Welcome to Renovation Street Blog:
Spring is here and you need to either maintain your house or it will fall apart, blow up, kill you, or will catch fire. Here are some things you should do to keep your house in good condition.
Replace or clean your furnace filter: It should be checked once a month and replaced or cleaned as needed. Some filters are reusable and are supposed to be taken out, washed with a hose and re-inserted. A dirty filter can lower the efficiency of the heating/cooling system, increase heating costs and cause fires.
Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter: Keeping this clean of cooking grease will help keep a stove top fire from spreading.
Check your electrical system: Look for burn marks at the main electrical panel; they can be a sign of arcing inside the panel, which can easily lead to a fire. Loose connections or damaged insulation can cause the arcing. Note: Only a qualified electrician should remove the front panel cover.Trip and reset the circuit breakers regularly.
Check all electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs they are an indication of a worn out receptacle. Worn receptacles should be replaced as they cause overheating and fires. Also check electrical outlets and switches to be sure they work properly. If any switches, outlets or receptacles do not work, have a qualified electrician determine the problem and fix it to avoid fires inside the walls of your home.
Make sure the light bulbs in all your fixtures are the correct wattage: The light fixture manufacturer recommends the correct wattage. If too high a wattage bulb is used in a light fixture, heat produced inside the fixture can lead to fire inside the fixture, ceiling or wall.
Have a professional air conditioning contractor inspect and maintain your system as recommended by the manufacturer
Maintenance should include:
•Cleaning the evaporator coil
•Lubricating fans and motors
•Tightening or changing the belts
•Checking electrical safeties
•Checking the drain pan for leaks
•Testing the capacitors
•Check the condensate drain
•Test the crankcase heater
•Calibrating the thermostat
•Visually checking the wiring for potential short circuits
Check for damage to your roof: Signs include missing, curling, cupping, broken or cracked shingles. Pooling or ponds of water that fail to drain from flat roofs may indicate low areas and inadequate drainage.
Check your water heater: If you have a gas-fired water heater, check to make sure it is venting properly. Light a match next to the vent and wave it out (don’t blow it out). See if the smoke is pulled up into the vent. If it isn’t, have a professional inspect and repair it. Otherwise, carbon monoxide and other combustibles can build up in the home.
Check around the base of your water heater for evidence of leaks. If your water heater is over 5 years old, it should be checked monthly for any leakage or rusting at the bottom. If water leakage or rust is found, the water heater should be replaced.
Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space under the dryer
Poor maintenance allows lint to build up in the exhaust duct and cause fire.
As you can see many items listed here, if not done will cause a fire. Regular maintenance will lower your risk of fire and carbon monoxide leakage. Maintenance will also allow you to keep your appliances working in good order and longer. Keep it working, and I’ll talk to you next week. JIM
Many property buyers out there might think that buying a condo is relatively simple. There are many variables that go into buying a condo. Clauses, Rules and Amenities sometimes are taken for granted. In all of the fine print sometimes buyers overlook certain aspects of buying a unit. All condos are different with individual rules and formats. Here are some “Bites” to consider when buying a condo.
1. Fees: When fees are raised too high, it can get expensive and be hard to sell at a later time
2. Amenities:What is included in your condo fees? Does it have a gym? (A Good one) hot tube etc
3. Condo Corp: When you purchase a condo, you must have your lawyer look at the status certificate. This will indicate what the reserve fund is, any lawsuits, and any other details which are relevant to the condo corporation. If the condo is in debt. Stay away, FAR AWAY
4. Aesthetics of Building: How does the building look? Is it clean? Is there regular maintenance? If it looks run down now when you are looking at the building, it usually only gets worse as time passes.
5. Parking Spots: Usually a unit will come with one spot. Usually two people live in a condo and both usually drive. The math doesn’t add up. How much is another spot? To BUY TO RENT? It could get very costly. It must be factored in the purchase price and monthly costs.
6. Visitor Parking: You might not think of this now, but when your parents visit you only to find out there are no visitor parking spots, you will get an earful. After paying $15 a time to see you, you might not see any parents nor visitors.
7. Selling Friendly: Do they allow lock boxes on the property? Is there parking for buyer agents? If your condo corp doesn’t allow lock boxes and is not agent friendly it could be hard to sell your unit down the road. I know there are certain condos which have less traffic because agents must pick up keys at the listing agents office and must pay for parking to show the property. Why show that property when the property across the street is rolling out the red carpet!
~ Concierge: This is so important. Is he friendly? Are they helpful? Do they care about getting things done or are just on the computer reading Facebook posts.
I could go on, there are more, if anything see my agent and he will discuss more!
What is the newest trends people are installing in their houses? Here are my top flooring installs so far this year. Do yourself a favor and don’t install a floor yourself, if you don’t know what you are doing. It can decrease the value of your house and cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Ethical Floor Coverings – Now more than ever, it’s easy for the average homeowner to make environmentally friendly choices when it comes to home flooring products.
Laminate Flooring – Originally from Europe, laminate floors have taken over the floor covering market with the practical benefits of being durable, hard wearing, and beautiful. Laminates are replicating stone, and granite for endless decorating possibilities.
Hardwood Floors – Today’s hardwood floors are adding old world elegance with a new twist, moving more toward distressed planks, wider widths, and the introduction of exotic woods.
FiberFloor is definitely the flooring choice for 2011. Easy to install, no gluing required. Moving? Just pick it up and take it with you.
Vinyl Flooring – Offering the look of stone, ceramic tiles and hardwood – sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles are a natural solution for today’s homeowner looking for quality and design.
Linoleum – The original environmentally friendly floor covering, linoleum is available in a wide selection of colors and patterns, suitable for any decorating solution.
Floor Tile – A decorators dream come true, ceramic floor tiles offer timeless beauty and durability. Travertine tile is also another flooring option becoming more and more popular this year.
Rugs – These versatile splashes of color ground a room, giving it personality and function. This year, luxurious shag rugs are a big hit with decorators.
Carpet – The most practical home flooring, carpet brings color and warmth into every room. Endless patterns, colors and textures still make carpet the number one selling floor covering today. Think Broadloom.
Cork Flooring – Comfortable to walk on, incredibly warm underfoot, discover the beauty of cork floors.
Bamboo Floors – An environmentally friendly hardwood, bamboo is fast becoming one of the most popular flooring trends.
I personally like the bamboo flooring. There you go, my picks and whast in style. See you next week. If you have any questions contact me here
Major Renovations Needed:
I’m from the old school. I’ve been in the renovation business for many years. A few things make buyers hesitate in buying a house because they know they will have to renovate the house they buy right away. I’m going to share with you the major renovations that I do on a regular basis.
i. Floors: Hardwood floors, new type of laminet flooring are the way to go. Buyers want thick floors, not the thin hardwood floors from the 70’s. I know its hard to part ways with a floor that was once expensive but this is probably the biggest item people look at. Get rid of carpet unless its the newest broadlooms that look really nice.
ii. Kitchens: Stainless steel, nice dark cabinets, and open concepts are whats in. Buy some nice appliances, they are cheaper than you think. Get rid of that old chandelier in the kitchen. Florescent lighting like the old hardwood is a thing from 70’s. Rarely do I see it done nicely anymore. My clients rip that out right away and replace it with a nice ceiling and nice up to date fixtures. Most people like an island in the kitchen.
iii. Paint & walls: If you have wallpaper get rid of it now. I have not seen one wallpaper that looks good or that people keep. A client has never said to me, “I’ll keep the wallpaper”. Paint your walls.Get some good colours, and have it professionally done with a contractor like me. Do not do it yourself unless you know what you are doing. Crown molding is a great way to enhance a room and value of your house. It BRINGS PRESTIGE to your house if done correctly. Make sure its done by a professional. I must fix so many batched jobs because buyers simply will not buy a house that has so many features that I must go and re-do.
iv. Basement: While every person is unique with basements, the consensus is that it needs to be professionally done. It can lower your value so much, if it is done wrong. Do not think that buyers will not notice the tiles are a bit off, or that the back splash is a little crooked. They do and will and probably won’t buy if its wrong.
v. Roof: Don’t fool any buyer in saying that it does not need to be replaced or lie as to when it was done. This can be detected by a professional. Even if there are no leaks you do not want to chance a possible break in shingles.
vi. Windows and doors: This is major, it can cut down costs of heating and air, and can add so much value. Dirty windows reduce the value of the house because it makes the house seem dirty and not taken care of. If you can’t replace them, at least paint them and clean them. Inside and outside.
The question is, after reading this list is your house up to par or is it sub standard. You should really think about a renovation before pricing your house so high.