Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tips for a real tree this Christmas

It's no surprise that if you are going to put up a real Christmas tree in your home, you'll need to plan on providing it with lots of water.  When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water and once it's cut the most important family chore becomes filling the proper stand with water to keep it as fresh as possible until it's time to take it to the curb.

The National Christmas Tree Association provides these tips to care for your real tree this Christmas. 

  • As a general rule, Christmas tree stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.
  • Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
  • Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
  • Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.
  • Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
  • The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
  • Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree.
  • Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight).
  • Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
  • Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits.
  • Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
  • Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is very dry, remove it from the house as soon as possible.
  • Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.

For many families cutting their own tree is a tradition and there are several tree farms in the area that provide the opportunity to get the freshest tree possible and experience a great time with the family in selecting and cutting that perfect tree.  Below are just a couple places to cut your own tree.

Orillia Fish and Game Conservation Club 510 Bass Lake Sideroad. E. (Between Lines 8 and 10)
Gillespies U Cut - 3807 12th Line, North of Horseshoe Valley Road
Huronia Landscaping, Rainbow Valley Rd. E. Just north of Barrie. Follow signs off of Hwy 27.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Explaining streets, avenues, boulevards, lanes & more.

As you drive around you’ll see streets, avenues, roads, lanes, courts, parkways, and more. There is a reason for those names being used and it's more than just that they sound better with whatever other name that has been attached to them.  

Here's by definition what all those names mean. 
• Road (Rd.): Can be anything that connects two points. The most basic of the naming conventions.
• Way: A small side street off a road.
• Street (St.): A public way that has buildings on both sides of it. They run perpendicular to avenues.
• Avenue (Ave.): Also a public way that has buildings or trees on either side of it. They run perpendicular to streets.
• Boulevard (Blvd.): A very wide city street that has trees and vegetation on both sides of it. There’s also usually a median in the middle of boulevards.
• Lane (Ln.): A narrow road often found in a rural area. Basically, the opposite of a boulevard.
• Drive (Dr.): A long, winding road that has its route shaped by its environment.  Often found near lakes, hills and mountains. 
• Terrace (Ter.): A street that follows the top of a slope.
• Place (Pl.): A road or street that has no throughway—or leads to a dead end.
• Court (Ct.): A road or street that ends in a circle or loop.
• Concession (Conc):  Usually one of sixteen divisions of a township, each division being 10 sq. mi. (26 sq. km) in area and containing thirty-two 200-acre lots.
If you have a question concerning your real estate needs (now or down the road) please connect with me here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Labour costs for renovations and repairs is a nonbiased/nonaffiliated database directory of contractors, builders, construction suppliers all related to renovation, contracting, construction, building or the home building industry.

You can get a good idea of labour costs in the Province of Ontario associated with this comprehensive list of small to large renovation and construction projects.

I provide this link only as an information source to assist you in budgeting for work to be completed. It provides you with a general overview of what to expect when you get to the point of reaching out to local professionals, which I highly recommend.

Key Points To Consider
1) It's always best to get several quotes.

2) Cheapest isn't always your best option.  

3) Ask for references.  is designed to give you an estimate on a wide range of labour costs. Labour costs can vary according to region, but a low to high range is provided on the list found here.  

Drop me a line with your real estate questions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

First time buyers get a bigger tax break

To help Ontarians buy their first home, the Province of Ontario will double the maximum refund for first-time homebuyers from $2,000 to $4,000, effective January 1, 2017.  (Ontario Ministry of Finance-Land Transfer Tax)

Currently, no Land Transfer Tax is payable on the first $227,500 of the value of consideration for a first home. The value of consideration for residential properties is typically the purchase price of the property and is the amount used for calculating LTT payable.

The Ontario Real Estate Association had asked the government to expand the land-transfer tax rebate program for first-time buyers as one way to help more people accomplish their dream of getting into the housing market.
Contact me for more information.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reporting principal residence sales at tax time

Recent changes means  you must report any and all real estate sales at tax time.

Not only did the mortgage rules change this year, but now you are also required to report any and all real estate sales at tax time.  Yes, that includes a principal residence. 

Although the sale of your principal residence will be more of a compliance issue than an actual change in what you have to pay for your taxes, there could be implications if you fail to report a sale or misrepresent the sale and there is a great deal to consider if you have more than one property that you own.

To help you further understand the changes take a look at these 8 questions you might have about principal residence tax rules.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A woman's make-up pays the mortgage

Canadian females are better at fulfilling their mortgage obligations than males.  It has to do with their make-up.

A woman's psychological make-up actually makes them more likely to make sure the mortgage is paid. It boils down to risk aversion which women have more of than men.

Get the full story here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

You must qualify for a higher mortgage rate

Ottawa has tightened mortgage lending rules that will limit the amount many Canadians can borrow to help ensure that when interest rates rise, they’ll still be able to make their payments.

Basically the change means that borrowers must be able to qualify for their mortgage using a higher interest rate than they will actually be paying on their mortgage. With the new rules, first time home-buyers will probably have to reduce some of the things on their wish list for that first home. 

Get the full story on the changes coming into effect October 17, 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Surprising tips for a lush lawn

I was reading an article from the research people at Consumer Reports that said a lush lawn isn’t hard to have.  I don't totally agree with that blanket statement, but here's a few tips on your quest for the best lawn in the neighbourhood.  What is interesting about these tips is that many start with your lawn mower.

Keep your blade sharp: Sharpening your mower’s blade at the start of the season, and three to four times throughout the season, will ensure cleaner cuts and less stress to the grass.

Use your mulch setting rather than bag your clippings:  Let the clippings provide nutrients to the grass instead of just throwing them away. The clippings also provide a little extra shade.

Keep your mower’s deck clear of buildup: Grass clippings will stick to the inside of your mower’s deck and reduce airflow, which makes it difficult to cut taller grass cleanly.

Raise your mower deck up to at least three inches: Taller grass has deeper roots, and deeper roots are able to collect more of the natural moisture in the ground. Taller grass also better shades the soil beneath it, reducing evaporation.

In addition to these mower suggestions most lawn care professionals think these are also vital for a great lawn.

Water less often and more thoroughly for best results:  The average lawn requires 1 to 1.5 inches of moisture weekly.  This is enough to moisten the soil 4 to 6 inches below the surface.  Too much water can actually damage your lawn. 

Use the right fertilizer and fertilize four times annually:  Read the instructions on the fertilizer bag to ensure you are using the right fertilizer for the time of the season, but ensure your lawn gets the food it needs. You know what you feel like when you miss a meal.  Missing a lawn feeding can reduce the chances of you getting a lush lawn down the road.

Remove the weeds:  Easier said than done for most of us, but removing weeds a few at a time and reseeding bare spots will eventually pay off on your journey to a great lawn.

Enjoy your summer!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

3 things sellers need to know about home buyers

Home buyers and sellers don't always see eye to eye when it comes to the value of home.  Here are three things that often create opposite opinions on value.

The pool for a buyer, in most cases, is a love or hate addition to the home.  Many people dream of having a pool, but there are just as many buyers who find a pool far from a valuable addition.  For home owners it's important to note that if you invest in a pool, you shouldn't bank on always getting the value back when it comes time to sell.  If a pool loving buyer comes along, you've got something to motivate them to purchase your home, but that doesn't necessarily mean the buyer is willing to pay a huge difference just because you have a pool.   

Creative gardening can be a beautiful thing, but many people are not into an entire yard that has developed over the years into a garden lover's paradise.  There are many buyers who would rather have more lawn than garden, so an entire front or backyard that has evolved into an all natural growth zone can actually lower the interest in a property.  The yard can look beautiful, but not necessarily in the eyes of some buyers.  Like putting in a swimming pool, a home owner should invest in gardens fully knowing that in most cases not all of the investment can be recouped when it's time to sell.

Colour is always a personal preference, but when it comes time to sell, sometimes it makes great sense to paint over wild colours so your home is more pleasing to the largest segment of buyers. Too often sellers refuse to take this issue seriously.  The colour of the exterior and interior of a home has an enormous impact on buyers and therefore it can impact the selling price.  You normally can't go wrong investing in paint as a seller.  Failing to deal with a wildly coloured room or long overdue exterior paint job is something many buyers have a hard time accepting and most important it can have an enormous impact on buyers falling in love with a seller's home.   For a seller to just leave the painting to the buyer is something many buyers just don't agree with.

For more details and suggestions on buying or selling contact me here.