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A heartfelt ‘Thank You’ for trusting us with your most expensive investment and for recommending us to your friends and family again in 2013! With your help, we have attained the highest level of performance within the Royal LePage family for the 9th year in a row! Of 15,000 Royal LePage Realtors® nationwide, we ranked 49th and we were the #1 Team within Royal LePage ProAlliance which consists of more than 400 Realtors® from Port Hope to Brockville.
These accomplishments allow us to give back to our clients, local community organizations, and initiatives such as Robin’s Nest Children’s Home in Kenya. If you know of a group in need please let us know. We do our best to give back to charities near and dear to our clients as well.
This is also the time of year when people who are thinking of selling start to look for guidance about ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to do’ BEFORE listing their house. I love to visit homes and like to have these discussions PRIOR to listing … better to have the talk well in advance of listing so as to make the best use of a seller’s time, energy and money. Feel free to contact me for a pre-listing chat.
You may recall that the beginning of 2013 heard many ‘doomsayers’ forecasting a large downturn in Canadian Real Estate values. In reality, the market has remained very stable despite the federal government’s further ‘belt tightening’ of limiting mortgage insurance.
Specifically, in the Brighton, Trenton, and Belleville areas, when comparing the first 11 months of 2013 vs the same period in 2012 there were approximately 6% less homes sold but the average sale price was up about 2%. The average sale price in the Quinte Real Estate board during the first eleven months of 2013 was $221K. See a few more residential numbers in the chart below. As always, homes that are priced properly sell for the most money in a reasonable amount of time.
As always, check out our Blog and follow us on Facebook for updates on the national and local real estate markets. Be sure to ‘Like’ us and you’ll automatically be entered in our annual iPad draw which takes place in January of each year. Our next drawing is at the end of this month! If you’re not on Facebook, just send Donna an email and she will enter your name. Check back to to our Giveaways page to see our 2013 winner! Good luck!
Finally, we will also be giving away a limitied numbers of tickets to a movie at the Empire Theatre. Watch our Facebook page for details once they are finalized!
LOCAL REAL ESTATE
If you, or someone you know, would like a complimentary market evaluation specific to your property, we would be happy to visit you at your convenience!
PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS PAY OFF
A few years ago Team Weir recognized the importance of using a professional photographer to highlight a home’s best features. One only needs to look at the MLS® to see ‘the difference quality makes’. That difference can now be quantified via a recent study that demonstrates how homes sell faster and for more money when professional photographs are taken … as opposed to Realtors® who use ‘point and shoot’ cameras …. or in some cases, a smartphone!. See this REM on-line article for more!
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
The air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. In some cases, it’s 100 times worse!
We are constantly exposed to pollution, toxins, pesticides, gases … even radon. Most of the time, these things get diluted into the outside air. But they can also find their way into our homes through tiny cracks in foundation walls and floors, through unfinished floors, windows, sumps, vents or gaps around pipes and drains. The problem is that when these pollutants get into our homes and can’t escape, they will start to accumulate. In high concentrations, radon and other toxins can be big health risks.
Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from uranium in the ground. Uranium is everywhere, and when uranium starts to break down it creates a gas known as radon. According to Health Canada, radon is linked to about 16% of all lung cancer deaths in Canada. That makes radon the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.
The good news is that more home inspection providers are starting to offer IAQ (indoor air quality) and radon inspections. You can add a radon or IAQ inspection to a full home inspection, or you can get it as a separate service. If you need radon remediation, hire a contractor who has a lot of experience dealing with it — someone certified by the Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program (C-NRPP).
For more information, see the entire Mike Holmes, Special to National Post article.
HOW TO PREVENT ICE DAMS
Ice dams form when melted snow refreezes at roof edges. Three things are required for an ice dam to form: snow, heat to melt the snow and cold to refreeze the melted snow into solid ice. When the temperature in your attic is above freezing, it causes snow on the roof to melt and run down the sloping roof. When the snowmelt runs down the roof and hits the colder eaves, it refreezes.
If this cycle repeats over several days, the freezing snowmelt builds up and forms a dam of ice, behind which water ponds. The ponding water can back up under the roof covering and leak into the attic or along exterior walls. Look for water-stained ceilings, dislodged roof shingles, sagging ice-filled gutters, peeling paint, and damaged plaster.
1. Prevent warm, moist air in living spaces from infiltrating into the attic with a good air barrier and appropriate water vapor control at the base of the attic.
2. Provide good attic ventilation to replace warm air in the attic with cold outside air.
3. Provide adequate attic insulation to reduce the transmission of heat into the attic from living spaces below.
WHAT NOT TO DO
1. Do not routinely remove snow from the roof. It will likely lead to shingle damage.
2. Do not attempt to ‘chip away’ the ice of an ice dam. It will likely lead to shingle damage.
3. Do not install mechanical equipment or water heaters in attics, especially in cold climates.
4. Do not use salt or calcium chloride to melt snow on a roof. These chemicals are very corrosive and can shorten the life of metal gutters, downspouts and flashings. Runoff that contains high concentrations of these chemicals can damage nearby grass and plants.
WHAT ARE THOSE LOUD BOOMS YOU’RE HEARING?
Did you hear a loud boom or cracking sound in the couple of weeks? It may be what scientists call cryoseisms. Cryoseisms may be caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice. As water seeps down into the rock, it freezes and expands, putting stress on surrounding rock. This builds up until it is relieved explosively. Cryoseisms can produce earthquake-like wavelengths which may cause a vibration.
The so-called frost quakes are not uncommon but may be happening more often because of recent precipitation and falling temperatures. The Greater Toronto Area experienced numerous frost quakes on December 24th and, more severely, on December 30th at 3:00 AM and later at 7:00 AM, waking a great many from sleep as a result of the ice storm on December 21st and 22nd, 2013.
Check out Wikipedia for more info!
HOW TO DISCOURAGE BURGLARS AND PROTECT YOUR HOME
Thinking about a winter getaway? Want to enjoy your vacation while protecting your home against theft? Here are a few reminders to help make that happen.
Since burglars prefer to break into houses that look unoccupied, lower your home’s appeal by making it look like you’re still at home!
• Ask neighbours or friends to keep an eye on your property. Even ask them to put out your garbage!
• Use timers on lights, radios and televisions. Leave drapes and shades open.
• Leave a car parked in the driveway, or ask a neighbour to park there.
• Have someone collect your mail and newspapers or stop delivery while you’re away.
Another step is simply to deny access to would-be burglars!
• The most basic protection is to lock all doors and windows, and secure the garage door.
• Consider installing deadbolt locks on doors and windows.
• Don’t forget to replace burned-out yard lights, and consider upgrading them with built-in motion detectors.
• Invest in a home security system. Some companies provide you with a discount on your property insurance.
Always leave a house key and contact information with a trusted individual.
Information Courtesy of CAA, Life-side Connections
DID YOU KNOW?
- To remove a label or sticker without leaving a gooey mess behind, apply white vinegar until it’s saturated. It will peel right off!
- To remove crayon, pencil, ink, and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, rub clean, and rinse.
- To freshen the drain of your kitchen sink and to keep it from getting bogged down in grease, pour half a cup of salt down the drain with warm running water.
- That covering your ironing board with foil before you iron your clothes will get them wrinkle-free twice as fast, saving you time and energy.
- It was once believed that the 1st visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good or bad luck for the rest of the year depending on who he/she was.
- To rid shower doors of stains and lime scale, wipe them over with a bit of white wine … the cheapest you can find of course!
- o deodorize your freezer, add a shallow, uncovered bowl of freshly ground coffee. Leave for a few days and funky freezer odours will disappear.