Tag Archives: Linda Mash Sells Homes

How to Make Space for a New Pet at Home

Getting a furry friend is always an exciting time, however, it’s definitely a good idea to make a few tweaks to your home and take some precautions to ensure a happy, healthy life for the newest member of your family. Here are a few starter tips whether you’re getting a cat or dog.

In the kitchen. The biggest danger in the kitchen is when pets help themselves to toxic foods left out on the counter, or worse, from the trash. Just like humans, raw meat of any kind can be dangerous for them to ingest, as well as chocolate, onions and grapes. Some of the best ways to prevent them from eating human food are to keep counters clear, store food in hard-to-reach upper cabinets, use a pet-proof trash can and put up a pet gate during food prep and mealtime.

In the bathroom. Toilet bowl water is commonly contaminated with chemical cleaners, so you probably don’t want your pet drinking or falling into it. You can use the same toilet locks used with young children to prevent this. It’s also smart to keep bathroom counters clear of small accessories, such as hair ties, bobby pins, jewelry and makeup. Keep cleaning solutions, both here, in the kitchen and the laundry room, out of reach too. If you’re prone to keeping a dirty laundry pile in the bathroom, be sure to keep loose clothes off the floor so they don’t get torn or chewed up.

Lastly, especially for big dogs, you may want to consider integrating a pet washing station into the bathroom, mudroom or laundry room. This can be done by building out an entirely new setup or installing an extra ledge in an existing, spacious shower. Smaller dogs and cats can be easily washed in oversized utility or even kitchen sinks.

In the living room. One of the biggest concerns here is ensuring your pet doesn’t claw up your furniture. Leather and synthetic fibers are great options for sofas since they can easily be wiped clean, and carpet tiles are great alternatives to regular carpets and area rugs because you can replace any tile individually for a small price if it gets damaged.

Many pets love having a great view of the outdoors. If you have expansive windows nearby, set up a nice lounging area for them by putting a pet bed or cushion along a window seat. In addition to that, many pets also love cozying up by the fire. Be sure to protect them from getting hurt or burned by an open fire with a simple screen. #cbrmr

In the home office. Protect yourself against having to use the age-old excuse of “my dog ate my homework” by filing loose papers away in a cabinet or binder and away from pesky paws. Another concern here is exposed bundles of cords, which can electrocute your furry friend if they chew on them. Tuck them away or cover them with concealer cables, which have the added benefit of helping declutter your workspace.

Give them their own space. Although you’ll probably want to spend most of your day snuggling your pet, it’s also important to give them a space of their own. Their cozy corner can easily be integrated into any low-traffic zone such as the laundry room or garage where you can arrange their bed, favorite toys and food and water bowls. Crates and litter boxes have come a long way from their traditional bulky look and can now be hidden under a desk, integrated under the staircase or custom made to match your room design.

The great outdoors. Just like many of us, dogs and cats love basking in the sun and exploring nature. Consider installing a pet door so they can go in and out as they please. Add a fence or gate around your yard so they don’t run off and get lost. It’s also a good idea to have a boundary or cover for outdoor features, such as pools, ponds and fire pits, so they don’t fall in and injure themselves. Finally, exercise caution when planting garden favorites, such as daffodils, tulips and hydrangeas, since they can be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.

 

Integrating technology. It’s always important to show your furry friend some love. If your budget allows, invest in one of these new technologies to keep your pet happy and healthy. Automatic pet doors that are linked to a device on your pet’s collar beat traditional versions by blocking wildlife, rodents and even snow or rain from coming in too. GPS smart collars also help keep your pet safe and able to locate in worst case scenarios. Lastly, automated water and food feeders are great alternatives to manual feedings, especially for people with busy lifestyles, and can even help your pet diet and lose weight. #cbrmr

Ditch the Sprinkler with These Water-Efficient Landscaping Ideas

From efficient plants to water-smart landscaping, your lawn can certainly do its part to improve water efficiency.

Ready for a shock? The average household guzzles down 320 gallons of water a day—that’s about nine full bath tubs’ worth of liquid! And about 30 percent of that gets dumped out straight on the lawn. Conventional water sprinklers are so inefficient that about half of all the water they use is totally wasted.

Mulch the Eco-friendly Way

Mulching bed around the house and bushes, wheelbarrel along with a showel.

Many new gardeners assume that mulching is just for appearances—but did you know it does a lot more for your beds than covering up the dirt? Mulch not only roots out troublesome weeds, it conserves moisture in the soil. A layer of it around plants more closely mirrors natural conditions, since forested areas are typically topped with nutrient-rich plant debris. Inside this mixture of twigs, bark, and leaves are beneficial microbes that subsist off the decaying matter. As these organisms break down organic material, transforming it into soil, they give off a sticky, almost glue-like substance that holds the topsoil together so that it has a crumbly texture. Soil with this texture holds in water much more effectively than other consistencies. Mulching with organic materials like leaves or pine needles kicks off this natural process, so that the soil is less likely to dry out—and it also forms a protective layer that keeps water from evaporating as fast.

Forget the Landscaping—Go for Hardscaping

A professional landscaping job with stone path and stone steps.

Turf is overrated, at least where water conservation is concerned. Hardscaping, the collective name for stone features used to landscape a garden or exterior area, gets points for being drought-tolerant—and when used properly, can really add some modern verve to your lawn. A terraced backyard, for instance, uses stone boundary walls to create multiple tiers—which can then be topped by native plants or beds of pebbles.

Other options? If you have a smaller lawn, try extending your paved patio out further from the back door. Leave openings for attractive beds that provide a peak of color, without being too hard on your water profile. Or add a “dry creek bed” finished with appealing native stones and pebbles—as a bonus, permeable paving like this helps collect rainfall and return it to the soil. Curved paths, steps, and stacked retaining walls all offer notes of interest in the hardscaped yard. And the best part? You’ll never forget to water them!

Spruce Up Your Beds with Ornamental Grasses and Succulents

Cortaderia selloana Grass in the Park Citadel in Barcelona, Spain. The Park is also called Ciutadella Park. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia

Most lawns are pretty thirsty—experts recommend giving your grass about one to two inches of water a week, which is about two-thirds of a gallon for every square foot. That means that if you’ve got quite a bit of turf on your hands, your lawn could be practically guzzling water!

The alternatives take a little more planning—and a designer’s eye—but they’re definitely worth it when you weigh your water footprint. In particular, native ornamental grasses make for a pretty stunning display. Try pairing two species at varying heights for a more polished look. These work well along a fence or border wall, or in place of less drought-tolerant shrubs against your house or beside an entryway. You should try to pick varieties that are native to your area.

When You Do Water, Do It Wisely

Detail of a working lawn sprinkler head watering colorful flower in the garden.

No matter how hardy the plant, most species need a little supplemental watering every once and awhile, especially during the driest parts of the year. Certain techniques definitely are more water-efficient than others, however. For instance, never water your garden during the hottest part of the day. Not only will the water evaporate more quickly, meaning your plants don’t get the good soak they deserve, if the sunlight is very intense, the reflection from the water droplets could damage the leaves.

Likewise, you can adopt practices that will minimize runoff as well. For instance, a short watering—say one to four minutes—three to four times in a day is much more efficient than a long soak. If you must have the sprinkler, turn it off after a rain or in the winter, when most plants are dormant.  Investigate a water-saving smart irrigation system. Using your input, such as your soil type, area, and sun exposure, these WiFi-connected sprinkler controllers are able to create a customized watering schedule that delivers just the right amount of irrigation— no more, no less. Many can even access weather reports to automatically cancel watering if it’s just rained. And the EPA estimates that products labeled with its WaterSense efficiency rating save an average 9,000 gallons of water per household annually. That’s a lot of water for one little change! With updates like these, the future of our water table is right in your hands.

Dedicated to the Love of People and Home…and Dogs

Humorist Josh Billings once said, “a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

At Coldwell Banker, we have a love for home. It’s been our calling for 111 years and it’s why our agents love what they do. If love is an essential element of any home, there’s no better way to add even more love than welcoming a shelter dog to your family roster. #cbrmr

 

Top Tips for Pet-Friendly Window Treatments

Whether you have drapes, blinds, shutters or shades, consider these tips from Blinds.com to help protect your window treatments from your furry friends.

A new family pet comes into your home bringing love and happiness, but unfortunately, it often brings along a little home destruction as well. Flooring, furniture, upholstery and woodwork can bear the brunt of a cat or dog’s claws and teeth. Window treatments are especially vulnerable to the wrath of our furry friends: a wild puppy looking for anything to chew up, an astute retriever pawing at the squirrel out the window, or a cat scrambling for a spot on in the sunlit sill can wreak havoc on delicate window coverings.

Whether you have drapes, blinds, shutters or shades, consider these tips to help protect your window treatments from Buster the dog’s teething habits or Tigger the cat’s claw-full exercises.

Pet Friendly Window Treatments_Coldwell Banker_Image

Avoid Low-Hanging Fabrics
It’s no secret that cats love to climb things, and their climbing technique typically involves extending their claws and sinking them into any surface in their path. To a cat, there are few things more enticing in the home than those big heavy drapes hanging over your windows. One way to deter your kitty from climbing your drapes is to replace low-hanging fabrics with valances, which add texture and style while staying high out of reach. Valances cover the top portion of the window, so for extra privacy and shade, you can combine them with shutters or blinds.

Choose Durable Shutters and Blinds
Climbing cats and curious dogs often find their best entertainment at the windowsill—whether it’s to bask in the sunlight or keep watch against passersby or wild critters. While they’re there, obstructive blinds can become a casualty: cats can tear up the outer edges and tangle up accessible cords (which is also a safety hazard), while dogs can make a teething toy out of wooden blinds. The best way to protect your property is to install durable, cordless window treatments.

Plantation shutters are a stylish and durable window treatment that can withstand a decent amount of pet attention. Typically attaching to the window frame, shutters provide minimal access to the window so pets have a hard time pawing their way through them. Unless you have a particularly aggressive chewer, shutters’ thick construction can withstand more action from pets than most blinds.

However, certain blinds are more ideal than others in pet-friendly homes: vertical blinds on windows or patio doors that reach low to the ground allow dogs and cats to gain window access, without tangling, bending or snapping the slats, and they are a little more difficult for your dog to chew. Cordless blinds eliminate those enticing strings for pets to bat around, saving the life of your blinds and increasing the safety for your pets.

Implement Pet Deterrents
Of course, discouraging your pet from playing with your window treatments to begin with is helpful as well. Some pet trainers advise on specific methods to keep pets away from the window treatments: leave blinds halfway open so pets don’t have an obstructed view, or try attaching tin foil to the bottom of curtains to deter frisky claws.

While discouraging your pets with these training tools may help, they might not always work on a bored or anxious pet left unattended for hours. That’s why choosing the proper pet-proof curtains, drapes, blinds or shutters for your home may save you hassle, time and money. #cbrmr

 

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

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