March 15th, 2017
If you’re paying a lot of money for a new washing machine, wouldn’t it be nice to know how long you should expect it to last? There is, of course, no exact formula for figuring that out. Every brand and unit is different. There are however, some broad estimates.
According to an article in Consumer Reports, a washer and dryer will hum along just fine for about 10 years, with a likelihood of needing a repair during the last two to three. Leading brands offer a parts and labour guarantee for at least a year. So, if something goes wrong during that period, be sure to contact the manufacturer right away.
The National Association of Home Builders released a report a few years ago on the longevity of kitchen appliances. They found that refrigerators can last up to 13 years under normal use. Dishwashers and ovens will start to show their age after nine years. The worst record is for trash compactors, with a life expectancy of only six years before repairs or replacement is required.
Microwave ovens last an average of nine years. However, the door seal should be checked often. Otherwise, the unit will quickly lose efficiency. (You’ll notice this when your food doesn’t heat up as quickly and evenly.)
All experts agree that the best way to keep home appliances functioning properly is to follow manufacturer’s instructions for use and maintenance. If you’ve lost your user’s manual, you can download a new one (which may contain important updates) from the manufacturer’s website.
February 28th, 2017
In almost every movie featuring a house on fire, the actors seem to be able to move around the house and see just fine, while beating back flames with a shirt or coat. Of course, that’s not what happens in real fires.
When there’s fire in a home, there is typically complete darkness (because the power goes out) and a cloud of spreading thick, black smoke makes it difficult to see and breathe.
That’s why knowing how to get out of your house — fast — is crucial.
Experts recommend rehearsing what to do in case there’s a fire. Make sure everyone in the family has an exit plan. Each should know exactly how to get out, including primary and secondary exits, and where the family will meet once safely outside.
Never attempt to take anything with you. It may seem like you have plenty of time to grab a coat or purse, but the characteristics of a fire can change in seconds.
As a failsafe, in case you can’t exit through a door, you should determine in advance which window has the safest exit. Make sure that the window opens easily and everyone knows how to remove the screen or any other obstruction.
Finally, don’t call the fire department from inside your house. Get out first, then make the call.
February 15th, 2017
You don’t have to freeze in the winter or start reading by candlelight to reduce your electricity bill. There are many simple ways to use less power with little, if any, impact on your lifestyle.
A good place to start is with your electronics. According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Any gizmo that has a clock,
digital timer, remote control or standby mode is sucking energy when it’s not being used (it’s called ‘phantom electricity’ — and it’s scary how much of it there is).” So keep them unplugged as much as possible. Also, unplug charger cords for phone and computers when not in use. Even when not connected to the device, they still suck power.
Another easy change to make involves your lights. Switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs can save you a lot of energy. They’re 75% more efficient.
Finally, the old-fashioned method of insulating doors and windows can work wonders for lowering your electricity bill. In fact, some particularly drafty homes can lose up to 40% of their heat. Check for drafts regularly and repair or replace insulation as needed.
None of these ideas will impact your day-to-day living. Yet, they could potentially save you a bundle.
January 24th, 2017
You’ve probably seen signs around the area for Open Houses. You may have even attended a few. These are open invitations for potential buyers to drop by on a certain day and time, to check out the property and get more information.
When you’re listing your home for sale, you might wonder whether you’ll need to have an Open House.
To answer that question, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons. Planning and hosting an open house isn’t as easy as it may seem. There’s a lot of preparation involved. In addition, you’ll likely spend hours making your property look its best and you’ll need to be away from your home for a good part of that day.
That being said, an Open House has many advantages.
• It helps showcase features of your property that may not come across well in advertisements and listing descriptions.
• It attracts potential buyers who, for any number of reasons, might not otherwise call to view the home.
• It generates a buzz and publicity about your listing.
However, an Open House might not be necessary if there is high demand for properties like yours and you’re likely to get multiple offers.
January 10th, 2017
Property Surveyors, sometimes referred to as land Surveyors, play a vital role in the real estate world. They are the professionals who determine or confirm the exact boundaries of a property. Will you need to deal with a Property Surveyor when selling your home? You might. Sometimes the mortgage lender will ask for a land survey, especially if your property is older and hasn’t changed hands in many years. You might also be asked for one by the buyer if there is any confusion about the size and boundaries of your property – or if significant changes have been made to it in recent years. This is nothing to be concerned about. A qualified Property Surveyor will do the appropriate inspection and measurements on your property and issue you the survey. (It looks a little like a blueprint.) Property Surveyors are highly trained and licensed. In the United States, the profession is represented by the National Society of Professional Surveyors, with each state having its own governing body. In Canada, Professional Surveyors Canada (PSC) represents the profession nationally, and most provinces have their own professional associations. Before getting a new land survey, make sure you don’t already have one. Hopefully, you’ve stored the paperwork that relates to the purchase of your home. Look through it. A valid land survey might be right there. If you have questions about land surveys, call today
December 13th, 2016
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of exposures to poisons occur inside the home. Almost all are preventable, if you follow some simple guidelines.
• Look for the poison label on products you buy. Visually, it’s a skull and cross bones, often (but not always) with the word POISON above it.
• Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous product, like a shampoo, can contain poison or other ingredients which are harmful if swallowed.
• Avoid mixing different cleaning products together. When chemicals are combined, they change. Combining some cleaning products can even create toxic fumes.
• Keep all medication, even the non-prescription kind, out of reach of children. Never leave medicine on the bathroom counter.
• Never use pesticides inside the home unless the product is clearly labeled for indoor use. Then, use only as directed.
• Never use a charcoal grill or barbeque indoors, no matter how well ventilated you think you’ve made it. Doing so can easily cause carbon monoxide poisoning. One final tip. Pay attention to the expiry date of products, especially cosmetics and cleaning liquids. As chemicals age, they change and can emit harmful fumes.
November 30th, 2016
No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood.
Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road?
Here’s a quick way to make that assessment.
First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre.
Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course.
Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need.
Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer.
The time is now!
By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, call today.
November 16th, 2016
It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate.
Do you let him in?
While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out:
- Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag.
- Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it.
- Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door.
- Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order.
- If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area.
Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.”
Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.
November 3rd, 2016
When you’re about to sell your home, it may be disheartening to see so many other properties for sale in your neighbourhood. You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of competition! Will our property get noticed?”
Fortunately, there are many proven strategies for standing out in a sea of For Sale signs.
First of all, keep in mind that many home purchasers come from the REALTOR’S personal network of buyers who want to move into your area. So, choosing the right REALTOR® is crucial.
Second, remember that when there are other properties for sale on your street, curb appeal becomes even more important. There are many simple things you can do to make your property look great to those driving around looking at homes. Make sure your property looks as picture perfect as possible.
In a competitive market, it’s also more important than ever to highlight features of your home that are unique and enticing. If, for example, you have a large backyard deck and brand new hardwood flooring, make sure these are mentioned prominently on the feature sheet.
Finally, be as flexible as you can be when scheduling viewings and open houses. Don’t forget that other listed properties in your neighbourhood draw in buyers, who may notice your home. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view a property and then scout the neighbourhood. So, you want buyers to be able to see your home on short notice and at a convenient time for them. If there are several other nearby properties for sale, it means things are hot from a real estate point of view. You want to roll out the red carpet to buyers.
Looking for help selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today!
October 12th, 2016
You can’t call yourself a dentist unless you have specific hard-earned credentials. Just about anyone, however, can hang a shingle and call himself a home improvement contractor. That’s why choosing a reputable one is so difficult. Here are some tips:
• Find out if he or she is truly in business full-time. A part-time or occasional contractor may not have the experience necessary to do a great job.
• Ask about licenses and other credentials. Some contractors have accreditations from professional and trade associations.
• Review his or her project portfolio. A reputable contractor will have photos and other evidence of work completed for similar clients.
• Check online for reviews. If there are more than five poor reviews within the past three years — that’s a red flag.
• Ask for references. Then, call at least one.
Finally, the best contractors are those that get recommended by people you trust.
Looking for a contractor recommendation? Call today.