4 Spring Home Maintenance Tips

Home maintenanceSpring has officially arrived! As a homeowner, the arrival of each new season usually brings with it a few maintenance chores that will need to be tackled, so wait for a nice, sunny day and check these jobs off your to-do list!

1. Repaint windows, siding and doors if needed. While wood will always be a popular material in home building, unfortunately it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and realizing its life span. As with any job, take the time to gather the proper materials before getting started – it will make things run smoothly. Scrape away old, chipped or peeling paint from window and door frames and wood siding. Sand if necessary and finish by pressure washing on a low setting. Prime and paint as needed with a good quality exterior paint.

2. Organize the garage. After a long winter, your garage may have become a drop-zone for gardening supplies, sporting equipment, toys, broken items, etc. Enlist the help of kids to help create piles, including one for items to throw out, one for items to sell and a third for items to keep. If storage is an issue, assemble some heavy duty shelving or hooks. If your garage floor has seen better days, consider sealing and painting the floor for a tidy, clean look that will also extend its lifespan.

3. It’s likely been a few months since your air conditioner saw the light of day, so remove the cover on your outdoor unit, shut off the power and give it a good cleaning, removing any dust and debris. Inside the house, you’ll want to change the air filter and check for any leaks in the ductwork. Almost every HVAC company offers maintenance packages, so if you’re not up to the challenge or just don’t have time, schedule an appointment with a professional. Proper A/C maintenance will extend the life of your cooling unit and keep your energy bills down all summer long!

4. Clean or pressure wash deck. Canadians certainly spend as much time as possible during the summer months enjoying their outdoor spaces, so start off the season with a fresh slate! Take great care when pressure washing soft wood surfaces – one would rarely need more than 1500 psi to complete this task – any more can damage the wood. You can skip the pressure washer and buy a good quality wood cleaner and use some good, old-fashioned elbow grease to get your deck gleaming for the season ahead!

Jennifer Birch

Real Estate forms for buying and selling

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When it comes to buying or selling a home, there are a few important documents that will come into play during the process. Some of these forms include pre-written clauses that your realtor will discuss and explain to you. Due to the nature of these contracts, be sure to read them thoroughly and always, always ask for clarification if needed.

Seller Representation Agreement (Listing Agreement): The listing agreement serves a number of functions. It establishes the relationship between the brokerage (and real estate representative) and the seller, it outlines specifics about the property for sale and it explains the services that will be performed and remuneration agreed upon. A Data Input Form will also be completed, describing the property in more depth i.e. legal description, age, room dimensions, zoning, etc.

Buyer Representation Agreement: This agreement is an authority granted by a buyer to a real estate brokerage to act on his or her behalf during the purchase of a property. It outlines and explains the responsibilities of both parties and the commission arrangement. While a realtor in Ontario is required to complete the agreement and submit it to the buyer before any offer is made, the buyer is under no obligation to sign it.

Agreement of Purchase and Sale: An agreement of purchase and sale is like a conversation in writing that expresses the buyer’s wish to purchase a property and the proposed terms of sale. It only becomes legally binding when everything is mutually agreed upon and signed by both parties. Commonly referred to as an offer, this document summarizes the terms that the buyer is seeking. Items always covered in the agreement of purchase and sale will be deposit amount and sale price, conditions, chattels and fixtures, completion (closing) date, etc.

While the exact forms may vary from city to city across the province, the fundamental concept behind each is the same.

Jennifer Birch

The Changing Face of our cities

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Have you ever wondered what will happen when we start running out of land to build new houses and communities? Cities across the province have been growing steadily and many municipalities are already reaching their boundaries. This has led to a push for more infill communities and intensification, something that is addressed in the Places to Grow Act, 2005.

The main goal of the Places to Grow Act, 2005 is to establish a plan for growth in certain areas. One such area is referred to as the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), which includes cities like Toronto, Hamilton and Guelph, plus regional municipalities such as Halton, Peel, York, Durham, Niagara, Haldimand and Waterloo.

The plan for the GGH sets out a number of goals and directives, some of which focus on revitalizing downtown areas and city centres, reduce development pressure on agricultural lands and naturalized areas and improve transportation and housing options.

Intensification is a multifaceted approach to redeveloping downtown areas. It is a term coined by urban planners to describe the process of “increasing the use of existing housing stock and more effectively utilizing municipal services”. Examples include adding accessory apartments to single-family homes, creating mixed use developments in urban areas and repurposing industrial lands for residential use. Industrial loft conversions are a good example of intensification.

Infill communities have been cropping up for years now in cities across the GGH. This type of development involves the building of townhouses or semi-detached homes where one home previously existed or building homes on formerly vacant land.

While it’s sometimes disheartening to see a beautiful, old home torn down and replaced with townhomes, the bottom line isn’t always financial gain. Intensification through infill and the purposing of existing buildings is just one way that planners and builders are working to reduce urban sprawl and create thriving cities with plenty of housing options.

Jennifer  Birch