Spring Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Are you interested in a new look for your home that will match the upcoming spring season?  Changing your home’s interior from time to time can bring a fresh and reinvigorating vibe into your life, so why not take advantage of the new season and its colors and themes to reflect all of this in your own home?  There are several creative, fun and simple ways to bring the feel of warmth and rejuvenation into your home, so here are some great spring decorating ideas that will help reflect the new season inside your own home.

Spring Colours

One of the quickest and easiest ways to bring spring into your home is to change up your colour scheme.  This can be as easy as changing your throw pillows and quilts or blankets in your living room to as complex as changing up your wallpaper or paint.  Citrus colours, as well as bright and vibrant choices, are great spring colours, and you can even go with pastel colours that are more synonymous with Easter.  Either way, your home will look brighter and reflect the spring season.

Bring Your Gardening Inside

Gardening does not need to be something you only do outside.  Bring some of your potted plants or flowers inside!  A nice set of flowers will cheer up any room, so look for floral patterned pots to really bring spring alive in your home.  Another advantage of bringing in some of your potted plants or flowers is that they will get a head start since the growing conditions are far more favourable indoors.

Candles

The days are getting longer, which means that you will have more natural light in your home.  Think about replacing some of your electric lights with the soft glow of candles.  To really welcome the spring season, find bright candles with springtime scents such as fresh flowers or orchids.

Dinner Time

Bring the spring candles we mentioned above into the dining room to set the stage for a nice dining décor.  While you’re at it, think about changing your placemats and napkin set for ones with bright spring colours; think about bright greens or pinks to really give your dining room that spring look.

Doormats

Chances are your doormat is in need of changing; they can only take so many winters before they finally break down and no longer prevent dirt and debris from entering your home. Consider replacing your doormat with a welcome sign that reflects the spring season, and you’ll be surprised what a difference a new mat will make.  Make sure to also find one that has a rubberized bottom to keep it in place so that it can do its job.

If you are looking for great spring ideas or just want to take in the cherry blossoms and fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the season, come visit some of the beautiful neighbourhoods and homes in Burnaby, particularly the real estate near Simon Fraser University.  Happy spring!

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Tips for Prepping Your Home for Sale – Exterior

Spring is the perfect time to think about upgrading to your dream home, or downsizing to something more practical, depending on your needs.  Regardless of your reasons and the decision you make, the reality is that the housing market is hot as we draw closer to summer, especially in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University, so if you’re contemplating a sell, the time is opportune.  Here are some tips to help you prep your home’s exterior so that you can take full advantage of this market.

Exterior Maintenance

The quickest way to get your home ready for the real estate market is to give the exterior of your home a fresh coat of paint.  Before this, however, you will need to have a quick look at your exterior and do all of the necessary prep work required before painting.  This includes caulking any cracks or gaps, and replacing the weather stripping around the windows if it looks worn.  Also remember to scrape and sand down any areas where your old paint may have lifted.

While you are inspecting your exterior, have a look at your roof to see if you need to replace any loose shingles, and keep an eye out for clogged gutters, which can lead to all kinds of problems and create water damage if left unattended.  Make sure to remove all debris that may have gathered over the winter so that the gutters drain properly and can handle the spring rains.

Landscaping

A well landscaped property is far more appealing to potential buyers than a home that has not been landscaped, so take advantage of it being spring by planting some eye-catching flowers and getting your lawn and property market ready.  Make sure to keep the lawn trimmed, and repair/replace any cracked cement pads or retaining walls that may have been damaged over the winter months.  You should also consider renting a pressure washer to thoroughly clean your driveway.

Organize

If your home has an attached garage, it is extremely important to properly organize this space since potential buyers will envision how they can utilize it if they end up buying your home. Creating this imaginative space for buyers can be self-defeating if your garage is so full of stuff that you and your real estate agent can barely fit in the garage yourselves.  Take the necessary but rewarding time to organize the garage; think of it as an opportunity to sort through your belongings before you have to pack them into a moving truck.  Remember, an organized garage is a great selling point in this real estate market.

If you have been on the fence about buying or selling your home, there may be no better time than now to enter into the real estate market.  Just like the spring weather, the market is heating up and does not show any signs of cooling off any time soon.  Good luck!

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Tips for Spring Lawn Care

Now that spring is arriving, what a great opportunity it is to get outside and enjoy some of that fresh air!  Also, while you’re outside enjoying yourself and the new season, you may want to consider getting a head start on your lawn care since a well prepared lawn means a healthier and weed free one in the summer months.  Here are some great tips to help get you started with your spring lawn care.

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10 Ways to Winterize Your Home – Part 3

This is the final installment of a three-part series that outlines how to properly winterize your home.  These final four winterizing tips will help you have the most winterized home on your block.

Insulate

A properly insulated house is a home that keeps the heat in and the cold out.  Unfortunately, most homes in the lower mainland contain the least amount of insulation possible.  This is because most people feel that the winters are relatively mild and short in the Greater Vancouver area.  This may hold true if compared to a northern British Columbia winter, but on a night where the thermometer dips below freezing, you will be wanting all of the insulation you can possibly find.

Most relatively new homes should be properly insulated.  The newer homes available in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University are well-built and will be well insulated.  If your home is not in that category, you should think about adding insulation especially in the attic or crawl space area.  This will help keep more heat in your home.

Flush Your Tank!

One of the past tips was to turn down the heat on your hot water tank.  While you are turning down your hot water, you may want to think about flushing the tank itself.  By thoroughly flushing your hot water tank you are not only increasing its longevity, you will also help it run better and be more energy efficient which will save you money in the long run, as those winter heating bills are brutal.

Clean Those Gutters!

This is not just a job to do once a year; you should properly clean your gutters every few months.  A clean set of gutters will ensure that no debris or water accumulates in them.  If there is water in your gutters and it freezes, the expanding water can not only damage your gutters, but it can also begin to damage the side of your house!  Either way, it is 100 percent avoidable, and this is a job that will not cost you a dime.

Check Those Pipes!

This final tip may be a bit over the top if you live in the lower mainland, but if you have ever had a water pipe that has split because of freezing, you may not think so.  It is a good idea to inspect all of your pipes to make sure they are in good working order; you may want to add some extra insulation around any pipe that is exposed to exterior walls.  Remember, never turn your heat completely off if you go away for the winter.  Instead, turn your heat down, but not off.  This should keep your pipes from freezing and splitting.

We hope you have enjoyed this three-part series on how to properly winterize your home.  Remember, a properly winterized home is also an energy efficient and cost-effective home!

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10 Ways to Winterize Your Home – Part 2

A properly winterized home usually means more than just turning down your thermostat or stopping a few leaky windows or doors.  Here are a few less known ways to help you thoroughly winterize your home.

Turn Down Your Hot Water!

Another great way to help you save money over the winter months is to simply turn down your hot water tank by a degree or two.  Most hot water tanks are set at a temperature that is too hot, so by turning down your hot water tank, you will not only save money, but you may save yourself a burn or two as well.  By lowering your heater by a few degrees, you can save up to 10% on your next heating bill.  A hot water tank with a lower temperature may also be a great incentive to help you take a shorter shower, saving you even more money on your energy bills.

Another option is to look into a tankless hot water system or even a solar powered way to heat your hot water tank.  Remember that there are tax incentives to move towards a more energy efficient way of heating your water and your home.  Many of the new homes in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University already have energy efficient water tanks installed so turning them down may not save you any additional money.

Inspect Your Furnace

Sometimes, to keep your furnace running in peak condition, you may need to do more than just change the filters.  It is a good idea to have your furnace inspected annually, usually at the beginning of the winter to make sure that everything is in good working order.  A properly working furnace can save you money on your monthly heating costs and can also save you big money in the long run because maintaining your furnace will cost you far less than having to replace your furnace.

Life in Plastic

Another often overlooked place when it comes to thoroughly winterizing your home are your windows.  A lot of heat can escape right through your window panes over the course of the winter, especially if you have single paned glass.  Although most new homes now come with double paned glass, it is still a good idea to add a layer of plastic to your window.  You can pick up a plastic window dressing for your windows at almost any hardware store.

These kits adhere right to your window pane and will not distort or harm the glass in any way.  What this kit will give you is an extra layer of protection against the outside cold.  By properly installing a plastic window dressing, you should help seal any drafts that are coming from the sides of your windows and increasing your homes ability to hold heat.

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Creative Storage Spaces for Your Home

Regardless of the size of your home, there comes a point when you will feel you need more room to store all of the items you have managed to accumulate over the years.  This is especially true if you have a family and an active lifestyle.  A garage and crawl space can only hold so much.  So you have a choice: either downsize or try these creative storage tips for your home.

Shelving

If you feel that you have run out of floor space and are not all that inclined to start stacking boxes on top of each other, you may want to think about shelving.  Shelves are a great way to make use of wall space.  In any room, and especially in the garage, chances are you have a bare wall or two.  Think about running shelving the length of the wall, or if space is a real issue, add more than one shelf on each wall; the more, the merrier!  You may need a step ladder to get to the highest shelf, but this should give you lots of extra room to store some of your goods.

Shelving can also be an ideal space saver in your pantry or in your closet.  In your closet, you can run a shelf above where you hang your clothes that can take the place of your already overstuffed dressers.  In your pantry, you can neatly organize your food items without having to stack or store them on the floor.

Totes

Totes or bins should take the place of boxes in all rooms of your house.  Totes will not have the bottoms fall out of them unexpectedly, nor will they break down.  Another great feature of the tote is that you can stack them on top of each other without any fear that the heavier one will crush the one underneath it.  Slap a label on the outside and stack to your heart’s content.

Under the Stairs

Almost all homes, especially the new ones in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University, have untapped storage potential under the stairs.  If you do not have a crawl space or if you have not turned that empty space into shelves or cupboards, you may want to explore that option.  Talk to a contractor or if you feel handy, undertake a do-it-yourself project that is sure to give you more storage space in your home.

With a little foresight and perhaps some creativity and organization, you should be able to find all the room you need and more in your home to store all of your items.  Good luck!

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10 Ways to Winterize Your Home – Part 1

Even with an El Nino winter, it is important to make sure that your home has been winterized properly.  A thoroughly winterized home will not only make your home more comfortable, but it can also help you save money in the long run.  Here are the top ten ways to help you properly winterize your home.

Stop the Drafts!

One of the quickest and cheapest ways to keep the heat in your home is to stop the drafts around the windows or doors.  Drafts can account for up to 30% of wasted energy in your home, so it is important to seal any leaky doors or windows.  There are many products on the market to help you with this task and are great weekend do-it-yourself jobs.  For a quick, temporary fix, roll up a towel or old blanket, and set it against the bottom of your door.

Turn Down Your Thermostat!

Although this sounds counterintuitive, smart management of your home’s thermostat can save you big money over the course of a winter.  Turning down your thermostat by 1 degree can save you 3% on your next heating bill!  Proper thermostat management can quickly add up to big savings.  A programmable thermostat is a great investment as it will allow you to program when and how you heat your home.  It will pay for itself in its first winter and will allow you to manage your home’s heat in a more responsible and cost-efficient manner.

Clean Those Filters!

During the winter months your furnace will be doing most of the heating, so it is a wise choice to make sure that the filters in your furnace are clean.  Dirty furnace filters can restrict your furnace’s airflow and thus increase your furnace’s energy demand.  If dirty filters are left unchanged, this can eventually place unneeded and unwanted stress on your furnace.  It is advisable that you check and replace your furnace filters monthly to keep your furnace running at its peak performance.

Use Your Fans!

Use your fans in the winter months?  This sounds absurd, doesn’t it?  However, your ceiling fans have the ability to run both clockwise and counterclockwise.  During the summer months, run your ceiling fan in a counterclockwise direction; this helps keep us cool.  If you change your fan’s direction to clockwise, your fan will circulate the warmer air that is trapped near the ceiling back down into the center of the room.  Give it a try!

By properly winterizing your home, you should enjoy a comfier and warmer house.  Most of the new homes in the real estate market near Simon Fraser University have already been winterized.  These homes offer some of the most energy efficient homes in all of the lower mainland.  By following the previous tips, you too should be able to realize a more cost-effective way to enjoy the winter months.

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How to Properly Store Your Christmas Decorations – Part 1

Now that the Christmas season is behind us, it is time pack up all of your decorations for another year and get your home back to normal for 2016.  For some reason, the un-decorating part of Christmas is never as glamorous or as fun as the decorating process, but it is equally as important.  Remember, how all of your Christmas decorations go away will be how they will come out next December.  In other words, if this is a rush job with everything crammed into boxes, be prepared to sort through a mess the next holiday season.  Here are some tips on how to properly pack and store your precious Christmas decorations.

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Tips on How to Organize Your Home

Owning a home is an important part of a person’s life. Regardless of what type of home that may be, house, condo, or apartment, organization is an important consideration for comfort and cutting down on the “where the heck is my _________” moments. Many people are balancing work, school and family responsibilities as well as those that come with keeping a house. It is all too easy to let clutter overtake your space. This clutter can make even simple tasks difficult and time consuming. Read on to discover some simple ways to keep your home organized so that getting out the door to work or for class is quick and easy.

Create Dedicated Space

Today’s electronic world gives us the ability to do almost any task anywhere in our home. Sometimes, this versatility is a blessing, but it can oftentimes be a curse. Mixing our sleeping space with our study/work space and our entertainment space is a mistake many people make on a daily basis. Determine the areas in your home that you will use for specific purposes. Find a place to set up a desk for study, work or even home finance chores. If possible, do not put this desk in your bedroom. It is best to keep the television out of your bedroom as well.

Getting enough rest is important and studies have shown that having a television in your bedroom can lead to poor sleeping habits.

Establish a Routine

Once you have decided which areas will be dedicated to each part of your daily life, establish routines that will help keep those areas clean and organized. What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door upon returning home?  Do you have a place that you always hang your keys? What about your purse or wallet? Establishing a routine for these regularly recurring events will keep your counters from becoming cluttered and keep you from losing your keys too! What other tasks are repeated regularly? Can you implement a routine that will simplify any of these tasks? Look at these repeated tasks as opportunities to organize and declutter your life and your home.

Set Realistic Goals

Most people do not want to live in a sterile showroom. Remember that even the most organized home will get a bit messy during finals week or when there are weekend guests. If “stuff” starts to pile up, simply take a bit of time to put everything back in its dedicate space and recommit yourself to following the routines you established earlier. Fortunately, if you have already put forth the effort of setting up your dedicated areas and routines, re-establishing them should be even easier.

Visit Us!

Sometimes the effort to organize meets with failure due to a simple lack of space or a lack of the correct space for your needs. Perhaps you need an extra room in order to have a dedicated office or study space. Maybe it’s time for a separate living and dining room? When you are ready to start looking for your perfect space, check out SFU real estate by visiting our website or contacting a representative with Canadian University Real Estate today.

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How to Properly Store Your Christmas Decorations – Part 1

Now that the Christmas season is behind us, it is time pack up all of your decorations for another year and get your home back to normal for 2016.  For some reason, the un-decorating part of Christmas is never as glamorous or as fun as the decorating process, but it is equally as important.  Remember, how all of your Christmas decorations go away will be how they will come out next December.  In other words, if this is a rush job with everything crammed into boxes, be prepared to sort through a mess the next holiday season.  Here are some tips on how to properly pack and store your precious Christmas decorations.

Continue reading

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