Rosemary Papp

With over 36 Years Local Experience to Serve You

778-834-8021

Source: Remax

Preparing to move into a new home can be overwhelming. Needless to say you have a lot on your plate, so we reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers — a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada — to make a list of the most important moving tips a buyer should keep in mind to prepare to move into their new home.

Address Forwarding

Forward your mail. Missing important government notices, taxes, and health care reminders can mean missing deadlines and incurring penalties.

It can be hard to remember which ones all need to be done, but if you write down all of the bills and mailing you have received in the last 1-2 months you should be sure you covered all of the bases. A few to keep in mind include your doctor, dentist, driver’s license, and credit card companies.

Movers

Moving takes a lot of energy (and muscle), therefore it’s best to leave it to the experts. Hiring movers will take a lot of the stress away from you, allowing you to focus on the more important logistics on moving day. And remember, have a list and don’t leave anything until the last minute!

  1. “Book the movers! All other activities revolve around this schedule.” – Tammy Marcoux, RE/MAX Camosun, Victoria BC
  2.  “Prepare well in advance, really important – mark your boxes and count them – place the number of the box where it can be seen, as well as a list of the number of boxes and their contents, separately in case something is misplaced or lost – label everything!” – Sharon Black, RE/MAX Kelowna, Kelowna BC
  3. “When moving day comes, make sure every last thing is in a box the night before. Make it easy for yourself – the only thing you should be doing on moving day is putting your night clothes and bedding in a clear plastic bag and getting dressed.” – Dawn & Lawrence Setter, RE/MAX First Realty, Parksville BC
Utilities & Services

You don’t want to arrive to your new home and have a bunch of tasks to do that you could have done ahead of time, you will be busy enough as it is. Arrange your utility hookups and services (internet, phone, and TV) ahead of time to ensure a smooth changeover and installation.

Child Care & Pet Care

On a day like this you want as little distractions and things to keep an eye on as possible. “Arrange for child and/or pet care the day of the move so that you can put a full day of work into concentrating on the move.” – Tammy Marcoux, RE/MAX Camosun, Victoria BC

Cleaners

Moving takes longer than you would expect, and the last thing you will want to do at the end of moving day is clean your old house. Hire a professional cleaner to ensure that you leave your place clean and tidy for the new owner. Also, consider having your new home cleaned before you move everything inside in order to get off on the right foot.

Get Rid of Stuff

The less you have to move the better, especially if there are things you just never use. Get rid of unnecessary items before you move – it takes a lot of time and energy.

Ask for Help

Don’t try and do it all on your own. Your friends and family are excited for you, ask them to help where they can!

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Source: Duxbury & Associates

QUESTION: I have a question about our new house, which is about 55 years old. We are just making an offer to purchase it. It is in the Vancouver Fairview Slopes area.

We were not made aware by the seller and did not notice at the time that the home has a definite slope in it. The main floor tilts to one side. After we realized this, we contacted the sellers and were told that their agent said everyone who looked at this house should have been made aware of it which, unfortunately, was not the case with us.

We really like the location and the layout, but have found the slope to be a source of frustration. We are just curious as to what, if anything, can be done about this. It would appear to us that anything to fix this could be extensive and expensive, but we really have no idea at all what the cause of this might be.

We don’t know how to proceed, or if we should just leave it and when the time comes that we sell it, just hope for the best. Any thoughts or insights into this would be appreciated.

ANSWER: I will certainly provide my thoughts on your issue, but I must warn, you may not like the response. As you have stated, it is unfortunate that you did not notice the sloped floors in the home before making your offer, as you are now forced to live with it. You are correct that repairs may be undertaken at considerable cost to lessen the slope, but there may also be some less-costly remediation you can do to minimize the problem.

It still never ceases to amaze me, with all the information available in countless forms, that some home buyers are unaware of the potential pitfalls of what is likely the largest purchase of their lives.

Once you sign on the dotted line of an offer to purchase a home, you are bound to the terms of that contract if accepted. If you have some specific conditions in that offer that have to be satisfied by either the seller or yourself, then there may be some wiggle room to change your mind if these conditions cannot be met.

One of these conditions should certainly be a home inspection completed to your satisfaction by an independent, professional property inspector. Without the condition to have the home checked out in great detail for visible defects by an experienced inspector, you are only relying on your own observations in the very brief time you could look at the home. Often, that time is less than 1 hour, where you are primarily looking at suitability of the home for your lifestyle and how clean it is. Your brief look will likely focus on the kitchen, bathrooms and other amenities, but not necessarily the structure or mechanical components.

The slope you have described would have been identified at the time of the home inspection and you could have decided then if it would have been enough of a deterrent to prevent you from completing the purchase. You may still have made the decision to buy the house, but at least you would have been aware of the sloping floor – as well as the other issues with the home. That would have allowed you to weigh the positive and negative features of the home and make an informed, rather than hurried, decision.

SOLUTION: Now that this “lecture” is over, we can address the sloping floor of this home. It is somewhat unusual to have a very noticeable slope in a home, but not uncommon due to shifting soil conditions. The earth moves continually, more or less like the surface of the water.

With many houses that have settled, if all in one direction, there may be little concern other than the noticeably sloping floors. As long as portions of the house have not moved at different rates, known as differential settlement, then the slope may only be an inconvenience. Yes, it may cause some doors to rub and furniture and appliances to sit awkwardly, but hundreds of older homes have these same issues.

It is very common in older areas to see homes that have settled several inches, often to the front street or to one side, that are otherwise in liveable condition.

The one thing you may be able to do, without major structural repairs to the home, is to adjust the posts/columns holding up the main beam(s) in the basement, by replacing with adjustable metal columns – teleposts. As homes settle, these metal columns can create significant “bumps” in the middle of the floors. This may be due not only to the settlement at the perimeter foundation, but also some heaving of the footings under these posts.

When this occurs, it can often make the sloping of the floors appear to be more dramatic – due to the unevenness caused by the upward forces of the posts and beams.

The solution is to call an experienced general contractor or foundation specialist to slowly and very carefully adjust the teleposts, as needed. This can be a relatively easy task if your home has a simple design with a single beam, or can be very difficult if you have a finished basement with multiple posts and beams. Ensure anyone you hire has many years of experience in this area and does proper measurements and calculations to determine which posts need to be adjusted and by how much. Also, commercial General Liability and Errors & Omissions insurance, plus a good reputation and a valid business license.

There are clues that can indicate structural problems in a house: floors out of level, windows and doors sticking, bouncy floors, or floors that sag in certain spots. And not all structural problems are such a big deal. But if all the floors in the house slope to the middle, that says something serious. This is not a quick fix and for a first-time homeowner with a limited budget and not much experience with houses, I’d stay away.

There are lots of reasons that might cause sloping floors in a home. There might be foundation issues or problems with sinking. The sill beam or floor joists might be rotted out or have been eaten by carpenter ants.

But one of the most common issue is people cutting through the structure to run plumbing or wiring or duct work. Or, someone has removed supporting structure underneath to create an open-concept design (or to accommodate a Grow-Op).

Professionals can cut joists to run piping or wiring, but it’s got to be done properly, without weakening them. I suspect someone might have removed critical support. But, without seeing it, I obviously can’t be sure. You need to bring in professionals who can assess the house’s structure.

Structural problems can be fixed. With houses, pretty much anything can be done; it’s just a matter of skill, experience, time and of course, money. Joists that have been cut and compromised can be replaced or repaired (sistered). You can jack up the whole house to replace a rotten sill beam. A crumbling foundation can be excavated and repaired. But these are big, expensive jobs. You’d better be sure the low price for your “fixer-upper” makes up for the cost of the fix.

CONCLUSION: For the most part, pointing out a floor slope in a home more than just a few years old is not the responsibility of a vendor or a realtor, unless you specifically request this information.

As long as nothing was deliberately done to cover up this condition, it is your job to inspect the property as thoroughly as you want before you make an offer to purchase. Without the assistance of your home inspector or professional structural engineer, you are relying on your own very limited expertise and time to make this evaluation.

As you have stated, you can now only “hope for the best” and perhaps make some necessary telepost adjustment to minimize the sloping of the floors in your home.

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As you may have heard, Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled a series of changes to the rules used to underwrite insured mortgages. Included in those changes, effective October 2016, was one termed a mortgage "stress test."

The stress test is applicable to insured mortgage applications. It's designed to ensure that borrowers are capable of paying their loans in the event interest rates rise, or their personal financial situation worsens. So now, no matter how low their actual mortgage rate, Canadian borrowers must show that they qualify for the Bank of Canada's Mortgage Qualifying Rate, which, for example, was 4.64 percent when the new rule came into effect — about twice what a borrower might actually be paying.

Prior to the new changes, the historically low mortgage rates allowed even first-time homebuyers with a modest income to qualify for a large loan. Now, buyers who previously qualified for a higher-priced home may experience a reduction in affordability.

If you're considering a move, you'll want to clarify if or how the new mortgage restrictions might apply to you, and if they do, what your best course of action is in today's everchanging real estate environment.

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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.

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From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post

Now is a great time for homeowners to take steps toward saving energy and reducing their environmental impact. While replacing those old leaky windows and installing ceiling fans are great ideas, there are also small things that can be done around the house to lower energy consumption and reduce one's carbon footprint. Here are some simple, sustainable adjustments that can make a real difference in energy savings,

  • Use "smart" power strips for household appliances such as computers, printers, game consoles, televisions and microwaves. Smart power strips save energy by keeping the connected devices from drawing power when they're not in use or turned off. The standby consumption of these devices can equal that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously - even when the device's power switch is turned off.
  • Use the dishwasher! Newer dishwashers typically use just 4 to 6 gallons of water on a normal cycle, while washing a sink full of dishes by hand can require up to 15 gallons of water. Up to 60% of the energy used by dishwashers is for heating the water, so washing full loads is best. A full dishwasher will also clean more effectively than one that's only partially filled.
  • Adjusting the home's thermostat by just two degrees could reduce a typical household's carbon dioxide emission by 2,000 pounds. It also could provide significant savings on the utilities bill. Programmable thermostats are another great way to stay comfortable and save energy at the same time, by heating and cooling only as they're programmed to do so.
  • Keeping household appliances clean and up to date is another way to lower a household's energy consumption. Schedule heating and cooling system for a checkup every 2 years. Air conditioner and refrigerator filters and coils should be cleaned monthly so they'll operate more efficiently.
  • Insulating the water heater and weather-stripping or caulking gaps around the home could save up to 420 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions per month in addition to lowering energy costs.

Switch to CFL or LED bulbs. These can be huge energy savers; they burn significantly less energy and can last up to ten times longer than incandescent types so they're more convenient, too. Users of CFL and/or LED bulbs enjoy reductions in heat production, energy use, and electric bills.

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Direct: 778-834-8021
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Rosemary's Email: rosemary@homesinlangley.ca
RE/MAX Treeland Realty
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www.HomesinLangley.ca