Tag Archives: homes


7 Sustainable Ways to Keep You House Cool this Summer

A cheerful reminder that it is summer.  Photograph by zharth on Flickr

Summer is a great season—beachesvacations, BBQs on your patios…  But as we enter the dog-days of summer, you home may feel more like a sauna than a refuge.  If you have air conditioning, your utility bills are skyrocketing.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are a few easy ways to keep your cool this summer:

1. Fans are your Friends.

Neither ceiling nor portable fans use much energy to power, but both offer great air circulation. They can make the temperature in the room feel up to seven degrees cooler and are much more efficient than air conditioning, In large rooms, ceiling fans work best, as they blow air downwards—just make sure they are rotating counterclockwise to circulate the cooler air. In bedrooms and small areas, portable fans do a good job.  For added cooling, place a frozen bottle of water in front of a table fan. Be sure to turn them off when you leave the room.

2. Savvy Shades

The best way to keep your home cool is to keep the heat out. Consider installing solar screens or reflective window film to the outside of your windows, especially ones that get direct sunlight throughout the day. Solar screens can prevent up to eighty percent of solar heat from entering your home through the windows. Alternatively, be sure to keep your blinds and curtains closed during the day.

3. Get Greenery

Consider planting trees on the side of your house that gets the most sun. Leafy deciduous trees will shade your home and keep things considerably cooler in the summer. Come winter, the trees will loose their leaves and let sunlight through when it’s needed.

4. Power Down

Unless you absolutely need them, turn off incandescent lights and heat-generating appliances. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents or LEDs; they produce the same light but use a fifth the energy and heat.  Turn off your computer when you’re not using it. Also avoid the summer reruns and turn the TV off—it generates a lot of heat. Some plug-in power adapters also give off heat, so unplug you cell phone charger when you’re not using it..

5. Eat Out(side)

Your oven really heats up your kitchen.  Use your barbecue instead!  When cooking inside,  rice cookers, crock pots, and pressure cookers are great ways to heat up food without heating up your house too much.  If you must use your stove or oven turn on your  hood fan to vent the hot air outside.

6. Keep Dry

Humidity makes room air feel warmer. Minimize mid-day laundry, showering, and cleaning. When you must do these things, be sure to turn on ventilating fans to help extract warm, moist air.

7.  Let the Evening Air In

As the temperature falls in the evening, open some windows. This will let the evening air come through and cool the house. Maximize the impact by using table fans to create a cross breeze. Just be sure to close them before the temperature starts to rise again!

What Women Want… In Their Homes

Three women on a U-Haul moving truck(Source)

In today’s competitive real estate market, home builders and seller are doing everything they can to lure potential buyers. Selling a house based on three bedrooms, two baths and a big back-yard is no longer adequate. Buyers are looking for something extra. This is particularly true among women.

Females are one of the fastest growing home-buying demographic. There are more single women buying homes on their own than ever before.  Also, married women are often making the final decisions in the purchase of a family home.

What Women Want In Their Homes

Most woman and men are looking for similar things in their homes: open layouts, adequate storage, solid counter-tops, etc.  However, there are a few design details that can win the hearts of women that men may overlook. When attracting female home-buyers, keep in mind these 4 S’s:

Secure

Safety is a top issue for women home-buyers. A security system that integrate fire and flood alarms is a definite selling feature.  Other security features include good street and entryway lighting, and security cameras.

Silent

In todays busy world, many of us retreat to our homes for solace from the daily hub-hub of the city.  A serene home can be a huge selling features.  Think of details like: whispering appliances, including quiet dishwashers, garbage disposal and central vacuums. Other silent selling features include sound-muting building materials—particularly in the master suite and laundry. ‘Soft close’ toilet seats are also popular.

Sustainable

While saving money and the planet crosses gender lines, women are particularly attuned to green features in a home.  Big ticket items such as solar panels are a definite draw. But smaller details like sustainable bamboo flooring, low VOC paints and a compost drawer can help to seal the deal.

Sleek

Good design may cross gender lines, but a few sleek storage ideas cater especially to female buyers. In the bathroom these include features like hidden storage in the bathroom for reading materials and feminine products, as well as hairdryer-ready drawers with outlets.  In the rest of the house, built-in storage and organizers such as wall-mounted gift-wrapping stations—will catch many women’s eyes.

Buying a home is a complex and multifaceted decison. There are many factors that lead buyers to one house over another. But these four 4 S’s are near the top of the list for many women home-buyers.  They may just be the factor that turn a prospective buyer into a proud home-owner.

Six Most Expensive Pieces of (Residential) Land in Moncton

Home for Sale

(Source)

Thinking about purchasing a house in Moncton, New Brunswick and plan to spend a couple mil? If you’ve got the money, but haven’t considered the prospect of calling Moncton home, check out Why the City of Moncton, NB Rocks! And, if you’re planning on moving here, after purchasing one of these houses, it might not be a bad idea to have a look at 10 New Brunswick Companies that Create Jobs – you’ll need to pay that mortgage somehow!

So, without further ado, here’s a look at six of the most expensive pieces of residential land in Moncton currently on the market (listed from the least expensive to the most costly; clicking on the price will bring you to its MLS page):

1. For Sale: $1,200,000.00

This piece of property is 32 years old and is located at 124 Queensway Drive. The house is 5700 square feet and has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and an impressive 12 acres of land.

124 Queensway Drive

2. For Sale: $1,299, 000

This gorgeous home is only 6 years old and is located at 10 Mayfair, Riverview. This place boasts a whopping 9000 square feet (seriously!), has 18 foot ceilings, and is positioned on nearly 2 acres of land. Although this home is only second on our list of the most expensive pieces of residential land in Moncton, I certainly wouldn’t complain if I was handed the keys to this place!

10 Mairfair

3. For Sale: $1,495,000

It just keeps getting better and better. This dream home is also only 6 years old and is located at 57 Rossmount Terrace. With nearly 10,000 square feet of living space – including a 2,000 square foot pool house! – this home has just as many bathrooms as it does bedrooms (6) and also includes a theatre and gym.

57 Rossmount Terrace

4. For Sale: $1,499,000

Just 4 years old, this 6400 square foot home has just a whisker under 1.5 acres of land. Located at 590 Shediac Road, you’ll find all the features you’re looking for, everything from his & hers walk-in closets in the master suite, to a to-die-for kitchen that has two islands, granite countertops, and a walk-in pantry.

590 Shediac Road

5. For Sale: $1,990,000

This 6080 square foot bungalow is 7 years old and is located at 369 Rogers Road in Berry Mills. This home has so much to offer, you definitely need to check out its MLS page for full details. To sum it up ever so slightly, it has an incredible 157 acres of land, indoor pool, 6 bay garage, surveillance cameras, driveway optics … the list just goes on and on.

369 Rogers Road

6. For Sale: $2,400,000

And finally, the most expensive residential property currently for sale in Moncton is located just a few minutes from downtown at 421 and 419 Charles Lutes Road. The reason for the double address is because in addition to the 6027 square foot home, there is also a 5000 square foot office building. This home is on 42 acres of land that includes a 2 acre man-made lake. Check out the MLS page for all the details.

421 and 419 Charles Lutes Road

Which is your favourite?

Which of these properties do you like the most, and why? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

Satellite Images of Homes

A new home brochure or an MLS listing will provide you with a good deal of information about a new home but sometimes it’s beneficial (and fun) to experience a view of the property from space i.e., a satellite image. Where is your home in relation to the nearby school, highway or shopping centre? If you are relocating to another city and don’t have the luxury of researching the surroundings in person, then viewing a satellite image is a very worthwhile task.

One of the most popular means to view satellite imagery is Google Earth which allows visitors to travel over and zoom in on stitched together satellite photos of the world. In addition to viewing a home, Google Earth can be used to find driving directions, local restaurants and other points of interest, determine the distance between two locations and research various destinations around the world. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured searches and share the information with others.

Google Earth 5.0 was released on February 2, 2009 as a free version available for download. It can even be downloaded to your iPhone and iPod Touch with the same features as the desktop version.

How to View a Satellite Image of Your Home:

– In the Search Panel on the left of the screen, click Fly To
Enter the address of the home in the input box and click the Search button
– In the search results, double click the address
– Google Earth will now fly you to this location
– Zoom in and out, turn the map or tilt the view by using the tool in the top right corner
– In the Layers Panel on the left side, you have the ability to turn on or off (by checking the boxes) certain layers of geographic content. Some layers are not visible until you zoom into an area. Some examples of layers are roads, borders and labels, schools, parks and shopping.

Google Earth acquires imagery which is approximately one to three years old. The approximate date of the displayed imagery can be found in the status bar at the bottom of the 3D viewer. Up-to-date satellite image sets are more expensive the newer they are so Google Earth, being a free product, uses images that are a little older. Google Earth allows you to print, save and email your searched images and views as a placemark in Google Earth or regular JPG image.

Many of the features of Google Earth and now being incorporated into Google Maps, so it is not entirely necessary to download it. If you want to view a location through Google Maps, just type in the address as you would normally and when the location appears, click on “Satellite” in the top right corner. You still have the ability to view or hide layers, although you can’t specify which ones.

If you’ve tried to view a satellite image of your home or another location, did you find it useful?

Most Expensive Homes in the World

Is it strange to be comforted by the fact that even home sellers with properties approaching or over $100 million are experiencing some degree of difficulty in this tough financial market? Three of the properties which appeared on last year’s Forbes Magazine list of the world’s most expensive homes have been de-listed and one sold with a $25 million price reduction (this happened to be Donald Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida). Although, you must contain your grin as the property still sold for $100 million and earned him close to a $60 million profit in four years.

The Forbes list comes from property listings, high-end brokerages and discussions with real estate brokers and agents. It includes only publicly listed properties currently on the market. Privately listed luxury estates and mansions, found mostly in Europe, may have made the list but they are sold with undisclosed prices.

Here is a selection of homes which made the list this past year:

The 45,000 square foot estate called Fleur de Lys in Beverly Hills, California is modeled after Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles and is listed for $125 million.

Leona Helmsley’s 40 acre, 21,897 square foot estate in Greenwich, Connecticut is also listed at $125 million.

England’s most expensive property, a 58 acre country estate in Windlesham, Surrey, is listed at $110 million. It includes a bowling alley, indoor squash court and 50-foot theatre. At this time last year, the home was listed at $138 million.

This Lake Tahoe, Nevada home situated on 210 acres was built by Joel Horowitz, a co-founder of Tommy Hilfiger, and is listed at $100 million. It has 20,000 square feet and includes an indoor swimming pool and movie theatre.

The Eurasia estate located in Moscow, Russia is listed at $100 million. It includes an 11,700 square foot main house, two 4,000 square foot guest houses and a 91,000 square foot recreation complex.

Do you think this market will really suffer in the long run, or will there always be those who can step up and purchase luxury (or image) at any cost?

Amazing Wooden Homes

Have you ever thought of owning a luxurious, wooden home? The desire may be the result of wanting to own an attractive, superbly crafted log home but may also have something to do with the locale many of us attribute to log homes – sitting mountainside with snow-covered rooftops. Here are some facts about wooden homes:

– wooden homes are eco-friendly and healthy to live in
– wood is one of the most durable building materials
– wood is naturally warm in the winter and cool in the summer
– wood homes are fast to build and low on maintenance

Take a look at some amazing wooden dream homes and click on the image to view a larger version:








This may be considered a “Dream Home” for those who are really fed up with their electricity bills…

The Firewood House

The Firewood House

For further information on wooden homes, specificially log homes, you can check out The Canadian Log Home Directory and The Log Homes Council.

What does your wooden dream home look like?

10 Steps to Get Rid of Fleas in the Home

Fleas – the thought of them makes you itch but may also make you cringe as you consider the nasty problem of ridding your home of these tiny invaders. With some patience, persistence and the following steps, you should be on the right track:

Step 1 – Treat your pet(s)
Wash your pet with soapy water or a low toxin flea shampoo. You may want to use a flea comb and dispose of the fleas in hot soapy water. Treat all animals in the house simultaneously.

Flea control products used in the past such as flea powders, collars and dips are slowly becoming obsolete. The latest, more effective treatments are top-spots, which are much safer for both pets and humans and are usually applied monthly. Examples are Advantage, Frontline and Revolution. Ensure the product you use is safe for the animal you are treating, i.e., don’t use a treatment for cats on your dog. If in doubt, check with your vet.

As only 5% of the flea population lives on the animal, killing fleas on your pet will not solve the entire problem. Flea eggs, larvae and pupae can be found virtually anywhere so only killing the adult fleas is just part of the solution. It is imperative that you isolate your pet and get rid of the fleas in your home.

Step 2 – Clean all surfaces where your pet spends a great deal of time, especially their bedding, using the hottest water cycle.

Step 3 – Remove, wash and/or dry clean all bedding in the home.

Step 4 – Vacuum all floors, carpeting, rugs, draperies, furniture, nooks and crannies thoroughly and often. Once you have finished, discard the vacuum bag.

Step 5 – Have all your carpets and rugs steam cleaned or shampoo them yourself using an insecticide carpet shampoo.

Step 6 – You can try some “do it yourself” products like foggers or an aerosol “bomb” which are available from your vet or pet store. You and your pets (including birds and fish) must temporarily vacate the premises prior to using this remedy. These products may contain IGRs (insect growth regulators) which disrupt the cycle of the flea by preventing eggs from hatching, killing the larvae and preventing the adult fleas from reproducing.

Step 7 – If all else fails or the fleas return even after completing the above steps, you may want to hire the services of a pest controller who can spray the house for fleas.

Step 8 – Don’t forget to treat the outdoors too. There are a number of yard products available to treat fleas outdoors. Don’t spray near flowers or vegetables.

Step 9 – Once your house and pets have been treated for fleas, try not to let them come in contact with other pets that may be infested. One visit by a dog or cat with fleas can start the cycle all over again.

Step 10 – Prevention is key. Treat your pet with a monthly flea treatment as mentioned above. Fleas are worst in the summer months and early fall, so it’s important to start your flea prevention strategy in late spring. However, a heated, winter home may provide the perfect setting for fleas to breed so don’t forget about the preventative measures in the cold months as well.

If you’ve had the task of ridding your home of fleas, what worked or didn’t work for you?

What are Homes Selling for in Your Area?

Whether you are currently involved with buying or selling a home or a homeowner with a healthy dose of curiosity, finding out what homes are selling for in your area can be a very worthwhile process. There are a few ways you can accomplish this task and some involve a little more digging than others.

Search the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service)
The MLS® www.realtor.ca is operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association and contains information, including current listing prices, of various properties listed across Canada. Advantages of using this system in researching home prices include:

– very user friendly
– you can search from your own computer at your leisure
– you can define your search by using various parameters

You can also peruse listings from various local real estate websites; however, most of these listings, unless they are exclusive to that office, are the same as those you would find on the MLS®.

Real Estate Agent
A conversation with a real estate agent may shed some light on the listing and selling prices of homes in your area as well as the length of time they have been on the market. A real estate agent or salesperson has access to the SOLD information which they obtain from the local Real Estate Board. This would not be the ideal manner to go about researching prices for curiosity sake. You should be willing to form some sort of relationship with the agent in exchange for the information they will provide to you. This could be ongoing, even if you aren’t thinking of buying or selling for some time. A REALTOR® has the research and expertise to provide a market assessment of what properties in your area have sold for. They can also provide information on market history, such as the number of properties sold in your community the previous month or year.

Local Real Estate Boards may produce Real Estate Guides usually on a weekly basis and often included in local newspapers. The guides will display homes currently listed for sale with the various real estate offices within a specific location.

Builder Websites or Sales Offices
New home builder websites may contain prices of current models for sale, available and sold lots and lot premiums. You can also visit the sales office, if available, and ask for the same information. Model plans and prices are usually very accessible to the public and they may even disclose prices of homes sold in the project. If you are searching for a builder website, you can visit your local Home Builders’ Association website to obtain the link and contact information.

Property Assessment Information
Property assessment information in New Brunswick is available online through Service New Brunswick where you have the ability to look up the assessed value of properties in your area as well as other locations within NB. Assessed values of homes are based on market value. According to SNB, “Market value is the most probable price that a property would sell for on the open market on a given point in time – as of January 1 of each tax year in New Brunswick. Assessors in New Brunswick review and measure each localized real estate market to establish typical market value.”

The assessment office also has access to the purchase price of homes sold in their area but this information has not been readily available to the public in the past. Legislation is currently changing that will now allow this information to be available to the public. The information is not available online; however, you could contact your local assessment office to enquire whether their office is set up to provide you with this information.

Can you suggest any other ways to research prices of homes in a specific location?

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