The winter season is drawing near which means sub-zero arctic-like temperatures, icy conditions, and a whole lot of snow. That's why it's time to start thinking about how to protect your home from any potential damage the frigid temperatures and snow may bring. Taking charge now, before it is too late, may help you avoid a home insurance claim later.
Winter home preparation guide
By the time winter arrives, your home should be ready for whatever tricks Old Man Winter may have up his sleeve. There's nothing worse than having to deal with a leaky window, broken furnace or a burst pipe in the middle of winter. These eight tips and tricks will help prevent any unfortunate winter mishaps or water damage.
- For heat’s sake have your furnace professionally serviced. A routine maintenance check each autumn will help ensure your furnace is running properly and efficiently. Also, if you have an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a programmable one to save money on heating costs.
- Inspect all windows and doors for leaks. In order to prevent heat loss, make sure your windows and doors are properly sealed. Check the weather-stripping around windows and door frames, and replace where necessary. Also check for drafts and caulk both inside and out where necessary, to keep the heat in and the cold out.
- Sweep the chimney. Before you use your fireplace, make sure the chimney and vents are clean and in good condition by having your chimney looked at by a professional. This will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide from building up and finding its way into your home.
- Clean out your gutters. It's important your eaves are free of any debris such as leaves, dirt and sticks. Clogged gutters prevent the draining of rain and melting snow which could result in household leaks. Also, make sure your downspouts extend away from your house by at least five feet to ensure that water runs away from your house and not towards it.
- Inspect the roof. While cleaning your eaves, inspect your roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles. If your roof needs attention call a roofer to help you with the repairs or maintenance. Also ask them to look at the caulking around the chimney and air vents.
- Turn off any faucets outside. Water left undrained can freeze, which can cause the pipes to burst. Disconnect your garden house and drain the remaining water.
- Trim your bushes and trees. Make sure any overgrown bushes or trees are trimmed back away from your house and electrical wires. This will help decrease your risk of property damage and power problems.
- Pad exposed pipes in unheated areas. This is an easy and inexpensive method to help prevent water damage resulting from a frozen pipe. Even the smallest of pipes can cause a lot of damage. Pipes in the basement, attic or crawl space are some examples of pipes you may want to cover.
Taking the time to winter-proof your home is a small price to pay especially if it helps prevent damages. Now is also a good time to stock up on all the winter essentials too including salt, sand, and snow shovels. It won’t go to waste and you’ll need them before you know it.
Finally, don't forget to winterize your car as well: winter tires and an emergency roadside safety kit will go a long way in ensuring you're ready for the season ahead.
There’s no denying that the path to homeownership takes work. There’s the saving for a down payment, maybe fixing less-than-stellar credit and figuring out how to balance bills and existing debt (hello, student loans) with a mortgage payment. Like most, the feeling of accomplishment you had on the day your agent handed you the keys to your new home made all the hard work of saving and sacrificing pay off.
If you’re wondering if homeownership is for you – you’re in luck. June is National Homeownership Month (yes, it’s a thing!), and the perfect time to explore your options while taking the time to discover the perks and realities of owning the keys to your own castle.
- Increase your net worth. One big reason why you should be happy with your decision to buy a home – equity buildup. Simply put, owning a home can be a good investment. Building equity when the value of your home appreciates is among the longer-term financial benefits of homeownership. Americans had a record-high $14.4 trillion of equity in their homes in the fourth quarter of 2017
- Cash in on equity. Tax time gives homeowners a little to look forward to every year. The mortgage interest and real estate property tax deductions can be a financial benefit to homeowners. As the value of your home increases, the more equity you accrue. Consider taking another look at the interest rate on your mortgage. Your home’s equity may allow you to refinance at a lower interest rate, clear any unwanted debt, or expand or update your home.
- Build safe communities. Play an active part in your community and show some neighborhood pride. Reach out to your neighbors to organize a summer block party that invites the entire neighborhood to the fun. It’s a great way to get to know one another and make friends – plus, neighbors can look out for each other, which can deter crime.
- Take control. Feeling like you need a change? If you rent, you’re limited to modifying your place to make it your own. When you own, your home is an empty canvas. Make home improvements, add on an addition, and build an outside patio – it’s up to you!
The bottom line? When you’re ready, there are many great benefits to homeownership, but it’s not a decision to be made lightly. We can use our knowledge of the market and your personal situation to help you decide your next move. Get in touch!
If privacy or security issues are keeping you out of the backyard, it's time to make some changes. With a quality wood fence you can leave your worries behind and enjoy a private, safe area outside the patio door. An easy DIY project with big benefits, these three important tips from the pros will guide you through how to build a wood fence.
1) Location Is Key
Always start by finding your lot lines, even if the fence is not on them. That information can be found on your survey, which is often supplied with the paperwork you received when you bought the house.
You need to decide whether the fence will be squarely on your property (a full 2 to 4 inches within the lines) or whether splitting costs and responsibilities with the neighbor will allow you to install it directly on the border between you. Discuss this important aspect with your neighbors well ahead of time. If that's not possible, opt to be safe and install the fence on your own property, thereby making it completely yours.
Another essential step is to find the location of any underground utility lines in your yard. This can often be done by calling a local Before You Dig hotline that will put you in touch with or gather information from local utilities. Phone, cable, natural gas and hydro all need to be contacted and that information should be on hand when the posts are dug.
Check out this link for tips from the City on building a fence
2) Digging Posts Can Be Tough
Depending on the soil conditions in your area, drilling the post holes can become a lengthy process. Rent an auger if possible and have a few friends help you out. Use that survey to mark the post locations with paint or stakes ahead of time. Make sure the line is as straight as you can get it and plan to hand dig any posthole that falls within 3 feet of a buried utility line.
Dig all of the holes and clean them out. You'll need to find a place to dump the dirt, but it's a good idea to wait until after the posts are set to do that.
Go slowly and remove any large rocks as you move along. Stop the auger when it begins to slip or jam. You'll end up breaking auger teeth and even the entire bit if you push the machine too far through hostile ground.Place 4x4's or 6x6's in the holes and pour cement around the wood, filling the hole nearly full. Now look for that soil you left piled nearby. A thin layer of soil on top of the cement will allow the grass to grow right up to your posts.
3) Think About the Top and Bottom Of the Fence
After you have installed your 2x4 stringers between the posts and checked them with a level, it's time to install the fence boards. Decide whether you want the top of your fence to be level as well. Sometimes it's more important that there be no gap in the bottom of the fence. You can have both if you buy long enough fence boards and do a lot of trimming, but most DIY fence builders choose one or the other.
For a level top, you'll likely need to trim the boards at the bottom as the grade slopes. Or alternatively you can install the fence boards in full lengths and when the section is complete, snap a chalk line and zip the tips of them off to form an even line. If you want the bottom closed off completely, simply set the boards against the ground and nail into the 2x4's. The top of the fence may be uneven, but can then be trimmed if the height allows it. With a little planning ahead you can ensure the finished fence looks more professional and fulfills what you need it to.
The pros have plenty of other tips on how to build a wood fence. Wood quality, fastener options and lattice or scalloped toppers are just a few different areas to cover. These three handy tips will get you started though, well on your way to building a wood fence to be proud of.
Posted by: TrustedPros
You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house. The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once. Where do you start? It is essential you do your homework before you begin. Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable. But be careful: learning from your mistakes may prove costly. Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.
1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender:
Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Preapproval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.
2. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision:
The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy. Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can. Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment. Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work. Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour! Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions.
3. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy:
Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself. A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.
4. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase:
Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out. A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract. Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs. These problems may even lead to a void contract. So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer. With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.
5. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value: Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying. What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market? What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, overpriced, or fair value? The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.
6. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying: Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around. What amenities does the area have to offer? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children. How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Are there infrastructure projects in development? All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.
7. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move: If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.
8. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation: Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.
Definition of “Hack” – an appropriate application of Ingenuity
Here are five things you can do right now to increase your productivity and drive your business forward.
1) Set up Google Alerts
If you’re not already using Google alerts to stay updated, you should fix that. You can set up searches for news pertaining to your real estate board, specific areas you specialize in, general real estate news in your city, changes to mortgage rules and anything else you can think of that could be useful to you or your clients.
Most importantly, once you receive that information do something with it. If you read something that could be valuable to your clients, post it to social media, write a blog post or better yet, pick up the phone.
2) Pick Up the Phone
Make a quick, spontaneous call to someone in your database. Maybe you drove by their house recently and want to point out what a beautiful job they’ve done on their landscaping. Maybe you call and see how things are working out in a new home.
Are they still considering that renovation? Can you suggest a contractor for the job?
Whatever the reason, this isn’t a sales call. Just a quick call to say hello, add value and stay top of mind.
3) Write a Note
What’s more likely to get a response; an email or a hand written note? Notes are rare in today’s world and they feel special when you receive them. Take a few minutes to write and mail a note to someone. Maybe it’s a great agent you worked with recently on a transaction, a valued client, a dear friend or your mother (mothers love hand written notes). Shifting your focus outwards will not only brighten someone else’s day, it will probably brighten yours, as well.
Giving starts the receiving process.
4) The Dinner Party CMA
When someone knows you’re a Realtor, what’s the first thing they ask?
How’s the market?
Apart from always needing a good answer to this question, it helps to quote specifics. Next time you’re heading out to an event, do a quick search for active and recently sold listings in that immediate area. Memorize the key details. When you inevitably get asked this question, you’ll not only be able to give them your expert advice on market conditions, but you can tell them exactly what the house next door sold for two weeks ago. Suddenly, you’re a real estate super star.
5) Get Up and Move
Movement is the quickest way to bring new perspective to your current challenges. Get outside if you can and feel the sun. Move your legs and shake out the day. If the weather is terrible, walk around the office or better yet take a mid afternoon dance break. Chances are, no one else participates but you’re guaranteed to make someone smile, and who in a real estate office doesn’t need a smile?
When compared to January 2019, unit sales across all categories increased, with single family home sales increasing 23.31%, condo sales increasing 26.05% and duplex/rowhouse sales increasing 17.53%. Year over year sales are down in all major categories, with single family homes sales decreasing 2.73%, condo sales decreasing 6.62% and duplex/rowhouses sales decreasing 9.60%. Year to date sales for all residential categories were down 11.01% compared to February 2018.
Average unit prices rose from last month but are down from February 2018. The average price of a single-family home was $430,000, which was an increase of 6.36 % compared to January 2019 but down 2.73% compared to February 2018. The average price of a condo was $222,267, an increase of 1.64% from January 2019 but a decrease of 6.62% year over year.
Duplex/townhouses saw a small decrease from January 2019, with the average price falling 0.24% to $321,288, and a 9.60% drop relative to February 2018.
“February tends to see the start of an increase in unit sales in the real estate market following the sluggish winter months, and this year is no different,” says REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Michael Brodrick.
“Inventory remains high and compared to last year the market is still lagging, but we are hopeful the traditional upward trend for spring holds true this year.”
Inventory has risen 4.89% higher compared to January 2019 and 4.31% over February 2018. However, listings continue to decrease, slipping 5.64% month over month and 8.55% year over year.
Days on market decreased for all home types compared to January 2019. Single family homes spent an average 70 days on market, condos averaged 76 days, and duplex/rowhouses averaged 80 days. Overall, the average days on market for all residential properties was 73, which was 11 days shorter than January 2019 and nine days longer over February 2018.
Review these statistics and more at www.realtorsofedmonton.com.
Happy New Year! 2019 is upon us and it has been great start at the Ryan Sellers Real Estate Office. We are starting the year off strong, as we welcome our new team member: Brad Strader. We are so excited to have Brad on our team, he has been in Real Estate for a short period of time but already has tremendous knowledge, fresh perspective, and is a great addition to our team! We wish you all a healthy, happy and properous year. We are looking forward to what 2019 will bring and will have some more exciting news to share soon! STAY TUNED!
It's a great day at Ryan Sellers office! Here's a little Wednesday wisdom for everyone to get through the "humpday." Drive safe and stay warm everyone!
Very happy and excited for our client on the purchase of his new home, right in time for the holidays! Thank you SO much for the opportunity to help you with this milestone in your life. It was a pleasure and priviledge to work with you. Congratulations!!!
SOLD! What a great way to end the week. Congratulations to our awesome clients! Thank you for allowing us to work with you and for all of the continued support and referrals you send our way.
Winter can be a challenging season for selling your home but these cool tips can make your property hot!
Weather can make a great impact on how your home is viewed by potential buyers. Traditionally, if you put your house on the market in the winter, it doesn't sell well. However, you can still take steps to make the showing of your home more pleasant.
Clear a Path
Continually shovel a path through any snow, even if flakes are still falling. Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk and steps periodically, and sprinkle a layer of sand or salt over them. Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so that visitors aren't forced to crawl over snowdrifts. Put a rubber mat by the front door or a container to hold wet umbrellas and shoes.
Let in the Light
Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, push back the drapes on every window (unless the view or outdoor scenery is particularly undesirable). Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. You can further brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
Turn Up the Heat
You want the temperature inside to be comfortable and to give the buyer more incentive to linger, especially on a cold day. So pump up that thermostat. It's better to heat the house a degree or two warmer than usual and then set the temperature at normal; this prevents the heat from kicking on when the buyer is present (some HVAC systems are loud).
If you have a fireplace, light it up, but be sure to open the damper, place a screen in front of it, and don't leave it unattended for very long.
Turn On the Sound
Don't neglect the aural ambiance. Have soft music playing throughout; light jazz or classical music is always soothing. If it's the festive season, nonreligious holiday music is a nice touch. Don't turn on a commercial radio station; instead stream your tunes from a computer or tablet, using iTunes or a service like Spotify, so that your music will be continuous. Mute the ringers on telephones and answering machines.
Serve Winter Foods
Hot apple cider and cocoa make great beverage choices. Creamy soups and stews are delicious on a cold day; to avoid dealing with utensils, serve them in shooter glasses or paper cups. Otherwise, stick to finger foods.
Plug indoor lamps into a timer to automatically turn on at times you're showing the house. Consider using motion sensors that light up in the evening when a buyer approaches your doorstep. Program your crock-pot to warm up soup at a designated time or your oven to bake or reheat breads or cookies.
Courtesy of the balance
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