Archive for February, 2012

Locks, Keys and Making Them Work

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Locks, Keys and Making Them Work | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamA good solid lock is one of the best ways to secure the biggest investment most of us will ever make, whether it’s an acreage in Parkland County, a house in Stony Plain or a condo in Spruce GroveBut what if that lock is sticking and your key is not reliably locking and unlocking the door each time?  Are there some simple fixes, or do you have to get a locksmith to replace every lock in your home?

I recently ran across an article entitled “When your key doesn’t unlock the door” published in the January 13, 2012 issue of the Grove Examiner.  This article, also found online on the Edmonton Sun website, is well worth a read.  The author, noted security expert Frank Fourchalk, has numerous suggestions to solve the problem, from using good old reliable WD-40, to tightening various screws and filing the strike plates, to re-keying (not replacing) your locks, and more.  Read his excellent advice on everything relating to home security on his own website, Your Home 

If you’re concerned about security in your home, take a look also at my checklists:

Home Security Checklist 

Fire Safety Checklist 

Looking to buy or sell in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area?  Give me a call at 780-910-9669, email me at or contact me here.



Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Save Energy and Money in Your Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHow energy-efficient is your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home?  Chances are that no matter how well your home is doing, there’s still room for improvement, and that’s true even if you’ve taken advantage of government programs and grants to upgrade such things as the insulation, windows, heating system and the like in your home.

“Make your home an energy fortress”, published January 28, 2012 in the Edmonton Journal asks:  “where exactly should you invest when it comes to ramping up your home’s energy efficiency?”

The article quotes Christopher Straka from Ottawa’s Vert Design, a firm that deals with residential and commercial planning, design and development:   “Every home has its own energy strengths and weaknesses … based on age, construction and other factors. Only an energy audit, which you’ll need to tap into federal grant programs for upgrades, can pinpoint your individual energy issues.  … your best bet is still tightening up the building’s envelope: caulking and weather stripping to reduce leakage, more insulation, and better windows and doors.”

Many of the other things we can do, the article’s author, Patrick Langston, tells us, have an initial cost, but this may be offset somewhat by government grants, and will pay off the longer we remain in our homes.  Don’t forget also that each of these improvements will increase the resale value and saleability of your home.  While it will cost about $1 per square foot of attic to upgrade insulation and plug air leaks, doing so can save $400+ per year.  Spend $3000 to $6000 on a new high-efficiency furnace, and expect to save $500+ annually in heating costs.  Switch to a tankless hot water heater at a cost of about $3000, and save $150 per year.  Read the whole article for other upgrades that will save energy and money.

Planning to retrofit your home or buy a resale home?  Check out fact sheets available at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website that recommend upgrades for 11 housing types in 5 regions of Canada.

Also included in the article are notes on exciting new technologies that promise to do even more for the energy misers among us.  The article concludes with a reminder about the many gadgets most of us can’t live without that gobble up energy, and suggests ways we can reduce our dependence on these energy thieves.  Check out the full article.

Looking for a new more energy-efficient home?  Give me a call at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

“Do you really want to raid your retirement fund to buy your first home?”

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

“Do you really want to raid your retirement fund to buy your first home?” | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLooking to buy your first home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region?  The provocative question in the title of this blog entry is the opening line  of “Strategy for first homes“, an article from the January 28, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal (reprinted from the Financial Post).

The Canadian RRSP allows tax-payers to save money for retirement while getting a break on taxes.   Once withdrawn, taxes must be paid, and the amount can never be put back into the RRSP – with one exception.  First-time home buyers needing money for a down payment are allowed to borrow up to $25,000 (tax-free) from their RRSP funds, and they have up to 15 years to repay the amount.

But!  After reading the article, first-time home buyers might think twice about doing this.  The article explains with specific examples the permanent financial blow this deals to one’s retirement fund and subsequent retirement income.  Because the RRSP contains pre-tax dollars, the potential earning power of this money is greater than funds saved in other ways, and the loss of earning power is therefore greater also.  Loss of growth in one’s savings for retirement might be at least partially off-set by savings occurring from having a smaller mortgage, but prospective home buyers will need sharp pencils to calculate if this works for them.

Read the full article to see if this strategy is the best choice for you.

I work with mortgage brokers who can help you figure out the best way to get into the house you want.  Call me today at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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