4 Quick Tips For Summer Home Maintenance!

Hot summer weather is the perfect time for taking it easy, but even if sunbathing all season long is a tempting prospect, you shouldn’t skip out on performing these important summer home maintenance tasks.

1.      Check Your Windows! In order to keep as much of the summer heat out as possible, regularly check the quality of your windows, including the window sealants. This simple task can go a long way to saving you money on electric bills as the AC works overtime during the hot summer months.

2.      Check Your Air Conditioning! One of the most important summer home maintenance tasks is to make sure that your AC unit is in full working order. Tune up your AC on a regular basis, make sure that the coils and filters are clean, and take special care to prevent any potential fire hazards.

3.      Tune Up Your Pool! If you have a pool, be sure to clean it, level the water, and check the pumps before you use it for swimming this summer. If the pool isn’t clean and the chemicals inside are not balanced properly, instead of being a source of entertainment your pool could become a serious health hazard instead.

4.      Clean Your Gutters! Make sure that your gutters are cleaned every six months to avoid leaks and clogging. Clean gutters are especially important during humid summer temperatures that tend to bring heavy rainstorms. 

If you follow these 4 steps you should be able to relax in the knowledge that your home is ready for the summer heat. If you’d like to learn more about home maintenance and how to increase the value of your home, call Barbara Grumme at 905-356-9100.

How to Spot the Best Investment Opportunities 

 

Real estate continues to be one of the most stable and reliable ways to get a strong return on your investment in Canada, but all properties are not created equal. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you tell the difference between a dubious purchase and a great investment opportunity.

1.      Is the population increasing? When investing in real estate, the rules of supply and demand are essential. If you are investing in a city like Niagara Falls where the population is steadily growing, you can be confident that your pool of prospective tenants is also growing. However, if you invest in a community with a declining population you may have a harder time finding tenants.

2.      Is the community accessible? When buying properties that are not located in a major city like Toronto, you are sure to find more affordable property prices. Nonetheless, you have to ensure that the community you are investing in has easy access to major highways, airports, and other forms of transportation. For instance, the Niagara region’s proximity to major highways, airports, and the US border makes it a prime location for investment, but a remote community in Northern Ontario is a far bigger challenge.

3.      What is the rate of employment? When thinking about investing in a particular community, do your research. Check the most recent employment rates and see whether employment is rising or declining. More jobs means more prospective tenants who can afford to rent your property and more prospective buyers when you decide to sell.

4.      Is the community investing in public infrastructure? If a community is building new schools, hospitals, and community centers, it means that the government is pouring money into the infrastructure. That is good news for real estate investors. 

5.      Is the private sector growing? New businesses moving into the community, department stores opening, busy malls, and plazas filling up are all great signs for real estate investment. Private businesses -- and big national and international retailers in particular --like to invest in vibrant communities with a lot of potential. These companies spend a lot of money on researching communities that will be best suited for their businesses, so if they are investing the potential is there.

If you can answer all of these questions in the affirmative, chances are that the community you are thinking about investing in is a suitable one. As long as you do your research and invest wisely, you will reap impressive financial rewards in the long term.

For more information about real estate investment in the Niagara region and beyond, feel free to call Barbara Grumme at 905-356-9100.

Summer Community Events in Niagara Falls at a Glance

Every summer Niagara Falls hosts a variety of wonderful community events that many locals don’t even know exist. For your convenience, here are just some of the Niagara Falls community events that you can look forward to in July and August.

Yoga in the Park @ Firemen's Park, Niagara Falls

Sunday, July 16, 2017 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Firemen's Park, Niagara Falls

Contact Information: Dianne - Phone: 647-960-7620

This is our 4th Annual Yoga in the Park @ Firemen's Park. Beginners and newcomers welcome! Drop-in $10. Bring a friend and enter your name in a draw. Every Sunday for 8 Weeks. Enjoy easy flow and modified poses to suit your needs and encourage peace of mind. Bring your own mats & props.

 

Summer Fling With A Book - Book Club

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Victoria Avenue Library, 4848 Victoria Avenue

Contact Information: Library Staff - Phone: 905-356-8080

Join us for a lively discussion of "Navigator of New York" by Wayne Johnston. Pick up a book club copy at Victoria Avenue Library or bring your own!

 

@ the Museum Thursday night presents: Egyptomania Mummies and Craft Night

Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Niagara Falls History Museum

Contact Information: Clark Bernat - Phone: 905-358-5082

July 20 @ 6-9pm All ages are welcome to come and learn about the process of mummification and create a craft to take home.

 

Yoga in the Park @ Firemen's Park, Niagara Falls

Sunday, July 23, 2017 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Firemen's Park, Niagara Falls

Contact Information: Dianne - Phone: 647-960-7620

This is our 4th Annual Yoga in the Park @ Firemen's Park. Beginners and newcomers welcome!Drop-in $10. Bring a friend and enter your name in a draw. Every Sunday for 8 Weeks -- 3 more weeks to go! Enjoy easy flow and modified poses to suit your needs and encourage peace of mind. Bring your own mats & props.

 

Canada 150: Niagara Falls - Then and Now - Main and Ferry

Thursday, July 27, 2017 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Niagara Falls History Museum, 5810 Ferry Street

Contact Information: Library Staff - Phone: 905-356-8080

A Community Oral History. Niagara Falls Public Library and Niagara Falls Museums are partnering to conduct round table local history discussions based on the photos from Canada 150: Niagara Falls - Then and Now. Please come and share your stories of the city through the years, and help us preserve our oral history for future generations.

 

Canada 150: Niagara Falls - Then and Now - Main and Ferry

Thursday, July 27, 2017 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Niagara Falls History Museum, 5810 Ferry Street

Contact Information: Library Staff - Phone: 905-356-8080

A Community Oral History. Niagara Falls Public Library and Niagara Falls Museums are partnering to conduct round table local history discussions based on the photos from Canada 150: Niagara Falls - Then and Now. Please come and share your stories of the city through the years, and help us preserve our oral history for future generations.

 

Chamber Music Performance - Solo Piano

Saturday, August 12, 2017 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Victoria Avenue Library, 4848 Victoria Avenue

Contact Information: Library Staff - Phone: 905-356-8080

A solo performance by professional concert pianist Gerardo Molina. He will perform a varied repertoire of classical music.

 

Co-Ed Softball Tournament

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Patrick Cummings Memorial Sports Complex

Contact Information: Sherri Lynch - Phone: 519-239-6258

The Trudy Richard Memorial Co-ed Softball Tournament is being held Sunday August 20, 2017 at Patrick Cummings Memorial Sports Complex. Put a team together and come out in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada.

For more information and even more events, visit https://niagarafalls.ca/events/calendar/default.ec.

 

Tips to Stay Healthy in the Summer Heat

With summer in full swing, lots of long and hot days are ahead of us. On top of that the Great Lakes region is known for its humid temperatures, so while you enjoy the great outdoors this summer season it is important to take active steps to prevent heat-related illnesses.  

In extremely hot temperatures we produce a lot of sweat, and losing too much fluid can lead to dehydration and other heat-related discomfort. In cases where the body cannot cool itself off adequately there is a risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Children and teens who engage in intense physical activity such as sports practice in hot temperatures are at an increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but anyone who loses more fluid through sweat or urination than they can replace by drinking can be at risk of dehydration.

If you are worried that you or someone around you could be dehydrated, look out for these symptoms: thirst, headache, dizziness, dry or sticky mouth, chills, fatigue, low or no urine output (urine color is dark yellow). If you suspect that someone around you could be suffering from dehydration, take them to a cool area (such as a shaded place) and make sure they drink plenty of water or clear juice. If their situation does not improve or worsens, seek medical help right away.

In order to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke from occurring in the first place, you can use these simple strategies:

-   Avoid direct sunlight and crowded places

-   Avoid intense physical activity between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

-   Avoid extremely cold beverages

-   Drink plenty of water and ensure that your children do as well

-   Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and hats that will shield your head from the sun

-   Seek out cool spaces such as shady areas or areas with air-conditioning

-   Avoid leaving children or pets in a car or other confined areas for any amount of time! 

And another great way to keep cool in the summer heat that not too many people seem to know about is to apply Peppermint essential oil to the back of your neck. I have been using essential oils for many years and I would highly recommend checking trying out yourself. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca. 

 

Canada Day in Niagara Falls!

This year we mark 150 years of Confederation, and in honor of the momentous occasion Niagara Falls is gearing up for some memorable Canada Day celebrations. The city is planning various festivities for the entire weekend, including the OPG Niagara Falls Canada Day Parade which will feature Rich Little, Derek Sanderson, and Marcel Dionne as Parade Grand Marshalls and Canada’s Next Designer and Niagara Falls native Marcy Mussari as a special guest.

The OPG Canada Day Parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. on July 1st and run along Victoria to Queen, Ending at Crysler Ave. It will feature marching bands, giant inflatables, dancers, jugglers, colourful floats, and more! After that, a huge Canada Day Street Party will take place on Queen Street, with the Opening Ceremonies beginning at 12:30 pm on the City Hall Main Stage.

There will also be massive fireworks displays throughout the weekend in Queen Victoria Park, and other amazing events will be taking place across the city, including car shows, art shows, and concerts. For more information on all of the specific events, you can read the full schedule on the City of Niagara Falls website by clicking here: https://www.niagarafalls.ca/events/annual-events/canada-day/entertainment.aspx.

Have a safe long weekend and a wonderful Canada Day!

Should You Invest in Student Housing?

Here in Niagara and across Canada student housing has become a major investment opportunity. The reason for this is simple: university and college enrolment has been steadily increasing across the country, and post-secondary institutions are struggling to keep up with the housing needs of their students. On top of that, the Federal government has taken measures to help students financially; for instance, last year a 50-per-cent increase was made to the Canada Student Grant amounts for students from low and middle-income families.  In short, this means that more students are actively looking for housing, and they have more money in their pocket to be pay for it.

Experienced investors have been aware of this opportunity for a long time, and they have been buying single-family and multi-unit properties in order to convert them to student housing in post-secondary education hubs like London, Ontario and Kitchener-Waterloo. However, new investors without real estate experience are now seeing an opportunity to invest as many big developers are building new condos aimed at students, and they are looking for buyers to rent those condos out. Due to the high demand for student housing, it is no surprise that condos located near college and university campuses have been among the best-selling condos in the past few years.

Here are a few quick ways to spot a strong student housing investment opportunity:

1.      Location – Students don’t like to travel far if they can help it and bus routes can be a challenge, so make sure that the property is relatively close to campus and other amenities, and check the public transportation routes and schedules to ensure that students can get where they need to go in a timely manner.  

2.      Schools – The bigger the post-secondary institutions in the area and the more of them there are, the more potential renters for your property. If the location you are investing in is relatively close to both a college and a university as opposed to just one or the other (think of the area between Fanshawe College and Western University in London ON), you have a better chance of finding renters quickly.

3.      Expansion – Look for colleges and universities that are undergoing a significant expansion, because this means that their enrolment will increase and with it the demand for student housing.

If you follow these steps closely, you will be well on your way to spotting a strong student housing investment opportunity. For more information on how to invest in student housing, feel free to e-mail me at Barbara.Grumme@Century21.ca.

Do You Need a Building Permit? Your Questions Answered.

Summer is the time when many home owners decide to make renovations or build additions to their properties, but it can be hard to determine which renovations and additions require building permits. Here are some frequently asked questions answered quickly in one place.

Do I need a permit for a pool?

Yes a permit is required for both an in-ground and above ground pool.

Do I need a permit for a deck?

If the height of the deck is greater than 24 inches, then it requires a permit.

How big of a shed can I build before I require a permit?

10 square meters or 108 square feet.

Do I need a permit to re-shingle my roof?

No.

Do I need a permit for new windows?

If you are just replacing them no, but if you are enlarging them yes.

How large of an addition can I build?

This will depend on the zoning of your property and the lot coverage of the existing building.

If I am doing cosmetic work in my home, do I require a permit?

If you are replacing such things as flooring, kitchen cabinets, than no permit is required.

My neighbours fence is falling down, does he have to fix it?

Fences, enclosures, retaining walls and structures appurtenant to a property shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound condition and plumb, maintained free of health or other hazards.

When building a detached garage, how far do I have to be from the property line?

This will depend on the zoning of your property, as well as whether your property is an interior or exterior lot.

For more information visit the City of Niagara Falls website, or contact me at Barbara.Grumme@Century21.ca.

 

4 Tips for a Healthy Picnic

Summer is the season for fun in the sun and outdoor picnics are a popular summertime activity in Niagara. This is not surprising if we take into consideration the region’s unparalleled natural beauty, but when heading out for a picnic with family, friends, or a significant other this summer, remember to stay healthy while enjoying the great outdoors.

1.      Bring plenty of hand sanitizer!

While some picnic facilities have public restrooms, good soap and warm water are usually hard to find when you’re on a picnic. Hand sanitizers are a great way to kill the germs on your hands before eating or coming into contact with others, especially small children.

2.      Bring simple foods

When heading out for an all-day picnic, it can be tempting to bring lots and food and other knickknacks as you worry that you might need them all at some point during the day. Remember that the simplest options are both the easiest to carry and usually the healthiest ones. Instead of greasy foods and five-course meals, bring healthy alternatives like cherry tomatoes, grapes, berries, carrot sticks, celery, olives, cheese cubes, crackers, and sandwiches.

3.      Stay hydrated!

When spending time outdoors on hot summer days perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking alcoholic beverages like beer may be tempting, but the most effective way to hydrate your body is with cool fresh water. Bring plenty of water in a cooler or frozen and leave it out to unfreeze before enjoying it.

4.      Enjoy a healthy and refreshing desert

While cake, chocolate, and other calorie-rich foods sure taste great, when you are out for a long time on a hot summer day the healthiest and most refreshing option is fruit! Enjoy a slice of watermelon, some grapes, an apple, or a peach and you will feel refreshed without feeling guilty about consuming all those delicious calories.

For more tips about planning a health picnic, or for ideas about great picnic spots in Niagara, feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

Raise Your Home Value with Landscaping

Landscaping can increase the value of your home by tens of thousands of dollars, but only if done the right way. According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features, landscaping beats out all types of indoor projects when it comes to increasing the value of your home. Nevertheless, a landscaping job that is amateurish and poorly executed can add no value or even decrease the value of your home. With that in mind, here are three tried and true ways to increase the value of your home with landscaping.

1.      Build a Deck or Patio

Decks and patios are always a reliable way to increase the value of your home: a patio costs around $6,400 and recoups 102%. A wooden deck costs around $9,450 and has an even higher recoup of 106%.

2.      Add Color and Texture

Adding plants around your home in a deliberate and well-designed manner can make your home look interesting and eye-catching to potential buyers year-round. Investing in color and texture usually recoups all the money invested, and adding only a few trees can save you hundreds of dollars a year on heating and cooling costs. 

3.      Take Care of Your Lawn!

If you are planning to sell in the next year or so, maintaining a beautiful lawn is a great idea. Lawn upkeep is the easiest and cheapest of all landscaping projects, but it recoups a whopping 303% of your costs. Remember to fertilize, aerate, weed, and rake your lawn, and you will reap the benefits!

Follow these 3 easy steps and you will be well on your way to a more desirable home. For more information on how to increase the value of your home, feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

THE VALUE OF HOME MAINTENANCE

Regular home inspection and maintenance is one of the best ways to protect your investment by preserving the value of your home. Following a regular schedule of seasonal maintenance can prevent many of the most common and costly problems before they occur, and this preemptive care will do wonders for protecting your investment and making your home a healthy and safe place to live.

The majority of home maintenance activities are seasonal: springtime is when we check for any damage incurred during the winter, start repairs, and prepare for warmer weather. During the summer it is important to perform maintenance activities such as repairing steps and walkways, painting, and checking the roof and chimney. In autumn you prepare your home for the winter (usually the harshest season for our homes), and in the winter months it is necessary to perform routine maintenance and check your home for potential problems and to take corrective action before the damage gets worse.

Some general maintenance tips include:

1. Make sure that your air vents are not blocked by snow or other debris, both inside and outside the home

2. Check your home for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, on a regular basis

3. Test the ground fault circuit interrupters monthly by pushing the test button, which will cause the reset button to pop up

4. Make sure that electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs if there are children in the home

6. Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis

By performing regular maintenance activities throughout the year, including important season-specific maintenance, you will not only make your home a healthier and safer place to live for you and your family, but you will also preserve the value of your home. Regular maintenance helps resolve issues before they occur and identifies potential problems before they spiral out of control, so the time you invest in regular maintenance is sure to be rewarded with a higher value for your home.

What Is Victoria Day?

Although today we have come to associate it with long weekends and barbecues, Victoria Day has been observed in Canada since 1845 as a way to honour the birthday of Queen Victoria, who was born on May 24th 1819. The holiday continues to be marked in various ways across Canada, and the observance of Victoria Day in this particular way has always been a distinctly Canadian tradition.

Queen Victoria ruled for 63 years and seven months, longer than that of any of her predecessors, and this period is known as the Victorian Era. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. Following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, May 24 was made by law to be known as Victoria Day, a date to remember the late queen, who was deemed the "Mother of Confederation”.

Queen Victoria earned that name because of her close connection to the birth of a unified Canadian state. Before Confederation came about the Queen actively supported it. “I believe it will make [the provinces] great and prosperous”, she told Sir Charles Tupper, one of the principal fathers of Confederation.

It was on 1st July 1867 that Queen Victoria proclaimed the Confederation of the first four provinces of Canada and summoned the first members of the Senate of the new Dominion. To underline the inseparable bond between Crown and Confederation, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, first Prime Minister of the new Canada, whom Queen Victoria received in audience on the eve of the great event, told her that the purpose of Confederation was “to declare in the most solemn and emphatic manner our resolve to be under the sovereignty of Your Majesty and your family forever”. Loyalty to the Crown was the keystone of Confederation, the only common bond that could overcome the strong sectional character and feelings of the provinces. Even the ship that carried the delegates from the Province of Canada to Prince Edward Island for the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led to Confederation was named the Queen Victoria.

The Victorian Era was a long period of peace, prosperity, "refined sensibilities" and national self-confidence for the United Kingdom. Culturally there was a transition away from the rationalism of the Georgian period and toward romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and arts. Gothic Revival architecture became increasingly significant during the period, leading to the Battle of the Styles between Gothic and Classical ideals. It was during the Victorian Era that tea became very popular. In fact, it became so widely liked that ale was displaced as the most favourite of all beverages and tea reigned supreme. The drinking of tea led to the birth of a thing beyond a mere habit or addiction. It became a culture. It was during this time that the term “High Tea” was born.

Happy Victoria Day, and for more information please visit: http://crht.ca/queen-victoria-mother-of-confederation/

LIVE HEALTHY THIS SPRING AND SUMMER

Spring is in the air and summer is right around the corner. This is a time of rebirth, high energy, and living in harmony with nature. In order to make the best out of the outdoor season and lead a healthy and active lifestyle, follow these 4 easy steps.

1.      Embrace LIFE and ENERGY! This is the season of new beginnings, and this is your chance to embrace the new you. You don’t need to wait for the New Year to make new resolutions; in the spirit of the outdoor season, you can choose to be creative, adopt a new positive attitude, eat healthy, and be active right now!

2.      Be ACTIVE! As animal and plant life flourishes all around you, become one with that energy. Walk outside and take in the fresh scents of nature, hear the birds singing, and adopt an exercise program that will help you become your best and healthiest self. Whether you like to jog, bike, practice Yoga or Tai Chi, or lift weights, an active lifestyle is a crucial ingredient for improving your health and overall wellness.

3.      CLEANSE and PURIFY Your Body! With the fruits of nature in abundance and the sun shining its energy upon you, choose to avoid artificial chemicals and the excesses of drugs and alcohol. Eat healthy, drink healthy, and commit to dropping harmful habits like smoking. Good nutrition is nature’s medicine, and a healthy diet is essential for a long and healthy life.

4.      SEIZE THE SEASON! Check your local farmers’ markets for the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables of the organic variety. Now that winter is behind us and fresh produce is once again growing locally, seize the opportunity to stock up on those luscious natural nutrients! There is nothing better than fresh, organic, and locally grown fruits and vegetables, so take advantage of this bounty while it lasts.

The spring and summer season is a time for creativity, vibrancy, and for new opportunities. Seize the benefits of this beautiful season and strive to reach your full potential! There is no time like the present.

5 QUICK TIPS FOR YOUR SPRING GARDEN! 

Spring is the season for gardening, and after the winter cold I absolutely love to get out in the backyard and enjoy the flowers and sunshine while reconnecting to the earth. For me gardening is a great way to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the modern world, and over the years I have learned many tricks that make gardening easier and more efficient. Here are 5 quick tips for your spring garden! 

1.      If you draw your fingernails across a bar of soap you will seal the underside of the nail and prevent dirt from accumulating beneath your fingernails as you work in the garden. Once you work is done, you can remove the soap from your nails with a nailbrush.

2.      The Great Lakes Region is famous for its sudden temperatures swings in the spring, and using clay pots as cloches is a great way to protect young plants from overnight frost and freezing.

3.      If you are steaming or boiling vegetables, instead of pouring the water down the drain pour it over your potted plants. The nutritious vegetable medley will do wonders for the growth of your plants. 

4.      Certain plants such as gardenias, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, and even blueberries require the soil to be on the acidic side, and a great way to acidify your soil naturally is to sprinkle a quarter of an inch of leftover coffee and tea grounds over the soil once a month.

5.      Damping off fungus often attacks young seedlings and this can wreak havoc in your garden. In order to control this pesky occurrence the natural way, simply pour some camomile tea around the base of the seedlings once per week.

These quick strategies have worked great for me over the years, ad I have many more tips and tricks for those of you who are interested. Feel free to drop me a line at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca for more info!

MAY IN NIAGARA FALLS: 5 THINGS TO DO!

May is one of the most beautiful months in Niagara, bringing warm and pleasant weather along with colorful spring plants and flowers. If you are visiting Niagara Falls this spring and you aren’t sure what to spend your time on aside from admiring the Falls themselves, here are 5 great things to do while in Niagara.

1)      Nightly Illumination – If you are visiting from out of town, you may not know that Niagara Falls is quite the spectacle even at night. When the sun goes down the Falls are illuminated with colourful lighting in order to enhance your viewing experience, and you can even enjoy regular firework displays in the Niagara Falls tourist area.

2)      Enjoy the Flowers – Spring is the perfect time to take in the colourful plants and flowers of Niagara, and if you visit the Floral Clock and Floral Showhouse in Niagara Falls you will see the World’s Tallest Flower and a wide variety of other plants and flowers.

3)      Victoria Day Fireworks Spectacular – If you are visiting Niagara Falls on Victoria Day, you can experience the special Victoria Day and Memorial Day Fireworks display that is simply stunning to watch, and it is sure to make your long weekend an unforgettable one!

4)      Perfect Time for Golf – If you really want to take advantage of the warm weather, you can book a Niagara Falls Golf Getaway Package at one of Niagara’s premier golf courses. For more information, visit: http://niagarafallsgolfadventures.com/.

5)      Hike the Niagara Escarpment – Experience unspoiled natural beauty by hiking the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Walk along the Bruce Trail, the famous footpath that connects parks, Niagara landmarks, wineries and forests, and practice healthy living while taking in the incredible sights and sounds of Niagara.

 

Enjoy your stay in Niagara Falls, and if you would like any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

Prevent Mold the Natural Way, using Essential Oils!

Springtime is the time of pleasant weather and beautiful flowers, but it is also a time when you really have to watch out for mold growing inside your home. The negative effects of mold are most acutely felt by those who suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune system deficiencies, but living with mold for a long period of time is dangerous for everyone. Mold triggers allergic reactions in many people such as sneezing and a runny nose, and those with asthma may actually experience asthma attacks as a result of mold.

Essential oils can be an effective natural remedy to mold buildup. In particular, Peppermint, Clove, Rosemary, and Cinnamon are among the most effective essential oils against mold and bacteria. A study conducted by the Internet Journal of Microbiology found clove oil to be effective against such bacteria as Staphylococcus and Aspergillus. Furthermore, according to studies conducted at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland, lavender, melaleuca, thyme, and peppermint demonstrated the strongest killing power against MRSA antibiotic resistant bacteria.


It is advised to use a cold air diffuser in order to diffuse your essential oils so that they can kill the existing mold spores and prevent them from multiplying. Run a dehumidifier through damp spaces such as basements and crawl spaces in moist weather, because studies show that ventilating air is more effective in blowing air out of the house than simply bringing outside air in. Synergistic blends of essential oils are more powerful than individual ones, and the most helpful oils for fighting mold include Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Orange, Spruce, Rosemary, and blends of Biblical Oils. For the most effective result consider using a cold air diffuser, which doesn’t heat up the oils so it doesn’t destroy their anti-bacterial properties. Remember that chemical air fresheners are useless because they merely mask mold and mildew odors (instead of fighting bad bacteria, you are introducing more potentially harmful chemicals into your home).

If left unchecked, the growth of mold can result in serious physical symptoms such as headache, bloody nose, rashes, nausea, diarrhea, and more. If you believe that there might be a serious issue with mold in your home, contact a qualified mold expert rather than attempting to fix the problem yourself.

For more information about the health benefits of Essential Oils, contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

More Than Pretty Colours: The Health Benefits of Daffodils

With springtime upon is it is important to remember that relatively common plants such as the daffodil hold natural healing properties that are beneficial for our health. The daffodil is native to Europe and the British Isles, and it can be found growing throughout Europe and North America. Historically daffodils were appreciated for their beauty, but they were also widely used for the flower’s medicinal properties.

Daffodils are an effective remedy for the cough and cold, and they are believed to have a positive effect on the liver and gallbladder. The plant is said to act as a natural antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, and it is also used in cosmetic products because of its positive effects on the skin and its pleasant smell.

In addition, daffodils are said to be good for helping to speed up the healing of wounds. It is common practice in some parts of the world to apply crushed daffodils onto wounds and cuts for faster healing and drying. Applying daffodils may also have a soothing effect for people who have suffered burns to their skin.

This spring when you see beautiful daffodils in bloom, remember that their benefits extend far beyond their pleasant appearance. Mother Nature is full of natural health benefits and remedies just waiting to be rediscovered, and if you would like to learn more please don’t hesitate to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.

 

Golden Horseshoe Tax on Foreign Investors (Non-Resident Speculation Tax – NRST) to go into effect on May 5th, 2017!

The non-resident speculation tax (NRST) is a 15 per cent tax on the purchase or acquisition of an interest in residential property located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations (“foreign entities”) and taxable trustees.

Upon the enactment of legislation, the NRST will be effective as of April 21, 2017. 
Binding agreements of purchase and sale signed on or before April 20, 2017 are not subject to the NRST.

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The Ministry of Finance recommends that all transfers registered on or after April 21, 2017, include one of the three statements regarding the Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) as set out in the “Payment of the NRST” section below.

Completing this will become mandatory as of May 5, 2017.  However, during the transition period from April 21 to May 5, 2017, omitting one of these statements will not affect the registration of the transaction or incur penalties.

The NRST applies in addition to the general land transfer tax in Ontario.

The GGH includes the following geographic areas: Brant, Dufferin, Durham, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, Northumberland, Peel, Peterborough, Simcoe, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and York. 

For more information visit: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/bulletins/nrst/nrst.html

Fool's Gold: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Real Estate Investment

pitfalls of real estate.jpeg

Even though real estate is a great investment, it takes more than the luck of the Irish to make money. Most of the world’s wealthiest people have made their millions with the help of savvy real estate investments and for the rest of us, it is fairly easy to make money on real estate, even simply by owning our own home. But there are potential problem areas that one should be aware of whether you are purchasing a home to live in or buying an entire city block. Be sure to work with a realtor who knows the potential pit falls, plan time to do the research and have a team of experts on your side.

For more information feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.


Try the Seller 30-Day Nuclear Option

What’s Holding You Back?

Many home owners holding back on selling their home grapple with a very important dual question:
“Where am I going to go and what’s it going to cost?

With the shortage of listings:

  • the extreme demand due to the influx of buyers spilling into our region,
  • the ensuing frenetic buying with multiple competing buyers vying for the same home, and
  • the guessing game as to how high a listing might sell for beyond list price,

the twofold question is definitely relevant.

More specifically the concerns are: “What if I sell my home, can’t find what I am looking for or keep getting outbid? Now my sale has a set closing date and I have nowhere to go. Even rentals are getting hard to find. Now what am I going to do? I’d just a soon stay where I am.”

Two Possible Solutions to the Perceived Chaos

  1. We’ve had cases in which the buyer was either an investor or had alternate accommodation. So the buyer agreed to close the deal and rent the home to the seller, giving the seller four to six months to find another home to move to. This could be for the purchase of a resale or the purchase of a new home being built.
     
  2. We’ve also had situations in which the seller agreed to sell the home on condition that they find suitable accommodation within a given period of time. The condition might be for two weeks and even thirty days. In today’s frenzied market some buyers are willing to wait.

Hence the 30-Day Nuclear Option to Sell

Given these possibilities, one of our salespeople recently had two different sellers agree to list their properties with a condition of thirty days for the seller to relocate; and succeeded in finding them another home to buy. No, it’s not perfect and it doesn’t work all the time. It does, however, protect the sellers. If they don’t find another home to buy or don’t successfully compete on a purchase or two, the deal is off and they get to stay in their home.

Condition Can Start After Buyer Conditions, if any

In addition, sellers can also make the condition start after the buyers have removed all of their conditions, if any. Say the buyers have a mortgage and a home inspection condition. The seller’s “satisfactory suitable accommodation” condition doesn’t start until the buyer has removed his two conditions. In this heated market, many accepted offers have few if any conditions, so the thirty days can start right away.

It’s a Risk-Free Approach

Granted, making the move is not foolproof. Yet the “30-Day Nuclear Option to Sell” does eliminate risk: you don’t buy another home, you stay put. If a seller is getting a lot of interest some buyer might readily agree. The buyer might even consider closing and renting to you temporarily before your conditions expires to not lose the purchase.