Archive for March, 2014

Need More Kitchen Space? Amazing Space Saving Ideas You’ll Love

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Need More Kitchen Space_ Amazing Space Saving Ideas You'll Love | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMost people dream of a spacious kitchen where they can cook with friends and throw the finest of dinner parties, but not everyone can have the ideal cooking space. Big houses are often fitted with an island and plenty of cupboard space but life in a small home or an apartment often comes with a much smaller kitchen. If your house in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region is a little bit too cozy, here are a few simple ways that you can find a bit more space without having to find a new place.

Purchase a Rolling Cart

One of the biggest parts of cooking comfortably in your kitchen is having the stretch-out space for preparation so that you can do all of the things that go into making a fancy meal at once. If counter space is at a premium, you might want to consider a roll away cart that you can use for those moments when you’re really in need of little more room in the kitchen. Whether you use it once in a while or every single day, a stylish cart is a great way to maximize space.  When the evening is over, the cart can simply be rolled away.

Get Creative with Your Storage

If you have a small kitchen, you’ve probably kept your pantry items to a minimum and scaled back your cooking accessories, but there are other means of storage besides the shelves. Instead, think about installing hooks or small racks above your counter so you can use your wall space for storage. You might even want to consider purchasing items that have magnets, or a knife rack that you can attach to your kitchen cupboard to avoid using the space a butcher block takes up.

Consider Installing a Lazy Susan

The biggest grievance associated with an undersized kitchen can sometimes be the massive storage space that is lost to the corner cabinet. Instead of having to push all of your kitchen items to the back of the cabinet where you’ll likely never use them again, consider a Lazy Susan. Whenever you need an item, you can simply spin the shelf instead of having to reach way in the back in the hopes of finding what you’re looking for.

Think of Your Dishware as an Accessory

It might seem like you should store all of your kitchen items in the kitchen, but there’s no reason you can’t get creative about things. If you have any side cabinets or closets where you can store less used items, like fancy dishware or a popcorn maker, you might want to place them there instead. You might even want to consider dressing up nearby cabinets or shelves with nice glassware or dishware so your fine items can reside somewhere outside of the kitchen!

If you’ve purchased Parkland County or Spruce Grove or Stony Plain real estate and you’re working with a cozy kitchen, it might seem like it’s cramping your style. However, simple measures like looking at your storage options and purchasing a roll away cart can make cooking a little bit simpler.

If you happen to have any home-related questions, I’m always happy to help! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

What Movers Won’t Move

Friday, March 21st, 2014

What Movers Won't Move | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you are moving to or from Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, or the Edmonton region, you may be planning to use professional movers to get all your belongings from your old home to your new one.  You might be surprised to learn that there are many items these companies will not move for you, and it will be up to you to get them to your destination yourself, or dispose of them.

Why are you left on your own to deal with some things?  Laws and safety regulations account for some, while ethics and liability account for the rest.  Items the professionals won’t touch (and some you don’t want them to touch) fall into 3 main categories:  hazardous materials, perishable items, and irreplaceable valuables. 

Hazardous Materials

Anything flammable, corrosive, explosive such as:

  • Acids
  • Aerosol cans (deodorant & body spray, hair spray, spray paint, spray cleaners)
  • Batteries of all kinds
  • Bleach & ammonia
  • Charcoal
  • Chemistry sets
  • Cleaning supplies & solvents
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Gardening chemicals, pesticides, fertilizer, poisons of all types
  • Lighter fluid & matches
  • Liquor
  • Nail polish & remover
  • Oils of all types
  • Paints, stains, varnishes, paint thinner, turpentine
  • Petroleum-based products:  fuel of any kind, gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, antifreeze
  • Pool chemicals
  • Propane Tanks
  • Scuba tanks
  • Weapons, firearms & ammunition
  • Yard equipment containing fuel (ask your mover if they will take equipment if it has been drained of fuel and oil)

(You might think of being sneaky and hiding some of the above in with more legitimate items.  DON’T DO IT!!  This could have all sorts of negative consequences.  Even if the vision of an exploding moving van with you being liable for the damage doesn’t become reality, you could still be on the hook for voided insurance claims and the like.  It’s just not worth it!)

Perishable Items

  • Food of almost any kind:  fresh, frozen, refrigerated, open packages of non-perishable foods
  • Houseplants
  • Animals, living or dead.  (Sorry, but Fluffy and Fido will have to ride with you!  And that stuffed deer head trophy over the mantel?  Probably that too!)
  • Almost anything containing organic materials, such as unwashed pet items (bedding, cages, food dishes, etc.), household appliances such as freezers that haven’t been cleaned of food debris, and the like.

Irreplaceable Valuables and Personal Items

Items of high monetary or sentimental value, personal items, important documents, such as:

  • Financial items:  financial statements, cheque books, cash, credit & debit cards, stocks & bonds
  • Important documents:  deeds & titles, tax records, car registrations, medical records, insurance documents (life, health, home, auto, etc.), airline & other tickets
  • Personal documents:  birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, wills, Social Insurance cards
  • Keys (vehicles, house, safety deposit, etc.)
  • Collections (stamp, coin, sports cards)
  • Photos & memorabilia
  • Medications
  • Electronics, especially data-filled:  cell phones, computers, external hard drives, etc.
  • Other high-value items, such as artwork, antique furniture, jewelry, furs, etc.  (Some moving companies specialize in moving items like this – ask your mover)

Check with your moving company about extremely heavy or delicate items such as pool tables, pianos, hot tubs, vehicles and the like.  Some companies will, some won’t!

There is a 4th category of items you are advised not to have movers move, nor should you move those things yourself!  This category includes items you are not using because they are broken, damaged, worn out, out of style, “maybe I’ll have a use for this someday”, “that was a gift from a special person”, “I paid good money for that”…!  Take a picture of yourself with especially hard to part with items, then sell usable items, and give or throw the rest away (keep in mind some items need special hazardous waste disposal methods).  Congratulate yourself for not paying to transport and store stuff you’ll never look at it again!

Moving is a huge life event, with many, many things to think about and do.  Take a look at our Moving Guide for much more advice and help.

Comments or questions about this article or anything related to buying or selling real estate?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.  

New to Edmonton? How to Settle Your Kids Into a Brand New Neighbourhood

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

New to Edmonton_ How to Settle Your Kids Into a Brand New Neighbourhood | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMoving is tough on kids, whether you are moving across town or across country. It usually means that kids have to leave their old friends, change schools, and, sometimes, adjust to a different climate. Fortunately, children are incredibly adaptable and with a little preparation, the transition can be smooth and painless. If you are moving to the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, there are many community resources available to help make you and your children feel right at home.

Prepare Your Children for the Move and Familiarize Them With the New Neighbourhood

Before you move, you should make a number of trips to the area around your new neighbourhood. Visit the local parks, drive around the streets, and drop into the area community centers. If possible, enrol your child in sports or lessons in your new community before you move. That way, they will have established friendships before enrolling in a new school. With weekly events and an eye toward families, the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove is a great place to check out if your move is taking you to the Parkland County real estate area. A vital community centre such as this is invaluable, especially if your new home is located within Parkland County acreages or Edmonton acreages. Although the land is beautiful and spacious, your neighbours are not very close and an active community centre helps you connect socially with the people in your district. This is very important for both children and adults.

Visit the School Your Children Will Be Attending

No one likes to be dropped off in a new situation, never mind a brand new school. Before you move to your new community, call ahead to the school or schools your children will be attending. Make an appointment for the whole family to visit the school, meet the principal, the new teachers, and perhaps take a tour of the school. Almost all schools encourage new students to come and have a look around. If it helps the students make a good transition, it is as good for the school as it is for you. If you are planning a summer move when the school is closed, ask for a tour and make an appointment to meet the teacher when you register your children for the semester. If you are unsure of which school your child will attend, you can consult with your realtor or check out the Alberta Education website. Here you can look up the schools in your area. For example, for the Spruce Grove Real Estate area and Stony Plain Real Estate area, you would look at schools in  Parkland School Division No. 70 or Evergreen Catholic School Division.

Get Involved in Your New Community

The best way to become involved in the community is to become a part of it. The wider and more far-reaching your social circle is, the better your children will fit in. Throw yourself a housewarming party and invite your neighbours and people from the community. Volunteer to coach a little league team, or run a reading program at the local school. Moving to a new area can be difficult for shy children, but the more involved your family is, the more opportunities you give them to make friends.

The most important thing about settling your kids into a new neighbourhood is not to worry. Children make friends fast and will likely know all the ins and outs of the community before you do. If you prepare them well and keep them involved, they will be happy and well-adjusted, whether they live in a home bought through Parkland County Real Estate, Edmonton Real Estate, or even North Pole Real Estate.

Moving is a stressful event and I am always willing to answer any home-related questions you might have! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Plan Ahead for Spring With the Lazy Person’s Guide to Building Your Own Deck

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Plan Ahead for Spring With the Lazy Person's Guide to Building Your Own Deck | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, you’ve just moved into your new home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region and you’ve decided the best way to enjoy all of that lush scenery is to build a new deck. In fact, you’ve decided to build the deck yourself. This might seem like a lot of hard work at first, but building your own deck can be a pretty simple job with the right plan of action.

Pick a Design

The amount of work you’ll need to do all depends on the style of deck you want. If you’re strapped for ideas or you’re having trouble trying to visualize your dream deck, try using the deck plans simulator at deckplans.com. Once you’ve settled on a design, you’ll need to figure out what size the deck will be. If your deck is free standing, you’ll have complete flexibility when it comes to the shape and size. If you plan on building a deck that sits against your house, you’ll have to be aware of wall lengths, shrubbery, and other obstacles the might limit the space available for the deck.

Order Your Materials

The best part about using a deck plans simulator is that most will assemble a materials list for you, but be sure to order extra parts just in case. Here’s a brief overview of those materials:

– 2×6 planks treated lumber

– 4×4 or 4×6 treated lumber

– deck screws

– joist hangers

– block piers or concrete and pier tubes

– J bolts or anchor bolts

– mason’s string

– carriage bolts

You’ll also need to pick up a few tools:

– water level

– measuring tape

– circular saw

– sand paper

– hammer

– shovel

– safety clothing (goggles, gloves, etc.)

– hammer drill (you might not need this depending on what bolt system you use for the posts)

Building a Deck: The Basics

Step 1: Lay out the frame for the deck with string and put down markers for where the support posts will go.

Step 2: Dig holes for the concrete piers. Keep in mind the desired height of your deck.

Step 3: Pour your concrete for the piers if you’re making your own, and place the J-bolts in the centre of each. Leave them to dry. If you’re using block piers, place the blocks and prep each for an anchor bolt with the hammer drill.

Step 4: Place the piers. Use a level throughout the process to make you don’t end up with a wonky deck.  Secure your posts to the piers and make sure they sit at the right height.

Step 5: Use carriage bolts and lumber to build the border. Place joists along the flat side of the lumber to secure the support planks that run underneath the floor planks.

Step 6: Lay down the floorboards by hammering them into the support planks.

Step 7: Use sand paper to smooth down any chips or split wood. You’ll also need to go over any areas you sand down with a deck sealant for waterproofing.

Building your own deck doesn’t have to be hard. A basic deck can be built in as little time as a few afternoons. A deck can be a beautiful addition that raises the value of Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, or Edmonton real estate. Homes in Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages offer a spectacular view, so why not enjoy it on your very own deck?

P.S.  Before you do any of the above, check with the local municipality about whether you’ll need a building permit for your deck!

Have questions about owning a home in these areas? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Do You Know How (and When) to Inspect Your Own Roof?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Do You Know How (and When) to Inspect Your Own Roof? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you own your own home in Parkland County, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, or the Edmonton region, it’s to your benefit to know how and when to inspect your own roof. Whether your Spruce Grove real estate property is new or old, inspecting your own roof can save you money and extend the life of the roof. Your Stony Plain real estate agent would surely agree that it’s easier than ever for homeowners to inspect their own roofs. Here is how you can find out how and when to inspect your own roof if you own some Parkland County real estate.

Tips on How to Inspect Your Own Roof

Inspecting your own roof involves so much more than just climbing up there and glancing around. Inspecting your roof depends on checking out specific issues. For starters, inspect the flashings on the roof; these are metal pieces that cover the roof plane’s interruptions. It’s best to fix damaged flashings immediately, since snow can get into the interior. If the roof has wood shingles, check for indications of dry rot. If one-third of your shingles have dry rot, it’s time to replace the entire roof! If your Edmonton acreage’s roof is high-end and has clay or asbestos shingles, then you can inspect them without having to get on the roof. Just stay on the ground, use binoculars, and look for signs of chipping and missing pieces.

Tips on Easy Fixes for Roof Problems

If the problem with your roof is relatively simple, you can handle it yourself on your own Edmonton real estate property. For instance, loose shingles can be easily repaired by simply hammering in the popped nails. You can even replace both caulk flashing and shingles. $24 or so will get you a bundle of shingles, while roofing caulk costs around $6. You should set aside half a day for work on the roof. If repairs are more complicated, you’ll need to get in touch with professional roof repair companies.

Tips on When to Inspect Your Roof

Parkland County acreages boast some nice properties, and, sometimes, roof inspections should be done more frequently than just once a year. The rule of thumb is yearly or twice a year, but if there have been extreme weather situations (such as snowstorms or wind storms), you should check the roof more frequently. It’s recommended that a homeowner checks his roof after every severe snow or windstorm. Checking your roof more frequently can lead to spotting damage earlier, which makes it less costly to fix.

Now you know exactly how and when to inspect your own roof. It is not necessary to have someone do the job for you if you’re a homeowner. Inspecting your roof really has a lot to do with being proactive, and this can and will save you money in the long run.

I am always available to answer any roof-related questions you may think of. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, 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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