Questions to Ask When Hiring a Home Inspector

Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect home to buy! Right about now, you are probably on information overload, and looking for resources to get everything ready. One of the most important steps you need to take after getting that ratified contract is to get the home inspected. Like most subjects on the internet, there is a ton of information about home inspections, and how to hire them. One source that is very underrepresented though is probably the best one out there: the home inspectors themselves. No, I’m not just talking about reading their websites, since anyone can put up whatever they want. Instead, we went to a group of highly respected home inspectors and posed this question: If you were hiring a home inspector to inspect a home for your out-of-state family member, what questions would you ask them?

1. What are your certifications?

If you are in one of the many states where home inspectors are licensed, that is just a minimum level to be able to do the job. As a group, we will look for a home inspector that has taken the time to get extra certifications above and beyond the minimum. There are multiple home inspection organizations (both national and local) that offer certifications for inspectors. The two major organizations are the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Both offer multiple levels of certifications based on both experience and continuing education. InterNACHI has the Certified Professional Inspector and Certified Master Inspector certifications. ASHI has the ASHI Associate, Inspector, and Certified Inspector certifications.

In states where there isn’t a licensing program for home inspectors, it is even more important to make sure the inspector has a certification, since essentially anyone can call themselves a home inspector! In these cases, it can be tempting to hire someone like a general contractor to just walk through the house with you. But, as Andrew Jolley with JODA Home Inspections in Stansbury Park, Utah said “unlike contractors, home inspectors have a system they follow so that all systems are evaluated and nothing is left out of the inspection.” Additionally, a certified home inspector has received training on all of the systems in a house, as well how to inspect them and look at the whole house as a system.

2. What kind of report do you provide and when will I receive it?

Hopefully any legitimate inspector will be providing you with a written report that you can use in your evaluation of the home purchase. That being said, reports differ in both style and level of detail. An inspection report should include digital pictures of defects as well as narrative statements about the systems and defects found. Some reports will also include things like video, glossaries, and summaries. If there is a summary, make sure you still read the entire report!

The turnaround time for a report should also be determined. As inspectors, we understand the tight timelines your real estate agent has put you under, so we will always get you the report as quick as possible. Remember that sometimes a little extra research is required, so don’t expect to get the report at the end of the inspection. Most inspectors should have the report to you within 24 hours of the end of the inspection.

3. Walk me through your typical inspection, what are the most important things?

Norm Tyler of Sage Inspections in St. Louis, MO says: “I’d ask this for a couple reasons. It would help me decide if his approach would be similar to mine. Every inspector is a little different, some will detail 500 little issues, while I’m more of a ‘disregard petty cosmetic stuff so I can focus on finding $1000 problems’ kind of guy. More importantly, if the inspector takes the time to walk me through his approach now, while I’m just a prospect – he’ll probably take all the time needed to take care of me as a customer.”

4. Are you available after you send the report for questions and/or clarification?

This was one of the most popular questions I received from the inspectors I talked to. We all strive to write a report that explains all of the issues as clearly as possible, but sometimes things may not make sense to you. Being able to call or email your inspector with questions after the inspection is critical, especially if you can’t make it to the inspection.

Along with this, you should probably ask the inspector about their policy for follow-up inspections. Once you have negotiated repairs with the seller, make sure you get those repairs re-inspected. I have done a lot of re-inspections, and I have yet to find that all of the repairs were done. Sometimes I am given receipts for repairs that were clearly not even attempted. You should expect to pay for this re-inspection, so find out what it will cost ahead of time so there aren’t any surprises.

5. What is your home inspection experience?

You will find that home inspectors come from many different backgrounds. Some may have been in the building trades, and some may be doing it as a second career. The important thing to look for is an inspector that has experience doing home inspections. David Sharman of County Home Inspection in Peterborough, Ontario mentioned to ask them how many inspections they’ve done in the last 12 months. This number could vary based on the market, but it should be a reasonable number. Look for someone doing at least a few inspections a week, but be wary of those that have really high numbers (unless they have multiple inspectors at their company). This can be a sign of someone that is just doing the minimum to get on to the next inspection of several that day.

6. How many inspections do you do in a day?

Hopefully the answer is only one or two. Most inspectors will do a morning and an afternoon inspection. Some will add in an evening inspection. If it gets over three, start to worry about how long they are spending on your inspection. Most inspections will take 2-3 hours for an average size house. Smaller houses don’t really cut down on the time, but larger houses can significantly increase the amount of time it takes to inspect.

7. What extra services can you provide?

Michael Conrad II, at Diligent, LLC in Nashville, TN points out that you should check with the inspector to see if they offer any other inspection services, such as Thermal Imaging, Termite, Radon, and Mold inspections. This can help you in many ways, since not only do you get all of the inspections you need from one company, it allows your inspector to look at the whole house as a system and provide the best assessment of the house. Some areas require separate licenses for these extra inspections, so make sure they have those licenses as well if required. If licensing isn’t required, make sure they have a third-party certification.

8. Can I accompany you on the inspection?

The inspection is your time to learn about the house. Odds are, the inspection is the longest amount of time you will spend in the house until you own it, so make the most of it. Your inspector should encourage you to ask questions as the inspection is going on. After all, it’s a lot easier to explain (and understand) an issue with it right in front of you. If you wait until a day or two later, now the inspector has to explain it over the phone, and they’ve inspected more houses since then. Charles Buell, of Charles Buell Inspections, Inc in Shoreline, WA, says that he wants the client there the whole time. This is their time to learn about the house. Additionally, Jim Holl with 5 Star Home Inspections LLC in Hillsborough, NC says: A professional home inspector wants you, the future occupant, to attend the inspection so you can ask questions and see most of what the inspector sees. Since you are going to live there and get to maintain it, for safety, health and financial reasons, this is your opportunity learn all about your new castle. If the inspector doesn’t want you to observe, move on to the next inspector you want to interview.

9. Who will be doing the inspection?

This is mainly for the multi-inspector firms, but Ian Mayer of IM Home Inspections in Woodland Hills, CA warns to watch out for the bait-and-switch. The owner of the company may have really great certifications, but he sends out the guy that was just certified last week to do your inspection.

10. What warranties/guarantees are included with the inspection?

A home inspection is, by definition, a snapshot in time. It shows the condition of the house on the day of the inspection. None of us have a crystal ball to predict the future of a house, and sometimes sellers will intentionally hide known defects. Some home inspectors offer various warranties and guarantees with their inspection. Make sure you read the fine print on anything offered to ensure you understand what you are getting and what the limitations are. Frank Rotte of Certified Inspection Services, LLC of San Diego points out that many repairs are actually under the deductible, so the buyer ends up paying for the repair anyways.

11. How much does the inspection cost?

This is the last question you should ask, and it’s really only so you know how much to write the check out for. In other words, don’t price shop, and don’t look for the cheapest inspector. (How much are you paying for that house again?) James Braun with Braun Inspection Consultations in Jefferson City, MO rightly says that “A good inspector is not cheap, and a cheap inspector is not good.” You are making what may be the largest purchase of your life, do you really want the cheapest inspector you can find to do your inspection?

Thank you for sticking with me for this long, and I hope that it has been informative for you. The best home inspectors are those that work for you, and inspect each home as if they, or their favorite relative, were buying it. These home inspectors have nothing to gain except providing you with the best inspection they can, which allows you to make an extremely important decision. Now, go out there and hire the best home inspector you can find.

Renovating a Home in Mississauga Is Cheaper Than Buying a New One

Are you tired of the dull look of your home? Do you want a new home that matches your style and personality? If you are thinking of selling your home and interested in buying a new property in Mississauga, it is time to reconsider your decision.

Current Real-Estate Scenario in Mississauga

According to Point2Homes, a premier Canadian real estate website, home prices have increased by 10.4 percent in comparison to last year. It means you will be able to sell your home at a great price. But, do not make a quick decision of selling your old home. It is because steady rise in the home prices has led to difficulty in buying new homes.

Why are Home Prices increasing in Mississauga?

According to the Globe and Mail, Canadian home prices will decrease in 2017. It is because there is a rise in the number of first-time home buyers who find high-priced homes out of their budget. But, the scenario is different for Greater Toronto Area. Higher level of demand and growing economy will continue to increase home prices in the area. And, because Mississauga is one of Toronto’s closest neighbors, home prices will continue to rise in the future.

Also, the new mortgage rule has not cooled off prices in the Peel region. With the introduction of the high down payment rule, home listings in Toronto city have decreased. And, it has increased the home prices in Mississauga.

What is the solution for Home Buyers of Mississauga?

If you are tired of your home, do not sell it. There is an affordable option of building a home of your dreams. You can renovate your current home and make it beautiful to suit your needs. There are many home renovation contractors in Mississauga area who undertake simple renovation work as well as complex remodeling projects.

Renovating a Home in Mississauga

Whenever you think of renovating your home, you must hire a home renovation contractor. It is best to let experts handle renovation work because a small error can ruin your chances of building a beautiful home.

Decide what kind of renovation work you want the contractor to do in your home. Once you are sure of the work, hire an experienced contractor. Also, make sure that the home renovation contractor has adequate knowledge of the permit regulations in Mississauga city. Before undertaking renovation work in the city, you have to know the following things:

· Are you allowed to undertake renovation work on your property?

Mississauga city’s zoning by-law provides you with information regarding undertaking any renovation work on your property. It also involves details about the size of the structure and the parking area. If you wish to make any change to the existing structure, you will have to refer to the by-law before starting the work.

· Do you require building permit for the work?

You are required to obtain permit for different renovation work such as constructing a porch, excavating the basement, repairing the private sewage system, etc. On, the other hand, erecting a fence, installing a siding, building a kitchen cabinet, painting the home, etc. don’t need a permit from the City of Mississauga.

Renovating a home and making it beautiful is a cheaper option than buying a new home. Selling your home and buying a new one can become an expensive task in Mississauga. So, hire an experienced home renovation contractor who can work for you and help you in building the home of your dreams.

The Home Improvement Group offers affordable yet durable home renovation services in Mississauga. We renovate the kitchen; remodel the bathroom and re-paint the basement to give a new look to your property.

Popular Home Improvements

Many home owners have been showing so much interest in improving their homes in the last few years. Most of them have already executed varying improvement projects for their homes and have been appreciating the results of this fruitful undertaking. Home improvement not only helps in raising the value of a home but also brings out a better and more attractive look for the home. This makes the owners feel more comfortable and confident with the place.

There are varying home improvement ideas that are available and ready for execution. The size and design of your house matters a lot and this can actually hinder you from applying some of the ideas. Within those varying ideas, there are a number of them that can be applied in most homes because of their usefulness and ease of design. They are the popular home improvements. The list below shows those improvements and can be used as a guide for choosing the best home improvements to go with.

1. Upgrading bathrooms and kitchens

With the increasing rise in technology, many bathroom and kitchen appliances are continuously being developed. Some of the appliances are oh so useful and economical. This makes them require a certain setup that cannot be accommodated by the old school room designs. This raises the need for a makeover on those places. New and highly attractive bathroom and kitchen designs that raise the value of a home are also coming up at a high rate, and this is making many home owners opt to go with those designs as they are truly elegant.

2. Using boilers

Boilers are highly valued assets that are continuously gaining fame and use because of the benefits they bring to home owners. Acquiring and installing them requires a good sum of money and this forces the value of a home to rise immediately after a boiler is installed. Apart from new installations, people are also replacing their old boilers with new ones that are more expensive and coming from reputable companies.

3. Double glazing

Many homeowners have been replacing their old windows with the double glazed ones due to a number of reasons. Double glazed windows are good at reducing noise and heat transfer. They are also important in improving home security as well as enhancing its value. This makes double glazing an important feature for homes and has thus been gaining a great acceptance and application by the people.

4. Home garden makeover

A home garden is an important part of the home’s face. Having a decent garden helps in creating a better image of the home and in turn raises its value. The home also becomes more attractive and this is something that every home owner wants. Being an easier and more economical way of improving the overall homestead, garden makeover is a very useful step and has thus been considered to be part of the popular home improvements that have been trending.

Renovating Your Home: Keep Calm and Make a List

We all have two homes – the one we have and the one we want. If you are not happy with the layout of your home, it is important to make changes so that it complements your lifestyle.

When it comes to a real-estate property, there are two types of changes that you can make in order to have a lovely home. Choose any one of the following options to make your living space beautiful:

1. Buying a new home – It will be a costly affair. Also, do not forget the time that you will have to spend in finding the perfect home and the ideal neighborhood for your loved ones.

2. Renovating your current home – You can hire an experienced home renovation contractor and assign him the responsibility of making your home beautiful.

Renovating your Home is a Practical Choice

The cost of renovating a home is less compared to the cost of buying a new home. The renovation process doesn’t mean making a few quick changes in your home. It means adapting your home to suit your lifestyle and adding new value to your real-estate property. Contact an experienced home renovation contractor who will be able to achieve the following things for you:

· Increase the size of the kitchen,

· Add a walk-in closet in the bathroom,

· Add a children’s room,

· Create a home theatre,

· Finish the basement, etc.

Don’t Jump on the Bandwagon

Do not get excited by the thought of making your home beautiful and stylish. Remember that emotional decisions can become a nightmare in the future. It is important to keep calm and consider several things before beginning any kind of renovation work at your home.

The first step is to create a list of things that are in dire need of repair. Do not forget to write about old fixtures and outdated appliances. Include specific changes that you wish to see in your home. Provide detailed description of your ideas so that the contractor can make it a reality. Here are some ways in which you can create a comprehensive list for renovating your home:

· Explore New Trends and Ideas

The initial stage of creating a list involves exploring new renovation trends. Do you like a classic theme for your home? Or, are you looking for a contemporary design? Do not stick to any one style. Instead, consider several options for different rooms. Also, think of your future needs. It will enable you to avoid unnecessary changes in the future.

· See what Others have done

Renovating a home is a very common phenomenon. Many of your friends may have incorporated several changes in their homes to suit their requirements. Getting ideas from your friends is a good way of planning your own project. They will provide you with honest opinions and enable you to make a perfect decision. Also, they will provide you with valuable references for choosing a home renovation contractor.

· Research

Look for home improvement magazines at your local news-stand or library. Collect pictures of homes, rooms and products that appeal you. Watch home improvement shows on television. Also, do not forget to research online for innovative ideas. The internet is the ideal destination for searching current trends. You can create online boards to put together your dream home. The online boards will be a convenient way of manifesting your ideas to the contractor.

Once you have prepared a list on the basis of your extensive research, it is time to start prioritizing your requirements. Remember that renovating your home successfully requires a calm mind. So, do not make any hasty decision. Consider your budget and discuss it with the home renovation contractor. He will suggest you different ways of creating a beautiful living space within your budget.

Are you thinking of renovating your home? Do not worry if you are confused about prioritizing your list of requirements. Affinity Renovations is an experienced home renovation contractor of Greater Toronto Area. We will help you to transform your idea into a reality. Get in touch with us for complex home additions as well as quick handyman services.

Benefits of Custom Built Homes

Custom built homes are ones that you design and have built to your specifications and needs. For some, buying an already existing home is fine because it suits their needs. Others want to add their own special touches so they choose a home that is custom built. There are a number of benefits to custom built homes.

• The home can be completely personalized, which is why many choose this type of home. The buyer can have a say in every phase of the building process so they can have a tailor-made home. You get to choose the layout of the rooms, the sizes of the rooms, how many bathrooms, and bedrooms you need, color of wall paint, countertops, appliances, and more. Although custom built homes are more expensive you will have the satisfaction of investing in a home that suits them and you do not have to deal with the choices a previous owner made. You also do not have to spend money on upgrading your home.

• If there is a new subdivision that is being built, choosing a home here will allow you to build as you want. You can also watch as other homes are built and more people move into the area. If you purchase acreage, you can build it as large or small as you want and it gives you a chance to live in a remote area with very few neighbors.

• There are also lower maintenance costs as owners of brand new home generally spend fourteen dollars less per square foot that one that bought a ready-made home for routine maintenance. For example custom built homes with two-thousand five hundred square feet, they could save an extra three hundred twenty-six dollars a year.

• Custom built homes are easier to build that are totally energy efficient than ones where you purchase energy efficient windows and appliances. There are even tax breaks you can receive when building energy efficient homes.

• Custom built homes are one of a kind. No one else in the subdivision will have a home exactly like yours because it is built according to your choices and taste.

• If there are any special needs such as planning to retire and live in your home until your death, you can have the home built on one level with minimum stairs. This will help when you are older and find climbing steps hard or you have someone in a wheel chair and need wider doorways and counters that they can work on, or lower sinks.

• The maintenance on custom built homes there is less required because you have a home with new everything, including appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, floors, etc

Exterior Home Renovation Ideas to Increase the Curb Appeal of Your Home

The outside is as important as the inside of your home.

A well-maintained kitchen, a clean bathroom and a well-lit living room do not make a beautiful home. To create the right impression on your guests, the exterior of your home should be beautiful too. Also, a strong exterior surface is required to protect the home from pests, mold, mildew etc.

Even if you are selling your home in the near future, you must consider investing money in the exterior part of your home. It is because it will increase the curb appeal of your home as well as improve its selling potential. An exterior home renovation project is not a bad idea even when you want to live in the home for several years. It will enable you to become a proud owner of a beautiful real-estate property and make your home a conversation piece among your neighbors.

How to begin the Exterior Home Renovation Project?

Homeowners consider home renovation projects as DIY jobs. But, remember that a small mistake can result into a disaster. So, it is essential that you obtain expert help from an experienced home renovation contractor. Choose a reputable contractor who can create new design elements in the lawn area and enhance the curb appeal of your home.

Before you meet a contractor, create a list of things that you want to renovate. Also, search online for different exterior home renovation ideas. It is essential to meet a couple of contractors before finalizing your favorite one. Do not forget to discuss your expectations with him. It will ensure that you love the final results.

What Areas should you consider for your Exterior Home Renovation Project?

Are you confused about undertaking an exterior home renovation project? Do not worry. There are several things that you can repair and renovate in order to increase the curb appeal of your home. Here are a few ideas to help you begin with the renovation project:

· The Front Door

The front door is the main entrance of your home. It is the first thing that a person will notice when he visits you. A dull and damaged front door will give an ill look to your home. So, consider painting the door in a fresh color that provides a welcoming appeal to it. If the front door is broken, it is essential to repair or replace it. It is because it can create safety issues in the future.

· The Driveway

The driveway plays an important role in improving the look of your home. If the driveway is broken, it will not leave a positive impression on your visitors. Also, it can result in accidents. So, it is essential to repair the driveway. You can install new pavers and make it look beautiful. Alternatively, you can install a heated driveway to remove snow from its surface.

· The Walls

If the exterior walls of your home are dull and dirty, they can result in formation of mold, mildew, etc. It can cause severe health issues for your family members. So, ask the contractor to clean the walls, repair the cracks and paint them beautifully.

Do not underestimate the power of painting colors. Homeowners paint the interior of their homes with high-quality paints. But, they ignore the exterior part of their homes because they believe that no matter what quality of paint they use, weather will ruin it. Remember that using high-quality paints on the exterior walls will protect your home efficiently.

· The Lawn Area

A well-maintained lawn area can give a beautiful look to your home. Ask the home renovation contractor to provide you with ideas for the lawn area. Growing plants and flowers is not the only way of beautifying the area. You can install beautiful water features as well as eye-catching lighting fixtures to make it pretty.

Two Birds; One stone

Do not ignore the exterior of your home because if it is not strong, it will make your entire home weak and susceptible to structural problems as well as health issues.

Consider undertaking an exterior home renovation project because it will not only increase the curb appeal but also strengthen your home. As a homeowner, only you have the power to transform your home into a beautiful living space. So, spend time in beautifying as well as strengthening the exterior of your home.

An exterior home renovation project is an ideal way of increasing the curb appeal of your home. Get in touch with The Home Improvement Group and obtain unique as well as affordable renovation ideas to beautify your home. Toronto’s favorite home renovation contractor will help you with effective condo renovations, painting renovations as well as safe electrical renovations.

Home Improvement Loan or Personal Loan

Personal Loan or Home Improvement Loan? That is the question.

We love decorating our houses.

And there are phases in our lives when maybe we’ve spent too much time watching Food Food or TLC and thus have built castles in the air of visions of turning our kitchen into a chef’s paradise. Or perhaps our master bath is just one shower away from a disaster. For we really do love Italian tiles on our bathrooms.

And if so, then cheers, you’re not alone. Recently, the Joint Center of Housing Studies for Harvard University has investigated and reported that the home improvement industry should continue post record-level spending in 2016. For many people, this means borrowing money to pay for the well planned home improvements and home decorating schemes.

Now, one is ought to face a tough and difficult and perhaps hypothetical question.

So, which home improvement loan is right for you?

Many homeowners and homemakers look to tap the equity in their homes. But home equity loans or home equity lines of credit may not be possible or very practical for some borrowers. In that case, one should consider using a personal loan.

While it is known that one can use a personal loan for a variety of reasons, there are a few reasons why a personal loan can have advantages over home equity loans when it comes to a renovation loan, to be specific.

The application process for a personal loan is usually quite simple and quite straightforward. Your own financial situation-for example, your credit history and earning power; this is often the main deciding factor for whether or not you will be able to get a loan, for how much, and if so, at what interest rate. Some personal loans even boast of having no origination fees.

However, home equity loans or home improvement loans on the other hand, are akin to applying for a mortgage (in fact, home equity loans are sometimes called second mortgages). How much you can borrow depends on several factors, including the value of your home. Because you can only borrow against the equity you already have (i.e. the difference between your home’s value and your mortgage), you may have to arrange – and pay for – a home appraisal.

Let’s now see this case in the case of a home improvement loan. With a home equity loan or a home improvement loan, you can only borrow against the equity you have – which, as a new homeowner, is probably not much. You maybe have not had enough time to chip away at your mortgage and the market has not yet elevated your home’s price. A personal loan lets you start home improvements regardless of how much equity you have. So, that is one benefit of availing a Home Improvement Loan.

With a home equity loan, you use your home as collateral, which means an inability to repay could result in your home going into foreclosure. While failing to pay your personal loan carries its own risks (like ruining your credit and credit score), it is not tied directly to the roof over your head,like a gun on your head. Therefore, it is better and safer to avail of a personal loan.

So, if we were to decide, which one is better and safer and more suitable?

Personal loans may not be right for every borrower looking for a home improvement loan. For example, if you have significant equity in your home and are looking to borrow a large amount, you might be able to save money with lower interest rates on a home equity loan. Also, interest payments on home equity loans and lines of credit can be tax deductible under certain circumstances; but that is clearly not the case with personal loans.

On the other hand, personal loans can make sense for these types of customers:-

• Recent home purchasers.

• Smaller home improvement loans (e.g., bathroom or kitchen as opposed to full remodel)

• Borrowers in lower home value markets (if your home value has barely budged since you moved in, you may not have much equity to draw on for a home equity loan).

• For those who value ease and speed.

• Borrowers with great credit and cash flow.

While home equity loans and lines of credit are a good source of home improvement money if you have already built up equity in your home, a personal loan may be a better alternative if you are, say, a new homeowner and need to take care of a few updates to make your new home, just right and perfect.

Top Home Remodeling Projects for a High ROI

If you are looking to add value to your home, be it to make it more perfect your needs or because you have plans to sell it, then you don’t want to invest money in a home remodeling project that has a low return on investment. However, determining what remodeling projects will bring the biggest bang for your buck might be a challenge – especially if you have a limited budget!

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of homeowners looking for ways to give their home’s a new look – but not every upgrade has an ROI worth talking about. Here are some of the top home remodeling projects for garnering a high ROI.

· Landscaping – While not actually a home remodeling project of the building type, research has shown that yards where the lawn is well-maintained and logically laid out can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home and thus, how much you can boost your home’s equity.

· New Roof – Want to get as much as a 105% ROI on a home remodeling project? Then talk to your local roofer about upgrading your home’s roof. While a new roof may not be the sexiest home remodeling project, it is one with a high return!

· Hardwood Floors – These too bring a huge ROI – in fact it is nearly a 100% ROI – perhaps more should you decide to do the work yourself, or happen to discover that underneath those tired carpets you have gorgeous hardwoods just waiting to be refinished.

· Patio or Deck – Boost your living and entertaining space while increasing your home’s value. Choose building materials known for longevity and get more value for your investment.

· Doors – From upgrading the front door to a safer more secure option such as a steel entry door to replacing old outdated garage doors for newer ones with better features and more insulation, upgrading the quality of your home’s doors can have a significant uptick in the value of your home.

· Kitchen Remodel – A minor kitchen remodel, say new countertops or cabinetry, can improve your home’s resale value by as much as 80%.

· Bathroom Remodels – This is a prime way to recoup a solid ROI. A home remodel that involves updating a bathroom with new fixtures, lighting and vanity, or perhaps adding anew bathroom to home’s layout are a great way to improve your home’s resale value and living space. It should be noted that you don’t want to make huge changes, however, as those can sometimes have a negative affect or not have as high an ROI.

Remodeling one’s home can be a fun project, whether you are doing to improve the resale value or simply to make your home more suited to your needs. If you have questions about improving your home’s resale value, then now is the to talk to a local home remodeling team and get started on crafting a home design that works for needs and your budget.

High Tech Home Automation Upgrades

Bring your home into the 21st century with some high tech home automation upgrades.

Many people have already advanced their property with home automation upgrades, but may be completely unaware that they have. You may already use products such as the Nest thermostat or the Amazon Echo, these products are in fact technologies that are part of the home automation revolution that is changing the way people live in their homes.

Today’s market provides a home automation device for each and every room in your home. Below are some of the top home automation products to upgrade your home.

In the kitchen

Bluetooth thermometer

You will never mistakenly burn your meal again with a helpful smart meat thermometer. It works by sending the information from the thermometer to your smart phone via a Bluetooth connection, showing you when your pork, chicken, turkey, or fish reaches the right temperature.

Slow cooker

You can start dinner before you leave the office with a Wi-Fi enabled crock pot. By simply swiping your finger across your smart phone you can turn the cooker on, set the temperature, or turn it off to make sure that your dinner isn’t burnt if you are delayed in getting back to your home.

Wi-Fi enabled kettle

Set the kettle to boil remotely by using an app on your smart phone. Whether you want the kettle to be boiled before you get out of bed or ready for you when you get home from work, the Wi-Fi enabled iKettle will boil your water and even hold its temperature for up to a half hour.

In the bathroom

Bluetooth speakers for the shower

Sing along to your favorite songs with the Aqua-tunes waterproof speaker and add some entertainment to your home automation upgrades. The speaker connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and enables you to stream music from your device that is played in the shower. Simply hook the speaker on to your shower rod and press the sync button to link up with your mobile device.

Heated toilet seat

LumaWarm offer the heated nightlight toilet seat. The seat is illuminated by a blue LED light and is equipped with multiple temperature settings that warm the seat within a couple of minutes.

In the bedroom

Smart bedroom lighting

Smart lighting can help you relax at the end of the day, and even help you fall asleep, with lighting that is personalized to you, with dimming and variable color temperatures. There are several types of smart lighting products available for home automation upgrades, with some set by timers that can be easily accessed and changed through your smart phone, while others utilize motion sensors to adapt the lighting to your nightly routine.

Smart windows

Equip your windows with smart window film, or adjustable blinds that operate by a motor, which can be accessed on your smart phone. Smart blinds and shades can adapt and respond to the lighting level outside and are a must for your home automation upgrades. Smart window film offers the ability to transition your window from clear to opaque by simply tapping a button on your smart phone.

Home automation for any room

Smart sockets/plugs

Smart plugs are a simple and easy way to make a start upgrading your home. The smart socket device plugs into your existing power outlet and enables you to remotely control the power usage and keep an eye on your energy usage. There are several manufacturers of smart plugs, iHome, TP-LINK, Belkin, and D-Link to name a few, and the devices are an affordable way to start upgrading your home with prices ranging from as low as $30.

Humidity detector

The Humidity Sensor and Fan Control by Leviton can identify the level of humidity in your home and automatically react to it by turning on a ventilation fan. The smart device can be used in the bathroom and any other area of your home to reduce moisture in the air.

Room by room upgrades

If you still don’t really know where to start with your home automation upgrades, there are several home automation upgrades and smart home upgrade kits on the market.

The main purpose of home automation upgrades is to make daily tasks easier for the user. You don’t need to rush and try to upgrade everything in your home at once. Identify areas of your home or exact tasks where you would appreciate some technological help, then research what home automation options are available to fulfill your needs.

Get Affordable Home Insurance in Calgary

There are many reasons to get home insurance in Calgary. First of all, you want to make sure your house, cottage, or tenancy is covered for damage, theft, and flooding. Secondly, you want to know if you are overpaying for home insurance, and if you are, you want to know if you have access to a more affordable insurer. We can help you connect with a live insurance broker who will give you the information you need to insure your house in Calgary. You can also request a quote from at least 10 Canadian home insurers, so you can compare rates.

Typical Home Insurance Premiums
Home protection prices are different for rented and owned properties. Tenants insurance for rented homes covers the basic contents of a house and some liability (you may need a separate policy for fine art, wine collections, furs, and other expensive, atypical items). Tenants insurance is often cheaper than homeowners insurance.

Homeowners insurance covers the building and its exterior, as well as risks connected to theft, fire, earthquake, etc. Since the value of the building is much higher than the contents of a rented unit, homeowners insurance premiums are significantly higher than are the premiums for tenants insurance.

In order to have a broader picture of home insurance rates in Canada, here are statistics of the average home rates in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, and Canada. These statistics are provided by InsurEye.

In Alberta, monthly house insurance rates are typically $84 for homeowners and $49 for renters.

In Ontario, monthly home insurance rates are typically $78 for homeowners and $42 for renters.

In British Columbia, monthly home protection rates are typically $85 for homeowners and $47 for renters.

Across Canada, monthly home insurance rates are typically $77 for homeowners and $41 for renters.

Examples of Calgary Home Insurance Quotes
Home insurance quotes in Calgary depend on the size of a building, its location, and possible risks (like flooding). The following examples of house insurance quotes will help you better understand how much home insurance can potentially cost you:

· For a 2,800 square foot, two-storey house in Calgary, in the neighbourhood of Altadore near River Park, expect approximately $98 monthly ($1,176 a year).

· For an 850 square foot, two-bedroom condominium on the 12th floor in downtown Calgary, next to Central Memorial Park, the insurance costs are approximately $23 a month ($276 a year).

· For a one-storey house in Calgary, in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, located close to 4th St NW and the Trans-Canada Highway, the insurance is approximately $62 monthly ($744 a year).

Flooding Coverage for Homes in Calgary
Since Calgary often sees flooding, every homeowner should be prepared for the possibility of this risk and should understand the main aspects of home protection and flooding. One thing you should keep in mind is that home protection in the flood-endangered areas of the city is more expensive because of the much higher risk.

There are four main types of flooding. It is important to remember that your home insurance policy treats each of them differently:

1. Overland flooding occurs as a consequence of water (rain or melting snow) entering your house from the outdoors. Standard insurance in Calgary does not cover expenses from overland flooding. However, some companies do provide coverage for this type of flooding at an additional cost.

2. Roof leakage can be covered or not covered, depending on the factors that caused it. If the roof was in poor condition from the beginning, your insurance provider will not cover the damage. Your home insurance will most likely cover damage from a natural cause, like hail.

3. Your insurer will cover plumbing issues, only if you comply with the rules in your policy, such as having somebody visit your home while you are not there for extended periods of time (for example, while you are on vacation).

4. Sewer backup happens when wastewater is driven back into your house. Traditional home protection does not cover this type of flooding. However, you can always purchase this type of coverage as an addition to your home insurance policy.

The Difference Between Condo and Tenants Insurance in Calgary
Owners of condos can purchase homeowners insurance for their condo. The condominium corporation purchases commercial condo insurance. The difference between these two policies is in what part of the condo they cover. The homeowners insurance covers the contents of the condominium. The coverage also includes protection for upgrades, locker contents, third party liability, theft, additional living expenses, and sometimes special insurance assessments.

The commercial condominium corporation’s insurance covers the building’s exterior (envelope), together with its infrastructure and common areas.

Condo renters in Calgary need tenants insurance to cover the contents of their condos. This type of protection is usually mandatory and is part of the rental contract. In addition to the coverage of contents against theft, fire, and other hazards, the insurance also extends to third party liability and additional living expenses. Living expenses are for the cases when the condo is unlivable (due to earthquake, flood, fire, etc.), so the renter is forced to live in a hotel or rental unit until the condo repairs are complete.

10 Ways to Save on Home Insurance in Calgary
Here are a few ways to save on your home coverage. For more savings, get an insurance quote and contact an insurance expert.

1. Professional membership. Members of unions or professional organizations can get a discount on their home insurance. Insurance companies, like Meloche Monnex Insurance, also provide their members with insurance policies.

2. Hydrant or fire station. If your home is close to one of these things, you can ask for a discount from your insurance provider.

3. Discounts for students. Some insurance providers give discounts for students. As for dependent students who live alone, their parent’s home insurance may cover the insurance on their apartment at no additional charge. For example, Desjardins Insurance provides this discount.

4. Discounts for graduates. TD Insurance is an example of an insurer that offers discounts for graduates from post-secondary institutions like McGill University or the University of Toronto.

5. Quit smoking. Many insurance companies increase home protection premiums for smokers due to the potential fire risk.

6. Change your policy. Those with tenant insurance should rethink the size of their coverage – perhaps some things that do not have much value do not need additional coverage.

7. Security of your home. Does your home have additional security, like a doorman or security guard? This might get you a discount from your insurance provider.

8. Direct insurer. Also called a captive agent, a direct insurer represents one company and can offer their products for a cheaper price when compared to insurance agents or brokers.

9. Consumer reviews. Other home insurance consumers often share their experiences of purchasing insurance and making claims. Thanks to these insights, you will be able to avoid unexpected costs and overpayment.

10. Compare prices. You can get home insurance quote in Calgary for a cheaper price thanks to the price comparison tools that show you the rates of the same services provided by different insurance companies.