Hurting from Alberta’s Recession? 12 Tips to Save Money on Groceries

January 20th, 2016 by Barry Twynam

Hurting from Alberta’s Recession? 12 Tips to Save Money on Groceries | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamOil prices below $30 per barrel, much higher prices at the grocery store, and paying a lot more for everything imported as the loonie plunges are leaving many residents of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County bewildered and wondering how to cope.

Financial advisors typically suggest that we prepare and follow a budget, keep track of expenses, spend less than we earn, and so on. What are some easy to follow tips that won’t make you feel that you have to lower your standard of living?

 

Today’s focus is on cutting food costs.

1.  Prepare your meals at home from scratch to stretch your food dollars the farthest. The vast quantities of pre-prepared and processed food items at the grocery store may be convenient but they will cost you more. And if you think you don’t know how to cook – it’s never too late to learn!

2.  Deliberately cook more than you’ll consume for dinner. Then package and freeze the rest for another meal, or plan to pack it for your lunch the next day. Bringing your lunch from home instead of paying restaurant prices will save you big.

3.  Learn what groceries cost. This means educating yourself about how much the price of the same item can differ from one store to another, or from one week or season to the next. Study the prices in the stores and better yet, read the flyers. Some people shop only in the one store that they feel has the best deals or the best selection. Other people visit several stores in order to save the most money on individual items. Find a strategy that works for you.

4.  Plan ahead. Make a list before you go shopping based on: a) what you need for meals for the next week, b) what your family will use up before the next shopping trip, and especially c) what is on sale as listed in the store’s flyer. Stick to the list, and avoid impulse buys. Don’t buy more than you can comfortably store and use. Shop just once a week, or less. You’ve probably also heard the advice not to shop on an empty stomach!

5.  Buying in bulk is cheaper than buying small packages and makes sense for food items that keep for a long time and are used often in your home. Do a lot of baking? Buy the largest bags of sugar and flour you can find (on sale, please!) and store them appropriately. Looking to sample something for the first time? A small package may be more economical in the long run.

6.  Be aware of the tricks stores use to get you to buy more or to buy higher priced items in a particular category. A store in Spruce Grove routinely offers cottage cheese for a special price – but only if you buy three large containers. Good deal if your family consumes a lot of cottage cheese; not so great if half of it spoils before you use it.

Note how items are displayed on store shelves. Higher priced and name brand items tend to occupy the real estate within easy reach and at eye level. Take the time to compare prices between brands and between different sizes of the same product.

7.  Ask yourself if you must have the name brand you’ve seen advertised on TV (for a premium price; they have to pay for that advertising somehow!), or if the generic or store brand item could be just as good. Generic (“no name”) and store brand items are usually manufactured by the same companies that produce the name brand stuff but without the fancy packaging. No name butter? Half the price of the name brand stuff and tastes just the same!

8.  Along with ditching many name brand products for cheaper but just as good no name or store brand items, consider what you regularly put on your plate. Deliberately seek out cheaper options, such as cheaper cuts of meat, “manager’s specials”, or even less meat. Look also for meat and produce that has been discounted. A local grocery store slaps “30% off” stickers early in the morning on meat that is close to its best before date. Substitute cheaper and often healthier and just as flavorful fruits and vegetables, especially those grown closer to home, for more exotic and imported produce.

Hurting from Alberta’s Recession? 12 Tips to Save Money on Groceries | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam9.  In the summer months, patronize your local farmers’ markets for the freshest and healthiest produce. Often cheaper too than what you’ll find at the store. Should you grow your own garden? That depends. In truth, you may not save money since seeds, bedding plants, fertilizer, water and gardening tools all cost money. What’s more, the garden tends to yield its bounty all at once, providing far more than most people can use at one time. However, if your family is large and you are prepared to can or freeze the harvest for later use, a garden can be a good investment in money and health.

10.  Consider eliminating the purchase of some things altogether, such as bottled water and soft drinks, or packaged cookies. This will not only help your wallet but your waistline too!

Other good tips.

11.  Some people advise a cash only strategy for grocery shopping. But many no-fee credit cards give valuable rewards that can lower your grocery bills or help your budget in other ways. If you shop at the Real Canadian Super Store, your President’s Choice Financial MasterCard will give you points every time you use it. Those points, which add up quickly, can then be redeemed for “free” food. Other stores have similar programs; for example, Sobey’s and Safeway offer AirMiles. These programs cost nothing to join and they do pay off!

12.  Paper coupons used to be the way to shave money off a grocery bill. They still exist but the modern way uses a variety of websites and apps that give money off or provide rebates. An upcoming blog article will showcase these apps. Stay tuned!

Do you have other tips to save money on groceries? Let me know and I’ll post readers’ contributions in a future blog article or on social media. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Why Wait for Spring to List Your Home? 9 Reasons to Sell During the Holidays

December 14th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

Why Wait for Spring to List Your Home? 9 Reasons to Sell During the Holidays | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou might think that putting your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home on the market at this time of year is a bad idea. But there are actually many good reasons to list your home during the holiday season.

  1. People shopping for a new home during the winter months tend to be more serious about a home purchase than those looking at other times of the year. They may be in a situation where moving is not an option since January often marks the start of a new job. Buyers are not only more likely to make an offer, but also more likely to meet your list price, especially as people are apt to be in a good mood at this time of year!
  2. Generally, fewer houses are listed at this time of year. This means less competition for your home now than later in the spring when more homes will come on the market.
  3. Many businesses reduce their hours during the holiday season, meaning employees may have time during the work week, not just evenings and weekends, to shop for a new home.
  4. Some buyers may find themselves in a financial situation where it is advantageous for tax or incentive reasons to make their deal before the end of the year.
  5. You’ve probably spent a fair amount of time cleaning, decluttering and decorating your home for the holidays. Why not take advantage of this natural staging when your home is looking its best?
  6. Your home being on the market does not have to interfere with your holiday plans. You always have the option to specify when showings may or may not occur.
  7. Selling now does not necessarily mean you’d have to move now. It is possible to negotiate a later date for buyers to take possession, or to allow you to remain in your home for a longer period of time.
  8. But, if you sell and move to a temporary residence now, with the intention of buying later in the spring, you can do so with money in the bank and without the pressure of having to write an offer that is conditional upon the sale of your current home.
  9. Mortgage rates remain at record lows so there are still many buyers for whom your house just might be the perfect home.

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell at any time of the year, I’m here to help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Give Twice with These Energy Efficient Gifts!

November 25th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

Give Twice with These Energy Efficient Gifts! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamGift-giving season is nearly upon us in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region. Saving energy and helping the environment are good no matter what season it is. If you prefer giving gifts that are useful and practical, you’re sure to find something to please on this list of energy efficient gifts. And your gift will help the recipient to use less energy and save money too.

For the home improvement fanatic:

  • LED or CFL lights
    Bulbs, lamps, reading lights
  • Home energy monitor, such as the Kill-a-Watt monitor available from Amazon.ca
    Allows the user to track the amount of electricity being consumed by various devices.
  • Faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Window insulating kit
  • Plugs for unused electrical outlets
    Did you know that up to 20% of air leakage from your home can occur through outlets?
  • Ceiling fans
    Keep your home warmer in winter, cooler in summer and help with humidity all year round.

For the home cook and bottle washer:

  • Pressure cooker
    This old-fashioned pot uses up to 70% less energy than traditional cooking and cooks food faster too.
  • Tea towels
    Who says everything has to be washed in the dishwasher!
  • Cold water laundry detergent
    Single-use packs make a good stocking stuffer gift.
  • Energy Star rated appliances of all kinds

For the device geek:

  • Power bar
    These come with all sorts of innovations, such as integrated timer, auto shutoff, and special sockets for charging mobile devices
  • Solar-powered cell phone and battery chargers
  • Solar backpack
    Looks like a regular student backpack but can charge electronic devices. (Check out this one called the SolarGoPack from Amazon.)

For the survival dude:

  • Battery powered radio in case of power outages
  • LED flashlight
    Or how about this hand-crank flashlight from Ikea?  Great gift for kids too.
  • Portable solar panel kit
    The GoalZero Guide 10 Adventure Kit allows you to charge all sorts of things, such as USB powered devices, phones, tablets, flashlight batteries, and emergency radios.

Do you have more ideas to add to this list? 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

November 10th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

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.

Should You Buy a New Home, or Sell the Old One First?

November 2nd, 2015 by Barry Twynam

Should You Buy a New Home, or Sell the Old One First? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamYou need to leave your current home and move to a new town for work, or your family has outgrown your current residence in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere. Should you buy a new home before selling your current home, or is it better to sell the old one first? This is a complicated question with pros and cons on both sides of the issue.

Buy First

Pros:

  • You can take your time to shop for a new home and make it ready for your occupancy.
  • With no one waiting to move in to your current home, you’ll feel less pressure to move out and you’ll have more time to prepare for the move.
  • The biggest advantage is the security of knowing you have somewhere to live, whether that is your current home or a new one.

Cons:

  • It may be necessary to carry two mortgages for a time (assuming you can even get one on a new dwelling), as well as maintain two homes, and this could be problematic and costly.
  • An Offer to Purchase a new home that is conditional on the sale of your current home may not be acceptable to many sellers because it ties up their property while everyone waits for your current home to sell. If it doesn’t sell, you then risk having the deal on your new home fall through.

Sell First

Pros:

  • You’ll have money in the bank and will know how much you can spend on a new home.
  • Your Offer to Purchase a new home would not need to be conditional on the sale of the old one, making your offer more likely to be accepted.

Cons:

  • Selling your current home before buying another one could leave you homeless! You might find yourself quickly buying a less than satisfactory home just to put a roof over your head, or having to rent temporary accommodations until you can buy a suitable home (and having to move twice, or place your belongings in storage).
  • If the sale of a new home goes through before you sell your old home, you may be short of cash for down payment and closing costs, and this could require “bridge financing”.

Ultimately, your family situation and especially your finances will determine which scenario will be your choice.

I often deal with clients in this situation and can usually help people find a workable solution. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

How Safe is Your Spruce Grove Home for Halloween?

October 27th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

How Safe is Your Spruce Grove Home for Halloween? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFabric ghosts fluttering from trees, big blow-up monsters, elaborately carved jack-o’-lanterns, orange lights on roof edges… Every year in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, it seems more and more homeowners decorate their homes for the visits of little superheroes and princesses out to collect treats on that spooky night.

Just how safe is the path to your front door for those little tricksters? And from a homeowner’s perspective, would your liability insurance coverage be adequate in case of an unforeseen accident? I remember witnessing a problem at a friend’s home last Halloween that could have had disastrous consequences. The home is a bungalow whose front door is reached via 4 concrete steps, built at a time when railings on the sides of such porches or stoops were not mandated. The porch luckily drops off into a fringe of shrubs at the front of the house, rather than onto a hard concrete sidewalk. Inevitably, several excited youngsters fell off the steps that night, resulting in some minor bruises and spilled candy. Things could have been so much worse, and I’m pretty sure my friend will be reinforcing those porch edges this Halloween.

Keep visitors safe this Halloween:

Check your fire safety measures

  • When setting up electrical decorations and lights, don’t overload your electrical circuits.
  • Use battery powered flameless candles in jack-o’-lanterns.

Check for obstructions and hazards in your yard

  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is out of reach of little hands and well secured so as not to be a tripping hazard.
  • Remove obstacles such as lawn ornaments or garden tools, and rake up wet leaves and other debris.
  • Light up any decorative elements in your yard to avoid people running into them, or make them part of your Halloween tableau by surrounding them with “crime scene” tape.
  • Light up your walkway and keep the path clear. Snow on Halloween is always a possibility in our area, and it goes without saying that snow and ice should be cleared away to prevent injury from falls on slippery sidewalks.

Check your insurance coverage, just in case

Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Movement?

People paint and display a teal pumpkin to show that they are giving out treats that are safe for all kids, including those with allergies. That usually means non-food items, such as stickers, erasers or pencils, small toys and the like.

Protect your home and property too:

  • Keep your pets indoors for their safety as well as the safety of visitors.
  • Place garbage cans inside a building or secure them so they can’t be tipped over.
  • Park vehicles in your garage if possible.

How Safe is Your Spruce Grove Home for Halloween? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamOnce you’ve made your home safe, fill up the treat bowls, dress in your spookiest costume, turn on all the lights, and prepare to welcome all the little ghosts and goblins!

Do you have any more tips to add for a safe and fun Halloween? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

4 Tips to Sell Your Home in Any Market

October 20th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

4 Tips to Sell Your Home in Any Market |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAre we in a “buyer’s market” yet in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region? Well, sort of. Buyers won’t find super bargain prices this fall, but they will find many more homes on the market and this means greater choice for them. Not such good news if you’re looking to sell your home right now.

As a seller, what are the things that will get your property sold, even against lots of competition?

1. Get your home noticed in today’s world.

List with a REALTOR® who knows the local market and will get your property “out there”. These days it isn’t enough to hammer a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and post the occasional ad in the local newspaper. In my office, for example, we work hard to ensure that my online presence will get your home seen. You’ll find your listing on my website, on Realtor.ca and MLS, on a virtual tour website and blogs, on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Kijiji, and many others.

2. Set a realistic asking price.

Take the advice of your realtor in pricing your property appropriately. Remember that realtors do property evaluations all the time and are very aware of what is selling and for how much. We want to help you get as much for your property as possible. Think about those last two words. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to find a buyer who will see as much value in your property as you do, and unfortunately, a property is only worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Overpricing is probably the single biggest reason homes languish on the market, and this leads to a dismal spiral that goes like this: House priced too high ► potential buyers pass it by ► house sits on the market for far too long ► price is reduced (sometimes several times) ► potential buyers think there is more wrong with the house than a price that’s too high ► disappointed sellers eventually sell for a lower price than they would have received if the house had been priced right to begin with.

3. Make your home shine and stand out from the competition.

Look at your home through the objective eyes of a prospective buyer who wants to move right into a home that is clean and well-maintained. Then get busy, clean your home thoroughly, and attend to all the little repairs and fix-ups your house needs. Now is not the time to undertake major and expensive renovations that you won’t get to enjoy, but it is certainly the time to replace burnt-out light bulbs, repair broken windows, fix drippy faucets and squeaky hinges, touch up chipped paint, tidy up the yard, etc. etc. etc.!

I have written extensively in the past about the sorts of repairs, upgrades, staging and curb appeal that will sell your home without breaking the bank. Take a look especially at the starred* articles below.
Boost the Value of Your Home With Strategic Updates
Let There Be Light: Enhance Your Home’s Look and Boost Its Resale Value With These Home Lighting Tips
Selling Your House in Spring: Tips That Will Boost Your Home’s Appeal
Selling Your House in the Fall
*Leaner, Cleaner – and Sold!
Drive-by Delight or Disaster?
Use Good “Sense” to Sell Your Home!
*Be Your Own Home Stager
Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County?
Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering
*10 Things I Hate About Your House!

4. Accommodate all viewings from prospective buyers.

Having a constant parade of visitors through your home is stressful if you and your family are still living there. Keeping the place pristine for the lookers while packing for your move and maintaining as normal a family routine as possible is a hard juggling act. But buyers won’t make offers if they can’t get in to see the place so set as few conditions on showings as you can. Be readily available when an offer comes in.

There are many things you can’t control when selling your home, such as its location on a busy corner, or the size of the lot, or its floor plan, or the weather! But if your home is clean and well-maintained, priced right, advertised wherever it can be, and shown to all people who express an interest in it, it will sell.

If you have a property to sell this fall, let’s talk! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Fall 2015: Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home?

October 9th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

Fall 2015:  Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLots of people in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region are nervous about the Alberta economy and the impact of the upcoming federal election. If you are one of those people, and are holding off on buying a new home or putting your current home on the market, recent statistics from the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton might ease your stress a little.

Selling prices are down somewhat, the number of homes on the market is up a fair bit, and homes are taking a little longer to sell than a year ago, but there is still plenty of room for optimism on both the buying and selling sides. Here’s why.

In September 2014, the selling price for an average single family home in the Edmonton area was $436,429. In September 2015 the price had dropped to $432,150, a decrease of just .98% from the previous year. This seems to suggest that value is there for buyers, while sellers can still expect to receive a fair dollar.

In September 2014 a single family home stayed on the market for an average of 47 days; this year the time has increased, but only slightly, to 51 days. Last September saw 1,568 residential units being sold; this year that number dropped by 6.76% to 1,462. A slower market this year, but still plenty of movement.

A year ago, there were 4,812 units in the residential inventory for the Edmonton area. By September of this year, that number had increased to 7,108, a jump of 47.71%. This means that buyers have considerably more choice when considering their purchase. Sellers have more competition and so may have to put more time and effort into getting their properties ready to sell. But home owners who keep their property well maintained and have reasonable expectations for a selling price should not find this to be a problem. A seller was once the buyer of the property they now have on the market. I continually tell my buyers to consider the resale value of whatever property they are thinking of purchasing. Once they own that property, they should never forget that eventually they will want to sell, and a home that is well maintained and offered for the right price will find a buyer, even if the market seems to be less than ideal.

No matter what the housing market is doing, the best time to buy or sell is when the time is right for you! I’m always available to help you buy or sell. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Tips for Moving to a New Home With Pets

September 25th, 2015 by Barry Twynam

Tips for Moving to a New Home With Pets | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamMaking the transition to a new home can be stressful for everyone, including your pets. “We often are anxious about our pets’ adjustment to a new home,” says Lincoln Thompson, a broker-owner with Royal LePage Gardiner Realty in Fredericton, New Brunswick. “To ensure a safe and successful transition, homeowners can plan ahead and take initiatives to make the process as smooth as possible.”

Before the move

Pull out moving boxes in advance of packing to allow your pet an opportunity to become accustomed to them. Orient your pet to its carrier or crate so that you have a safe-place for her before and after the move. Try to keep routines as stable as possible during the flurry of packing and preparation for the big move.

Research by-laws and pet licensing in your new area.

Contact the local municipality for requirements concerning domestic animals in your new area. Ask about licensing and by-laws concerning the responsibilities of pet owners. Also check into the availability of off-leash areas for dogs in your new community.

Special considerations for rural areas

If your new home is in a rural area, be sure to learn the rights of farmers when neighbouring pets venture onto their property. Often, farmers have special privileges when it comes to protecting their livestock.

Transitioning your pet to your new home

Be prepared for some trepidation, particularly with cats that tend not to take as well to a change in environment. Cats should remain inside for several weeks until they become comfortable with their surroundings. Then, allow them only short accompanied ventures outdoors. Take your dog for several walks each day to help him become familiar with the new area. Avoid walking a dog immediately before leaving for errands or work. Plan to be home for a period of time after those initial walks. That way, the dog will associate his new home with positive outcomes.

Do you have other tips to share about moving with pets?  Let me know and I’ll feature your ideas in a future blog post!  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.)

Tips to Security Proof Your Home

September 22nd, 2015 by Barry Twynam

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)

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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