Archive for the ‘Home Improvement’ Category

9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIs your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home making you sick? If you find yourself experiencing a variety of symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, a cough that won’t go away, constant sneezing, chronic sore throat, frequent headaches, shortness of breath or asthma, the culprit may be the air in your home.

Indoor air pollution can be caused by a long list of things, including:

  • Smoke, especially tobacco products used indoors
  • Other burning items, such as candles, incense, wood-burning fireplace, gas stove
  • Heating or cooling systems.
  • Off-gassing from building materials (new carpets, new cabinets made of pressed wood, etc.) and other industrial chemicals, such as radon, formaldehyde, fire-retardants, and the like
  • Household chemicals of various types (cleaning supplies, paint, air fresheners, etc.)
  • Personal products such as hair spray, scented soaps, etc.
  • High humidity
  • Poor circulation of fresh air
  • Mould, mildew and dust mites

Winter, when our houses are closed up tight, makes the situation worse. Luckily, there are many things we can do to improve the quality of the air and our health without resorting to camping in the open air in the backyard

1.  No smoking in the house!

2.  Keep your house clean.

  • Vacuum often.
    Choose a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and a HEPA filter to get rid of all sorts of nasty things. Clean your floors and also walls, carpet edges, draperies or blinds, and upholstered furniture at least once a week. Vacuum mattresses every couple of months.
  • Damp mop the floors after vacuuming.
    Use a microfiber cloth and plain water to pick up dust that the vacuum did not capture. Furniture, baseboards, interior doors and cabinets can also be cleaned of dust using just a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Put a large floor mat at every door and have people remove their shoes to keep outside dirt and chemicals from coming in.
  • Consider getting rid of the carpet in your home (a haven for dirt and dust mites). Replace it with natural materials like solid wood, bamboo or cork. Avoid vinyl floor coverings due to their carcinogenic properties.
  • Launder bed coverings and pillows frequently, especially if you have pets in your home.
  • Clean often or replace filters in your furnace, humidifiers and portable air conditioners. Also clean bathroom and kitchen vents.

3. Store household chemicals, such as paint, solvents, glues and pesticides, outside the home.

Items such as these emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to people and the environment. There’s a reason containers for these products come with the warning to use only in a well-ventilated area.

4.  Banish artificial fragrances from your home.

Pine, lemon and flowery scents in cleaners, laundry products and plug-in air fresheners may smell pleasant, but those things are loaded with nasty chemicals that can make you sick. Gases emitted by these products contain VOCs and petroleum derivatives that have been determined to be hazardous and toxic. Instead, look for fragrance-free products. Use natural cleaning products, such as baking soda and vinegar. Stop using aerosol sprays such as deodorants, hair sprays, furniture polish, and air fresheners. Use sliced lemons or vanilla extract dabbed on light bulbs or your furnace filter for a lovely natural smell.

5.  Stop household mould.

Mould occurs in areas prone to high moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms. Use exhaust fans and a dehumidifier to keep the humidity down and the air moving. Keep a healthy level of humidity in your home of 30-50%. Repair any plumbing leaks. If you spot mould on surfaces, treat it and remove it while it’s small and manageable. This article from The Family Handyman tells you how.

6.  Invest in an air purifier.

High-quality air purifiers remove dust, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, smoke and other allergens, as well as cooking odors. Some may even remove VOCs. Read what Consumer Reports has to say about these machines.

7.  Increase ventilation in your home.

Fling open all the windows? Sure, if the outside air is fresh – or if it’s not the middle of an Alberta winter! During Alberta’s other seasons, consider using “trickle ventilation”, a special window screen with extra filters that allows fresh air in while filtering out pollutants from both outside and inside the home. Use air conditioning in the summer, if you have it in your home, to move the air and remove mold-causing moisture. Run ceiling fans all year-round for more air-moving experience. Make sure that fuel-burning furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, range tops and the like are vented to the outside well away from windows and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) intakes.

9 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam8.  Improve air quality with house plants.

Best air-filtering plants, according to a study done by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America:

Bonus:  These plants are among the easiest house plants to grow, even for those without a green thumb!

9.  Test for radon.

This cancer-causing radioactive gas is colorless and odorless. It is produced through the natural decay of uranium found in soil. It gets into homes moving up from the ground through cracks in the home’s foundation. Granite countertops might also be a problem. Read Health Canada’s article on testing for radon.

Do you have other ideas to improve home air quality? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

16 Tips to Cozy Up Your Spruce Grove Home

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

16 Tips to Cozy Up Your Spruce Grove Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamOur unseasonably mild winter in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region might have you wanting to fling open the windows to let in the bright sunshine and spring-like air, but not so fast! Experience reminds us there is still plenty of winter left, along with the need to keep your home warm and cozy.

Sure, you can crank up the thermostat, put on a warm sweater and brew multiple cups of hot chocolate, but why not try a few of these strategies to make your home snug and welcoming?

  1. No fireplace? No problem! Electric baseboard heaters have been around for years, but today wall mounted electric fireplaces available at stores such as the Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, Canadian Tire, even Amazon can provide wonderful ambiance and warmth in any room for a reasonable price. Or, for instant pretend warmth, turn on the fire log channel on your TV, or put on a fire DVD!
  2. During the day when the sun is shining, open curtains wide to let in the heat and light. Make sure your windows are sparkly clean to let in every drop!
  3. Seal air leaks in your home at doors and windows (check your weather stripping), as well as plug-ins on outside walls, the basement where cement meets wood frame, kitchen hood vent, etc.
  4. Block drafts during the cold winter nights by covering windows with double-insulated blinds or insulated drapes. Warm up the room in a surprising way by covering a whole wall in curtains. You won’t have to break the bank to do this either; Ikea has tons of brightly colored and patterned panels for very little money.
  5. Darker walls in a charcoal gray or a chocolate brown create a cozy, cave-like atmosphere. (Surprisingly, darker walls seem cooler in the summer too.) Or, paint your walls in soothing blues, greens, grays and beiges.
  6. Soften up your home with furniture upholstered in touchable fabrics such as chenille. Position the furniture away from outside walls, if you can. Add pillows in bright warm colors and faux fur throws to make your spaces inviting and welcoming. Add more softness with a big fuzzy rug and textured wall hangings. And a big furry cat to cuddle up with, if you’re so inclined!
  7. Put blankets on display using a quilt rack. No need to buy an expensive blanket display rack; an old wooden ladder will do.
  8. Bed cold? Switch to flannel sheets during the winter, and add an extra blanket or a down comforter. Use an old-fashioned hot water bottle or an electric heating pad to warm up the bed in the evening.
  9. Lots of light! Turn on table lamps with the newer LED bulbs that now come in warm hues reminiscent of soft incandescent light bulbs. Hang strings of light for glow and warmth. Light the candles too.
  10. Run your ceiling fans on the “winter” setting. This reverses the fans to move the warm air that has risen to the ceiling down into the room where its warmth is needed.
  11. Use the oven! Bake bread and cookies, roast a chicken, cook a casserole! Add warmth and a wonderful aroma. Or fake the warmth and homely goodness by simmering something sweet-smelling on the stove top.
  12. Books add comfort and character to any room. Good for acoustics too. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair, a big fluffy afghan and a good reading lamp.
  13. Dry winter air often makes a room feel chilly. Run your humidifier to add moisture and warmth.
  14. Lots of green plants and fresh flowers for increased oxygen and moisture will lend a soothing air and make your home cleaner too.
  15. Hang art that pleases you and display family photos.
  16. Soft soothing music!

 

If you’re looking to sell your home in the winter, a warm friendly atmosphere appeals to buyers!
Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

10 Things Not to Do to Your Home When Selling

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

10 Things Not to Do to Your Home When Selling | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re planning on selling your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home, you want to sell it fast and for the best price. You’ve probably gotten lots of advice about all the things you must do. (I’ve written plenty of blog articles myself on the topic. This is the most recent one, and it includes links to the other articles:  4 Tips to Sell Your Home in Any Market)

But what are some so-called upgrades or updates that won’t pay you back and might even hurt you when it comes time to sell?

Some of these are items you may have built into your home for your own pleasure and convenience. Use them and enjoy them, but be aware that other people might not be so thrilled with them, and may be reluctant to pay for them.  Others are things you may be considering doing because you’ve heard they’ll add value. It’s true that most buyers these days are looking for a home that requires no improvements before they can move in, and sellers are more likely to get top dollar for their home if everything is up to date. But – how much more should you invest in your home to make it sales-worthy?

1.  Special rooms

The average house buyer is looking for at least 3 bedrooms, AND the average buyer tends not to have a lot of imagination when it comes to use of space! Using a bedroom as a home office won’t put off a buyer, but converting a garage to a family room might kill your sale. In addition, most buyers don’t want dedicated spaces like yoga studios, hair salons, sound-proofed recording studios, even tiered theatre rooms which are popular at the moment, and certainly aren’t willing to pay extra for them. In general, it’s wise to avoid making permanent structural changes that alter the intended use of a space or limit its future use.

2.  Trendy or personal-taste decorating

If your daughter’s bedroom is fluorescent pink, and the dining room has splashy floral wallpaper, you might want to dial things back to neutral before listing your home. Paint – in a neutral color – is the one upgrade which will benefit you and pay you back, especially if you do it yourself and do it well.

3.  Appliances

A lot of buyers these days want stainless steel, but installing brand new top end appliances won’t get you a higher selling price.

4.  Flooring

Should you replace the wall-to-wall carpet in your home, especially if it is an out-of-date color and starting to show signs of wear? Most buyers these days are looking for solid flooring, such as hardwood, laminate, ceramic tile and the like, but this type of flooring isn’t cheap, and you are unlikely to get your money back when you sell. My advice would be to go for a good professional carpet cleaning and hope for the best!

5.  Built-ins

Extra storage is always a boon to homeowners, but what if you’ve built in extra cabinets, cupboards and shelving in every room in the house? Lots of buyers will appreciate this but not to the point of compensating you for what you probably spent.

6.  Sunroom addition

A nice idea, especially in our climate, but hugely expensive to add on, and many buyers would not want to take on the extra heating and cooling costs.

7.  Swimming pools and hot tubs

These cost a lot to install and require significant maintenance. You won’t get your money back on these, and you may even find some buyers are turned off by them. Definitely do not put more money into these to spruce them up just before you sell (although remember that items in your home should be in good working order).

8.  Roof

Surprisingly, a brand new roof won’t add value to your home, although it might make the home easier to sell. Replace your roof if you need to but don’t expect to recover your cost.

9.  Backup generator, and other system improvements

Practical, useful, potentially life-saving in our area, especially if your home is on an acreage… Who wouldn’t want a backup generator?! Most buyers don’t want to pay for this extra but instead would probably consider it a nice bonus. Most people also, unfortunately, will not pay extra for a new furnace, plumbing updates, air conditioning, new hot water heater and the like. These are part of the invisible systems that buyers have every right to expect will be in proper working order. Think of these as regular maintenance instead of an investment in your home. Improvements of this type may make for a faster sale and possibly less haggling on the price, but won’t increase the price from what similar houses are selling for.

10.  Anything that is over the top for the level of home and neighbourhood

We all want our homes to be comfortable and beautiful, but if you put a gourmet kitchen or luxury ensuite into your modest home, or splurge on fancy landscaping (fire pit, gazebo, fountain, fish pond, basketball court…) so that these items resemble a spread in House Beautiful, chances are good you’ll recover only a fraction of your costs when it’s time to sell. Avoid over-improving your home. I recently listed a home whose owner had installed a Bose sound system throughout his home, an expenditure of $100,000! He loved it while he lived in the home, but we knew we would be unlikely to find that special buyer willing to pay the price. If you can’t take expensive equipment with you, be prepared to swallow the loss.

Value in a home depends on many factors.  Some of these include:

  • the local market (the number of homes currently for sale in an area, prices of homes recently sold, how fast they sold, etc.);
  • the age, size and style of the home;
  • the quality of construction;
  • the home’s condition, including regular maintenance and updating;
  • location, including amenities and accessibility, type and size of lot, nearby traffic patterns and green space, crime levels, etc.

Taking on a major renovation just before you sell in hopes that you’ll score big is pretty much always a bad idea (assuming that your home is in reasonable condition. If it isn’t, that’s a whole other discussion!). My best advice? Fix all the little things that need to be repaired, do a superior cleaning job, and paint anything that’s looking shop-worn.  The most important thing to remember is that a home is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, and it’s probably not worth it to put more money into it just before you sell.

Need help in deciding how to best present your home in the market? I’m happy to provide that help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Tips to Security Proof Your Home

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Tips to Security Proof Your Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWith the arrival of fall in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, most of us are back into the routine of kids back at school and all family members busy with activities of various kinds.  This means lots of come and go in our homes, making it even more important for our homes to be easily accessible for family members but not at all for intruders.

Security is a top priority for all home owners and their families. Technology is revolutionizing the way we protect, monitor and interact with our home. Security systems are becoming quick and customizable,  offering home owners the ability to ensure top safety and high levels of convenience.

Keyless security locks eliminate that haunting feeling of forgetting to lock the door and the resulting worry for the safety of your home. Electronic, keyless locks, like the Schlage Touch increase home protection and security because there is no cylinder to pick for potential intruders.

This technology gives home owners the ability to create codes to allow access for friends, and delete them when not needed anymore. It is important to look for touchscreen locks that are finger-print resistant that won’t rub away with continued use or due to weather conditions.

Families using electronic locks should be aware of how to set secure codes to ensure the highest level of safety. When creating a code for your home lock, there a few best practices to be aware of. Choose a code that never uses the same numbers twice and avoid sequential numbers to increase security. Stay away from commonly used combinations like 1234, 0000, and 1111 because these are the easiest for an intruder to guess. It is best to create a code that uses memorable numbers, like an anniversary, or graduation date. These are not obvious enough for an outsider to think of but have significant meaning so that your family members can remember the code.

Not only do touchscreen locks provide high levels of security but they add distinct convenience for busy families on the go. This means no more worrying about where your lost keys have disappeared to, or concerns about safety for that backup spare key under your doormat.

Take these proactive steps to keep your family and home safe and eliminate risk from potential intruders.

Looking for a new home with increased security features?  Maybe I can help.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Most of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

How to Improve Your Spruce Grove Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

How to Improve Your Spruce Grove Home's Indoor Air Quality | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe quality of the air in our homes in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region is something we tend to notice more at this time of year when doors and windows are shut tight against winter’s blast.

When we think of air quality we often think of air pollution from cars and factories or smog, haze and ozone. But the air we breathe can be contaminated where we live and work as well.

Find out from an experienced HVAC contractor who is well versed in the movement and control of heat, air, and moisture in buildings. This type of technician will also diagnose and resolve any indoor air quality issues.

For example, to find out whether the air in your home may be affecting your family’s respiratory system, ask yourself the following HVAC questions:

• Does anyone in your household suffer from asthma, allergies or respiratory problems?
• Do their symptoms appear to be worse when they are at home or in specific places at home?
• Has your home undergone significant changes such as the replacement of windows, a complete renovation of the basement, or an addition in the last few years?
• Do you notice excessive window condensation in winter, or is your basement damp or musty in the summer?
• Do you feel the need to use air fresheners or scented candles on a regular basis to keep your home feeling fresh?
• Do you find that odours linger in your home?
• Do you notice stains, spotting or dampness on walls or excessive dust on floors?
• Do visitors to your home suffer from allergic reactions?
• Do pets live in your home?

If you answered yes to more than 2 or 3 of these questions, then ask for a diagnosis to resolve the underlying issues. There are many things that you can do on your own, but there are items that should be left to a qualified professional. Usually, air quality improvements require a systematic and integrated approach – it is unlikely that any one measure solves all problems – and HRAI contractors (members of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada) have the training and experience to help you find the most cost effective ways to ensure the air you breathe is as healthy as possible.

In the Consumer Tips section of www.hrai.ca, take a look at the simple things you can do to improve the air quality in your home. The website also has a contractor locator to help you find a local professional.

If you are trying to sell your home, be aware that one of the first things potential buyers will notice is the smell and the quality of the air so it’s worth working to improve it.  I’m happy to help!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

The Pros and Cons of Property Flipping: Find Out If It Is For You

Friday, December 12th, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Property Flipping: Find out if It is for You | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re looking to complete a property flipping project in one of Alberta’s sought-after neighbourhoods like Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, or the Edmonton region, you’re in for a fun and rewarding experience. Just as it is a fun hobby to some or a means of added income for others, property flipping can also be a business or main source of income for many people who are well versed with real estate and renovations. There are a variety of reasons why you might want to flip a piece of Parkland County real estate or one of the many Edmonton acreages available for purchase. Before you start, though, it’s important that you understand what you’re getting into. If you’re looking to flip a piece of Edmonton real estate, consider these advantages and disadvantages before committing to the project.

Pro: Great Financial Gain

Of course, the number one advantage of property flipping is the financial gain that so many people achieve. Many people have amassed significant wealth with a simple property purchase, renovation, and sale at the right place and the right time. A major part of their success involved having a solid understanding of the trends in the real estate market. If you can buy and sell at the right time, you could earn a lot of money simply by flipping a property.

Con: Relatively High Risk

One major disadvantage when it comes to property flipping is the relatively high risk involved. In order to profit from a property flip, you will need to buy low, invest into the property, and sell high. This means leveraging changes in the market – knowing when prices will drop and when they will rise. Either buying or selling at the wrong time will greatly reduce your property’s value – and if you happen to both buy at a poor time and sell at a poor time, you could find that your newly renovated property is worth less than it was worth when you purchased it.

Pro: A Fun Project

Many property flippers who thoroughly enjoy the project have a keen sense of interior design or a good grasp of home renovations and improvement, or both. Having a passion for design and renovation will certainly help to make property flipping a fun and rewarding experience. This is especially true for home flippers who are able to undertake certain home renovation or decorating projects themselves, without having to involve too many contractors. First and foremost, your property flip should be a labour of love.

Con: A Big Mess

For those who don’t have an understanding of home renovations, especially for those hiring contractors for the first time, it is common to find yourself in a big mess – both literally and figuratively – when it comes to renovating the home in preparation for its sale. When dealing with contractors, it’s very common for things to run behind schedule or for fees to go well above what was initially quoted. A property flip is a major project with all sorts of intricate details, and there are a thousand different things that could go very, very wrong. If you’re not prepared to take that risk and deal with the fallout, you will neither enjoy nor profit from a house flip.

If you are interested in undertaking a project with a piece of Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, or Parkland County acreages, you can find immediate financial benefits as well as longer term financial gains in each of these areas. Most importantly, it’s crucial to understand your own qualifications and knowledge when it comes to property flipping, and to be able to assess your ability to deal with challenges that will arise when you flip a property.

For a better understanding of what’s involved in property flipping, I’m always happy to answer your questions. Feel free to call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Smartphone Apps for DIYers 2.0

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Smartphone Apps for DIYers 2.0 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWay back in June 2011 I posted a blog article about smartphone apps for do-it-yourself home owners in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region.  Three and a half years are a lifetime in tech terms but surprisingly, most of the apps I described in the article are not only still available but are even better than before.

Everybody who has a smartphone knows there are 1000s of apps out there for every possible topic. Where to find the best ones for DIYers? Start with LifeHacker’s article How to Make Your Smartphone the Most Important Tool in Your Toolbox. Then, take a look at these great articles that review the latest and greatest apps.

Home Improvement

Better Homes & Gardens: Don’t DIY Without These 9 Apps
Bob Vila: 5 Top Tool Apps for Your iPhone
Popular Mechanics: The 10 Best Apps for DIYers
Tom’s Guide: 10 Best Home Improvement and DIY Apps
Top 13 Best Android Apps for DIY Projects and Home Remodel Repair

Home Décor

Chatelaine: Six Must-have Smartphone Apps for Home Decorating and Renos
Huffington Post: 21 iPhone, iPad and Android Apps for Decorating, Home Repair, DIY and Crafts
Remodelista: The 12 Best Apps for Remodelers

Gardening and Landscaping

Best Android Apps for Gardening and Landscaping
Best Landscape Design Apps – iPad, iPhone & Android
The Dirt Farmer: 20 Smartphone Apps for the Plant Lover
NY Times: 20 Smartphone Apps for the Home and Garden
Top 5 Gardening and Landscaping iPhone Apps

Let me know what you think of these apps. Better yet, let me know if you find a great app that isn’t on any of these lists and I’ll happily share it with everybody else! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSometimes it comes as a surprise to people living in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the city of Edmonton or any other Alberta municipality that there are strict rules as to what they can and can’t do or build on their property. This surprise can be especially rude when it comes time to sell a property and the owners discover that they were supposed to have permits for certain things.

“Why would a municipality care about what goes on inside private property? Aren’t all those permits just a cash grab?”

The City of Spruce Grove’s webpage dealing with building and development permits says this:

“Building Permits deal with structural stability of buildings and the health and safety of the building’s occupants. Development Permits deal primarily with a development’s impact on surrounding properties.”

Permits help a municipality ensure that all structures and activities within municipal limits meet the standards for health and safety of people and the environment. Yes, there is a cost for the processing of permits, but wise homeowners should see this cost as a good investment for the future and insurance that their home and property are secure.

“What sorts of things require permits?”

The City of Spruce Grove’s webpage on building permits has a long list of things requiring permits, along with the cost of the permits, for items inside your home and on the piece of land your home occupies. Some common interior items include

• developing and finishing a basement
• installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace
• installing, replacing or altering materials or equipment regulated by the Alberta Building Code (such as replacing a furnace).

Outside your home, you’ll need a permit to

• add a deck that is higher than 2 feet above the ground
• cover an existing deck
• install a hot tub or swimming pool
• construct any building on your property, such as a detached garage or shed.

These permits not only specify the safety measures to be followed but also mandate the distance structures must be from property boundaries and rights of way. Demolitions may require permits too.

If you want a firepit on your property, you’ll need a fire permit.  You may also need permits for gas installations, electrical installations, plumbing installations, and lot grading.  Please see the City’s webpage for the complete list of items requiring permits.

***If you are unsure about whether you need a permit or not, contact the City’s Planning and Development Department and ASK! Do this BEFORE you begin the work!***

“What happens if I want to sell my house and I don’t have the proper permits?”

For the answer to this question, see my blog post entitled “No Permits or RPR? How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing”.

Questions about  building permits, RPRs, compliance, or title insurance? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

 

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home’s Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home's Look and Boost Its Resale Value with These Home Lighting Tips | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re selling your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region, it’s important to ensure that you make it look appealing to buyers. Increasing your home’s appeal will make buyers more likely to put down an offer – and can even boost the final selling price. Even something as simple as lighting can increase your home’s resale value. Take advantage of these lighting tips to make your home sale quick and profitable.

Outdoor Lighting: It’s All About Curb Appeal

Use outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s appearance and create an alluring atmosphere. Adding lighting to landscaped areas creates interesting contrasts of light and shadow that will catch your buyers’ eyes. You can add emphasis to landscaping by using uplighting for trees and shrubbery. Adding mood lighting to a patio area makes it appear more welcoming. Lighting dark areas of your property is also a good security measure, and it may prevent someone from slipping or falling. Individual solar lights can be installed along a walkway for safety and to improve the appearance of the property.

Entryway Lighting: First Impressions Count

The first impression anyone has of your home is when they walk through the front door. One of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home and add to its appeal is by making simple cosmetic changes to the interior. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your home a fresh, new look. A chandelier in a large foyer makes a dramatic impression. It can be simple or elaborate, depending on your decor. An entryway table with a decorative lamp and soft lighting is also a nice touch.

Kitchen Lighting: Practicality is Key

Kitchens usually have plenty of overhead lighting, but not enough light for specific tasks like cutting or washing food. Direct lighting in specific areas makes it easier to see when preparing food, which makes your kitchen more functional. Fluorescent lighting is easy to install underneath kitchen cabinets, giving your kitchen the practical lighting it needs.

Ceiling Fans: Lighting With Style

Ceiling fans with installed light fixtures can be placed in any room and are easy to install. The vast array of styles makes it easy to find ceiling fans that complement your home’s decor. Not only do they provide more light, but they also increase the airflow through your home.

Lighting Living Spaces: Use Full Spectrum Bulbs for a Richer Environment

The living room or family room is where families spend a lot of their leisure time. Overhead lighting is a good choice for entertaining, but if you want an atmosphere that’s more relaxing, you can use lamps containing full spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum light bulbs are bulbs that mimic the appearance of natural light. Dimmer switches in the living areas are perfect for times when a lot of light isn’t necessary. When selling your home, show it off to its advantage by taking advantage of natural light, especially if you have a nice view.

Lighting for Dark Areas: Soft Lights Add Nuance

If you don’t already have them, install dimmer switches in your bedrooms to achieve a comforting, relaxing appearance. Use soft lighting in bedside lamps. Softer lights can make dark areas of your home feel more cozy and inviting. You can buy decorative night lights to add atmosphere to a darkened hallway.

The proper lighting has the ability to transform any living space and make it more appealing. With the right lighting in every room, you can make your home more appealing to buyers – and you might even sell it for a higher price.

I am always available to answer questions you may have about enhancing the resale value of your home.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Five Tips to Keep in Mind when Replacing the Windows on Your Edmonton-Area House or Condo

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Five Tips to Keep in Mind When Replacing the Windows | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAfter the purchase of a house in Spruce Grove, Parkland County, Stony Plain and the entire Edmonton region, there could be, for one reason or the other, the need to replace its windows. It is always advisable to keep in mind the tips below when replacing windows.

Decide Whether Or Not the Process Will Be Done By a Professional

The success of any window replacement project depends on the type of window chosen and the quality of workmanship used during the replacement. A buyer can use metallic or wooden windows for replacement. Using a reputable installation company gives the owner an assurance of getting quality services. It is advisable to use a company that offers a warranty on parts and labour in addition to the products themselves. If you as a homeowner plan to replace the window yourself, be absolutely sure that you’re capable of the task before attempting it.

Consider the Amount of Time That The New Windows Should Serve

Where a replacement is meant to increase the house value during resale, the priorities may be different than for those who simply want to fix cracked or chipped glass. Energy saving, ease of maintenance and beauty are the most common upgrade considerations. With vinyl windows, homeowners can get back about 71 percent of their investment. Where this replacement is for the owner’s benefit, it’s important to consider warranties and repairs, quality and durability, design and appearance, ordering and installation, price, and energy efficiency. In short: the price of the window itself isn’t the total cost.

Narrow Your Options on Warranties

Whether the warranty covers broken seals and air leaks, or labour and glass breakage, it is advisable to determine how long this coverage will last. Get these warranties from a reputable company and determine the course of action should this company go out of business. The company has to carry liability insurance and must be licensed to work within the locality of the house. Most importantly, ascertain whether or not these warranties are transferable to the next homeowner.

Carry Out Proper Prior Preparation

It is important to prepare before the replacement process begins. Apart from being sure of the cost, it’s advisable that homeowners remove blinds and curtains from these windows. They should also alert their alarm company and create enough working space around the windows to ensure that the process is done efficiently and fast.

Try To Make the Entire Process Fun

The project will only be fun if the result will bring comfort, a sense of security and beauty. Decisions about the price and energy efficiency should be made with everyone’s comfort in mind.

These tips will also be applicable to anyone with Parkland County acreages, as well as Edmonton acreages. Several years after construction, there may be a need to replace windows; hopefully, the above tips are useful.

Comments or questions are always welcome.  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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