Wednesday, December 3, 2014

One way to create some excitement about your listing

A house-seller in Holland came up with an ingenious way of attracting more potential buyers. The house had been for sale for more than six months and failed to attract anyone prepared to meet the $780,000 price tag. So, the owners decided they needed to come up with something special to create some interest in their home.

A roller-coaster was installed to show people around the house and grounds. This video shows people whizzing through the living room, kitchen and bedrooms and around the outside of the property.

Don't worry about not understanding the language because a movie is worth a thousand words.

No word on the place being sold yet.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Be Home Smart Not Home Emotional

Take two minutes of your time and get some valuable advice on buying a home.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mandatory Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It's now mandatory. Do you have one?

A new law making carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in all Ontario homes is now in effect.

The new regulation, which became effective on October 15,2014, updates Ontario's Fire Code following the passage of Bill 77 last year.

These updates are based on recommendations from a Technical Advisory Committee which was led by the Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management and included experts from fire services, the hotel and rental housing industries, condo owners and alarm manufacturers.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will take place November 1-8, 2014

Bill 77 is also known as the Hawkins-Gignac Act. It is named after a Woodstock family. OPP Const. Laurie Hawkins, her husband Richard and their two children, Cassie and Jordan died in a tragic carbon monoxide leak in their home in December 2007. They did not have a carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide detectors will now be required near all sleeping areas in residential homes and in the service rooms, and adjacent sleeping areas in multi-residential units. Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into the wall.

Quick Facts

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless.

More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada, including 11 on average in Ontario.

Bill 77, an Act to Proclaim Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week and to amend the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, received royal assent in December 2013.

The first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week will take place November 1-8, 2014.

The Ontario Building Code requires the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in homes and other residential buildings built after 2001.

Safety Tips
(Provided by the Hawkins-Gignac Foundation for CO Education)

Install at least one CSA-6.19.01 approved carbon monoxide detector outside bedrooms. However, it is advised to install one on every floor.

Check the expiry date of existing detector and replace any devices built before 2008. Alarms need to be replaced every 7-10 years depending on the brand.

Have a licensed technician inspect your fuel burning appliances (re. furnace, range, fireplace, water heater) annually, to ensure they are in proper working order and vented correctly.

For families with older parents or relatives, help them inspect their detectors.

Replace batteries in your detector annually, or opt for models with 10-year sealed lithium batteries that never need to be changed.

When a detector sounds, make sure everyone is out of the house and call 911. Exposure to carbon monoxide reduces a person"s ability to think clearly, so don"t delay clearing out.

Kidde Canada has published a very helpful CO information sheet and law guide in PDF format. It is available on their website.

Another great website with valuable information is They also have a very good CO Safety Guide in PDF format.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Ikea is a familiar name to most with their massive array of Swedish named products to fit almost every conceivable purpose and for the creative individual products that are building blocks for bigger ideas.

There is now an entire community of bigger idea folks who are on a re-purposing mission for IKEA products.  They call themselves "IKEA Hackers" and there is an online community to share re-purposing product ideas.

Check out to see some simple and some very creative ways of modifying IKEA products.  Most projects even come with detailed instructions to complete you re-purposing project like this Lego storage idea using a headboard, plastic storage cases and some binder clips.

 Lego Storage

Be wowed or smile as you look at some of this stuff and join the club of IKEA Hackers with your own idea.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This is being organized

A house with under 500 square feet of living area qualifies as a micro home.  It is also an unthinkable place to call home for most families, but one Austin, Texas family would almost call 500 square feet of living, huge.   

Scott Sprague, his wife Carrie, and two boys live in a home that is 260 square feet.  Actually, the home is quite cute and very well kept.  How do they do it? 

It takes a lot of planning as the video shows.  Although this home is very cost efficient for a family of four, it's also a great example of how over stuffed and disorganized most home owners are compared to the Sprague's way of living. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Much Is Too Much For A Kitchen Reno?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Scott McGillivray, author of How To Add Value To Your Home, Cash Flow For Life, and host of HGTV's Income Property.

Scott is a wealth of information and shares it at his many seminars currently titled Scott's Wealth Tour..  He does flip houses but for the most part looks for the right home to buy to turn into another income property.  If you are thinking of doing this, I would highly recommend you attend one of his sessions.  More details available here.

I took the opportunity to ask Scott if he has a formula to know how much to spend or better put how much not to spend when renovating what can be one of the most expensive rooms, the Kitchen.  He uses a 5% calculation based on the value of the home.  His explanation below. 


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Heart trumps head among buyers

A new study into the behaviour of Ontario’s home owners, released by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), paints a sobering snapshot of a sometimes contradictory experience – where rational decision-making is valued, but the heart overrules the head when it comes to purchasing a home.

Among the key findings: While more than 90 per cent rank price (96 per cent), functional fit (95 per cent), structural integrity (91 per cent) and neighbourhood quality (91 per cent) as the top factors when purchasing a home, 51 per cent admit to having been influenced by emotion when buying their home. This jumps to 64 per cent of owners aged 18-34.

“Despite the fact that Ontarians are fairly home smart, we’re seeing more and more people – especially younger home buyers – getting swept up in the frenzied market, making emotional decisions they could later regret,” said Joe Richer, Registrar of RECO. “This is why we are launching Be Home Smart – a public education campaign to remind Ontarians of the tools, resources and protection available to help them make smart home buying and selling decisions.”

This study of Ontario home owners was hosted on the Angus Reid Forum for RECO as part of the province-wide public-education campaign. It revealed that while just 15 per cent report going over budget and bidding over asking price to secure their dream home, the figure jumps to 25 per cent of home owners 18-34.

Further, first-time home owners are more at risk for costly surprises due to a lack of experience, especially when it comes to closing costs. While 43 per cent of home owners found closing costs higher than expected, this rose to more than half (54 per cent) of those aged 18-34.

“Working with a registered real estate professional will help you understand your rights and prepare for the real costs of home buying,” said Richer. “It’s all about being home smart versus acting with your heart – a message that’s particularly important for younger buyers who may feel increased pressure to overextend themselves financially to find their dream home.”

Full press release found here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

$560 Billion Outstanding - May 30th CMHC Change

CMHC is tightening the home mortgage market once again which will make it bit more difficult for certain Canadians to qualify for a mortgage.

As of May 30, 2014 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation will no longer insure purchases by self-employed workers without third party income validation, and will offer no insurance on Canadians seeking to purchase a second property.  CMHA says self-employed Canadians can still qualify for CMHC insurance, but must be able to provide proof of their income levels.

Former Finance Minister, the late Jim Flaherty and the Bank of Canada have for several years expressed concerns that too many Canadians risked becoming over-extended in the mortgage markets, especially once interest rates begin to rise.  However, earlier this week, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he believes Canada’s real estate market is heading for a soft landing.

CMHC currently has about $560 billion in outstanding mortgage insurance on its books.  More on the announcement here.

CMHC provides mortgage loan insurance that enables you to buy a home sooner with a minimum down payment of 5%. More on CMHC assistance here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Make Your Home Extremely Awesome

When the title said, "30 Relatively Simple Things That Will Make Your Home Extremely Awesome," I couldn't help myself. I just had to check it out.

I don't know if I would describe all 30 as extremely awesome, but some of these ideas are interesting.

Check out the full list here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Remove Ugly Wood Scratches

From Decorating Time here's a great tip to make old wood furniture look much better without the hassle of refinishing.

You can naturally repair wood scratches by mixing 3/4 cup of canola oil with a 1/4 cup vinegar. Rub the mixture onto the wood. Do not wipe off, the wood will absorb it.

Thanks to Decorating Time for their tip of the day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vent?

Cleaning your dryer and dryer vent is not only a good thing to do to prevent fires, but is also a way to cut down on drying time and increase the dryer’s efficiency.

Besides hiring a professional to do the job, you can do-it-yourself with a vacuum or leaf blower and there are kits you can buy to help you do the job.

The ProClean Dryer Lint Removal Kit is one such product available that includes a 10’ dryer duct brush, 36” trap brush, and vacuum hose attachment for doing the job. One cautionary note from some, who have used this kit, is to only turn the brush in a clockwise motion or you might unscrew the brush and get it lodged in the dryer hose. This kit is available at Home Depot for under $30.00.

The Gardus LintEater kit (which Mitch demonstrates below)is bit more expensive, but contains a few extras including 12’ of flexible rods to go a bit further than the ProClean package and is available on-line at selling for around $65.00. There are cheaper Gardus LintEater kits, but clean a much short length of hose, so be sure to order the kit that is best for your hook up.

If you don’t want to spend $30 to $65 on a kit, here’s a tip that came to me from Brian Shaw at Lighthouse Inspecitions which he got from Hank The Handyman.

1. Disconnect the hose/pipe at both ends.

2. Cut a piece of string or twine to approximately three times the length of the hose.

3. Tie a rag or dryer sheet to the middle of the string.

4. Place the rag at one end of the vent hose, then while holding one end of the piece of string, use a vacuum if necessary to suck the rest of the string to the other end of the vent hose.

5. Now simply use the two ends of the string to pull the rag back and forth through the vent hose to dislodge the lint inside until no more comes out the end.

6. Pull all the string and the rag out of the vent hose, reattach the hose securely, test the system, then sit back and relax with another job well done behind you.

By the way, you might want to wear a face mask because no matter which do-it-yourself method you choose, it could be a dirty job.