Randy Miller

Broker Of Record

Urban Avenue Realty Ltd., Brokerage

Whitby & Brooklin Real Estate

Office 905-430-1800

Direct 905-430-9444

Email: randy@randymiller.ca

Categories

 

Fall Cleaning

 

When the days start getting shorter and the weather is getting cold, you know, summer is over and it's time for your fall cleaning. Cleaning your home in the fall is about a new beginning, and getting your family prepared for the upcoming seasons.


When it comes to your real estate, now is the time to start thinking about getting your outdoors ready for winter’s frost. Use fall's brisk and breezy days to conquer deep-cleaning chores for a clean and comfortable winter home, and to wrap up summer's outdoor lifestyle.


Fall is the perfect time to take care of the little things that can make a big difference for you and your home.


Outside the house:
 

  • Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas, children's summer toys.
  • Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks. Use a wire brush to remove flaking paint; prime bare wood first.
  • Check caulk around windows and doors. Button up your overcoat. Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk.
  • Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed.
  • Wash exterior windows.
  • Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In hard-freeze areas, have sprinkler systems blown free of water.
  • Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams.
  • Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.
  • Get on top of roof problems. Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.
  • Walks the walks (and drives). Take steps to repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps.
  • Chill out. Drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.
  • Freshen your filter. Clean or replace dirty furnace filters.
  • Give your furnace a physical. Have a professional inspect your heating system.
  • Gather round the hearth. Check fireplaces for soot or creosote build-up. Better yet, schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep.
  • Keep the humidifier humming. Clean the plates or pads to ensure efficient operation.
  • Head-off gas problems. If you have a gas-fired room heater, have it inspected by a pro. Also, perform any routine maintenance recommended by the maker.
  • Keep the wood fires burning brightly. Wood stoves are making a comeback. To avoid a deadly situation, be sure to inspect yours before firing it up.
  • Keep your family safe at home. A home safety check should be an annual ritual in every household. Test smoke and CO monitors, inspect (or install) fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans, and rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards.
  • Mice prevention. Trim tree branches so none come within six feet of your house and keep the areas around your house clean and free of trash, woodpiles or dense weeds. There are many 'green' remedies for getting rid of rodents. Try throwing mothballs around the footing of your house, or strategically place cloths sprinkled with peppermint oil around the foundation of your home. Apple cider vinegar is said to eliminate them as well. Seal all cracks and holes on the outside of your house. If the hole is large enough, trying stuffing it with steel wool before you seal it.
  • Lawn fertilizer. To help fuel your grass' recovery for next spring, you’ll need to fertilize your turf.

Inside the house:
 

You spend most of the time indoors when the weather gets cold, so the more you do now to clean and arrange your space, the more pleasant it will be for the cold season.

  • Focus on public rooms: living room, family room, entryway, guest bath.
  • Clean from top to bottom. Vacuum drapes and window treatments. Clean window sills and window wells. Vacuum baseboards and corners.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture, or have professionally cleaned if needed. Move furniture and vacuum beneath and behind it.
  • Wash interior windows.
  • Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to equalize wear.
  • Launder or clean all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, comforters. Tuck the family into a warm and cozy winter bed.
  • Schedule professional carpet cleaning early this month! Warm October afternoons speed carpet drying. Carpet cleaning firms get busy by the end of October, so schedule now for best service.
  • Prepare the kitchen for holiday cooking. Clean and organized kitchen cabinets, paying particular attention to baking supplies, pans and equipment.
  • Clear kitchen counters of all appliances not used within the last week. Clear counters look cleaner--and provide more room for holiday cooking.
  • Pull refrigerator away from the wall, and vacuum the condenser coils. For bottom-mounted coils, use a long, narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.
  • Wash light-diffusing bowls from light fixtures.
  • Inspect each appliance. Does it need supplies? Stock up on softener salt now, and avoid staggering over icy sidewalks with heavy bags.
  • Check and empty the central vacuum's collection area.
  • Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher (consult manual for specific product recommendations).
  • Clean or replace humidifier elements before the heating season begins.
  • Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks or splits. Replace them every other year.
  • Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds' nests! Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.
  • Schedule fall furnace inspections now. Don't wait for the first cold night!
  • Buy a winter's supply of furnace filters. Change filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort. When the right filter is on hand, it's an easy job!
  • Drain sediment from hot water heaters.

 

Source:

  • Ewer, Cynthia. "Fall Cleaninig Chore Checklist". organizedhome.com. <http://organizedhome.com/seasonal-spin/fall-cleaning-chore-checklist>
  • Eco-safe fall maintenance projects. http://www.remonline.com/eco-safe-fall-maintenance-projects/

 

 

Home selling in fall is the second best time of the year to sell a home. Families have returned from summer vacations. Kids have gone back to school. If you need help to sell your home, contact me. I can provide you with exceptional services and market your home, condo or commercial building to its fullest potential.


 

 

 

Randy Miller

Broker    

Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400


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Surprise! No insurance!

 

There is a lot of confusion out there by buyers and real estate salespeople as to what insurance is required when buying a condominium. The mistake is that some condo buyers think that the household insurance is somehow covered by their common expense payment each month. In most cases, it isn't and the buyer will still have to pay for part of the damages, even if they have done nothing wrong.

 

Condominium buildings do have an insurance policy that insures the building and the units but it does not cover everything and there are deductibles involved. It will not cover should damage occur, whether by a leaking pipe, fire or smoke damage. A building insurance policy typically will cover common areas, such as the structure, lobby and elevators, but does not cover an owner’s personal belongings. Nor does it cover any improvements that you have made to your unit or if you damage someone else’s unit or property or someone gets hurt while visiting your unit. As a result, most condominium buyers purchase a policy that provides coverage for their contents, any upgrades that they do to their unit and liability insurance to protect them if someone gets hurt visiting their unit.

 

Upgrades can include hardwood floor, ceramic tiles, carpets, cabinetry, appliances, counters and perhaps a sound system that you installed in your unit. The good news is that you can buy insurance to protect yourself from this type of liability.

 

Unit owners are generally responsible for any repairs and maintenance for anything in the unit itself. For this reason, it is generally advisable to have a condominium inspected by a home inspector to look at the plumbing, HVAC or other systems that may be the unit owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair, should a breakdown occur.

 

If you are buying a townhouse, then generally you will be more responsible for anything that occurs inside your home, so ensure that it is properly inspected before you buy and that you have your own sufficient insurance coverage over items that may not be covered by your condominium policy, such as flooding or sewage backup.

When you are buying a condominium, speak to the management company before and if necessary, the insurance company that insures the building, to make sure you understand what is covered and what isn’t.

 

In every condominium status certificate, there is a summary given of the insurance policy for the building, including any deductibles. One way to protect yourself is to send this certificate to your own insurance company and tell them that you wish to buy extra coverage for the deductibles noted on the policy. A good idea would be to use the same insurance company that your building is using for your own insurance package. This company likely understands the deductibles better than anyone and will make sure that your package covers any gap that may exist in the building insurance policy.

 

If you are buying a condominium as an investment, you still need to make sure that you have this type of insurance protection. Most tenants purchase insurance for their belongings and to cover liability. If you want the tenant to also pay for insurance for the deductibles, you need to say so in your lease agreement and make sure that the tenant provides proof that they have obtained all required insurance coverage before you give them the keys to the unit.


When you understand the insurance you need before you move into a condominium unit, you will be prepared should anything occur later.

 

By purchasing the right kind and amount of insurance before you move into your condo, you will avoid unwanted surprises or assessments if something happens later. If you need any help or have any questions concerning buying a condo, don't hesitate to contact me. 

 

 

Source: thestar.com, Why condo owners need household insurance by Mark Weisleder

 

Randy Miller

Broker    

Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400


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 Smaller is better

 

The traditional dream of a large and spacious home may be becoming a thing of the past. More and more people see the benefits of living in a smaller home. When you buy a house, there are a lot of expenses you have to face beside your new mortgage payments. Heating, electricity, insurance, and property taxes are just some of the additional bills you have to pay when you own a home. And the bigger the house, the bigger are the expenses.  


Of course, there are lots of people who keep buying bigger and bigger homes, because they “outgrow” their smaller one, they receive a promotion at work, they are convinced that they can afford it, they hope to impress others or they think a large home is the home of their dreams. 

But let's look at the main benefits of living in a smaller home:

  • Home maintenance and utility cost. Think about what it costs to heat and cool a 3,200-square foot home. Home-improvement projects such as repainting the exterior, replacing the roof or changing the flooring cost more because of the size of these homes. You will also spend more money to furnish and decorate all of the extra rooms. Although in a small house everything gets used more, there is less to break, and therefore less to repair. A smaller house is cheaper to heat and light, but also cheaper on insulation, windows, and solar. You also save money on insurance and on property taxes.
  • Less debt and less risk.
  • You spend less time on cleaning. Anyone who has owned a house knows the amount of time, energy, and effort to maintain it. Living in a small home means you spend less time on housecleaning and maintenance. When you live in a small house, you can use the extra time to spend with your family.
  • Living in a smaller home is mentally freeing. Buy small and free your mind! When you have a smaller home, you have less space to store belongings. Moving into a smaller home forces you to intentionally pare down your belongings. Living in a smaller home forces you to make choices about what you keep and what you donate, sell or give away. A smaller house is also easier to organize.
  • Smaller homes allow quality upgrades! It costs a small fortune to upgrade countertops or replace cabinets and appliances in a huge kitchen. You have to buy so much more that you may have to make sacrifices in terms of quality. Living in a small house means you can splurge on quality upgrades because you have less to buy.
  • Wider market to sell. A smaller, more affordable house is affordable to a larger percentage of the population than a more expensive one. So small homes may be easier to sell. Energy costs continue to rise. That means energy-efficient homes, especially small energy-efficient homes, will be in high demand in the future. When you need to move, your small home will be much easier to sell than a mega-house with six bedrooms.
  • Family bonds. A smaller home results in more social interaction among the members of the family. People start to realize how cozy, comfortable and inexpensive small houses can be. Smaller homes just feel good, and living in one makes it easier to be close with your family. 

Many people dream of having a large house, but, bigger is not always better, and there are just as many benefits to living in a small house, as there are to living in a big one.

 

If you need help in finding the right home for you in Durham Region, don't hesitate to contact me. Whether you wish to buy a big or a small house, my goal is to get you the best home possible, without compromise at a fair price. With over 20 years of local, full-time experience, I will make the home buying process smooth and worry-free.



 

Randy Miller

Broker   

Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400


 

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Buying a home is an emotional and personal decision. The price of course plays a major role too. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when trying to decide whether you should buy a newer home or an older home.

 

PROS of New Construction


  • Some flexibility on design during construction phase: Many homebuilders allow buyers to help design the property. New-home buyers, for example, can often decide where their bathroom might go, choose their favorite flooring or pick the exterior paint color. Buyers moving into a subdivision can sometimes pick the lot they like best.
  • Contemporary style
  • Cheaper to operate - energy-efficient: Newly constructed homes use energy more efficiently. They tend to have higher-efficiency insulation, doors and windows  that helps prevent conditioned air — cool air in the summer, warm air in the winter — from escaping.  The more energy-efficient appliances of the house also help reduce utility bills for new-home buyers. New homes often have appliances — such as high-efficiency stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, furnaces or air conditioning units — that homes built years ago might not.
  • Cheaper to maintain, Fewer repairs: When people buy a new home in today’s market, it really is new. At the same time, today’s new homes are engineered specifically to minimize maintenance requirements. For example, some companies use composite products for a home’s exterior trim instead of wood, which could rot or need repainting.
  • Extended warranties: In addition, builders often agree to take care of the necessary repair work in a new home for at least the first year. So if your roof starts leaking or the heater breaks during the warranty period, your builder will pick up the tab for the repairs.
  • Fire safety: New homes often include fire-safety features that may not be in properties built years ago.
  • Financing: New-home buyers can take advantage of mortgage-financing perks available through their builder. New-home builders — in many cases, the larger ones — have their own mortgage companies, or they will offer paying points or closing costs and buy down certain rates for you. The seller of a resale home is generally not going to do that for the buyer.
  • Frequently have a homeowners association which helps to protect resale value.
  • It's brand-new!

 

CONS of New Construction


  • Frequently less character, or homogenous design: Unless you are looking at a custom-built house on an individual lot, most new homes are built in developments with a unified style. These developments can be as small as a cul-de-sac, or as massive as a former farm field filled with dozens, if not hundreds of homes. All homes in your neighbourhood might have similar floor plans. They might be identical to each other and have no individuality.
  • Limited negotiating room on price: New houses are often more expensive than resale homes of a similar size.
  • Can put limits on how you use your property.
  • Immature vegetation: It can take years for trees to grow.
  • House settling: New houses settle. It happens everywhere, regardless of the type of soil. Settling causes cracks in foundations, walls and door frames.
  • Longer commuting distances to downtown. If you want to be where the action is in a metropolitan downtown area or avoid the drive to work in rush-hour city traffic, the distance from downtown might make a difference to you.
  • Neighbourhood: There are also risks in buying a new home. The plans may be impressive, but you don't know who your neighbours will be, which could lead to a financial risk down the road. You can always update your house but not the neighbourhood.
  • If it is a home in a new subdivision, no infrastructure is in place – including schools, parks, public transportation and shopping malls.
  • You will also pay GST on a new home, which will add to your costs.
  • Problems with the builder: Check the builder's track record. What else has the company built? Were previous projects completed on time, on budget and without bad blood between the builder and buyers? If you live nearby and previous stages of the development are occupied, ask the residents if the builder did quality work and lived up to contractual commitments.
  • Extra costs for Extras: You can certainly have the granite counters, surround-sound home theater and jetted tub you saw in the model home, but they're not included in the base price. You will pay extra for them.

Bring your own agent. If the builder has a real estate agent on site, the agent will be more than happy to help you. But, on-site agents work for the builders who hire them. Their best interests will be for the builder, not you.

 

PROS of Resale Homes


  • Old world construction: While older homes may need updating, they have withstood the test of time which is not the case with new homes. Older homes have stood for decades, some centuries, and weathered many storms. Some were built by hand by genuine craftsman, with meticulous attention to detail.
  • Larger yard. Years ago, when land was cheaper, builders built on larger lot sizes, leaving room to accommodate garages on alleys.
  • More charm and character.
  • Longer-term neighbors. Many people are drawn to developed neighborhoods for the sense of community that has been established. Some older homes are passed down through generations. Many neighbors know each other.
  • Established neighborhood. Zoning changes are unlikely to occur in older areas.
  • Mature trees and vegetation. The mature landscaping and developed trees are often a considering factor. It's not uncommon to see 100-year trees providing canopies in yards and boulevards.
  • Location: Closer to downtown entertainment and restaurants. Existing homes are often found in older, more convenient metro core areas rather than outlying suburbs. Not only do older areas tend to be located closer to downtown areas, but often residents can walk to local coffeehouses and antique stores.
  • Availability: More choices, more styles to choose from
  • Home improvement. If you enjoy small repairs and home improvement projects around the house, then an existing home would be your cup of tea. You have the opportunity to remodel. In some cases buyers may prefer an older home in a particular location which can be modernized or expanded. In effect, use the existing home as a base to build a unique property.
  • Existing features. When you buy an existing home, you typically don't have to worry about buying the extras, such as blinds for the window, a security system, or a landscaped back yard.
  • Price: In general terms, existing homes tend to be less expensive than new properties. As well, existing homes are likely to come complete with items which may represent new home extras—blinds, landscaping, built-ins, etc. The price may also be more negotiable.
  • Track record. When you purchase an existing home, you know how much the property has appreciated over the years -- in effect, you have an index of sorts which measures the community's marketplace appeal.

Of course, there are cons with existing homes, too.  Generally speaking, resale homes tend to be more available and less expensive than new homes, but they are also full of surprises.

 

CONS of Resale Homes


The big disadvantage of buying an older home is that it may need refurbishing. Although an older home may cost you less than a new home initially, it may end up costing you much more when the expense of updating is taken into account. Things tend to go wrong periodically, and there’s always something to fix. Be honest with yourself. If major repairs are required, you'll either have to do them yourself or bring in the professionals. Some people can handle the disruption; others can't.

If you're considering an existing home, be sure you have a good handle on the working status of all major systems. Hire a professional home inspector to check out the house. As appliances and systems age they naturally require repair and replacement, something which may be reflected in a purchase price.

To evaluate the true cost of buying an older home, find out the age of the roof, appliances and major systems like plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical. Ask your home inspector to estimate how long each of these items is likely to last. Then get replacement estimates from licensed contractors.

Ask sellers for documentation on any major work they've done to the property. This will be useful when it comes time for you to sell. If the roof was replaced recently, find out if the roofer will extend any remaining warranty to you. Also find out how much the utility bills are in an average summer and winter month.Owners of existing homes can always buy higher-efficiency appliances, but doing so can be expensive.

 

In the final analysis, costs are only one consideration – because buying a home, old or new, is a personal and emotional decision. Find a house you like, consider its pros and cons — objectively, as well as emotionally — and think about the compromises you're willing to make. The more logically you approach buying the house, the more you're going to love living in it.

 

If a move is in your future, let’s sit down and talk about your plans. I will listen, understand  your needs and create a plan that will achieve your goals. Buyers in any price range will benefit from my experience and my knowledge of local market conditions, specific neighbourhoods and housing styles. My goal is to get you the best home possible, without compromise at a fair price.


To help me find your desired property, please tell me your desired move in date, the location you want to move to ie: Whitby, Brooklin, or other areas within Durham Region, whether you are looking for a condo, townhouse or house (semi-detached, detached, bungalow or 2-storey home) and the number of bedrooms and washrooms required.


Let’s find your perfect property match – Now!

 

 

Randy Miller

Sales Representative 

Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400



 

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Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in Canada among non-smokers

Radon Potential Map Canada


CBC News has obtained data showing the results of approximately 14,000 radon tests in homes across the country, which show that over 1,500 homes Health Canada tested had radon levels above the department's guidelines. 


Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking. It's a radioactive gas naturally emitted from the earth through the breakdown of uranium in soil. It enters your home by seeping in through cracks, pipes, windows and the foundation of your house.


What is radon?


It's a colourless, odourless gas. It is also radioactive. It's formed by the disintegration of radium, which is produced when uranium decays.


Radon gas and its byproducts occur naturally everywhere — in soil, water and air. Rarely does it occur in concentrations that you need to worry about. However, radon gas can accumulate in confined spaces such as basements and crawl spaces in homes. If the levels are high enough, it can be a health hazard.


As radon decays, it produces decay products called "radon daughters." They also decay rapidly and emit alpha particles. Your skin is normally enough to protect you from these particles. But when they become attached to dust and you breathe them in, you could be at risk.

It's estimated that radon kills 3,000 Canadians a year. 


The Canadian guideline for radon in indoor air is 200 becquerels per cubic metre (200 Bq/m3). 

In 2012, Health Canada released a report showing that 6.9 per cent of Canadians are living in homes with radon levels above the current guideline. The results were based on a two-year survey of approximately 14,000 homes across the country.


Test your home


It is not a requirement to test for radon or take any steps if you have high levels. Radon levels can vary from one house to another and Health Canada recommends that everyone test their home. 


Of the homes that Health Canada tested in the survey, approximately 1,557 of them had results above the guideline of 200 Bq/m3.


The World Health Organization recommends the guideline for countries be 100 Bq/m3. Data obtained by CBC News through an Access to Information request shows that 2,514 additional homes tested in Health Canada's survey have radon levels between 100-199 Bq/m3. 


According to the WHO, the risk of lung cancer increases by 16 per cent per 100 Bq/m3 increase in radon concentration.


Health Canada recommends that homes be tested for a minimum of three months, ideally in the fall or winter. The cost of radon testing is approximately $50 to $100. 


In 2007, Health Canada considered making testing during real estate transactions mandatory, but decided otherwise.  According to a 2007 Canadian Real Estate Association document, Health Canada "has abandoned this approach at the present time due to concerns raised by industry groups, including CREA."


Health Canada says that such requirements would have to be adopted at local level. "It's not going to be a requirement at least from our perspective. It may very well happen that provinces or some municipalities that know that they have high levels of radon in their area may decide to be more proactive on radon and require it. And if that happens that's fine … but it's not something that we're going to require," says Kelley Bush, head of radon education and awareness with Health Canada.


How does radon get into your home?


How does radon enter your home?

Is your house airtight? Very few are, especially older homes — and especially if the foundation or any of the walls are built with concrete blocks, which are particularly porous to radon. But the gas can also seep in through basement floor drains, cracks in the floor or foundation, and under the furnace base. Radon can also become trapped in well water and released into the air when the water is used.


Call a professional. They'll come to your house and take samples of the air in your basement. The most common method is to use a canister that contains activated charcoal. Activated charcoal absorbs radon gas. The unit will be left in your home for several days before being sent to a lab for analysis. You will receive an average radon level for the time the unit was left in your home.


The soil around your home can also be tested if it's suspected that there could be high levels of uranium.


If the test show higher than acceptable levels of radon you'll need to have the problem fixed. The federal government recommends that if the radon concentration in your home is greater than 600 Bq per cubic metre, work needed to reduce levels below 200 Bq per cubic metre should be completed within a year. If levels are between 200 and 600 Bq per cubic metre, the work should be done within two years.


The report recommending lower radon levels suggested that the federal government should offer some assistance to homeowners who need to have work done on their homes. The government's revised guidelines did not address that subject.


If there are unacceptable levels of uranium in the soil around your house, the soil should be removed and replaced with clean fill. But this is extremely rare.

Steps you can take inside your home:

  • Sealing all cracks and openings in the walls and floors of your basement as well as around drains and pipes.
  • If your basement floor has a sub-floor, make sure it is ventilated.
  • Replace an earth floor with a concrete floor.
  • Increase the ventilation in your basement or other enclosed space where radon may accumulate.
  • Paint basement floors and walls. Use a sealant on top of the paint and add polyethylene sheets to basement walls.

 

Keep your family and home safe and get your home tested! For more information on how to reduce your exposure to radon, visit Health Canada

 

Randy Miller 
Sales Representative 
Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage 
905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400 

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Health Canada recommends that all mold, regardless of the species, be cleaned and that the underlying water or humidity problem be dealt with quickly to prevent potential health issues.


You should first look for obvious signs of mold growth like:

  • Stains or discolorations on floors, walls, window panes, fabrics, carpets and other indoor surfaces
  • a musty, "earthy" odour
     

How to Fix Small Mold Problems?

  • Clean the moldy surface with water and dish detergent. There's no need to use bleach.
  • Fix the underlying cause, whether due to water damage or excessive humidity.
  • You can generally clean small and moderate areas of mold by yourself, but you should consider getting professional help with extensive (larger than 3 m²) mold growth.
  • When removing mold, you should wear proper protective equipment, including rubber gloves, eye protection and a dust mask. You may also want to isolate the area by taping plastic sheeting to walls and ceiling to prevent the spread of dust and mold particles. Sensitive individuals should not be in the same or adjacent rooms during the work and may choose to leave the house until the mold is removed.
  • You might consider hiring a professional if there is a large amount of mold or if the mold keeps coming back after you clean it. A large amount of mold is often also the result of a larger problem, such as a leak in the foundation or a major flood, which may require professional help to fix.

 

How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?

  • Repair basement, roof and pipe leaks as soon as you notice them.
  • Open windows, get fans blowing in an affected area and use a portable dehumidifier. Ventilation is the key in reducing mold.
  • However, damp outdoor air will not help dry the inside, and can spread the moisture to other parts of your home.
  • Make sure that clothes dryer hoses are properly connected and vented to the outside.
  • Ensure your tubs and sinks are properly sealed to prevent water from getting into the walls.
  • After a flood, or any type of water damage, be sure to completely dry the flooded area within 48 hours.
  • Measure your indoor humidity level and keep the humidity at around 50% in the summer, and 30% in the winter. If necessary, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the relative humidity.
  • Discard clutter and excess stored materials. Mold can grow on fabrics, paper, wood and practically anything that collects dust and holds moisture.
  • Keep your house or apartment clean by vacuuming regularly.
  • Don't over-water your plants, and watch for signs of mould in plant pots.

 

 

Randy Miller

Sales Representative

Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage

905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400

 

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Your house doesn't have to be flooded to have mold. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC), more than 270 species of mold have been identified in Canadian homes.

 

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Areas that are always or often damp, such as bathrooms, laundry/utility rooms, and basements, are common locations for mold growth in homes. Regularly check areas that have been or are likely to get wet. If you hire a mold inspector to locate a water or mold problem, make sure the professional has experience identifying and locating mold and water problems.

 

Some molds cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes. If allowed to grow inside your house, mold can be a problem.

 

The concentration of mold spores in indoor air will vary widely over time. There are different types of mold species and each has its own level of potency, or impact on human health. Different people have different levels of sensitivity to the various types of mold.

 

Not all mold is obvious. Mold does not need light to grow. So it can also grow inside walls or above ceiling tiles, so it is important to check for the presence of mold anywhere damp or moist, and especially where water damage has occurred.

 

Mold requires high humidity levels to grow. Some molds require condensation to start growing. To avoid most mold problems, keep at least basements dry. If mold is present, clean the affected area as soon as possible, and identify the source of moisture that allowed the mold to grow in that location.

 

If you suspect a mold problem that you cannot solve on your own, Health Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recommend that you contact a trained Indoor Air Quality Investigator for advice on building-related aspects of air quality. These investigators can do a visual inspection to identify areas of concern and make recommendations for improving the situation.

Do not hide mold issues 

If you are a homeowner selling your home, the last thing you want is a call from the buyer that they have mold and their kids now have respiratory issues brought from the mold that you didn’t think was an issue. Maybe it wasn't when you lived in the home. It was just in the corner behind a sofa, and you painted over the mold, hoping that would be the last of the situation.

 

Now as you are talking to the new owner of the home, you find out that the mold issue not only reappeared , but has grown inside. You might say to yourself how can they prove that the mold was there before they bought the house? Maybe they created the water moisture intrusion themselves?

 

Believe it or not through engineering controls and visual inspection, it can be proven that the water issue and then the mold issue were there way before the new homeowner purchased the home.

Home Selling and Mold

Nearly all home buyers hire a professional home inspector to take a close look at their new house before closing. You can speed things along by analyzing the condition of your home and making necessary repairs now, before the house is under contract. Watch out for the following:

 

Mold & Mildew

 

Mildew stains and odors scare buyers, especially now that toxic black mold is such a hot topic, and chances are you won't even get an acceptable offer if mold and mildew are present. Even if the mold in your house is the normal variety kill it and fix the source of the problem.

 

Damp Basements and Crawlspaces

 

Mildew odors signal that a basement is too moist. Buyers and home inspectors will look closely at the walls and floors for patches of mildew and signs of dampness.

  • Cover exposed earth in basements and crawl spaces with plastic to help keep moisture levels down.
  • Most foundation "leaks" are a result of poor drainage that funnels water towards the foundation.
  • Make sure gutters are clean so that rainwater flows toward downspouts instead of spilling over gutter sides along the foundation.
  • Point drainage downspouts away from the house.
  • Check water flow through buried drainage lines by flooding them with water from a hose. If water comes back towards you the line is plugged and should be cleared.

If foundation problems do exist, and you cannot make repairs, you might need to lower the price of the house upfront, with the understanding that the price reflects the problem. Another option is to give the buyers an allowance to make repairs after closing.

 

Roofs and Chimneys

 

Deteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are one of the first things home buyers and home inspectors notice. If the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, you can bet repairs will be requested.

 

  • Make sure flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight, and that mortar and bricks are in good condition.
  • Inspect the fireplace to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Plumbing Problems
  • Fix leaks long before the home inspection takes place. The inspector will check water pressure by turning on multiple faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. The inspector will also run the dishwasher.

The home inspector might check the septic system too.

 

Do everything you can to get the house in good condition before you attempt to sell it, but don't be discouraged if the inspection report contains a few negative statements. Home inspectors make note of everything they see.

 

Remember that the home inspection report is not a wish-list for buyers. Read your contract carefully--it dictates which systems should be in good working order at closing. If the roof is older, but doesn't leak, it's in good working condition. The same is true for older appliances.

Home Buying and Mold

I am often asked about home selling and mold and how to make sure you aren’t buying a house with mold that might cause health problems in yourself or family members down the road. We definitely recommend checking a home for mold before buying it. You should also be aware of laws that offer you some protection against buying a home with mold.

 

If the seller is not aware of a mold problem, and could not be reasonably expected to know, then he doesn’t have to disclose it. Basically, that means that if there is mold growing all over a wall, he has to tell you about it but he does not have to look inside the walls to see if there is mold there. If he knows about mold, though, he must tell you about it. If the seller doesn’t tell you about a mold problem, he may be liable for any mold-related costs you end up incurring.

 

If you want to put an offer on a home but are concerned about the possibility of mold, you can put a contingency clause in the offer saying the offer is contingent upon the home testing negative for the presence of mold.

How Do You Know if You Are Buying a House with Mold?

When you walk through a house, look for signs of mold or water damage. Check under sinks, behind toilets, in basements and attics and crawl spaces. Look for standing water, water stains on walls or ceilings, visible mold or a musty odor.


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If you have your home inspected, ask the inspector to tell you about any signs of mold or water damage he or she notices. Better yet, hire an inspector that is also certified in mold testing.

 

Also ask the seller. In addition to asking if there has ever been a mold problem in the home, ask about things that are likely to lead to a mold problem, like if the home has ever flooded or if any pipes have ever burst.

 

To know for sure whether or not there is mold in a home, you need to have the home tested for mold. If you suspect a mold problem, or if the seller tells you there used to be a mold problem but it’s gone now, I recommend having the home tested before you buy it. 

 

Whether you are thinking of selling or buying a house within Durham Region, let me be your personal guide on your journey to home ownership. I'd be happy to personally answer questions you may have. Remember, I will be here to assist you every step of the way! 

 

Randy Miller
Sales Representative
Re/Max Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage
905-668-1800 or 905-427-1400

 


 

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