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What Home Inspectors Want Buyers and Sellers to Know

Fri, 08 Dec by Pauline Relkey

The home inspection process can be terrifying to go through, whether you are the seller or buyer.

For sellers, it’s like having your annual physical and you are being reprimanded by your doctor for not eating right and not exercising, etc.

For the buyers, it can be like finding your soulmate then discovering they are already married.

Don’t let the inspection stress you out. That’s not what your inspector wants either. All he wants is to do his job and provide you with an inspection report so that you are a happy customer.

Work with your home inspector to make the process easier and more effective. Knowledge is key! Here are 7 essential things you should keep in mind.

For sellers

1. Move your pets
We know your puppy/cat/snake is adorable and totally considered a family member, but even if your home inspector loves dogs or cats, pets on the loose while the inspection is happening makes the job much more difficult. For example, inspections require opening exterior doors, offering pets far too many opportunities to run out the door. Or the home inspector is afraid of your pet. When you leave the premises for the inspection—and many inspectors and agents ask sellers to do so – please take your pets with you.

2. Don’t forget to clean
Whether you plan on being there for the inspection or not, make sure to clean up beforehand. No, you don’t need to turn your house into an isolation ward by cleaning like a mad person — an inspector won’t ding you because your fridge has fingerprints on the door. But all that clutter? Yeah, that’s all got to go. It makes a huge difference when the inspector walks into a property where everything is put away.

For buyers

1. Any property will have issues/problems
Your home inspector will likely come up with a seemingly endless list of problems after the walk-through. Don’t panic! The inspector has been hired by you to do his job and report on what he discovers.  Put it all in perspective.  If you have never owned property, you might be overwhelmed, but speak to a home owner and they will totally understand. Every property including the realtor’s and the inspector’s, have problems and/or maintenance things. You are not alone. But there are times when you should worry, as in a major, costly fix (foundation, roof, etc). But not every issue is critical. Your inspector will explain which problems you should tackle first and even give you an idea of the approximate cost.

2. Almost anything can be fixed
There are a few scary home inspection terms that seem to be in everyone’s vocabulary: mold, basement walls and asbestos. Yes, they are scary, but no scarier than a roof that needs replacing. Don’t worry so much about mold and radon! Everything is upgradable, fixable, or replaceable. You just need to have a list of what those things are and decide how you want to address them. That’s another of the many reasons you should have a realtor on your side helping you. We will explain all your options at that point.

3. One thing you should worry about is water
Here is one issue that you might want to stress out about (just a little) – water. No, it’s not a deal breaker. Remember that part where I said almost anything can be fixed? But it’s important to address any water-related issues before the deal closes—or at least immediately afterward. Make note of issues such as water marks, mold and leaky ceilings. And give special attention to the basement. Addressing water problems in the basement can be an expensive and difficult proposition.

4. Home inspectors can’t predict the future
You might want to know how many more years the roof will hold up—and while your inspector might be able to give you a rough estimate, he can’t give you a precise timeline. Inspectors don’t have X-ray vision to see through walls or examine the motherboard in that funky new fridge that talks to you. He can’t tell you how long some things will last, but he can comment on the shape it is in, but remember that is relevant to the age of what he is talking about. Yes a furnace might be old but if it’s working fine and doesn’t need major repairs yet, then keep using it until you are ready to buy a new one.

5. Find the balance between your emotions and facts
I see this happen a lot with buying couples. One buyer is emotional at the beginning and the other is practical. Then after the purchase, they  reverse roles and the emotional one becomes practical and the practical buyer becomes emotional. It’s easy to forget your love for the home when you’re counting the dollar signs and hours you might have to spend on repairs. Just remember to take a deep breath, think rationally, and consider whether it’s a smart investment in your future. The justification can sometimes be a horrible process, because our brains are all about money and time and thinking about ‘What kind of mistake am I making?”

Barring any major renovations needed—such as a new roof or mold removal—your inspector’s visit will simply provide a to-do list. But not everything needs fixing immediately, so don’t let a long list dampen your love for the home. Just take things one at a time.

Energy Rebates Resources for Provinces

Wed, 25 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Well I have to say I am disappointed with my province of Saskatchewan as you can see from the list below that most of Canada’s provinces and territories have some kind of energy rebate program in place.  Newfoundland, Nunavut and Saskatchewan have to giddy up and get on it.

Ontario Enbridge Home Winterproofing Program
https://www.enbridgegas.com/homes/manage-energy/rebates-incentive-programs/winterproofing/index.aspx

British Columbia – BC Hydro – Home Renovation Rebates
http://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/savings-and-rebates/current-rebates-buy-backs/home-renovation-rebates.html

PEI Heat Pump Rebate Program
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/transportation-infrastructure-and-energy/heat-pump-rebate-program

Nova Scotia Your Energy Rebate Program
http://www.novascotia.ca/sns/access/business/your-energy-rebate/about-the-program.asp

New Brunswick Home Insulation Energy Savings Program
https://www.nbpower.com/en/smart-habits/energy-efficiency-programs/home-insulation-energy-savings-program/

Quebec – RénoVert Tax Credit
http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/citoyen/credits/renovert/default.aspx

Manitoba Power Smart Home Insulation Program
https://www.hydro.mb.ca/your_home/insulation/program/index.shtml

Yukon Good Energy Program
http://goodenergyyukon.ca/?utm_source=oldresidentialpage

Northwest Territories Energy Efficiency Incentive Program
http://aea.nt.ca/programs/energy-efficiency-incentive-program

Energy Efficiency Alberta
https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/

It’s Time to say Good-bye to Single Family Homes

Wed, 09 Nov by Pauline Relkey

Interesting talk on CBC Radio.

Nathan Lauster, author of Death and Life of Single Family Homes says that places like Vancouver are becoming unaffordable to buy a house and we should look at other ways to live.

When we live in a single family home, there are environmental costs – we use more energy, we need vehicles to get around and need more land to build on.
Plus it’s isolating. We need to get people out to meet others.

The alternatives are townhouses, low and high rises and duplexes.

We buy single family homes for 2 reasons:
1. Cultural – to show that we are successful and can afford to buy a home and that we are good people/parents and provide a home for our children.
2. Pragmatic – we can control our space.

Nathan says that we can have a more full life when we get rid of maintenance issues. One person says the local cafe is his kitchen, the park is his family room for example.

Municipalities have to change their zoning bylaws to enable more people to live in less space. We usually live in one part of town, work in another part of town and shop in yet another part of town.

What is Vancouver doing to lead the way?
They have parks and agricultural land that is protected space so no development happens on them.
They have made industrial areas as exciting places to live.
They enabled old houses to mix in with new builds.
They have secondary suites/laneway houses (and so does Regina).

single-family-homes-or-town-houses.   To hear the radio podcast, click here.

Autumn Checklist

Tue, 18 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Love those leaves
Instead of thinking that the fallen leaves are nothing but a nuisance involving hours of raking and bagging, spread the leaves over soil so the worms can work their fertilizer magic. Plus pile them under shrubs and trees for additional winter root insulation.

autumn-leaves

Protect a tree
You love those shrubs and trees that you have in your yard so wrap them, especially the newly planted ones, with burlap to protect them from the harsh elements and the drying winter sun and wind.

tree-wrapped

Inspect eaves troughs
Once most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, give gutters and eaves troughs a thorough cleaning to prevent water and ice build-up. Maybe consider putting a leaf guard on the eaves troughs.

eavestrough-with-leaves

Plant a spring delight
Planting spring bulbs in the garden during the fall will ensure a pop of color in the ground come spring. Bulbs can be planted right up until the ground freezes.

bulbs-flowers

Hire a chimney sweep
It won’t be long until we start using our fireplaces. I have already turned ours on a couple times this past month. Wood-burning fireplaces, in particular, require annual maintenance. Hire a professional to clean and inspect fireplaces, dampers and chimneys.  Maybe you’ll get the famous Dick Van Dyke to check them!

chimney-sweep

Furnace and ducts cleaned
Before turning on the furnace, call the professionals to clean and inspect it. Furnace filters should be changed every couple of months so keep a stockpile of them handy. Have your home’s heating ducts cleaned to ensure optimal air and heat flow.

furnace-duct-cleaning

Track the drafts
Batten down the hatches and keep the chill out by inspecting windows and doors for drafts. Replace old and rotting weatherstripping around the frames to prevent heat loss and water leaks.

drafts-windows

Home Renos and Upgrades

Fri, 16 Sep by Pauline Relkey

Home renovations and upgrades are a smart way to add value to your home. Even simple repairs, regular maintenance, updating fixtures and appliances ensure your home stays in tip-top shape, maximizing not only its value but also its future marketability.

Here are a few areas to focus on:

Renovations that pay back
Kitchens and bathroom overhauls top the list of home improvements that yield the best return on investment. Fast and easy updates such as replacing fixtures, counter tops and resurfacing cabinets can go a long way in transforming these high-traffic areas with a fresh, modern appeal.

Add more space
Expanding your living space, such as finishing the basement, is an excellent value-add to your home and lifestyle, especially if you have a family looking for more room to play and grow.

Repurpose a room
Survey your home with an eye to converting rooms for new functionality. A home office is a great feature to have, and a revamp that still allows the flexibility of easily reverting the room back to its original purpose.

Take a green approach
If planning a home renovation, go green with energy-efficient options that promise a high return relative to cost. Today’s high-efficiency appliances, heating and cooling systems, lighting fixtures and even building materials such as insulation, can help reduce your household’s monthly overhead costs.

renos

Sustainability Checklist

Tue, 12 Apr by Pauline Relkey

Sustainability Checklistrecycle reduce reuse

What is sustainability?

Sustainability could be defined as an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself. It’s about taking what we need to live now, without jeopardizing the potential for people in the future to meet their needs. If an activity is said to be sustainable, it should be able to continue forever.

So how do we do that?

1. Recycle

– Set up bins according to materials your municipality accepts for recyclables.

– Don’t dispose of electronics in the garbage.

2. Save Water

– Take shorter showers to reduce water use.

– Mount a low-flow shower head.

– Install a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water while keeping water pressure high.

– Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden.

– Investigate the use of a water barrel. Some municipalities have programs to collect rain water.

3. Eat Smart

-Skip the bottled water, use reusable water bottles instead.

– Buy local.

4. Reduce Energy Usage

– Set thermostats a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.

– Install compact fluorescents when old incandescent bulbs burn out.

– Unplug appliances when not in use to avoid using phantom power.

– Wash clothing in cold water whenever possible.

– Use a drying rack or clotheslines to save energy (I love that smell of clothing that dried on the outside clothesline).  clothesline

5. Reuse/Repurpose

– Repurpose items.

– Check online (kijiji, craigslist, etc), garage sales, thrift stores and consignment shops for gently used items.

Thanks to my friends at MCAP for providing these great hints.

 

Get your Home Ready for Winter

Tue, 13 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Pay a little attention to your home and garden while the days are still enjoyable to ensure that your family is ready for winter weather.

Clean up, cover up and winterize are the keys to inside and outside weatherproofing.

Here are a few suggestions for your to-do list:

Love the leaves
Lose the mentality that fallen leaves are nothing but a nuisance involving hours of raking and bagging. Have a garden? Spread the leaves over the soil so the worms can work their fertilizer magic. Mound them under shrubs and trees for additional winter root insulation.

Protect a tree
Wrap newly planted shrubs and trees with burlap to protect them from the harsh elements and the drying winter sun and wind.

Inspect eaves troughs
Once most of fall’s leaves are down, give gutters and eaves troughs a thorough cleaning to prevent water and ice build-up.

Look forward to spring

Planting spring bulbs in the garden now will ensure a riot of floral colour pops out of the ground come the spring. Bulbs can be planted right up until the ground freezes.

Hire a chimney sweep
Fireplaces are cozy and cost efficient. Wood burning fireplaces, require annual maintenance. Hire a professional to clean and inspect fireplaces, dampers and chimneys.

Furnace and ducts cleaned
Before turning on the furnace call the professionals to clean and inspect it. Furnace filters should be changed every couple of months so keep a stockpile of them handy. Have your home’s heating ducts cleaned to ensure optimal air and heat flow.

Find and Stop those Drafts
Button up the hatches and keep the chill out by inspecting windows and doors for drafts. Replace old and rotting weather-stripping around the frames to prevent heat loss and water leaks.

Enjoy winter!

raking leaves

Home Renos

Fri, 11 Sep by Pauline Relkey

Reno Your Home this Fall home renos
With winter just around the corner (brrr), homeowners start to think about indoor projects.  Home renovations and upgrades are a smart way to add to your home’s value while updating your living space for increased enjoyment.  Even simple repairs, regular maintenance and updating fixtures and appliances ensure your home stays in tip-top shape, maximizing not only its value but also its future marketability.

Here are a few areas to focus on:

Put your equity to work
You could possibly borrow against your home’s equity, often up to 80% of its value, to establish a line of credit at a great rate.

Renovations that pay back
Kitchens and bathroom overhauls top the list of home improvements that yield the best return on investment. Fast and easy updates such as replacing fixtures, countertops and resurfacing cabinets can go a long way in transforming these high-traffic areas with a fresh, modern appeal. kitchen and bath reno

Add more space
Expanding your living space, such as finishing the basement, is an excellent value-add to your home and lifestyle, especially if you have a family looking for more room to play and grow.

Repurpose a room
Survey your home with an eye to converting rooms for new functionality. A home office is a great feature to have, and a revamp that still allows the flexibility of easily reverting the room back to its original purpose.

Take a green approach
If planning a home renovation, go green with energy-efficient options that promise a high return relative to cost. Today’s high-efficiency appliances, heating and cooling systems, lighting fixtures and even building materials such as insulation, can help reduce your household’s monthly overhead costs.

Go Green at Home

Mon, 20 Apr by Pauline Relkey

Spring cleaning is a great time to make some eco-friendly changes around the house. Mother Nature will thank you.

Here are a few ways to green your home for lasting impact:

Home improvement materials
Spruce up your space using environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo, a highly renewable resource, and non-toxic zero or low volatile organic compound (VOC) paint.

Conserve water
Fix leaky faucets and toilets and consider installing low-flow shower heads and toilets that use half the water. (Personal note – when we had the old toilets, they lasted for years.  We replaced our toilets with the low flush ones and within 5 years, we have to replace a part that’s leaking! Some days you just can’t win).

Furnish a new look
Many furniture and design companies now offer innovative furnishings and accent pieces made from reclaimed wood, salvaged items and recycled materials.

Shed new light
Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) that use about 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer. (Personal note – those slow brightening bulbs drive me crazy, too slow for my taste).

Power down
Plug electronics into a power bar that can be easily switched off when the electronics are not in use.

Power up
Invest in rechargeable batteries that offer a longer lifespan and better cost savings over time compared to regular disposable batteries. (I’m still guilty of using these).

Clean green
Shop for environmentally friendly cleaning materials or, better yet, make your own using simple ingredients such as water, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.

Save paper
Arrange for e-bills, online banking and automatic debits to reduce paper mailings and help ensure payments are made on time (done).

lightbulb green environmental

Energy Efficiency Programs – grants, loans and rebates

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Click here for info on:   – $15 rebate for programmable thermostats,  thermostat

– Energuide $5000 grant,        energuide

– furnace loan program,  furnace

– programs for low to moderate income homeowners.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.