Advantages of a Well Maintained Home

What are advantages of a well maintained home when selling?

  • Your home is more emotionally appealing in and out
  • You create a level playing field or advantage over competition
  • The home’s value is preserved, as inattention lead to costly repairs
  • Speaks of a safe and environmentally healthy home
  • Eliminates or lessens renegotiations due to deficiencies found
  • Results in a profitable net gain over time

What do maintenance, repairs and replacements cost?

Caulking windows, replacing a furnace filter, cleaning gutters and sealing an asphalt drive may only add up to a few hundred dollars a year and your time. At some point, replacing a new furnace, roof and central air can add up to thousands of dollars. Windows, kitchens and baths, flooring, and decorating eventually become worn and outdated, necessitating periodic and potentially costly remodeling.

Industry estimates on average annual cost over time

Industry estimates suggest that a homeowner should expect an average annual cost of 1% to 3% of the price paid for the home as a measure of anticipated cost for maintenance, repairs and replacements. A home’s age and condition at time of purchase can affect these averages.

How does overall maintenance and replacement affect value?

We certainly didn’t do an in depth study. For fun and as a small test, we looked at 8 mid-range homes, their initial price, the cost of maintenance over time, the homes age when purchased, length of ownership and selling price or appraised value. Here’s what we arrived at:

  • Homes new to 4 years old when purchased averaged an annual maintenance cost of $2,003 and 1.25% of initial purchase price. Their average length of ownership was 15 years and their average net gain in value after cost of maintenance was 3%.
  • A home 27 years old when purchased required updating and repairs. It had a length of ownership of 32 years and was 59 years old when sold. This home averaged maintenance and replacement costs of $2,891 per year or 8% of initial price and a net gain of 3.86% when sold.
  • Another home, 22 years old when purchased resulted in the following: Length of ownership was only 3 years, average annual maintenance/updating was $5,000 or 2.2% of initial price and net gain on sale was 3.2%.

The industry average of 1% to 3% annually for maintenance represents a good rule of thumb. As well, our little study produced a net gain of around 3% for average, mid-range homes.  

Eugen Pilato is with CENTURY 21 Today Realty Ltd. in Fort Erie, ON

Improving Your Home with Eco Friendly Products

Since climate change is a real concern these days, it is a great idea to keep your home clean using environmentally friendly products. Below are some environmentally friendly products you can use in replacement of your existing not so eco friendly products.

1. Using biodegradable products. Nowadays it’s quite easy to determine if a product is biodegradable or not as most of the time it is indicated on the label. Make sure to read the label carefully before purchasing any item. Harsh cleaning materials such as bleach are not only harmful to hands but also to the environment.

One alternative to replace this product is to use lemon juice or white vinegar to wipe out those stains and remove odour. A salt and water or a cream of tartar and hot water combination are also useful as cleansers and very environmentally friendly.

Another common biodegradable product that can be used everyday is the recycled paper bag. Instead of using plastics as storage containers, you may opt for cartons or recycled paper bags to store your items. Besides being eco friendly, you can even decorate them or personally customize them in accordance to your homes decor.

2. Using natural disinfectants. In recent years, viruses, germs and bacteria that cause illness and disease seem to be spreading faster than ever. One way to protect yourself from some of them is by keeping your home clean using disinfectants. It is wise to use alternative natural disinfectants which can be quite inexpensive and may even be available in your home already. Eucalyptus oil, vinegar, borax, grapefruit seed extract, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and lemon juice are all alternative natural disinfectants. It is important to note that it is still advisable to use commercial disinfectants to clean common bacteria-induced areas such as toilets and doorknobs, but again there are several products on the market which are more environmentally friendly than others – just read the label.

3. Avoid using cleaning products that contain phosphate. Phosphate is a common ingredient in detergents which come in powder, gel or tablet form. Phosphate is known to promote algae growth in lakes and oceans which kills fish and other underwater creatures due to suffocation. The good news is that there are phosphate-free detergents available on the market which are safe for the environment. You may also opt for phosphate free liquid detergents rather than using powder detergents for cleaning your clothes – the same is true for your dishwasher detergents.

These are just few tips to help you start using environment friendly and safe products in your home. If you cannot avoid having toxic or poisonous products in your home, be sure to label them properly and keep them well out of the reach of children to avoid unnecessary accidents.

Again, it is useful to read the labels of all the products you buy for your home to determine if the product is environmentally friendly or not. With the use of environmentally friendly products I’m sure you will not only achieve the same cleaning effect as with toxic products but you may also save some money!

Jamie Dann is with B.J. Roth Realty Ltd. in Barrie, ON.

Make Fire Safety Part of Your Holiday Preparation

This holiday season, the Prince Edward County Fire Department and Fire Prevention Officer Michael Branscombe urge you to treat fire with respect. Every year in Ontario, the joy of the holiday season is marred by tragic fire deaths.

“Before the festivities begin, test your smoke alarms and review your fire escape plan with your family and guests. Don’t invite disaster to your holiday celebrations. Make sure every level of the home has a working smoke alarm. Just take a few life-saving minutes to protect yourself and your family.

Here are some fire safety tips for you, your family and friends:

  • Make sure your cut tree is fresh, and keep the stand full of water at all times
  • At home or at work, make sure your tree doesn’t block a doorway
  • Check all decorative lights before placing them on the tree and discard any frayed or damaged lights and cords
  • Keep your Christmas tree away from all heat sources and never place lighted candles on or near the tree When large amounts of needles begin to fall off, it’s time to get rid of the tree
  • Don’t burn wrapping paper or ribbons
  • Always use a fireplace screen
  • Make sure candles are in secure holders and place them out of the reach of children
  • Ensure that there is a properly installed and working smoke alarm next to each and every sleeping area in your home
  • Test your smoke alarms to make sure they are in good working order and change the batteries, if necessary
  • Ensure all members of your household know two ways out of every room
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is kept in an accessible place and the owner knows how to use properly. Every home, camper and trailer should have a fire extinguisher.

Pet-proofing your Christmas tree this year

Avoid tinsel. Cats find it delicious and fun to chew, but it can cause serious damage to their digestive systems.

That pan of water that is keeping your tree from drying out can be very attractive to thirsty pets. But that sticky water can also make them very sick. Discourage drinking by cutting a piece of screen or other sturdy mesh fabric to fit and duct tape it over the pan. This will keep little tongues out while still allowing you to replenish the water supply.

Cats love to bat balls around — especially bright, shiny ones that are attached to a Christmas tree. Prevent breakage and possible injury by decorating your tree with plastic or wooden ornaments.

That little metal stand that is holding your tree in the vertical position is no match for a rowdy pet with a running start. Get rid of it and invest in a large, sturdy tree stand. For extra protection, attach a string of fishing line from the top of the tree to a small hook in the ceiling.

Puppies like to chew on things and those lower limbs of your Christmas tree may prove irresistible even to the best-behaved little dog. Surrounding your tree with a baby pen might not be the most attractive solution, but is surely the safest. Otherwise, don’t allow your puppy to be alone in the same room as the Christmas tree.

To discourage chewing on your light cords, spray them with bitter apple. Unplug the lights when not in use.

Clean up fallen needles regularly. Some dogs will eat just about anything and these sharp pine needles can cause internal injuries if ingested.

Don’t decorate with edible ornaments. If it smells like food, a determined pet will find a way to reach it.

The Prince Edward County Fire Department even has the perfect Christmas gift idea for those hard to buy for folks. This year put smoke alarms or portable fire extinguishers on your gift list for family and friends.

What better way to show you care than to give a gift that can save a life?

Jason Young is with Lanthorn Real Estate Ltd. in Picton, ON.