Tips for Bug Proofing Your Home – Part 1

Dress up your Okotoks real estate with replacements.

With the recent heat wave and the longer days, it seems that summer is finally here. After a long winter and spring, the season for backyard barbecues, shorts and swimming is getting into full swing. Perhaps it’s because the Albertan summers are so short, but most people would agree that the summer months are some of the best months of the year. These months also tend to bring some unwelcomed guests into the home as well. What would summer be without mosquitoes, fruit flies and other pesky insects? Here are some tips to help bug proof your home during the summer months. So break out those short sleeved shirts and sandals and get out on a deck to enjoy some sunshine because the summer season is here; just don’t forget to close the screen door to keep out the bugs!

Screens

If you do not want unwelcome guests buzzing around inside your home, the quickest solution to solve that problem is to make sure all of your windows and doors are covered with a screen when they are open. If you do not have screens on every window and door, install them. If you have any rips or tears, mend them or replace them as soon as possible. If you are installing screens, find screens with as fine of mesh as you can to keep all but the tiniest of bugs from finding their way into your home.

Seal

Look for any cracks between the bottom of all of the doors and door sweeps in your home. If you can see light then bugs can get in. Either install new door sweeps or use door seals to fill in any gaps around the door. While you are looking at your doors, also inspect the outside of your home looking for any cracks in the foundation, fascia boards or exterior walls. Also be sure to check for gaps around your dryer vent, or any other lines that may enter your home such as a gas line or even a telephone line. All of these places can be entry points for bugs. Make sure to seal any of the cracks you may find with a multi-purpose caulking from the outside and think about filling any gaps with a spray foam on the inside.

A quick check around your home for any cracks and an inspection of all of the screens in your home will quickly assess what the next step is for keeping the summer bugs outside where they belong. Again, if you do not have screens on all doors and windows, install them before opening the windows. Using screens and filling any gaps and using sealant are a few quick tips from us here at Okotoks Real Estate to help bug proof the outside of your home. Next we will look at tips to help you bug proof the inside of your home.

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Secrets for Garage Organization

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Have you ever looked at a home and tried to figure out how you would fill up all of the space? Fast forward a year or two and you are suddenly swimming in clutter as all of that space has now been filled and then some. The solution, if you own a home with a garage, is to move all of the extras out into the garage. A great plan, but, unfortunately, your garage also has limited space and now, there is no room to park your car or even get to the back of your garage. The solution? Here are some tips from Okotoks Real Estate to help you organize your garage space.

Shelves and Racks

Garage organization does not have to be difficult nor expensive. Rather it needs to be efficient and is essential if you want the ability to move around in your garage. The quickest way to utilize the space in your garage is to build or purchase shelving. Wall shelving allows you to reorganize whatever clutter you have in your garage by stacking it against the wall and utilizing the length and height of the wall. Think about making shelves that are part of the ceiling as well. That way any large items can be stored out of the way. Think about using bins and boxes with labels to store multiple items and then storing them overhead to help reduce the clutter in your garage. If you use your shed to store garden tools, think about storing these tools in a rack on the side of the garage. This rack will not only make your tools easier to find, but again, it will also help organize and compartmentalize the different items in your garage.

Boxes, Bins and Hanging

As mentioned previously, think about grouping similar items such as pool toys or winter clothes for instance and then labeling them and packing them away in a box or bin. This will not only help you cut back on clutter, it will also help you relocate items when you need them again. A box or a bin is far easier to locate than individual items and they are very easy to store on a shelf. Many people use a garage to store various recreational goods as well. Bicycles take up a lot of room in a garage and depending upon the size of your family can quickly make your garage look and feel very cluttered. Think about hanging your bikes as a way of saving floor space and decluttering your garage. If hanging bikes is not an option, think about using a bike rack of some type to help reorganize your bikes.

With a little bit of creativity and a few hours (or days), you can declutter your garage and hopefully make that space more functional and far more organized. A few shelves, racks, boxes and bins should help transform your garage into a neatly organized and efficient space and with a little luck, you may even be able to park your car in your garage again.

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Removing Mold and Mildew From Your Home

SPruces up your Okotoks home for sale with these gardening tips.

Mold and mildew are unfortunately a very common occurrence in most of our homes. Living in a damp environment can further exacerbate these problems and create not only an unsightly problem but if left unattended, mold and mildew can be a health concern as well. We at Okotoks Real Estate would like you to maintain your beautiful home and offer the following tips to help you remove any mold and mildew that you may encounter in your home.

Causes and Concerns

Moisture is the key cause of both mold and mildew. Although mold spores are naturally occurring in our environment, they are generally not a problem until they begin to reproduce in damp areas of your home. The most common area that you will see mold and mildew growth is in the bathroom. Look for black spots in the corners of the shower or in the tile grooves. Once mold has begun to reproduce in any areas of moisture, it can quickly become a health hazard. Molds have the potential to cause different types of allergies and irritants. Common symptoms of mold exposure range from hay fever type symptoms to rashes. Because of these health risks and the fact that those black spots on your shower tile or in the corners of your windows are unsightly, it is best to remove any mold you may find in your home as quick as possible.

Removal

The amount of mold you have in your home will quickly determine the method of removal. If you encounter large areas of mold it is best to call in professional help to get rid of the problem. If the extent of mold is a few sports in the shower, scrubbing it off with bleach and water may be all that is needed. Unless the root of the problem is fixed however, the mold will just come back. Remember to wear gloves when scrubbing the mold as you do not want to be touching the mold spores. Because mold tends to grow around areas of high moisture, ensure that once the mold is removed, the humidity in the area is also reduced. In a bathroom that will mean that you run the fan longer or open a window to allow the extra moisture to escape. If you do not deal with the excess moisture, the mold will grow back time after time.

Moisture can quickly lead to larger problems in any home. Remember to deal with any water damage or excess moisture quickly in order to keep any mold or mildew growth to a bare minimum. Keep on top of any mold and mildew growth to keep your family healthy and your home mold free.

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5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Selling This Spring

Small grey shed in the sunny green backyard.

Are you a homeowner considering placing your property on the spring market? As the seasons shift and the earth heats up, so does the real estate market. Spring is arguably the best time of the year to sell a home, and houses in Okotoks are selling quickly. Newly listed homes are snatched up fast by eager buyers, often drawing multiple offers.

As the homeowner, deciding to place your home during this “seller’s market” could get you an excellent profit. Make the most of your investment by taking advantage of the spring real estate market. Here are 5 things homeowners should know about selling this spring.

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Proper Deck Maintenance

Back of the house with wooden deck.With winter in the rear view mirror, everyone’s sight is set on the summer months. Nothing beats those hot summer days and those warm summer nights. Nights like that are just perfect for a barbeque with good friends or family outside on your deck.

Yes, there is something synonymous with decks and summer. They just seem to go hand in hand. Now that spring is here, it may just be the perfect time to get all of that deck maintenance out of the way so you can show off and enjoy that deck all summer long.

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Tips for Upkeep of your Home’s Exterior

stockfresh_2202588_new-home-house-exterior_sizeMThe exterior of your house is the shell that is your home’s first line of defense from all of the elements. Albertans know all about the elements and how hardy their homes must be to keep warm and cozy or dry or cool, depending upon what season is upon us.

That being said, it is highly recommended that you do as much upkeep as possible to keep your home’s exterior beautiful and strong enough to keep those elements at bay. We at Okotoks Real Estate are happy to offer the following tips for upkeep of your home’s exterior.

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In-Ground Sprinkler Maintenance

SprinklerYou probably don’t have a green lawn on your mind right now. After all, it’s barely the beginning of March. With all of the other spring cleaning tasks around the house, the last thing you are thinking about is proper in-ground sprinkler maintenance. However, a quick spring tune up is highly recommended and will get all of those kinks out of the system that may have developed over the winter months.

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Spring Cleaning Tips

Modern living room and balcony

The winter of 2014/15 will be remembered as one of the mildest Canadian winters we have experienced in quite some time. This weather makes us feel that spring will arrive any day now.  Unfortunately, spring weather ushers in the inevitable tasks of spring cleaning – those not so fun chores that need to get done to keep your house in tip top shape year after year.

With these mild temperatures, why not get an early jump on those daunting spring cleaning tasks that need to get done?  Here are some tips to get your spring cleaning on its way.

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Helpful Lawn Care Tips Part II

Two story house exterior.

In our last article, we examined some pre-care tips for your lawn. These are the steps that can be taken as soon as the snow is off your lawn and should set the table for a healthy, lush and green lawn as we draw closer to the summer season. To quickly recap, we discussed how and why to aerate your lawn, why over seeding is an important part of proper lawn care and how to utilize fertilizer. We at Okotoks real estate would now like to offer you our tips on the more practical side of lawn care – the part of lawn care you are probably more familiar with.

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Helpful Lawn Care Tips

Front yard of a houseIt’s only February! One can’t be serious about lawn care, can they? Well, somewhere under that blanket of snow is your lawn. And once that snow has melted and spring has sprung (that day will come sooner than you think), it will be time to get that lawn in tip top shape.

We here at Okotoks real estate believe that a healthy lawn is one of the first things people see when looking at a property. A nicely manicured, green lawn is aesthetically pleasing. Here are some lawn care tips for you to get the greenest, healthiest lawn this side of Calgary.

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