- 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
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.
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!
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
Click on the links to get our comparison of 2016, 2017 and 2018
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
We just wanted to take the time to reach out regarding a lot of negativity in the news lately about the real estate market, interest rates and where things are heading.
Just this morning on the news we heard that April sales were down over 30% from last year and while last year’s market was an anomaly, we think it’s fair to say that the bad press is causing some of this down turn by portraying this as a “bad time to buy or sell”.
Yes, rates have been on the rise over the last year, however, did you know that you can still get interest rates as low as Prime (currently 3.45%) -.95% on a variable term or 3.29% for a 5 year fixed. These are still some great rates compared to what we’ve experienced in the past!
Even if you are not in the market to move, it may be a good time to refinance and consolidate some of those debts that may be eating into your monthly cash flow. Why continue to pay up to 20% interest on credit cards when you could borrow against the equity of your home and pay them off.
Market prices are starting to settle down, unemployment is at a 40 year low and rates are still good. Those are a few things to remain positive about.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your mortgage or the market in general, please let The Mash Team know and we will be happy to help. #cbrmr
Protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!
If you are moving this season, we want to help you protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!
Before you start to pack, make a game plan. Which of your items are fragile? What will you need to pack them? We’ve seen some folks pack themselves so, unfortunately, we know which household items are most likely to break and typically aren’t packed properly. We have compiled a list of the top 10 items damaged when moving. It’s surprising what items make the list. Not only have we complied the most breakable list, we’ve included tips on how to protect them properly so you can “break” this pattern.
1. Drinking Glasses
It is no surprise glasses are the #1 breakable. But, with simple steps you can ensure they arrive in one piece.
Protect: One of the key factors to keeping your glasses and wine glasses from breaking or getting crushed is using the proper box. Use a “dishpack” box that has double thick walls for extra protection. Place a glass on packing paper horizontally. Grab a corner of the packing paper and roll the glass into the paper. Make sure to tuck the sides of the paper in, like you would do wrapping a burrito. Repeat 3-5 times (depending on thickness of glass) with more sheets of packing paper. Make sure to label your glass burrito: “Wine Glass” so it won’t get tossed aside with the packing paper during the unpacking process. Cushion the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Place the wrapped glasses vertically (yes, you read that correctly: VERTICALLY) in one layer in the box. They are much more secure vertically. After completing the first layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Fill all remaining space with crumpled packing paper.
The biggest moving crime — plates are often placed in boxes without enough packing paper. You don’t want to hear the dishes rattle in the box!
Protect: To keep plates from breaking, first wrap each plate in packing paper. Repeat 3-5 times with more sheets of packing paper until the plate is properly secured & cushioned. Label your little plate package: “Plate.” Again, use a secure dishpack box. Always, use plenty of tape on the bottom and tops of every moving box, just don’t use one strip of tape, use multiple strips and run the tape both directions to make sure that box is secure. Before placing any of the wrapped plates in the box, cushion the bottom of box with crippled packing paper. Then place the wrapped plates VERTICALLY in one layer in the box. After completing one layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Once the box is full, fill any remaining space with crumpled packing paper.
Glass artwork often breaks because there is not enough cushioning in the moving box and the top of the box is left with a gap. The top of the box then collapses and the piece of art breaks.
Protect: To protect artwork from breaking use a picture box. Line the bottom of the box with crumpled paper. Place the glass art in the box, then stuff front, back and along the top with paper and or eco-bubble wrap. You want to be sure the box is completed packed with paper (top, bottom and sides) with no air gaps.
4. Lamp Shades
Lamp shades are an awkward shape and large, making it difficult to pack. If not packed properly, they can easily be dented or torn.
Protect: Wrap the lamp shade in eco-bubble wrap, covering every inch. Then fill the interior cavity of the lamp shade with packing paper (do not use newspaper as the print may rub off onto your lamp shade). Fill the box with enough packing paper to keep the shade from shifting around inside. Do not place anything on top of the shade, not even soft items such as linens. Use only packing paper to secure the lamp shade from shifting.
5. Liquid Cleaning Supplies
Many times homeowners pack bottles of liquid cleaning supplies without sealing them properly. This causes leaks and damages things inside and outside of the box. Do not pack or move flammable supplies!
Protect: First, remove the cap from each bottle and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening. Then tightly screw the cap back on. Use tape again to secure the cap to the bottle. Begin placing the cleaning products in a small book size box and check the weight as you go. You don’t want to pack the box too heavy. When the box is full and not too heavy, place packing paper all around the bottles to keep them from shifting. And, this is important, remember on every box be sure to use more than one strip of tape on the bottom and top of the box and run the tape in multiple directions. When a box is not taped properly, boxes can open at the bottom and spill on the floor. Always, label every box with its contents, room in the new home where the box should go and directional arrows pointing up. Repeat the label on each and every side of the box. You will hate us for this tip while you’re writing and rewriting the same thing over and over again and love us later when you have stacks of boxes and don’t have to turn boxes around to find out what’s what.
6. Wine & Liquor Bottles:
Again these bottles can easily leak or break, and damage items in and outside of the box.
Protect: Use a divided/cell box you can get free from a specialty wine shop or liquor store, or purchase a cell kit from a moving store. Use smaller boxes so they are easy to lift and carry. Again, be sure you double and even triple tape the bottom of the box. If you’re packing opened bottles, ensure they are properly sealed by tightening the caps. Tape the caps on to the bottles. Roll each bottle in packing paper with 3-4 layers of paper. Secure the wrapping with tape and make sure there are no loose ends. Label the bottle: “Bordeaux.” Finally, place the bottle into the box. If there’s any space or gaps between the bottle and the divider, fill it with paper. Make sure the box is not too heavy.
The big mistake with mirrors is that people pack them in picture boxes without any eco-bubble around the mirror. If the front of the mirror faces the wall of the box without protection, it will break.
Protect: Use a flat box or have your movers pack the mirrors in a custom wood crate to provide extra protection. If you’re doing the packing, line the flat box with crushed packing paper to create a padded bed for the mirror. Wrap the mirror completely in multiple sheets of paper or eco-bubble. Tape the wrapping tightly around the mirror and place the mirror in the box. Fill any gaps with more crumpled paper. Only pack one mirror to a box.
8. Glass Pictures
Glass picture frames are easily broken if not packed in the right box. We want to keep those precious memories in one piece!
Protect: Use a picture box. Line the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Wrap each picture frame in packing paper or eco-bubble and pack each frame in the box vertically. Stuff packing paper in between each picture and on top, making sure nothing will shift.
9. Stereo & Audio Equipment:
The reason stereo and audio equipment gets damaged is folks stack a few components in the same box and they do not put any layers of padding in-between the pieces of equipment.
Protect: If possible, pack your stereo equipment in their original cartons. If you did not keep their original boxes, use a dishpak box. Remember, dishpaks are specially designed boxes to handle and protect fragile items. If you can’t find dishpaks, use double corrugated boxes. After double taping the bottom of the box in the both directions, pack the bottom of each box with crumbled packing paper for padding. Wrap each electronic component separately in eco-bubble. Pull the wrap over and tape it all together. Make sure the item is completely covered. Place it up right, vertically in the box. Repeat this process for the next big item then place it vertically in the box next to the first item. Do not stack! Stuff packing paper in open spaces and on top for extra cushion.
This one is a surprising one, but if books are packed improperly they can actually get damaged. When books are placed too tight together the edges get folded and covers get damaged. Also, if books are packed with too many air pockets/gaps inside the box they can shift during transportation and get damaged (smashed corners, wrinkled covers, etc).
Protect: Use a book box. Place books flat, horizontally and stack them with the heaviest books on the bottom and the paperback books on top. Be sure not to make the box too heavy. Pack paper on top and sides if there are any air gaps.
With these steps your move will be unbreakable! Remember, you can always do some of the packing yourself and leave the rest to the professionals. #cbrmr
Grab your gardening gear. Here is a round up list of the easiest–and most practical–vegetables to grow in your garden.
As the weather warms, you are no doubt yearning to be outside to get your hands working in the dirt again. If you have never tried gardening, spring is the perfect opportunity to give it a shot and plant your own vegetable garden. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, and it also allows you to get the highest possible amount of nutrients from your food. Fresh vegetables are much healthier for you than those bought from the store, as they begin to lose nutritional value the longer they sit on a shelf.
Get your gardening gear out from storage. Here is a round up list of the easiest–and most practical–vegetables to grow in your garden.
If you are new to gardening, tomatoes should absolutely be your first plant to try. Homegrown tomatoes, ripened in the sun, are a delicious addition to any meal. They are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and several vitamins (including A and C). They are also one of the only sources of the beneficial antioxidant lycopene. If you’re just starting out or have limited space, try growing tomatoes in a container on your deck first. Usually, you can get by with just an 18-inch deep container. One plant will yield dozens of tomatoes throughout the season. Just remember that tomatoes like lots of sun and heat, so if you live in a colder area, it may take a little bit longer to get them growing.
2. Beans and Peas
Beans and peas are incredibly easy to grow. Depending on your preferences and your gardening space, you can choose to grow either bush or climbing varieties. Bush beans support themselves, while climbing or “pole” varieties need a stake or trellis to climb up on.
If you’re feeling extra organic, consider planting your beans and peas next to your corn. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil which aids the corn, and also use the stalk as a natural trellis. Both peas and beans are high in fiber, iron, potassium, and a wide range of vitamins. Plus, they continue to produce basket upon basket of delicious vegetables throughout the entire season.
Broccoli is a great vegetable to grow as it is one of the most nutritionally dense. It is high in crucial nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Although broccoli can be grown in containers, it’s just as easy to plant it directly in the ground. It is commonly known as a cold-season crop, so it can withstand a light frost–and actually tastes better after doing so. Meaning, you can plant it when soil temperatures are still a bit chilly in early spring and keep it going long into autumn.
There are dozens of varieties of peppers you can grow, but most of them are all cultivated in about the same way. Consider bell peppers for your first try at pepper planting. A cool feature of planting bell peppers is that you will have different types of peppers at every growing stage. Harvest them young for crunchy green peppers, or wait a few weeks to allow the sun to further ripen them into delicious red peppers.
Whichever type you choose, peppers are full of nutrients, such as riboflavin and potassium. They can also be planted in pots, but grow best directly in the ground. Like tomatoes, they like lots of heat. Make sure you plant them in a warm, sunny area.
A word to the wise–if you have rocky or clay soils, consider planting carrots in a raised bed or container. Carrots like fertile, loose soil and need plenty of room to stretch out and extend their roots. Carrots are an icon of healthy eating and are high in vitamins A, B6, and C. Sow carrot seeds about two to three inches apart, and be sure to thin them as they form tops.
6. Leafy Greens
There are dozens of varieties of greens you can plant in your garden. Choose the one that best works for your climate and soil type. Popular varieties that tend to work almost anywhere include spinach and kale. Both are cold-season crops that can be started a bit earlier than other crops, and can be harvested continually throughout the year. As a bonus, once they begin to die back and your harvest dips, you can reseed over the existing plants to produce new, fresh plants. Regardless of the type of greens you plant, these are easy to grow and harvest and contain high amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins.
Make room for at least one cucumber plant in your garden this summer. Cucumber plants produce large quantities, all of which spiral out in spiky vines. They can spread up to twenty-five feet away, so make sure you have plenty of room. Whether you plant pickling or slicing cucumbers, you should plant about five seeds in 6-inch high hills, and then thin to the two strongest plants. These warm-season crops love heat, so consider planting them on top of a layer of black plastic to heat up the soil.
The last plant on our list is zucchini. Zucchini plants have a reputation for being prolific producers, developing so many fruits at a time. The roots of the plant need regular moisture, but besides that, this is a low-maintenance vegetable that will pump out a bumper crop with just a single plant. You can eat both the fruits and blossoms of these delicious giants. Like cucumbers, they prefer warm, moist soil, so the black plastic sheet method works well in this situation, too.
Growing your own vegetables is a noble task that can take very little time and skill. If you’re ready to start on your path to self-sufficiency, give these tasty plants a try this spring.