How To Get Your House Ready For Winter

autumn

 

 

 

 

Whether you like it or not, winter is here, and it’s time to get your home ready for winter. There’s more than just stocking up on ice melt and digging out your snow shovel. Take a look through our tips and tricks, and download our printable checklist to get your home winter ready in no time.

 

  1. Tidy out your Eavestrough and Downspouts

In the fall, leaves and debris can clog up your eavestrough, creating a space for water to sit and leak into your house. Although cleaning out your rain gutters can take some time, it’s an important step to take to avoid water damage.

A congested eavestrough also creates a great habitat for bugs and critters to nest in, and gives them a good vantage point into your home. Make sure you clean your rain gutters regularly to avoid potential damage caused by these unwanted visitors.

 

  1. Get Your Caulking Gun Ready

Taking the time to caulk around windows and doors can stop cold air from getting in, and warm air form getting out. Even if you did this in the spring, you might want to double check your seal and make sure you covered everything well. Caulking can save you some cash on your energy bills, and get rid of any cold drafts you might experience in the cold weather. It’s also important to caulk around any other areas that lead to outside your home, such as pipes, vents, and cables.

 

  1. Look Over Your Weather Stripping

If you can see cracks in your weather stripping around your exterior doors, windows, and attic, it’s time to replace it. Weather stripping does need to be redone every few years, and loses effectiveness over time. As well, if you can feel a draft when the doors and windows are closed, it might be time to review the type of weather stripping you’re using, or double check to make sure it was installed accurately.

 

  1. Check Your Roof and Chimney

It is important to check your roof before heavy snowfall begins, just in case there is a problem, you won’t have to be on your roof in the dead of winter, trying to fix the issue. Problems can come from bugs or animal infestation, severe weather and other natural impacts, and just general degradation. An asphalt roof usually lasts between 15 to 20 years, and should be checked regularly for shingles that might be loose or missing, or shingles that are moldy and have signs of decay.

You should also check the caulking around vents to ensure there is a good seal, as well as look over your chimney for critters or broken parts. You can also check inside your attic for damage from water or critters, and make sure there are no nests from furry visitors.

If you don’t want to risk going onto your roof or in your attic, you can always hire a professional to check it over.

 

  1. Store Away Your A/C Unit

If you have an air-conditioning unit, stash it away for the winter. Putting it away before the cold can prevent your room from becoming drafty, and can also prevent damage to the unit from the cold. If you have central air-conditioning should be shut off, both through a switch on the A/C unit, but also turn it off through the breaker on your electrical panel.

 

  1. Turn off Any Outside Faucets or Drains

Faucets and drains that connect outside the home have a risk of freezing. Freezing can cause pipes and faucets to burst, which will cause greater damage and lead to expensive repairs.

Turn off the shut-off valve to outside faucets from inside the home. You can find this shut off valve in the basement around the same area where the faucet exists outside. After you completely close the valve, empty your faucet outside to get rid of any residual water. If you can, pad all your pipes that run outside to completely protect them.

 

  1. Check Over Your Furnace

Even though you might not have used your furnace all summer, you should first check and replace your furnace filter. Furnace filters should be replaced every 1-3 months (depending on the quality of your filter), and changing the filter can keep your furnace running smoothly and efficiently, as well as keep your inside air at a higher quality. If your furnace is running efficiently, you’re spending less money on your heating bills. Double check your filter size to make sure you’re getting the right fit for your furnace.

Some furnaces will have a permanent filter. In this case, follow the instructions on cleaning and caring for it, and don’t use just any cleaner. Make sure you use a recommended cleaner, since this will have an effect on the air you breathe inside your home.

Have your furnace inspected if it’s over 15 years old, to make sure everything is in working condition. As well, if you have pets it’s a good idea to get your ducts cleaned.

 

And lastly, don’t forget to:

  • Change out your light bulbs to halogen bulbs – this will save you money on your energy bills
  • Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors – replace the batteries and ensure they are in working order
  • Ensure your fire extinguishers are up to date and in good condition
  • Empty out your rain barrels and store them in the garage
  • Tuck away all your summer tools and equipment, and bring out your shovels and snow blowers
  • Look over your fireplace and ensure it is clean
  • Check over your dryer vent and ensure it is clean

 

Download the Printable Checklist Here

 

Have any more tips or tricks on getting your home ready for winter? Share them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Sourced from: http://globalnews.ca/news/1600490/7-tips-to-get-your-home-ready-for-fall/

How To Stage Your Home Like A Pro Part One

stage your home

 

There is a lot to think about when it comes to selling your house, and staging is a process that should not be overlooked. It is estimated that 71% of agents who represent sellers believe that proper staging can boost up the value of your home. An example of this comes from Terrylynn Fisher, a REALTOR® with Dudum Real Estate Group in Walnut Creek, California. Two units in the same complex were for sale, and one unit had not been updated, while the other had small upgrades, including fresh coats of paint and a redone bathroom, but both units were the same size and floor plan. The unit that was staged sold for approximately $30,000 more than the other unit.

Staging is a critical part in marketing your house, and keeps you in the competitive market, which means you might be able to sell your home faster. It’s much more than just a quick vacuum and making the bed. Proper staging involves the processes of removing clutter, fixing and upgrading, and finally creating a space that is less personal to you. This might sound like a lot to think about, but luckily we have a room-by-room guide to help you get going on staging your home like a pro.

Living Room

  • For the living room it is important to think about symmetry and balance. This comes into play with everything from the placement of your sofa, to placing accents such as pillows and lighting. Balance is pleasing to the eye, and can create a space that shows decorating potential to your buyers.
  • Brighten up the room with touches of light. Modern and unique lamps create a more appealing space, and highlight areas that may be overlooked.
  • If you have a fireplace, clean it up by replacing the screen and getting rid of any soot stains.
  • When it comes to choosing colours for your staging furniture or slip covers for your current pieces, stick with lighter shades to create an open, airy atmosphere.
  • Create a larger space by removing a piece or two of unnecessary furniture.
  • Pop some colour in with your accent pieces. Think about adding brightly coloured throws, pillows, or lamps to add extra interest.
  • Setting up lifestyle pieces, such as a board game or a small home office space will allow buyers see themselves in your home.
  • Take the focus off the TV and arrange your furniture to be more conversational

 

Kitchen

  • It’s important to keep the clutter out of sight in this area. Be sure that the countertops are completely cleared, aside from a few accents such as fresh fruit or flowers.
  • Keep your matching dishes and glassware in your cupboards, but keep any pieces that are mismatched packed away. Keep what’s in your cupboards down to a minimum – it’s more pleasing to look inside nice, clean cupboards and drawers, rather than messy and cluttered ones.
  • Simple updates, such as a new coat of paint or stain, replacing broken or missing handles, and new hardware will keep your kitchen looking fresh.
  • Seriously scrub the interior and exterior of all cabinets, drawers, and small and large appliances. And don’t forget to stash away all your family photos and magnets that you regularly keep on the fridge, and toss out any trash before a showing or open house.

 

Bedrooms

  • Make your closets look larger by packing up any unnecessary items – seasonal clothing, footwear, or accessories that might create a cluttered look.
  • To keep your closet looking more streamlined, trade out any old and mismatched hangers for a nice, clean set of wooden or velvet hangers.
  • As your cleaning, remember to stow away any jewellery or valuables in a safe place.
  • Think about giving each room an individual identity, such as a spare bedroom, an office, or a craft room.

 

Dining Room

  • This room has great potential for your buyers to “see” themselves in this space. Give them an idea of what it would be like to entertain in your home – set out trendy place settings with a decorated table, fit for a special gathering of friends and family.
  • Think about adding in elements, such as wine glasses, a retro-style bar set up, or a decanter – without making it too cluttered.

 

Be sure to check out the second half of our home-staging guide here!

 

Source: https://www.houselogic.com/sell/preparing-your-home-to-sell/home-staging-checklist/

 

What is Good Credit and Why Does it Matter?

what is

 

I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Sending my clients to a mortgage broker who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important.  Lisa Last from River City Financial has proven herself to be one of the best mortgage brokers I have had to privilege to work with over the last 9 years. Here is Lisa letting us all know what you can expect during your first meeting with an experience mortgage broker like herself.

 

Credit. Another thing to worry about, right? Well, here are a few simple, easy-to-understand things that you need to know about credit. Essentially it’s your financial scorecard that the business world uses to determine whether or not they should, say, loan you money for a house, give you a credit card, rent to you, employ you, insure you, etc. (see the whole list of who checks your credit here). Your score can range from 300-850 points, and a higher score is better. Your credit score tells whoever is inquiring how good you are with your money. It’s pretty simple in theory: Pay your bills on time and you’ll look great, but if you have money problems, your credit score might hold you back.

 

Here are five things you can do to get a good rating:

 

  1. Pay your bills on time. 35% of the score is based on your ability to make payments on your car loans, phone bills, lines of credit, etc. If you make payments later than 90 days after or have something go through collections, your score can be affected.
  2. Don’t owe more than 90% of the credit available to you. Creditors want to know that you aren’t maxed out all the time.
  3. Have credit available to you for a long time, and the longer the better.
  4. Having different kinds of credit is good. A mix of a mortgage, a car loan, student loans, and credit cards is better than just credit cards alone.
  5. Don’t get your credit checked if you can avoid it. Each time your credit is checked, it can take up to 50 points off your credit score!

 

Now I want to point out a few things you can avoid doing. I know it can be challenging to be financially wise all the time, but maybe if you read them, you’ll remember and try to avoid doing these things, because good credit is the goal!

  1. Avoid always paying the minimum payment. Sure, it’s not going to make next month’s bill any smaller, but paying off more than the required amount is a good idea.
  2. Try not to have leftover amounts carry over from bill to bill. This just creates a perpetually overdue account. Not good.
  3. Don’t ignore bills completely or live with maxed out credit cards. As you can guess, both of these things are even worse for your credit than just making minimum payments.
  4. Avoid applying for loans all over the place trying to get someone to approve you. Chances are that if one turns you down, most of them are probably going to turn you down. Work at restoring your credit for 6 months and then try again.
  5. Try not to apply for bankruptcy or default on your mortgage payments. Basically, avoid these at all costs. The word “devastation” comes to mind when I think about what these things can do to your credit.

 

Still have questions about credit? Let’s chat!

Connect with Lisa on Facebook

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn

Connect with Lisa on Twitter

Investing In The Tiny House Trend

Rustic House

The “Tiny House Movement” is a relatively new trend in real estate making big waves in North America, and focuses on small living spaces – tiny homes. You might have heard them called something different – micro, compact, mini, or little homes, but they all mean one thing: houses ranging from under 100 square feet to a roomy 500 square foot of living space. This trend focuses on living a minimalist lifestyle and the idea that a homeowner should be able to afford their house and lifestyle.

Although this micro home movement began as a peculiar idea, it’s become so much more in the market. Now that a growing number of people are sharing how they live in their tiny homes, there have been more people, especially the Millennials, adopting this type of living situation. Documentaries, blogs, and websites surrounding tiny homes, and tiny home owners, have been growing as the trend expands.

Since house prices still remain high, and since 2015 had been a “seller’s market” in the States, the demand for tiny houses will continue to grow. But is a tiny home worth purchasing, and is it a good idea to invest in a compact house?

Owning a tiny house has its allure, with a low cost of building between $10,000 to $40,000, and the general price being just $23,000. With the cost being so little, the need for a mortgage diminishes, which is why 68 percent of people who own mini homes do not need one. The greatest potential for purchasing these homes lies in the Millennial market, as over half of this demographic rent. This is because the first payment of a traditional home is extremely expensive and unaffordable, as well as the fact many millennials don’t have children or live alone. Owning a tiny house has become an excellent option.

Another factor in making tiny home ownership even more affordable is to rent land instead of purchase it. It has become yet another new opportunity for landowners to make an extra income to rent land to multiple tiny homeowners.

Getting involved in the tiny house market gives two excellent opportunities for investing.

The first opportunity is to build, sell, or rent a tiny house. This is great if you are low on financial resources, and especially excellent if you work as a contractor, or work with one, since you can build a micro house for a smaller amount and have greater earning potential. An upside to tiny homes is that they require fewer permits and take a much shorter time to build than an average house. Lastly, tiny houses are easily made portable, which means the owner can move it to wherever they desire.

The second opportunity is to rent land to people with their own tiny homes, and is an easy way to earn extra income. If you do decide to purchase land for rent, be sure to invest in land that is large and even. Then you can divide the land into equal parts, or charge different prices for specific square footage. This is a good opportunity since compact houses are very economical and the utility needs are much lower than an average home. If you are looking for specific areas to invest in, look for areas where the trend is booming – particularly warmer areas in North America such as California, Florida, and Texas.

Although the tiny house trend is not for everyone, it is a completely different idea with a niche market that has a lot of potential. This would be an excellent and easy investment opportunity in a trend that keeps on growing.

Got questions? Let’s chat!

Sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marko-rubel/is-the-tiny-house-market-_b_6882688.html

Sicilian Town Giving Away Homes – Literally!

No, you read correctly! That did say a town is giving homes away, for real! It is hard to believe that there is a town anywhere in the world that would be giving away, and selling extremely below the market price, to home buyers and property bargain hunters! If you have every dreamed of having your very own Sicilian escape, now is the time to act. The tiny town of Gangi in Sicily could make that dream come true for a few hundred people!

Gangi has fallen victim to the same fate as many other small towns across Europe, emigration. Not only had Gangi been shrinking for many years, in the late 1800’s a number of the towns inhabitants emigrated from Sicily to America. In a 32 year span, starting in 1892, 1,700 residents emigrated to New York which, at that time, was a decent amount of people. Today’s population is lays around 7,000 residents.

Interestingly more, the houses found in Gangi have an very unique design to them! These three-story structures are called pagglialore,  and were designed to once house donkeys on the ground floor, chickens and goats on the middle level, and the farmer’s family would be on the top floor. The many years of exodus lefts these building in bad condition and in need of repair and renovation. That is why the mayor of Gangi is selecting potential new residents based on specific criteria, specifically compliance to renovate the building right away once you take possession. This is based on an interview process of all candidates. There is a long waiting list for the remaining 200 properties in Gangi, so don’t wait if you want to be included!

The town of Gangi is hoping to bring people to the interior of Italy and allow them and the world to begin to see just how spectacular Sicily, and Gangi, can be once again!

Take a read through the article here:

Sicilian Town Giving Away Homes – Literally!

 

Source for information and photo found at:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/65451/tiny-sicilian-town-giving-homes-away-literally

 

Houses Painted in Protest!

We have all seen one version or another of these uniquely painted houses somewhere in the world, either near our own home or perhaps on vacation in another country. But when we see them, they always catch our eye right away for obvious reasons. These houses stand out from the crowd! They are very different than all of the houses around them and most people just can’t help but stare at its total uniqueness!

Sometimes homeowners paint their houses bright colours for fun, as well, some places of the world (mostly tropical beach locations like Thailand or Costa Rica) have their houses naturally painted bright, happy colours to make their beach tourist attraction much more appealing to the eye. But sometimes the motivation for painting their houses is for a different reason all together. Sometimes homeowners want to make a bold statement so they paint their homes odd colours, but mostly spiteful painting is about revenge! Spiteful paint jobs are a common way for people to get back at strict city ordinances, historical commissions, homeowners’ associations, bigoted neighbours and even banks. That’s a lot of spiteful reasons to paint your home for revenge but some of the interesting paint jobs you will find in the article below have great stories behind them. Keep in mind that in some cases, the spiteful revenge job on the house is not always paint, it can also be an abundance of lawn ornaments that literally take over the homeowners lawn and to most people would be considered unnecessary. I mean how does one cut your grass if it is covered in ornaments. But it’s not just painting the home that can show revenge, homeowners get creative!

 

Check out the link below of 10 houses painted in protest!

10 Houses Painted in Protest

 

Source of information and photo:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/49301/10-houses-painted-protest

 

Edmonton MLS® Search

Edmonton MLS Search


Listings