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Home safety efforts heat up this summer

(NC) As many of our homes have transformed into makeshift offices and classrooms and we plan summer staycations, fire safety has become a priority.

With more regular activity in and around the home, the risk of hazardous home incidents, such as fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, may also increase. Here are the top three tips to help you and your family stay safe this summer:

Get alarmed. 
Even if you have alarms, you may not be sufficiently protected. Safety experts recommend installing smoke and CO alarms on every level and in every bedroom of your home. Test alarms regularly and replace the batteries every six months. To eliminate the need for battery replacements, upgrade to 10-year sealed battery alarms. But remember that alarms don’t last forever and should be replaced at least every 10 years.

Gear up to grill. 
Before you fire up the barbecue for your next cookout, position it well away from the house on a flat surface and give it a good cleaning to keep grease build-ups from catching fire. Equip yourself with long-handled tools to provide plenty of clearance from the heat and flames.

Just in case of an emergency, have a fire-extinguishing device on-hand, like First Alert EZ Fire Spray, a compact, lightweight spray can. With no pins to pull or levers to squeeze, it’s easier to handle than traditional fire extinguishers. Just point and spray to quickly put out a developing fire.

Make an escape plan. 
The warm weather makes summer the ideal time to plan and practice a home emergency plan with your entire family. Identify two exits out of each room, including windows and doors. Set a dedicated meeting spot a safe distance from the house and ensure everyone knows to call 911 only after they are safely outside. Be sure to practice your home escape plan at least twice a year, making drills as realistic as possible.

Learn more home safety tips at firstalert.ca.

 
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For Sale - 2720 44A AVE in Edmonton

I have listed a property at 2720 44A AVE in Edmonton.
Use the link below for more information and to book a showing.
Welcome to this gorgeous and upgraded home. The impressive curb appeal offers a hint of what's to come. Inside, the first thing you'll notice is the soaring living room ceiling with grand windows and a beautiful stone fireplace. Next, you'll discover the dining room and renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite, glass tile backsplash, under cabinet lighting & island with plenty of cabinet space, including a corner pantry. Off the garage entry, there's a handy office space and a 2-pc bath. Upstairs includes the primary bedroom with walk-in closet and spectacular, newly-reno'd ensuite. Two more bedrooms with newer engineered wood floors and another full bath complete this floor. Downstairs, the basement is finished with a family room, wet bar & another bedroom and full bath. Outside, the yard is just as inviting with a spacious deck with a pergola, brick patio and plenty of trees for privacy. Complete with A/C & more renovations than there is room to list here. Don't miss this opportunity.
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3 benefits of a healthy lawn

(NC) Whether it’s in your backyard or a nearby park, lawns provide more than just aesthetic benefits, they contribute to happier and healthier communities. Here’s how:
1. Providing oxygen that we breathe.

15 square metres of grass produces enough oxygen for a family of four every day.

2. Reducing the warming effect of hard surfaces.

Urban areas sprawling with buildings and concrete tend to be significantly warmer than areas with lush greenspaces.

3. Acting as water filtration systems.

A healthy lawn will slow runoff and allow time for the water to seep back into the groundwater system, rather than overworking municipal storm sewer systems and creating a flood. A lawn the size of 900 square metres can absorb more than 22,000 litres of water.

To provide these benefits, lawns require care. Pesticides are one tool that help protect lawns by keeping weeds and other pests under control. Health Canada regulates every pesticide sold in the country to ensure they can be used safely. A product that may harm human health when used as directed will not be approved.

 
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For Sale - 270 50247 Range Road 232 in Rural Leduc County

I have listed a property at 270 50247 Range Road 232 in Rural Leduc County.
Use the link below for more information and to book a showing.
Nestled privately amongst an ABUNDANCE OF TREES, this EXCEPTIONALLY RENOVATED 5 BDRM is complete with A/C, WALKOUT BASEMENT & DETACHED SHOP! The NEW KITCHEN with UPGRADED APPLIANCES, QUARTZ & EXTRA CABINETRY, is a showstopper! The dining & living area features LARGE WINDOWS, WOOD BURNING STOVE & access to the LARGE DECK. The primary suite is a retreat, and you'll love the ENSUITE with DOUBLE SINKS & GLASS SHOWER. Every bathroom and the LAUNDRY ROOM has been RENOVATED. The UPDATED WALKOUT BASEMENT has a SPACIOUS FAMILY ROOM, EXERCISE SPACE, office area, a 4-pc bath, plus 2 bedrooms! The entire home has been upgraded, including FRESH PAINT with CEILING REFINISH, NEW FLOORING, FURNACE, HOT WATER TANK, BASEMENT SPRAY FOAM INSULATION, INSULATED SUBFLOOR, UPGRADED PLUMBING, CISTERN, TRIPLE-PANE WINDOWS and more. You'll relax on the COVERED PATIO & spend the EVENINGS AROUND THE FIRE. The DOUBLE GARAGE AND SHOP are ready for all your vehicles. PERFECTLY LOCATED, easy access to Beaumont, Leduc, HWY 21 & Edmonton!
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Answers to Common Questions  About Preparing Your Home to Sell

Sellers are motivated to get the best price for their homes, but they don't always know what that entails. Real estate agents often meet with sellers who think they need to spend thousands of dollars remodelling in order to market their home, or at the other extreme, sellers who expect a high price but don't want to put in the work. 


While the amount of work you should put into your home before selling depends on your local market, in general, the truth lies somewhere in between these two extremes. To demystify the process, here are answers to five questions that we often hear from sellers, presented by Jason Hafso of MaxWell Challenge Realty.

What Should I Repair?

Begin with any deferred maintenance such as the water heater, a roof tune-up, and crawl space insulation. Most buyers are shopping for a move-in-ready home and don't want to spend time and money on major repairs before occupying the house. That's why it's often recommended to handle major repairs before selling. If you don't, you could end up losing more than the cost of repairs due to low offers and a protracted sale process. If you don't have the time, money or drive to complete major repairs before putting your home on the market, it's important to price your house accordingly. Don't think you can sneak problems past a buyer; if an issue is present, it will be noticed during the buyer's inspection.


Minor household repairs are an easier call. While homeowners grow accustomed to quirks including sagging doors and squeaky floorboards, such issues distract prospective buyers and cause your house to be remembered as “the one with the sketchy railing” instead of “the one with the great family room.”

Should I Renovate Before Selling?

Once repairs are complete, the sellers' next question is usually about cosmetic improvements. Expensive projects like upgrading kitchen appliances usually aren't necessary unless they're majorly outdated. Instead, focus on low-cost, high-impact updates. Which renovations are best for your return on investment are dependent on the local market so defer to your real estate agent on this subject.  

How Much Does Curb Appeal Really Matter?

The one area where it's worthwhile to go above and beyond is your home's exterior. The first step in selling a home is making a great first impression, but that's hard to do without great curb appeal. If your plantings are sparse, potted plants are a quick fix that lets you avoid transplant shock. Container plants near the entrance are also a great way to spruce up your front porch.


Pay attention to driveways and walkways: In addition to washing these surfaces, homeowners should fix unsightly cracks. For concrete driveways, follow instructions from Bob Vila. If your driveway is asphalt, Lowe's will show you how.

Do I Need to Deep Clean?

No one wants to buy a dirty house, so it makes sense to deep clean before showing your home (cleaning service will typically charge between $75 and $125). In addition to keeping floors, windows and counters clean, take note of odours lingering in your home. If carpet and upholstery cleanings fail to eliminate an unpleasant odour, turn your nose to the air ducts. Air ducts and vents can host a variety of odour-causing contaminants such as pet dander and mildew; if your ventilation system is the source of odour, you'll need to schedule a professional duct cleaning to solve the problem. 


Once a home is sold, it's standard to leave it “broom clean” for buyers. However, some contracts may stipulate the house is to be deep cleaned before changing hands. Talk with your agent so you're clear about what level of cleanliness your contract requires.


If your agent instructs you to clean, repair and update your home before showing it, he's not just giving you a hard time. Homes that have been cleaned show better, which leads to less time on the market and higher offers. Unless maximizing your sale price isn't a priority, completing these tasks is in your best interest as a seller.


Jason Hafso of MaxWell Challenge Realty is passionate about helping people buy or sell homes. Call me at 780-964-7335 if you’re ready to get the process started!


Suzie Wilson has been an interior designer for over 20 years. What started as a hobby, turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. Her debut book, The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is COMING SOON to online retailers and bookstores near you!

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Easy DIYs that instantly transform any space: 3 projects you can do in a weekend

(NC) The return of warmer weather doesn't just mean the start of summer, it's also the kickoff to home improvement season. Every home deserves a light, airy refresh to embrace a brighter season ahead. Fortunately, transforming your space doesn't mean you need a big budget or a lot of time.

Elevate your home in just one weekend with these easy DIY projects inspired by Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore colour and design expert.

Go for faux wallpaper
From painting one wall a bold colour or adding interest with a stylish painted arch, there are endless options for creating a focal point in your space with colour. This season, accent walls are going graphic and taking inspiration from wallpaper — with a lot less fuss.

"Whether you choose polka dots, thin lines or an intricate pattern, this transformation is an easy way to give any space personality," shares Grech. "This project is perfect for those looking to get creative — use a stencil for flawless results in no time."

Make a statement with your staircase
It can feel daunting to paint an entire room, especially if you want to do it yourself. Instead, look for small projects that make a significant impact, such as painting your stair risers. Whether you want to add an unexpected pop of colour or take a tonal approach by alternating between shades of grey like Feather Gray 2127-60 and Pike's Peak Gray 2127-50, Advance interior paint delivers a durable, furniture-like finish on wood surfaces so that you can achieve professional results in a weekend.

Welcome with vibrant doors 
Painting your front door is an easy way to boost your home's curb appeal, but who says you can't make an immediate impact by painting your interior doors?

“If you lean towards a neutral palette, painting a door in an energizing hue like Marblehead Gold HC-11 can help you incorporate a splash of colour into your home without committing to an entire wall,” explains Grech. If you're hesitant to introduce a vibrant colour, she suggests Palladian Blue HC-144 for a subtle facelift.

 
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For Sale - 29 Stanley DR in St. Albert

I have listed a property at 29 Stanley DR in St. Albert.
Use the link below for more information and to book a showing.
Welcome to this great home loaded with upgrades and nestled in the highly desirable neighbourhood of Sturgeon Heights with beautiful mature trees and steps to nature and amenities. Just some of the reno's over the past 3 or 4 years include: doors and frames (2019), high efficiency furnace (2018), garage and house shingles (2019), triple pane windows (2018), hot water tank (2018), plumbing and more. The main floor is complete with 3 bedrooms, living room with large picture window, dining room and kitchen. Downstairs is mostly unfinished, just waiting for your finishing touch, but there is a 4th bedroom and laundry located here. Outside there is a private and spacious fenced yard. And no more scraping windows in the winter... the large oversized double garage is heated and insulated. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity.
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For Sale - 214 Poplar ST in Rural Sturgeon County

I have listed a property at 214 Poplar ST in Rural Sturgeon County.
Use the link below for more information and to book a showing.
What do you get when you mix a modern, updated, spacious, almost-new home with the quiet tranquility of a relaxing lakeside community? This fantastic home at Sandy Lake, just north of Stony Plain and less than 1/2 hr from Edmonton or St. Albert. This triple attached garage home with nearly 2600 sq ft of finished space is ready to move in and enjoy. Walk in and discover a bright, open floor plan with large windows, vinyl plank flooring, chef's kitchen with gas stove, side-by-side full size fridge/freezer, large island, quartz countertops, corner pantry and plenty of cabinet space. A spacious living room on the main as well as massive family room downstairs and a total of 5 bedrooms provides room for the whole family. Upstairs you'll find the primary bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite with his/hers sinks and rain shower. Outside, discover the expansive deck overlooking nearly 1/2 acre of yard space, including the vacant lot next door, also included in the sale. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity.
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Interest rates are down – should you break your mortgage?

(NC) The pandemic is causing many of us to re-evaluate our finances. If you are thinking of renegotiating your mortgage to take advantage of a lower interest rate, be aware that this could mean having to break your mortgage contract.

If you break your mortgage contract you may have to pay a fee, called a prepayment penalty.

Before breaking your mortgage, make sure the benefits outweigh the costs. Far too many homeowners who have broken their mortgage contracts have been shocked by penalties amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, or other fees required to complete the transaction.

Know the costs

Every mortgage contract contains different terms and conditions. Federally regulated financial institutions must provide you with key information in a box at the beginning of the mortgage agreement, including information about any penalties and fees that will apply if you break your mortgage contract.

As a consumer, you have the responsibility to read your mortgage agreement and understand the penalties and fees associated with breaking your mortgage contract. Call your financial institution to speak to a knowledgeable person for detailed information on prepayment penalties or check out the prepayment penalty calculator available on their website.

Consider other options

Some mortgage lenders may allow you to extend the length of your mortgage before the end of its term to take advantage of a lower interest rate. With this option, you don’t have to pay a prepayment penalty. Lenders call this option the blend-and-extend, because your old interest rate and the new term’s interest rate are blended. Keep in mind that you may need to pay administrative fees.

Depending on the cost to break your mortgage, it may be best to wait until the end of its term and shop around for a new contract that provides a lower interest rate or more flexibility.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada provides unbiased and fact-based information on mortgages you can count on. You can learn more about the costs of breaking your mortgage at canada.ca/money.

 
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For Sale - 37 Catalina CRT in Fort Saskatchewan

I have listed a property at 37 Catalina CRT in Fort Saskatchewan.
Use the link below for more information and to book a showing.
Welcome to this gorgeous home in desirable Sienna. This spacious bi-level duplex is move-in ready. The open-concept main floor features beautiful vinyl plank flooring. The kitchen offers an island with sit-up breakfast bar, corner pantry, classy tile backsplash and plenty of cabinet/counter space. The dining room is spacious enough for entertaining and provides access to the fenced yard and impressive two-tiered deck. Cozy up in front of the living room’s corner gas fireplace. A 2nd bedroom and full bathroom complete the main floor. Upstairs boasts a massive primary bedroom with walk-in closet and full ensuite. Downstairs, the finished basement holds a large family/flex room, warm carpeting, large windows, 3rd bedroom & 3rd full bathroom, ideal for your guests. And no more scraping windows with an insulated attached garage. Escape the big city. Enjoy access to playgrounds, trails, parks and more, just minutes to a variety of stores, restaurants and services. Don’t miss this fantastic home.
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