Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Keeping your home in top shape requires year-round care. While each season brings different tasks and challenges for homeowners, spring is an especially important time – it’s when to assess winter wear and prepare for summer.

Many big home repairs start out small but, left unattended, become more costly problems. By taking care of little issues now, you can save yourself a lot of money and stress in the long run. Keeping a list of what needs to be done, and when, can help you to avoid and prevent the most common household problems.

Many of the necessary task are probably easy enough for you to take care of yourself. However, if you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the proper equipment, consider hiring a qualified contractor to help you.

Inspect the roof.  Shingles that curl (turn up) and claw (turn down) can make your roof inefficient and susceptible to leaking. Check around vents, skylights and chimneys for leaks and repair as necessary.

Don’t forget to check your roof from the inside too. Look in the attic for any signs of moisture or surface discolouration on the underside of the roof that may point to leakage from above or air leaks coming from your house.

Repair leaks. Before rainy spring weather hits, check to make sure you don’t have any leaks, especially in a basement or attic. Double-check your door and window seals, too, in case they might need a fresh coat of caulk or new weather-stripping.

Clean gutters and drain pipes so leaves won’t clog them and be sure they drain away from the house. Drain outside faucets.

Chimneys. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence which is a white calcium-like deposit that indicates your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it. Consider re-sealing masonry with a clear, impermeable or water-resistant barrier material (like Thoroseal products). Brush it on, small areas at a time; let it absorb for 15 minutes, then reapply—it may need a couple of applications.

Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting. Replace rotted siding or trim.

Check foundation walls, floors, concrete and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If you see large cracks or a significant number of bricks losing their mortar, call a professional.

Inspect trees for broken branches. If the broken limb is high up, hire a licensed arborist. If you can reach it from the ground, take it down using the three-cut technique, which prevents bark from tearing and creating an open wound on the trunk.

Seal cracks on the driveway and paths before weeds take up residence. Home centres sell patching materials and fillers designed for asphalt and concrete surfaces.

Spring is also a great time to clean your windows, screens and hardware and replace storm windows with screens. Check your screens for holes or tears first and repair or replace them if needed. Examine putty/caulk lines around exterior windows and doors and ensure weather stripping creates a good seal.

Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every four to six years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should, or water has turned some of the wood a dark gray, hire a professional to treat your deck and fence.

Prune landscaping and create good drainage. Shrubs and landscaping help against soil erosion, but should be planted to form a negative grade, which means water will flow away from the house. You don’t want growth up against the foundation of the home itself.

Inside the house:

When it’s warm enough outside, turn off your gas fireplace pilot lights where possible.

Carry out the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance for your air conditioning system and ventilation equipment.  Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for cleaning instructions or hire a qualified contractor.

Check your smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms and replace the batteries.

Reopen any valves for outside hose bibs that were shut off last fall.

Mortgage Tip: Save Big By Shopping At Renewal

While most Canadians spend a lot of time and expend a lot of effort in shopping for an initial mortgage, the same is generally not the case when looking at mortgage term renewals. Omitting proper consideration at the time of renewal costs Canadians thousands of extra dollars every year.

It’s important to never accept the first rate offer that your existing lender sends to you in the mail around renewal time. Without any negotiation, simply signing up for the market rate on a renewal will unnecessarily cost you a lot of extra money on your mortgage.

It would be my pleasure to have the lenders compete for your mortgage business at renewal time to ensure you receive the best mortgage options and rate catered to your specific needs. After all, just because a lender had the best available product or rate for you when you obtained a mortgage one, three or five years ago does not mean the same holds true in today’s market.                        With products and rates changing on an ongoing basis, you can’t possibly know what the best offering is for your unique situation without having me – a mortgage professional – do some investigating on your behalf.

It’s my job to look at every rate and product change from each lender – including banks, trust companies and credit unions – every morning to ensure I find the best deals for my clients. I also have the inside scoop on specials available through dozens of lenders thanks to the large volume of business I fund through these lenders each year.

Often times, your existing lender will send a highball renewal rate to their existing clients in the hopes that you’ll simply sign the renewal form and send it back. Your best bet is to come to me prior to your renewal date or forward the lender’s renewal offer to me before signing anything. That way, you can rest assure you’re getting the best possible mortgage product and rate that suits both your current and future mortgage needs.

Courtesy of:

Maureen Young

Accredited Mortgage and Lease Professional
Dominion Lending Downtown Financial
Phone: 604-805-5888
Fax: 604-904-8608
maureen@maureenyoung.ca
http://www.maureenyoung.ca/

 

City of Port Coquitlam – A Press Release

Worth a closer look
If you haven’t visited Port Coquitlam lately, you may be surprised at the changes we’ve experienced in just a few short years.

We’re accessible.
Our central location in the heart of Metro Vancouver means Vancouver is only 35 minutes away by car or commuter rail.

And thanks to the opening of the Coast Meridian Overpass (CMO) in 2010 and Pitt River Bridge in 2009, it’s never been easier to get to or around Port Coquitlam.

Businesses and residents alike are reaping the rewards as the two sides of the community are united with new roads, transit and bike lanes – enhancing a multi-faceted transportation network that includes river and rail.

We’re also continuing to add to the extensive trail network that crisscrosses and encircles the community, linking residents with nature as well as community amenities.

We’re thriving.
The heart of our community has always been our historic and authentic Downtown, and these days it’s bustling with new business and residential growth, a vibrant cultural scene at Leigh Square, and our City’s first high-rise apartment building.

As the CMO has shifted traffic away from Shaughnessy Street, our Downtown has become a lively destination where people shop, socialize, celebrate and do business.

A similar buzz can be heard across Port Coquitlam, evident in our new businesses, infill residential projects, and strong interest in our established and developing commercial and industrial areas.

The Dominion Triangle area, in particular, presents some exciting investment opportunities. A mix of comprehensive residential, commercial and light industrial development are slated for this up-and-coming area.

Construction of the much anticipated Fremont Village in Dominion Triangle has already begun. This highway commercial and mixed-use centre, which already features a Walmart and Canadian Tire opened in 2011, will bring businesses, apartments and services to the community. The area is highly accessible from the new Pitt River Bridge, Lougheed Highway, Mary Hill Bypass and the future Fremont Connector.

We’re progressive.
We’ve captured headlines for our innovative approaches to managing waste and using technology to engage the community.

That progressive attitude can be found throughout City Hall. We see businesses as partners in our local economy. We’re supportive of innovative housing concepts (e.g. small lot houses and back-to-back townhomes) and other unique and sustainable developments that bring our community the services it needs.

Give Port Coquitlam a closer look. Find out more at www.portcoquitlam.ca.

A Home Garden – Fun for the Whole Family

Gardens are a perfect place for you to refresh your mind and soul. It can bring you peace and serenity with nature’s entire beauty — flowers, plants, water and wind. There is no doubt that gardens make a home beautiful.

Typically, when people start planting their garden, they start with flowers. In addition, most people will pursue planting roses. The novice gardener doesn’t realize that roses usually take the most time and effort as compared to other flowers. With such an enormous array of flowers to choose from, it is best for the novice to start off with easy care plants and flowers.

Vegetable gardens have become quite popular too. A vegetable garden can bring a sense of pride and accomplishment when you place those fresh vegetables on your dinner table. The list of vegetable plants is endless, therefore when planning your vegetable garden choose the right vegetable for your growing climate. For instance, cool weather crops would be green beans, zucchini and cucumbers.

Many gardeners will consider planting fruits as well. In Canada this could be a tricky option due to harsh weather. However many home owners have proven that it is possible. Consult with the experts from your local gardening nursery to select plants that are most suited to your area.

Herbs are another favourite for the home garden. If you have limited space, you can grow your herbs indoors in a sunny window. The most often used herbs for cooking are basil, thyme, oregano, parsley and cilantro. These herbs are easy to grow too.

Landscaping your yard is another form of gardening. There are different types of grasses and shrubbery to decorate your yard. Decorative rocks, ponds and statues are also included as a form of landscape gardening. Landscaping your yard is not limited to plant life. As with a garden, your lawn and shrubbery need upkeep.

As mentioned earlier, gardening can be fun and educational for the whole family. In addition, what a delight to see the flowers bloom and harvest the vegetables. However, as with anything else, to be a successful home gardener takes work. Plants need to be weeded and watered. Do not get discouraged if the flowers are not as brilliant as expected or the beans did not do so well. Research the plant in question and then try again next planting season, eventually you will have a wonderful garden.

Copyright © 2010 Canada Realty News™

Buying an Old House – A Money Pit or Gold Mine?

It’s like a love affair; some older homes make your heart skip a beat. It is hard not to fall in love with an older home’s historic unique architecture, gabled roofs, hardwood floors, crown moldings and antique light fixtures—older homes definitely have their charm.

The plastered walls, leaded glass windows, original chandeliers, and oak paneling make an old home as attractive as it can possibly be. If you found your love you should be aware of the following money pitfalls of old houses. You do not want to discover that beneath the surface of your dream home lays a dilapidated wreck.

This article provides you with some valuable tips to help you identify potential problems and some renovation rules, should you decide that this love affair is going to be your Gold Mine.

Foundation

The foundation is the most important aspect of any home especially for older ones. One problem that is common for older homes is called the “sulphate attack”. This can occur as a result of a chemical reaction between the soil and the concrete, which causes the foundation to crack and crumble and that can be very problematic. Another major concern with older homes is that the centre beam of the home can begin to sink. This can result in a sagging roof, bowed walls, and sloping floors. If the old house has a bad foundation then renovating it can be very expensive where the cost can range from several thousand dollars to approximately $50,000 depending on the size of the home. Also, in some cases, one might need to jack up the house to replace the foundation and shore up the centre beam.

Electrical Wiring

When buying an older house, it is very important to find out if there are any problems with the state of the electrical and lighting system. Do the lights flicker? Is the current steady or do the lights fluctuate between bright and dull? Is there adequate lighting in the home? It’s important to have the wiring carefully inspected. Also, many older houses use aluminum wiring, which is cheaper than copper wiring but it is a serious fire hazard. Ensure that you factor the cost of rewiring into your offer price. Also, you should consider whether there are enough outlets in the home to suit the needs of a modern household. Install more outlets in order for you to run a number of devices at once like a television, computer, stove, etc.

Lead Paint

In older homes, lead paint is very common as lead was used as a white pigment in paint until the mid-1950s. If you are planning to repaint the home, call in a professional renovation firm as they know the safety precautions needed to be taken when repainting the house. Children and pregnant women should not be in the home during renovations.

Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral that makes a very effective fire and heat-resistant material that was discovered to cause lung disease. When the tiny particles of this mineral are inhaled, over a period of years they begin to damage the tissue of the lungs. In old homes, asbestos was used in carpet underlay, textured paints, roofing felt, electrical wiring insulation, acoustic ceiling material and insulation. Getting the house checked for asbestos is critical.

Galvanized Pipe

Galvanized pipes are known to rust very quickly. Most insurance companies now refuse to cover water damage caused by leaks in a home with galvanized pipes.

Condition of the Older Home

Just like people, years will eventually take a toll on homes as well. An older home may begin to sag and slope, which is why it’s very important to know about the conditions of the house you’re planning on purchasing.

Older homes may be beautiful, but they aren’t designed for modern living without a total update or upgrade. Make sure the house structure can be modified easily to suit a current living style.

For older homes, renovations are a challenge. To determine the price you are willing to pay, add up the estimated costs to renovate the property based on a thorough assessment of the house. Then, subtract that from the home’s market value after renovation. Allow for an additional 5% for cost overruns and unforeseen problems plus inflation.

Preserve the Charm of Your Old House

If you have already fallen in love with this old house, then make sure you follow the golden rules in repairing your dream home and preserve its historic features and value.

1.            The golden rule of remodeling is, “do no harm”. As you update your older home, make sure to preserve its historic details. Reuse existing materials. Keep historic moldings and hardware. Wire gas lamps for electricity. Keep distinctive examples of craftsmanship. Restore marbling, stenciling, and carvings.

2.            Don’t try to undo long-ago renovations. Most buildings change over time, and alterations to your house may have historic significance in their own right.

3.            Whenever possible, repair rather than replace. Don’t throw away that old claw foot bathtub—have it re-glazed. Fix damaged doors, refinish old cabinets and patch cracking plaster.

4.            If historic features cannot be repaired, look for a similar item at an architectural salvage centre, or buy a new item that matches the old in design, colour, texture, and other visual qualities.

5.            And best of all make sure you hire a contractor that shares your passion and understands your love affair with your old house.

Good luck, you may have found your Gold Mine.

Copyright © 2010 Canada Realty News™