Before the weather grows colder, it’s important to prepare for the winter months to prevent costly damage.

Below are the fall preventative home maintenance steps that every homeowner should follow.

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris. Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters.
  • Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place.
  • Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.

Windows and Doors

  • Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors.
  • Inspect and repair any loose or damaged window or door frames.
  • Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.

Heating Systems

  • Replace the filter in your furnace.
  • Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs.
  • Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems.

Plumbing

  • To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated.
  • Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.

Chimney and Fireplace

  • Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
  • Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.

Attic ventilation

  • Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
  • Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
  • Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.

Landscape and Yard work

  • Although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
  • Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
  • Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.

Great neighborhoods and Good schools

As families gear up to send the kids back to school, they’re busier than ever.
Maybe you have relocated to the Shuswap over the summer, in which case WELCOME! Or maybe your family is growing, and you are looking into moving to find the right home, in the right location, near the right school.

A new house can mean more space, great neighborhoods, and good schools.

Follow these tips to find your dream home near the right school:

  1. Know your family’s needs. Is your family growing? Is square footage the most important factor, or a large backyard? Make a list of exactly what you need in your family’s new home.
  2. Review school information
  3. Look for parks and play areas
  4. Make a list of questions for your Realtor. Be prepared with the questions that will help you make the best investment. Ask about things that matter specifically to you and your family but also what matters for the home’s future value.

Our School District
North Okanagan-Shuswap School District No. 83 is an area of 8,500 square kilometers located around the Shuswap Lake and North Okanagan. The school district encompasses the distinct communities of Malakwa, Sicamous, Grindrod, Enderby, Ashton Creek, Kingfisher, Armstrong, Spallumcheen, Falkland, Ranchero/Deep Creek, Silver Creek, Salmon Arm, Tappen, Sorrento, Celista, and Seymour Arm. The school district includes four First Nations bands. Comprehensive local education agreements and strong ties have been developed with the bands, which have resulted in both academic and cultural benefits. Because of the vast area the district has 16 community elementary schools, three middle schools and four secondary schools, and an educational outreach program.

The District Education Support Centre (DESC) is located at 341 Shuswap St. SW in Salmon Arm. The office number is (250) 832-2157.

Not sure which school your child will attend? Contact the Operations department, 250 832-9415. You can also use this number for information regarding bus routes.

In addition to the Public-School District, there is of course the option of Private schools as well. In Salmon Arm we have, Kings Christian School- http://www.kingschristianschool.com/

Thinking about college? Salmon Arm also boosts an Okanagan College Campus, inhttp://www.okanagan.bc.ca/Programs/Areas_of_Study/International_Education/Location/Salmon_Arm_Campus.html

According to Realtor.com, 60% of buyers say schools affect their decision. I hope you find this information as a helpful guide in finding the right home, in the right location, near the right school.

If the summer heat is turning your house into an oven and causing the air conditioning bill to go through the roof, here are a few quick and affordable tips to help you keep cool and save energy.

Close Blinds and Curtains

  • Inexpensive mini blinds or curtains can work wonders for reducing the sunlight and heat streaming in through your windows! At my house, installing inexpensive blinds on the south-facing windows completely changed the temperature in that part of the house.
  • Make sure blinds or curtains are white on the side facing the outside. Solar sun screens and window film are other options that can greatly reduce the heat coming through windows.

Install Cool Lighting

  • Incandescent light bulbs can significantly heat up a room. Replace standard bulbs with high-efficiency, low-heat CFL (compact fluorescent lights) or LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs, and turn off lights when not needed.

Cook Wisely

  • Eat cold meals, cook outside on the grill, or use the microwave for cooking when possible to minimize heat indoors.
  • When you do cook indoors:
    • Cover pots to minimize indoor humidity.
    • Use range hood or microwave vent fan to vent hot air outside.
    • Turn oven off a few minutes before food is cooked to reduce oven heat.
    • Check the oven by turning on the light and looking through the glass, rather than opening the oven door.

Repair Windows and Doors

  • Windows and doors are a major source of heat gain in the house, so keep windows closed and locked and doors tightly closed to prevent cool air from escaping. Older single pane windows and doors without proper weather stripping are the worst culprits.
  • If you can’t replace your windows and doors with more energy efficient models, repair any gaps in or replace weather stripping around and under windows and doors. Also, don’t open windows at night unless the temperature drops to the mid-20s C or lower.

Use Fans for Cooling

  • A ceiling fan or portable fan uses much less energy than an air conditioner, but they’re only effective when you’re in the room to feel the cooling, so turn them off when you leave.
  • Run ceiling fans in a counterclockwise direction (when looking up) when you’re in the room to help keep you cool through evaporation. This will allow you to set the thermostat on your air conditioner higher and save energy.

Clean Air Conditioner Filters

  • While your AC system is cranking away, the filter is getting more use than usual. By changing the AC air filter regularly during the highest use months allows air to flow easily through your HVAC system, making it run more efficiently and saving energy.

Put Off Chores

  • You heard me! Don’t run the dishwasher, clothes washer/dryer, or other appliances during the heat of the day, since these machines generate heat and humidity that will be hard to overcome. Put these chores off until evening when possible.
  • When cleaning clothes:
    • Wash clothes in cold water.
    • Run the washer or dryer only if you have a full load.
    • Choose the shortest wash cycle that gets the job done.
    • Clean dryer vent pipe and lint screen regularly to lower drying time.
    • Dry clothes outside on a clothesline when possible.

Use Less Hot Water

  • Turn your hot water heater down to a lower temperature setting so it will run less and produce less heat.
  • Hot showers create a lot of excess heat and humidity in the house, so:
  • Take shorter showers to reduce humidity and heat.
  • Take cool – rather than hot – showers.
  • Run the bathroom exhaust fan when showering or bathing, and keep it running for 20 minutes afterward, to remove excess heat and humidity.

Plan Ahead

  • Long term strategies to keep your house cooler include:
    • Plant shade trees on the south and west sides of the house.
    • Install insulated glass windows with low-E coating or storm windows.
    • Add awnings over sunny windows.
    • Install additional attic insulation
    • Replace existing roof with cool shingles or light-colored roofing

These are only a few of the many strategies for keeping your house cool in the summer. Put some of these home improvements to your to-do list for relief in years to come.

It may be time to rethink your curb appeal …

Whether bright and bold or subtle and subdued, the color of your front door is a statement. And an important one—it’s about more than just curb appeal. After all, it’s the first thing guests see before you even open the door.

Every life decision you make shows the type of person you are, giving away personality traits without you even realizing it. From the way you dress to the way you decorate your home, it all gives glimpses into your wonderful mind – even your front door style and colour can give things away about you.

London estate agent Marsh & Parsons teamed up with international colour consultancy, Pantone, to carry out research on what your choice of front door colour can suggest the type of person you are.

Front door color meanings:

  • Black: Elegant, powerful, and prestigious
  • White: Simple, crisp, and pristine
  • Gray: Timeless and classic
  • Navy: Traditional, family orientated and caring
  • Light Blue: You’re probably a calm and relaxed person
  • Green: Calm, quiet, and soothing
  • Red: Traditional, you love to entertain and be centre of attention
  • Purple: Dramatic
  • Yellow: Warm, welcoming, and optimistic
  • Pink Lavender: Youthful and spirited
  • Natural stain: Rustic and comforting

What Does it All Mean?

If you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, you may want to think about the colour of your front door or the colour in which you plan to paint it. While the colour may or may not dictate whether your home sells, it may attract specific buyers if the colour you choose reflects their own personality.  Just some colour for thought!

Create a Wildfire Action Plan
Your Wildfire Action Plan must be prepared, and familiar to all members of your household well in advance of a wildfire. Use the checklist below to help create your plan. Each family’s plan will be different, depending on a variety of issues, needs, and situations.

Your Wildfire Action Plan Checklist
Create an evacuation plan that includes:
• A designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has safely evacuated from the affected area.
• Several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
• Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.
• A Family Communication Plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)

Be Prepared:
• Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
• Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
• Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person
• Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
• Keep an extra Emergency Supply Kit in your car in case you cannot get to your home because of fire or another emergency.
• Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.
• Tell your neighbors about Ready, Set, Go! and your Wildfire Action Plan.
that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation. (It is easier to call or message one person and let them contact others than to try and call everyone when phone, cell, and internet systems can be overloaded or limited during a disaster.)

When you are considering buying a farm, it’s important to be prepared for some of the hidden challenges that will come up. A lot of things will seem self-evident but here are a few things to consider that may not be:

A good Real-Estate agent will save you time and money
Farm properties are a unique category of real estate. There are many complex aspects to purchasing a farm that is not involved in the urban real-estate market. Make sure your agent is knowledgeable in farm and rural issues. Getting a good agent in the mix will save you both time and money when you buy a farm.

Infrastructure on Property
What sorts of buildings and improvements are on the property? How many of them are useful to you in your farm business plan? Is there infrastructure or buildings that can be adapted to your needs if they don’t already match them currently? If the farm comes with equipment or a stockpile of resources like hay or firewood you may be able to use them to increase your returns.

Tax status & zoning
What will your property taxes be? If the land is zoned as farming, you will have to keep it in production in order to keep the lower farm tax rate. If it’s not zoned for farming, you will have to inquire with the local zoning authority about how to get the proper zoning approved.

For more information on starting a farm check out:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/business-market-development/agrifood-business-management/starting-a-new-farm

Canadian Housing Market Outlook (2021)

Canadians on the move: Not an exodus, but the re-location trend across Canadian housing market is real

RE/MAX Canada expects average residential prices to rise 4% to 6% in 2021

  • 35% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that “move-over” buyers from other cities and provinces will continue to spark market activity in 2021
  • 45% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that move-up buyers will likely be a primary driver of the housing market demand in 2021
  • Half of Canadians (53%) are confident that Canada’s housing markets will remain steady in 2021
  • 52% of Canadians believe real estate will remain one of the best investment options in 2021

RE/MAX Canada is anticipating healthy housing price growth in 2021, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices. Due to these factors, the 2021 RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook Report estimates a four to six per cent increase in the average residential sales price nation-wide.

For more information read:  https://blog.remax.ca/canadian-housing-market-outlook/