Archive for the ‘General Information’ Category

Running from October 5th to the 11th this year’s theme is “”Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month”.

Home fires account for 30% of all fires and 73% of all fire-related deaths in Canada. While many of these tragedies could have been avoided, communities and fire services across the province, as well as the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, will be hosting a number of events to help raise awareness and keep people safe. Functioning smoke alarms can increase chances of surviving a fire by up to 50 per cent and Ontario requires a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. Over the last five years, in 35 per cent of fatal home fires, there was no smoke alarm warning. In 13 per cent of those, there were no smoke alarms present. Precious seconds are all you have in case of fire and every second counts. Getting advance warning from a smoke alarm could save your life and that of your family. Be prepared.

We would like to share the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) list of the 10 top tips for preventing fires and saving lives.

  1. Install and regularly check smoke detectors
    • Remove dust, check batteries when the clocks change in the spring and fall, test regularly and replace at least every 10 years
  2. Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family
    • Develop a fire evacuation plan, practice executing it and stick to the plan in an emergency
  3. Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues
    • Ensure there is no blockage or buildup that could cause a fire
  4. Install proper light bulbs
    • Never use light bulbs with a higher wattage than the maximum indicated on the fixture
  5. Monitor heated appliances and decor
    • Properly use and watch portable heaters, ensure lint is removed from the dryer, never leave an iron unattended and keep an eye on burning candles
  6. Be careful when cooking
    • Use your kitchen safely, especially when deep-frying or cooking with flammable oils
  7. Properly store flammable materials
    • Keep gasoline, solvents, waste and other materials that could ignite at a distance of at least 10 meters from your home
  8. Remove dry leaves and debris
    • Keep leaves, other dry materials and potentially flammable garbage away from the exterior of your house, especially if you have wood or vinyl siding
  9. Prepare and update a home inventory
    • Make a list of what you own, including the value of each item; take photos or make a video of your belongings; and update the list regularly
  10. Assemble a disaster safety kit
    • Prepare a basic kit of food, water and other necessities that will last at least 72 hours in an emergency

FirePrevention

 

 

Thinking of Selling or Buying a Home? Click the red links.

 

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The Cambridge Market Snapshot compares September 2014 to September 2013 Real Estate activity for Cambridge Ontario and also a five year comparison on the number of homes listed and sold and average price of list and average price of sold. All information refers only to single detached homes for the five listed area.

Cambridge Market Snapshot

 

Now is a good time to sell your home. Start now with a FREE HOME EVALUATION!

Clean Home

It simply makes sense to clean up both the interior and exterior of your home before listing it for sale. But that doesn’t mean you have to undertake major home renovation projects in order to sell your home. With a little effort you can increase the perceived value of your home by a great margin.
Here are some simple things to keep in mind that you can do to increase the perceived value of your home and make the perfect first impression.
Exterior of Home

  • Keep lawns cut
  • Trim hedges and bushes
  • Weed and edge gardens
  • Clear driveway and clean stains
  • Clean out garage
  • Power wash home exterior
  • Touch up paint
  • Plant colorful flowers

 

At The Front Door

  • Clean porch and foyer
  • Ensure doorbell works
  • Repair any broken screens
  • Fresh paint or varnish front door
  • Repair any damages to the door and/or locks

 

Setting the Right Mood

  • Make sure your home smells fresh and clean
  • Turn on lights
  • Turn on air conditioner/heater
  • Open the drapes
  • Light the fireplace

 

Maximize Open Space

  • Clear halls and stairs of clutter
  • Clear kitchen counter and stove top
  • Clear closets of unnecessary items
  • Remove empty boxes and storage
  • Put away personal photos so buyers can envision the house as theirs

 

Maintenance

  • Repair leaking taps and toilets
  • Clean furnace and filters
  • Tighten door knobs and latches
  • Repair cracked plaster
  • Apply fresh coat of paint or touch up where necessary
  • Clean and repair windows
  • Repair seals around tubs and basins
  • Replace defective light bulbs
  • Oil squeaking doors
  • Repair squeaking floor boards

 

Squeaky Clean

  • Clean and freshen bathrooms
  • Clean fridge and stove
  • Clean around heating vents
  • Clean washer and dryer
  • Clean carpets, drapes and window blinds
  • Eliminate pet odors and stains

 

 

Find Your Dream Home with our Help!

Buying a resale condo is similar to buying a house but there are a few differences that you should be aware of if this is what you are planning.

Is condo living for you?
Condo living can require more give and take than a house as they might have rules regarding pets, noise, even window treatment and balcony furniture. You will want to consider that before launching into condo hunt.

The status certificate
Finding out about the condo corporation is most important and a status certificate will include such critical information. When you make an offer on a condo, it should be conditional on a review by your attorney of the status certificate. The certificate will cost you about $100 but is well worth it. Some of the key points that you will find in a status certificate include but are not limited to:

  • By-laws and rules~unlike apartments if the condo by-laws state that pets are not allowed then they are not. Make sure that you can live with the condo’s rules.
  • Financial records for the condo corporation~including most recent budget and the reserve fund. If costly repairs are required in the near future could require a steep increase in condo fees if there is insufficient cash in the reserve fund.
  • Utilities~some condos have their own hydro and water meters others share the cost equally or are included in the condo fee. You will want to know this to better budget.
  • Rental Status~you will want to know if there are other units that are rented. The corporation keeps a tally and includes the figure as part of the status certificate.
  • Parking Details~parking spaces can be owned or could be common element owned by the condo corporation and assigned to you

Ultimately when you buy into a condo, you are also choosing your community. It’s a big commitment, so take the time to find a place that suits your personal needs.

 

CONDO FOR SALE:

688 Preston Pkwy

302-688 Preston Parkway Cambridge ON

 

$229,900 ~ Great central location is 5 minutes to 401 and close to amenities. Close to nature trails. This large condo has 2 bedrooms 2 bath and 1390 sq. ft. It is located in a smaller building with 40 units which is geared to seniors. Nice open main living area has great features which include oak cabinets in kitchen, ceramic flooring in the kitchen, foyer and baths, in-suite laundry, whirlpool tub, super large master bedroom – 2 bedrooms were converted – could be converted back to 3 bedrooms. Storage area has water softener and water heater. A good size balcony surrounded by greenery is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

See Visual Tour Open House 24/7 at DaleDyer.com

Living Room

Living Room

Landscaping to Sell Your Home

 

You hear it all the time “Curb Appeal”. Your home must have “Curb Appeal” if you want to sell. Where do you even start? Can I suggest across the road. Yes, you read it right. Stand across the road from your home and look at it. That will be your first observation. Now look at it from a buyer’s point of view. Does it look fresh and inviting? Or is it looking old and tired without too much attraction to make you want to see the inside? Next take a look around at your neighbours homes. Would a buyer want to look at their home instead of  yours?

Now you have an idea of what is an eye sore and where you could improve. If you have budgeted for a professional landscaper that’s great as they can help you to make the right choices but if your budget is limited you can still come up with some serious landscape gems that will give your home the lift it needs.

Start with the trees as these take longer to mature. If you have a newer home with little landscaping done it’s probably easier as you can purchase the correct tree and place them at the right place. Too many people crowd the trees close to the home which might look good when the tree is young but in 5 to 10 years from now you could have a major root issue in your foundation or plumbing. Do your homework either online or visit your local nursery and ask the questions. You might even want to draw a rough plan of your home and property pointing out where the sun rises and sets so they will get a better idea as to what would grow best. If you have older trees on your property check to see that are healthy with no dead branches. Trees are not meant to grow in the fences so if you have old, old trees that infringe on any part of your home, you might want to consider getting them removed. A mature tree can have an appraised value between $1,000 and $10,000. Do use a professional for this and especially for large tall trees. The last thing you want is a branch of your tree in your neighbour’s roof.  It’s ok to replace an old tree with a younger one. The same would apply to the bushes. If the thing is 40 years old and shabby looking then get rid of it. Sometimes we see bushes that have overtaken the front stairs because they are so old and have not been trimmed properly.

Another landscaping issue would be the driveway. Whatever the paving material make sure that it looks clean and if there’s any cracks or grass growing in between the stone or cement get that cleaned up.

Next would be the grass. It should go without saying that it should be nicely trimmed but not too short especially in the summer as it will dry up and burn. With the water restrictions imposed by most cities you want to make sure that the grass is long enough to retain some moisture therefore staying green longer. If weeds are an issue check online for homemade people and pet friendly solutions which are very effective or get the help of a lawn specialist. Trimming around the edges of the lawn and walkways can seem like a tedious job but the visual impact is powerful. All that is required is a bit of stamina and endurance to do the work.

Finally, choose your smaller plantings carefully. You know that less is always best.  Again check on-line or with your nursery professional for ideas and groupings that will give new life to the house. Depending on the exposure you could have an area with perennial and another with a few seasonal for a splash of colour. Keep the elves and the gnomes out of the front garden (and the back for that matter) until  your house is sold. You might like them but most buyers do not.

So now you might be asking why you should spend so much time or any money on landscaping? Here it is: Landscaping can add as much as 14%  (you do the math) to your home’s resale value and sell faster too.  Properly placed trees and plants can also lower your home heating and cooling costs by as much as 20%.  Those are pretty good reasons, I would say, to consider landscaping a key issue to the sale of a home.

If you would like an objective opinion value of your home and some landscaping pointers give me a call.

If you are still looking for that “Dream Home” to landscape, sign up to get direct access to homes as soon as they go on the market. Visit www.BestBuyHomeFinder.com

 

cleaning

Simple Home Improvements that will help you clean up for whatever the occasion

It simply makes sense to clean up both the interior and exterior of your home before listing it for sale or before a big event-like a daughter’s back yard wedding. But that doesn’t mean you have to undertake major home renovation projects. With a little effort you can increase the perceived value and aesthetic of your home by a great margin.
Here are some simple things to keep in mind that you can do to increase the perceived value of your home and make the perfect first impression for your guests. You could call it Cleaning 101.

Exterior of Home

Keep lawns cut

Trim hedges and bushes

Weed and edge gardens

Clear driveway and clean stains

Clean out garage

Power wash home exterior

Touch up paint

Plant colorful flowers

 

At The Front Door

Clean porch and foyer

Ensure doorbell works

Repair any broken screens

Fresh paint or varnish front door

Repair any damages to the door and/or locks

 

Setting the Right Mood

Make sure your home smells fresh and clean

Turn on lights

Turn on air conditioner/heater

Open the drapes

Light the fireplace

 

Maximize Open Space

Clear halls and stairs of clutter

Clear kitchen counter and stove top

Clear closets of unnecessary items

Remove empty boxes and storage

Put away personal photos so buyers can envision the house as theirs

 

Maintenance

Repair leaking taps and toilets

Clean furnace and filters

Tighten door knobs and latches

Repair cracked plaster

Apply fresh coat of paint or touch up where necessary

Clean and repair windows

Repair seals around tubs and basins

Replace defective light bulbs

Oil squeaking doors

Repair squeaking floor boards

 

Squeaky Clean

Clean and freshen bathrooms

Clean fridge and stove

Clean around heating vents

Clean washer and dryer

Clean carpets, drapes and window blinds

Eliminate pet odors and stains

BEFORE visiting a model home here are some things you need to know.

Comparing Existing and New Homes

You will find that existing homes on average are less expensive and more likely in an established neighbourhood thatBuild-Buy has been there for a number of years. New homes on the other hand being more expensive have the ability of offering you a chance to get it done to your liking rather than what’s just there. Working with the home builder you might decide on upgraded flooring, light fixtures, energy efficiency, and finishing touches such as crown molding, hard wood flooring or even higher ceilings. All of this will play a part in deciding which way to go. An existing home will have settled and the street leading to it are probably all lit and paved along with the driveways which is not always the case for new homes. You could be sitting next to a mud pile for a while, sometimes even a few years.

First Thing First

You should know that the home builders hire Selling Agents to promote their homes. These agents have the builder’s interest at heart. When you hire a Realtor to represent you as a Buyer’s agent you have the best of both worlds. His fiduciary duties or obligations are to represent you and your interests as he verifies plans, warranties, financing, building material and even lot and services.  So when you are hiring a Realtor find out how much he knows about new homes so that if you decide to go that route you will have the best representation. If you visit the model home first and you sign your name as a visitor most Realtor will not represent you as the Builder will then consider you their client and will not negotiate with them.

Price

Buy-BuildThe price range that you want to pay for a home and what you can afford will always be your primary concern. Knowing the bottom line and what kind of mortgage you will be carrying will be a big help in the decision making. If you have to sell a home first will also play part in the whole calculation. You may also want to move into a new home before you sell your home so that any extra work could be done before the big move. It’s much easier to paint a home or add finishing touches before the furniture gets all moved in. You might opt for a bare bone home and do the finishing yourself or pay the builder to upgrade some of the basics such as hardwood flooring, ceramic tiles, and stainless steel appliances. In a new home having a finished basement or a deck might not be a priority and could be done later. On the other hand adding a master ensuite or an extra room could prove to be beneficial when comes time to resell. These are some of the options to consider but there are many more.

Choosing a Builder

Your Realtor can help you with this as they know who they are and what they produce. Depending on the type of home that you are looking for they will be better equipped to inform you of all the variance. Like doctors or lawyers not all home builders are the same. From a master builder to space innovator to technology and energy expert, there are many different kinds of builder. Your needs, financial situation and what is available will all play a part.

Neighbouring Facts

Whether you are buying existing or new home you will want to know the neighbourhood. In an existing home-buyingneighbourhood you might want to drive around and check other homes for cleanliness, yard embellishment, general maintenance and you will want to know who lives next door, across the road and across your back yard too. Is it a quiet street or is it being used as a freeway for the motorcycle club down the road? Is it near schools, shopping, church and work? How about the accessibility to these things? It might take six minutes to drive from work to the entrance of the new subdivision but if it takes you thirty minutes from the entrance to your home you might rethink the idea. If a new neighbourhood you should know what else will be built around there. If there’s a green area will it be removed to make room for more homes? Don’t take anything for granted. Even a lake can be dried up.

Negotiation

A good Realtor will be a master negotiator for you whether in an existing home or a new home. Look for builders packages offered that could save you a lot of money in upgrades or financing. Sometimes a less desired or even a premium lot could be obtained at a lesser cost. The model home or other homes from a series that are finished but still not sold or even another contract that fell through could mean a reduced price. There is always room to negotiate.

Choices

New Home ConstructionCertainly when you purchase an existing home you know what you are buying because you can see it all from the neighbourhood, the attic to the basement of the house. Neighbourhoods are established and you can see how easy it is to access. Landscaping and fencing are usually done. You might be lucky to find a home that was upgraded already by a past owner. You don’t have to pay the GST/HST unless the home was substantially renovated and then the taxes are applied as if it were a new home. Some people prefer the challenge and flexibility of building their own home. A new home has up-to-date design, material and features. You may be able to choose certain features such as style of siding, flooring, cabinets, plumbing and electrical fixtures. Other features could be upgraded such as adding a fireplace, trees and sod, or a paved driveway. GST applies to new homes but you could be entitled to a rebate from the New Housing Rebate Program. Check Canada Revenue Agency’s website or check with your Realtor. Other than lower maintenance costs many items in new homes are covered by a warranty.

There is certainly a myriad of choices when it comes to purchasing a home. We’ve looked at existing and new homes here but now the real homework begins as you decide what type of home you would like but we will leave that for another report.