By: Thomas Cook

Retiring To A Smaller Home In The Country?

Retiring to country home or cottage living is a dream of many. And why wouldn't it be? Moving to a smaller home can mean less upkeep and more time for the things that really matter, but there are some realities that you need to face before downsizing to a smaller abode. Make a list of things that you can get rid of.  If you’ve had your home for a while you’ve likely accumulated lots of “stuff”. Storage space in your new home or condo may be must smaller or less available, so it’s time to determine what you can leave behind. It doesn’t have to be wasteful, you can recycle it, donate it or sell it instead of just throwing it away. Get your a...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Keep Your Country Home Or Cottage Safe From Theives When You Go On Vacation

Nothing spoils your time away like worrying about your home being safe while on vacation. One of the best things about a vacation is the opportunity to forget it all and relax, which is something you just can't do if you don't have peace of mind about what's going on back home. We've got a few tips for homeowners who are going away this spring and summer: While most contractors are reputable, having work done on your house allows more unscrupulous people a great opportunity to scope out your home and leave certain windows unlocked to come back to later. If you have strangers in your home for any reason (such as a contractor asking to use the bathroom while they&...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries For Daylight Saving Time!

Even country homes and cottages have clocks, although sometimes it doesn't feel like it when you're relaxing. At least the days are longer now that Daylight Saving Time is here!  But something else that’s becoming more tied in with when Daylight Saving Time begins (and ends) is the reminder that it’s time to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This should be done twice per year, and what better time than now? Make sure that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and have been tested, and if you missed doing it earlier this month please do it now. ...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

It's Time To Give Your Country Home Or Cottage A Spring Check Up!

It's time to give your home a good once-over if you plan on selling your country home or cottage during the busy spring market (which is already here!). We've got a couple tips if you're planning on selling and want to get the most value for your home. Check your roof. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, you can get a roof inspection done. Missing shingles or even a roof in minor disrepair can lead to moisture intrusion and very expensive and necessary repairs later on. Gain some peace of mind for the time being! Oh, and while you’re up there – clean your cutters. All of last year’s leaves can prevent water from being diverted properly, and l...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Country Homes And Cottages: Being A Good Neighbour

Do you have what it takes to be a good neighbour when you buy a new home? Establishing a good connection with your neighbours can lead to life-long friendships and peace of mind. Being a good neighbour builds stronger communities and gives your neighbourhood a better sense of “home”. If you’ve just moved into a new home, try actively building a great neighbourhood by keeping a good relationship with your neighbours - and remember, being a neighbour isn’t just about living next door to one another. Good neighbours can become lifelong friends - no matter where your life takes you. Nearly everyone appreciates their privacy, and some people aren’t too keen...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

What Are Some Of The Top Home Buying Errors According To The Ontario Real Estate Association?

It's easy to make a mistake when it's your first time doing something new. Many home buyers in Ontario are purchasing homes for the very first time - but with such a large investment, it's wise to avoid any mistakes before they occur. #1: Not knowing what you can afford While there are plenty of calculators and homebuying budgeting tips available online, they may not give you a clear idea of what you can actually afford. Before you begin looking at houses that are outside of your price range, speak to a real estate agent or lender to find out your Gross Debt Service Ratio, which is a number that lenders use to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage. In addition, be...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Tips For Selling Your House During The Winter Months

While the real estate market usually heats up in the spring, many people end up selling their homes in the winter. However, with winter home sales it's important to keep several things in mind before you finally do put your listing on the market. 1.  Choose pictures from the spring or summer months for your listing. No one wants to feel like they're snowed in before they even move in. And while photos from the spring or summertime will show a home somewhat different from what your home looks like now, it will let potential buyers know how they'll be living on warmer days: maybe you have a gorgeous patio or garden that winter photos simply can't do much justice, bu...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Spring Maintenance To Keep Your Country Home Or Cottage Efficiently

Spring definitely seems like a long way off - for now. But even if you don't believe it, soon it'll be warm outside and it'll be time to get your home ready for spring. If you plan on selling your home in the spring, it's especially important to be sure you're ready. The furnace room Do you cram extra holiday decorations, litter boxes and cleaning supplies into your furnace room? So does pretty much everyone else. But the reality is that not only is storing so much "stuff" next to your furnace a fire hazard, your furnace is also deprived of the airflow it needs to operate properly. This room should be decluttered and organized to keep your space clean. Wh...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Spring Is Coming - So Are Leaky Basements

Even though the groundhog forecast six more weeks of winter, a leaky spring basement might be upon you sooner than you think. According to a recent report, ninety percent of wet basements are caused by surface water -- not by underground streams and high water tables. Surface water comes from rain or snow that lands on your property (your lawn, garden, roof, driveway, etc.) or your neighbors'. If your lot slopes toward your home, you're just asking for a wet basement. So how should you fix it?  First, ensure that all the land around your house slopes in the right direction... away from YOUR foundations. This can require as little as a couple of bags of topsoil or as mu...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Why Is Buying A Grow-Op Home Such A Big Deal?

It happens in homes of all types - new homes, old homes, expensive homes, etc. It doesn't matter how nice a neighbourhood is or whether it is a country home or a condo in the city, homes that have been used as a marijuana grow-op or drug lab can be found anywhere. The issue is when you, the home buyer, buys one of these homes long after it's been cleaned up. So what's the big deal?  What's to worry about if you, an innocent home buyer, come along and purchase that home?  The problems are often unseen, behind the walls! What happens is that the plants are heated by grow lights and watered continuously to make them grow bigger and faster.  This produces abno...Read More