While everyone is happy to see spring weather arrive, particularly those of us living in Barrie where sometimes winter overstays its welcome, it generally brings with it the need to get busy organizing, decluttering and CLEANING. Yes, even in a new home, townhome or condo. In order to keep your new home looking and feeling fresh and new, we’ve put together a quick list of spring cleaning tips and reminders.
- Wipe Your Feet – Invest in good front or side doormats. There are plenty of opportunities to get your shoes and boots muddy in the spring so make sure you and your family have somewhere to wipe off the dirt (preferably outside of your house).
- And Wipe Your Paws – If you have pets, keep a rag close to the door; unless you’ve figured out a way for them to use your newly purchased outdoor doormat.
- Call the Rug Doctor – When shoes are not removed or when socks are not worn, carpets and rugs can quickly become faded. You can rent a steam cleaner and do it yourself once or twice a year. Professionals should only need to be called in for major issues or once every three or four years.
- Clean Wall-to-Wall – Wash and/or touch up painted walls, particularly in high traffic areas. Today’s paints are formulated to be washed with a sponge and warm water. For tougher stains you can use a mild dish detergent or even a household cleaner like Fantastik, although keep in mind some of these products do have bleach or solvents, which can damage your paint. Once you’ve removed the stain, rinse again with warm water on a sponge. If necessary, go over rough areas with a fine sandpaper, drywall compound and touch up paint job.
- Look Up, Look Way Up – Survey the tops and corners of your walls for cobwebs, which have a way of appearing out of nowhere. User a duster or your vacuum with a soft brush attachment to detangle the work of your arachnid house guests.
- Window Washing – Pull out your window screens, then vacuum or run them through the shower. Use a strong cleaner, rubber gloves and a scouring pad to remove any mold or mildew from around window panes. Naturally, wipe down window panes with a good quality glass cleaner or make your own glass cleaner with readily available products from your supermarket.
- Remove The Dust You Can’t See – Remove your vents and vaccum what you can from your ducts. If you use a stand-up vacuum, change the HEPA filter regularly so you are not blowing dust and allergens back into the air. Also, be sure to change your furnace filter on a regular basis. Mark the date on your calendar so you remember to make this a common occurrence.
- Go Into the Closet – Say a fond farewell to your winter coats, touques, mittens, scarves and boots; at least for the next six months or so.
- Décor Change – Be sure to take down your Christmas decorations or snowmen and replace them with more seasonal accents like spring flowers and brightly coloured pillows or throws. Even small fresh changes can make a world of difference. Our Barrie home interior design team can provide great ideas based on the latest design trends.
- Don’t Just Clean…CLEAN! – Commit a day or a weekend, as well as other members of your family whether they like it or not, to really getting down and dirty with your scrubbing. Pull out the stove and fridge, dust behind the TV, the stereo and the dresser in your bedroom, scrub the kitchen countertop and the shower tiles. Turn up the tunes and try to make it a fun exercise, instead of a chore. The time you put in will make your home look great, will create a healthier living environment and will make you feel good in a home you can be proud of sharing with your family and friends.
Let us know if you’ve any other tips or tricks you’ve come to find particularly effective when it comes to your own spring cleaning.
Posted in Design Advice, Maintenance Tips | Tagged Barrie, home, spring cleaning | Leave a Comment »
Buying a home can be an exciting experience, especially for first-time homebuyers. However, it can also be stressful, as you want to make sure the entire process goes smoothly. One of the first decisions you need to address is whether to buy new home or resale. There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to both. Here are a few things to consider when looking specifically at these two options with a natural bias to the advantages of buying a new home from a Barrie home builder.
The first advantage to purchasing a new home is obvious. No one has ever lived in a new home. It is newly built, so everything is new. Other advantages of buying a new home include:
- You get to choose: With a new home, you get to decorate it the way you want. You can pick the colors, styles and brands. You can choose the carpet or hardwood flooring, wall paint colours, kitchen and bathroom cupboards, countertops and a variety of other options. A new home offers you the ability to define the atmosphere of your home.
- More energy efficient: New homes are generally more energy efficient. The insulation is better and the appliances, if included, will be more up-to-date.
- More modern: A new home builder will offer you more contemporary and modern styles.
- Lower cost of maintenance: Since everything is new, you will generally save money on the cost of short-term maintenance. If something does need to be repaired, it will generally be covered by a new home warranty.
- Low down-payments, rent-to-own or sweat equity options: If finances are tight, new home builders can offer flexible payment terms and unique programs to make your dream of home ownership a reality.
A resale home has naturally had a previous owner/occupant. It may be only a few years old or it could be decades old depending on your preference and the neighborhood you are choosing. There are certainly some factors you will want to weigh if you are considering a resale.
- You do not get to choose: It can take some time to find the right resale as you are effectively buying a house with the style of the previous owner. You will likely want to do some of your own decorating or maybe even remodeling and you have to remember there is a cost associated with that including perhaps your time.
- The general condition of the home and unseen risks. You will naturally want to have a professional home inspection done, no matter the age of the home, however, even then you are running some risks in purchasing a resale from unseen foundation cracks to roof leaks or faulty plumbing and wiring.
- Warranties: Generally, the warranties of the home and any included appliances will have expired.
- Layout: Many older homes have poor layouts and the rooms are typically smaller.
If you are looking for more flexibility, control and overall security in the home you are purchasing and will presumably be living in for the foreseeable future, then you are best to consider making your first home a new home. Barrie, in particular, has many great new townhome, condo and detached home options to choose from.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Barrie, condos, new home, resale home, townhomes | Leave a Comment »
Barrie continues to be a hot spot for home buyers from the GTA looking to escape the constant rush and mounting costs of the big city, but not its conveniences or amenities. Barrie has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years in terms of shopping, services, fine dining and nightlife. For those who still want to get to Toronto for work or pleasure, regular weekly GoTrain service runs from Barrie’s Allandale and South Barrie stations.
Pratt’s Manhattan condo and townhome community has likewise grown with its broad range of options for singles, young couples, new families or those looking to scale back in their retirement years. In Phase II, which will be officially released at 40 Ferndale Drive South in Barrie on Saturday, November 3rd (though pre-sales have already been brisk), both townhomes and eightplex condos have been introduced. Fully decorated models are readily available for viewing and Pratt Homes sales staff can answer any question related to buying a new home, downpayments, financing or anything in between as they’ve likely heard them before.
Manhattan has truly evolved as a lifestyle getaway community over the last year with its Central Park complete with a walking trails, a covered gazebo and quick access to Barrie’s Eco-Park; a place to relax and unwind after a long workday or for the weekend.
If you’re looking at new homes in Barrie or considering a move to a condo environment, do have a look at all Manhattan has to offer.
Posted in Condo Living, Townhomes | Leave a Comment »
The Ontario Building Code went through several changes in January 2012 to ensure Ontario home builders are producing more energy efficient housing. Some of the new regulations included:
- more energy efficient windows and sliding doors.
- higher insulation regulations for ceilings, walls, foundation walls and basements.
- limitations on thermal bridging (i.e. the loss of heat through studs).
- high efficiency rated gas and propane fired furnaces (90%).
- higher standards for electrically heated homes.
The effect this had had on new home builders in Barrie and elsewhere as well as the benefits to new home buyers are dramatic. Homes built after 2011 will have a 35% increase in energy efficiency over homes built as recently as 2006.
Pratt Homes has been instituting the use of a number of new and innovate products to increase the energy efficiency of their new homes.
All Pratt new townhomes and detaches homes in Barrie come with a Drain Water Heat Recovery unit. Cold water coming into the house runs through a series of copper coils which are wrapped tightly around a drain stack. As hot drain water passes through the stack, cold fresh water passes up through the copper coils and heat is transferred, thereby pre-heating the cold water before it enters the hot water heater. Drain water never mixes with the fresh water; it simply pre-heats it to save energy use by the water heater.
Probably the biggest improvements in energy efficiency come in the area of insulation products. Pratt’s current townhome projects have seen exterior particle board replaced by an extruded polystyrene rigid insulation. Nearly all construction materials are exposed to water in the form of vapour, liquid or solid ice; however, this product has been manufactured with components which limit water absorption making it much more effective than other traditional insulation or sheeting products. This insulation, along with stringent new installation guidelines, provides an excellent Air Barrier System with much less air leakage and several benefits to the homeowner:
- the home is quieter as there are fewer paths for airborne noise penetration.
- the building is more durable because of the reduced potential for moisture damage from condensation due to air leakage.
- the home is more comfortable with reduced drafts allowing for better control over heating and cooling.
Today’s new home buyer can derive many benefits and cost savings, while helping to protect the environment by purchasing and living in an energy efficient home. Pratt Homes is doing its part to also help in the effort.
Posted in Home Building | Tagged Barrie, energy efficiency, home building, new homes, Ontario | Leave a Comment »