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How To Maintain Your Heating System This Winter

Making sure you extend the life of your heating system and keep it in good condition can be a great way to minimize your energy costs.

Here are a few ways you can efficiently maintain your heating system this winter.

Seal The Pipes

Make sure your air ducts and heating pipes are properly sealed to avoid cracks and necessary repairs in the future.

Clean Your Filters

Getting in the habit of cleaning your system filters every month and replacing them on a regular basis will help lower your energy costs in the long-term.

Remove Dirt

Ensure you check for and remove any dirt or corrosion if you see it in your heating system.

Keep The Heat

Remember to keep the heat exchanger clean to maintain heating levels.

Clear Your Vents

Make sure you keep your air vents clear and clean. If you have curtains or furniture in front of your air vents, move them away to ensure the heat enters the room.

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How To Save Money & Stay Warm This Winter

Keeping your home warm and the heating bills low at the same time can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to save money and stay warm this winter season.

 

When You’re Not Home

Remember to lower the thermostat whenever you leave the house. This way you’re not heating the house when no one is home and you can save on your energy bills.

Close Those Curtains

A good idea to keep in heat is to close your curtains and blinds at night or when you’re not at home to stop warm air from escaping. If you want to add onto this idea, think about investing in thermal blackout curtains.

Check For Drafts

Making sure you check your home for any drafts, cracks or caulk gaps around windows and doors can easily help you prevent heat from escaping.

Replace Old Windows

Check to ensure you’re not losing precious heat in the winter by replacing old windows with high-quality and energy efficient windows. New windows can keep warm air from escaping and also help block outside noise. Depending on the climate and where you live, windows can be an essential aspect of your home and crucial for maintaining your heating and cooling needs.

Insulate

Ensuring you properly insulate your walls, floors and attic can save you on your total energy costs and makes sure you don’t lose any extra heat through small cracks and holes.

Check Your Fireplace

Closing the damper of your fireplace when you’re not using it can keep your home noticeably warmer.

Maintain Your Systems

By maintaining your heating and cooling systems and keeping them in good condition you can avoid costly repairs and save money on your energy bills.

 

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How To Sell Your Home When You Have Kids

Worried about selling your home when you also have to manage your kids? With the right preparation, selling your home when you have kids can be much less stressful than you may think. Here are some ideas on what to do (especially for open houses and potential showings) when you and your family are selling your home.  

Clean

Nothing makes a better impression than a clean and tidy home, so it’s important to make sure your home looks its best. This means cleaning every room, especially bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Remember to also clean your windows, especially if you have a nice view. With a clean home, potential buyers can see the features and potential of your home clearly and will be more interested in your property.

Declutter

When you have kids, clutter is often unavoidable. When you’re trying to sell your home, make sure all toys, games, books, clothes, and any baby equipment is stored away out of sight, at least for showings and open houses. Some ideas for this include clearly-labelled toy bins or boxes and closet organizers. It’s also smart to make sure your front and back yards are tidy, with all toys and sports equipment stored away.

The Bathroom Inspection

One area of the house that is often the messiest is the bathroom. It’s important to make sure your bathroom is clean and tidy for potential buyers to view. This means cleaning mirrors, sinks, toilets and storing any toothbrushes and shampoo bottles out of sight. If you have young kids, it’s also a good idea to put any step-stools or other equipment out of sight.

Have A Family Meeting

Selling your home is a big change so it’s important to check in with your kids and make sure they understand what’s happening. If you can, frame the situation as a new adventure for the whole family and start talking about ideas for your new home.

Step Out For A While

During showings make sure you and your family are out of the house. This is so that potential buyers can see the house clearly and decide if it’s right for them. This is the perfect time for you to complete some errands or visit family and friends.

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How To Make Your Home More Kid-Friendly

Buying a new home? Thinking about renovating your current house? It’s always a good idea to make sure your home is both safe and stylish for you and your family. Here are some ideas on how to make your home more kid-friendly.

Create A Playroom

If you want to have an area in your house where the kids can play, consider turning one of your rooms into a playroom. If you don’t want to commit an entire room, only use a certain corner or area designated for the kids. Make sure the playroom is somewhere safe and easy to clean, such as somewhere in the house where there is less carpet and you have a good view to supervise. If you want to embrace the outdoors, consider building a playhouse, treehouse or mini playground, as it’s both fun and good for the kids to get some fresh air.

Avoid Unnecessary Mess

While it is a universal truth that kids can be messy, that doesn’t mean it should add extra wear and tear to your home. Some ideas for avoiding unnecessary messes in your home can be having flooring instead of carpet, as flooring like vinyl, tile or wood can often be easier to clean, not getting stained like carpet can. Another idea is using furniture that is also easier to clean, such as leather couches. Also, hide all those permanent markers and pens. Nothing says surprise like some artwork on your new wallpaper.

Watch Out For Risks

Whether you are buying a new home or simply renovating your current one, there are certain factors to be aware of when you have kids. Some of these potential risks include open stairs, electrical outlets, and sharp corners from furniture or counters. Always be sure you’re aware of these potential risks, so you can make sure you and your kids are safe.

Get Organized

Sometimes a parent’s best friend is organized storage. It’s a good idea to have organized storage in your home, not only to make your house look tidier but also to help keep track of all your belongings. For kids, this can mean special storage areas for all toys, games, books and anything else they might have. Some ideas can be clearly-labelled toy bins or boxes, bookcases, storage ottomans and closet organizers.

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The Importance Of Curb Appeal

The Importance Of Curb Appeal

One of the most important aspects of your property is curb appeal. Curb appeal means how your property looks from the street, including the look of the house, front entrance and landscaping. If you are considering selling your home, it’s always a good idea to increase your property’s curb appeal so that it can attract potential homebuyers. Here are some simple ways to improve your home’s curb appeal.

Look Fresh

Make sure the front yard and entrance to your property looks clean, tidy and fresh. Some ways to accomplish this are by fixing any obvious repairs (such as broken steps or fences) and adding fresh paint to your front door, trim or siding. It’s also a good idea to keep your front yard tidy by cutting the grass, trimming any shrubs and putting away any extra toys and equipment.

Clean It Up

The best way to attract potential homebuyers is to make sure your property looks clean. To help increase your home’s curb appeal, this can include cleaning up the front yard, washing the driveway and cleaning out the gutters.

Update Lighting

If you have any outdoor lighting, such as lamps, fairy lights or spotlights, make sure they are in working order by replacing old lightbulbs and cleaning them thoroughly.

Add Thoughtful Touches

To make your property look as welcoming as possible, it’s best to add some stylish touches. This can include a new welcome mat, freshly painted mailbox, and even bright potted plants and flowers.

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How To Pick The Right Flooring For Your Home

How To Pick The Right Flooring For Your Home

Flooring is a significant part of your home’s overall design, so it’s important that you pick the right floor for you. There are so many options available, including hardwood, tile, laminate, vinyl, cork and carpet. How do you choose? Picking the right flooring is all about choosing the right materials to suit your style and budget. Here is some advice on how to pick the right flooring for your home.

Be Motivated

If you are replacing or adding new flooring, make sure you are motivated about the change. Do you want to increase the functionality of the space? Take out carpet from bathrooms? Add new tile to the kitchen? If you recently bought a house or are considering selling one, good flooring can be a great decision as it adds to your home’s overall value and style.

Know Your Style

With so many flooring options, it can be a hard decision to pick the right one. Think about what materials and styles you prefer and decide if it would work in your space. Do you prefer hardwood over carpet? Tile over laminate? Other aspects to consider for your home’s flooring are colour, finish and tone.

The End Result

A crucial part of picking the right flooring is knowing your intentions for the property. Is it a family home? Vacation property? New investment? Depending on what you plan to use the property for, it is best to choose practical flooring that will last a long time, while still appealing to your own style. Every type of flooring has a different price, so it’s also important to know what’s available within your budget and if the flooring you pick would be a good investment for your home.

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How To Organize Your Home Office

How To Organize Your Home Office

A home office can be a great idea for your house, especially if you or your partner work from home. It’s important to keep your office welcoming, organized and clutter-free. Here are some tips to keep your productivity flowing and your home office organized.

Sort Paper

Clear your work space and keep it de-cluttered by sorting through the papers currently on your desk. Separate your papers into three piles: toss, file and to-do. Review the papers in your file pile to see if you can scan and store them digitally. If not, label a file folder and store them physically in an organized manner. For your toss pile, make sure to shred any papers containing sensitive information. For the papers in your to-do pile, make sure they are orderly and within easy reach.

Organize Your Bookshelf

Take inventory of all your books, returning any you borrowed from the library or from friends. Take this chance to decide which books you wish to keep and which ones you can give away or donate. For an attractive design look, try sorting your books by colour.

Create A Colour-Coded Filing System

It’s a good idea to adopt a colour-coded filing system for all the papers you can’t digitize. Some useful filing categories are financial, medical, personal, insurance, pet, auto, home and manuals. On your computer, sort your files using the same categories and colours to keep things simple.

Get Creative

Some home offices have limited space, so it’s important to use every inch. For extra space, look above and behind items. Use wall space to hang calendars, whiteboards and shelves. Hang a rack behind the door for extra filing space.

Try Wireless

Too many cables can become challenging, so try wireless electronics whenever possible. This can include a wireless printer, mouse and keyboard. This means you can also put these electronics anywhere in the room, giving your office more flexibility.

Functional Furniture

Another way to maximize space and efficiency is to have functional furniture. Tables, chairs and filing cabinets with wheels provide lots of flexibility. Try and think about what furniture appeals to you and can keep you organized every day.

Keep It Labelled

Labelling files, boxes and containers is key to office organization. Also remember to keep it specific, as this will make sure you remember the information. For example, when labelling a box, if possible include a name, date and location.

Keep Your Desk De-Cluttered

A cluttered desk can hurt creativity and keep you from finding what you need. Make sure there is space on your desk and everything is put away in a neat fashion, including papers, books and office supplies.

Stay Cozy

Although your home office may be a practical and professional space, it’s important to keep it styled to your tastes. You want to feel comfortable in your office, and making it look its best is a good step. Choose neutral colors that are soothing, such as blue or white, and add decorative items that inspire. This can include framed photos, stylish wicker baskets, or textured pillows and throws.

Set Aside Some Time  

One way to keep your office organized is setting aside ten minutes at the end of each day to straighten things out. Take this time to recycle paper, update your schedule and to-do list and tidy your desk. Keeping this small commitment to yourself is an easy way to maintain an organized home office and set yourself up for success tomorrow.

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5 Features That Matter To Home Buyers: A Seller’s Guide

5 Features That Matter To Home Buyers: A Seller’s Guide

If you are thinking of selling your home, there are many factors to consider. You want your property to make a good impression on potential homebuyers, so it’s important to know what matters most. Here are 5 property features that matter to potential homebuyers looking for a new home.

Bathroom

Bathrooms are important rooms in any house, so it’s best to make sure the bathrooms in your property look their best. Potential homebuyers can be very critical of the details, such as the brightness of the room, design of the bathtub, and amount of counter space. Some ways to make your bathrooms present a good image are to make sure they are extremely clean and staged. For example, making sure the grout is clean in the shower and bath, the amenities are unused and there is fresh soap by the sink. These little details will keep the room feeling fresh and give potential homebuyers the opportunity to imagine the space as their own.

Kitchen

The kitchen is considered by many to be the most significant space in the whole house. This room can be used for cooking, entertaining and everyday life, so it’s crucial that it appeals to potential homebuyers. Functionality is important for any kitchen, so it’s best to make sure potential homebuyers can see how well the space works. To do this, make sure to declutter the entire space and put any small, miscellaneous appliances out of sight. Ensure the kitchen is clean, including inside appliances like the fridge and oven.

Space

The overall space of the house is a crucial aspect for any potential homebuyer. To effectively showcase your home’s space, remove extra clutter or furniture to keep rooms open for easy mobility and a cleaner look. Make sure every room is clean and tidy, so that potential homebuyers are not too distracted to appreciate all your home’s good features.

Smell

The senses have a huge impact on what a potential homebuyer may think about a house. Make sure there are no overwhelming scents, such as perfume, cologne, paint fumes, cigarette smoke or pet odour. Some ways to make sure your home smells fresh are to air the house out by opening windows, using odour eliminators or scented candles, or putting a dish of vanilla in a warm oven to create a welcoming smell.

Curb Appeal

One feature that potential buyers will notice about your property instantly is your home’s curb appeal. How your home looks from the street can’t really be changed, but there are ways you can make your property look as attractive as possible. Make sure the front yard and entrance to the property are tidy. Some ways to do this can include cutting the grass and putting away any extra toys or equipment. If there are any obvious features that can be easily repaired or updated, such as broken steps or chipped paint, it’s also always a good idea to fix them. Overall, if your home looks clean and presentable then it will most likely make a good impression on potential homebuyers.

 

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How To Decorate Your Outdoor Space For Summer

How To Decorate Your Outdoor Space For Summer

With the season of patio time and outdoor barbeques coming soon, it’s a good idea to refresh your outdoor living space. Whether you have a backyard, garden, patio or porch, here are some ideas of how to decorate and update your outdoor space for summer.

Grow Your Own

No outdoor area is too small to enjoy nature. Whether you are interested in cultivating your own produce or simply growing some beautiful flowers, summer is the perfect time to experiment with gardening. Some good ideas to try could be vegetables like tomatoes or a herb garden with plants you can use for cooking, such as rosemary.

New Greenery

Plants are always a fresh idea for outdoor design. Shrubs, hanging flowerpots and potted plants look great in any outdoor space. Arborvitae and hydrangeas are excellent low maintenance shrubs for suburban yards.

Try Natural Materials

Natural materials like wood, wicker, rattan, teak and terra cotta create more visual interest, as well as adding a more comfortable feel than other materials, such as concrete. For a bold look, try outdoor furniture in these materials painted in bright colours. For example, a wicker chair painted green or a wooden stump painted white that serves as a side table.

Don’t be Afraid To Accessorize

This can include anything you want to use to give your outdoor space some personality and charm. Art, sculptures, rock gardens, birdhouses and even wind chimes can add a whimsical feel to any outdoor space.

Remember Some Shade

With the hot summer sun, remember to have some areas of shade for rest and relaxation. This can include a table umbrella or even a separate covered area.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting not only illuminates your outdoor area in the evening, it also adds an attractive element to the style of your property. Some simple lighting ideas can include rustic lamp posts, lanterns, positioned spotlights or fairy lights.

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How To “De-Pet” Your Home Before Selling

How To “De-Pet” Your Home Before Selling

When you’re preparing your home for sale, you need to think about how to deal with your lovable pets. Here are some simple ways for pet owners to get their homes ready for viewings.

Keep Pets Out Of The House During Viewings

It’s always best to keep your pets out of the house during viewings, as even if your pet is friendly, some potential homebuyers will be uncomfortable around them. If you or someone you know can’t take them out during the viewings, consider a local kennel or pet day camp that will look after them.

Get Rid of Pet Odour

To get rid of pet odour in your house, try airing the house out by opening windows, using speciality air sprays, odour eliminators and scented candles, or putting a dish of vanilla in a warm oven to create a welcoming smell.

 Remove Any Extra Toys

Another way to help clear the clutter in your home for viewings is to remove any extra pet toys, beds and equipment so that there is easier mobility for potential homebuyers and they have a chance to fully appreciate your home.