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Recent Blog Posts

There are several types of security systems, each one offering a unique level of protection for you and your family. In fact, research shows that most would-be home intruders look for security systems in place before attempting a break-in.  To avoid home safety hazards , owners should choose the type of security system that best matches their needs. 

Keep reading to learn about the top security systems on the market today.


Self Monitored Security Systems 

Self-monitored home security was initially the only option for homeowners, and it can be somewhat effective as long as someone is home to monitor their performance. Often installed by the owners themselves, self-monitored systems are easy to relocate when moving and are by far one of the most affordable choices.

Many self-monitored security systems have video surveillance and recording capabilities when working in unison with an internet connection, adding to the household value. That being said, should a power outage occur, these features will not function. Furthermore, many systems don't have a siren that allows neighbours to detect potential intrusions.

Professionally Monitored Security Systems

There are droves of home security monitoring companies in Canada, most with competitive rates and some even offer free systems to new customers. These companies actively monitor signals from systems installed in their clients' homes and will alert the proper authorities when needed. These providers typically also provide services that identify fires or the presence of carbon monoxide. As an included service, most companies also keep detailed surveillance logs, calls, and unidentified entry into the home. 

This is valuable for law enforcement attempting to prosecute thieves and recover any stolen goods. 

Wired Home Security Systems 

These systems connect directly to a hard-wired panel that boosts their reliability while making them less susceptible to hacking from online interference. Wired home security requires a good connection and constant power to be activated. They might cost more than other systems and typically call for professional installation, but they are optimal for owners who prefer to avoid internet applications. On the flip side, crooks can snip the lines or kill the power to evade detection by wired systems. 

Wireless Security Alarm Systems 

Wireless home security is the most popular option homeowners choose due to the array of features and the higher level of protection they can offer. No wires can be snipped to deactivate the security system, and several home applications with smart capabilities can be operated through them. Wireless security typically boasts motion sensors, detection devices, wireless video cameras, multiple alarm zones and recording options.

Installation is relatively simple, but sensor placement is essential, so consider letting the monitoring company put things in place and secure the connection. Staying updated is also vital to prevent hacking and interference with the system. Wireless systems operate using batteries, and these will need periodic replacement to maintain functionality.

Smart Home Security Systems  

Smart home security systems are in high demand, as they can be operated by the Internet of Things (IoT, an in-home network that can include energy-efficient home improvements). Those who have a smart home with connected appliances and features will typically want to go this route. In general, a central hub or dedicated system allows homeowners and occupants to have total control over the system from anywhere they have internet access.

Automatic alerts for potential intrusions or issues such as fire are sent immediately to both system operators and the monitoring company. This means response times are much faster and can prevent a disaster or break-in more effectively than standard systems. Some smart home security options even allow for hands-free operation of door and window locks, rapid recording and lighting activation via a connected app.

Protect Your Home  - Invest in a Security System - Stay Safe

Every complete home security system package typically includes sensors, control panels, door or window sensors, floodlights, doorbells and cameras. Together, these elements will keep a home as safe as possible .Preparation is the best way to prevent burglaries, keep possessions secure, and, most importantly, ensure people's safety. Choosing the right security system lets homeowners have peace of mind when they're at home and away.

 


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It is no secret that spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate markets. The warmer weather brings out consumers who are excitedly looking for homes. This bodes well for sellers, especially those who took the opportunity during the winter months to get their home ready for spring buyers. Even with some of the recent housing industry woes, there is optimism this will be a good year with plenty of consumer real estate activity. Is your home ready to list and sell? Here are several tips on how to sell your home in the spring!


DEVELOP A PLAN

The most basic thing you can do is create a to-do list. This will help you break the home selling process into different tasks while dividing them into specific time ranges. By taking this approach you will feel less overwhelmed and able to remain focused longer. It will also help you track the status of the tasks you are undertaking.

It is very important to understand what your competition is both in the general area and in your neighborhood. If supply exceeds demand, you may need to adapt to the conditions. Conversely, you may have more negotiation leverage if the demand is higher than the available homes for sale. Working with your agent, and understanding what the numbers mean, will help you gauge the expected activity level and the time your "right priced" home will typically be on the market.

SET THE RIGHT PRICE 

This is the trickiest part of the selling process. If your home is overpriced, there is a good chance it may sit on the market. You can save yourself this unpleasant experience by setting a market smart price from the onset. 

Market conditions and area appreciation rates are crucial when determining the surplus or shortage of housing, which consequently results in the rise or fall of home prices. If your market has a surplus of houses for sale, the price you can expect to get for your home is typically lower than average, which means you may need to consider waiting until the condition improves if you have no equity in the home.

Setting a higher than market price will discourage many buyers and you may not get many visitors and certainly less offers. If you are aiming for a quick sale, offering the house for a lower price is quite often the approach to take. This is one of those times the opinion of your estate agent will come in handy.  Don’t hesitate to consult with them because no one wants turned down offers, or worse yet, no offers at all.

START PACKING

It might sound a bit odd to begin packing so early, but chances are you have accumulated a lot of stuff. The more items you pack away (and remove from the property) the more space the home will have and the better it will look to prospective consumers. If you wait, you could run the risk of your home not showing well, which is definitely counter-productive to getting an offer and closing the deal.

Wrap up excess plates, fixtures and appliances right away. Start sorting items in your storage areas such as attics, closets, basements and the garage organization. Many items that found their way to storage are probably not important for your everyday life and you might be able to donate, give away, sell, or discard. If you have packaged up a lot of your possessions, you might want to decide if a hiring a storage facility to keep the items is a smart move.

INSPECT YOUR HOME  

The simple truth is that if you want something you often have to give something in return. This is especially true when selling your home. One of the smart things you can do is to have a pre-listing home inspection to get an idea what needs to be fixed and which items you can possibly use as a negotiation piece when an offer comes in.

Your agent can help guide you on which items it makes sense to resolve to ensure your home passes the critical eye test that buyers will put it through. The more you repair, the more likely you are to sell quickly and for a decent price. If there is ever a doubt, err on the side of caution and get the issue resolved.

REPAIR YOUR HOUSE 

It sounds basic but many either do not have the time or resources to make repairs on a regular basis. The longer you wait, the more these issues will compound, and the more leverage you will be giving away. When buyers have the upper hand, you can expect the offers to be lower than expected.

You do not necessarily need to make huge and expensive renovations either. Often minor home repairs and cosmetic improvements such as repainting the walls and kitchen cabinets or fixing the drains will refresh the place. You can also update the light fixtures, replace switch plates, and swap out handles to achieve a neat appearance.

REMOVE THE CLUTTER

This is such a critical step that many sellers do not take full advantage of. To present your home in its best light you need buyers to view themselves living in your place. You also need to remove many personal items such as family pictures, children’s artwork, and even whatever is magnetized or taped to your refrigerator. Go less personal and more neutral.

Everyone has some clutter but no buyer wants to see a pile of bills on the coffee table or your old magazine collection piled in the corner. Cleaning areas such as shelves and counter-tops is a must. Any personalized items and all collections should be packed away.   

You should also remove excess or beyond reasonable wear furniture. This will show home hunters how much space your place has and allow their imagination to take over and visualize what they would put in the space. Once on the market you will need to keep your place as neat as possible. If the purpose of the room is clear it gives buyers a better understanding of its use.

FINAL TOUCHES - HOUSE CLEANING & STAGING

After you have packed up and removed the clutter, a thorough cleaning ( Hiring a professional cleaning service if you are unable/unwilling to do it yourself). Once the home is clean it is much easier to keep it that way. With a little dusting, rinsing and wiping, your home will look and smell its best for every visitor that comes through.

Carpet and window cleaning is also a must as the cleaner your home looks and feels,  the more at ease potential buyers will be...A smart choice while your home is active on the market.

Finally - if you can invest in professionally staging your home it is very well worth considering to give buyers a sense of what the home could look like. Many times they will re-purpose items you already have and save you a lot of money. Shop around and you may just find you can afford to bank roll a home stager to turn your home into the best version of itself. Do not forget to give the outdoor space an overhaul if you want to use it as a selling feature.

IMPROVE YOUR CURB APPEAL 

While it is very important to make sure you have all your bases covered inside of the home, it is equally as important to make sure you give the outside of the home some tender loving care too. Simple things like painting the front door, cleaning up planters/flower beds, adding a bit of color with seasonal flowers and shrubs, replacing fence slats, repairing decks and window molding, and ensuring the hedges and trees are neatly pruned will give a positive first impression.

Buyers make a decision in the first few seconds of seeing a home whether or not they want to stop and check out the property. If the outside of your home looks inviting, you are telling buyers to come in and see how impressive and great the inside looks as well. You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression and it starts with that  exterior curb appeal!

READY TO LIST ! 

With a little work and a solid plan you have an excellent opportunity to get your home ready for the spring real estate market. You will be prepared, buyers will love your home, and the potential for a quick and profitable sale are very possible. Learning how to sell your home in the Spring is easy, it is the follow-through with all the steps outlined above that can take some time. 

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Upon deciding to upgrade your home, whether you’re planning to stay there or sell, the topic of money arises quickly. It’s well known that home renovations can be costly. Sure, some small upgrades such as new light fixtures, faucets and paint don’t typically cost a whole lot of money, but remodels are known to snowball and the costs can add up quickly. Thankfully, you have options! Here are 8 of the best ways to finance major home renovations to help you forge ahead, with confidence that you’ll have the financial means to make your vision a reality!

  1. Home Equity Line of Credit

When buying a home, most people apply for a mortgage. Your home equity is the portion of your home that you have already paid off.

Home renovations are known to be costly endeavours; especially if you have owned your house for over a decade and haven’t done many upgrades within this period. The major benefit to this, is that after a decade of ownership, your home equity should be a sizeable amount.

As long as interest rates remain low, as they currently are, tapping into your home equity to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can be a great way to fund a renovation. With a HELOC, you can use as little or as much as you need, paying back only what you use, at a rate that is lower than those of credit cards or personal loans.

  1. Refinance Your Mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage is another viable option to pay for a costly home renovation. Simply put, refinancing your mortgage means adding to the amount of money you originally borrowed to purchase your home. This new mortgage amount is rolled into the current balance on your mortgage.

This option is beneficial in a few ways. First of all, if you do it at mortgage renewal time, you could end up making lower monthly mortgage payments, due to a lower interest rate, while gaining access to the money required to fund a renovation. Second, it is an excellent option for people who want to borrow a definite amount of money. When you refinance your mortgage, you get a set amount of money at a set interest rate; therefore, it isn’t possible to spend more than you have, and the payments will remain consistent and affordable.

  1. Unsecured Line of Credit

If the first two options are not available to you, it may be worth looking into an unsecured line of credit. Anyone can apply for an unsecured personal loan or personal line of credit through a financial institution.

A line of credit starts out with a set amount of money you can charge against it, and as you pay it back, you can repay the gap funds. However, the downside of this option is the high interest rates. Personal lines of credit will always have far higher interest rates than a mortgage because there is nothing securing it. 

  1. Take Out a Second Mortgage

Instead of refinancing a mortgage or using equity, some people choose to take out a second mortgage to pay for home renovations. This option will provide you with the instant cash you need to complete your project, at a lower interest rate than a personal line of credit or credit card, however it can leave you with double the mortgage payments.

  1. Credit Card

Not the best option available, due to the high interest rates involved, but using a credit card to finance major home renovations is always an option. While it is instant cash, and credit cards are easy to come by, they come with a hefty fee.

Typically, credit cards have an interest rate of 19.99interest rate or higher – meaning that you will be paying a hefty fee on any residual charges you haven’t paid off come month end.

  1. Loan from Family or Friends

While not available to everyone, another viable option is borrowing from family or friends. It’s common knowledge that borrowing money can complicate a relationship, but this option comes with the ability to specify repayment terms with the person you are borrowing from, and eliminates the need to use a bank or other financial institution.

  1. Save and Pay as You Go

If you aren’t in a time crunch to get the renovations done, you can always save and pay as you go. This will inevitably slow down the remodel process, however, it is one of the only ways to ensure that you don’t get overburdened by interest fees on your renovation spend.

  1. Use your Savings

The final way to pay for home remodels without borrowing funds from another entity is to simply use your savings. This is a good option for those who want to get the renovations done as quickly as possible, and don’t want to be stuck owing money once they are completed.

Take Your Time Before Committing

Now that we’ve reviewed 8 of the best ways to finance major home renovations, it is important to consider other factors such as purpose, time and your personal preference for financing. As you review your options, remember that there is no right choice, but there will be a best-fit option for your needs. A financial consultant can be a great resource in helping you choose your best route for financing.

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