Posts Tagged ‘cleaning’

Spring Cleaning

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Tulips and daffodils are making themselves known, popping up out of the dirt, a sure sign that spring is here. It’s time to get your house looking and feeling clean, inside and out. Here is a checklist of things that need doing:

Outside:
• Put seasonal items away in storage (snow shovels, Christmas decorations, etc.)
• Pick up stray garbage
• Clean up after your pet
• Shake out entry mat
• Sweep the walks and deck/patio
• Rake the grass when it is dry
• Turn on hose bibs when the chance of freezing is over
• Put out hoses
• Power wash siding
• Wash windows and doors
• Clean outdoor light fixtures
• Clean outdoor furniture
• Trim trees, bushes, shrubs
• Prepare garden and flower beds for planting

Inside:
• Start at the top and work your way down
• Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures
• Dust ceiling corners
• Wash or dust walls and baseboards
• Clean air vents
• Wash windows
• Wipe all light switches and electrical plug covers and door knobs
• Dust all surfaces
• Clean all window coverings
• Polish furniture
• Clean floors
• Pull out appliances and clean underneath them

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.

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)

Five Ways to Ensure Your Spring Cleaning Goes Perfectly

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Five Ways to Ensure Your Spring Cleaning Goes Perfectly  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou know what spring means – spring cleaning time is here! Are you preparing your home to sell and looking for ways to do a top notch job of spring cleaning? If you have Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, or Edmonton real estate, a spring cleaning is a vital piece of the home selling puzzle. The same applies to Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages. If you’re preparing to sell your home, these spring cleaning tips will ensure that your buyers find it in sparkling condition.

Shine That Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is trendy and beautiful in the kitchen, but as any owner of stainless steel appliances knows, it can be a pain to keep clean. Shiny stainless steel instantly makes a kitchen more attractive, so when you are spring cleaning, take the time to clean and shine all of your appliances. Scrub the appliances gently with some cleaning solution and a soft cloth – but never use an abrasive solution or cloth, as they may scratch the appliances. Once all the grease and grime is removed, go over the area with a dry cloth. As a homemade alternative to expensive stainless steel sprays, use a dab of baby oil on a paper towel to shine up any surfaces. Don’t use too much – you do not want the area to be greasy. Just a little bit of oil will work wonders in getting those fingerprints out.

Wash the Walls

As they are often neglected, walls should be washed at least once a year to wipe away dust and grime that can accumulate. This is especially important if you live near a busy road or in a developing area where there is still a lot of construction. A simple cleaning solution and water mix combined with a soft rag should be enough to freshen up the walls. If you still have trouble with some spots, try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge.

Clean Your Carpet

You would be amazed at how dirty your carpet can become since the last time it has been cleaned. Although it can be hard to tell, the difference will be notable if you give the carpet a cleaning. This is especially true if you live on an acreage where the outdoors are a big part of your lifestyle, as dust can find its way into your house without you even noticing. You don’t have to pay for professional carpet cleaning to get your carpets looking nice. Instead, rent a carpet cleaning machine. You can find one such machine at most supermarkets, where they are usually available to rent for under $100. Once you see the colour of the water coming from your carpet when you wash it, you’ll believe that the rental was worth every penny.

Use Micro Fibre Cloths

If you’re using anything other than micro fibre cloths right now, stop what you’re doing and go get a micro fibre cloth to try. They might take a bit of getting used to, but they are very effective, and they will pick up dust and grime you didn’t even realize you were missing. They also dry quite quickly, making them ideal for use in cleaning your home.

Make Your Welcome Mat Welcoming

Your welcome doormat is the very first impression people get of your home, so make sure it will leave a great impression! Shake out the doormat so any debris that has accumulated on it over the winter is gone. If it still isn’t looking too inviting, break out a short bristled scrub brush and some water and suds to really get the grime out. With a little elbow grease, you’ll have it looking as good as new.

Spring is a great time to clean your house top to bottom, remembering both the big and small things that make a home look clean and bright. This is a particularly important thing to do if you are preparing to sell your home.

If you’re hoping to get your house ready to sell and are looking for a new place to move, or someone to help you sell your current home, I’m ready and willing to help you buy or sell your next home. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Banish Cleaning Chemicals With These 4 All-Natural Substitutes

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Banish Cleaning Chemicals With These 4 All-Natural Substitutes  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou’ve bought a property in Parkland County, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, or the Edmonton area, and you’ve spent hours cleaning your old home for the next resident. Now, cleaning your new home is usually the last thing you want to do when moving in, but as always, no matter how clean and perfect your new home is left waiting for you, there’s always that nagging feeling of needing to redo some of it yourself. But don’t waste your time with harsh chemicals in your new home; here are four fantastic all natural cleaning agents that will leave your new home sparkling clean, disinfected, and smelling fresh.

Baking Soda – the Natural Deodorizer

Known as one of the most versatile cleaners on the planet, baking soda is perfect for scrubbing surfaces (as it is non-abrasive), and it can be mixed with lemon and vinegar (to form a paste) for tougher stains. Perfect for deodorizing the carpet, baking soda can be spread evenly on the carpet and left for a couple of hours before it’s vacuumed up. No scrubbing necessary!

Tea Tree Oil – a Powerful Antiseptic

This product can be found just as easily as baking soda at your local pharmacy, and a few drops of tea tree oil can go a long way. Boil some water and let it cool to a warm temperature. In a bucket (for your floors) or a spray bottle, combine the water with a handful of drops (or more for larger surfaces) of tea tree oil, and mop your floors or wipe down any surfaces with it. Tea Tree Oil kills bacteria better than any household cleaner on the market, is safe to use as an all purpose cleaner, and it’s even known to help fight fungal infections such as acne. An added bonus to this wonderful product? It will leave your surfaces with a brilliant shine.

Vinegar – Cheap and Effective

While the scent may not be the most pleasant, vinegar has been used as an all-natural cleaning product for centuries. In fact, some historians claim that vinegar was used by a group of thieves in the time of plague – they would bathe in it to ward off the illness and then rob the homes of the deceased. Vinegar has many of the same uses as CLR:  cleaning your sinks, coffee pots, showerheads, and any place that may gather calcium, mould, and scum. It’s also perfect for leaving a streak-free shine on your windows – simply combine part vinegar and part water in a spray bottle and wipe the surface with a paper towel.

Lemon – Degrease and Sanitize

From polishing your silverware, to sanitizing your cutting board or microwave, lemon does it all – but be careful with some surfaces, as it’s more potent than you think! Lemon will do anything from degreasing your pots and pans (and even your grill) to brightening your whites in the laundry. Lemon will not only clean, but also eliminate bad odours as it lifts surface bacteria.

Keep yourself and your family healthy in your home by cutting down on harsh, expensive chemical cleaning products and try some of the dozens of uses these natural cleaning products have to offer!

I always look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions or hearing comments you may have regarding your home and our community. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here directly at Spruce Grove Real Estate.

Selling Your Home When You Have Pets

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Selling Your Home When You Have Pets | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLife in our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area homes just wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged companions.  But, even though 6 out of 10 Canadian homes have a dog or cat in residence, we have to pretend those family members never existed when it’s time to sell our homes!  In fact, having a pet in the home (or at least evidence of one) may even lower the price buyers are willing to pay for your home or make it harder to sell.

Why is this?  

Remember that buyers need to be able to visualize themselves as occupants of your home.  The physical presence of an animal along with its furnishings and equipment can start people thinking about all the negative effects of pets in the house (even if they are pet owners themselves):  animal hair, skin and bodily functions, damage to property from teeth and nails, germs!!  What’s more, encountering your pet unexpectedly could frighten potential buyers away from even viewing your home.

What can be done?

  • While it’s inconvenient for you and disruptive for your pet, the best solution during the time your home is on the market is to relocate your pet.  Lodge it with a friend or neighbor, or board it at a kennel.  If this isn’t possible, then you’ll need to always take your pet with you when you vacate your home for showings.  Leaving it in the garage or backyard might seem like a good compromise but not if you are after the best sale of your home.
  • You’ll also need to clear out all signs that an animal lives in your home.  This means packing up cat litter boxes and bags of litter or puppy training pads, pet toys and leashes, pet food, bowls and feeders, pet cages, carriers and bedding.  Remove any photos of your pet.
  • Mega-cleaning!  Special effort may be needed to remove pet stains from carpet and pet odors from the air.  Enzyme cleaners and lots of elbow grease and fresh air will help.  Consider hiring professional carpet cleaners, furnace duct cleaning companies and the like.  Don’t rely on air fresheners and deodorizers as these will only make people wonder what you are trying to cover up.

Your pet-proof and “pet-friendly” home (see my blog article “Your Pet-Friendly Home ) has both positive and negative aspects when it’s time to sell.  On the one hand, if your home is carpet-free, furnished with easy to clean materials, and so on, you may not have to do too much extra in the cleaning department.  On the other hand, if you have made any pet-accommodating modifications to your home, such as doggie doors, cat ramps (special stairs up the wall), window sill platforms, or outdoor dog and cat runs, you may have to reverse these.  You might think that special additions to your home to accommodate pets would be a selling feature for other pet owners, and this might be true in some cases.  But it’s always better to try to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers possible.  That means presenting your home in as neutral a fashion as you can.

It is possible to sell your home quickly and for a good price even with a pet in residence.  As with most things connected with real estate sales, it just takes a little work and preparation!

Please also visit my Pinterest board “Pets and Your Home”.

What else could sellers with pets do to entice buyers?  Let me know what you think!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Your Pet-Friendly Home

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Your Pet-Friendly Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIs there a dog or cat living in your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home?  According to a 2008 Ipsos-Reid survey as reported in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, roughly 56% of Canadian households have a dog or a cat as a pet.

Animals make their presence known in your home, and not in a good way, through scratches on walls, floors and furniture, stains on carpets, dander and allergens in the air, and various unsavory odors.  But there are ways to keep your house in good shape and all residents happy with a few smart and relatively inexpensive adjustments.  The most important advice is to choose the right materials and work with your animal’s natural instincts and needs.

Keep it clean!  Home and pet, that is.

  • First, vacuum often.  It’s a basic fact of life that dogs and cats shed.  Invest in a decent vacuum cleaner, preferably with HEPA filter, and plan on going over carpets and upholstery about twice a week or more.
  • Reduce the amount of clutter in your rooms.  Each object you remove from a room means one less object that gets covered in dust, dander and pet hair.
  • An item that is well worth the cost is a HEPA furnace filter which removes huge quantities of dust, dander and allergens from the air.
  • Use enzyme cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odour Remover when dealing with pet messes.
  • You might also want to purchase some special furniture covers designed with pets in mind.  (See these Pet Protector Covers available from Sears Canada).  Easier to wash these than to shampoo the furniture.
  • Keep your pet clean and well-groomed.  This means regular brushing, nail-clipping, bathing and the like.  If you can remove some of the hair and the oil and dirt it holds before it ends up on your floors and furniture, your house will be cleaner.  Trimmed nails are less likely to scratch floors or snag upholstery. 

It’s the nature of the beast!  Work with your pets’ natural inclinations to mold their behavior to what’s acceptable.  Your dog, for example, wants to please you so will tell you when he wants out and will also adapt readily to his own bed or crate.  Supply a clean litter box and a scratching post for your cat and watch her take to them.  If you find your animal jumping on the couch to look out the window, consider moving that couch away from the window and possibly installing a platform that bolts to the window sill to accommodate your pet’s preference.

Choose the right fabrics.  If you have pets, you already know to stay away from silk and velvet.  If you’re shopping for new furniture, consider something like Crypton or UltraSuede, which are wonderfully stain-resistant and durable.  Leather will scratch, but it is easy to clean and long-lasting.  Forget the dry-clean-only bedding and opt for washable everything because you know your pet will end up on your bed at some point.

Get rid of fabric altogether, where you can.  Replace draperies with wood blinds, for example.

Choose the right flooring.  Carpet and pets are a bad combination.  Carpet soaks up “accidents”, absorbs odors, and traps hair and dander – yuck!  If possible, consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting in your home with any of the variety of hard-surface flooring on the market today, and bonus! these choices are very fashionable at the moment.  The best option for a pet-proof home is ceramic tile because it’s pretty much impervious to anything your pet can do!  Other easy to clean and durable alternatives include painted concrete, brick, high-end linoleum, or hardwood (but be aware that big dogs can scratch wood).

Neutrals work best.  Dramatic color schemes will show dirt, hair, and wear and tear more than colors such as gray, taupe and cream.  Luckily, neutrals are in style now for everything from paint on the walls to furniture, carpets and counter tops.  If you’re planning to re-paint, remember to choose a washable satin finish, and look for low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints.  Both you and your pet will benefit from not breathing toxic fumes.

Consider some of these specialty products and home renovations:

  • Disguised litter box, partially covered and resembling furniture.  Keep the odor down by placing in a well-ventilated area if you can, and by cleaning it frequently.  The litter box might even be located in a separate room, such as a garage or utility space, with access through a secret cat door hidden inside a cabinet.
  • Built-in bench with removable cover next to an outside door:  Provides convenient seating for people to put on and remove shoes, and the inside provides storage for pet toys, balls, leashes, etc.
  • Indoor pet retreat or special mudroom could be a corner or even a whole room located by an outside back door.  Automatic feeders and drinking fountains and even doggy showers are often features of these spaces.  Some have lockable exterior access doors designed for your pet to go inside and out.  Most have specialty storage for all pet-related items such as food, chew toys, towels, etc.
  • Heated floors.  Good for animals and people!
  • Cat ramps are a series of shelves resembling stairs running up a wall to just below the ceiling where they meet a longer shelf where cats can run or recline.
  • Portable pet stairs to help small animals access furniture.
  • A doggy overlook is a square opening on the second floor allowing your dog to stick his head through to keep watch on his owners below.
  • Outdoor dog and cat runs.
  • For more ideas like these, see my Pinterest board “Pets and Your Home”.

What special things do you do in your home to accommodate your pets while keeping your home clean and stylish?  I’d love to hear from you.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

10 Things I Hate About Your House!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

A guest blog article from one of my clients who refers to herself as Ms. Cranky Pants:

10 Things I Hate About Your House! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, Barry took me to see your house in the region of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, and Edmonton, and I just wanted to mention the things that made me go Ewww.

Odors

I know you think all those little room deodorizer thingies will hide the fact that you’re a smoker, but you can’t fool me.  I wish I didn’t know that you had fried fish with onions and garlic for dinner.  And seriously people, do you ever clean that stinky litter box?  Open a window, for crying out loud!

Dirt

Disgusting grime in the tub, sticky spots on the kitchen counter, dirty dishes in the sink, mystery stains on the carpet, something brown and nasty in the corners…  Yuck!  I’d hate to have the CSI folks go through here with their ultra-violet lights.  I’m not a clean freak but no way do I want to wallow in anybody else’s crud, thank you.  Soap and water and elbow grease are cheap – get busy!

Stuff everywhere

When I view homes, I try to imagine living in the rooms with all my belongings in place.  Kind of hard to do when your junk is clogging up the space, making the place feel smaller than it really is.  Plus, it’s a real turn-off to see personal things like your toothbrush, razor and soggy towels cluttering up the bathroom, for example.  You need to get rid of at least half the stuff in your house — and I don’t mean hide it in the closets or the garage because I’m looking in there!  Here’s a tip:  Visualize a nice hotel room before you move in and unpack – sparkly clean, neat and tidy, room to move around.  That’s what your home should look like for showings.

Damp basement and water stains

Oh boy, is this one a red flag.  If I can see the results of water leakage, I just know I’d be buying a boatload of trouble to take on this baby.  Maybe you’ve got a bad foundation, but it’s more likely that water from spring runoff or summer rains is getting in because 1) your landscaping and grading isn’t sloped adequately away from the house; 2) your eavestroughing needs some work, with rain gutters cleaned out and downspouts aimed well away from the house; 3) your underground drains are clogged; or 4) your sump pump, if you have one, isn’t working properly.

Evident lack of maintenance or upgrading, or unfinished or poorly done reno projects

Yeah, I know your house isn’t brand new so you don’t have all the latest fixtures and decorative doo-dads.  I don’t mind a house that’s used.  What I object to is a house that’s used up.  If you’ve lived in your house for longer than 10 years, then it’s time to fix it up.  That could mean repairing broken windows, tightening loose hinges, or replacing cabinet handles, switches and plug-ins, faucets and shower heads.  It might also mean fresh paint inside and outside (neutral colors, please!).  Maybe what’s needed is a new roof, new furnace and hot water heater, new flooring or new appliances.  It could even mean a professional renovation of kitchen and bathrooms.  Notice I said professional renovation.  Do it yourself only if you have the skills and tools to do it right.  Oh, and don’t wait till just before it’s time to sell to do those things.  Maintain and renovate on a yearly basis so you get to enjoy your investment.

Weird decorating

I counted 5 different wallpaper patterns and 4 different types of carpet and lino just on the main level, but the real clincher was the purple living room, black bedroom and the mustard yellow dining room with its psychedelic wall mural!  This may be what you like to live with, but I want my house to be a frame for my life, not a Halloween horror show.

Lack of light

Hard to see if there are great features in this house because it’s like a cave in here.  I respect people trying to save money and energy, but up the wattage on the light bulbs so prospective buyers can actually see what you’re selling.  Open those drapes and blinds.  Trim the shrubbery from in front of the windows.  Clean those dirty, foggy windows.

Poor curb appeal and unattractive yard

I don’t know about you but I make a little effort when I show my face in public.  Same thing applies to houses.  Like it or not, first impressions count.  If your front door is askew and the paint’s peeling, if your driveway and sidewalks are cracked, plants overgrown, lawn brown and patchy, and there’s trash everywhere, this tells me you don’t care.  So why should I even bother to enter the front door if what I’ll see on the inside is more of the same?  Show a little pride, folks!

Pets on the loose

Hey, I love animals but your big snarly pooch scared the whatsits out of me.  I came to see your house, not get mauled by Cujo.

Price too high

Of course I’d like a bargain, but I’m willing to pay what’s fair for a decent house.  If your house needs a little work… well, I can forgive quite a lot if the price is right.  But there’s plenty I won’t pay for.  I don’t care that you spent $20,000 on a fancy new hot tub and deck, or that you owe too much on your mortgage to reduce the price to what’s reasonable, or that you have to have a certain amount so you can move into a bigger and more expensive house.  Price your house right based on factors such as its location, age, condition, size and what similar homes in your area have sold for, and I just might make you an offer.

Barry has some great articles in this blog on home staging and getting your house ready to sell.  Take a look at these:

Be Your Own Home Stager

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County? 

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering

Barry can help you find a great house, or sell your current one.  Call or text him at 780-910-9669, email him at barry@barryt.ca, or contact him here

Flooded Basement? Prevention and Cure!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Flooded Basement? Prevention and Cure! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHow dry is your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area basement?  With one of the wettest summers on record upon us, you might be one of those unfortunate homeowners dealing with a flooded basement.  Whether you’re in the process of cleaning up, or you’ve been spared so far and want to stay that way, check out the following for some good advice:

Preventing the Problem

Steps you can take to prevent basement flooding”, published in the Saturday, July 21, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal.

The Homeowner’s Guide to Flood Prevention”, produced by the City of Edmonton.

Before Flooding”, concise and comprehensive factsheet from Alberta Municipal Affairs, Emergency Management Alberta.

Avoiding Basement Flooding”, factsheet from CMHC.

Protect Your Home From Basement Flooding”, from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction  (includes a handy score sheet to determine your risk for flooding).  View their video “Reduce basement flooding”.

Check out also “City of Spruce Grove Homeowner’s Guide to Lot Grading”  and Spruce Grove’s “Residential Lot Grading and Maintenance” information sheet and regulations.

What to Do After a Flood

Cleaning your home after a flood”, Alberta Health Services.

Flood Disaster: What to do before, during and after flooding”, excellent and detailed booklet from Alberta Municipal Affairs, Emergency Management Alberta.

After the Flood:  A Homeowner’s Checklist”, factsheet from CMHC.

Cleaning Up Your House After a Flood”, CMHC free download.

A Guide to Fixing Your Damp Basement”, available from CMHC for $9.95.

Cleaning Up After the Flood: a guide for homeowners”, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

City of Spruce Grove Disaster Recovery Program 

See also my blog article entitled “Spring Run-off”, posted April 10, 2012.

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Cleaning Patio Door Tracks

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Cleaning Patio Door Tracks | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWith summer nearly here, most of us are looking forward to spending time on the decks and patios of our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area homes.  That means patio doors will be working overtime as family members go in and out many times through the day.

Have you noticed a build-up of dirt in the tracks of those patio doors, as well as those of sliding windows?  Basic vacuuming doesn’t do a very good job of removing all the dirt, does it?  So, what is the best way to make those tracks sparkle again, and incidentally make the doors and windows easier to slide?

Start by removing the loose dirt with the crevice tool of your vacuum cleaner, or brush it out with a stiff-bristled brush.  Then, work on removing the sticky residue with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits.  The cloth can be stretched over a putty knife to help you reach into the depths and corners of the tracks.  Yes, I know; this is fiddly, time-consuming work!  But the end result will be worth it, I promise.

Once the tracks are like-new clean, spray them with silicone spray to help the doors and windows slide better.  Don’t use a petroleum product like WD-40 as this will attract dirt and cause that greasy build-up you just worked so hard to get rid of.  All of the products mentioned above (stiff-bristled brush, mineral spirits, silicone spray) are readily available at stores like Canadian Tire.

Do you have household cleaning or maintenance tips to share?  I’d be happy to feature them in future blog articles.  Phone or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at btwynam@telusplanet.net, 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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