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Category Archives: Around The Home

The Mortgage Helper: How to Find the Perfect Tenant for Your Basement Suite

The Mortgage Helper: How to Find the Perfect Tenant for Your Basement SuiteDo you have an empty basement or separated suite in your home? If you have a suite sitting empty, you are missing out on collecting some extra monthly income in the form of rent. Let’s take a look at a quick four-step process that will help you find the perfect tenant to rent out your basement suite.

Step 1: Play By The Rules

Is this your first time renting out a home or suite to a tenant? If so, you will want to do a bit of research first. Read up on Fair Housing Rules and other regulations as these will inform you of your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep in mind that you cannot discriminate in any way when it comes to race, religion, gender, family status or disability. Anyone who applies must be given a fair chance.

Step 2: Be Specific In Your Advertising

When you place a rental listing, be as specific as possible in what you are looking for in a tenant. If you are a single, quiet person, you may want someone similar as you will be compatible. Conversely, if you are a young couple, you may clash with a retired senior or someone older. Be as specific as possible but remember that you cannot be discriminatory.

Step 3: Meet Potential Tenants In Person

Be sure to take the time to meet with every short-listed applicant in person. If you are not comfortable with having so many strangers over to your home, consider meeting at a local coffee shop. An in-person meeting will allow you to visually assess the person and determine if your personalities are a fit for living in the same home.

Step 4: Don’t Skip The Checks

Finally, don’t take any shortcuts when performing background, credit and other checks. Ask your tenant for at least one or two references that you can call to verify their rental history. Investing in a credit check will help to assess their risk of missing monthly rent payments. And if necessary, a criminal records check can let you know if they have been in trouble with the law.

As long as you are well-prepared and diligent, finding a suitable tenant for your basement suite can be a painless process. To learn more about real estate opportunities in the local area that are perfect for rentals, contact us today. Our real estate team will be happy to show you around.

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Posted by on January 5, 2018 in Around The Home

 

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3 Dog Breeds That Are Perfect for the Allergy-Prone Pet Lover

3 Dog Breeds That Are Perfect for the Allergy-Prone Pet LoverDo you find yourself itchy and sneezing after an encounter with a friendly, furry dog? You are not alone. The CDC estimates that around ten percent of Americans suffer from allergies related to dogs or cats. But, of course, that is no reason not to enjoy the love of a dog. So, if you are ready to push your suffering aside and adopt a furry pal, below are a few breeds that are perfect for those prone to allergies.

What Causes Dog-Related Allergies?

Do you know what the primary causes of pet-related allergies are? Many people believe that reactions are triggered by hair that has been shed, but this isn’t entirely accurate. Shed hair carries flakes of dead skin known as dander, and it is this dander which causes most typical dog-related allergic reactions.

In an allergy-prone individual, this dander is treated as a harmful invading virus or bacteria. The body issues an immune response with symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, hives and coughing which can be treated with antihistamines.

Note that it is not just a dog’s dander that can cause a reaction. Dog saliva and urine are also known to carry the proteins that can trigger allergic reactions.

3 Breeds Perfect For Allergy Sufferers

The Poodle – if you are the energetic type that likes to get out and walk, a Poodle might be the right fit. Poodles are recognized as a cleaner dog as they do not shed much fur. They love to get outside and can be trained easily.

The Schnauzer – if you are more of an introvert or have a quiet side, you might find a Schnauzer to be a better companion. These are smaller dogs that aren’t going to beg you to run around for a few miles each day.

The Bichon Frise – this breed is an excellent choice for first-time dog owners and those who prefer smaller dogs. Bichon Frise are happy, friendly dogs that are very sociable. They are not incredibly high maintenance, but they do need daily grooming.

Renting A Home That Doesn’t Allow Pets?

If you are thinking about how great it would be to have a dog but can’t get one due to your current rental situation, contact us today. Our friendly real estate team is happy to introduce you to beautiful, pet-friendly home options in the local area.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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Going Solar: 3 Reasons Why Solar Panels Should Be Your 2018 Home Improvement Project

Going Solar: 3 Reasons Why Solar Panels Should Be Your 2018 Home Improvement ProjectHave you been scratching your head, wondering what your next great home renovation project should be? If you are like most homeowners, you have many areas that could use a little attention. Let’s explore three reasons why installing solar panels should be high on your list of home improvement projects for 2018.

The ROI On Solar Is Getting Better

It might seem counterintuitive to think about spending money to save money, but with solar panels, that’s precisely what you are doing. Solar is an up-front investment that returns money to your bank account over time. As you are generating your own electricity, you will spend less on utilities each month. Depending on your setup, you may even be able to sell surplus electricity back to the grid, lowering your monthly bills even further.

Don’t think about solar panels and installation as sunk costs that will never be recovered. Instead, work with your solar installer to determine what your return-on-investment should be.

Solar Drives Property Values Higher

As you might expect, installing solar panels can also increase the value of your home. Many potential home buyers are searching for modern, efficient, climate-friendly homes that allow for a bit of energy independence. If your home already has these features, it is likely to be more compelling than other houses on the street without them. If you are thinking of selling your home in the future, installing solar is a great way to increase its value.

Protecting Your Local Environment And Community

Finally, let’s not forget that investing in renewable energy means protecting the health of your local community. Every solar panel installation that goes up means one less home relying on power produced by other means. It might not seem like much, but over time a single home’s worth of solar panels can prevent a significant amount of emissions from reaching the sky. You can even take things one step further and invest in an electric car which can be connected to and charged by your solar panels.

These are a few of the many good reasons to consider an investment in solar panels in 2018. If you are interested in going solar, but can’t with your current home, contact us today. Our friendly team of real estate professionals is happy to share some beautiful local home listings that are ready for solar.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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Take Your Bathroom From ‘Drab’ to ‘Fab’ With These Do-it-Yourself Bathroom Renovations

Take Your Bathroom From 'Drab' to 'Fab' With These Do-it-Yourself Bathroom RenovationsDoes your bathroom look amazing? As one of the most used rooms in every home, the bathroom can almost always use a bit of a facelift. In today’s blog post we will share a few DIY renovations that will take your bathroom from drab to fab.

Embrace A New Color Palette

One of the best ways to start your bathroom makeover is to figure out a new color palette for the room. Do you like soft, muted colors like a powder blue, light gold or cream? Or maybe something a bit louder and more exciting like a merlot red or deep purple? Whatever your taste, a splash of color might be just what your bathroom needs.

Start with a fresh coat of paint on the bathroom walls and work outwards from there. If you have windows, consider how you want the trim to contrast with the walls. Baseboards or molding can also offer contrasting effects, helping them to stand out more.

And of course, don’t forget to take care of the smaller bathroom accessories. Your shower curtain, hand towels and even your toothbrush cup can all be matched.

Take Your Fixtures To The Next Level

Once you have decided on colors, it is time to turn your attention to the fixtures around your bathroom. The towel racks, hooks, faucets, shower head and toilet paper holder should all match in some way. If you do not have a lot of cabinet space, investing in a mirror that includes storage might be the perfect solution. If you have items like a scale or plunger in plain sight, think on some creative ways to hide them.

Brighten Things Up With Better Lighting

While you do not need ‘selfie quality’ professional lighting in your bathroom, it might be time for a brighter, more efficient light fixture. Aim for a design that complements the rest of the accents in your bathroom while being large enough to cast a bright light. You can also spend a bit of time choosing the correct color temperature for your bathroom light bulbs. LED lighting can offer some bold whites, but be careful that you don’t go overboard.

Renovating your bathroom is a fun way to spend a weekend or two improving your home. If you are thinking about buying a new home, or are ready to sell your current one, contact us. Our professional real estate team is happy to help.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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Appliance Therapy: What to Do If Your Dishwasher Is Terrible at Cleaning Your Dishes

Appliance Therapy: What to Do If Your Dishwasher Is Terrible at Cleaning Your DishesAs kitchen appliances go, there are few loved more than the dishwasher. They can be a major time saver – that is, if your dishes are coming out clean. Let’s take a quick look at a few steps you can take if your dishwasher is not doing its job.

Give It A Good Cleaning

It may seem a bit strange to think about having to clean the dishwasher, but they do require maintenance from time to time. Grease, bits of food and leftover detergent can all build up, leading to reduced performance.

Here’s one cleaning recipe to try. On the top rack of the dishwasher, place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container and run a cleaning cycle. Once it has finished, sprinkle a cup of baking soda around the bottom of the dishwasher, and run it again.

Check That You’re Loading It Correctly

You might be surprised to learn that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to load a dishwasher. And that loading instructions vary between different models. If your dishes are not coming out sparkling clean, see if you can track down the operator’s manual. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to load the dishes in the dish racks. This is a simple step that might fix the problem.

Check That The Drainage Is Clear

Although you can’t see anything clogging the inside of the drain filter, that does not mean that the drain itself is clear. Most dishwasher models allow you to take the internal drain assembly off so that you can get at the drain without having to pull out the dishwasher. If yours does, it is worth taking some time to get in there and clean out the gunk. A partially-blocked drain will lead to dirty dishes. A fully-blocked drain can lead to a messy catastrophe.

Still Not Working? Make The Call

If you have exhausted the list above and your dishwasher still isn’t working correctly, it is time to call in an appliance repair professional. If you continue to use the dishwasher, it may end up failing and causing water damage to your kitchen flooring. If the dishwasher is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer as they will likely have a contract with a local repair shop.

If you’re in the market to buy a home with a fabulous dishwasher, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to help.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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‘Pine’-ing for a New Look? 3 Ways You Can Use Wood Features to ‘Spruce’ up Your Home

'Pine'-ing for a New Look? 3 Ways You Can Use Wood Features to 'Spruce' up Your HomeWhether you are renovating an older home or putting the finishing touches on a new one, you would be amiss if you did not consider how to include furniture and other items made of wood. With a diverse range of colors and textures, wooden features are a must-have for any modern home design. Let’s take a look at three ways that you can use wood to add a little spice to your home decor.

Try A Visually Striking Wood Wall

If you are looking to add some ‘pop’ to a room, consider an offset or patterned wall made of wood. Your options are limitless when it comes to adding wood to a wall. Consider horizontal slats with a lighter wood like pine for a warm, modern feel. Alternatively, try a flat wall made of hardwood boards of a darker color than the room’s paint.

Go Rustic With A Farmhouse Dining Table

Does your dining room feel a little boring with your standard table and chairs? A rustic farmhouse dining table is an excellent way to breathe some life into your dining area. In addition, hardwood tables like these are sturdy and can suffer a lot of punishment. They are the perfect choice for families that are used to hosting large dinners or having company over.

If you are so inclined, you can build a table like this in just a few hours. Search around online for plans and head down to your local hardware store to get things started.

Reclaim And Refinish For Timeless Beauty

Finally, give some thought as to how you can use reclaimed wood in your home. Consider replacing tile or linoleum with a some “rip and refinish” hardwood flooring reclaimed from another house. Or if you would rather have wooden furniture, you can get chairs or side tables that are made of reclaimed wood. If you are located near the coast or beach, look around for large pieces of driftwood that can be turned into furniture by a local tradesman.

While we cannot help you choose your wooden furnishings, we can help you find the best new home to put them in. When you’re ready to buy or sell your home, contact your local professional real estate agent.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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3 Key Ways That Driverless Cars Are Going to Reshape How We Design and Use Our Homes

3 Key Ways That Driverless Cars Are Going to Reshape How We Design and Use Our HomesAre you ready for the coming shift to driverless cars? While it might seem like some sort of futuristic vision, the truth is that driverless vehicles will be on the road within a few short years. Let’s explore three key ways that driverless cars are going to help to shape how we think about our homes in the very near future.

#1: Goodbye, Garages

It might seem a bit strange to think about now, but many people are likely to get rid of their cars entirely. Car ownership is expected to shift to entrepreneurs and services who offer vehicles for on-demand use. We are already starting to see this transition take place, especially with city dwellers who are becoming familiar with Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services. So, if you do not own a car, having a garage attached to your house does not make much sense.

Consider the many uses that a family can get from the space currently occupied by a garage full of cars. Your house footprint can be that much bigger, or you can convert that area into more yard space.

#2: Get Used To Smaller Streets And More Efficient Land Use

The second significant change you are going to see is a complete re-imagining of how we design and use our streets. Fewer people will own cars that need to be parked along the side of the street. Also, self-driving cars can move elsewhere for storage when they’re not needed. This combination will allow city planners to thin streets, freeing up land use for bike lanes, boulevards or larger yard areas. If you are the type that enjoys having a beautiful big front lawn, the coming shift to driverless cars will benefit you.

#3: More Space Means More Green Space

Finally, expect to see a lot more green space around your house in the future. You will have more space for landscaping, flower beds, gardens, trees and other yard fixtures. Even if you do end up owning a driverless car in the future, it’s likely to be electric. The most substantial commitment you will need to make is either a charging plug and wall fixture or a large ground pad that the car sits on when it needs to top off the batteries.

There are few who doubt that driverless cars are going to cause a major shift in how we live, work and move from place to place. If you’re looking to take advantage of this shift when you buy your next home, contact us. Our team of real estate professionals will be happy to share excellent home listings that will be perfect for those looking to change how they use their car.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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