Avoid Excessive Humidity in Your Home

Bathroom and kitchen fans are an important part of your home’s ventilation system. They remove odours from your home, which improves indoor air quality. Most importantly, they also remove moisture, which decreases the level of humidity in your home. High humidity can damage building materials, therefore the diligent use of these exhaust fans is essential.

In order to avoid lint build-up in the dryer vents, homeowners can clean the dryer’s lint trap after each individual load. In addition, the dryer should be run for ten more minutes after clothes are removed and traps cleaned in order to dry out any moisture in the ducts.

In the winter months, it is a good practise to open a window and allow moist warm air to escape and cold dry air to take its place.

Ensure that window coverings and interior doors are left open for the greater part of the day and don’t keep interior doors closed for extended periods of time.

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

A Happy Home for You and Your Dog

Let’s face it…there’s a lot of excitement when buying a home. The idea of more space, summer BBQs in the backyard, new paint colours and new decorating thoughts fill one’s mind. You want a happy home for yourself…but if you have dogs, you also want a happy place for them too!  We’re proud dog owners…our beloved Amber is more than a pet…she’s part of our family. She’s practically a big sister to our little girl, who is almost two years old. We’re very happy where we live, and we made sure we considered our dog in our buying process.  Therefore, with so much going through your mind when buying a place, it would be wise to put yourself into Rover’s shoes, or should we say, paws to consider their feelings about a new home.

Flooring:
Does the home have hardwood floors. In our opinion, a hard-floored surface seems to be great with pet owners. We all know how dogs shed hair, and cleaning up a carpet can be a big hassle. Hardwood or laminate is easy to clean, but it’s important to know that a lot of hardwood surfaces are actually quite soft so susceptible to scratches, including dogs nails. Those nails can dig into the floor and leave some pretty big gashes in the floor, especially if you have an exciteable dog that runs around inside. If you have a dog that has long and/or sharp nails, a laminate floor might be a more suitable option. We’ve found laminate to be more resistant to scratches. If you prefer carpeting, consider the length of the carpet. If it’s a long and shaggy carpet, remember that it will be more difficult to get dog’s hair out, as opposed to a groomed carpet, or something easier to vacuum. If your dog is anything like ours…she loves lying on the soft carpet in front of our fireplace…oh how snuggly!

Fencing:
You should never assume that a house is fully fenced. It’s a good idea to walk around the property and check to make sure all panels of the fence are in place and not about to fall off. We can’t imagine a worse feeling that seeing Rover running down the street due to a missing fence panel. This also includes fencing behind shrubs. While shrubs add privacy to a yard, sometimes there is not fencing behind the trees, making an easy escape for dogs.

Around the neighbourhood:
Obviously, it would be important to know whether dog parks, or parks in general, are within walking distance. Places within walking distance usually mean you (and Rover) get out more. If it involves a car (even a short drive), it’s more easy to put off that trip to the park…poor Rover won’t get to see his friends as often. Also, what kinds of pet services are nearby… Where is the closest animal hospital? How far away is a reputable kennel for those times you travel? Where are you going to get their pet food? Since these may be aspects in our everyday lives, you probably should at least think of this when buying a place.

Pet-friendly complexes:
While it is true that many strata properties (condos or townhomes) have pet restrictions (often limiting the type and/or number of pets), some complexes are “pet-friendlier” than others. Be sure to look around when you’re looking at properties. Do you see large dogs? Are there “no pet” signs? Do you see a lot of people walking with the dogs on a leash? All these are pretty good indicators as to “how pet-friendly” a complex is.

Overall, there are a lot of factors that go into buying a home. While Rover probably doesn’t get the final say, it’s important to consider how your dog will adapt to their new home. As you know, they only want you to be happy, so why not make sure that they’ll be happy too.

Happy trails!

 

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

Protecting Your Household Possessions

You never expect it to happen but sometimes your belongings may be stolen or destroyed. To protect your possessions in your home from theft or a fire or some sort of disaster, putting together a household inventory would be very useful. When it’s time to provide your home insurance company with a record of your items to make your claim, this will reduce your stress, anxiety and time during this process.

You probably received some nice gifts at Christmas, and now is just the time to record these items and put them into a list if not done already.

I’d suggest starting one room at a time, otherwise it’s just too overwhelming. And don’t try to do it all in one day. Also remember to include items in your garage, attic, basement or storage facility.

You can find lists online that you can print out or make your own spreadsheet and include the item’s serial and model numbers, purchase date, cost, where you bought it and attach any receipts you may have.

Take photos of the items, sometimes it’s good to have a family member in the photo to show ownership (if it’s an expensive item). Video is great too. You may also want to include copies of wills, passports, birth certificates and credit card info with the inventory list.

Once you are done with the list, keep a copy and put another copy in a safety deposit box. If you don’t have one, give a copy to a relative or friend to keep. It’s good to update this list every six months or so.

I hope you never have to go through this painful process of theft or a disaster in your home, but thought I’d bring this up, as it’s a new year, and a good time to protect your possessions.

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

Bright ideas to get your home show ready to sell

Is your home show ready? Before you list your home for sale, here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters.
Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small, personal decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, remove out of season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Get rid of family pictures, trophies and knickknacks. Make sure to clean out the garage too.

2. Wash your windows and screens.
This will help get more light into the interior of the home as well as looks better.

3. Keep everything extra clean.
A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, clean the stove and fridge. Polish your doorknobs (inside and out) and address numbers.

4. Get rid of smells.
Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odours, smoke and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Scented candles will help.

5. Brighten your rooms.
Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned out bulbs in closets etc. Clean the walls, or paint them with a fresh neutral colour.

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

 

Moving Tips

Here’s a few tips/suggestions that we thought you might find useful when moving.

About a month before moving day:
– as a client of ours, you will receive a “Holmes Team After the Sale/Moving Checklist”
– call a moving company and book moving date
– notify post office for change of address
– notify school(s) of change of address
– contact your home insurance company to update info
– notify bank of change of address

A couple of weeks before moving day:
– contact your lawyer/notary to ensure they have all the information needed regarding the sale/purchase of your home
– arrange to have utilities disconnected at current home and connected at new home
– hold a garage sale to sell unwanted items
– arrange for transportation and care of your pets
– start packing and labeling boxes
– discontinue newspaper delivery
– plan to carry valuable documents/jewelery with you on moving day
– take down curtain rods, drapes and shelves

A day or two before moving day:
– confirm with Greg and Liz what time you will be leaving your home and moving to your new home
– clean fridge and oven
– finish packing personal items
– set aside items to go into your vehicle with you
– confirm contact information, address and moving time with movers
– verify that utilities have been/will be connected at new home

Moving day:
– have vacuum ready
– empty and clean out your fridge and freezer
– make a final inspection of house before leaving
– check all rooms, closets, cupboards and drawers
– get keys from Greg and Liz for your new place
– enjoy your new home!

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

How to Move the Green Way

If you are planning on moving and you would like to be more “green” or environmentally conscious, here are some ways to make that happen.

Ask your friends and family if they have any cardboard boxes you can use. Or maybe you have some already that are hidden in your storage locker or garage. Check with your local grocery store, liquor store, hardware store and the like for boxes. They may be in different sizes but that doesn’t matter, sometimes that works better for dishes or books etc.

At the office, photocopier/printer paper boxes are great boxes to use. They are not too big and are fairly strong too. Great boxes for stacking.

If you don’t want to use cardboard boxes, another option is renting moving crates. These are reusable plastic crates that are typically crushproof and stackable. There’s a cost to them, but usually the company rents them to you a couple of weeks before your move so you have them for about a month. They deliver them and then pick them up. No mess and no waste. Also check with your moving company, some of them provide this service as well.

 

What do you do about protecting your dishes, glassware or other breakables? You can use newspaper, used padded envelopes (from work) and old blankets and towels. (The latter may be a bit bulky whereas newspaper ink might get on your dishes).

Decreasing the amount of “stuff” that you have can help make your move easier on you. Hold a garage sale or put up items on Craigslist. Now, just remember not to accumulate too much stuff once you make your move! And the less stuff that you have, the smaller and lighter the moving vehicle will be and thus less gas that is burning.

Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. I like Method and Attitude products (which you can get at Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs and Superstore).

If you do use cardboard boxes for moving, think of recycling them or reusing to a friend or coworker that will be moving in the future.

Good luck with your move!

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

All About Duplexes

I’ve had the recent experience of assisting clients buy a full duplex as a place to live in. They are two families who wish to share one mortgage, thus finding a large enough home that was equal for both parties limited our search to full duplexes. A full duplex is when both sides of the duplex share one title. Going through the process was different than buying a single detached house in so many ways, so it made sense to share our knowledge for anyone considering this option.

When shopping for a duplex, be prepared to be patient. Since duplexes are an old style of building, they are fewer of them available for re-sale. With the building boom of the last 15 years, many duplexes have been torn down because of the large land that they occupy. New style homes, such as the two-storey with basements have often replaced them, thus reducing the inventory of duplexes on the market. Furthermore, in an economy with much uncertainty, duplexes are fairly easy positive cash-flow generators, so once an owner has a duplex, they hold onto them.

Then, when a new duplex listing pops up on the MLS, getting into a duplex is not easy, either. Since duplexes are often converted (legally or not) into a fourplex, 24 hours notice to get access is usually necessary. In fact, it is not uncommon to have to give 48 hours notice to get access.  Listing agents, or the sellers, have to track down all tenants to give legal notice. Getting into all sides of a duplex is so important because of the quality differences from each unit. Sometimes owners will renovate one unit when a tenant moves out, but leave other units alone as long as there is a tenant. So while the layout might be the same from one side to another, the quality can be drastically different. Finally, don’t be surprised that when you go to see it, there will be other potential buyers there at the same time. Since getting access can be difficult, a listing agent will try and get as many buyers through at one time. So be aware, as this can also create an urgency in the buyer writing an offer (when they see other buyers).

Not only do you have to be patient when shopping for a duplex, you have to keep a careful eye on the quality of the duplex, too. It’s likely that the seller’s of a duplex are probably investors and don’t live in one of the units. Since they are investors, they often don’t treat the duplex with the same kind of care that they provide their own home. In many investors minds, as long as they get the rent cheque, that’s all they are concerned with. Now to be fair, many tenants simply don’t report problems with the place, either. But since most duplexes are older buildings, often built back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, they are showing their age. If owners have never lived there, it is easy to see how repairs can get overlooked. That’s why it’s even more important to have a thorough home inspection done on a duplex. Getting access to the attic, and the roof is of particular importance.

Many duplexes in the Fraser Valley seem to be located close to the city centres. So many also have redevelopment potential. But the word “potential” must be noted. Listing agents will tell you how prime the land is, but buyer’s agents must do their research to find out the long-term plan for the region.  Furthermore, with regards to zoning regulations, careful attention must be made to determine whether the duplex is conforming or non-conforming. A non-conforming duplex means that if the duplex was destroyed for any reason (ie-fire, or to rebuild), the city’s zoning laws would not allow it to be a duplex again. I think you’d agree that’s an important fact you’d want to discover before you buy it! Other zoning challenges when it comes to duplexes is to find out other restrictions of the land. Some duplexes are zoned as multi-family, and others are zoned as residential duplex…each with the own allowances for number of units, size of building square footage, etc. Do not buy a duplex without careful inspection of the city’s bylaws.

In the end, my experience with buyers of a duplex has been an exciting one. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. My clients exercised patience and kept a reasonable head to ensure they found the right fit for them. But be forewarned, it is a completely different ball game than buying a single detached house. So be prepared!

—-

Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca