Early Spring Lawn Care

By | Home Beautification, Home Maintenance, Spring | No Comments

Caring for your lawn depends on the climate. For cool-seasons, there is a technique gardeners can do in order for their lawn to maintain the lush and green characteristic. There is some tweaking here and there whenever the season changes, but the basic program indicated here is what most lawns in Canada need.

Know Your Soil
During growing season, you have to know your soil by conducting soil tests. Some of these come in pre-paid boxes that can be ordered online or bought in the store. The soil test indicates the amount of acidity (pH), the main nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, present, the organic matter and the micronutrients. The test will also point out the deficiencies which can be corrected.

Healthy soil needs biological activity. Therefore, there is a need for microorganisms and earthworms. The biological activity entails enough organic matter in order for the lawn to flourish in its natural green state.

In early spring, there must be the cleaning up and aeration of the lawn. Here is how you can do it: Wait for the snow to melt and the lawn to dry, then power-rake to remove excess and aerate the lawn by using spiked clogs.

Why Aerate?
Aeration alleviates the compact thickness in between the ground’s density which results from gravity and winter snows. Through this cleaning up process, the soil gets injected by oxygen, making it easier for biological activity to take place. It also helps the penetration of fertilization in the roots.

It also helps to apply organic herbicides. The amount should be at least 20 lbs for every 1000 sq. ft. Choose organic herbicides that are made from corn gluten meal or have been proven to be a pre-emergent herbicides that are organic.

Afterwards, apply complete organic fertilizer. The amount is the same as that of the herbicide – 20 lbs for every 1000 square feet. You can alternately apply herbicides and fertilizers every six weeks. Choose a fertilizer that is made from the best blended organic materials.

Mowing Tips
When it comes to mowing, it is best to do so at a cutting height of 3 inches as a short lawn will be less resistant to weeds and will dry out and burn faster. The root system mimics the length of the length of the blades of grass, so the longer the stronger. The exception to this rule is when they are the last cuts of the season by cutting low to an inch. We recommend to leave clippings on the lawn and keep the blade of your mower sharp. Research shows that there are benefits to cutting the lawn. One of which is that the weeds are choked out, therefore making the roots develop and resistant to hardiness and drought.

Thanks to Carlos Armando Siguenza for providing the information above! If you are in the Calgary, Alberta area and looking for a landscaping specialist – check out Armandos Gardening!

Armandos Gardening
www.armandosgardening.ca
(403) 589-0019

Landscaping services in the Calgary Area.

Landscaping services in the Calgary Area.

Other Helpful Articles:
Green Law Care – Edmonton Journal.

Home Buyer’s Due Diligence

By | Buying/Selling Homes, Home Inspections | No Comments

When considering purchasing a home it is important to consider more than just the style, price, layout, size, and location. We wanted to share some other ways to ensure that you are doing your due diligence when considering whether a particular property is the right one for you!

Choose an Appropriate Realtor

Be sure seek the assistance of an experienced real estate professional who can provide you advice, knowledge and resources to assist in finding the right home for you. Realtors do so much more than just open the doors and negotiate on your behalf. They are there to help guide you towards finding a home that properly suits your needs, desires and budget. Though not all realtors are created equal, they each have their different strengths and unique expertise.

We strongly suggest when searching for an acreage to find a realtor that is experience and specialized in acreages. There is alot more to consider when buying land outside of a city that has a well and septic tank system -for starters.

Another example is when searching for a condo it is recommended to find a condo specialist. It is important to have someone experienced with condos and can suggest a reliable professional to review the condo documents to protect your investment.

If you are looking for a income property, we suggest choosing a realtor with experience in that area. Someone who is familiar with the required permits and zoning.

If looking to move to a new city, it is beneficial to hire a realtor who is familiar with the area and can provide their insight. Different neighborhoods and communities have different demographics, amenities and property values.

We work with a large number of realtors, if you would like a referral we would be happy to connect you with a few realtors that suit your unique needs. 

Research the Area

Prior to falling in love a house, it is important that the area and location will work for you and your lifestyle. Walk  and drive around the community and to get a feel for the area.

Consider:

  • How will the commute be?
  • Are there amenities nearby that you frequently need?
  • Are you happy with the nearby walking paths, playgrounds and off leash areas? Schools district?
  • Is it a high water table or flood area?
  • Do you have a support system nearby?

Ask the Previous Owners

It is good practice to have your realtor ask the seller’s realtor to disclose any previous water leaks or major deficiencies that the previous owners have experienced. They are legally required to disclose these types of things when asked.

Get a Home Inspection

As many of our readers would agree, getting a home inspections completed is a very important step in buyer’s due diligence. During a home inspection the inspector will investigate whether the home’s components and systems are operating as they should and should point out maintenance items as well as other areas to monitor over time. Findings from this report can often be used to renegotiate the purchase price of a home, and provide you with a good understanding of the condition of the home.

Hire Specialists for Specific Concerns

Prior to waiving conditions it is helpful to hire a trade specialist to do a further in-depth investigation into specific areas of concern that have been highlighted during the home inspection.  This also provides an opportunity to obtain a realistic quote on repairs to budget for.

Keep in mind that home inspectors are generalists and are not journeyman of all areas of a home as this would take many years of school and would results in home inspections costing 4-5x as much! It can be handy to book your inspection earlier on in your condition period to allow for further due diligence on any deficiencies discovered before waiving conditions on the purchase agreement.

Budget Accordingly

When buying an older home, and even a new home, it is important to budget for repairs, maintenance and the unexpected. The life span of the following components varies based on brand, installation, maintenance and other factors, and should are only a rough estimate of the typical life span. Though it can be helpful to consider when budgeting for home maintenance. Here’s a rough estimate of the lifespan of major components of a home:

  • Hot water tanks typically have a life span of 10-12 years
  • Furnace lifespan is 20-25 years, though annual maintenance is required
  • Roofs vary based on the thickness of the shingle, type of materials and weather conditions, though roughly 12-25 years.
  • Windows vary depending on position of the home, care and installation, though on average you can expect windows to last 20 years.

In the end, many buyers go with their gut when choosing their next home though we hope you consider some of these other factors to ensure that your journey of home-ownership is a pleasurable one!

CO Safety in Your Home

By | Healthy Home, Home Maintenance, Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a risk that every homeowner needs to be aware of and manage to ensure a healthy and sound family home. It known as the silent killer as it is a colorless and odorless gas that has toxic effects for people and pets. CO gas is a byproduct produced through the combustion of fuel-burning appliances that are commonly found in homes, such appliances as: furnace, gas water heater, gas stove, gas dryer, gas barbeque, portable generators and fuel-burning space heaters. Running a vehicle in your garage can also produce toxic gases, even if the garage door is open.

Improper maintenance, poor ventilation or dysfunction of these appliances can cause a carbon monoxide leak with the risk of poisoning higher in enclosed spaces.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning

  • nausea
  • headaches
  • burning eyes
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness

These symptoms tend to disappear with fresh air. However, medical attention may still be necessary if you have been exposed.

How to Keep Your Home Safe

  1. Annual maintenance and inspection of fuel-fired appliances such as your furnace, hot water tank, stove, fireplace.
  2. Installing Carbon Monoxide detectors throughout your home, regular testing and replacing upon expiry.

When in doubt of actual age of a carbon monoxide and/or fire detector we strongly recommend you to error on the side of caution and replace upon taking possession of your new home.

Home Maintenance - Smoke-Co Alarms

Carbon Monoxide Detectors…

It is best practice to have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. There are carbon monoxide detectors that you can plug into your wall, battery powered and those built into your fire detector. CO detectors have an average expiry of 7 years and need to be replaced upon expiry. In our home, ours were only good for 60 months, so be sure to check! It is the best to have your detectors hardwired in so that when one alarm is triggered, all of your detectors will sound.

Not all carbon monoxide alarms sold in Canada adhere to Canadian Safety Standards. Look for one with the CSA or ULC symbols.

Be sure to mark your devices so that you are well aware of their expiry!

Related Links

Website on CO Safety
Home Depot – CO Detectors
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Home Safety – Kidde
Stay Safe from CO – ATCO Gas

Seeking Assistance? Check out our Trusted Vendors for an electrician who would be happy to help.

If you suspect a gas leak, Call ATCO Gas immediately, they will do a free house visit to inspect further. 

ATCO Gas 24-hour Emergency Services: Edmonton and Area 1-780-420-5585 | Calgary and Area 1-403-245-7222 | All Other Areas 1-800-511-3447

Building Community Connections

By | Happy Home, Healthy Home, Uncategorized | No Comments

Get Connected in Your Neighborhood

Many of our readers recently moved into a new home leaving behind friends & neighbors. Staying indoors during the winter months can lead to boredom and the winter blues. Here are some ways to build connections, make friends and get involved in your community:

  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
  • Exchange phone numbers & follow on social media (let’s be honest, online community is getting more valuable these days)
  • Invite neighbors over for coffee, tea or dinner
  • Host a shin dig (Keep it simple, do a potluck)
  • Join your local neighborhood FB page (or start one!)
  • Volunteer at the local school
  • Get outside (bundle up and/or take advantage of the warmer days!)
  • Build a lending library (Check them out on our Pintrest board)
  • Give a warm welcome to new neighbors
  • Ask a neighbor for a cup of sugar! (Been there, done that!)
  • Offer a helping hand (lend a tool, helping move heavy items, shovel a sidewalk…)
  • Organize a community clean up!

We hope that our clients who have recently moved into new communities are finding their tribe and getting settled — as friendships and connections makes life so much sweeter!

Interesting Related Articles:
5 Ways to Cultivate Connection in Your Neighborhood
10 Ways to Build Community
Community Building 101
How Housing Impacts Adult Friendship

Home Inspection Warranties – The Fine Print

By | Buying/Selling Homes, Home Inspections | No Comments
90 Day Warranty Fine Print

We don’t actually offer the 90 Day Warranty because we believe in providing our clients with the best service through our many value-adding services such as:

  • Confidence in making decisions backed by the full information regarding true condition of a home
  • Licensed, certified & qualified inspector – who is committed to ongoing education
  • Friendly, approachable inspector to address your questions and concerns in plain language
  • Comprehensive standards of practice
  • Detailed report complete with photos, maintenance tips & recommendations
  • After-Inspection Support for as long as you own the home
  • Referrals to trusted vendors to help with your home’s needs

When our clients face a challenge during their journey of homeownership, we are a just a call, email or text away. We provide advice, resources, trusted vendor connections and our support. Because Our Company Cares.

Curious as to learn about the 90 Day Warranty’s that some inspection companies offer? Read below for more information so you can make an informed decision when deciding on a home inspector.

What Does the Warranty Cover?

Warranty Limits

  • Mechanical Coverage is limited to an aggregate maximum of $500
  • Structural Coverage is limited to an aggregate maximum of $2000.

Inclusions

Items reported to be in good working order at the time of inspection, limited to:

Mechanical Coverage:

  • Electrical: Main service panel, secondary service panel, and wiring
  • Plumbing: Water lines, faucets, water heaters, drain lines, gas lines
  • Appliances: Kitchen Appliances including and limited to oven, range, dishwasher, built-in microwave, trash compactor, and garbage disposal
  • Heating/Air (HVAC): Furnace, Air Conditioner, and Thermostats.

Structural Coverage

  • Poured Concrete & Block wall foundations.
  • Floor joists, bottom & top plates, and wall members.
  • Roof leak repair (does not include replacement of bad shingles), load bearing walls, attached garage doors

And now for the exclusions…

Exclusions

  • Secondary or consequential damages
  • Anything reported in to be in less than good working order
  • Water damage
  • Cosmetic repairs
  • Items that are inaccessible without the removal of drywall, concrete, or any other permanently installed covering
  • Refrigerators
  • Appliances, climate controls or fixtures older than 10 years
  • Plumbing stoppages, regardless of reason
  • Well or septic systems or any related components
  • Upgrading failed systems to meet current codes or local ordinances
  • Chimneys, fireplaces, or brick failures of any kind
  • Cracking or scaling concrete
  • Pest damage, including that caused by any and all wood destroying insects and pests
  • Damage caused by any peril is not covered by this contract, which includes but is not limited to; war, riot, civil commotion, earthquake, hurricane, any and all acts of god, or any other outside cause or neglect.

90 Days?

The warranty is limited to 90 days from the date of the inspection, or 22 days from closing whichever is greater. Most often a buyer takes possession of a home 30-60 days from the date of the inspection, leaving 30-60 days remaining of this warranty rather than 90 days from possession which was our first assumption when hearing of this warranty.