With summer officially here and the temperatures rising many people expect their electricity bill to do the same during the summer months. With your air conditioner on high, making your home the arctic zone, you can almost guarantee that your air conditioner is responsible for almost half of your electric bill. Here are some easy ways to cut your electric bill in half this summer so you can stay cool and still have money left over.
Hanging heavy drapes or black out blinds in front of your windows in the summer will not only keep the hot air and sun rays out, it also helps to keep the air conditioned cool air in. It’s a great way to stop the glaring sun from heating up every room in your home.
If you’re really trying to crunch the numbers this summer, limit the use of your air conditioner. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean keep turning it off and on, doing that will unfortunately cause your bill to rise even higher. Every time you turn off your AC, the temperature in your house will rise again, and when you turn the ac back on it will have to work twice as hard to cool your house down. Keep your ac set at a reasonable temperature like 71 degrees. The lower you go the more you are going to have to pay.
Fans are an excellent way to help keep us cool. Remember, fans cool people by creating a wind chill, they don’t rooms. Well placed fans can help keep the air circulating throughout your home and help it keep cool, not like a sweltering sauna. Ceiling Fans are a great investment in the bedrooms to help keep the air moving while you sleep.
One of the great things about night time in the summer is that it normally cools off. To save you some money, turn off your ac and open up your windows to let the cool air in while you sleep. When you wake up in the morning shut the windows and blinds to keep the cool air in.
On extremely hot days, avoid using the oven. Use alternatives like the stove top, BBQ, or microwave oven. Try and keep your home cool as possible by not turning on the lights if possible. Purchase LED Energy star lighting products, they are much more efficient than the traditional incandescent bulbs. 90% of the energy from traditional bulbs is given off as heat which will result in a temperature increase in your home.
Saving money on your electric bill can be fairly easy if you know where to start. The above are some simple, cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use during those hot summer months.
Your balcony is your summer extension to your family room. Have some fun dressing it up making it appealing to sit out there on those hot summer days to soak up that summer sun. Small balconies give you the opportunity to jump out of your comfort zone and choose some bright colors and patterns to boost its visual appeal. Here are few ways to brighten up your small balcony designs and turn small spaces into something wonderful and unique.
Disguise that drab ugly concrete flooring with a bright & colorful outdoor rug or some stylish inexpensive decking tiles. If you have a wooden patio floor consider painting it for that unique pop of color.
Hang some string lights and place some decorative lanterns with candles on the ground or on tables to create a cozy intimate feeling at night
Add some lush greenery to bring life and to brighten up your balcony. You can use the over the railing planters if you’re tight on space and plant some herbs or flowers that give off a nice scent like lavender or basil.
Ornate screens are a great way to add some privacy to your balcony while keeping it decorative and fun at the same time. They come in all different patterns and designs so the choice is yours!
Create a nice cozy nook seating area or make your own corner lounge bed with lots of pillows. This will give you your own little space to go to relax and put your feet up. Your own little getaway.
Adding a small bistro table and chairs will give you the opportunity to sit down and enjoy that morning coffee, or enjoy a romantic dinner with your loved one. Select lightweight folding furniture for more room.
Hammocks can be a great piece of furniture to add, especially when you’re working with tight spaces as you can almost hang them anywhere.
Whether you have a small balcony or a large one, you can easily transform it into your dream space by following some of the tips and tricks listed above.
Preparing your home for sale can be at times very overwhelming and daunting. You want to make sure you’ve showcased the home’s best assets and that your home is in tip top shape to impress any potential buyers. Yes, staging is optional when it comes to selling; but in all fairness it really shouldn’t be. Your home is a significant financial transaction, you should want to help your home, in any way you can, to get top dollar for it. The easier it is for prospective buyers to envision themselves living in your home, the more likely they are to buy it. Follow these simple steps to help achieve the best possible staging for your home.
It’s time to let go, you need to mentally detach yourself from your home. Start by removing any traces of family photos and personal collections. By creating a more neutral space you are making your home more universally appealing.
The one thing buyers want out of a potential property is it to be roomy and clutter free. Remove all those little out of place knick knacks so your home feels light and roomy. You want prospective buyers to envision their furniture and décor to fit in your home. The less clutter you have the easier it is for them to do that.
From fresh flowers, clean scents and fresh baked cookies. There’s nothing better than walking in the front door of a home to immediately smell something delightful. Add a fresh arrangement of flowers to the coffee table or kitchen island to give your home a fresh feel.
Light and Bright is your go to motto! When you’re staging your home for sale you don’t want any dark or bold in your face colors especially in those small spaces like powder rooms. You want to keep it neutral to attract a vast variety of people. Keep the ceilings white to make your walls look elongated.
When it comes to lighting in the home most people often forget about it when it comes to staging. Add some ambient lighting in those dark hallways and basements. Some new pendant lights or table lamps with do the trick and help brighten up those dark corners, making the room feel as light as possible.
Give your carpets the best maintenance possible and have them professionally cleaned before you move. This will hopefully remove any stains or marks that may defer prospective buyers. Carpet cleaning is an inexpensive quick fix to disguise the look of older flooring.
It’s time to clean clean clean! Imagine that your mother or mother-in-law is coming to visit. Mop, dust, vacuum, and wash your walls, windows and baseboards. Do a deep clean of your home making certain that everything is sparkling clean.
When staging your home for sale you want the master bedroom to be a retreat for prospective buyers that attracts to both male and female. White crisp clean linens, an uncluttered nightstand and matching lamps will give you that all around clean look.
Even though your furry friends are a big part of your family, ensure that you have a pet sitter for days you have showings. Many people have allergies and/or fear of animals so do yourself and your pet a favor and relocate them during that time.
Home staging can be easy and inexpensive, especially if you focus on the small details. Once you’ve got your home in order, stand back and let your house shine and it is sure to impress potential homebuyers.
You only get one shot at a good first impression so let’s make it count! With spring finally here and the warm weather upon us it’s time to start thinking of the outside of our homes. When it comes to improving your home’s curb appeal, there are many small inexpensive changes that can make a strong impact on the first impression. Below are some affordable and helpful tips that will help you accomplish your curb appeal dreams.
Driveways and walkways are often the one thing that gets forgotten about the most when it comes to landscaping. To jazz up your driveway and curb appeal start with removing any weeds or moss that may be growing from the cracks and joins. If you happen to come across some large cracks try and fill them the best you can. For more of an aesthetic feel; line the driveway with some small shrubs or greenery to give it more of a vibrant look and feel.
Shape up your garden beds by giving them a good pruning and weeding. This will help remove any plants that didn’t quite make it or are starting to die off. Consider adding some brightly colored new plants to give your planter bed that exciting pop of color. When adding new elements to your garden, choose plants that won’t obstruct the home, you want something simple yet elegant that will frame your house. You can also add some fresh top soil or mulch to freshen it up. If you have a stone or brick border around your garden, replace any pieces that may be cracked or damaged. If you don’t have a border around your flower bed ensure that you give the grass a good edging to give it a sharp clean look. Prime spots for planter beds are in the front corners of your yard, along the driveway or walkway – think small shrubs, and right in front of your home.
Your front door is the focal point to your home, you want it to be appealing yet welcoming. Make a statement with giving your front door a pop of color by painting it. There are so many different color options to choose from. This will freshen up the look of your home and give potential buyers something to remember.
Make your front porch welcoming to your guests. Add a few chairs with a few brightly colored accent pillows and a throw with a small bistro table to draw some excitement to your front porch. You can even go as far as having a few small potted succulents for some greenery or perhaps a pot of your favorite flowers. Adding some well-placed classic accessories can also give your front porch that added boost of curb appeal. Consider adding a seasonal wreath to your front door or even some large lantern candle holders to draw your eye in. Remember to keep the size of your front porch in mind while decorating. You don’t want to go overboard and clutter it up with too many elements. Simple and bright personality is key.
House numbers, door handles and overhead light fixture are quick and easy elements to update to add some personalized style and interest to your homes curb appeal. There are lots of simple DIY projects that you can find for creating an eye appealing look for your house. Try mounting the numbers on planks of wood to give it that modern look; or keep it more traditional by placing the numbers on a small plaque to make them stand out. New drop down lighting will also give your home that wow appeal.
An easy solution to give you that pop color by your front door is painting those boring planter pots. Jump a little outside your comfort zone and try a bold color like blue or purple. Once you start adding your flowers into the pots it will brighten everything up giving it a new exciting look.
Solar powered lighting can make a huge impact on the curb appeal of your home while adding security. Lighting up your driveway or walk way to your home can give it that nice ambiance you may be looking for while still being functional. Solar lighting is extremely cost effective as it won’t rack up your hydro bill and the install is very user friendly – no cords!
Designing the right curb appeal may take some time, but think of it this way. Spend a couple weekends out in the beautiful warm weather and make your home look fantastic while you bask in the sunshine. Having the right curb appeal for your home will give your potential buyers something to remember when viewing your home.
One of the toughest decisions you may come across when you finally find your dream home and you’re ready to put your offer in. Do I need a home inspection? I’ll make it really easy for you – YES. Going in for a subject free offer may be very appealing to the owners and may give you the upper hand in a multiple offer situation but it’s also a large gamble. To put it very simply, a house is the single largest investment most individuals will ever make throughout their lifetime, and when you make this purchase you want to know exactly what you’re getting with no hidden surprises. Forgoing the home inspection may win you the home, but it could also win you years of headaches and nothing but expensive hidden problems throughout. Let me ask you this, how well do you trust the owners? Do you trust them to disclose every single detail that’s wrong with their home? Probably not, and other than that they may not know the extent of the problems that may be laying underneath their very eyes. Having a certified Home Inspector come in to evaluate your potential home is the best way to discover the truth and have an unbiased honest, informed opinion.
Why is it important to get the inspection done?
Getting a home inspection on your potential home gives you the ultimate piece of mind that you need. You won’t need to worry about the structure of your home, roof or foundation crumbling because any issues would’ve been brought to your attention during your home inspection report. It also will give you a road map to a maintenance schedule and give you the opportunity to budget for any repairs that you will need to make in the near future. Keeping you aware of what’s going on with your home.
I’m buying a new home do I still need one?
Yes – the answer will always be yes. Most of us would assume, I’m buying a brand new home, why on earth do I need a home inspection when I already know there’s no problems with the roof or foundation since it’s brand new. Well, there’s more to it. Having a home inspection done before the sale is final is the last stop. The home inspector will make sure everything is working properly and no repairs are needed before you move in. Ultimately having a home inspection done on a new home will give you the negotiating power before you sign on the dotted line to have any repairs done, before you hand over the money.
How to choose your home inspector?
Choosing a home inspector can be overwhelming. With the internet conveniently at our fingertips it’s easy to access a large directory of home inspectors in your area. A helpful hint in choosing the right home inspector for your new home is to research research research! Look to see how long they’ve been in business for and if they have a few years under their belt. Secondly, assure that you will be receiving a report onsite once they complete their inspection. Having the report handed to you right then and there gives you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns you may have. Open availability is also important. Buying a home can move quite quickly; you want to make sure that the home inspector will fit the schedule that will best work for you. Lastly, word of mouth and references. There’s no better way than finding out the good, the bad and the ugly than reading reviews. Check out their Facebook page or website and see what others have to say! Just remember the key to choosing the right home inspector is do your research!
What to expect?
Depending on what home you’re looking at having inspected, whether it’s a condo, townhome or detached house it can take anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours. Your home inspector will complete a detailed walk through of your potential home outside & inside. It’s a complete top to bottom review of the physical structure of the home as well as its electrical and mechanical systems. The inspector will make sure all the major appliances are functioning correctly. They will also assess the heating and air-conditioning systems to assure everything is working properly. They will examine the plumbing to validate that there is no leaks or water damage to the home. If there is a basement, crawl space or attic your home inspector will either crawl up into the attic or down into the basement/crawlspace to ensure that there are no problems. While your inspector is doing the walk through of the inside/outside of your potential home they will be taking notes and pictures for the report. Most importantly your inspector will provide you with an unbiased professional opinion of the homes condition with your report at the end of the inspection.
Having an expert in your corner when it comes to taking a look at your potential home is worth every penny when you’re buying; whether it be your first of your fifth investment in real estate. This blog post has been made possible by the contributions by the gracious Daniel Fedosenko of Mr Home Inspector Ltd. We are grateful for the opportunity of interviewing you for this blog post.
With the warm weather upon us, many of us are beginning to plan our summer vacation activities and adventures, for a lot of us that means travelling. Before you even print those plane or cruise tickets, take a moment to think of the steps you can take to secure your home before you leave on vacation. Peace of mind on the road, or while you’re in another country is worth a lot. Avoid having to file an expensive insurance claim when you return by following these simple tips & tricks.
Mail for Days - Place a hold on mail and newspaper. There’s nothing worse than leaving on a two week vacation to have 14 newspapers piled at your front door or in your mailbox. This is like a welcome mat for burglars ask a neighbour to pick up your mail and newspapers every day or visit your local post office to place a hold on your mail.
Move It - Leave a car in your driveway. This is an easy step to help deter home break ins. Having a presence at your home is key. Whether this means, having a friend or family member drive you to the airport or having your neighbour park in your driveway occasionally. The occasional shift in position makes your home look occupied.
Keep it Clean - If you’re travelling for more than a week hire a lawn care or snow removal company to clean up the yard while you’re away. Manicured outdoor spaces give the appearance of the house being occupied.
Shine Bright – Since most robberies happen at night, install timers on various lights throughout your home to turn on at all different times so it looks like someone is home. Also consider installing motion activated lighting outdoors to keep your home secure.
Keep it Safe – Always keep your valuables such as extra cash, or expensive jewelry in a code locking safe. If your home unfortunately gets broken into, you don’t want them getting their hands on your expensive jewellery.
Garage Hack - tech savvy burglars can easily crack the code to trigger your garage door to open. Make sure you disable your electric garage door opener before you leave.
Let it Slide – Sliding doors are often the easiest and weakest link to your home security. Insure that they are locked correctly and for added security place a cut to fit stick or rod in the tracks.
Sound the Alarm - If it fits into your budget, consider installing a home security system before you leave. Many companies offer monitoring for a low monthly cost. Burglaries are much less likely to happen if there is an alarm system in place.
Shut it off – Turn off your internal water valve. The last thing you want when returning from a peaceful vacation is a flooded home from an old pipe bursting or your washing machine hose failing.
Remove the spare keys – Remember those spare keys you left under the planter? It’s time to bring them in so no one uses them while you’re away!
Taking these necessary steps to protect your home can really help put your mind at easy while you’re away. Bon Voyage!
Despite the chill that’s still lingering in the air, spring is finally here! Many of us associate the word cspring with budding flowers and sunshine, but it also means that it’s time to break out those cleaning gloves and tackle the task of Spring Cleaning.
Spring cleaning is no small task, it can often turn into a huge project. To make your spring cleaning tasks a little more manageable, here are a few tips that can help you tackle your home.
1. Plan of Attack
Lists can often help people stay organized especially tackling a project like Spring Cleaning. Before you get started, walk through each room and write down what you want to accomplish. Writing a list out also helps to make sure you have all the cleaning materials you need before you start.
2. Turn up the Tunes
Put together a cleaning playlist to make the task more fun! Listening to music while cleaning may help make things go by faster, keep you motivated and of course it’s an extra work out!
3. Clean One Room at a Time
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and side tracked when you want to accomplish cleaning your entire house! Baby steps… stick with cleaning one room at a time, or pick two or three rooms to accomplish on the weekend. This way your whole house isn’t thrown upside down all at once. Much easier to manage.
As you go through each room, make sure to declutter. Recycle old magazines, put items you no longer use, need or wear, like that tshirt you bought a year ago but never wear into a three bin system; keep sell or donate. Decide if it’s worth it to sell, or simply put it in a box to donate. Using a three bin system works well to keep you organized and on task
5. Set a Timer
It’s hard to stay on track when cleaning. You may find items you’ve forgotten about, lost, or old photographs, and before you know it you’ve spent the entire day cleaning just one closet because your too busy reminiscing the past. Set a timer so you don’t fall into this trap. Much like a list, it can help you stay on track.
6. Recruit Some Help
Don’t do all the cleaning yourself. What’s better than a cleaning party?! Recruit your kids, significant other or friends to help you out. When you can divvy up the work, it will hopefully take less time than if you do it all by yourself and its good company!
7. Top to Bottom
Start cleaning from the top of the room and work your way down. Knock down all those dusty cobwebs from the corner, dust the light fixtures, clean the windows, dust the furniture, and finally finish with the floors.
8. Think Green
Many chemical-based cleaners emit hazardous fumes. No matter what cleaners you use, remember to always read the labels. Instead of using numerous rolls of paper towel for cleaning, check out a microfiber cloth. They can be used on multiple surfaces and pick up dust like no other!
9. Fresh Air
Even when it’s cold and cloudy outside, it’s a great idea to open up all the windows in the room you’re working in. It lets the fresh air circulate and immediately freshens up the house. If you’re sensitive to all the dust you’re stirring up while cleaning the fresh air will also help.
10. Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done
Having something to look forward to at the end of a long day of cleaning sure makes things go faster. Plus, you worked hard and deserve it. Treat yourself to that bottle of wine you’ve been eyeing or take the opportunity to order in dinner; because let’s face it, who likes to make dinner and make a mess in your newly clean kitchen after a full day of spring cleaning.
Alright, so these tips won’t make all the dirt magically disappear, but the tips above may help you make the task a little bit easier. Remember to take your time and have fun! You don’t have to do everything in one day, that’s why it’s called “Spring Cleaning”