One Garden, To Go!

Creating a beautiful garden takes time, effort and money — all of which usually result in a completely worthwhile outcome. But what if you’re planning to move this summer, and will only be able to enjoy the benefits of all your hard work for a short time? Consider taking your garden with you! #cbrmr

Whether you have the tiniest of terraces or the biggest of backyards, you can exercise your green thumb by creating a container garden — a garden that will provide the curb appeal you need when your house is on the market, and then the flexibility of portability when you move to your new place.

Container gardening is just that: gardening in containers. Choosing your containers is just one fun aspect of container gardening. Just about anything that can hold soil and withstand frequent watering will do. Each material has its strengths and weaknesses: plastic is cheap and lightweight, but doesn’t endure; wood drains well, but is heavy and can rot; terra cotta and clay also drain well, but can dry out and are heavy; metal is lightweight, but can rust. Your choice of container should also take into account the size of your plantings; deep-rooted vegetables for instance, will require deep pots or root growth will be limited.

Containers offer the advantage of being mobile: move your plants around if they’re not thriving in a particular spot, keep your vegetables and herbs close at hand, and even bring your beloved bougainvillea with you should you move. What’s more, container gardening is a great solution for limited space or poor soil conditions.

Thinking of putting down roots in a new home this year?  Please call TheMashTeam at 905 430-6655 today!

Good Job!

When your home is in need of repair or improvements, you want to be sure you’re trusting it to the right hands; a quality contractor can make or break your renovation experience. When on the hunt for just the right person, keep the following advice in mind: #cbrmr

  • Ask for referrals. Check with friends, relatives, neighbours, co-workers, even your realtor and local home improvement store or lumberyard. Make sure the recommended contractor is licensed to work in your area, and is bonded and insured.
  • Give them a call. Ask the contractors if they take on projects of your size, and how available they are.
  • Meet them in person. Once they pass the phone test, set up an appointment to meet them in person. Are they late for the appointment, or worse, do they not show up at all? Do the contractors wipe their feet or take off their shoes when entering your home? If not, that could be a clue they’ll track dirt and mud throughout your home while the project is being completed.
  • Take your time. Interview at least three candidates, ask for references and contact their previous clients to ask if they’re happy with the work the contractor did for them. Check licenses, complaints and litigation history; you want to be sure the contractor is properly qualified and doesn’t have a history of disputes. Also check insurance coverage to find out what is covered by the contractor’s business versus your own home insurance.
  • Get everything in writing. Ask the contractor to break down all costs in the contract, including the cost of any permits they will be securing for you, in addition to materials and labour. Get the approximate start date and projected completion date in writing, and detail the payment schedule too.

Now That’s Smart!

More and more homeowners are incorporating into their homes a wealth of new technology offered by smart home systems that take care of everyday tasks from answering homeowner’s questions, to controlling music and TVs, to adjusting the temperature of the home. And that’s just the beginning.

A “smart home” includes technology that can automatically have your coffee ready for you before you rush out the door in the morning, and then allow you to check that the coffee maker is turned off after you’ve left the house. Smartphone integration can allow you to control lights, appliances, alarm systems, heating and air conditioning, and more from your mobile device, no matter where you are.

Smart home technology scores high in the safety and security category too. Programs can keep you aware of what’s going on both in and around your home, from motion sensors that send an alert when there’s someone lurking outside your house, to notifying you when your kids get home from school, and then letting you know if they are watching TV instead of getting their homework done!

There are smart security systems that can literally save lives, with an ability to not only wake up residents with fire alarm notifications, but then also call the fire department, unlock doors, and light the way to safety! Other technology has similar sensors that detect gas and water leaks.

Smart home technology offers convenience, safety, and economic benefits too, as homes are lit up, dialed down, heated and cooled in the most energy-efficient manner. And when it comes time to put a home with automated systems on the market, sellers have the advantage of being able to feature next-level selling points over any similar properties. #cbrmr

Household Hacks: Coffee Filters

  • Coffee filters are great for having around the house, even if you don’t drink coffee. Here are some alternate uses for inexpensive paper coffee filters.
  • Use as a lint-free paper towel substitute for dusting, and for cleaning glass and windows.
  • Use to spread butter or oil around a baking pan.
  • Catch popsicle drips by poking a hole at the bottom of a coffee filter, inserting the popsicle stick into it and letting the filter catch the drips.
  • Cover bowls or plates with paper coffee filters to avoid splatters when heating up food for the microwave.
  • Protect delicate china and non-stick cookware by placing flattened coffee filters in-between items to prevent scratching.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of liquid fabric softener or essential oil onto a coffee filter to make your own scented dryer sheet.
  • Place a coffee filter in the bottom of a planter to prevent dirt particles from going through the hole at the bottom. #cbrmr

5 Steps to a Successful Sale

Sellers who want to sell their home in the quickest time possible, at the highest possible price, will want to review these steps with their real estate sales representative for an optimum sales experience!

1. Declutter, clean, stage. You’re going to have to completely clear out of your place when you move anyway, so it makes sense for you to deal with all your “stuff” well before you put your home on the market. Once you’ve removed all your personal mementoes and thrown out or packed up as much as you possibly can, clean until it gleams. In fact, consider having the home professionally cleaned — fresh carpets and sparkling windows can cast a positive light on every room. Remember, the more move-in-ready the home looks, the more appealing it will be in relation to the asking price, resulting in a quick closing. Finally, talk to your real estate sales representative about staging services to add the “wow” factor in elevating your sales appeal!

2. Paint and repair. Every home has small quirks and repair jobs that we know we need to fix at some point, but just haven’t gotten around to, as well as walls that would benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Consider this the time to roll up your sleeves and tackle any small DIY repairs, or call in the pros for the bigger paint jobs and repairs. Prepare to be amazed at the difference that a few coats of fresh, neutral paint make in buyer-appeal.

3. Price it right. This is where dealing with an experienced real estate professional is crucial. In addition to analyzing the distinct features of your property, your real estate sales representative can show you a comparative market analysis, which will confirm the prices of similar, recently-sold properties, and help determine a price that works for your specific home within the current real estate environment. Remember that sentimental value doesn’t add up to dollar value, so be wary of over-pricing based on how you feel about the home, or in fact how much you have spent in renovations, as you won’t necessarily get your dollar value back in all cases.

4. Market it right. Follow your real estate representative’s lead on what goes into an appealing listing, and work together to ensure all the special features of the home and its location are detailed. Ensure the professionally-worded listing materials are supported with high-quality visuals of both the inside and outside of the home.

5. Step back and let your representative do their thing. Make yourself — and the rest of your family (including your pets) — scarce during open houses and showings. As much as you would love to be a fly on the wall, potential buyers simply don’t feel comfortable taking the time they need and asking the questions they want when the homeowner is within earshot. Make it easy for the home to be shown by keeping your place in show-ready condition and having a plan to quickly vacate for an hour or more should you get a call that an interested party wants to view your property with short notice.
http://www.TheMashTeam.ca   #cbrmr

What’s a Mortgage Deposit? Only Half of Canadians Know!

While many Canadians have a good understanding of financial services terms, a recent Angus Reid survey revealed that only 51 percent of respondents were confident they knew what a mortgage deposit was, with 48 percent admitting they were “not very confident” or “not at all confident” they understood the term. #cbrmr

It’s easy to see why there’s some confusion over the definition, as homebuyers often use the terms “deposit” and “down payment” interchangeably. While they both refer to money put forward in the home buying process, here’s some clarification of each term:

A deposit is comprised of the initial funds the buyer submits during the offer process to secure or commit to a property they wish to purchase, as a gesture of trust and good faith to the seller. It’s typically made at the time the offer is made, or upon acceptance of the offer. There’s no typical amount for the deposit, although in a hot housing market, an offer with a higher deposit could be more attractive to the seller.

If the seller accepts the offer, the deposit will typically be kept in a trust account — usually by the seller’s brokerage — until it becomes payable.

A down payment is the money the buyer pays to the seller to be eligible for financing once the offer is accepted. It’s a lump sum that’s paid out of the buyer’s pocket, not financed through a mortgage. When the time comes to close on the home, the deposit will go toward the down payment and will be credited toward the home’s purchase price.

Are you planning to make a move this summer? Call TheMashTeam at 905 430-6655 for the latest market update!

4 Simple Pesticides for Your Garden

Check out these easy and natural pesticides that you can make at home.

Spring has arrived. It’s only a matter of time before insects arrive in droves to your garden. Begin protecting your lawn and garden with pesticides now so that the impact of them will be less throughout the growing season. Check out these easy and natural pesticides that you can make at home:

1. Oil Spray Insecticide

If you see a lot of aphids, mites, or other small insects on your plants consider making an easy oil spray to help kill these pesky insects. Simply mix together 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap in a jar. Mix two teaspoons of this mixture to spray bottle filled with one quart of water. Shake the mixture and spray directly onto plants to help eliminate insects. The oil will keep insects away without hurting your plants. Spray affected plants every 10 days to keep insects at bay. As suggested by landscape experts, make sure to apply your solution carefully as natural remedies sterilize the surround soil as well.

2. Diatomaceous Earth

This commonly known natural product is regularly found in the Earth’s crust. Diatomaceous Earth is made up of the sharp remains of miniscule fossilized plants and can be easily found in garden centers. For a do-it-yourself version, rinse and breakdown egg shells into a granular state. Use this natural compound by sprinkling it around plants in your garden. The sharp contents will keep insects away without harming your plants at all.

3. Sprinkle Soap

For those homeowners who have a high population of deer in their area, sprinkling soap around gardens is a great way to deter deer from eating your prized petunias. Soap can be used in a few different ways and is a great way to easily deter pests from the garden. Full bars of soap can be used if put on spears in the garden or slices of soap can also be used around the garden area as well. If you have just planted seedlings, consider shaving soap and sprinkling it on the garden bed.

The soap deters deer who don’t like the fragrant aroma and will also help to keep bugs away as it dehydrates them in the soil. Soap won’t hurt plants and will last as long as the rain allows it to before being washed away. Highly fragrant soaps, like Irish Spring, are the best choice when using in your garden as a deterrent.

4. Order Ladybugs

Ladybugs are not only pretty to look at but they also are quite the helper when it comes to ridding your garden of unwanted insects like aphids. One ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids a day and they also will help rid your garden of other insects like boil worm, corn earworm, scale, leaf hopper, and mealybugs. Ladybugs can be ordered online and will arrive at your door hungry and ready to feast. Simply open the container at sundown to encourage them to scatter, without flying away, and they will go to work on ridding your garden of insects quickly!
Keeping your outdoor space free from pests is easy with these simple things that you can do at home. Mix up some oil spray, slice some soap, or order some ladybugs to quickly rid your garden of insects this growing season. #cbrmr

Prices Stabilize Into Spring

Click on the links to get our comparison of 2016, 2017 and 2018

Avg. Sale Prices comparison # of Sales comparison

Avg. Sale Prices comparison

Months of Inventory comparison

Toronto’s housing prices showed signs of steadying in April, with moderate price increases expected as the year moves on.

Toronto Real Estate Board President Tim Syrianos announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,792 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in April 2018, at an average selling price of $804,584. On a year-over-year basis, the average selling price was down by 12.4 percent while sales were down from last April’s record levels by 32.1 percent.

“While average selling prices have not climbed back to last year’s record peak, April’s price level represents a substantial gain over the past decade,” noted Mr. Syrianos.

Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis added, “The comparison of this year’s sales and price figures to last year’s record peak masks the fact that market conditions should support moderate increases in home prices as we move through the second half of the year, particularly for condominium apartments and higher density lowrise home types. Once we are past the current policy-based volatility, home owners should expect to see the resumption of a moderate and sustained pace of price growth in line with a strong and local economy and steady population growth.”

Wondering about the latest local real estate activity? Is this the right time for you and your family to make a move? Please call today for your complimentary market update! #cbrmr

Top 5 Easy Houseplants You’ll Grow to Love

Decorating your home with indoor plants is affordable and stress-free. Here are five ideas on how to incorporate low-maintenance houseplants to your interior decor.

Add a touch of green to your home. Indoor plants brighten up any room and they can also help purify the air in your home. Here are five low maintenance houseplants and instructions on how to grow and take care of them—no green thumbs required! #cbrmr

1. English Ivy

Caring for ivy plants is easy and rewarding. English Ivy is known to grow effortlessly. It can even thrive under fluorescent light. Place your English Ivy on your bookshelf and let the vines grow for a dramatic effect.
houseplant - ivy

2. Jade Plant

Jade is a popular succulent because it requires little care. It needs moderate lighting. You can water the plant when the top soil is dry to the touch. If you are feeling creative, try mixing up different kinds of succulents for a terrarium garden.
houseplants - jade

3. Air Plants

As the name suggests, these plants don’t even need soil to survive! Each leaf of an air plant absorbs water and nutrients. Air plants need bright indirect light and they need to be soaked in a bowl of water for 30 minutes once a week. Show off your air plants on a piece of driftwood for a rustic look or in a hanging terrarium for a minimalist look.
houseplants - airplant

4. Areca Palm

Turn any room into a paradise with Areca Palms (aka Butterfly Palms). Areca Palm usually reaches a height of 6 feet when it is grown indoors. It requires bright indirect sunlight and it should be watered biweekly or when the soil dries out.

Photo credit: @almostmakesperfect

5. Basil

These fragrant herbs grow indoors just as well as they do outdoors. Just make sure they get plenty of sunlight and water them often. The best part of growing a basil plant is that you can eat it! Garnish your favorite pasta dish or make a delicious basil cucumber gin.
houseplants - basil

3 Tech Questions to Ask Before Buying a Smart Home

When you find the perfect smart home for you, consider these important questions. Remember, The Mash Team is SMART HOME certified. #cbrmr

 

Smart homes are all the rage these days and are quickly becoming a hot commodity. A recent survey found that 65 percent of buyers would pay extra for houses with smart features – that is, anything in the home that connects to the internet. Smart features include connected security systems, HVAC systems, lighting, thermostats, door locks and eco-friendly appliances—all of which can be controlled remotely from your smartphone or tablet.

While smart homes offer convenience and energy savings, they do come with unique challenges—especially when transferring the home from one family to the next. If you think you’ve found the perfect smart home for you, consider these important questions.

1. What Devices are Actually in the Home?

Talk with the realtor or current homeowners to get a list of devices installed in the home. Don’t rely on a quick walkthrough tour alone, as some IoT-enabled devices are more obvious than others. For example, you’ll be able to spot a smart refrigerator’s touchscreen, but you may not notice the smart lighting solutions. These could encompass not only light bulbs but also adjustable window shades and natural-light detection that dims bulbs as natural light floods the room.

It’s also a good idea to pinpoint what you want out of a smart home, so you can find the one that meets all (or at least most) of your criteria. Additionally, check with the sellers to make sure the manuals for each device are available. They’ll highlight the various features and can quickly clue you in on where each device is and what it has to offer.

2. Are There Warranties for the Connected Devices?

Review the warranties and policies of the home’s IoT gadgets just like you would for any other appliance in the home. You can do this online if you have the serial numbers. (Ask the seller for a list of serial numbers for each device.) That way, you can make sure the devices are actually transferable to new owners so you don’t miss out on important features or security updates.

If everything checks out, remember to update the manufacturer’s pre-set passwords and see if there are any new versions of the device software once you’re all moved in. You can do this on the manufacturer’s website or by accessing the settings menu in the gadget itself.

3. Have the Devices Been Reset to Factory Settings?

Ask if the owner will (or already has) reset the devices back to their default factory settings. Doing so will make it easier for you to create your own account, set up new access protocols and adjust the settings to your liking.

It’s also wise to review the privacy settings for each device, as well as the settings for your own smartphone or tablet, which is what you’ll use to “talk” to your smart home. Keep in mind that all connected devices store and communicate data, so educate yourself as much as possible on how your smart hub works.

It’s up to you to beef up security and limit personal information stored in IoT devices as much as possible. By knowing what you want and asking questions (as many questions as you need to!), you’ll be able to smoothly transition into your new smart home.

With You Every Step Of The Way

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