September 5, 2017
Continued demand for attached homes brings second strongest August historically
Source: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board
SURREY, BC – Persistent and growing demand for townhomes and apartments in the Fraser Valley led to the second strongest August historically in terms of sales.
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,879 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in August, an increase of 10.9 per cent compared to the 1,694 sales in August of last year, and a 3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,937 sales in July 2017.
Of the total sales processed 470 were townhouses and 548 were apartments, together representing 54% of market activity in August.
“It’s not surprising to see demand like this still so late into the summer; the Fraser Valley has never been a better place to live than it is now,” said Board President Gopal Sahota. “Our communities are thriving, and there are still affordable options throughout our region. Also, it doesn’t hurt that removing the bridge tolls gives us even greater access to the Lower Mainland.”
Last month the total active inventory for the Fraser Valley was 5,712 listings. Active inventory decreased by 4.3 per cent month-over-month, and decreased 6.4 per cent when compared to August 2016.
The Board received 2,633 new listings in August, a 20.2 per cent decrease from July 2017, and a 7.3 per cent decrease compared to August 2016’s 2,840 new listings.
“Anyone whose looking for a townhome or apartment will have to move quickly – units are selling faster than they ever have here,” continued Sahota. “Talk to your REALTOR® for the best advice on how to prepare yourself and succeed in a competitive market like this one.”
For the Fraser Valley region the average number of days to sell an apartment in August was 17 days, notable when compared to 26 at this time last year. Townhomes sold in an average of 16 days, and single family detached took 25.
HPI® Benchmark Price Activity
- Single Family Detached: At $976,000, the Benchmark price for a single family detached home in the Valley increased 1 per cent compared to July 2017, and increased 10.2 per cent compared to August 2016.
- Townhomes: At $491,900 the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 1.2 per cent compared to July 2017, and increased 16.6 per cent compared to August 2016.
- Apartments: At $349,300, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley increased 2.4 per cent compared to July 2017, and increased 32.8 per cent compared to August 2016.
Find the August Statistics Package here.
March 20, 2017
Household Tip: Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are good for more than just cutting the static in your clothes, for example:
Dusting: Used dryer sheets are effective for dusting surfaces such as computer screens, TV screens, window blinds, baseboards and so much more.
Cleaning: Sprinkle a few drops of water on a used dryer sheet and use it to wipe down your chrome bathroom faucets and to wipe away the soap scum on your shower door.
Keeping clothes fresh: Hang onto that just-washed scent by placing a dryer sheet in your clothes drawers. Pop used sheets in your shoes before putting them back in the closet, too. When storing seasonal clothing, slip an unused dryer sheet into the storage container to keep clothes smelling fresh.
Removing deodorant marks: Rub white residue away with a used dryer sheet.
March 7, 2017
Repairs and Upgrades: How Much Will They Cost?
Courtesy of, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
During the process of buying or selling a home, homeowners often learn about recommended or required repairs and upgrades. This can happen as a result of the home inspection as well as your expert knowledge of your market and comparable homes. Of course, the first thing homeowners want to know is, “How much will that cost?”
Pillar To Post is pleased to offer our popular Residential Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, which provides estimated cost ranges for repair and/or replacement of the major systems and components in a home. It also includes general guidelines for the life expectancies of those systems. This information can help you make informed decisions when considering home repairs or improvements, and is valued by buyers and sellers alike. Below is just a sampling of our list of estimated costs for hundreds of repairs/upgrades.
Hardwood Floor Refinish
$3-$6 / sq ft
Carpet – Clean
$125 / room
$6-$11 / sq ft
Kitchen Counter – Laminate
$45 / lin ft
Kitchen Counter – Marble
$80 / lin ft
$35 / month
$15-$30 /sq ft
Custom Designed & Built
$55-$80 / sq ft
Casement – Replace
$50 / sq ft
These estimates reflect the average basic costs for supplies and installation of building materials in United States and Canada. Costs may vary depending on regions, upgrades, complexity, and disposal fees.
For complimentary copies of our Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, please contact your local Pillar To Post office, or download from www.pillartopost.com/costguide.
March 6, 2017
The Urge to Purge
Many of us hibernate somewhat at this time of year, meaning we have lots of time to reacquaint ourselves with our great indoors and all of its associated "stuff," much of which we may even have forgotten about. Take this opportunity to purge unwanted, unneeded and unused things from your home. You'll be surprised at how good you feel once you've opened up your space!
A good purging is necessary when putting your home up for sale or when you're thinking of downsizing to a smaller footprint. Even if you have no plans to move, your motivation could still be as major as getting ready to welcome a new baby into the household, or as simple as recognizing you have a lot of things you'll never use again. In fact, you may have no other reason for tackling your overcrowded household than wanting to claim your space back.
So, once you've made the decision to purge, what do you do with all that stuff?
Tackle each room with large, empty boxes, each marked with a different purpose. There will be the "keep" box for things you absolutely need or can't let go of, the "donate" box with things to give either to charity or to friends or family who may make use out of the items, and the "sell" box. Yes, someone might actually, thanks to the far-reaching wonder of the Internet and sites like eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, magically translate your junk into money in your pocket — you'll be surprised at what people will pay for!
Finally, there will be those items you'll transfer from one hand to the other, and spend much too much time pondering. To help move the cleanup process along, put those treasures in another box that you'll mark with a date six months from the current date. When you approach it half a year from now, you'll probably first shake your head in disbelief that a whole six months has already flown by, and then as a second step recognize that if you didn't need those items in the past half year, you can probably let them go now.
Clutter can be a source of stress, so purging can benefit your mental well-being. In some cases, letting go of certain memories will allow you to move onto a new phase of life. Other times, clearing the physical clutter in your life frees up the space, both mentally and physically, to move towards a clearer future.
At the very least, less stuff in your home means less stuff to clean and, when it comes time to move, less to pack up and move!
March 2, 2017
How's the Market Looking this Year?
Market forecasts are never easy, as the forecast for Canadian real estate is as varied as the individual characteristics of the many housing markets within Canada.
A report from PwC Canada and the Urban Land Institute reports that property owners are cautiously optimistic about the real estate market's outlook for 2017. The report forecasts a "year of stability" for the housing market, despite a slight drop in prices and a pullback in the Toronto and Vancouver markets.*
The Canadian Real Estate Association forecasts a slight decline in national sales for 2017. They expect transactions in British Columbia and Ontario to remain strong, but also anticipate they will fall short of 2016's record levels to some degree due to a lack of supply of single-family homes.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) believes MLS® sales will soften from last year to between 489,500 and 509,700 in 2017 before settling in 2018 at between 488,100 and 511, 100. Likewise, the CMHC expects resale prices to come in at between $483,600 and $507,800 in 2017 and between $497,700 and $525,100 in 2018. Meanwhile, the CMHC anticipates mortgage rates to rise modestly from the posted 5-year mortgage rate to within a 4.4 to 5.2 percent range in 2017, and then to within a 4.5 to 5.7 percent range in 2018.**
Your local market forecast is the one you'll be most interested in receiving. Please call today for the latest real estate information in your specific region!
* www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/emerging-trendsin- real-estate.html
** www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/ esub/61500/61500_2016_B02.pdf?fr=1478014289803
February 2, 2017
Demand diversifies for Fraser Valley real estate in January
Source: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board
SURREY, BC – Fraser Valley real estate kicked-off the New Year strong with sales reaching above the ten-year average for January, and a healthy intake of new inventory.
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 976 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January, a decrease of 27.1 per cent compared to the 1,338 sales in January of last year, and a 1 per cent increase compared to the 966 sales in December 2016.
Of the 976 sales processed last month, 212 were townhouses and 276 were apartments, representing exactly half of the month’s market activity.
“The impacts of 2016’s tremendous real estate surge continue to be felt as we enter the New Year, and a new market.
Notably, the distribution of sales across our residential property types levelled-off even further in January. As well, prices continue to adjust to match more typical demand, albeit slowly,” said Charles Wiebe, Board President.
The Board received 2,178 new listings in January, a significant 162.7 per cent increase from December 2016, and a 13.2 per cent decrease compared to January 2016’s 2,510 new listings.
In January the total active inventory for the Fraser Valley was 4,401 listings, a decrease of 8.1 per cent year-over-year and the lowest level seen for a January in ten years. However, active inventory increased by 12 per cent month-over-month compared to December’s 3,930 active listings.
“This is a great time to list in the Fraser Valley; buyers are looking at a wider range of homes and the market is still lacking inventory needed to match demand. If you need help figuring out your next step, talk your local REALTOR® and they can help you get to market quickly and stress-free.”
For the Fraser Valley region, the average number of days to sell a single family detached home in January 2017 was 49 days, compared to 33 days in January 2016.
HPI® Benchmark Price Activity
- Single Family Detached: At $856,300, the Benchmark price for a single family detached home in the Valley did not change compared to December 2016, and increased 24.3 per cent compared to January 2016.
- Townhomes: At $420,400 the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 0.9 per cent compared to December 2016, and increased 28.8 per cent compared to January 2016.
- Apartments: At $262,300, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley increased 1.3 per cent compared to December 2016, and increased 27.6 per cent compared to January 2016.
Find the January Statistics Package here.
October 11, 2016
Dream With A Theme
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
While not every room in your home needs to follow a theme, you may find yourself designing a bedroom around a child's favorite Disney character, sports team or activity, or playing up your own hobby or even trying to recreate the serenity of a vacation spot in your own bedroom. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you decorate.
- Make sure you don't go overboard with your theme while forgetting about the practicality of your room. If you can't sit/lie/relax on it, it's about as practical as stiletto heels on the beach. In other words, you don't want a bedroom that shows well but doesn't invite comfort and relaxation.
- Remember that a themed bedroom doesn't mean running out and buying every known accessory relevant to your vision. Your theme can be jumpstarted as easily and inexpensively as choosing the right shade of paint for the walls. Sports fans looking to create a shrine to their team should know there is paint designed to match team colors perfectly, allowing them to instantly surround themselves with logo-matched paint to complement the team accessories they plan to display.
- Looking to create a dreamy bedroom space? You'll want to choose calming colors for the walls and bedding. You may think white is right, but again, keep practicality in mind: spills happen, dirt comes out of nowhere, and before you know it your calming oasis turns into just another stress-inducing imposition. White can work in some situations, but keep your lifestyle in mind before you commit.
August 24, 2016
3 Ways to Make Your Living Room More Functional
The living room is the main space in your home where people gather. It's a high traffic room and it has a lot of jobs. Creating a space that meets the needs of your family, but is also beautiful and desirable to be in, is no easy task. You might find yourself wondering where to even start, but with a few simple tricks, you'll be headed in the right direction.
Here are three significant ways you can create more functional space in your living room right now:
Aim to Simplify
These days, with life spinning so fast in so many different directions, it's easy for our home to become a drop zone for so many things. We accumulate sports equipment, hobby related accessories, kid’s toys, pet supplies, and the list goes on. Somehow, in the midst of all these bits and pieces, the parts we really love about our home can get lost. The number one thing you can do to create a more functional living room is to start by de-cluttering. Start by grabbing four boxes labeled:
Go through your living room and do your best to purge those excess items. Think creatively and remember that by letting some things go, you are making way to really highlight the things in your home that really do matter to you. Consider pairing down on things you have in excess, for instance, limit your throw pillows, don't pack your bookshelves to the max, and try not to overwhelm your mantle with knickknacks. Colleen Madsen of 365 Less Things suggests, “There is no need to make things difficult by trying to organize the hardest things first. Most likely, it will simply deter you from the task altogether. Instead, start with the easy stuff and then as you strengthen your will to reduce, the harder decisions will become easier.” De-cluttering might seem like a daunting task, but it is worth it in the long run. Having less clutter is actually healthier for you and it helps promote a more peaceful environment. Who doesn't want a living room that ushers in peace?
Once you have simplified the extra stuff around your home, you can then really focus on the statement pieces that you want to showcase. Turn your attention to pieces that open up and add light to your living room. Mirrors offer a great way to add dimension to an otherwise boring space. Focus your energy on finding pieces that inspire you, draw out simplicity, and take up minimal space.
Designate Space Wisely
Creating functionality in your living room is so much more than arranging furniture, it's about developing an environment that works and flows with your family’s lifestyle. Instead of just placing your furniture where it fits or the best angle toward the TV, really consider the design and formation of your living room. Try to designate areas with certain jobs in mind. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- a distinct sitting area
- a reading nook
- a play area
- a home office corner
- an entertainment space
Elaine Song from styleathome.com advises, “Divide your living space by designating areas for certain activities. It will allow for better organization of furniture and necessities. Whether it's a games area with a table and proper storage for board games and toys or a TV area with seating and media storage for music and movies, your space will feel less cluttered.” If you find yourself debating over what to do with your sofa, consider what Designer Laura Casey has to say, “People often ask me my opinion on using sectional sofas. Under the right conditions they can be functional and look great. I think their best use is in rooms with high ceilings or lots of windows, and upholstered in a lighter color. Getting room and upholstery proportions correct can be a challenge. If you've got a smaller sized room with low ceilings you are better off choosing a mix of a sofa and chairs to help break up the space.” The living room is the place that family gathers, with specific designated areas, giving everyone a corner of their own.
Use Furniture Creatively
One of the main reasons to use furniture creatively is that it is a great way to incorporate sentimental family pieces into your everyday life. Jan Porter of Isle Designs, brings over 35 years of Design experience to the table, she shared some helpful advice about how she uses pieces creatively within her own home, and “I tend to use pieces that have a multi functional purpose. One of my family heirlooms, an antique cedar chest from the 1800's not only doubles as storage, but it is used as my coffee table as well.” Another wonderful reason to use furniture creatively is that it can offer double-duty. Some benches have wonderful storage capabilities and they also make a great window seat.
Many new sectional sofas come with ample storage inside, and the chaise lounge portion can double as a daybed. If your living room is on the smaller side, consider using a bookshelf as an entertainment storage center/room divider. You can place TV remotes and controllers in lined baskets, store games in decorative boxes, and reserve one shelf for your favorite go to books. By using double-duty furniture, you not only create more space, but you develop a room that everyone in your family feels some sense of ownership to.
April 20, 2016
6 Things to Check On Your Home This Spring
Source: Lori Watson Mortgage Specialist Canadian Mortgage Experts - DLC
Ah spring, a time when the sun pours in the windows, plants are growing, things feel alive, and we give the house a good spring clean!
Although this winter was relatively mild, we certainly had some proud Canadian winter moments. You will probably want to make sure that your property weathered the storm and is in good condition. So here are six things to check on your home this spring!
Your roof will have undoubtedly received the brunt of the winter weather, so when you can, it’ll be important for you to ensure that everything is still working as it should; that your shingles are securely fastened and (obviously) that none are missing. Additionally, for those who live in wet climates, check to make sure your roof is free from any kind of developing growth (moss etc.).
Shingled roofs should last approximately 20 years (depending, again, on variables such as climate) so as the years go on, don’t be surprised if and when sections of your roof begin to break down and deteriorate. A good idea to be prepared for such eventualities is have a separate account where you put money away, little by little.
Check your gutters for any loose connections, leaks and cracks, as well as for debris that may have gathered throughout the winter months. Keep in mind, as well, that downspouts should always be pointed away from the foundation.
Low-lying sections of your property (especially near your home’s foundation) can be problematic. These pools, if left to form in the wrong location, can lead to water coming through your home’s foundation. Not to mention, they can become an excellent breeding ground for all sorts of pesky insects.
Avoid these pitfalls by leveling the ground, sloping the soil away from the house (and adding soil as necessary).
Outdoor concrete (patios etc.) can shift or crack during those months when the ground around said pad freezes and thaws. So, as you come into spring, check to make sure that the concrete that surrounds your house hasn’t begun to slope into your foundation (starting to see a trend here? Hint: water = good. Water leaking into house = bad).
Additionally, if you do find cracks, or if the aesthetic appeal of your concrete has declined, take the time to clean and re-seal.
Paved driveways have a tendency to crack and wear over time (not unlike concrete). Springtime is the perfect time to reseal, while you're in that spring cleaning mood! This job will restore the color to a fresh black, while also ensuring that your driveway is free of bumps and weed protrusions.
Keep in mind, however, that most sealers will take about 48 hours to dry properly, so watch the weather, and don’t start anything that might be compromised by rain or windblown elements. Popular Mechanics has a great article to get you started!
The AC Unit
The reality is that air conditioning units run constantly throughout the summer months, so in addition to servicing your unit after the summer, consider having it serviced in the spring as well, since it will have been sitting dormant for several months.
There you have it. Six home/property areas to pay attention to as winter gives way to spring. I trust these will be helpful to you as you invest time and love into your property.
However if you are considering a little more than just regular maintenance this spring, mortgage rates are at an all time low, now might be a great time to talk about using some of the equity in your property, to renovate and/or increase your property’s value!
April 13, 2016
Can Someone Actually Steal Your House?
Source: Lori Watson Mortgage Specialist Canadian Mortgage Experts - DLC
It might sound unbelievable, but it’s absolutely possible for someone to steal your house. It’s called title fraud, and it’s a problem that has been around for a while in Canada. And although exposure to title fraud is minimal compared to, say, debit or credit card fraud, the damage to its victims is considerably more severe. Title fraud is potential big money for perpetrators, and their schemes can be complex to say the least. Don’t underestimate the lengths to which they will go to cash in on a big payday.
Let’s break down title fraud, identify who is most at risk, and look at the best ways to protect yourself from having your house stolen out from under you!
Title fraud almost always starts with identity theft. When someone steals your identity, they actually become you (well not really, but as far as anyone who doesn’t know you is concerned, they are you). So once they become you, they are acting as you, the scope of the fraud starts with what you could carry out as normal business, and then grows from there with increased deception and elaborate plans.
Here are some common scenarios. The perpetrators could do any of the following:
- Using your identity, they could discharge your current mortgage and replace it with one at higher value, pocketing the difference in cash, using a bank account they created in your name, only to disappear before the loan/mortgage goes into arrears and a collection agency calls seeking repayment.
- Using fake id and forged documents, they could transfer the title of your property out of your name, register a home equity line of credit or mortgage against the title, advance the funds in cash, and disappear, leaving you with a foreclosure notice a few months down the road.
- Depending on market conditions, if it’s a real seller’s market, they could even potentially sell your property sight unseen, close the transaction, and skip town before the duped buyers show up at your house in a moving truck, ready to take possession.
The scary thing is, as the victim of identity theft and/or title fraud, there is legal precedence set that as the mortgage was taken out in your name and it was done so as a legal transaction, the onus is on you to prove that you were the victim of fraud. Until you do so, you are responsible for the repayment of the debt or it will damage your credit score.
As in the case of someone fraudulently selling your house out from under you, there is legal precedence set where the new buyers could actually be awarded possession of your house, because you were the victim of identity theft and title fraud, they weren’t. As far as everyone else is concerned, the buyers executed a perfectly legal transaction. It falls on you to prove otherwise!
Who Is Most At Risk?
The more equity you have in your property, the more likely you are to be targeted. Let’s say your property is worth $450k, and you owe $150k on your mortgage — there is potential access to $300k of equity. However, as the maximum refinance amount in most cases is 80% of the property’s value, in this case $210k would be accessible. And as most lenders limit the amount of cash you can refinance out of a property to $200k, this is a perfect target.
Properties that are owned clear title (no mortgage or line of credit registered against the home) are considerably more susceptible than properties with a mortgage because there is no mortgage to discharge. Essentially, there is one less hurdle for the fraudster to register a new mortgage or transfer the title.
Unfortunately, if we have to label an age group that is most at risk, it would be the older generation. Seniors are more likely to own their properties clear title and are less savvy about identity theft and may take longer to realize something is going on.
Okay, if your heart is beating a little faster now, don’t worry, it will be okay. Here are some practical steps you can take to protect yourself!
The first line of defence to prevent title fraud is to protect yourself from identity theft. The financial consumer agency of Canada has some good information that outlines the basics. But a lot of it is common sense: keep your ID close, don’t disclose your personal information to strangers on the phone, and if something smells fishy, make sure to investigate before proceeding!
Now, in order to protect yourself from title fraud directly, you can purchase something called title insurance! If you have recently purchased or refinanced your property, chances are you already have it. With the increasing amount of mortgage fraud, a lot of lenders make title insurance a mandatory condition of lending you money. This is a really, really good thing.
There are two types of title insurance available from a few different providers, offered directly from your lawyer’s office. The first is title insurance that covers the lender in case of title fraud, and the second covers the lender and you. It’s smart to go with the more comprehensive policy that covers you!
Title insurance is relatively inexpensive and covers you as long as you own the property (even if you discharge your mortgage). It can be purchased at any time, so if you aren’t sure if you have title insurance, might be worth a look through your mortgage documents. And if you can’t make heads or tails of them, take them to your mortgage broker and they will be happy to work through everything with you.
What to Do if You Suspect Fraud?
If you suspect or find out that you are the victim of title fraud, you should do the following:
- Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, at 1-888-495-8501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report the situation to the police.
- Report the fraud to both credit reporting agencies Equifax and TransUnion.
- Contact your provincial land registry and let them know.
- Keep all documents and record the exact time you became aware that you were a victim.
March 9, 2016
Preventing and Addressing Rodents in the Home
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
As much as homeowners enjoy the shelter and comfort of their home, mice, rats, and other rodents do, too. Not only do rodents make a mess, they can carry and spread diseases, contaminate food, and cause property damage.
The first step in keeping rodents out of the home is prevention. Rodents commonly enter homes, garages, sheds and other structures through small cracks and openings. Even a dime-sized hole is large enough for a mouse to get through. Common entry areas include behind stoves and refrigerators, around where water pipes enter the home, attics and crawlspaces, basements, and laundry drains. Outside the home, look for openings around windows and doors, gutters, and places where wiring, plumbing, and gas lines enter the home. Small holes can be stuffed with steel wool, which rodents cannot chew through, and caulked into place. Larger holes may require patching with metal, hardware cloth, or lath screen.
Removing food sources is another key to prevention. Pantry foods should be stored in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight fitting covers. Food-soiled cookware and dishes should be washed and kitchen surfaces cleaned soon after use, and pet food should not be left out overnight. If food waste is kept inside, it should be stored in a metal container until it can be disposed of outside in a rodent-proof trash can. If homeowners enjoy feeding wild birds, feeders should be located away from the house as spilled bird food is a real treat for rodents. There are bird seed mixes available that have been treated with hot pepper - unappealing to rodents and other mammals but birds are unaffected by it.
If rodents are present, it is extremely important that they be removed properly prior to sealing holes and gaps. Snap traps are the most effective method of catching rodents; follow the manufacturer's instruction for best results. It can take several days for rats to respond to a baited trap. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, snap traps are preferable to live or "humane" trapping, which can cause stressed rodents to urinate and increase possible exposure to disease. Once a rodent is trapped and killed, it should be wrapped in newspaper and disposed of in the trash. Any rodent - dead or alive - should not be handled with bare hands; use disposable rubber or vinyl gloves. Rodents are carriers of Hantavirus and other viruses and bacteria that can cause serious, even deadly, diseases in humans. A person can become exposed to Hantavirus while sweeping or cleaning up rodent droppings as particles become airborne and are inhaled. In addition, fleas, mites, or ticks may be present on the rodent, providing an additional carrier for the spread of disease.
November 18, 2015
A Dust Free House
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
1. Choose the weapon. Choose the weapon. Microfiber cloths and Wool dusters attract and hold dust, no dusting spray or furniture polish needed.
2. Clean the screen. Wipe TV and computer screens with fabric softener sheets to reduce dust-attracting static cling.
3. Two-in-one. Apply furniture polish with one side of an old oven mitt and use the other side to buff.
4. Squirt dirt. Squeeze an empty squirt bottle to blow dust out of picture frames corners and other tight spots.
5. Clean cracks. Dip a clean cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and run it through tight crevices, like between the buttons on your phone or remote control.
6. Stop drips. Hang an umbrella upside-down from your ceiling fan or chandelier before you clean it. You will catch dust before it hits the floor.
November 11, 2015
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
Roof leaks are one of the leading causes of preventable property damage. A leaking roof can be disruptive and costly, and can eventually cause mold, damage to interior finishes, and even structural damage.
While it's true that older roofs or those in disrepair are at greater risk for leaks, one of the most common causes of roof failure is poor workmanship during installation. This is not always readily apparent because it often takes a few years for a poor installation to manifest itself as a leak. Using a licensed, qualified roofing contractor for any installations or repairs is always recommended.
Let's take a look at some of the factors that affect how a roof handles water and what they can mean when it comes to water leaks.
Pitched/sloped roofs: Pitched or sloped roofs are designed to shed water from one shingle to the next down to the roof edge, where the gutters and downspouts will carry the water away. Many people are surprised to learn that sloped roofs are not actually waterproof but instead rely on gravity and engineering to quickly move water off of the home.
Flat roofs: The most common type of flat roof is the built-up, or tar-and-gravel, roof. Flat roofs are designed to be waterproof and use a membrane such as roofing felt or specially-engineered foam to seal the surface. These roofs will have just enough slope to conduct water to a drain, which will funnel water down and off the roof surface. It's critical to keep drains on flat roof clear of debris so water won't back up and damage the integrity of the roof.
What causes leaks? Most roof leaks can be traced to poorly installed or worn flashing. Flashing usually consists of pieces of metal that cover gaps between the roofing material and items that penetrate through the roof such as chimneys, skylights, dormers, and roof/wall intersections. Wind and rain in just the wrong combination can cause a pitched roof to leak by compromising its water-shedding capabilities. In cold climates, ice can cause a perfectly good roof surface to leak. Ice can block the flow of water to the edge of the roof or to the drain. The water can then back up under the shingles and leak into the house.
Water leaks can have interior causes as well. Condensation in the attic due to leaking household air, or heating and/or air conditioning ducts can cause damage to the roof decking and structural framing. In severe cases it can cause water to drip back into the house. This can lead to mold and even structural damage if not corrected.
Proper installation and maintenance of roofs are key to preventing problems down the road. Homeowners should monitor their roof and attic, and contact a qualified roofing contractor at the first sign of any problems.
October 21, 2015
Keep Your Home Selling Like Roses
From, Bjorn Rygg, Pillar to Post
Pet odors, smelly shoes, burned food in the kitchen - no need to run out and buy air freshener. There are plenty of deodorizers you already have around the house that can do the job - naturally!
1. Deodorize a dirty disposal with orange peels. Next time you eat an orange, just drop the peel down the sink and turn on the disposal. Citrus rinds contain fragrant essential oils and potent antiseptic and astringent properties that kill odor-causing germs.
2. Send pet odors packing with baking soda. Technically, it is sodium bicarbonate that absorbs odors from both surfaces and air. Simply sprinkle a little on rugs, couches, pet beds and other spots favored by your pooch or feline. Let sit for several hours or overnight, so it can work magic. Remove the powder with a vacuum and all that remains is fresh scent.
3. Say so long to smoke smells. Cigarette odors are tough but white vinegar is tougher! Pour vinegar in a few soup bowls and set around the smoke-scented room - the next day, the smoky stench should be gone. Also smart: Moisten an old towel with vinegar and wave through the room.
4. Zap microwave odors Did you heat your popcorn a little too long, and now the burning smell will not go away? Here is a sweet-smelling solution: Combine 1 tsp. vanilla extract with two cups water in a microwave-safe bowl, then heat on high for five minutes. Vanilla extract is a natural deodorizer that will take away the scorched stench - and replace it with the delicious aroma of just-baked goods.
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