According to the latest figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) ending Dec 31, 2014 the Greater Toronto housing market remains strong, and the future of the Toronto market shows signs of a continuing upward trend.
TREB reports sales in December of 2014 were up 6.7% over 2013 with a total of 92,867 residential sales with an average selling price of $556, 602 which is up 7% from December 2013.
With limited housing supply continuing into the new year and with the Canadian central bank being expected to leave its key rate at one per cent, there is good chance the GTA housing market will continue to have a strong year with increases in pricing.
Spring is here, spring is here! Spring is here and hopefully the weather will catch up. Waiting for the nicer weather it’s still a great time to get your home ready for spring and summer.
Here’s a list of chores to consider for the month of April and May:
1. ROOF CHECK UP: There are 2 places you need to inspect your roof. From the inside and from the outside.
For outside you will need to inspect your roof for any loose, missing or damaged shingles, evidence of leaks, cracks in seals or flashing that may have shifted.
From the inside take a strong flashlight up into the attic and look around for evidence of dark moisture spots on the roof sheathing.
2. EXTERIOR HOUSE CHECK
Check your steps and deck for cracks, rotting boards or places where nails have popped up. With concrete steps, consider painting them with concrete paint to protect the surface and spruce them up; repair any cracks.
Clean and check your eaves troughs and make any needed repairs. Consider buying leaf guards for the tops of downspouts; these are easy-to-clean mesh screens that prevent debris from flowing into the downspout and clogging it.
Walk around the perimeter of your house, carefully checking the foundation and seal for cracks. Even small cracks should be repaired; they have a way of growing into big cracks, and possibly leaks.
Wash your windows inside and out; take down storm windows if you have them, and wash and install window screens and window coverings.
3. INTERIOR HOUSE CHECK:
Arrange for an annual check-up of your cooling system, before the summer rush.
Clean and, if necessary, replace your furnace air filter. If you didn’t have it cleaned in the fall, schedule a furnace cleaning.
4. GARDEN, LANDSCAPE and PATIO TO DO's:
Clean and condition the barbecue to ready it for another season.
Coat your driveway with driveway sealer.
Clean and repair outdoor furniture.
Clean, sharpen, oil, and if desired, paint the handles on your garden tools
Bring out and mount your garden hose. Turn on outdoor faucets, once all danger of a freeze has passed, and test the hose; if there are any leaks, repair or replace the hose.
Give your lawn a spring boost. Lightly rake up leaf debris and dead grass left on the surface, and then apply a light application of spring fertilizer. Seed any bare spots, and then give it a good watering; the new lawn shoots will be thirsty.
Spring clean your garden. Lightly rake the beds, removing leaf debris and cutting down dead stalks from last year. Dig out any baby weeds, while they’re small and easy to get at. Apply a couple of inches of compost, but do not mulch your beds until later in the spring, so the earth has a chance to warm up. Plant spring bulbs such as autumn crocus, dahlias and some lilies.
Trim shrubs and trees while they are still dormant.
If you get through this list you will be more ready to enjoy your home and keep it in great condition.
NEXT MONTH’ S TOPIC? LET’S TACKLE THAT OVER CROWDED GARAGE!
So there is still snow on the ground and not much yard work that can be done. No cutting the grass, no adding wood chips to the gardens and trees, no watering the flowers, etc. So what do you do? Let’s go INSIDE and check out some much needed areas in your home that need TLC.
What to check:
1)SMOKE DETECTORS / CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR - there are test buttons on smoke detectors and most CM detectors. To make sure they work press the button to see if it works. No sound, replace the batteries. Replaced the batteries and still no sound? Replace the smoke detector.
2)RANGE HOOD FILERS - A dirty range hood filter will reduce the effectiveness of the range hood. This can INCREASE energy costs and also INCREASE the risk of grease fires. Most range hood filters, if not too dirty can be added to your normal dishwasher load. For really dirty filters you might have to try soaking the filter in grease cutter overnight and then pop it in the dishwasher.
3)FIRE EXTINGUISGERS – O.K., are you still in the kitchen? Check in the closet or under the sink and tell us if there is a fire extinguisher there? YES? Then let’s check it out. FIRST, let’s check to see if you have the CORRECT fire extinguisher for a grease / kitchen fire.
The older labelling system uses simple icons with an A, B or C designation to show which class or classes of fire it is safe to use a given extinguisher to fight.
The newer labelling system uses standard pictorial symbols which show the class or classes of fire for which the extinguisher is suited. The symbols identify the type of fire the extinguisher can be used for.
Class B Extinguishers should be used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as kitchen grease, gasoline, kerosene, paint, oil, etc. Kitchen grease fires should never be extinguished by water.
Check to ensure your extinguisher is at the recommended operating pressure, indicated by the needle in the green zone on extinguishers equipped with a gauge. Have the extinguisher recharged if the needle is not in the green zone of the gauge.
The Toronto City Fire Department has some great additional information on proper use and safety for extingshing fires. Here is the link for some great tips:
All in all these 3 quick maintenance tips took about 15-25 minutes but will go a far way to helping reduce energy costs, minimize the risk of home damage in the future, adn increase the safety at and around the home.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BUYING, SELLING, RENTING, or FIXING your home please contact:
In the darkest part of the year, it´s tempting to try hibernating through the next couple months. If you can get a plan in place now though, you can get a jump on spring, and a couple of things will even help you save money.
1) Let's Save Some ENERGY!
a) Turn Down the WATER HEATER - Lowering the thermostat setting on your water heater is an easy way to save money; for each 10ºF you decrease the temperature, you can save 3%–5% in energy costs. Did you know most water heater manufacturers set the temperatures of their water heaters to 140 degrees F. 120 degrees F is plenty hot. This is a great way to save money.
b) Change those dirty HVAC Air Filter - Households can save between 5-15% if the air filters on their furnaces get changed 4 times a year. When's the last time YOU changed your air filter? If you can't remember you should do so now. A good way to remember when you changed your filter last is to WRITE THE DATE directly on the air filter with a marker.
c) Upgrade to a PROGRAMABLE Thermostat - new programmable thermostats start at around $40 and can save the average homeowner $200 per season.
There are some new and very interesting programmable thermostats on the market, for example, NEST thermostats came on the market in 2012 and are receiving some great consumer and industry feedback. Some feedback suggests NEST doesn't work with all systems, but the idea of a simple thermostat that 'learns' homeowners heating and cooling behavior seems to be a step in the right direction for the HVAC market.
2) Let's Save some CHRISTMAS MONEY!!
a) Now is a great time of year to top up on Christmas CARDS / WRAPPING PAPER / and DECORATIONS - some stores there are savings of 50% or more!
b) When you do bring all that new wrapping paper home here is a great idea on how to store it:
Wrapping Paper and Supplies: Store wrapping paper rolls in that unused space at the top of a closet—its ceiling.
3) Other Great January Sale items include:
a) Electronics - Bedding / Linens - Sports and or Exercise equipment - Electronics - Winter clothing and accessories - storage solutions / bins, etc.
January doesn't have to be such a 'blah' month.
Keep busy, hopefully keep warm, and you might enjoy the winter months just a bit more.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BUYING, SELLING, RENTING, or FIXING your home please contact:
Many clients of the Andy Ryan Real Estate Team have been asking about Knob and Tube wiring, what is it, and is it safe?
Here is some basic information about knob and tube:
Knob-and-tube (K&T) wiring was an early standardized method of electrical wiring in buildings, in common use in North America from about 1880 to the 1940s. The system is considered obsolete and can be a safety hazard, although some of the fear associated with it is undeserved.
Facts About Knob and Tube Wiring:
Knob and Tube Wiring is not inherently dangerous. The dangers from this system arise from its age, improper modifications, and situations where building insulation envelops the wires.
It has no ground wire and thus cannot service any three-pronged appliances
Problems with Knob and Tube Wiring:
Unsafe modifications are far more common with K&T wiring than they are with Romex and other modern wiring systems. Part of the reason for this is that K&T is so old that more opportunity has existed for improper modifications.
The insulation that envelopes the wiring is a fire hazard.
It lacks a grounding conductor. Grounding conductors reduce the chance of electrical fire and damage to sensitive equipment (like computers of really nice televisions)
How does Knob and Tube Affect the Potential Homeowner?:
Many insurance companies refuse to insure houses that have knob-and-tube wiring due to the risk of fire. A good idea is to check with your insurance company BEFORE you put the offer in to see what their policies are regarding insuring a home with Knob and Tube.
Advice for those with K&T wiring:
Have the system evaluated by a qualified LICENCED electrician. Only an expert can confirm that the system was installed and modified correctly.
Do not run an excessive amount of appliances in the home, as this can cause a fire.
Where the wiring is brittle or cracked, it should be replaced. Proper maintenance is crucial.
K&T wiring should not be used in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms or outdoors. Wiring must be grounded in order to be used safely in these locations.
Rewiring a house can take weeks and cost thousands of dollars, but unsafe wiring can cause fires, complicate estate transactions, and make insurers skittish.
REMEMBER! Electricity has become an important element of every home. Electricity can provide: heat, lighting and provides power for all the electronic and gadgets in our homes. Electricity and your home electrical system is dangerous and the best advice is to always contact a Licenced Electrician before working on your own home.