A blog cannot deal with all aspects of a subject and is not intended to replace professional advice. It's purpose is to highlight information and identify areas of possible interest. Anyone wishing to discuss this blog or to make any comments or suggestions about this blog is invited to do so by either posting comments or emailing me directly.


Grilling Safety

Don't Melt Your Vinyl Siding

Pillar-to-Post Home Inspections always has great info to share. Thanks to them for providing us with some of the ideas for this information on barbecues and grilling safety.
Calgarians are big on barbecues all year long and hopefully this is a timely reminder. I can't tell you how many homes I've been to this year that have had damage to their vinyl siding or latticework from barbecues. There have been more than just a few. A lot of people don't realize how dangerous their natural gas, propane or charcoal barbecue can be when it's used too close to the outside walls or deck rails of their homes or apartment balconies. 
  • Gas or charcoal grills should be located no closer than 3 metres (10 feet) from any structure. Radiant heat is invisible. Never use a grill or barbecue under a porch, deck, overhang, eaves, carport, in the garage or any other enclosed area. Make sure it sits on a stable surface and can't be tipped over.
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  1. Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  2. Defrost your food in the refrigerator instead of using running water.
  3. Check your water meter for hidden water leaks – if the water meter does not read exactly the same before and after a two hour period when no water is being used, there is a leak.
  4. Put food colouring in your toilet tank – if it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there is a leak (saves up to 750 litres per day).
  5. Replace standard toilets with high efficency models. Replacing a 13 litre toilet with a high efficiency model can save up to 7 litres of water per flush. Many communities have rebate programs.
  6. Install water-saving shower heads.
  7. Install low flow faucet aerators (saves about 2 gallons per minute).
  8. Insulate water pipes – you’ll get hot water faster.
  9. Turn on washer and dishwasher only when it is full.
  10. Use a front loading washer.
  11. Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator – instead of running the...
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Most people have heard the terms “Buyers' Market”, “Sellers' Market” and "Balanced Market", but do you know what they really mean and how they're determined?


There are many factors which affect the real estate market — interest rates, employment, investment growth, legislative changes and new construction, to name just a few. All of these factors influence the real estate market in some way.


In a Buyer’s Market, there are more homes for sale than there are buyers. This could be a result of high unemployment, fear of interest rate increases or other factors which make people think twice about purchasing a home for the first time or moving up into a larger home.


The advantage buyers have in a Buyers’ Market is that they can typically take a little more time and look at more options before buying. Buyers also have more options because sellers are more anxious to sell. Overall, home prices may remain somewhat stable or go down in...

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Effective June 1st, 2015, the mortgage loan insurance premium for homebuyers with less than a 10% down payment will increase by approximately 15%.


The premium is charged to the bank by CMHC, but banks almost always pass the premium on to the consumer.


For the average Canadian homebuyer who has less than a 10% down payment, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on housing markets.


Premiums for homebuyers with a down payment of 10% or more and for CMHC’s portfolio insurance and multi-unit insurance products remain unchanged. The changes do not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.


This means that if you are buying a home and putting a down payment less than 10%, the premium to insure the mortgage increases from 3.15% of the total amount borrowed to 3.60%. This new increase comes into effect June 1, 2015. For a mortgage of $350,000 it is an...

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