December 7, 2016
4 Tips for selling a tenant-occupied property
There is a lot to think about when you’re in the process of selling your property. There are moments of uncertainty as you hope to sell for the best possible price within a reasonable amount of time.
The process can also be stressful for your tenant, who may be concerned about where he/she will be living after the sale. Here is some key advice to give to your tenants as you are attempting to sell your investment property.
It is suggested that it’s a kind gesture to offer some sort of incentive to tenants during the time while the house is being listed.
A slight reduction in rent could mean a lot to your tenant if you’re in a financial position to offer the discount. Other options may include offering maid/cleaning services free of charge, giving your renter gift cards for restaurants, local shops or movie theatres, or even throwing in a nice bottle of wine. These gestures may be of minimal cost to you, but can go a long way to making the process smoother.
A happy tenant is far more likely to be cooperative and helpful during the listing process.
Respect their time
Until your property is sold, it is important to respect the fact that it is still the place your tenant calls “home.” It’s important to be open and honest with showing timelines and schedules.
One tip is to determine days and times of the week for showings that are most convenient for your tenant. Once those times are determined, advise your real estate agent to book during that schedule.
“When people feel heard, and are a part of the process, they are much more likely to work with you, rather than against you.”
Work together and communicate
By working together, the situation may end up being a win-win for both yourself and your tenant.
Coach them through how to show potential buyers they are great tenants so that the new buyers may want to keep renting to them. The more cooperative, clean and tidy the tenant is, the more likely they won’t have to move if an investor is purchasing the home.
It’s a good idea to have your real estate agent introduce him/herself to your tenant early in the process so that they can explain what will be happening and how the renter may be impacted. In some cases, real estate agents may be able to act as an intermediary, to keep the flow of conversation going.
“Try to make your tenant feel part of the team. Have all documentation available regarding the legal positions of all involved. Manage expectations proactively.”
Help them out
Do your best to find someone who will either continue to be a landlord for your tenant, or, be sure to give your tenant more than the minimum notice required by law. Some sellers take this a step further by waiving the rent payment for the final month of the renter’s occupancy if they are helpful during the selling process.
In situations where the tenant is forced to move out following the sale, you may want to offer assistance in helping them locate a new place to live.
By helping your tenant, he/she will feel more positively about the situation, and will likely return the favour by being more cooperative throughout the time your property is listed.
Courtesy of Remax.ca
December 7, 2016
How To Stage Your Home During The Holidays
The holidays are all about giving (even when you’re hunting for an offer), so take the time to give your house a mini seasonal makeover for festive home viewings.
Light It Up - First, make sure all the year-round outdoor lights are functioning — winter days are shorter so having the walkway and front door lit up for evening viewings is a must. Second, when it comes to seasonal light displays, keep it simple. String white lights to highlight an architectural feature or a splendid fir tree in the front yard…and make sure the light-up reindeer display stays in the garage.
Festive Front Door - Any home stager worth their salt will tell you first impressions are most important — and since the front door is often the first thing a potential buyer will see, better make it count. Give that dull door a done-in-minutes holiday makeover by hanging a tasteful wreath or swag. Placing a seasonal arrangement in the entryway or on a hall table also makes it feel like they’re coming home for the holidays, rather than coming into your home for an open house.
Holiday Flare - Even though year-round home staging is all about a less-is-more philosophy, when the holidays roll around ramping up your ornament game is a must. But don’t go totally overboard: a bowl of fragrant pinecones, some strategically placed sprigs of holly, or a bowl of shiny glass baubles should do the trick. Oh, and stay away from overtly religious displays as it might put off some people — remember it’s about them, not you.
Pretty Palette - Your eclectic collection of Christmas tree ornaments may hold great sentimental value to you and your family, but they may clash horribly with your home décor and need to remain securely packed away. Think about your living room’s colour palette and find ornaments that fit within it. If the walls are white, maybe opt for a faux white tree, or if the room is decorated in darker tones, consider gold or green holiday accents.
Warm Up - Stepping out of the biting cold and into a warm and cozy home is one of the few pleasures of wintertime. Enhance the corporeal experience of your potential buyers by making sure the thermostat is turned up a couple of extra degrees. If there is a fireplace, always have it lit, either when showing the house or when taking staged photos.
Seasonal Fragrance - Thanks to human physiology, the quickest way to access memories is through the sensation of smell — so make sure your potential buyers are getting good ones the moment they walk through the door. Simmering apple cider or baking a batch of ginger cookies are good standbys, but take it a step further and sparingly spritz a winter-scented home fragrance throughout and breathe deeply.
Courtesy of Remax.ca
December 7, 2016
Your Credit Bureau Report
When applying for any type of loan, a lender requests a copy of a client’s credit bureau report, which gives them a picture of how well outstanding debts are being paid.
Here are the factors that go into determining a credit score:
- Payment history – This accounts for about 35% of the credit score. Carrying balances from month-to-month and missing payments are two factors. Other factors include the number of missed payments – one in eight to 10 months is not bad, and how long ago the payment was missed. Tip: Pay the minimum by the due date.
- How much is owed – This looks at the total outstanding balance in relationship to the total of all credit limits and accounts for 30% of the credit score. Tip: Pay down debt to at least 30% of the global loan limits.
- Account history – The length of time credit account has been active accounts for 15% of the score. The older the credit, the higher the value.
- Recent inquiries – This accounts for 10% of the score. Too many inquiries can send a message that a client may need money, which has a negative impact on the score. A client ordering his or her own credit report has no impact.
- Type of credit – This accounts for 10% of the credit score. Credit is either revolving as in credit cards or installment as in car loans. Higher scores are given to people with a blend of credit from various sources.
- Collection or bankruptcy – This, of course, has a negative impact on the score. Once discharged from bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, clients can rebuild credit.
Since both Equifax and Trans Union deal with millions of pieces of information on a monthly basis, sometimes mistakes can happen, which can result in false credit scores. In most cases, consumers are not aware of the negative information in their reports. Consumers can address errors on their credit report by calling the creditor in question or writing to the credit-reporting bureau.
Courtesy of Genworth Canada
December 1, 2016
9 Tips to Avoid Holiday Safety Hazards
Christmas is a time to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and to relax. But, it's also a time when safety should be on your mind because the holiday season brings a unique combination of hazards into the home.
Christmas Light Safety
1. Make sure the holiday lights are meant for outdoor use. Lights made for outdoor use are designed to withstand cold and wet conditions. The tag near the plug will specify whether lights are made for indoor or outdoor use.
2. Make sure all cords and lights are intact. Frayed cords and cracked light bulbs are more likely to cause a fire.
3. Never leave lights on overnight. Be sure to turn off the lights before retiring for the night.
Christmas Tree Safety
1. If using a real tree, water often. A tree that dries out causes a fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that one of every 31 reported home fires in the holidays is caused by a Christmas tree fire and results in death.
2. Keep the tree away from heat. Trees, unlike humans and animals, don't need to be kept warm during the winter months. This only dries the tree out and increases the risk of fire. Keep it away from the fireplace, space heaters, even living room lamps.
3. Use lights specifically created for indoor use. Although indoor and outdoor lights can look similar, they are very different. It may be tempting to use them interchangeably, but that is a bad idea.
1. Use battery operated window or tree candles.
2. If traditional candles are a must, be very careful about placement. Place them on sturdy, non-flammable surfaces, away from decorations, curtains, the Christmas tree and anything else that could catch fire.
3. Do not allow candles to burn when no one is in the room.
Courtesy of Executive Home Inspections LTD
November 24, 2016
Your Guide To A Great Showing
You have now got your home listed on the market and soon the showing requests will begin. Not everyone wants to, or has the ability to, leave their home as others come to view their next potential purchase, so there are certain things you want to consider in this circumstance. Remember that you've worked hard to make your home look perfect and you wouldnt want to jeopardize a buyers thoughts with anything you may do personally.
Things to AVOID during a showing:
Talking on the phone
Sleeping or napping
Following the clients around your home and making comments as they go
Getting in the way as they look around your home
Doing laundry or dishes
Things that will POSITIVELY affect a showing:
Invite them in
Dress in clean and appropriate clothing
Sit quitely and read a book or magazine
Stay out of the way
Smile and be polite
November 18, 2016
Prepare Your Gas Fireplace for Winter
It is recommended that you have your gas fireplace inspected at least once a year. Since winter is approaching and you’ll be using your gas fireplace to keep your home warm and cozy through the colder months, the fall is the best time to get an inspection and take care of any required repairs or maintenance. Here are some tips:
Cleaning your gas fireplace.
Along with an inspection, your gas fireplace needs to be cleaned annually. Debris is likely to clog around the vents, flue and inside the chimney. This debris can be caused by deteriorating ceramic or faux log inserts and residue from burning. Check the outside of your chimney for black marks or scorching. This is an indication that your ceramic logs are dirty and will need to be cleaned. You can read the manufacturers instructions and use the appropriate products for cleaning or check with a specialist who can complete a professional cleaning of your gas fireplace.
Gas fireplace inspections.
During an inspection of your gas fireplace, the technician will take a look at the exterior. This includes looking at the glass plate and making sure it’s not cracked, chipped or too dirty. They will also make sure the framework is holding up and there is no build up of debris.
Your interior gas ignition under the pile of faux logs will be inspected, making sure it lights well and safely and ensuring your logs are not deteriorating. A professional fireplace company will also check the valves and connections underneath your fireplace or insert and make sure your heat output is correct. Your ports and vents will also be checked and cleared of any debris or build up.
After a routine check the technician will let you know of any gas fireplace repairs you might need to continue to safely operate the appliance.
Benefits of Gas Fireplace Maintenance
The first and most obvious benefit of investing in an annual fireplace inspection, cleaning and maintenance is the enhanced safety of your fireplace and home. It will ensure everything is burning correctly and that your home is not getting any access carbon monoxide emitting from the appliance.
A properly working fireplace will also be more efficient. This will reduce your impact on the environment, the amount of energy you use and can lower your monthly gas bills.
Courtesy of RenovationFind
November 8, 2016
12 Tips To Moving with PODS
Moving from one house to another is exciting and stressful at the same time. Having some sound advice can make the process a whole lot easier. PODS’ tried-and-true tips below can help ensure your move is as successful and seamless as possible.
- Pack basic essentials, such as a change of clothes and toiletries, in a carry-on-sized bag to keep with you, instead of loading them onto your PODS container.
- Use clear plastic bins for priority items.
- Consider hiring packers and loaders.
- Sell unwanted valuables online or have a yard sale.
- Take pictures of your old and new home.
- Organize your boxes by numbers.
- Label box sides with room destination.
- Use the right-sized boxes.
- Get your new home ready.
- Reduce the amount of boxes for the movers.
- It’s a good idea to make sure that the power is on and working at your new house before you leave the old one.
- If your budget allows, consider springing for a cleaning crew to clean up your old home after you leave.
Courtesy of PODS Enterprises
October 28, 2016
Which Direction Should You Run Your Wood Flooring?
Wood flooring, in its most prized form, comes in long boards. In fact, when you look at wood flooring products, they will give you specs on the range of the length of the boards. The cheaper the flooring, the shorter the boards. So... you want your flooring to have long boards so they’ll look as expensive and high quality as possible.
Therefore, the most popular and significant way to run your wood flooring is to...
Run it from the front door, straight to the back of the house, perpendicular to the front. You want those boards to look like they are laid they way they are in a bowling alley, all the way into the home through to the back.
That's right: Stay away from turning your wood flooring in different directions in different rooms in an attempt to create interest. It makes a house look chopped up, and it costs more money to install—particularly so in smaller and in open plan homes.
Installing your floor this way is a general rule and common practice in installations. However...
Because of the layout of the home and other unique circumstances, there can be many exceptions:
One exception to that rule is... If you’re doing a special inlay, pattern, or border; which, in that case, would cause a change in pattern. Done in a higher end type of installation, this change naturally looks appealing because it’s done purposely for a custom designed feature.
One other exception would be if... You are doing a new installation in an area and can’t feather in to the existing flooring. Perhaps there have been dye lot changes with the new product; or you might not even be able to get the product you have existing and, instead, have to go with a product that is similar, but not an exact match. In that case, you might make it look like a purposeful transition by turning the floor in the opposite direction — ultimately, it depends on the architecture and layout of the rooms.
Courtesy of Carla Ashton Designed
October 28, 2016
Top 10 tips for closing and winterizing pools in Canada
Get your pool ready for winter with these tips to protect from damage caused by freezing, and keep it as clean as possible for next season.
- Look for cracks, leaks or other types of damage; cold temperatures will worsen these problems. Contact your local pool professional for repairs.
- Skim, brush and vacuum to remove debris and prevent algae from forming.
- Use a pool test kit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to check and adjust pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. By balancing the water’s chemical levels, you’ll protect against corrosion, staining and etching.
- Shock and chlorinate the water to kill any bacteria that might linger during the winter. Add a winterizing algaecide, available at most pool supply centres, to kill existing algae and prevent more.
- Backwash the filter, following manufacturer’s directions, to clean it out.
- Lower, but don’t completely drain the water. Some people prefer to drain the water down past the skimmer, but a higher water level during winter places less stress on the cover and liner. If you have decorative tiles, keep the water level below the tiles, as surface water will freeze, expand and cause tiles to crack.
- Drain all water from the pump, filter, heater and their tubes. Any water left in the system can freeze and cause damage. If you use a shop vacuum, be gentle with delicate items like tubing.
- Remove decorative pool fittings and equipment, such as ladders, baskets, hoses, filters, pumps and heaters.
- Cover your pool and secure tightly to keep out debris. Repair any rips or tears in the cover. Place rags or cardboard over sharp points that extend into the pool.
- Keep a pool alarm active during the winter months to protect children and pets.
Keep in mind that each pool is different, so yours may need special care not listed here.
Once you’ve completed the closing process, stick to a maintenance schedule even though you’re not using the pool. Every few weeks, check the water level and chemical balance, and do a quick visual inspection to make sure the cover is secure. Keep your pool in great condition over the winter months, so it can provide many more years of enjoyment.
October 28, 2016
Low water pressure at your faucet?
If your faucet has weak pressure for both hot and cold water it may just need the aerator cleaned. If you experience an irregular spray pattern or a stray stream of water going off at an odd direction you might also just need to clean the aerator.
First, close the drain so you don't lose any parts. The aerator is the assembly and screen water passes through as it leaves the spout. The part at the tip of the spout unscrews in a clockwise direction. Make sure both the spout and your hands are dry before trying to remove it with your fingers. You may need to use adjustable pliers if you can't unscrew it with your fingers. Protect the finish of the aerator assembly by wrapping a rubber band around it before applying the pliers.
Once you remove the aerator, disassemble it but make sure you keep the parts in order. You'll find the parts may have rust and/or buildup. Soak all the parts in white vinegar and brush them off with an old toothbrush. If the washer(s) have hardened, take it to your local hardware store to find a replacement and do the same for any broken parts.
Now reassemble the aerator and screw it back onto the faucet. Hand tightening is all you need to do. If water leaks around the aerator assembly, give it a small turn with the pliers.
The whole process may take 3-5 minutes, and you should notice better and more consistent water flow.
Courtesy of Executive Home Inspections LTD
October 28, 2016
Houses, no matter what their age, will shift and settle over time resulting in cracks. Cracks may appear in either finishes or structural components. Though they usually have no structural significance, it's worth some detective work to help homeowners understand the difference between different types of foundation cracks. Here are some visual guidelines:
Concrete shrinks as it cures, so a newly-poured concrete foundation may develop small vertical cracks. Known as shrinkage cracks, they are not structurally significant. Characteristics of shrinkage cracks include the following:
- The crack will be small and vertical, usually less than 1/8" wide.
- The crack is in the foundation wall only and does not extend up through the structure.
- Shrinkage cracks usually occur in the middle third of the length of the foundation wall. If it's located toward the end of the length of the foundation wall, it is probably not a shrinkage crack.
Like shrinkage cracks, settlement cracks are vertical but they extend up through the structure. In block or brick, cracks may follow the mortar joints in a step pattern rather than vertical. Most settlement cracks are caused by short-term settlement. Ongoing settlement is uncommon but can cause structural problems over time. Here are some ways to get an idea of whether ongoing settlement is likely:
Crack size: Settlement cracks more than 1/4" wide is more likely to indicate ongoing movement than smaller cracks.
Direction of movement: The edges of a typical settlement crack line up and fit together vertically, much like pieces of a puzzle. If the edges of the crack have shifted, or sheared, so that they no longer line up, the 1/4" rule described above does not apply. This type of crack can be a significant structural concern.
Repaired and re-cracked: Unless it is a hairline crack, a settlement crack that was repaired and has re-cracked could also indicate ongoing movement and should be addressed.
Horizontal Cracks - Basement Foundation Wall
In homes with true basements, a horizontal crack in the foundation wall, below grade and running the full length of the basement is likely a sign of foundation failure. For a house with a full basement, the soil outside the foundation wall exerts a tremendous amount of pressure on the foundation wall. Occasionally, unanticipated additional loads exert pressure and cause horizontal cracking in the foundation wall. Do not wait to address this potential issue as it could cause much greater problems down the line, including structural failure.
Courtesy of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
October 28, 2016
A Buyer's Guide To Open House Etiquette
Homebuyers get away with a lot of things these days. Lowball offers. Closing cost credits. Tax credits.
But just because you're in a hot buyer's market doesn't mean you should waltz into every open house and demand things. (Though you might get them if the seller is motivated enough.)
Restrain yourself and stick to these rules of open house etiquette to ensure a pleasant house hunting experience:
Have a Game Plan
If you're giving up an hour on a Sunday, you might as well set aside the entire afternoon. Research properties you want to see and schedule your day so you hit up open houses in one area, move on to the next area and so on. Allow yourself enough time to see each home and travel to the next one.
Wear a Comfortable + Appropriate Outfit
It's not a fashion show so leave the Armani suit and Jimmy Choos at home. That said, a tank top and Daisy Dukes are inappropriate. Keep it reasonable. Plus, you're going to do a lot of walking through rooms and up and down stairs so wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
Be Polite to the Host
Even if you dread dealing with real estate agents, don't give the agent hosting the open house the cold shoulder. Smile and greet them. Sign in. If the agent seems pushy or is trying to solicit your business, kindly tell him you already have an agent. Thank him when you leave.
Focus on the Property
This isn't social hour, so after you've greeted the host, get down to business. Prepared sellers will hand out a property description sheet with information like square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and special features. Use it to take notes and check off things as you walk through the house. If square footage is important to you, bring a tape measure.
Ask Before Taking Photos + Videos
Remember, in many cases, the home is still someone's private residence so before you snap a photo or pull out the camcorder, ask permission.
Feel Before You Sit
Some homes for sale are empty and staged with fake furniture, such as airbeds and cardboard box couches. So make sure you check it's real before plopping on the sofa.
Look, Don't Rummage
Make sure there's enough storage space in the home, but don't go through someone else's private belongings. Check the width and depth of the closets, kitchen and bathroom drawers, cupboards and cabinets. And while you're at it, see if anything is broken or squeaks.
Hold the Criticism Until After You Leave
Like you learned in kindergarten, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Again, the seller still calls the place home, so don't badmouth it during the tour. Who knows who may be listening -- the seller, a neighbor, a friend? If you end up in a multiple offer situation where price and terms are similar, you don't want the seller choosing the other buyer because he heard you criticizing his home.
Meaning YOU divulging details about your situation, such as how your home search is going and when you need to move. While there's nothing wrong with a little chit-chat, keep the conversation focused on the property. And use your best poker face. Even if you've walked into your ultimate dream home, don't show any emotion.
Remember, the agent works for the seller so you don't want to share any information that could compromise your bargaining position. Think Miranda rights -- anything you say can and will be used against you in a potential negotiation.
Ask Probing Questions, Politely
It's okay to ask about the seller's motivation and if there are any offers. Find out if there are special assessments or other fees. And it doesn't hurt to get the agent's insight on the neighborhood and nearby schools.
Sometimes the open house agent is filling in for the actual listing agent and won't know anything about the property, or he/she can't answer certain questions (like those that fall under fair housing laws). It can be frustrating, but keep cool and ask where you can get the information.
Listen to Other Buyers
They may be your competition, but they may know something you don't about the property or neighborhood, such as the barking dog next door. Listen to other guests' reactions to the home and engage in polite conversation. You don't have to divulge details of your own search, but you never know what someone else might say.
October 28, 2016
7 Benefits of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood floors increase property value.
Hardwood is not the cheapest option, but it’s quality will increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers if you ever choose to sell. Your hardwood flooring could even help your home sell faster and at a better price, resulting in a good return on your investment.
Hardwood floors give you plenty to choose from.
There are a variety of wood species, colours, styles, stains and finishes available. The wood you choose will have its own natural pattern and you can be sure no one will have the exact same floor as you! If you are tired of it’s colour, you can choose to refinish it several times. You can choose from a variety of finishes including oiled, wire brushed, hand scraped, old world finished and many others.
Hardwood floors are durable.
High quality hardwood flooring has been manufactured to stand the test of time. They are a hard surface, can handle foot traffic and when properly finished they are not easily dented or scratched. Your hardwood floor is built and installed to last.
Hardwood floors are easy to clean.
Not only will your hardwood flooring require little maintenance, they will also be a breeze to clean! Unlike carpet, hard floors do not accumulate as much dirt and dust and they can be easily vacuumed, mopped and spills quickly wiped up. It’s as easy as that!
Hardwood floors are better for the environment.
Because they are a natural floor covering, hardwood is an eco-friendly choice. There are far less chemicals used in manufacturing and old floors will decompose in the landfill. Since hardwood doesn’t go out of style and is so durable, homeowners rarely replace their hardwood and that reduces the amount of waste as well.
Hardwood floors improve air quality.
Those who suffer from allergies will find a big difference after installing hardwood floors as they minimize the accumulation of dust allergens. There are no fibres or grout seams that can trap dust, animal dander, dirt particles and other allergens that might affect your health.
Hardwood Floors are beautiful.
Walk into the room and you’ll discover the warm and inviting ambiance created by rich, classic hardwood flooring. Your floors will enhance the style of your furniture, décor and overall appearance of your home.
Courtesy of RenovationFind.com
May 8, 2013
Getting roots wet without waste
Water is one of the most important and precious natural resources necessary for garden and lawn health. Now that planting is in full swing, getting plants established while using water wisely is essential for a successful growing season.
With a few simple tips, plants can be better prepared to withstand even the toughest weather, and use water more effectively. Follow these steps to keep gardens and landscaping lively and colorful when the temperatures climb, even if Mother Nature is sprinkling less.
* Build great soil: Improve growth and moisture control by uniformly mixing in rich organic matter when planting the garden. A rich garden soil, such as Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Garden Soil, helps protect plants from over- or under-watering by holding on to moisture and releasing it as needed, while providing enough air space in the soil for roots to grow and breathe.
* Outdoor potted plants: Use Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix in pots and containers to help container plants make the most of the water they receive. Larger pots help keep plants from becoming root-bound quickly and thirsting for water. The more room plants have to grow, the less water is needed.
* Mulch everything: Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch around all plants - vegetables, shrubs, perennials and flowers (even in containers). Mulching helps reduce evaporation from the soil surface and soil crusting that can reduce water infiltration. This helps keep more moisture in the soil longer for plants and keeps water-stealing weeds away by blocking access to sunlight.
* Timely and gentle feeding: Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed combines watering with gentle feeding for all your flowers, vegetables, perennials, shrubs and even containers. It’s the convenient way to nourish plants with both water and plant nutrients during dry conditions.
* Water wisely: Water after planting and when needed (before leaves wilt). If you do not already have one, consider installing a drip irrigation system to keep plants from drying out. When additional watering is necessary, do so in the morning between the hours of 6 and 10 a.m. to reduce effects of wind on sprinkler uniformity and reduce losses from evaporation.
Keep grass in tip-top shape while keeping the watering to a minimum. It is simple to do, just follow these easy guidelines.
* Set your mower at the right height: Mowing at the right height makes your lawn stronger to withstand heat or drought better. For specific grass types, mow:
Bermuda grass: Mower height at about 1.5 inches, a low wheel setting
Zoysiagrass: Mower height at 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches, a middle wheel setting
St. Augustine/Tall Fescue/Buffalograss/Bluegrass: Mower height at 3 to 4 inches, a high wheel setting
* Water judiciously: Listen for the weekly weather forecast - there is no need to water if rain is on the way soon. Water only if needed or when establishing new grass. Lawns can tolerate dry spells by going dormant for up to two months. Water during dry spells if the lawn gets activity from kids or pets. When watering, water deeply, but only once or twice a week.
* Timely feeding is everything: Well-nourished grass withstands stress better than a hungry, under-fed lawn. Feed regularly with a lawn food formulated specifically for grass. Feeding with a lawn food earlier in the season strengthens the lawn to better withstand dry conditions and heat.
Keep these tips in mind this summer and you will feel great knowing that you have done your part to conserve one of our most precious resources - water.
March 25, 2013
Recognizing potential major expenses in a new home
When you see a new home you like on the market, it's easy to get distracted by all the features you love – the wrap-around backyard deck or the spacious rec room with plenty of space for entertaining. You just need to make sure that in all that excitement you don’t overlook any expensive maintenance issues that could be just around the corner.
Nothing lasts forever. The major components of every home – from the furnace to the roof shingles – need to be replaced eventually. Knowing when such maintenance issues are likely to arise can help you make a smarter decision about the home you're considering.
How do you do that?
When viewing a property, ask for the age of the major components of the home, such as the roof shingles, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and appliances. Roof shingles may look merely weathered in spots – and you might think they have years of service left – when, in fact, they're due to be replaced in a year.
Also pay close attention to the backyard deck, fencing, flooring, and windows. Do any of those components look aged, worn, and in need of repair or replacement sometime soon?
Finally, don't forget to check the kitchen and bathrooms. Sinks, faucets, bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry have a life-span of about 10-15 years.
Of course, there are things you can't see, such as wiring, plumbing, venting, and other components of a property that may require maintenance soon. That's why it's so important to make any offer to purchase a home conditional on passing an inspection by a qualified home inspector. I recommend Inspection Proof.
Want more ideas on buying the right home for you? Call today. 780-994-4663
January 18, 2013
How to Get Rid of Household Smells!
How to Get Rid of Those Tough Odors in Your Properties
If you’ve been investing in real estate for any amount of time, I’m sure you have come across properties that just smell terrible. Now I’m not talking about regular odors such as dampness or mustiness; I’m talking about the ones that you just can’t get rid of with regular cleaning products. I think that one of the worst things you can ever deal with is pet urine, but there are other odors that are almost impossible to get out of a property such as curry, and cigarette smoke from a long term heavy smoker.
What do real estate investors like to say that those odors are?
You guessed it; “The smell of money”.
3 Surefire Ways to Get Rid of the Odors
There are a number of products that you can use to attack this problem. Here are three that I know you can count on.
One of the best products I have found for odors is called Nilium. I love this product! I have personally used in rental houses to get rid of odors.
This product is a highly concentrated, water soluble liquid. It can not only be used for cleaning, and water extraction systems, but it can added to paint to get rid of long standing odors in drywall such as cigarette smoke. I have used it in paint with great success. Nilium is very economical and there are several pleasant fragrances to choose from. In my area, a quart of this product costs roughly $10.00-$12.00 and you can purchase a gallon for less than $35.00. You only use about 1 or 2 ounces per gallon of water or paint so a little goes a long way. You can find this product locally without any problem.
Most professional property managers who manage over 500 units use carpet cleaning professionals regularly and they use a product called Hydrocide. As you can imagine, they have a lot of issues with pet odors in carpet and also from problems that occur after water leaks.
It’s important to know that pet odors often remain even after the carpet has been replaced. You can use Hydrocide to seal concrete floors in slab houses before installing new carpet. It eliminates odor permanently on contact. It also destroys odors in carpet, upholstery, mattresses and grout. Hydrocide works on urine and just about any other really bad odor you can think of.
Hydrocide costs about $24.00 for a leter. You can look online to see where these products can be purchased in your area.
Ozone machines are the last line of defense in a many cases. Ozone machines change oxygen (O2) into ozone (o3) by the high voltage electrical charge the machine produces. Professional grade machines can only be used in unoccupied rooms.
Not only will these machines permanently get rid odors that are hard to remove like curry that have a tendency to permeate areas, but they kill surface and airborne mold in unoccupied rooms. These machines are particularly useful for places like apartment communities where they a larger volume of water leaks.
These machines are light weight and easy to use, but professional quality machines can set you back $1500.00 or $1600.00. If you have a lot of property, this still might be something you would want to invest in.
There is one thing I need to caution you about regarding these types of machines. You can only use them in unoccupied properties.
Because they remove all of the oxygen from the room, not only do you need be sure no animals are left behind but it will damage anything that once was “part of an animal”. By that I mean leather and suede boots, shoes, belts, bags, sofa’s etc. These items will be seriously damaged or ruined if not removed or put in a tightly closed garbage bag. Large items like sofa’s can be wrapped in plastic or kind of “shrink wrapped”. The professionals that use these machines can give you more information.
Good luck and if you have tried a product that worked for you , please share it with us!
December 3, 2012
Preparing Your Home for Winter Showings!
Preparing your home for winter showings.
There is no doubt about it! Even if the weather is relatively pleasant, your home won’t show as well in the winter as it would in the summer, especially from the outside. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your home look more attractive and appealing to buyers during the winter season.
First, before showing your home to a potential buyer, clear your front walkway. Make sure fence doors and gates open freely. Also, clear off the backyard deck or patio area. You want buyers to be able to explore around your property without any obstructions. In short, do everything you can to make the experience of walking up to your front door and around your property as pleasant as possible.
Second, clear away any boots, shoes and other outerwear from the front foyer. You want buyers to focus on your beautiful home, not a cluttered entranceway. Also, have mats on both the outside and inside of your main entranceway. This will give buyers – as well as you and your family – a chance to wipe their boots and shoes.
Next, adjust your thermostat. You want your home to feel warm, cozy and comfortable for potential buyers.
Finally, remember that in the winter, homes show much better during the day. In the evening, it may be too dark to fully appreciate your property. So work with your REALTOR® to schedule viewings during the day whenever possible. If you can, also have pictures of your property available that showcase what it looks like in the summer. That takes planning. So if you're even just casually thinking of the possibility of selling your home, take some good "summer" pictures.
Want more advice on how to sell your home in the winter? Call today.
November 26, 2012
Home safety is more than locked doors and alarms!
Home safety is more than locked doors and alarms.
When it comes to home security, most homeowners think about door locks and alarms. These are, of course, very important. However, there is also a lot you can do around your property to prevent the possibility of a break-in. One important part of home security is outdoor lighting. Your home doesn't need to be lit up like a baseball diamond at night, but your exterior lighting should illuminate your yard enough to be a deterrent to burglars. Some burglars hide around the property and wait for someone to arrive and open the door so they can use that opportunity to force their way into your home.
Security experts suggest that you walk around your property and look for areas where someone could hide, such as behind tall shrubbery like a cedar hedge or behind a tool shed. Make sure these areas are well lit. Pay particular attention to lighting around exterior doors, especially the back door.
Home security experts also recommend that exterior lighting be installed with a timed dimmer. The lights can then be set to cast a bright light in the early evening, and then a dimmer light throughout the rest of the night. Lights installed with motion detectors can also be effective in certain areas. The sensors will cause the light to turn on or brighten when someone comes onto that part of your property. Generally, thieves will flee as soon as they see a light turn on.
Do you hide a spare key under the front door mat or in a flower pot? No matter how clever you think you are, experienced thieves know all the common hiding places. So, if you need to have a spare key available, put it in a small combination lock box and hide the box. That way, if a burglar finds the box, he still won't be able to open it and access the key.
November 6, 2012
What to take with you when home shopping?
You will want to make the process of shopping for a home as productive
and enjoyable as possible. After all, you'll be on a quest to find your next
dream home. That's why it's important to take the right things with you:
- A digital camera, so you can take pictures of the features you like in the properties you see.
- A notepad, so you can take notes.
- Measurements of your largest pieces of furniture, so you can confirm they'll fit in the rooms of properties you like.
- A measuring tape.
- Some healthy snacks and beverages, (especially important if you're taking the kids along).
- A map of the area, so you can check out local parks and other neighbourhood features.
- Clear driving directions to each of the properties you want to see.
One of the best ways to shop for a home, and actually enjoy the experience, is to work with a great REALTOR®.
August 15, 2012
Three green trends for 2012 home remodeling
Three green trends for 2012 home remodeling
For some homeowners, remodeling projects are regular occurrences to keep their homes looking fresh. Sometimes, that means smaller changes like a new coat of paint or changing a light fixture. Other times, more substantial changes are needed. Determining those changes can be a challenge, but looking at the potential return on investment is a great way to prioritize.
Bathroom remodeling offers a 68.7 percent return on investment, according to a National Association of Realtors survey. One way to add value to a bathroom remodel is to pick bathroom fixtures that are more efficient than what you currently have installed. Americans are going green in many areas of life, whether with more energy-efficient light bulbs, hybrid cars or by recycling more regularly. Bathroom fixtures are no different.
Here are three reasons why you should consider going green with your bathroom modeling project:
1) Products may be outdated. Toilets made before 1994 use anywhere from 3.5 gallons to 8 gallons per flush (gpf), while new EPA WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets can work beautifully on a modest 1.28 gpf. Not sure of your toilet's vintage? Look at the underside of the tank lid - the date of manufacture is often stamped into the porcelain. In the shower, the typical showerhead installed in California homes built after 1994 uses as much as 2.5 gallons per minute. At that rate, your eight-minute shower consumes a whopping 20 gallons of water.
2) Savings to be had. Compared to 3.5 gpf toilets, TOTO's Aquia One-Piece Dual Flush High-Efficiency Toilet has a flushing system that enables homeowners to select the level of water used each time the toilet is flushed - 1.6 gallons for bulk waste or .9 for liquid. The approach provides exceptional water savings paired with outstanding performance. A family of four can save more than $90 annually on their water bill, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet.
If you replace a typical 2.5 gpm showerhead with a TOTO high-efficiency Trilogy Showerhead, you will experience the same luxurious shower, yet consume a responsible 14 gallons, saving 20 percent of the water used by older models.
Even something like a faucet can contribute to water savings. TOTO's Silas Widespread Lavatory Faucet is a WaterSense labeled lavatory faucet that consumes a responsible 1.5 gallons per minute without sacrificing an ounce of performance. Its design has a classic contemporary elegance with a graceful, curved spout.
3) Be a trendy homeowner. A whopping 68 percent of builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders say that energy-saving technologies and features including low-E windows, energy-efficient appliances, and LED lighting will be common along with other green features like engineered wood products, and water-saving plumbing fixtures such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets by 2015. Start now and you'll be ahead of the curve.