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Halloween Safety Tips

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Halloween is just around the corner and there are some extra precautions regarding fire safety around this time of year.   Here are some tips courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. h

1. Test your smoke alarms to make sure they work. In case a fire starts in your home, you need to know right away. This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home smoke alarms.

2. Choose safer alternatives for lighting like battery-operated candles, flashlights, and glow sticks instead of candles in carved pumpkins and other Halloween decorations.

3. Purchase or make Halloween costumes (including wigs and props) labelled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. Choose materials that won’t easily ignite and avoid billowing or long-trailing features.

4. Keep dried flowers, cornstalks and other decorations away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

5. Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, to ensure nothing blocks your escape routes in the event of a fire.

6. If hosting a party for the “ghosts and goblins” in your home, be sure that everyone knows your home escape plan in the event of a fire, and a meeting place outside your home.

7. If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them ask the host about their home escape plan so they can plan how to get out safely in an emergency.

8. Make sure that children know to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing does catch fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.)

9. Provide children with lightweight battery-operated flashlights or glowsticks to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.

10. Extension cords are for temporary use only. Use the right one for the job — there are special extension cords rated for outdoor use.

11. Never overload electrical outlets by plugging in too many plugs – use an approved power bar.

12. If you must use candles, never leave them unattended and keep them well away from children, pets, and anything that can burn.

13. Teach children their home address and phone number and how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) in case of an emergency.

For more fire safety tips, visit Ontario Fire Marshal

Jennifer Birch – The Property Partner

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Fall Garden Maintenance

Red Boot garden

Though spring and summer are now over, your garden is still very much alive and needs some care to ensure it can handle the harsh winter and save you some work come spring again. Here are some tips to help you maintain your garden:

1. Don’t forget to water!

You may think because the weather is cooler, your plants and lawn don’t need watering, but that is not the case. Watering will help you keep the beauty of your yard longer and will minimize winter damage to your garden. Plant roots are still active in the autumn and they will absorb and store any water they get in order to replace water that gets lost during the winter. Even when flowers and leaves start to fall off, keep watering trees and shrubs. This will help keep moisture in the ground and keep roots warmer for a longer period of time, helping plants survive the winter. Water lightly until the first freeze.

2. Insulate your shrubs

Have shrubs or trees in your garden? Insulate them with mulch at their base. This will limit frost penetration and help prevent sudden changes in soil temperature from deep freezing, which will help protect the root system of tender plants.

3. Don’t cut perennials too early

After the beautiful September we had, it’s pretty safe to say to Canadian weather is unpredictable. Which is why cutting back your perennials too early may actually be detrimental to it. Allow the perennial to be dormant first until the weather is more stable and cooler (late October and November) then begin pruning. Also, trim any damaged or dead branches on trees and shrubs before the first snowfall.

4. Shelter delicate trees and shrubs

Winter’s wrath can be especially hard on tender trees and shrubs. To minimize damage caused by frost and snow, wrap your trees and shrubs in burlap and secure them with twine.

Jennifer Birch – The Property Partner

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The Importance of determining the “Sweet Spot” price

For Sale
New research from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) shows that  3 out of 4  Ontarian’s are planning to buy a home in the next two years and they say that the listing price has a big impact on whether they want to see more of a home.

Pat Verge, president of OREA, explained that “setting the sales price is one of the most difficult and critical steps in the home-selling process. If you set your price too high, many prospective buyers won’t even look at the property.  If you set it too low, you could miss out on thousands of dollars.  The objective then, is to choose a price that is neither too low nor too high.”

Realtors use a process known as Comparative Market Analysis to determine a home’s market value. That is, they compare a property to similar homes that have sold recently or are currently on the market. Realtors also take into account other factors, such as the mood of the market, the market’s current strength or weakness, rising or dropping interest rates, employment rates, buyer confidence and competition with other homes to arrive at a realistic asking price.

“The first few weeks of the listing are the most important. The average time on market varies from area to area. However, regardless of the area, the first few weeks of any listing are important for establishing a good first impression and drawing interest. For eager buyers in a market with tight inventory levels, new listings are highly anticipated, and you can be sure that they will be paying attention to the price among other factors,” explained Verge.

The research, conducted by Ipsos Reid and commissioned by OREA for its Ontario Home Ownership Index, a semi-annual province-wide research study, also found that the features on the listing sheet (56%) and interior photos (55%) have a big impact on a buyer’s decision to want to see more of a home.  Aspects like the average household income of the neighbourhood (22%), the age distribution of the neighbourhood (23%) and proximity to a highway (29%) had the least impact.

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted earlier this year on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association. A sample of 1,000 Ontarians from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed.

Jennifer Birch – The Property Partner