Even Novices Can Keep These Plants Alive

Tons of Canadian homeowners end up frustrated by their inability to keep plants alive, when, in reality, the problem might be the plants themselves. Certain plants need very specific conditions or types of nutrition to thrive, all of which might not work in everyone’s home. If you’re looking for some low-care plants that are easy for beginners and will still give your home a lush, botanical vibe, look no further than these:

Jade plants
A specific type of succulent, jade plants hail from South Africa and have thick, rubbery leaves that come in varying shades of green. They thrive in dry conditions, which means they can withstand minimal watering and they don’t require direct sunlight.

With a distinctly southwestern look, Yucca plants hail from Mexico and are characterized by a sturdy trunk and long, pointed leaves in a vivid green. They can grow quite large but don’t require extensive maintenance.

With their dark, heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines, Philodendrons are some of the lowest-maintenance trailing plants on the market. Just water them once a week and enjoy their tousled, boho vibe, which looks especially chic trailing from atop a bookshelf.

With its banana-style leaves and strong trunk, these plants look like they come from the tropics, but are extremely hardy. They like to dry out between waterings and do just fine in low light. They can grow up to 12 feet, so make a great statement plant in a main room.

Remember, keeping plants alive is less about having that elusive “green thumb” and more about matching plants to your living conditions and the level of care you’re comfortable providing.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

How to Stage Your Bedroom for Optimal Zen

Next to kitchens and bathrooms, it’s bedrooms that often catch the eye of luxury buyers. These kinds of buyers want an end-of-day retreat that’s a true oasis: spacious, tranquil and with all the high-end features buyers have come to expect. When staging your home to appeal to this demographic, keep these tips in mind:

Buy the biggest bed you can. While keeping in mind that a bed should still have room on either side, comfortably, for nightstands, buy the biggest size bed that will fit the space. Nothing says “retreat” like a luxuriously-made up, king-sized bed..

Pay attention to sheets and other textiles. Rich, touchable fabric can really set the mood in a bedroom, especially in materials like silk and mohair. Bedding in neutral colours with a selection of cushions and pillows can evoke a restful vibe, while layers add a cozy, elegant vibe.

Neutral shades are key. When trying to invoke a tranquil atmosphere, it’s often best to go with neutral colours for walls, floors, window treatments and other textiles. This provides a calming, cohesive palette, while making spaces feel larger than they really are.

Opt for minimalist accessories. Try removing clutter from nightstands or other surfaces. Lamps are fine, as are the odd accessory in a high-end material like marble or gold, but avoid too many items that impact the tranquility. Often a bed and nightstands, and maybe a plush armchair or upholstered bench at the foot of the bed, are all you need.

Add some tasteful botanical elements. Why not add a natural scent to the room and an exotic feel with a bouquet of white lilies or other fragrant blooms? A simple floral arrangement, freshly prepared, can give an edge to your luxury bedroom staging.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Does Your HVAC Unit Need to Be Replaced?

If you’ve recently encountered problems with heating or cooling your home, you might be wondering whether your HVAC unit needs to be replaced or repaired. By asking yourself the following questions, you will be able to gain some insight into whether you’ll be shopping for a repair service or a new unit.

How old is my HVAC unit?
Most HVAC units have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Although they can last longer than 15 years with exceptional care, most furnaces get consistent use throughout the winter months, and this can wear down the unit more easily. If your HVAC unit is over 15 years old, it may be time to consider searching for a replacement unit. If your unit is newer than that, you may just be looking at repairs.

Have my bills been increasing?
While checking bills is no one’s favourite thing, it might be able to tell you whether your HVAC unit needs to be replaced or simply repaired. If you find that your utilities have been rising consistently over the months, this can be a sign that your unit is losing its efficiency and it may be time to invest in a new one. Considering the energy-saving models that are now available, replacing may be a wiser decision than hoping for the best with another repair attempt.

How often has it been repaired?
If your unit has undergone multiple repairs within the past year or two, it might be time to consider a replacement. Frequent repairs can be a sign that the unit is beginning to fail overall, and while it may seem like the cheaper option to just repair, recurring maintenance costs begin to add up. If the total of the combined repairs over the past few years is a significant amount, your money might be better spent with a replacement.

Are there irregularities with my unit like noises or cracks?
Have you started to hear noises from your HVAC unit that you haven’t heard before? Or are you seeing cracks or rust form? Noises such as popping or banging indicate that the parts are beginning to wear, and physical problems like rust can be caused by a leak. These problems happen more frequently with older units and can be a sign that a replacement will be needed soon.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

8 Evergreen Tips That Hold True in Any Real Estate Market

The real estate industry in Canada has so many factors that can influence the market such as economic activity, interest rates and changes in demographics. Among the changes though are certain things that remain pretty much the same during the ebb and flow of the real estate waves. Here are eight evergreen real estate tips regardless of what the market is doing at any given moment:

Know what the current market is doing. Even though the real estate market is malleable, it’s pretty much certain that a property will sell for no more or no less than what the market will currently bear. That’s why it’s crucial that you do some research using a number of sources so you’re confident about the buying or selling price.

Negotiate lowball offers. If your REALTOR presents you with an offer from a buyer substantially lower than your asking price, you might feel insulted. Try to use logic instead of emotion in this circumstance. Many purchasers are open to counter offers, so think about writing back. Looking at a deal as a competition may just lead to sabotaging and difficult negotiations. Always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

Negotiate from a collaborative viewpoint. Don’t think of the other guy as the enemy, whether you’re the vendor or the purchaser. If you work together, you’ll both be happy with the outcome.

Remember to consider the fees. There are many extra expenses to keep in mind: Lawyer’s fee, lender fees, appraisal fees. Factor them into what you’ll need to close the deal.

Location, location, location. If you’re planning on purchasing investment property, location is an evergreen factor telling you where to invest. Do your homework about the area in which you’re thinking of buying. Would you want to live there?

Keep your home sparkling when selling. Your home is more likely to sell faster, even in a slower market, if it’s well maintained, free of clutter and pristine. Make sure to spruce up the outside, too.

The value of your home is determined by the purchasers. Your home is worth what someone will pay for it. This is true no matter what the market conditions are.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

7 Things to Know Before Becoming a Landlord

A terrific way to start building some equity is to purchase a rental property. Although it may ultimately give you some cash in the bank, there are a few things Canadians need to know before inking that deal on income units.

Remember it’s a business. The bottom line is that you purchased the property to ultimately make money. Any business has its ups and downs, and it’s the same with owning a rental property. You need to have a budget for upkeep and repairs, and don’t sweat the small stuff. If tenants are a couple days late with the rent, give them a call before panicking.

Make sure to buy the right property for you. Maybe a duplex is easier to manage at first rather than a multi-unit building. It might also be easier to find the right tenants for a duplex, and chances are the vacancy rate is a lot less.

Familiarize yourself with the rental rules. Each province and territory in Canada has its own rules when it comes to rental units. As a landlord, you should have a copy of what those are and get as familiar with them as possible. There are provincial agencies that can help you with that.

Screen prospective tenants. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to find the right tenants. The last thing you want is for a renter to cause damage, be rowdy and to affect the lives of other tenants negatively. There’s more to finding the right tenant other than if they will pay their rent on time. You have every right to ask for credit checks and references from past landlords.

Build positive landlord-tenant relationships. Keeping good tenants is crucial, so you will want to do everything you can for them when they need you. Being kind and understanding doesn’t cost you a cent and it will go a long way in keeping your tenants happy.

Be a hands-on landlord. It’s important to show your face around your property once in a while. You might also find it useful to develop a group of professionals who will help you if something does need fixing and you can’t do it yourself, such as plumbers, electricians or handymen.

Get good insurance. Make sure the building is well-insured against anything that could go wrong"that includes personal injuries on the property. And although you can’t force a tenant to get renter’s insurance, you might want to recommend that they do so since your policy won’t cover their personal property.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Christmas Glow Holiday Festival comes to Vancouver!

The newest attraction this Holiday season has finally set foot in Vancouver again! It only showed up in 2017 so every year is bigger and better! It is open NOW!

Experience a family-friendly indoor wonderland as you celebrate the magic of Christmas and help elves uncover Santa's lost presents! Enjoy interactive light gardens, illuminated structures, delicious food, festive drinks, and daily live entertainment all under the twinkle of a million lights. Laugh, stroll, and play under the twinkle of a million lights as you explore Glow's light gardens and illuminated structures. There's a playground to entertain your kids for hours while you enjoy seasonal beverages, delicious food, and live music at their licensed bar.

There's certainly something for everyone at Glow!

Come visit with the entire family until January 5, 2019, at the Harbour Convention Centre, 760 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6B 5E7. More information by clicking here.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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