How to Improve Your Home's Water Flow

If you feel that the water flow in your home is letting you down, there are some simple steps you can take to isolate and possibly alleviate the problem. For example, a blockage could be caused by mineral deposits on faucet nozzles, tub spouts and showerheads. By immersing the spout and/or aerator in a bucket of water and vinegar or other manufacturer recommended solution, you might easily free up the flow and volume of water.

Another problem that could impact overall pressure is a leak along your main supply. Detection tests can confirm a leak - even if it’s underground - but, if it’s on your property, you will be responsible for fixing it. Inside your home, examine your water supply for leaks. Even if you can’t see the full system, listen closely for hissing pipes, or watch for mould infestation - a sure sign of excessive moisture.

Finally, if your lines are a collection of various carriers joined together (eg. lead pipes to copper or copper to plastic), there is a possibility that you are losing pressure at those links - especially if older material is in use. Have a qualified plumber address those kinds of issues.

Understanding the Spring Market

Spring is one of the hottest seasons in the housing market. If you're planning on putting your home on the market, there are certain aspects about the spring market that are important for you to understand as a homeowner.

The Spring Market Really Starts with the Super Bowl

The truth is that the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sports events of the year, may also serve as the single most important launching point for the new real estate year.

The reason for this is that its occurrence at the start of February is aligned with the beginning of the spring real estate season. Prior to this point in the months of November and December of the previous year, the dry point tends to run between Thnaksgiving and New Year's Day, during which people are busy overcoming bad weather, meeting with family and traveling, and other holiday-season distractions that make February a better time for buyers and sellers.

Another reason to get started around the time of the big game is to get a head start in the market, as many people don't begin to list their homes until the second half of spring.

Preparing Your Home for the Market

The process of selling a home requires diligence and patience. From developing a relationship with a broker or real estate team, to researching the market in your specific area, things may go relatively smoothly, but it's important to avoid wasting time if you want to make a successful sale.

The earlier you get into the right mindset for selling your home and put it up on the market, the more prepared you'll be and the less stressful the experience will be. With the right preparation at the right time, you'll also have the upper hand in the market over others who take too much time.

Choosing the Right Price at the Right Time

Unfortunately, the longer your home sits on the market, the higher the price will be for you as you need to pay for upkeep along with mortgage costs. Homes that have been on the market longer are also more likely to deter potential buyers, thus leaving you stuck with the home for even longer.

The key is to list the right price as soon as you put it up on the market. The best way to make sure the price is right from the beginning is to consult with a real estate professional, who will make sure that you choose the appropriate price to avoid decreases over time simply to retain competitiveness.

With the help of experienced and knowledgeable professionals in this business, you can select the right price based on detailed analyses of the market, local records, and a comprehensive understanding of the market area.

Taking all of these steps into consideration can help ensure that you're ready to put your home on the market this spring, when you're more likely to experience the success you want as a seller.

Call our team now, and let’s start the conversation!

Tips for Buying a Home during the Winter

As winter is here, we’ve gathered some helpful tips to save you time during your search.

Maintain a flexible schedule

Flexibility is important during the winter months as it may be more difficult to schedule time with lenders and sellers. The winter months is typically when people are going on vacation, with family and shopping.

Ask for off-season photos

Snowy scenery might be picturesque, but homebuyers don’t want to see photos of a home buried in snow. Make sure you request off-season photos of the home(s) you’re interested in, as this can bring out elements of the house that may not look as polished or noticeable during the winter months.

Document the condition of things you can’t see

Keep documents of things you’re unable to see under the snow or because of winter weather. Be sure to ask questions in reference to when things were last replaced and building permits as you’re looking for your home.

Keep looking until you find what you want

Since there is less market activity in the winter months, you may not find a large number of homes for sale. Don’t lose hope – if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, keep searching until you find the right fit for you.

Allow time for closing and weather-related delays

If weather conditions are rough, essential parts of the closing process such as inspections and appraisals could be delayed. Make sure you’re able to adapt to any roadblocks that come your way.

Hiring movers is usually easier

No one can claim that it's easier to move in the winter. If you've ever done it, you know it's sheer misery to move all of your possessions in inclement weather. But the logistics are simplified when you aren't competing with a hundred other moving households.

Don’t let winter weather get in the way of owning your dream home!

Be Prepared for Power Failures

We are all vulnerable to unexpected power disruptions, but with a few advance preparations, potential inconveniences and dangers can be avoided or at least minimized.

As a starting point, every home should have emergency supplies that include basics such as candles and matches, flashlight(s) and fresh batteries, a first-aid kit, and at least one large jug of fresh water.

Wherever possible, it is also advisable to include more extensive preparations. Consider keeping a stock of dried food and/or canned goods, all weather emergency blankets, waterproof clothing and footwear, as well as cash for consumables such as fuel and food supplies.

Anyone requiring medications should always renew them before running too low to ensure sufficient supply. Likewise, all battery-powered devices should be kept charged - including radios, computers, cell phones and mobility vehicles. For some, the inconvenience of a power-outage outweigh the cost of installing a gas-powered generator. Whether you’re ready to incur that expense or simply plan to stock up on supplies, it’s always wise to take steps that will see you and your loved ones through a power failure.

Childproof Home Safety Tips

When it comes to childproofing your home, you need to take every precaution possible to protect your baby from any potential hazards. Here are some of the dangers you should watch out for and some tips to help you keep your child safe.     

Electrocution and Shocks                   

Cords and outlets look inviting to small children, but they’re also very dangerous. Protect your child from any potential shocks by:  

  • Covering your outlets with sliding covers that screw into the wall

  • Bundling and hiding electrical cords with ties or safety covers

  • Storing electrical appliances like kettles, hairdryers, and curling irons out of reach

Falls

As soon as children become mobile, they’re in danger of falling down and getting hurt. To keep your baby from taking a tumble, you should take these precautions:

  • Secure stairways with baby gates

  • Cover your railings and banisters with protective Plexiglas

  • Keep any furniture that your child could potentially climb on away from windows

  • Use window guards and keep your windows locked when not in use  

Bumps and Bruises

As soon as your child starts using your furniture to pull themselves up to their feet, they’re at risk for all kinds of bumps and bruises. To protect your baby, you should:

  • Put safety bumpers on coffee tables, television stands, and window ledges

  • Mount cabinets and shelves to the wall or secure them with safety straps

  • Store flat screen televisions in a cabinet or mount them on the wall

Burns and Scalds

Babies have very delicate skin that burns and scalds easily. To keep your child safe from burns in the bathroom, you should:

  • Set your hot water tank below 50 degrees Celsius

  • At bath time, always run the cold water first, and then heat it up with warm water

  • Attach anti-scald devices to your faucet and showerhead

Kitchens are another culprit when it comes to burns and scalds. To keep your little one safe whenever they’re in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to: 

  • Secure your stove knobs with stove knob guards

  • Use oven guards on your oven door

Suffocation and Strangulation

Young children like to play with everything, but some of those things can be dangerous. To keep your child safe from strangulation or suffocation, you should take the following precautions:

  • Avoid putting baby bumpers or pillows inside the crib

  • Remove mobiles from the crib as soon as your child can sit up on his or her own

  • Tie knots in plastic bags before you store them

Poisoning

Household items that we take for granted can sometimes poison a small child. To keep your baby safe  you should:  

  • Secure your cupboard doors with safety latches

  • Keep household cleaners up high and out of reach

  • Move plants to high shelves where children can’t reach them

Drowning

Small children love playing with water. To keep your child safe from potential drowning hazards you should:

  • Keep all mop buckets, tubs, and sinks empty when not in use

  • Put a safety latch on your toilet to keep the lid closed

  • Use a bath seat to help secure your child at bath time

  •  Avoid leaving your child unattended in the tub

The absolute best way to keep your child safe is to supervise them at all times. While taking the time to childproof your home can help protect your little one, there is no substitute for a parents watchful eye. By keeping a close eye on your child and putting these tips into action, you can keep your child safe from any household dangers.

 

Buying New Homes vs Older Homes

Buying New Homes vs Older Homes

Buying a home involves a lot of decision making - and one of the first questions you must answer before starting a home search is whether you want an established home, or a brand new one. There are pros and cons to both, and you should consider the answer carefully before you start your real estate search. Here are a few things to consider on each side:

A New Build

The prospect of moving into a brand new home, built exactly the way you want it, can be exciting; but make sure you choose wisely. The builder you select must be reputable, or you will regret your decision for years to come. Luckily, there are safeguards and standards in Ontario that help prevent new home buyers. Tarion helps ensure that buyers are protected from unscrupulous builders. Choose a reputable builder that has some established neighbourhoods; go visit them. Talk to others who have purchased new homes so you have an idea of what to expert. Here are just a few pros and cons of buying new:

Pros

* You get to live in a brand new home, where everything is fresh and clean, modern, and energy efficient

* You get to customize your home to suit your lifestyle and tastes (create a bigger bathroom, for instance, or a walk-in closet.)

* Your neighbours are moving in around the same time you are, which can create a closer friendship, since you all having something in common.

Cons

* You'll need to pay the builder in installments, set out in the contract. This means you'll have to save up lump sums of money (and there is no negotiating in the price.)

* It is common for builders to get delayed in the construction process for numerous reasons. Don't be surprised if your move-in date changes at least once.

An Existing Build (Resale Home)

If you have a particular neighbourhood in mind, then you will probably be choosing a home that already exists. When choosing, be aware of your present and future needs. For example, if you're staring a family or have young children, you may want to be close to parks and schools. If your children are older, being close to a college or university may be a bigger priority. Here are a few pros and cons of buying a resale home:

Pros

* You'll be buying into an established neighbourhood, with established infrastructure

* You can negotiate on the price you pay for the home

* Your move-in date is set out in the contract and most likely will not be delayed

* Older homes are known for their character and charm

Cons:

* Depending on the age of the home, you will spend more on maintenance

* It is more difficult and costly to customize an existing home to your suitability

Buying real estate can be a confusing process, but it doesn't have to be. Do your own research and give us a call to help answer your questions and guide you in making an informed decision.  Our team is here to help and we look forward to the opportunity of working with you, to get you and your family into your dream home!

What You Should Know About Home Inspections and How to Prepare for One

Home buyers need inspections to verify that the property they’re about to pay for is in great shape. If the home isn’t in the best shape, the inspection will also reveal the exact issues, extent of wear and tear, and the effort necessary to reverse damages.

The following are a few things you need to know about these inspections and tips to help you prepare for an inspection.

What To Know About Home Inspections

  • Inspections are Optional

Although very important in real estate transactions, inspections are not mandatory. The decision to have a home inspection is completely up to you. No one can force you to have an inspection.  

  • Buyers Are Responsible

Part of your responsibility as a buyer is to hire a home inspector (if you feel it’s necessary). You must also ensure that the inspection is completed within a reasonable time frame and be prepared to shoulder the costs.

  • The Inspector Must Be Certified

Since the Canadian home inspection industry is largely unregulated, find an inspector attached to one of the several provincial associations. These associations are bound by the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors’ (CAHPI) Standards of Practice.

  • You Can Attend Inspections

In fact, it’s in your best interest to attend. You will learn a lot about the home and how to best care for it should you decide to buy. Fortunately, most inspectors have no problem with buyers tagging along and even encourage it.

  • You Can Walk Away After an Inspection

If the inspection reveals major issues, you can negotiate renovations with the seller. But, if the negotiations bear no fruit, you have the right to walk away. If this happens, the seller gets to keep your initial deposit as collateral.

How To Prepare for a Home Inspection

  • Know the Cost

The average cost of a professional home inspection is $315. For condos and small homes under 1,000sq ft., you’ll pay around $200. For homes over 2,000sq ft., expect to pay around $400.

  • Find a Professional Inspector

The best place to begin your search is your real estate agent’s office. A great agent will be more than willing to help you get recommendations.

  • Schedule the Inspection

Most home inspectors work 24/7, even on weekends. Ensure to settle on a date that’s convenient for both of you. The inspection should take 2-3 hours.

  • Prepare to Take Notes

Since the inspector will most likely allow you to tag along, bring a pen and notebook to take notes during the inspection. You can also take pictures with your phone.

  • Ask for a Report

At the end of the inspection, the inspector should give you a detailed report on findings. Make sure to ask for this report and save it safely.

Remember…

Buyers benefit the most from home inspections. Yes, some sellers will recommend it. But it’s your job as a buyer to ensure that the property is inspected before you make the final decision.

Prepping Your Home for Fall

It’s time to prep for those cooler days and cozier homes. Whether that means you add to or finish your honey-do list, fall is a great season. Summer has settled, the kids are back in school and finally routine is back in order and those windows are open getting that nice clean air in!

Fall also means vibrant red, orange, and yellow foliage, lots of pumpkins. But, it also means winter isn't far away. Here are a few projects—from looking after your exterior to maintaining your heating system—that can help your home brace for the cold and save you some cash.

Interior Maintenance

  1. Check for drafts. 

  2. Have your furnace inspected. 

  3. Winterize air conditioning. 

  4. Programmable thermostat. 

  5. Test home safety devices. 

  6. Clean humidifiers. 

Exterior Maintenance

  1. Do a roof check. 

  2. Check the chimney and fireplace.

  3. Stock up on firewood. 

  4. Inspect siding. 

  5. Clean the gutters. 

  6. Check water drainage. 

  7. Reinforce windows and doors. 

  8. Turn off faucets and store hoses.

  9. Service sprinklers and irrigation system. 

  10. Inspect trees.

  11. Trim landscaping. 

  12. Bring in flowerpots. 

  13. Plant bulbs. 

  14. Leaf removal. 

  15. Fertilize lawn. 

  16. Put away seasonal furniture. 

  17. Close the pool. 

  18. Organize the shed. 

In the Garage

  1. Service summer power equipment. 

  2. Store summer vehicles.

  3. Get winter equipment ready. 

  4. Test the generator.

  5. Buy extra gasoline. 

  6. Clean the garage. 

The Best Time to Buy

For many people, perhaps even you, the real estate market seems to have more ups and downs than a roller coaster ride! That can be worrisome, especially if you're thinking of buying a new home in the near future.

So many people get very concerned about trying to "time" the market.  That's nearly impossible. As your real estate agent, I can tell you from experience that it's always best to make a move when you want to find a new home - whether that's this year, next year, or 10 years from now. When you're ready, I'll be here, helping you find the ideal property at a price that fits within your range.

Also, keep in mind that there's often a big difference between the local market and the national scene. It's the national market that gets all the press, but here, locally, things can be very different.

Fortunately, I'm an expert in this local market.  So unlike the national news, I can give you personalized and accurate advice that will make finding your next dream home a reality.

When you are ready to sell your home and/or look for a new one, give me and my team a call and lets get the conversation started!

Give Outdoor Furniture a Facelift

As the summer stretches on, and your patio furnishings start to show the signs of use, you may want to try these simple ways of restoring them to their original luster.

Before trying any of these techniques, always test in an inconspicuous area first. For vinyl cushions and fabrics without specific instructions for upkeep, try a mixture of water and mild detergent with an "oxi-cleansing" additive for stains. Avoid chlorine bleach that can corrode stitching and cause discoloration. Rinse thoroughly and dry without direct sunlight.

Furniture frames require specific care, depending on the material. Wicker should be vacuumed and/or brushed before a gentle washing and rinsing with a garden hose (not a power washer). Aluminum frames will keep their appearance longer if you apply and buff a coating of car wax after wiping clean and drying. Natural woods fare well when scrubbed with commercial oil soap (not detergent), and can retain their integrity longer with a weather-resistant stain or urethane treatment. To help your outdoor furniture last from season to season, invest in weather-resistant slip-covers.

Happy Restoring!