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Can A Draft Cause Damage?

Over time, a draft through a window or door can cause some serious damage to your bank account.  You may think that a small, seemingly minor, draft through a window or door is harmless, however did you know that it can increase your heating bill by as much as 3%.  Not only does it make your wallet uncomfortable, but a damp draft can make a room feel colder than it really is, and a dry draft can cause dry throats and skin.  It pays to pay attention to drafts in your home.

Though they are most commonly found at windows and doors, drafts can also occur at walls with little or old insulation.  The ideal solution for eliminating a draft should be through a repair or renovation, such as replacing old windows or increasing insulation in walls.  Even though repair or renovation is the best solution, it's not always possible, so keep in mind that there are a variety of products available that can help provide a short term solution to stop drafts – such as replacement insulation strips for doors.

Drafts are a common problem.  Visit your local home improvement centre and they will be able to recommend products and solutions that can help your particular issues.

The Myths of Aluminum Wiring

Both buyers and current homeowners of properties built in the mid 1960's to the late 1970's with aluminum wiring are finding that many insurers will not provide or renew insurance coverage on such properties unless certain criteria is met.  The wiring must be inspected and either repaired or replaced as necessary, and the work must be inspected by the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority).  Once inspected, the ESA will determine whether or not the electrical work completed is satisfactory to their standards, and if it is, they will provide a certificate of inspection that needs to be presented to the insurer.  Not sure if the home your contemplating buying or the home you're currently living in will pass?  Always verify with your insurance company what their requirements are and if you are interested in buying a property with aluminum wiring, have your Realtor include a condition on obtaining insurance to your offer.

There is a myth that aluminum wiring has been recalled because it is a fire hazard and is no longer used for interior wiring systems.  FALSE.  The fact is that the Ontario Electrical Safety Code permits the installation of aluminum wiring.  Aluminum wiring itself is safe IF proper connections and terminations are made.

Another myth is that aluminum wiring must be replaced or pig tailed with copper wiring.  FALSE.  If the devices are the original ones installed and show no visible signs of over heating or damage, they are not required to be replaced (it is recommended only).

The main concerns with aluminum wiring is the chance of overheating due to its tendency to oxidize and its incompatibility with devices designed for use with copper wiring.  Some warning signs of problems are: warm cover plates, discoloration of switches or recepticles, flickering lights, or the smell of hot plastic insulation.  The only way to be sure of its safety is to contact the ESA and have an inspection conducted. If work needs to be completed, be sure to use a qualified ESA approved electrician.

For further information visit the Electrical Safety Authority's Website www.esasafe.com.

The updated Ontario Electrical Safety Code is also available on the ESA's website http://esasafe.com/Corporate/ontario_electrical_safety_code_25th_edition_2012.php

Ready To Buy? Now What?

The big decision's been made. You're taking the plunge. You're ready for that new home ... and so the big search begins. So you've seen a for sale sign on a house that looks like it could be the one, or you've browsed the internet and seen homes that you'd love to see in person. You're ready to get out there and find your dream home. Where do you begin? You call an agent, any agent, who cares, they're all the same. Oh ... but are they?

If you need a lawyer, doctor, contractor, wouldn't you check them out? Do your homework? Of course you would! If you were selling your house, you'd likely interview a few Realtors and select the one that you think would deliver the results you want, the one that you feel would work in your best interests, be available to you, and overall, do the best possible job for you. So, why should the buying process be any different?

Did you know that all Realtors, by law, are technically working for the seller?! The seller has an agreement in place, and if you as a buyer don't, then yes, even the Realtor showing you properties is working for the seller.  Don't you want a Realtor of your own? Someone who is totally committed to you; who will do the research for you; who will send you the new listing as soon as it's available; show you the homes that meet your criteria; research the best areas for you; and give you a great list of tried and true real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers, and home inspectors, or any other professional services that you may need.

Signing a Buyer Agency Agreement has many benefits.  Not only does it reassure you that your selected Realtor & Brokerage fulfils all of their duties like disclosing all property information, diligent, attentive and professional service, it gives you peace of mind that your Realtor is working for YOU, to protect YOUR best interests, and is working on YOUR behalf to negotiate the best possible purchase price.

Signing a Buyer Agency Agreement shouldn't be a scary or daunting task.  It should be the first step you consider when you're ready to find your new home.  For most people, buying a home is your greatest investment, whether you are a first time home buyer or on your fourth family home.  A Realtor is a professional who knows what's happening within the real estate industry ... Would you not want your lawyer or contractor to be committed to helping you?  Do you sign an agreement with them?

A Buyer Agency Agreement is a flexible contract and does not commit you to making a purchase.  It does, however, bind the commitment of loyalty between you and your Realtor.  Like any professional, they're not all the same, so start your interviews to find a Realtor you can connect with and begin your home search with confidence.

The Benefits Of Hiring A Real Estate Team Versus An Individual Agent

The real estate industry is evolving and teams are becoming more and more prominent in today's real estate market.  Most businesses have been structured around the team concept for years - there are separate individuals performing tasks in separate departments.  These businesses within various industries have discovered that a team approach ultimately provides a greater level of customer service to the customer, and the real estate industry has finally caught on.  When comparing the team approach to the traditional individual agent model, the advantages of combining and leveraging resources, systems, individual talents, and synergy provides seamless customer relationships and ultimately superior real estate transactions.

A real estate team is essentially a combination of real estate professionals with individual strengths working together to provide service and specific attention to each client's needs.  From marketing to negotiating contracts to transaction co-ordination, the team approach gives the client the benefit of efficiency and specialty as each team member is dedicated to performing their focused duties.  An individual realtor can lack the back up and support that a team can offer when working with numerous clients at a given time.  if one team member is occupied, there is another avaialble to ensure that client's needs are met.  An informed professional is available to answer questions and provide prompt assistance which eases the stress in a transaction.  As a seller, you can be sure that any inquiries on your home are dealt with in a timely manner as opposed to having to wait for an indicifual to be available to call a prospective buyer back.  As a buyer, viewing properties in a timely fashion can make the difference between finding and losing your dream home, and a team will have the necessary manpower to ensure an opportunity is always provided.

With the team approach, Together Everyone Achieves More.  A team truly is a time and money saving benefit to home buyers and home sellers as opposed to working with an individual agent.