Lorenda Simms
Personal Real Estate Corporation

Sutton Group - West Coast Realty

Office 250-479-3333

Cell 250-217-5787

Email: lorendasimms@gmail.com

Everyone knows not to leave cash on the kitchen counter or jewelry sitting on your nightstand before an open house but there are other things besides valuables you should think about stashing away. Thankfully, with a bit of due diligence, it’s unlikely you’ll run into any issues.


“I’ve only had one screwdriver stolen during a property visit in my 23-year real estate career,” says Katia Samson, a REALTOR® and certified real estate broker with Group Sutton Centre Ouest in Montreal. “I always do a tour of the property before any showings and if I think an item should be put away, I tuck it in a drawer.”


With lots of visitors coming and going, you still want to be sure to secure, hide or remove these nine items. Your REALTOR® can help guide you through the process to make sure you’ve checked off the various items on this list.


1. Mail, private documents and passwords

If identity thieves don’t mind rooting through your garbage to find personal information, they will happily swipe it off your desk. Tuck away your mail, social insurance card, banks statements, passport, utility bills and credit cards. If you can’t take these things with you, hide them somewhere visitors won’t find them. This goes for your online passwords, too. Don’t display your Wi-Fi password and avoid leaving a list of your personal passwords taped next to your computer.


2. Ashtrays

You may already know the smell of smoke is a huge turnoff to home buyers, but even the suggestion people light up in your home is enough to make them move on to the next property.


“If a property smells like tobacco or marijuana, it will be very difficult to sell,” says Samson.


3. Plug-in air fresheners

Yes, you want your house to look and smell fresh, but buyers might be sensitive to that flowery mist. Worse, they might wonder if you’re trying to cover up a bigger problem. While you’re at it, avoid sloshing bleach or other harsh chemical cleaners everywhere before the open house begins–buyers might think you’re concealing mould issues and could be turned off by the harsh smell.


4. Fans or space heaters

Neither of these items will do you any favours in the décor department, but buyers who see spot heaters plugged in everywhere may also wonder if something is wrong with the heating system or if your home is poorly insulated. On the flipside, fans may suggest the house can get too hot.


5. Pets and their stuff

We know you’d never leave your dog–even in its crate–during an open house, but you may also want to pick up food dishes, slobbery toys, litter boxes and other things that suggest an animal lives in the house. Buyers who don’t like cats or dogs don’t want to wonder if your pet has peed all over the basement carpets.


“Any signs that an animal is part of the household should be removed from sight for visits,” says Samson. Which means, don’t forget to thoroughly vacuum furniture if your furry friend sheds everywhere.


6. Prescription drugs

Thieves are more likely to steal valuable medication than wander off with a piece of jewelry, so don’t make it easy for them to find any. That means clearing out the medicine cabinet, your night table drawer and your kitchen cupboard if you usually store meds there.


7. Fridge magnets and family photos

Take down the wedding photos, kids’ awards, plaques, school photos and even magnets on your fridge. “Items that might make clients uncomfortable should be put away as well, such as toothbrushes, sponges in showers, hygiene items and dirty laundry,” adds Samson.


Not only is this a good way to declutter, but buyers will be able to see themselves living in the space if it doesn’t seem so personal.


8. Valuable paintings, sculptures or heirlooms

Electronics are not the only items that can mysteriously disappear during an open house, so keep expensive things away from view. Even if thieves can’t walk out with a large sculpture, don’t tempt them to come back and steal it another time.


9. Your keys and remotes

Nothing screams, “Come back some time and rob our house or steal our car!” more than extra keys dangling from hooks in your entry hall; ditto for the garage door opener. Store these items in a safe, secure place or bring keys and remotes with you when the open house begins.


Anything else?

While it’s very unlikely you’ll encounter any issues during an open house, it’s good common sense to take precautions. Listen to your REALTOR® and use your best judgment for a safe and successful experience.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/9-things-sellers-should-never-leave-out-during-an-open-house/

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There’s something about looking at images of a perfectly put together fridge or pantry that inspires you to do your own #fridgemakeover or reach #pantrygoals. It’s a popular trend on social media right now, but a well-organized kitchen isn’t just good for an Instagram post or TikTok video. Smart fridge and pantry organization can also help reduce food waste and inspire more home-cooked meals or snacks. If you have an appetite for organization, we’re sharing fridge and pantry hacks you can use in your own kitchen today.


Consolidate, decant, and label

The first thing to do is check what you have, toss out expired items, donate other unwanted items to a food bank (if accepted), and see what you have left. Once you know what you’re working with, batch similar items together and use a label maker, label sheet, or tape and marker to add visible labels with expiry dates to every item. Matching containers—either glass or clear plastic—help make it easy to see what you have on hand and will create a polished look in your pantry. If you don’t have storage containers, or you don’t want to buy any, you can still group things together based on their similarities and label them clearly.


There’s no right or wrong way to group your food items, but some of the more common categories are:

  • By meal: group all your breakfast items together, your lunch items, snack items etc.
  • By height: if you’re really going for aesthetics, grouping by height is a good choice.
  • By function: all your spices in one spot, all your baking supplies in another, etc.
  • By healthy choices: make it easier to grab a healthy snack by grouping them all in one. spot, and likewise for when it comes to finding a sweet treat.

You should also be sure to follow the FIFO rule—first in, first out. When you bring home a round of groceries, place the newest items towards the back and go through what you already have. This will help eliminate food waste and clutter.


Think outside the crisper drawer

We’ve all thrown away uneaten produce that was forgotten in a crisper drawer. To help your produce last longer and encourage healthy eating, wash and prep all your fruit and veggies before loading them into the fridge. This way, they’re ready to go when it’s time for a meal or snack. According to Oxygen Magazine, meal prepping can help take away the stress of healthy eating, since everything is conveniently ready when you want a quick snack. Make snacking simple by adding a labelled snack drawer to your fridge and filling it with healthy grab-and-go items you and your family love.


Opt for clear fridge containers with drawers or lids to help make produce easy to grab and go, and use the freed up drawer space to organize other items like cheese, meat, or backstock of milk or juice.


Stick to your own style

There’s no rule your pantry or fridge has to be filled with clear or white containers all items lined up in a row! If you’re into a more rustic style, aim to use natural materials like woven baskets, wooden boxes or crates, and glass jars of different sizes for a clean but homey look. In this example, glass jars make it easy to see what’s available while doubling as a design element on an open shelf. Plus, using recycled glass jars or baskets is environmentally friendly and often more cost effective.


Organize on your own budget

Wire bins, lazy susans, acrylic containers, and baskets can quickly add up with some items costing $20 or more per unit. Save money on your kitchen organization project by starting with what you already have at home, then looking for budget-friendly options at your local dollar or discount store. Dollar stores can offer inexpensive and cheerful solutions like baskets, containers, and jars in a range of materials. In this #pantrygoals example, dollar store organization finds are used to pull off a pantry overhaul on a small budget.


Use stadium shelving and turntables

Deep cupboards seem good in theory, but in practice they can become a waste of space. When you stack cans and boxes four or five deep, you lose sight of what’s available! Using stadium shelving, or shelf risers, lets you utilize the space towards the back but still keeps everything in view. Turntables offer the same convenience, letting you access things with ease.


Adjust your shelving height

Most pantries and fridges have adjustable shelves, but most people neglect to use them! If you buy a lot of tall items, such as cereal boxes or juices, make sure there’s a shelf to accommodate them. A good rule of thumb is to allow 2 inches of clearance above the tallest item on the shelf so you can add items easily.


Here are some typical pantry shelf measurements you should keep in mind:

  • 6.5 to 7 inches for canned goods
  • 14 to 16 inches for cereal boxes
  • 18 to 20 inches for larger items (bags of potatoes or rice, soft drinks, etc)

Whether you opt for a total organization overhaul or make some simple changes to make your fridge or pantry more functional, a little effort can go a long way towards making the most out of your kitchen’s storage space. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/5-fridge-and-pantry-organizing-hacks-you-can-do-today/22638/1366

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Purchasing a property in the winter can be a pretty chill idea. Buying in the wintertime can be advantageous for both home buyers and sellers—with a smaller buying pool, the (typically) off-season market can lend more serious offers from motivated purchasers who benefit from less competition. However, wintery weather can make it tricky to assess a home when you can’t fully see the condition of the property under layers of ice and snow.


Don’t overlook the home’s exterior


A home’s first impression from the sidewalk is always important to consider when buying, and it’s no different during the winter.


Travassos and Rushforth agree it’s crucial to inspect the outside of the home in the winter time. Travassos notes you want to make sure the property’s driveway, outdoor stairs, and sidewalks are shoveled so you can clearly see their condition. A blanket of fluffy snow can also make it a challenge to gauge the property’s roof and grading to see if water is running away from the house correctly.


“Sometimes it can be difficult to see the condition of the roof or the shingles if they’re covered in snow, and then if all of the other roofs [in the neighbourhood] are covered in snow and yours isn’t, it means there’s probably not enough insulation—heat is getting out of the house that shouldn’t be,” explains Travassos.
Image via James Bombales


Landscaping costs for trees and grass can add up, so it’s best to get a sense of the condition of the back and front yards, too. Rushforth says a buyer should ask for pictures of the home in the summertime to assess the state of the yard, gardens, and any outdoor structures such as pools.


“You want to know what you’re buying, and the problem with [the winter], everything is covered,” said Rushforth. “You don’t know if there’s grass, if there are weeds, if there’s interlock, if there’s not interlock. Trying to get some recent summer pictures is absolutely key.”


Examine the interiors from floor to ceiling


When touring the inside of the property, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for any wintertime red flags that could indicate issues within the house.


Rushforth says to look for any signs of drafts, fogging, or condensation in the windows that could point to broken seals, allowing cold air to enter the home.


“Looking in the wintertime, you get to see if there are any drafts in the windows,” said Rushforth. “Can you feel cold air coming through? Do you see any leaking? Are you seeing any water stains?”


As colder weather tends to dry out rooms, Rushforth explains a buyer will want to look for gaping or splitting in hardwood floors, which can speak to the home’s humidity levels. Dryness can cause things to shrink slightly, so a purchaser should inspect the home to ensure interior doors and cupboards can close properly. By feeling the interior walls, you can also assess if they are cold to the touch and therefore poorly insulated—Travassos points out some homes may be double bricked and not insulated.


When viewing a home in the winter, Rushforth notes purchasers should monitor for big differences in temperature between rooms, a sign there could be ventilation problems to address.


“You’re looking for signs of chilly rooms, drafty rooms, or even rooms that are really warm,” said Rushforth. “Why are they really warm in the winter time unless the heat is punched up? You’re looking for differences in rooms that will be a tell-tale sign as to whether there are issues.”


Inspect your home utility systems and out-of-season amenities


The winter often calls for homeowners to shut down seasonal home amenities like pools and cooling systems, but this shouldn’t mean a buyer should skip on investigating these features.


Travassos and Rushforth explain a buyer won’t be able to turn on and test the home’s air conditioning in the winter to confirm if it’s working properly or not. Because of this, it’s important for the buyer to do their due diligence and ask the seller and their agent questions about the state of home systems such as the furnace, septic, pool parts, and other property features.


“Quite often, additions aren’t done with permits and pipes were not insulated properly, so in really cold months, they freeze a little bit,” said Travassos. “So you want to run the water on all of the taps and make sure you’re not seeing any of that.”

For pools and hot tubs, you may want to request copies of receipts, maintenance reports, and proof of professional services to ensure they—as well as all of the other home systems—are in good working order when you purchase the property. As always, opting for a home inspection can be a way to ensure a professional can get a deeper understanding of the property, including in areas like the basement and attic.



Source: https://r.trendinghomenews.com/8pdi0?fbclid=IwAR1dlVH0fJjVCSqywMN3l1drYE9HSNRAAwrRAR9ABm2Bl6ikZL0HFbL-00A

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If you are buying a home, should you have a home inspection?  In my opinion this is always the best option.  Sometimes in a seller's market, buyer's are waiving this condition in order to secure their bid on a  home purchase.  If you choose to forego an inspection, can you afford the potential consequences?  This video highlights a few of the potential concerns that home inspectors look for when doing an inspection.
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Just like it’s in your best interest to get a head start when it comes to holiday shopping, it’s also a good idea to start prepping your home for winter early, too. Once the first signs of crisp air and winter-like weather make an appearance, you know it’s the perfect time to start making sure you won’t be left in the cold literally and figuratively.


If you’re a former longtime renter new to homeownership, you may be at a loss determining how to best prepare your home for winter. I talked to seasoned real estate agents to learn the best winter home maintenance tips which will spare your home in the cold and possibly save you time and money.


Clean the gutters ASAP.
If you want to preserve your walls, ceilings, and insulation, it’s best to keep your gutters clean, says Patricia Matus, a Realtor with CENTURY 21 Alliance Realty Group. Allowing snow and water to freeze and accumulate at the eaves of the house can cause damage to the roof and create leaks in your home, she explains. Use a snow rake to remove heavy snow when temperatures fluctuate between above and below freezing — this can prevent ice buildup and reduce the potential for leaks.


Make stray branches disappear.
The trees you admired in the spring and summer can do damage to your property come winter. Dealing with fallen branches after a snowstorm can be a huge headache turned financial burden, especially if they land on your house. Hire a professional to identify dead trees and trim branches before it’s too late, suggests Matus.


Drain your hot water heater.
Sediment build-up is a common problem for hot water heaters. Draining the heater can help the reduction of sediment so it runs efficiently, says Ryne Lambert, co-founder of Sell My House In Wisconsin.


Tune up the snowblower.
Nothing is worse than having the first big snowfall of the season, pulling out your snowblower, and finding that it doesn’t work. You’ll end up frustrated and tired from shoveling your way out a foot of snow and thinking about the money you wasted on the snowblower. Avoid this pitfall by having the snowblower tuned up. Replace spark plugs, change the oil, and make sure the unit is running efficiently ahead of time, says Lambert.


Install weather stripping.
A drafty house can be just as uncomfortable to live in as it is to effectively heat. Keep it warm by replacing or installing stripping for exterior doors to save money, says Lambert. Take it a step further by putting insulation or plastic around the windows as well.


Clear the chimney.
Chimneys can be problematic if they aren’t properly maintained, Matus says. “If you have a fireplace, call a chimney sweep to have it cleaned before you start using it,” she says. “Creosote build-up and debris such as a nest or leaves can be a fire hazard.” 



Source: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/winter-home-maintenance-tips-real-estate-agents-36987441

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Prior to a home inspection, Boston real estate agent Sam Reifman-Packett makes sure he manages his clients’ expectations. “A home inspector isn’t there to hype up your dream home,” cautions Reifman-Packett, a vice president with Compass. “Their job is to find and make note of everything wrong with the property.”


Home inspectors are a bit like professional bearers of bad news. But their work can save you big bucks, because they often spot things you overlooked during an open house. Sometimes, the home inspection report includes several little fixes. Other times, they’re big, costly ones, like a roof that needs to be replaced or outdated electrical wiring. To further complicate the matter, there are parts of a home that will pass a home inspection but are still expensive to fix.


I asked real estate agents and home inspectors which finds in a home inspection can be the most serious or the most costly. Here’s what they had to say.


The Deck
A deck nearing the end of its life cycle can be a costly fix and also spell danger, explains Welmoed Sisson, a home inspector and author of “101 Things You Don’t Want in Your Home.” Typically, decks are built to last for 12 to 15 years in the outdoor elements, she explains. After that, the fasteners can corrode, which could lead to a collapse, Sisson says. While deck repairs can cost less than $3,000, a full replacement can run between $4,000 to $11,000, according to HomeAdvisor.


Foundation Repairs
Foundations can be very costly to repair, says Khari Washington, broker and owner of 1st United Realty & Mortgage. “The repair might even entail raising the house off of the foundation to repour footings on older homes,” Washington says. While minor cracks can cost a few hundred dollars, more major ones that require hydraulic jacking can cost tens of thousands of dollars.


Roof Replacement
A roof replacement has high material costs, Washington says, and can vary in cost depending on the roofing material and square footage of the home. While some roof replacements can soar over the $10,000 mark, the average homeowner pays $8,453 to install a new roof, according to HomeAdvisor.


New Septic Systems
A septic system is the non-urban way to deal with human waste, explains Glen Pizzolorusso, a broker with Compass in Fairfield County, Connecticut. These systems are designed to last 30 to 50 (or more) years, but mistreatment of a septic system can be very costly, with a new system costing between $20,000 and $50,000.


“It’s something that you cannot see when you fall in love with a home, and will only come up on inspection,” Pizzolorusso says. There are all types of systems, and they have changed over the years, he explains. Houses built in previous decades adhered to previous building codes, which are now obsolete, and new codes are adopted every few years.


“If a system fails and is outdated, you may be required to replace the system, but replacing a system must adhere to the new codes, so hopefully you have good soil and enough land, otherwise an engineered system with a hefty price tag is required,” he explains.


Water Damage
Oftentimes, water damage goes hand in hand with homes that need a roof replaced, explains Valentino Gecaj of Valentino Home Inspections in Westchester, New York. Although anything from leaky toilets to burst pipes to floods can also give way to this pesky problem. Water damage can lead to an abundance of mold, Gecaj explains, which can cause a slate of health problems. If the water damage is extensive, it can also cause major structural damage in the home.



Source: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/most-expensive-fixes-home-inspection-36985263?amp=1

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Technology is a wonderful thing and, as luck would have it, there’s a bunch of handy smartphone apps created specifically for homeowners! Here are five great ones…


iScape
If you’ve got outdoor spaces that you’d like to improve, iScape is the app for you! This app uses your phone’s camera to allow you to drag and drop elements like trees, plants, fences, water features, etc. and visualize how it all fits together in your specific yard!


Happy Plant

This app is a very simple solution to a very common problem. If you frequently forget to water your plants, use Happy Plant to serve as a smart reminder system! There’s also a cool feature which creates time-lapse videos of your plants surviving, thriving, and growing.


HomeZada
This app is like six apps rolled into one! HomeZada helps homeowners with everything from managing remodel projects to keeping track of home-related financials and much more. As they put it, HomeZada is, “A personal finance solution that is a digital hub of all the important information about your largest financial asset – your home.”


Letgo

We all have too much stuff, right? Whether it’s stuff we don’t need, stuff we haven’t used in years, or stuff we don’t even remember getting, the Letgo app is here to help. Simply snap a pic of something you no longer want/need, list it on Letgo, and you’re done!


AroundMe
This app is endlessly helpful whether you’re new to the area or visiting somewhere you’ve never been. AroundMe basically gives you all the information you need about various businesses near you. A straightforward concept, but a very handy resource when you need it!



Source: http://www.trendinghomenews.com/2019/02/5-great-apps-homeowners/?token=4D975B0E-7224-4ADB-BA95-8673111264CF&final=1

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For many Canadians sheds are often seen as dingy storage spaces for seasonal equipment and oversized junk. Conversely, in Australia and New Zealand, sheds are passionately celebrated in documentaries, books, and magazines as places of invention, retreat, and productivity.


However, it looks like some Canadians are coming around, and realizing their sheds’ potential as stunning and functional extensions of their homes. From home office setups to backyard gyms, here are five amazing shed transformation ideas that go against the grain.


Join the tiny house revolution!
If the explosion of #TinyHouse Instagram accounts and YouTube channels is any indicator, the growing appeal of living in more compact, efficient, and even portable “tiny homes” is reaching a fever pitch. According to SEMrush’s 2020 Canada Real Estate Trends report, average searches for “tiny homes for sale” have soared throughout the East Coast.


Redeveloping your backyard shed or garage into a separate structure (built to code, of course) can also provide a new source of income as a rental unit. In cities like Toronto, where the housing market temperature continues to rise, some residents are renovating their backyard sheds and garages into self-contained dwellings made accessible through the city’s intricate network of laneways, and renting or selling them as smaller one-person units.


As with any property renovation in Canada, whether in an urban or rural community, you’ll want to ensure your tiny house project meets standards and regulations. Make sure to assess your renovation plans against local zoning laws, bylaws, and building codes before you break ground. Or better yet, ask your REALTOR® for their insight.


Stretch out with a new gym or yoga studio
With gyms and fitness centres closed and Canadians staying home more than, it’s no surprise personal fitness equipment has seen a sharp increase in sales since the beginning of the pandemic.


But in an already-crowded house with each room playing a specific role—“Honey, the dining room is for potatoes, not pilates!”—what better way to stretch out and use all your available space than by setting up a gym or yoga studio in your shed?


You can easily store your weights and machines in the shed when not in use, and bring them outside when the weather allows for a full-on outdoor iron-pumping session. Or, if zen is more your speed, clear out enough space for a yoga mat, plants, diffusers, and a Bluetooth speaker, and watch the stress melt away.


Work from home…at the office
For those of us working from home but still crave a light commute and/or have a crowded household during the day, a backyard home office offers a quiet and separate space to take Zoom calls, finish up your daily deliverables, or simply collect your professional thoughts.


With the number of people working from home going up and up, Canadians are looking for contractors to help build new offices in their existing shed space. The only restrictions are space, so let your imagination run wild. That being said, just be sure your new backyard office doesn’t pose any insurance risks.


Get back to basics with a greenhouse
For the budding gardeners among us, why not transform your backyard shed from a “fixed” state of storage to a “growth”-oriented hub by setting up your own sheltered greenhouse? By adding a few window openings and shelving units, you can take advantage of the shed’s access to sunlight and create a warm, insulated home for your seedlings. A shed-turned-greenhouse is also a great way to keep critters away from any fruits and vegetables you may be growing. So, whether planning a hydroponic herb garden or pop-up produce stand and flower shop, the options are ripe for the picking.


Retreat to your fortress of solitude
If you’re looking for some alone time, and perhaps a more stylish and less utilitarian use of your existing shed space, focus your shed makeover on creating your own backyard oasis. Whether it’s a meditation space or escape room, you can get away from it all while staying put.

Of course, all of these ideas will only be possible after a thorough spring cleaning. Good thing the weather is cooperating. Time to get started—your shed is waiting.



Source: https://www.creacafe.ca/from-drab-to-fab-five-shed-transformation-ideas/

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Carpenter ants, wasps, fleas, roaches, bedbugs…insect infestations can be a nuisance and a real threat to your home. While you may expect the bugs when you’re on the patio, you’re likely not expecting them when you’re crawling into bed. We asked an entomologist to share tips so homeowners can learn how to spot the early warning signs bugs have found their way into your home, and ways to prevent them from getting inside in the first place!


Carpenter ants

Carpenter ants can cause major damage in your home, says entomologist Taz Stuart, who is the director of technical operations for Poulin’s Pest Control in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Most of the time, their primary nest is outside your house.


“The queen then finds old or water-damaged wood, and you’ll see sawdust being pushed out and the ants themselves,” explains Stuart. “Getting a positive identification on these ants will then allow a pest control professional to treat inside and outside the home, and find the source colony to get that removed.”



Bedbugs

Bedbugs are great hitchhikers, and they can get into almost everything. They’re also hard to get rid of. 


“I’ve seen them in bags, books, and boxes, so it’s very important to look at your items. Don’t assume just because something’s new that bedbugs can’t be on it,” says Stuart. “In an infestation in the home, look for the bugs themselves. Their skins molt, so that’s another piece of evidence to look for. You’ll also see little black spots on your bed frame, mattress, and even on your dressers, your drawers, lampshades, baseboards, or sofa.”



Cockroaches

Cockroaches thrive in unsanitary conditions, says Stuart. They love it when food or water is left out, and they’ll often arrive in your home by hitching a ride inside a cardboard box. 


“We’ve seen a big increase in the number of calls about roaches since last year. More people are staying home, leaving out their stuff or ordering in products that may have roaches in them,” he explains. 


Your home can quickly become infested, because females don’t need males to mate: Within 36 days, you’ll have between 30 to 48 new cockroaches from one bug, and they’re incredibly resilient. 


“They can live without water for seven to 14 days, and without food for more than 30 days. They’ll eat their own young if they have to, or their own waste,” says Stuart. 


Because roaches are nocturnal, you’ll see them scurrying across the floor when you turn on the lights during the evening. 



Wasps

Yellow jacket or paper wasps are common now, because the queens have started their nests, says Stuart. 


“During the summer, they’re docile because they have lots of alternative food sources, so they’re not really going to be bugging you until late August, September, and October when their natural food sources disappear,” he explains.  


Wasps can be a nuisance when they go after your sugary drink or hamburger out on your deck, but don’t swat them away, because they’ll become aggressive, adds Stuart. 


“They can sting you multiple times and release pheromones to make you more attractive to their wasp friends so they come sting you as well.” 


If you notice a wasp’s nest under the eaves of your roof or near a window, bring in a professional. It’s best to have wasps sprayed and the nest removed at night when the workers are inside it. 



Fleas

Have you ever seen a tiny black spot leap off your dog’s neck onto the floor? That means your pet has brought fleas into your home, and you can quickly become infested with them, says Stuart.


“Look for the evidence like fecal matter around the pet’s ears or in the hairline, or the fleas themselves,” he says. “It’s important to get the proper products to treat your pet, and to bring in professionals. Be sure to wash everything and dry it at high heat to kill all stages of fleas.” 



How to make your house unwelcoming to insects

When it comes to bug infestations, exclusion is the key: Insects sneak into your home wherever there are holes or cracks in your foundation, explains Stuart. 


“Seal those up, and install tightly fitting screens to make sure nothing gets in,” he suggests. “And get rid of any old or water-damaged wood on or near the house, because insects will start excavating that out to create a new colony, which can become a structural issue.”


Stuart also recommends keeping food stored away, and placing insect traps and monitors at strategic spots around the house, such as entry points and along baseboards inside. 


“Any bug can cross the trap and get stuck on there, so you’ll see what you have,” he says.


Noticing bug infestations when they’re in the early stages can make it easier for you to deal with them before they become a bigger issue. It’s always recommended you contact a professional before doing any work that could cause structural damage, or when it comes to using harsh chemicals to deal with infestations. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/5-creepy-crawlers-to-watch-for-in-your-home/21489/1363

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Buying a flipped home—a property that’s been purchased, renovated, and re-sold by an investor—is all the rage these days, and for good reason! It’s an enticing idea, especially since you get to move into an already-updated home without having to handle the renovations yourself.


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank of Canada saw evidence of “a lot more flipping” driving investor activity in some Canadian housing markets, as housing prices across the country rose 25% in February over the previous year.


It’s easy to jump headfirst into a flipped home because everything seems shiny and new. But it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to avoid a potential headache down the road. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking to purchase a flipped home.


1. What’s your budget?

Remember: Investors flip houses to make money. The average investor can make thousands in net profit on a property flip—that’s why they undertake the risk, effort, and financial investment to renovate a house they don’t intend to live in. As a result, you’ll probably end up paying a higher price as a sort of “convenience fee” for someone else taking care of all the renovations. You’re the one benefitting from buying a freshly renovated, move-in ready home, so it can be worth that extra cost. Just be sure the higher price tag for this convenience doesn’t strain your budget!


2. How long did the flip take?

Flipping a house takes time to do it properly, but the longer an investor holds onto the property, spending money on remodeling, the less profit they’re making. This may cause the investor to rush the flip and even cut corners on safety or quality of construction—not great for you, the potential buyer.


It might be a red flag if a house has been flipped in three months or less. However, different projects will take a different amount of time. A full flip will take longer than a kitchen or basement redo. Plus, timelines will vary depending on who’s completing it!


Work with your REALTOR® to find the full history of the house, specifically the date and price of the property’s last sale, to help verify when work began. Additionally, contact your local building department to check if the investor obtained the proper permits and the home is up to code. More on this in a bit…


3. Inspect everything carefully.

A common pitfall experienced by first-time buyers of a flipped house occurs when they don’t inspect closely enough, avoid doing due diligence on the flipping process, and are shy about asking a lot of questions. They’ve become the proud new owners of a home that looks beautiful on the outside but may hide shoddy work on the inside.


A critical step to take once you’ve submitted an offer and secured your financing is to hire a professional home inspector to “kick the tires” of your new home. Learn more about the home inspection process including how to find a professional inspector in your area by visiting the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors. Your REALTOR® can also connect you with a reputable home inspector who knows and serves your neighbourhood.


If you put in a conditional offer, your sale is not final until the inspection is complete. This means if the inspection uncovers any issues, you can go back to the seller to renegotiate the selling price or revoke the offer if the issues are too extreme. If you buy the home without conditions, you’re responsible for resolving any issues that arise during the home inspection, which could end up being pretty pricey if the flippers cut corners. A typical home inspection should take about three hours and can cost anywhere between $300 and $800 depending on the size of the house, but the peace of mind this will afford you is worth every penny.


4. Ask questions about every single thing.

Be sure to accompany the inspector (if possible) during the walk-around of your flipped house and come equipped with more questions than you thought you needed to ask. Some of these questions include:

  • Can you provide all the work permits?
  • Can you provide the proof of inspection for the electrical work?
  • What was structurally changed?
  • What was done to the foundation?
  • What was done to the wiring?
  • Are there signs of mould?
  • What was done to the plumbing?
  • How was the insulation upgraded?
  • Did you touch the roof?
  • How did you address insect, water, fire, or other major damage discovered during the project?

You don’t want to be blind-sided if something happens to your new home, so asking these questions is crucial to ensuring you feel comfortable if and when you move in.


A good flip has its benefits

If you do your research, talk to the right people, and are OK with someone else making all the renovation choices, then purchasing a flipped house isn’t a bad option. While it may be a bit more expensive and require diligent inspection, you’ll sit comfortably in your newly remodeled living room knowing you invested in a new home that will stand the test of time.


If you are looking to buy a flipped home, be sure to connect with a REALTOR®. They’ve likely been through this experience before and know what you should be on the lookout for! Their knowledge of homes, inspections, housing markets, and the neighbourhood will be extremely beneficial to helping you make an informed decision. 



Source: https://www.realtor.ca/blog/flip-or-flop-4-things-to-consider-before-buying-a-flipped-property/21400/1362

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