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June 2014



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The Bank said no: Now What? Increase your home’s curb appeal and value with simple outdoor improvements Flexhousing A Home that Adapts to Your Life Breathe Easy: Tips for cleaner air at home Watering gardens with lead, BPA, and phthalates 5 Summer Decorating Ideas for the Home

Wayne Your Neighbourhood Real Estate Professional


The bank said no: Now what? Tighter mortgage rules have sent buyers looking elsewhere Written By Susan Smith Sellers and real estate agents will advertise the top-selling features of a home so as to attract the biggest number of buyers. But there’s a fine line between marketing hype and false advertising, so be careful what you say. If it turns out wrong later, you may have to pay for it. Here’s why:In September 2009, Hussain Al-Saffar bought a detached home on Salem Ave. in Toronto’s west end for $439,000. He bought it “as is” from a family who had owned it since 1967. The basement was not finished. Al-Saffar planned to renovate it, so he got the necessary permits and made extensive changes, including refinishing of the basement. A year later, he sold it to Clare Mauro and her mother, Anne Mauro, for $658,000. The MLS listing form said: “This house was gutted to the bare bones and has literally been rebuilt from scratch. Except for the four exterior walls, almost everything else is new. New insulation, framing, walls, floors, roof, electrical, plumbing.”A brochure given to people viewing the house said: “Fully insulated from basement floor walls all the way to attic. Basement designed as a comfortable entertainment centre and/or spacious home office. Gutted to the bare bones.” The Mauros did an inspection. The report indicated concerns about

basement leaks. It said in part: “Cannot predict how often or badly crawl space or basement will leak” and that there were “efflorescence, stains dampness on the exposed foundation wall, and that these are typical conditions not out of the ordinary for a home that age.”

damages, stating that the seller deliberately concealed the problem. They claimed the seller must have known about it if he gutted the basement to the bare bones. The seller said he had not seen any leaks and did not notice the piece of wood because he did not strip the basement walls to the cinder blocks, but rather just insulated and dry walled the area in front of the existing plaster.

It turned out that 99 per cent of the foundation wall was not visible, as is usually the case when homes are inspected.The report said that since the inspector could not see behind the walls, the buyers were encouraged to consult a contractor or In a Toronto small claims court engineer. decision dated April 2, 2014, Deputy Judge Jack Prattas decided that even The buyers smelled must and though the seller did not know that the dampness almost immediately after problem existed with the basement closing. No investigation was done walls, he was still responsible to pay. behind the drywall as they did not This is because he had carelessly said wish to do any unnecessary damage the property was gutted to the bare to the finishes. There was then a bones and the buyers relied on this major flood one year after closing. when buying it. Most of the costs incurred to repair the damage were covered by Prattas found that the buyers were i n s u ra nc e . Th e c l e an u p c r e w misled into believing that they were discovered that the north foundation getting a basement which did not have wall leaked water into the basement. any hidden defect. However, the judge They also found cracks in the mortar also found that the buyers, as a result between the cinder blocks, including of the warnings by the home inspector, one crack that appeared to have should assume part of the risk, since been crudely plugged with a piece of they chose not to do any further wood to stop the flow of water. inspections. The buyers sued for the $8,659 cost He awarded the Mauros 50 per cent of to repair the leaky basement wall. the damages, or $4,329.50. No They also claimed $1,000 in punitive punitive damages were awarded.In my opinion, the buyers were fortunate: there was nothing in the contract itself that mentioned any warranty about how the home was constructed. The lesson for sellers is to make sure any statement about the home is true. The lesson for buyers is that when inspecting older homes, it is always a good idea to do further due diligence about water penetration issues, from the roof or the basement. In addition, if there is anything advertised about a home that is important to you, include it inside the real estate agreement before you sign it.

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WAYNE COCHRANE’S REAL ESTATE INSIDER Increase your home’s curb appeal and value with simple outdoor improvements. By First impressions happen at the curb. A good first impression raises the value of your home and pride in home ownership. If you are considering listing your home, it’s important that its curb appeal entices potential buyers to come inside and see more. A few improvements to the home’s exterior will go a long way in making it more inviting and desirable to buyers on the market. It’s also a great investment. Curb appeal can increase the value of a home as much as 5 percent, according to

washers from Northern Tool + Equipment will make the task of removing buildup easier.

Even if you’re not planning on selling your home anytime soon, simple outdoor improvements can make a dramatic difference. Consider the following tips to add curb appeal to your home without emptying your bank account.

* Install outdoor lighting – Show off all the work you’ve done in your yard and enhance your home’s appeal with outdoor lighting. Lights such as NPower barn lights from Kotula’s can be used to highlight different architectural and landscaping features such as your front door, steps or bushes. You can also use lights to illuminate a walkway, driveway or front entryway to make your home more inviting and safe.

* Create a clean slate – Dirt, grime, mildew and more collects on siding, fences, decks and sidewalks, and if it’s not removed periodically it can permanently damage your home and decrease its value. A quick wash will return your home to its original color and provide your driveway and pathways with a fresh, new look. Pressure washers such as the Powerhorse pressure

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* Build or install a new structural element – For a bigger transformation, consider building a deck, porch or walkway, or installing a decorative fence. All of these elements can make your yard more welcoming and create spaces outdoors. Before building, be sure to check local building codes, especially if you live in an association.

* Keep your lawn and gardens well maintained – A well-kept yard not only adds instant curb appeal but also dramatically changes the overall look of your home. During the growing season, it’s important to nourish and

trim your trees, shrubs and lawn for optimal growth. Creating a garden can also create a colorful appeal and set your home apart. Gardening tools such as a mini cultivator make it easy to control weeds, work with fertilizer and mix soil to keep your garden looking its best. Investing in all of these outdoor improvements will catch the eye of both envious neighbors and potential homebuyers.

JUNE ISSUE FlexHousing A Home that Adapts to Your Life—Calgary Herald As you go through life, your housing needs will change. A bachelor apartment is fine for your first home away from home but as you get established, you tend to need more space. Whether you are single, have a growing family, are an empty nester or looking for a way to care for aging relatives, most people require different household spaces, amenities and functionality to meet changing needs over time. While it is always possible to move to a home that meets your needs, this can be disruptive and expensive. For some, adapting your existing home may be the better option. However, some homes are not easily, or cost-effectively, altered given how they were designed and built. Fortunately, solutions to this problem are being developed. One approach, championed by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is FlexHousing, which is an approach to designing homes that are versatile and flexible, and can be adapted to meet the varying and changing needs of a household. This makes it possible for people to stay in their homes through significant events and shifts in their lives, without having to undertake costly renovations or move to another home. Essentially, this means that the floor plan and layout of your home has built-in features that allow you to easily change the use of your available space as needed or preferred at a future date. This might include providing expandable space where certain areas of the home, say an attic, rooms over the garage or basement area, are roughed in and left for later finishing to accommodate a growing family or expanded household, or to create a home office. Adaptability also means that you plan to have an easily convertible space where you can adjust the size, or function, of existing areas. This may include making provisions to allow a large bedroom to be converted into two smaller rooms or the reverse, by using moveable or removable walls and locating windows accordingly.

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An adaptable house can also be easily sub-divided into separate spaces to provide a secondary suite with a private entrance and separate heating and electrical services. This can provide living space for a younger or older member of the family, a rental unit for additional income or accommodation for a caregiver. Adaptability also applies to making allowance for future amenities that you can install later as your needs change and budget permits. For instance, by stacking your closets, you can more easily accommodate a home elevator when you need one. A “flex” room on the main level for use as den, home office or master bedroom, is another example of adaptable, flexible housing design. In all cases, careful pre-planning is key. For instance, the placement of loadbearing walls, windows and electrical outlets affects how easily interior spaces can be rearranged. Pre-plumbing and pre-wiring for future needs reduce significantly the cost of installing services later. A potential secondary suite must meet all building code regulations, including fire safety and exit requirements. Accessibility focuses on safe, easy movement and function in the home. A flexible home is accessible for people with mobility, visual and other special requirements. For example, it facilitates seniors’ independence and ability to remain in their home as they age. It offers a comfortable and convenient living environment for everyone in the home, at all times. Accessibility features include on-grade exterior access with no threshold that impedes movement. The doorway should also be covered to protect against rain and snow, and be well lit. In the home, wider doorways and hallways leave plenty of room for wheelchairs, walkers, a baby carriage, and more. A main-floor self-contained living space — living room, kitchen, bathroom (wheelchair-accessible) and flex room — can eliminate the need for stair climbing for people with mobility issues. Having all living areas at the same level (e.g. no sunken living room or elevated great

room or kitchen area) facilitates access throughout. Lever handles on doors and cabinetry should be easy for all to operate, young and old. Non-slip flooring and lower-height light switches are useful and safe features for all. In the bathroom, either install grab bars or provide the necessary reinforcement behind the walls to reduce the work required for future installation. A roll-in shower area can be both accessible and attractive. Also think about A number of other aspects contribute to making FlexHousing™ an ideal starting point to help you plan your new home or home renovation for the long term. Energy efficiency reduces the cost of owning your home, and softens the impact of future increases in energy prices. Plus an energy-efficient home is more comfortable to live in. Water efficiency also helps to reduce your operating costs. In addition to water-saving fixtures, you may want to include lowm a i n t e n a nc e l a n ds c a p i ng , rainwater collection, and grey water recycling. Indoor air quality: the air you breathe has an effect on your health and wellbeing. Keep the air fresh by choosing lowemission, easy-to-clean pr oduc ts , f ur nis hi ngs and finishes.

WAYNE COCHRANE’S REAL ESTATE INSIDER Breathe Easy: Tips for cleaner air at home Written by Harry Roberts Here is an interesting statistic for anyone who worries about the air pollution in their city. Many people spend as much as 90% of their time in their home, where the air can be up to 5 times more polluted than outside. This means that when we start to think about helping the planet it pays to start at home and protect our family. The good news is that this is a lot easier to do than you might think. The following are a few examples of how you could start to improve the quality of the air you and your family members breathe every day. Don’t Smoke Indoors Second hand smoke inhaled by nonsmokers is still a big concern across the world. While many bars, restaurants and offices have now implemented nosmoking policies, the home is somewhere a lot of smokers still choose to light up. The problem is that this dangerous smoke then hangs around the place and can potentially cause serious damage to everyone else who lives there. Cigarette smoke is a knowncancer inducing agent and everyone else who spends time in the house is at risk if someone smokes in there. The best idea is to start to use a strict policy of no smoking indoors in your house. Even better would be to give the habit up if you can find a way to do this. Dust and Clean Regularly Keeping the property clean and tidy is another sensible way of making sure that the air quality is high. It is especially important to do this if there are hairy pets in the home or if there are thick carpets or rugs around the place. You should ensure that you give your house a really thorough clean on a regular basis and carry out slightly less comprehensive cleaning even more frequently. There are no hard and fast rules here but if you can see the dirt or the dust in your home then you need to clean more often than you are doing currently. If you find that it is difficult to

keep the place as clean as you would like then you could think about the changes you could make in this respects, such as replacing heavy floor covering with wood flooring or tiles. Ventilate Well It is also vitally important to ventilate the property well. The simplest way to do this is to just open all the windows wide and let the fresh air in. Opening windows or doors in opposite sides of the home will allow a breeze to blow through and bring fresh air through the home. The bathroom, kitchen and laundry room are all areas where you need to be careful to no let moisture build up in addition to worrying about the dirt and dust that could be there. This will also help to kelp the rooms a nice temperature if it gets really hot during the summer months. If you keep a window open on a latch during the night then this is a very good idea as well. Use a Good Heater Filter and Change It Regularly You may heard of HEPA filters but did you realize just how good they are at stopping dust and debris and other nasty stuff from getting through your heating and cooling systems and other domestic appliances? A HEPA filter is designed to make sure that it traps 99% of the material that passes through it, which is a lot higher than the typical 40% you will find you get from disposable filters. This will ensure that the device works as it should do and that your air is as clean as healthy as possible. It is also important to change even the best heater filters on a regular basis. You might be surprised to find that it is recommended that you do so once every three months, increasing to once a month in periods when you use the equipment more heavily. Add Some Plants You probably already know how

Brain Teasers Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?

important plants and trees are to the wellbeing of the planet as a whole. Well, the same principle applies in your own home too. There are certain plants that are better than others at cleaning the pollutants out of the air and letting you breathe more easily. Aloe Vera, the Snake Plant and the Spider Plant are among the best species you could add to your home in this respect. Stop Dust and Dirt Getting In It is also worth considering how much of the dirt and dust from outside you can stop from getting into your house in the first place. In this case, probably the simplest solution is to put a big door mat at every door. If the occupants get into the habit of wiping their shoes their time they enter then it will definitely help to reduce the amount of harmful pollutants floating about inside the house.

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Word Scramble: smiontpusa

Brothers and sisters I have none but this man's father is my father's son. Who is the man?

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Watering gardens with lead, BPA and phthalates— Written By: Blair Sanderson Garden hoses are a hot commodity these days as gardeners get their vegetables and flowers in the ground, but should we drink from them? Kevin Hurst is assistant manager of a Lee Valley Tools in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he said most people don't read the fine print when they pick out a hose. "On the back here, [there's] a warning, 'this product contains one or more chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects. "I certainly wouldn't let my kid, or any kid that I knew drink from a hose, it's a completely unnecessary risk," said Gideon Foreman, the Toronto, Ontario based executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. "One of the concerns certainly around the garden hose is they are not meant to go into a child's mouth," he explained. "They're not meant to be drunk from ... they're not regulated, and there is some danger that the chemicals in the hose, just like other plastics, can leach."

A non-profit research group in the U.S. called The Ecology Center decided to study which chemicals might be leaching into water being ingested by kids and sprayed on fruit and vegetable gardens. Last year it tested 21 brands and models of hoses. Lead researcher Jeff Gearhart said they found a range of chemicals, including lead, leaching from those hoses. "The level of phthalate plasticizersthat leached into the water [were] four times higher than drinking water standards, andbisphenol A, which is another chemical we're worried about, was 20 times higher than drinking water standards that are commonly used to measure water safety." The research found that hoses made with PVC and vinyl tended to leach

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more phthalates and BPA, while those with copper fittings were t he wors t for l ead co nten t . Health Canada has also weighed in on this. The agency recommends people not drink from hoses, because in addition to the risk of leaching chemicals, dirt, bacteria and small insects can also present a health risk. In an email, a Health Canada spokesperson also suggested that people flush the hose thoroughly with cold water to remove material that may have accumulated in the s t a n d i n g w a t e r . Nicole Mensour lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia with her two children, aged nine and seven. She said she's not going to stop her kids from taking a drink out of the garden hose. "I grew up and we all drank from the garden hose, none of us died from it," she said. "It's not like they're drinking from it every day and filling up their water bottles ... so it must be minimal."

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Still, the federal government is cracking down on chemicals like phthalates and BPA, banning or limiting them from a range of c onsu me r produc ts.

Wayne Cochrane 406-SOLD

The California-based Ecology Center recommends you: Store your hose in the shade to prevent leaching. Choose a hose made of natural rubber or polyurethane. Look for lead-free hoses

WAYNE COCHRANE’S REAL ESTATE INSIDER 5 Summer Decorating Ideas for the Home— By: Edmonton Real Estate Info Summer is almost upon us, and you may think of adjusting your decor to get ready for the season. Here are 5 summery ideas that will give your house the breezy, relaxing feel of the warmer months without needing to do a sweaty overhaul.

find. Remember to look for light, splashy summer themes when searching for the right pillowcases to lighten the living room!

Ditch Heavy Rugs in Favour of Lighter Fare

Not ready to take on a paint roller? Use beachy motifs like seashells to turn your house into a vacation home.

Thick, cozy rugs are a staple for the winter months. When warmer weather arrives, however, it's best to switch up wool with lighter, more breathable floorwear. Cotton and linen rugs are easy to maintain and store easily towards fall and winter. And Instead of darker, busy patterned rugs, let the room breathe with light neutrals to open up the space. For a more exotic, beachy feel, use bright colors and bold designs. Add a Splash of Brightness to the Walls For the more enthusiastic redecorator, a great way to make the ultimate summer statement is to do an old-fashioned p a i n t j o b . Re-energize your room by using splashy, bold colors like blue, tangerine, or yellow. Your space will look breezy and fun with a whole new look. Change up the Theme by Changing up Pillowcases Bring the summer breeze into your home by putting bright floral pillowcases on your throw pillows and cushions. Changing pillowcases is an easy temporary décor change that can freshen up your home to match any season. Look for a spare approach to brushstrokes and bright colors on your pillowcases instead of dark, oppressive prints to lend your room a few bright spots of summer color. Home and accessories stores everywhere sell pillowcases, so these looks are super easy to

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Make a Subtle Seasonal Accents



No need to store your entire old decor! Simply add seashell and beachthemed touches to decorations you already own like vases, curtains, and wall accessories to bring the Oceanside indoors. Guests and family alike will love the beach-house feel. Dine a la Fresca on a Warm Summer Night Your yard's probably been neglected during the inhospitable winter months. Take back the backyard this summer during its balmy evenings and refreshing nights. Turn an evening outside into a luau with tiki torches that take the space out of your home and into Hawaii. To keep outdoor creatures like mosquitoes from cramping your style,

set out some citronella candles near the food or seating area. Make it a tropical night to remember with a significant other, family, and friends! With its lush colors, bright sunshine, and warm weather, the summer is a great time to redecorate and refresh your home in many ways. Keep your budget in mind when you decide which projects to take on and use these simple, easy ideas to breathe fresh life into your space.


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w w w. m o o v i n g . c a Kingswood North $

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Wayne Cochrane Real Estate Professional 902-830-4761 unless noted otherwise

Note: This is not intended to solicit clients currently under contract. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

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Wayne Cochrane’s Real Estate Insider - June 2014  
Wayne Cochrane’s Real Estate Insider - June 2014  

This newsletter is full of interesting and useful information that I think you will enjoy whether you are a homeowner or currently renting....