Tuesday, May 30, 2023

It's A Tie! How To Choose Which Home To Buy

Imagine you're searching for a new home and checking out listings. You go and see several homes and fall in love with...two of them! 

How do you decide which is the right one for you, especially if you're in a situation where you need to make a decision quickly? 

Here are three techniques to consider: 

1. Each home probably has many of the features you either want or need. Which home has more of what you need? You can probably enjoy a home that doesn't have something you want. However, that's unlikely if it lacks something you need. 

2. Rank your list of wants. Which are the most important to you? Consider applying a numerical score to each - for example, 1 for low priority and 4 for "I must have that feature!" Then, pick the home with the highest score of "wants". (This technique assumes each property has everything you need). 

3. Ask your future self. Imagine it's three years from now. Which do you suspect you'll enjoy living in the most, considering the home and neighbourhood? 

Even with these techniques, making a decision can be hard. However, if you love them both, you really can't go wrong. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Security Glass & Residential Applications

If you're in the market for secure residential windows, do not presume the words like security, shatter-proof or shatter-resistant mean unbreakable. Take the time to understand various levels of protection in residential windows: 

Glazed Windows usually refer to actual glass panels that are treated with a film that helps stop the transfer of warm or cool air and may reduce the UV effects of sunlight. They are not usually associated with security. 

Tempered Glass is heat-treated for strength, but is not strong enough to withstand significant impact. Rather, when broken, it disintegrates into small pieces instead of shards, making it less likely to to do harm to those nearby. 

Laminated Glass is glass with one or more layers applied to its surface for various reasons, such as insulation and UV protection. When security window film is applied, it can be strong enough to delay attempted intrusion through window breakage. 

Polycarbonate Panels provide many quality features of glass, but are in fact much stronger. They are often preferred by high-end retailers because they offer greater resistance to impact, deterring most or all break and entry attempts. 


Now that you have a little more information and are better informed, happy window hunting!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Easy-Care Plants, Indoors & Outside

You don't need to have a proverbial green thumb to enjoy plant life within your home, as well as around your outdoor spaces. Simply by choosing specific hardy species, you can enjoy nature's gifts from season to season with little effort. here are a few suggestions to help you get started: 

Indoors: if you like larger leafy plants, consider a monstera or sansevieria. Also consider philodendrons as a great alternative that can dangle in tangles from the pot or off shelves. Smaller cacti are also an easy option - or for added enjoyment, experiment from scratch by germinating fresh herbs. 

Outdoors: Container plants can liven up any balcony or patio through several seasons. They give you the freedom to change your arrangements at well, according to your space and the time of year. Think geraniums, petunias, impatiens and begonias for colour, or set up stakes for taller climbers. 

Once you've looked into the plants that appeal to your eye - and your lifestyle - be sure to do some quick research that will help you watch for signs that they are healthy or that they are in need of a slight change in their care (e.g., sunlight, water schedule, etc). 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Spring Cleaning Means Germ Cleaning


Ever since "pandemic" became a household word, spring cleaning has taken on a greater focus towards reducing or eliminating household germs. Think first about removing dust and reducing clutter, and then about cleaning to remove surface dirt and grime. These are essential steps before you can sanitize (removing germs from surfaces) and disinfect (actually killing and/or eliminating bacteria and viruses). To be most effective in the prevention of spreading germs, start with an attack plan for damp areas in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, where microorganisms are most likely to thrive. 

Pay particular attention to tile joints, grout lines and caulking where mould can grow, making a note to follow up where repair is needed. Also, don't overlook areas where food is stored, such as a pantry, or where food is often spilled, such as alongside your oven and cooktop. By being thorough, you'll avoid attracting unwanted house guests like insects or rodents. Finally, make sure you frequently sanitize any items touched by many hands on a regular basis, especially in the dining room, entertainment centre or exercise area, where bacteria can easily spread. 

Happy Cleaning!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Should You List Your Property This Year?

As you look to the months ahead, one question you might be grappling with is, "Should I sell my home this year?"

Unless you must sell - due to a work relocation, for example - then making that decision can be difficult. 

A technique that may make it easier is to ask yourself these questions: 

  • How much can we get for our property on today's market? 
  • Is there a dream area or neighbourhood we'd like to live in someday? (Maybe "someday" is sometime this year!)
  • Does our current property no longer meet our needs? (For example, we need another bedroom). 
  • Do we want to live closer to something? (For example, we want to be closer to relatives). 
  • Do we want to get away from something? (For example, we'd like to move somewhere quieter). 
  • How will moving make our lives better? 
Asking those questions will give you a clearer picture of the benefits of moving versus staying. That, in turn, will make the decision a lot easier. 

For example, if you discover that your lifestyle will be much better in a new home - because of an extra bedroom, faster commute to work, or quieter neighbourhood - then selling this year makes sense. Why wait? In fact, you should start the process right now to get an early start. 

If, on the other hand, you see no good reason to move this year, then not selling might be the right decision for you. 

Keep in mind, however, that you don't necessarily need a tangible reason to move. Simply "wanting a change" is enough! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Boost The Perceived Value Of Your Home

If you want to sell your home for a higher price, you can boost its perceived value by doing a major upgrade. For example, you might consider a kitchen renovation. That would certainly pique the interest of more buyers. 

But, what if you don't want to undertake such a substantial (and expensive) project? 

Fortunately, there are many ways to increase the perceived value of your home that don't require major work. Consider these ideas: 

  • Redecorating. Decorating is simply the process of dressing up a room to make it look more attractive and inviting. It can also involve rearranging furniture and other items to make the room more of a showcase. This often makes for a fun Saturday project. 
  • Adding new furnishings and other touches. Adding new furniture, lamps and other items can instantly transform the look of a room. And, if you plan well, you can take it all with you when you move. 
  • Painting. This is another variation on decorating. Getting the interior painted is often not a huge nor expensive project. Yet, it's amazing to see the impact it can have. A fresh coat of paint can make a room look new and inviting. 
  • Enhancing spaciousness. Buyers love to see lots of space. So, the more spacious you make rooms appear, the more desirable your home will become. Explore techniques for making rooms, especially small ones, look and feel roomier. (The trick is to maximize the usable floor space). 
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to boost your selling price without having to invest in an expensive upgrade. 

Thursday, May 4, 2023

12 Small Changes To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Single-use plastic and CO2 emissions are the biggest sources of pollution. Not everybody can afford solar panels or Energy Star appliances, but we can all make smaller changes in our own homes. These changes are budget-friendly and they don’t take a lot of time; they are however efficient and they can turn your home into an eco-friendly place.

Here are some small changes to make your home more eco-friendly:
  • Wash Your Clothes In Cold Water - Up to 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes toward heating water, according to Energy Star. So skip the heating and just use your washing machine on the cold water setting. This way, you reduce carbon dioxide emission but you also keep your clothes in top condition for longer, as hot water can deteriorate the fabric and make your colorful clothes less vibrant. Unless you’re dealing with stubborn stains like oil stains, there really isn’t a point in running your washing machine on the hot water setting. If you feel the cold water setting doesn’t do a proper job, you can try the warm setting. Energy-wise it’s still better than using the hot water one, but also more efficient for cleaning than the cold water setting.
  •  Skip The Dryer When Possible - During sunny and hot months, it’s almost a shame to not line-dry your clothes outside. There is something special about line-drying in the fresh air. Not to mention, your clothes and bedding will last longer if you hang them outside on a drying rack instead of drying them in the dryer. If you don’t have a garden or a backyard where you can line-dry your clothes, you can install a drying rack on your balcony and keep the windows open to allow the sun to dry your clothes faster.
  • Swap Regular Light Bulbs For LED Bulbs - Investing in the right energy-efficient light bulbs makes a huge difference. You will not only use less electricity but you will also make your home more environmentally-friendly. No matter how tempting incandescent bulbs are, LED bulbs are the better alternative. They last longer, are eco-friendly, and they help you save money in the long run.
  • Use a Programmable Thermostat - Get green by installing a programmable thermostat to monitor your cooling and heating systems. A thermostat can reduce the cost of your utility bill and make your home more eco-friendly at the same time.
  • Plant Herbs - Herbs don’t take a lot of space. You can plant them in small pots and keep them inside the house, close to a sunny window. The big advantage? You will always have fresh herbs for your favorite dishes.
  • Decorate Your House With Plants - Potted plants are effective for indoor air cleaning. Not only that, they are also nice and they make your home more welcoming. Sure, it takes a bit of responsibility to take care of plants but it’s surely worth it.
  • Get Window Treatments - The curtains and blinds are not just for keeping nosy neighbors away, they are also there to keep the heat and cool air outside. Despite keeping your windows closed, heat and cold air can still creep in. If you don’t have a big tree to protect your home from the sun during summer months, your home can feel like an oven. Upgrading your curtains and blinds is definitely a great way to maintain the temperature and make your home more environmentally-friendly. Using the AC all day every day is definitely not.
  • Use a Water Filter - Whether you opt for a whole-house, an under the sink, a faucet or a pitcher filter, your home will instantly become more eco-friendly if you stop buying plastic water bottles. A water filter saves time, money, and helps reduce the amount of single-use plastic that ends up in the landfills.
  • Homemade Natural Cleaning Products - Natural cleaning products are just as effective as the regular ones. But they don’t contain any harmful chemicals that are bad for the environment and your health. Granted, natural cleaning products are more expensive and not all people can afford them. Nevertheless, you can make your own cleaning products using items like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

4 Handy Apps For Buyers & Owners

When you own a home, sometimes there's too much to do and no way of knowing where to start. If you're paralyzed by indecision, home apps are a good way of streamlining the process. From finding a professional to help you renovate your kitchen to budgeting to budgeting tools and 3D interior designing software that lets you try before you buy that wallpaper., here are the apps that are worth downloading. 

Houzz

Created by a couple who were looking to remodel their home, Houzz is a website and app that acts as a portfolio for home improvement professionals to showcase their work. If you're looking to convert your space into a trendy loft or redesign your kitchen, you can research professionals and their previous work, then reach out for a quote via the contact details provided.

Mint

Your budget deserves better than a spreadsheet. Mint allows you to combine all of your finances in one place, syncing up bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and other accounts. Automate your budgeting process, track spending, and receive reminders for weekly or monthly bills to make sure you pay them on time. (Fun fact, paying your bills well before the due date increases your credit score.)

Homestyler

Before you start reorganizing the furniture or buying new d├ęcor, check out Homestyler. This interior design tool lets you design the perfect layout for free using templates. Sketch the floor plan, drag and drop furniture, change the aesthetic, and see your concept come to life. 

Credit Karma Canada

Don't wait for an annual credit report from credit bureaus like Equifax. Credit Karma Canada lets you check your credit score and credit report, at any time, for free. Using Karma Canada does not affect your credit score - instead, it registers as a "soft enquiry" which won't affect anything negatively. Monitor your financial progress towards big life goals by regularly checking in on your score without any fuss.