If you have a basement, or even just a crawlspace, the last thing you want is water infiltrating the area. Even a minor leak can cause damage to walls and flooring, and may even lead to mould issues. Here are some precautions worth taking:
 

  • Every spring and fall, check the grading around your home. The ground should gently slope away from the foundation. Pay particular attention to areas where shrubs and other foliage make the grading difficult to see.
  • Look for cracks in the foundation. Get them fixed right away. Even a minor crack that doesn't appear to penetrate all the way through can cause problems eventually.
  • Check the caulking on basement windows. If it's worn and cracked, it's time for recaulking. The lifespan of most exterior caulking is less than five years.
  • Watch the eavestroughs when it rains. (You'll get wet, but it's worth it.) Make sure the water drains well away from the foundation.

Doing these simple inspections takes just a few minutes. Yet, if they prevent a basement leak, it's time well spent!

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If you're planning to look for a new home sometime in the future, you may be wondering how long the process will take. How much time should you set aside for viewings? How many of the listed homes should you see? 

Of course, the process varies from person to person. According to the Department of Housing & Urban Development, home buyers view an average of 15 properties before finally choosing to make an offer on one of them. That number may be a good benchmark for you. 

On a Saturday afternoon, you can comfortably look at three or four potential properties. You can see more if you want to make a full day of it. 

One factor that impacts the home shopping process is how clearly you know what you're looking for. 

For example, if you're certain you want a three bedroom backsplit, backing onto a wooded area or ravine, in an upscale neighbourhood, then the process is going to be fairly simple. You're just going to view properties that closely meet that criteria. 

But if you're the kind of person who simply says, "I'll know it when I see it", then you'll need to look at several homes on the market. That means carving out plenty of room in your schedule for viewings. 

A good realtor can help you understand what's available on the market and which homes are worth seeing. He or she can also help you determine how long the process will likely take, and show you ways to make the process go more quickly and smoothly.

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Whether you're considering buying a particular home, selling your current property – or both – a home inspection can help.

A home inspection is an inspection by a qualified professional who takes a close look at every aspect of a home – structure, wiring, plumbing, and more – and identifies issues you may not have noticed yourself.

For example, a home inspection can reveal that a furnace will need to be replaced soon, or that there is a water leak into the basement that needs to be fixed.

You'll definitely want to get a professional home inspection before you buy a particular property. That's why most offers to purchase a home are conditional upon passing a home inspection. (The last thing you want is to buy your dream home only to discover that the wiring needs to be updated!)

You may also want to get a home inspection on your own home before you list it for sale. A certificate from a qualified professional that states that your home passed inspection will make your property more attractive to buyers.

Many reputable home inspectors are members of a professional industry association.

In Canada:

In the U.S.

It's important to note that certification or licensing is not a requirement in many jurisdictions. So select a home inspector carefully.

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There are few things more traumatic than a home burglary. That's why it makes sense to invest in good locks and, if necessary, a good alarm system.

There are also ways to work with your neighbours to prevent these crimes from occurring. In fact, police say that watchful eyes are one of the best ways to deter burglars on the prowl.

Police recommend that you know the names of all the neighbours adjacent to your property. Get in the habit of watching each other's homes. Stay alert to cars and people lingering around that don't seem to belong. 

Another strategy is to set up a community Facebook page. That way, when someone sees something suspicious in the neighbourhood, they can immediately notify everyone by posting a Facebook message.

Finally, don't be a stranger. It has been proven that the better neighbours know one another, the lower the crime rate is in the area.

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There are several reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly. For example, a job change may require a speedy relocation to another city, or you may have purchased another property and don't want to be stuck too long with two mortgages. Here are some tips that can help get the sold sign on your front lawn sooner:

  • Be realistic with price. If you set the listing price higher than the current market value of your home, then you're not going to get many, if any, viewers. You want the list price to be attractive, which means listing at the current market value. 
  • Get things fixed. You probably don't have time for a major renovation. So just make sure everything in your home is in good working order. Deal with any obvious maintenance issues, such as a leaking faucet or a gate hanging precariously on one hinge.
  • Ensure your home shows well, inside and outside. Eliminate clutter. Trim hedges. Make sure every room has adequate lighting, especially the basement. Imagine that a special guest is visiting your home, then clean up and prepare accordingly.
  • Be flexible with viewing times. You want as many potential buyers as possible to see your home. So don't restrict viewing times to just Saturdays. Make sure your home is as "available" as possible for showings. This may cause you and your family some inconvenience, but the reward will be selling your property sooner.
  • Work with a good realtor. Find an agent who understands the area and the local market well. He or she will be able to recommend a variety of strategies that will help sell your home faster, and for a good price.

Of course, there's no way to guarantee that you'll sell your home within the time frame you want. But these tips will certainly increase the chances that you will.

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