Advice tips and ideas for home owners


How to make sure your home is winter ready

 Monday, November 12, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home

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The cooler nights and shorter days are a sign that it’s time to make sure your home is winter ready. We may not be able to predict what the winter will bring but we can definitely prep our home for whatever comes our way. 

Seal the windows

Sealing the windows is a very important task and for good reason. With the cold months quickly approaching you’ll want to keep the elements where they belong…outside! To prevent icy cold drafts from coming through the windows you’ll want to get a good quality silicon sealant. By sealing the windows you’ll save money on energy bills as your heater won’t have to work as hard to keep the house warm.

Service the furnace

After resting for the warm months it’s almost time to put the furnace back to work but before you do you’ll want to make sure to service it first. Tune-ups help to make sure everything is in good working order to ensure the most comfort for you and your family throughout the winter. By staying on top of furnace maintenance you will increase its life span, catch any potential problems and in the long run save time and money. 

Protect the pipes

Don’t forget to turn off all outdoor pipes and store away the hose. With below freezing temperatures, outdoor pipes can crack or even burst if left on during the winter. You’ll also want to make sure to store your hose properly too. All you have to do is drain it, coil it, and store it in a warmer area such as the garage or basement. If you forget to put away the hose, accumulated ice can create pressure in your pipes and cause some serious damage. To erase a major headache in the spring, be sure to include these simple tasks in your winter preparations.

Run fans in reverse

A great winter tip is to change the direction of your ceiling fan. By changing your ceiling fan to move in a clockwise motion (when you’re looking up at it) you will be creating an updraft. This helps the warm air that has risen to the ceiling to be pushed back down to those using the room. Don’t turn the fan up too high, a gentle and slow speed is all you need to do the trick. 

By following these simple tips, you’ll enjoy a warmer and stress-free winter.


Is your home a smart home?

 Wednesday, October 31, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home

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Smart home technology is making big waves in the home industry. It seems as though there’s always a new home gadget to try or buy. 

If walls could talk

Many companies have released smart devices that answer questions, play music, and tell you the weather. These smart speakers are small enough to hide so they aren’t noticeable. They are so discreet that when they talk and converse it seems as though the walls are talking. Google, Amazon, and even Apple are all up on the trend. Ask for recipes, traffic updates, the weather, or even to play music on command. Just speak to your device and it will do anything for you…except maybe not the dishes.

Recharge and recharge 

Sit back, relax and recharge…your phone. Furniture is now being designed to include built-in charging pads. Just place your phone or tablet on the secret spot and, voila, it’s being charged! No more worrying about finding a plug that reaches your favourite spot on the couch. Just place the phone beside you and let the furniture work its magic. This smart technology can be found in tables, desks and even lamps.

Clean freak

One of the most dreaded home chores is vacuuming. It’s loud, clunky and time consuming but did you know you can enjoy clean, hassle free floors with an automatic vacuum cleaner? These robots can navigate around spaces that often get missed. You can even schedule them to automatically start and finish the vacuuming before you get home from work! 

Who let the dogs out?

There are many smart home technologies geared to your furry friends. Automatic treat and food dispensers can include microphones, speakers and videos that you can control from your smartphone and allow you to chat and reward your pet from anywhere.  Attach a tracker to your pet’s collar and watch their whereabouts from an interactive map on your smartphone. This is great for those pets that like to wander. Hate cleaning the litter box? With a self-cleaning litter box you no longer have to worry about this stinky chore. This box automatically rakes through the litter and stores droppings into a closed container that’s easy to remove and empty.

There is new smart home technology for all of our wildest dreams. It is easier now than ever to live smarter not harder.


Top tips for hiring a home inspector

 Monday, October 22, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling

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Just because the home you have your eye on looks perfect at a glance, doesn’t mean that there aren’t any issues that need closer inspection. By hiring a home inspector you’ll get peace of mind and a full report on the home rather than being unpleasantly surprised by any costly issues that could occur after closing.

Get Referrals

Ask friends, neighbours and family whom they’ve hired for home inspections – and don’t forget to get recommendations from your own real estate agent. Your agent has likely worked with the same inspector(s) several times and can give them a good review.

Interview the Inspector

You should interview two or three inspectors before deciding on one. Spend some time chatting with the inspector to get to know them, and get a feel for whether or not you’ll want to work with them.

Are they Insured?

While surprisingly not mandatory to have, look for an inspector that has errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. An inspector that carries this insurance is likely to have more on-the-job experience.

Hang out in the Home

An inspector shouldn’t have any issues with the future homeowners – and their agent, too – wanting to be present for the inspection. Tell the inspector that you insist on accompanying them from room to room and have them point out features – and potential issues – as the inspection occurs. Also feel free to ask questions at the same time. After all, it will be your property and the inspector is supposed to work for you!

Remember, a complete home inspection should:

  • Give you the peace of mind with your purchase
  • Reveal repairs and improvements needed before you buy
  • Provide invaluable details about every aspect of your purchased home
  • Reduce the risk of unpleasant “surprises” after closing.

It’s the home inspector’s job to check the safety of the home and focus on the structure, construction, and its mechanical system. They should point out any issues or repairs that should be done so you’re not left emotionally and possibly financially frustrated after buying your dream home.

Contact me anytime to find out how I can help you on your real estate journey! Email me at mariongoard@kw.com or call 905-335-8808.


Tips to clean green for an environmentally friendly home

 Monday, September 24, 2018     Mario Goard     House and Home

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Those cleaning products we may all be used to are called ‘harsh’ for a good reason: they’re harmful to the environment and to us, humans. Incorporating ‘green’ cleaning methods keeps everyone in your home safe and still ensures you have a clean home. 

Harmful chemicals aren’t necessary to get things spic and span. You can get the job done most often with natural ingredients. Create your own all-natural cleaning kit with the following: Borax (to disinfect, whiten and deodorize), baking soda (for scrubbing), white vinegar (to disinfect and loosen dirt), lemon juice (disinfects, degreases), olive oil (to polish wood) and castile soap (all-purpose foaming cleaner). There are many websites that offer recipes for make-your-own cleaning solutions. Apartment Therapy is a great option at www.apartmenttherapy.com. 

There are other ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home – one easy way is to use less electricity. A well-insulated home retains heat and will reduce your heating costs. Double-glazed windows also help prevent heat loss from your home. 

Turn your leftovers and kitchen scraps into compost. Place a compost bin in your garden and fill it with food waste. Your landscape will love you for it! Many cities sell compost bins and offers tips on how to get started. 

Install a programmable thermostat. No more having to manually turn the dial one way during the day, then having to remember to turn it back on when everyone’s home during the evening. They’re easy to program (even from your own smartphone) and you’ll save on heating and cooling costs.

Replace any old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They’re cooler to the touch, meaning no burnt fingers, and they don’t emit heat. A typical incandescent bulb only has 1,000 lifetime hours, whereas an LED bulb will last 25,000 hours. Think about having to replace those hard-to-reach fixtures in the stairwell way less often! 

Contact me anytime to find out how I can help you on your real estate journey! Email me at mariongoard@kw.com or call 905-335-8808.


Fall Lawn Care

 Wednesday, September 19, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home

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Now’s not the time to ignore your lawn. Keep it healthy and help it overwinter with the following tips. With these lawn care tips you’ll have a healthier lawn in the spring and maybe even leave your neighbours a little green with envy.

Feed your lawn. As temperatures cool, the top growth will slow down but the roots will continue to grow. Feeding your lawn now will give it the nutrients it needs over the winter. Giving your lawn two applications of fertilizer in the fall will help it recover more quickly. The first application is best done in mid-August to mid-September). Once the grass has stopped growing applying fertilizer in the late season will help it survive over the winter and green up in early spring.

Seed away. Over-seeding the lawn will help fill in any bare spots and also thicken the grass. Go one step further by aerating the lawn after over-seeding to promote new growth and repair any troublesome patches. Don’t wait past late September to do this step.

Keep calm and carry on – cutting your grass that is. Even though it starts to grow more slowly, continue cutting the grass and give it enough water to promote stronger root growth before winter. Root depth is proportional to mowing height: the longer the grass, the deeper the root. Raise the mower’s height slightly for fall cuttings. If Mother Nature isn’t watering your grass often enough, give it about a half-inch of water weekly.

Finally, remember to remove any children’s toys that block sunlight and nutrients to your lawn. Rake the leaves too, since they can also block the sunlight it needs at this time of year. For larger properties, a leaf vacuum or blower will get the job done in no time, giving you some well earned time on the patio and the satisfaction of knowing your lawn is well taken care of until next spring.