Saturday, November 30, 2013

Would you put up lights if you lived next door to them?

We've got about a 1,000 lights on the family Christmas tree and I must say my wife does an incredible job arranging those lights to make our tree look good each year, but I'm sure I've heard a string of Christmas lights actually laugh at us while we're trying to find the one bulb that has stopped the glow from an entire string of lights.  I can't imagine multiplying that excitement 500+ times. 

502,165 lights is the exact number of Christmas lights now recorded as a world record for a community home decorated for Christmas.  A family in Australia reclaimed their Guinness world record for Christmas lights with their new total this year. 

The Richards family, first succeeded in receiving the record backin 2011.  At that time they had placed 331,038 bulb around their home, but that record was lost the following year when 346,283 lights were turned on at a home in LaGrangeville, New York.

David Richards and his family have been planning all year to recapture the title and they succeeded this month (November 2013) with over half a million lights according the officials at Guinnes World Records.

Unless you've got about a month to spare and some additional help to string the lights, forget trying to beat this family.  The Richards household has about 48km of wires and the power meter runs like a race horse.  Fortunately the local power company picks up the tab because the family raises money for charity with their unbelievable display of lights.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Did You Forget About This Thing?

Have you checked your air filter lately? Now that we are hearing the furnace kick in more often we need to check the filter more often. Afterall, the warm air you appreciate during the winter is also the air you are breathing coming through that furnace filter.

Reliance Home Comfort provides a great overview of what type of filter is right for you when it's time to replace it.

The Reliance people say, an air filter’s MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) indicates the filter’s ability to capture airborne particles while air is flowing through your heating or cooling system. For residential purposes, MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with the low-end filters only capturing the largest particles and the higher MERV ratings capturing increasingly smaller particulates.

You can get the full story on filters here, but perhaps this blog was meant for your eyes as a reminder to check your furnace filter.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A New Home For Under $30,000

Here's an interesting idea to provide affordable and sustainable housing for the working individual (or couple who don't mind being close to each other all the time), who just can't make ends meet.

The Nomad easy to assemble home starting at $25,000. A home about the size of some garden sheds, but an idea that is under review right now. It's based on the success of similar type homes in other parts of the world, but would it be successful in Canada? That's what needs to be determined.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall Lawn Secrets

Why does the house down the street have a fabulous looking lawn and yours looks like a billboard that screams help me?

That home owner down the street might know the fall lawn secrets.

Click the link below or cut and paste into your browser to get more about adjusting your mower height, fertilizing, over seeding, aerating, top dressing and more.

Better Homes and Gardens - Fall Lawn Secrets.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kill A Watt

No surprise that large appliances like dryers and ranges consume the most electricty, but you might be surprised to discover that smaller things in your household especially units that draw "phantom power" can add considerably to your monthly power bill. There is a way to track down the power hogs within your houseold. .
Inexpensive electricity usage monitors are available like this "Kill A Watt" which shows how much things plugged in are actually using. These monitors come in various prices, but for as little as $30 you can more effectively monitor and discover where wasted energy is going.
The monitor plugs into the wall and then the appliance is plugged into the socket which shows the power the unit draws over a period of time. No need to keep the monitor plugged in so you only need one and move it from appliance to appliance over time to get an idea of where your energy dollars are being consumed

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Should You Purchase The Extended Warranty?

How often have you been asked, "Do you want the extended warranty on this?"  If you are planning on buying a new TV, appliance or computer that provides the option to purchase an extended warranty, this might help you in deciding how to answer that question.  

Consumer Reports magazine provided the odds that your newly purchased electronic or appliance will need repair in three to four years.

According to the magazine laptop computers and side-by-side refrigerators with an ice maker and water dispenser are the most likely to need repairs after the initial warranty expires.  Over 1/3 of each of each of those items required repairs within four years. 

Electric cooktops are the least likely appliance to need a repair with only 9% of those requiring a repair within four years. 

Here is a complete list from Consumer Reports magazine with the odds that the newly purchased electronic
or appliance will need repaired in three to four years.

  • Laptop computers  36%
  • Side-by-side refrigerators with ice maker and water dispenser  36%
  • Desktop computer  32%
  • Top or bottom-freezer refrigerators with ice maker 28%
  • Front-loading washing machines  25%
  • Top-loading washing machines  20%
  • Canister vacuum cleaners  18%
  • Gas ranges  16%
  • Top or bottom-freezer models without ice maker  15%
  • LCD televisions  15%
  • Upright vacuum cleaners  14%
  • Gas cooktops 14%
  • Electric ranges  13%
  • Plasma televisions  10%

Click here's for more from Consumer Reports on Extended Warranties.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

25 Biggest Renovation Mistakes

When it comes time to renovate, hopefully your project goes as planned.  However, not having a plan or not doing your homework is one of the biggest renovation mistakes according to HGTV.

Some of the other errors that make the Top 25 Biggest Renovation Mistakes list include;

  • Using cheap materials
  • Getting too trendy
  • Avoiding permits
  • Hiring the wrong contractor

To learn what HGTV says about these mistakes and the other twenty biggest mistakes when renovating click here. 

Here’s a clue to the #1 biggest mistake according HGTV:

$100,000 home +  $100,000 renovation =  Biggest Mistake.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

10 Worst Home Renovations

Should you renovate your home before you list to sell?  It’s a difficult question to answer because a renovated home is more appealing and has the potential to attract a buyer, but a remodelled home doesn’t always repay the Seller totally for the work completed. 

Forbes recently published an interesting article on just how much you can expect to recoup when you invest in home renovations when you go to sell your home.  The article points out that Sellers can improve their homes for Buyers more efficiently-and more cheaply- by simply tidying up the rooms and slapping a fresh coat of paint on walls.

Personally, I believe the three things you should seriously consider doing to increase the appeal and value of your home include...  

  • Go overboard on the cleaning,   
  • Tidy up (Pack away things you don’t need -you've got to get rid of the clutter)
  • For dollar investment, consider a fresh coat of paint and if possible replace tired & outdated flooring.
If you have a question concerning your home please contact me.    


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Home Ownership The Canadian Dream

Changing market conditions have triggered a shift in the Canadian homebuyer mix and mindset, a fact identified and confirmed by the RE/MAX Canadian Homebuying Trends Survey 2013-2014 released today. (January 22, 2013)

The national survey, hosted on the Angus Reid Forum in December, was conducted among 1,109 prospective purchasers who intend to buy within the next 24 months. From consumer demographics to buyer intentions, the survey provides a snapshot of Canadian homebuyers heading into a period of moderation.

Canadian homebuyers more experienced,
 financially prudent moving forward, says RE/MAX

Tighter mortgage lending rules, in conjunction with the fallout of the US housing meltdown and the European debt crisis, have triggered a shift in the Canadian homebuyer mix and mindset.  The new Canadian real estate consumer is experienced, fiscally-responsible, and ready to move forward over the next 24 months.
That’s the takeaway from the RE/MAX Canadian Homebuying Trends Survey conducted among more than 1,100 prospective purchasers late last year.
 National findings include:
·         Almost one in five purchasers is single
·         More than two-thirds are second or multi-time purchasers
·         Four out of 10 purchasers between the ages of 18-34 have a downpayment of 20 per cent or more
·         Just over 80 per cent of buyers believe housing values in their area will rise or remain the same
Changing market conditions have clearly prompted the shift in the homebuying activity from coast to coast.  Once dominated by first-time buyers, the survey found that second and multi-time buyers will lead the charge for housing over the next two years.  Experienced purchasers now represent 70 per cent of homebuyers, while first-time buyers are sitting at 30 per cent.
Spending will be reined in—with 38 per cent of purchasers indicating they’ll spend under $250,000 and 42 per cent indicating they will spend between $250,000 and $500,000. In Ontario, fewer buyers will fall under the $250,000 price point—at 31 per cent—and more buyers will be active between $250,000 and $500,000—45 per cent.
Greater fiscal responsibility is evident across the board.   In fact, 40 per cent of younger purchasers, aged 18 to 34, are expected to put down 20 per cent or more.  Serious equity gains have been a contributing factor.
Consumer demographics continue to evolve, shaped by new realities. Single buyers have emerged as a force in the market, representing almost one in five purchasers.  Forty-Five per cent are female—a stat that truly demonstrates how far we’ve come, as the number of successful, young female professionals entering Canadian housing markets climbs. 
Confidence underpins the Canadian housing market, with 83 per cent of purchasers believing that housing values in their area will rise or stay the same over the next 12 months.  Homebuyers were most bullish in Ontario, where that figure rose to 85 per cent.  Optimism in the province continues to be propped up by sound real estate market fundamentals and an improving economic outlook.
While the homebuying mix may be different, the mantra is the same.   Homeownership remains a key component of the Canadian Dream.  It’s a common thread among all Canadians—a goal to which we aspire—and that’s not likely to go away anytime soon. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How About Two Master Bedrooms?

The National Association of Home Builders predicts that by the year 2015 the demand for two master bedrooms in upscale homes will increase significantly.  

Why two master bedrooms? 

People are "tired" (like that) tired of not getting a good night's sleep because their spouse snores or flops around in bed.  People are becoming so desperate for a good night's sleep that they are now seriously talking about separate bedrooms.  When that time comes, who gets the spare room and who gets to keep the nice master bedroom?  That's where the idea for two master bedrooms in a home is gaining steam.

It's estimated that between 75% and 80% of adults have sleep problems like snoring or waking up during the night.  No longer is it a strange thing for happy couples to discuss splitting up, at least for the night.

A night-time separation can be a good thing.  For starters, besides not feeling tired the next day some sociologists report that couples that go for separate bedrooms actually have a more romantic relationship because an invite from a partner to join them in their bedroom for a night adds extra spice to the love life.  

Canadian Living reports the following added benefits from a good night's sleep:

  • Stress Reliever
  • Aids Anti-Aging
  • Better Performance and Energy
  • Better Health

The National Association of Home Builders predicts that by 2015, 60% of custom homes will have two master bedrooms. In fact, even today many builders report that 25% of custom home orders request two master suites.

Here's a question for you.  There are two identical homes with only one difference, that being one has two master bedrooms.  Would the two master bedroom home be your first choice based on getting a good night's sleep?