Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Are you ready?

Hello everyone.  Haven't had a chance to update the blog recently as summer has been crazy busy with house sales and renovation projects.  Been a great summer for real estate.  The market is HOT, HOT, HOT!  It's still very strong so make sure to contact myself if you are looking at selling or buying.

Speaking of summer we had quite a little surprise yesterday.  We went from sunny and +25 to +2 and snow in 24 hrs.  5-10 cms of the white stuff actually.

Enough for my kids to start singing the Disney's Frozen song "Do you want to build a snowman".  Yes, middle of Sept in Calgary.  It is forecast to get hotter (+20) by the weekend again but it also got me thinking...

It is never to soon to start getting ready for.....wait for it.......................winter.  Yes I said that.  There are a few things that as a home owner you want to take care of before the white stuff starts flying to make your home as comfortable as possible.

One of the first things that I strongly recommend, if it's within the budget, is new updated windows.  They will do 2 things for you: give you a great return on investment and make your home much more comfortable.  Buyers love hearing  "This house comes with newly updated windows".  The new windows that are available now are much more efficient than the ones manufactured 10-15 yrs ago.  You have many options available from dual pane to triple pane, low E glass, triple glazing, tinted, metal or vinyl colour matched brickmold for low maintenance, etc.  They will keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Your pocket book will thank you too!

The next thing I recommend is checking the insulation in your attic.  You know that square piece of drywall on your kids bedroom ceiling that you've always wondered about?  It's called an attic access.  Get a flash light, a tall ladder, dust mask and googles, if you like, and push the access up.  Take a look at the insulation.  Is it filled above the joists or does it look like it's settled over the years? 

You would like to optimally see about 14" of insulation to be adequate giving you an R50 value.  If it's less than 8" of blown cellulose you would be at about an R30 or less which would mean you could definitely benefit from adding more.  Again your home will not only be warmer in the winter but it will also be cooler in the summer.  The insulation in the attic keeps all the heat that builds up in your attic from transferring into your home.

Something else that one should also check on a regular basis is your furnace filter.  This is a very inexpensive piece that will definitely benefit from having regular maintenance.  It basically keeps all the dust and other pollutants from getting into your furnace and also your lungs.  Your furnace will last longer and run more efficiently if this is changed periodically.  Studies show that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 - 5 times higher than outdoor levels. 

The typical guideline is every 3 months for changing your furnace filter.  If not, at least twice a winter is highly recommended.  There are other things that may cause you to need to change it more often.  If you are doing construction in your home (sanding drywall or wood projects), if you burn a lot of candles, if you use a wood burning fireplace, if you have pets with hair.  Any of these things can cause your filter to look like the one on the left, in the picture above, much quicker than normal.  Something else that will also help with the overall air quality of your home is to get the ducts professionally cleaned.  You would be amazed at what these guys pull out of your ducts.  Most have some super high powered vacuum system with a rotary brush that they insert into your ducts to suck out the ancient Cheerios and balls of Fluffy hair. 

With these few tips your home can be more comfortable in the coming cold months than before.  Your bank account will like it as well ;)

Stay warm everyone.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Time to Sell!!!

It’s a seller’s market… but that doesn’t mean a house shouldn’t show nice

When listing a house for sale, there have always been a few small efforts that are incredibly worthwhile to make a house look better.  A house that looks better shows better, and the better a house shows the more potential buyers will be able to envision that house as a home.  Granted, this can be difficult if the house is a rental and the tenants are not on board with assisting in showcasing the house, but do what you can!

Cleanliness and clutter. 
Even an outdated place, or a place in disrepair, will show much better if the dishes are put away and beds are made.  If you are planning on moving before your out-of-season clothes are needed, pack them up and see if you can store them at a friend or family member’s house.  Potential buyers will be looking in the closets to assess storage capacity and jam packed spaces are discouraging.  This goes double-whammy for nick-knacks; potential buyers have no attachment to your “stuff”.

Now once your space is a little less cluttered, keep horizontal surfaces wiped clean, floors swept, toys put away.  The better the place looks the quicker it should get sold and the hassle of strangers looking through your home will be over.
Small repairs.

You don’t have to undertake a large scale renovation to sell your home.  Often times, renovation costs are not fully realized in the final selling price of a home, although they can go a long way to make a place stand out against the competition.  If there’s a hole in the drywall, fix it!  Replacing burnt out lights is also important as the first thing people do when entering a room is turn on lights.

Top 10 Checklist before showing your home:

Here is a list of low cost, easy to complete tasks that will make your home more attractive to potential buyers and easier to show for your Relator. 

1: Winter time: Shovel walkways and driveway; Summer time: mow lawn

2: Put away dishes

3: Put away clutter and children’s toys

4: Put away any personal items (ie: credit card bills)

5: Clean bathrooms

6: Remove pets from home and backyard if at all possible

7: Vacuum

8: Briefly light scented candle (cinnamon or vanilla) MAKE SURE TO EXTINGUISH BEFORE YOU LEAVE!  Or use a plugin. 

9: Turn all lights on (replace any burnt out bulbs)

10: Vacate premise half an hour before showing time and stay away half after (in case the potential buyers show up early or take longer to view)