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Its inevitable. Winter is coming. Here is a check list to help you prepare your home for the up coming seasons.


1. Fertilize your lawn. Dosing your lawn with fertilizer in the fall will trigger renewed growth so your lawn will be thick and healthy come spring time. 


2. Change your furnace filters and have your furnace professionally cleaned. This is especially important because of all the smoke we had during the summer.


3. Clean your gutters. If your gutters get cloggled, the over flow of water can end up flooding your basement, damaging your foundation or ruin the siding on your home. Yikes!!


4. Drain and store your lawn equipment. This is a pretty straight forward step. There will be less likely to have spills, and you'll be very happy with your self when you take your equipment out in the spring and they are like new!


5. Turn off and drain your outside faucets. This is huge, frozen pipes are no joke. Your outside faucet can burst causing water to freely flow, then freeze into a giant liability. Scarier still, your pipes can burst INSIDE your home flooding your basement or even the inside of your walls. 


6. Clean and inspect your chimney. Hire a professional to do this job. Just to make sure there isn't a wonderful little bird family living in there, or there isn't some other blockage or problems that can reek all sorts of havoc. 


7. Get your ice melt and snow shovels ready!! Ugh. 

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An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Many homeowners create an evacuation plan for their homes and practice it with their kids and/or others who live in the house. However sometimes people forget to including their pets, in the evacuation plan and drills. Here are some steps to take to include your pets in your plan.  


Assign pet responsibilities to one person:

Everyone should know what to do during an evacuation, and that includes assigning someone to pet duty. When everyone knows what their are doing, there will be less confusion in a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.


Keep maps and pet carriers readily accessible:

If you need to leave your home in a hurry, you should know exactly where every important item is. If your pet or pets require a carrier keep them in a place that you can access easily.


Be prepared to be separated from your pet :(

No matter how much you've practiced and have gone over your plan, there is a possibility that adogor cat will run off while you are focusing on keeping your family safe. A micro chip or A GPS comparable tag can help you locate your beloved pet once it is safe to return to the area.


Last and most importantly, Practice, Practice, Practice:

Include you animal in your evacuation drills. It'll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of the window may not be as easy as you may think! 

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Hardwood floors are highly desireable for most homeowners, but they do come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenace, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids, pets, and moving furniture, it may be time for some DIY fixes


Hiding Scratches: If you've got a good eye for matching colours, you can actually use crayons or markers, or purchase wax sticks from a hardware store to fill in scratches. Try to match the stain colour on your floor, but don't worry if it's a little off. If the colour is close, once the scratch is filled, it'll look like a varation in the wood grain.


Polishing floors: You can make a polishing solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix equal parts olive oil and vinegar. Pour solution directly into scratch and let stand for 24hrs. Wipe away and apply using same method until scratch is filled and covered. This method should fill most scratches.


Clever Decor: It's not a long term solution, but it's sometimes the most practical way to fix a large unslightly scratch. Try covering scratch with a rug or get creative with your furniture arrangement.


Spot Sanding: This fix is a permanent one that takes elbow grease and some research. Here are the basics, however I can't stress enough that you need to thoroughly look into this prosses. Ask a worker at your local hardware store for tips and tricks. For deep scratches you'll need to spot sand area with a fine steel wool or sandpaper, use a wood filler, stain and seal the repaired area. Give yourself a full day for this fix. 

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An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.


The Starter Wall. You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint colour. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices, however, you need to choose a colour that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic. 


Interesting textures. Bright, contrasting colours are a good starting point, but there are other options for accent wallz that are even more eye catching and distinct. Floor to ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once, and provide a natural, outdoors inspired feel. It's more work than simply painting a wall, but it's still relatively inexpensive. It does take a bit more effort, however it is truley worth it.


Patterns, Murals, and more. Paint and wood are bold enough on their own, but they are still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint wall is a creative idea for a childs room, or a games room.  Even in the family room. It males for some fun moments when you're entertaining, and prevents crayons on the dry wall. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stencilling if you want bold patterns. If you're looking for something more adventurous and unique, try a mural or oversized piece of art. 


The options for accent walls are endless, but we can't stress enough that your wall must match your homes decor and design. 

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Talking to a professional is sometimes challenging, they use terms that are common knowledge to them, but sound like an alien language to you. I try my very best to explain Realtor terms when talking to clients, but some slip through the cracks leaving clients to guess what has just been said. I have compiled a list of terms that may be helpful to you if you’re going to be talking to a Realtor, Mortgage Broker, Lender or anyone else in the ‘home’ business.

 

Lets start with A:

 

Acceleration clause: A clause in your mortgage which allows the lender to demand payment of the outstanding loan balance for various reasons. The most common reasons for accelerating a loan are if the borrower defaults on the loan or transfers title to another individual without informing the lender.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM): A mortgage in which the interest changes periodically, according to corresponding fluctuations in an index. All ARMs are tied to indexes.

Adjustment date: The date the interest rate changes on an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Amortization: The loan payment consists of a portion which will be applied to pay the accruing interest on a loan, with the remainder being applied to the principal. Over time, the interest portion decreases as the loan balance decreases, and the amount applied to principal increases so that the loan is paid off (amortized) in the specified time.

Amortization schedule: A table which shows how much of each payment will be applied toward principal and how much toward interest over the life of the loan. It also shows the gradual decrease of the loan balance until it reaches zero.

Annual percentage rate (APR): This is not the note rate on your loan. It is a value created according to a government formula intended to reflect the true annual cost of borrowing, expressed as a percentage. It works sort of like this, but not exactly, so only use this as a guideline: deduct the closing costs from your loan amount, then using your actual loan payment, calculate what the interest rate would be on this amount instead of your actual loan amount. You will come up with a number close to the APR. Because you are using the same payment on a smaller amount, the APR is always higher than the actual note rate on your loan.

Application: The form used to apply for a mortgage loan, containing information about a borrower's income, savings, assets, debts, and more.

Appraisal: A written justification of the price paid for a property, primarily based on an analysis of comparable sales of similar homes nearby.

Appraised value: An opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property. Since an appraisal is based primarily on comparable sales, and the most recent sale is the one on the property in question, the appraisal usually comes out at the purchase price.

Appraiser: An individual qualified by education, training, and experience to estimate the value of real property and personal property. Although some appraisers work directly for mortgage lenders, most are independent.

Appreciation: The increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or other causes.

Assessed value: The valuation placed on property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation.

Assessment: The placing of a value on property for the purpose of taxation.

Assessor: A public official who establishes the value of a property for taxation purposes.

Asset: Items of value owned by an individual. Assets that can be quickly converted into cash are considered "liquid assets." These include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and so on. Other assets include real estate, personal property, and debts owed to an individual by others.

Assignment: When ownership of your mortgage is transferred from one company or individual to another, it is called an assignment.

Assumable mortgage: A mortgage that can be assumed by the buyer when a home is sold. Usually, the borrower must "qualify" in order to assume the loan.

Assumption: The term applied where a buyer assumes the seller's mortgage.

Stay tuned for next week for the letter ‘B’
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