There has been a lot of emphasis lately on the importance of “going green”. That simply means being environmentally-responsible. You likely already recycle, use energy-efficient lights, and turn down your thermostat when no one is home.

 

Yet, most of us don’t think about the garden or flower bed when we “think green”.

 

We should. Here are a few practical things you can do to tend to outdoor plants — without negatively impacting the environment.

 

  • Pull weeds instead of using a weed killer.

 

  • Avoid strong pesticides. (Products that target only one or two types of insects tend to be less harsh.)

 

  • Don’t use flower bed ornaments (i.e. gnomes) that might bleed colour dye into the soil. (Ask your garden centre before you buy.)

 

  • Be careful not to leave hand spades, trowels, and other garden tools lying around, especially over winter. They can rust, which contaminates the soil.

 

These tips may seem minor, but if you want to be environmentally-conscious, every little bit helps!

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When you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s not unusual to need to fix up a few things around the property. After all, you want your home to look its best to buyers, so that you get good offers, quickly.

 

What do you need to fix? Here are three categories that will help you create and prioritize your list.

 

1. Anything that squeaks or creaks.

 

Is there something in your home that makes a noise it shouldn’t be making? Perhaps it’s a rattling closet door or a creaking floor board? You may be so used to it you no longer notice the sound. But buyers will. Be sure to get those items fixed.

 

2. Anything that’s unsightly.

 

You don’t have to make your home look perfect. However, things that are unsightly will likely get buyers’ attention. You want them to focus on the terrific features of your property, not the scuff on the wall.

 

Take a walk through your property, including the yard. Pretend you’re the buyer. Do you notice anything that doesn’t look good? If so, tidy it up, fix it up or replace it.

 

3. Anything that’s broken.

 

If there’s anything that needs repair — an outside tap that’s not working, or a sliding door that regularly careens off its runner — call the contractor or fix it yourself.

 

Getting these items fixed will go a long way toward making your home appealing to buyers.

 

Want more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today.

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You don’t have to freeze in the winter or start reading by candlelight to

reduce your electricity bill. There are many simple ways to use less power with little, if any, impact on your lifestyle.

 

A good place to start is with your electronics.

 

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, “Any gizmo that has a clock, digital timer, remote control or standby mode is sucking energy when it's not being used (it's called 'phantom electricity' — and it's scary how much of it there is).” So keep them unplugged as much as possible. Also, unplug charger cords for phone and computers when not in use. Even when not connected to the device, they still suck power.

 

Another easy change to make involves your lights. Switching to compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED light bulbs can save you a lot of energy. They’re 75% more efficient.

 

Finally, the old - fashioned method of insulating doors and windows can work wonders for lowering your electricity bill. In fact, some particularly drafty homes can lose up to 40% of their heat. Check for drafts regularly and repair or replace insulation as needed.

 

None of these ideas will impact your day-to-day living. Yet, they could

potentially save you a bundle.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of exposures to poisons occur inside the home. Almost all are preventable, if you follow some simple guidelines.

                 

  • Look for the poison label on products you buy. Visually, it’s a skull and cross bones, often (but not always) with the word POISON above it.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous product, like a shampoo, can contain poison or other ingredients which are harmful if swallowed.
  • Avoid mixing different cleaning products together. When chemicals are combined, they change. Combining some cleaning products can even create toxic fumes.
  • Keep all medication, even the non-prescription kind, out of reach of children. Never leave medicine on the bathroom counter.
  • Never use pesticides inside the home unless the product is clearly labeled for indoor use. Then, use only as directed.
  • Never use a charcoal grill or barbeque indoors, no matter how well ventilated you think you’ve made it. Doing so can easily cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

One final tip. Pay attention to the expiry date of products, especially cosmetics and cleaning liquids. As chemicals age, they change and can emit harmful fumes.

 

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It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate.

 

Do you let him in?

 

While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out:

  • Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag.
  • Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they actually work for it.
  • Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door.
  • Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to place your order.
  • If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams in the area.

Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your gut. Say, “No thanks.”

 

Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a good one, consider taking advantage of it.

 

 

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A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries.

 

You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.”

 

That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions:

 

1) Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry.
 
2) Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms.
 
3) Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table.
 
4) Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry.

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!

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Determining if you should buy a new home or fix up your current one isn’t easy. In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama they make reality TV shows about it!

 

So if you’re considering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider.

 

1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property?

If you’re tired of a small kitchen, for example, it might not be possible, given the layout, to make it any bigger. On the other hand, if you’re craving a spacious rec room with a cosy fireplace then a renovation could make that happen.

 

Of course, there are some things you may want that aren’t specific to your house, such as an easier commute or nearby park. Those are features you may only be able to get by moving.

 

2. How much will a renovation cost? How does that compare to the cost of moving to a new home?

It’s important to get accurate estimates of each so you can make a smart decision. This is where a good REALTOR® can help.

 

Keep in mind that renovations have a habit of costing more than you originally anticipate. As mentioned earlier, the final result should be a home you want to stay in for quite some time.

 

3. Beware of compromising versus settling.

 

Whichever decision you make — renovate or sell — you can expect to have to make at least some compromises. That’s normal.

 

For example, consider adding an extension to your house. That’s a major renovation. Is it the ideal way to get the extra room you want? Do the benefits of renovating outweigh the benefits of finding a new larger home designed to include the space you need?


 

Yes, it’s a tough decision. If you’re in the midst of making it, call today, to get the facts you need to make the best choice for you.


 

 

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There are few things more beautiful than cut flowers in a vase. They instantly brighten any room. That is, of course, until they wilt and die. So how do you make cut flowers last as long as possible? Here are some ideas:

 

  • Cut the bottom of the stems before you put the flowers in the vase. An angled cut is best as this will enable the flower to draw in more water.
  • Add a fertilizer to the water. Most flower shops include a pouch with the order. Follow the directions carefully. Don’t use too much.
  • Make sure the vase is high enough to support the flowers. Too much strain on the stems will cause the flowers to die sooner.
  • After a couple of days, re-snip the stems. This will add an additional day or two to the life of the flowers.
  • Flowers last longer if you put them in the fridge (in water) overnight. That’s why florists store cut flowers in cool rooms.

 

Finally, watch the water level and top off as required. Older cut flowers will die quickly when starved of water — even for just a couple of hours.

 

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When Is the Right Time to Talk to a REALTOR®?


When would you talk to a car salesperson? Probably only once you’re ready to buy a new car. You would do some initial research (perhaps on the internet), get an idea of what you want, and then go to the dealership to meet a salesperson, test drive the car and make the purchase.


Although that approach may work when you’re buying a car, it’s not the best approach when it comes to real estate.


You see, successfully buying or selling a home requires a lot of planning and legwork. You want the process to go smoothly, the right decisions to be made, and the best possible deal to be negotiated.  


After all, this is the purchase and/or sale of your home!


So, the best time to talk to a REALTOR® is as early in the process as possible.


In fact, even if you’re just thinking of buying or selling — and simply want to explore the possibility of making a move sometime this year — you should have a conversation with a good REALTOR®.


A REALTOR® will answer your questions, provide you with the information and insights you need, help you avoid costly mistakes, and make sure you’re heading in the right direction.


When you are ready to buy or sell, having worked with a REALTOR® early in the process will help ensure you get what you want.

 

So talk to a good REALTOR® when:

 

  • You have a question about the local market.
  • You want to know what your home might sell for today.
  • You’re interested in checking out homes currently available on the market.
  • You’re in the midst of deciding whether or not to make a move.
  • You’ve decided to buy or sell.
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More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room. Those fires can be expensive; since even a minor incident, with no injuries, can result in significant damage. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest in fire prevention.

 

The most recent research tells us:

              

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Doing so is the number one cause of kitchen fires.
  • Make sure cooking appliances, especially deep fryers, are safety certified by the appropriate government agency.
  • When using oil in a frying pan, always heat slowly at no more than a medium heat setting.
  • Always turn off stove burners and other cooking appliances immediately after cooking.
  • Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water. Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.
  • Never remove or cover up a smoke detector due to nuisance alarms. The one alarm that isn’t a nuisance may save your life.

 

Finally, experts say that if you can’t put out a fire immediately, get everyone out of the home and call emergency services.

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.