accumulated tar or creosote catches fire or from uncontrolled burning or over-fuelling. Other causes of fireplace-related fires are substandard design or installation and lack of safety precautions.
Open the damper before lighting the fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool enough to touch.
Ensure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
Do not store combustible materials such as paper or wood too close to the fireplace.
Use a screen in front of the fireplace opening to protect children and to prevent embers from escaping and igniting carpets, etc.
Never leave children alone near a fireplace.
Use dry, well-seasoned wood in small amounts.
Have chimneys cleaned and serviced at regular intervals by a professional.
Never overload your fireplace.
Never use charcoal starter fluids, gasoline or any flammable substance to start fires.
When using artificial logs, burn only one at a time and follow instructions on the wrapping.
Always place the ashes in a metal container and take them outside the house.
THE WINTER SEASON AND CARBON MONOXIDE:
It is important to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. However, carbon monoxide detectors do not replace the need for prevention through yearly maintenance and inspection of heating systems and appliances.
Smoke inhalation from fires is the most common form of carbon monoxide poisoning. Cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust are the most common sources of regular carbon monoxide exposure.
There must be an adequate supply of air for complete burning or combustion, or an excessive amount of carbon monoxide will accumulate indoors. Ensure that your wood stove or fireplace is not competing – for long periods of time – with your clothes dryer, kitchen, bathroom and attic vent fans, central vacuum cleaners and kitchen barbecues, which exhaust air from the home and so starve the furnace or the fireplace of oxygen.
Proper venting of fuel-burning appliances to the outside is also essential to prevent collection of carbon monoxide gas inside buildings.
Never insulate or try to seal up a drafty hood, wind cap or exhaust vent on any natural gas appliance (furnace, water heater, range, dryer, space heater or fireplace). Keep all fuel-burning equipment free of lint, dust and trash. Don’t store anything close to the equipment that could restrict air circulation.
Do a visual inspection of the equipment to look for signs of equipment problems, such as soot on a fireplace face, water collecting near a burner or rusted venting. If even a small doubt exists, have the equipment inspected by a qualified technician.
Periodically check vent pipes between gas appliances and the chimney for corrosion or rust.
Equipment that uses natural gas should show a clear blue flame—a yellow or orange flame may indicate a problem. If a problem appears, call a qualified technician.
Ensure a source of fresh air is available, for an example an open window or flue, when operating a wood-burning fireplace.
THE DANGERS OF EXTENSION CORDS:
Extension cords are a common cause of electrical fires. That is why you must be careful to use only extension cords that are rated for the power used by the device they are powering.
Extension cords must never be run inside walls or under rugs or furniture. They can be damaged by traffic or heavy furniture and start arcing, which can lead to a fire.
Extension cords can get warm during use and must be able to dissipate this heat or they can start a fire.
SIGNS OF AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM:
Flickering lights : If the lights dim every time you turn on an appliance it means that the circuit is overloaded or has a loose connection.
Sparks : If sparks appear when you insert or remove a plug, it could be a sign of loose connections.
Warm electrical cord : If an electrical cord is warm to the touch, the cord is underrated or defective.
Frequent blown fuses or broken circuits : A fuse that continues to blow or circuit breaker that keeps tripping is an important warning sign of problems.
Frequent bulb burnout : A light bulb that burns out frequently is a sign that the bulb is too high in wattage for the fixture.
HOW TO AVOID DRYER FIRES:
Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of dryer fires. That is why it is critical to clean the lint filter before and after each use, and wipe away any lint that has accumulated around the drum.
Perform periodic checks to ensure that the air exhaust vent pipe is unobstructed (lint accumulation) and the outdoor vent flap opens readily.
Do not run the dryer without a lint filter.
You are encouraged to not leave the dryer running if you go out, in case
July 17, 2015
Summer Kickoff Checklist
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
Gearing up for summer? Now is a great time to get your home in top shape for the months ahead. Whatever your weather, caring for your home now will help to ensure a worry-free, comfortable summer. Follow a few of these tips each week and you'll be done in no time.
- Inspect siding for cracks and make any needed repairs.
- If paint is peeling, cracking, or chipped, repair and repaint now to limit damage to the underlying materials.
- Remove window screens and clean with a soft brush and soapy water. Repair any holes or tears or replace the screen material before reinstalling.
- Have air conditioning units serviced to ensure good operation. Promote air circulation around the unit by keeping surrounding shrubs and plants trimmed.
- Clear debris from gutters and eaves to allow rainwater to drain properly.
- Seal cracks in the driveway and keep walkways clear of debris and overgrown plants.
- Test irrigation/sprinkler systems and replace any broken sprinkler heads or emitters. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.
- Power wash decks and patios and seal surfaces as appropriate.
- Vacuum or brush off refrigerator coils to help maintain energy efficiency.
- Empty dehumidifier pans and clean hoses according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- If possible, take area rugs outside and hang them over a deck or porch rail to air out.
- Adjust ceiling fans for proper balance and change the rotation to the summer setting. While you're at it, give the unit a good dusting.
- Switch heavy bedding out for lightweight summer fabrics. Have the winter bedding cleaned before storing it away for the season.
- Close the chimney flue to prevent insects from entering and to help keep cool air in.
- Repot houseplants to give their roots a fresh start for the summer.
- Check door and cabinet hinges and lubricate any that stick or squeak.
Open windows on cooler days to keep fresh air flowing throughout the home.
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