As we dip into some extreme cold temperatures this week, it can be hard on your house! Here are some tips to help you ride through this cold snap and avoid any issues! 

Furnace and Exterior Vents: 

High efficiency furnaces, water heaters, and on demand units vent through PVC pipes to the exterior of your home. These pipes are full of humidity and should be checked and cleared by using a shovel to knock away ice build ups. If the ice blocks the pipes your high efficiency systems will shut off! 


Ensure that you turn down your humidistats to around 10% – 15% relative humidity at the maximum. Roll up your blinds a few inches and be sure wipe any excess condensation to avoid cracking and paint peeling on your window frames. Ensure that you use bathroom exhaust fans and run them at least 15 mins after a shower or bath. Kitchen exhaust fans should also be used while cooking to help remove excess humidity from cooking or boiling water. 

Protect Your Floors: 

All that snow, ice, and melting can wreak havoc on your entryway floors. Place mats both inside and outside the door, along with boot trays inside the entryway. Last thing you want is that melting snow, salt, and ice warping baseboards and sub floors.


Tis the season to be jolly! Which means celebrating with friends and family and occasionally indulging in a few Christmas cocktails! Move over eggnog, here is our favourite hot holiday drinks to make you the host with the most at any Christmas get together this holiday season and keep your guests bellies warm!

Hot-Buttered Rum – Mix together ½ stick butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves and one pinch of salt.  Refrigerate until firm. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into individual cups. Pour 1 shot of dark rum into each cup. Top with boiling water, stir and serve.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick. Makes 4-6 servings.

Hot Apple Cider – Heat 4 cups fresh apple cider, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 cloves and 1 orange, sliced, over medium heat.  Strain into a pitcher and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Serve warm.

Mulled Wine – Boil together 2½ cups apple cider, 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon, ¼ cup honey, 2 cinnamon sticks, the zest and juice of 1 orange, 3 cloves and 1 star anise for 10 minutes.  Pour into individual cups and garnish with orange peels. Makes 4-6 servings.

Wanting to Transform That Old Property Into Your Dream Home? Consider These Factors First

A lot of people are attracted to the idea of finding an older house and transforming it into their dream home, or maybe they want to fix it up as an investment to sell or rent out. Either way, it can be a great idea, as long as you know what you’re getting into. Getting an older property move-in ready still costs money and usually takes a load of work. Before you commit, follow these tips to make sure buying a fixer-upper is the right path for you.

Estimate your home affordability

The first step of your fixer-upper adventure is estimating what kind of home you can afford. You can find plenty of online calculators to help you with the process. Home affordability usually considers factors like your annual income, monthly spending, current average APR, down payment, loan type, etc. For instance, someone who makes $45,450 per year and can afford a total monthly payment of about $1,327—after paying all other monthly debts—can generally expect to be approved for a $248,000 mortgage. Your down payment also plays a role in the process. A larger down payment generally means that you’ll need a smaller loan, that you can afford a higher-priced house, and that lenders will be willing to offer you a lower interest rate.

Shop until you find a good one

When you start looking at fixer-uppers, you’ll notice that you can get properties in great neighborhoods a lot more cheaply. While this is a legitimate benefit of fixer-uppers, you don’t want to jump on the first deal you find. Get the house inspected and bring in a contractor to help you estimate needed repairs. Once you get an estimated cost of repairs and renovations, add a 5- to 10-percent cushion for unforeseen problems. Then, add that total to the asking price, and compare it to the listing prices of similar move-in ready homes in the area. If the deal doesn’t make sense, be sure to negotiate. If that doesn’t work, walk away and keep shopping.

Prioritize your renovations

Once you have some estimations, you’ll want to plan out your renovations and repairs. When making these decisions, you’ll need to factor in whether you plan to stay in the home or sell it once it’s fixed up. If you plan to stay, you’ll have more freedom to tackle each room in whatever order you like. If you’re going to sell or rent the house out, you’ll probably want to get your kitchen and master bathroom in good shape before you move on to other rooms. Those rooms are usually the most important to prospective buyers, and you can add the most value to them through renovations.

If you’re staying in the home, you can renovate and design as you see fit so you can turn it into the house you’ve always dreamed of. If not, it’s a good idea to keep potential buyers in mind. Painting the walls light, neutral colors is great for making the rooms feel bigger, and they never go out of style. Replacing cheap cabinets, countertops, and flooring and modernizing appliances in your kitchen can add thousands to your sell price. Upgrading mirrors, light fixtures, and shower hardware will make your bathroom more appealing. A real estate agent can usually guide you on what kinds of homes are selling in the neighborhood. It’s not that you don’t want your house to have character, but you do want it to fit in to its surroundings to some degree. When budgeting for repairs, be sure to include the price of whatever tools and hardware you’ll need, like a power drill, table saw, hammer, and sander.

Knowing what you’re getting into is critical when you’re buying a fixer-upper. You’ll first want to estimate your home affordability to get an idea of what kind of homes to look for, and make sure to factor in the cost of repairs in order to know if it’s worth the time and money. Then, you’ll want to make a strategy for your repairs and renovations so you’re not just doing them on the fly. Buying a fixer-upper can be a great experience, as long as you consider these factors before you commit.

Article by Bret Engle.