Don't Forget About Me: BBQ Maintenance Can Save Your Life

 Friday, July 12, 2019     Jordan Zalter     Home Renovations and Maintenance

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In light of the devastating recent fire of our local playground, Veterans Park, I started thinking of some of the easiest ways to avoid fires at home. Our kids and countless others will be left without that summer entertainment staple for the rest of the season at least, but watching your home go up in smoke would be even more devastating!

A typical home inspection or conversation with an informed friend or relative will tell you to be careful about faulty wiring, making sure your dryer venting isn't plugged with lint, and to make sure that you use safe practices when cooking in your kitchen. These are all great pieces of advice, but believe it or not a substantial amount of home fires each year start outside. Having witnessed a scary grill fire as a child that almost resulted in a portion of our home catching fire if not for quick use of a fire extinguisher, this is something that I am acutely aware of.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the United States, more than 160 people are injured each year in barbecue mishaps. Even more staggering, there are over 10,000 home fires a year as a result of BBQ misuse. That doesn't sound like a lot considering the thousands of people who flip burgers on their backyard grills each year. But, you certainly don't want to be one of the victims!

The best way to prevent fire and injury is regular maintenance. Remarkably, few people are even aware that barbecue maintenance is necessary. But, it is.

Every spring, experts say you should clean out the venturi tubes. Those are the little metal pipes that carry propane or natural gas. Pipe cleaners work well, although hardware stores also carry specialized tools for this purpose. The goal is to clean out any built up dirt and debris. Don't be surprised if you find spider webs inside a venturi tube!

Your grills should also be cleaned with soap and water each year, ideally at the end of the season or before you fire up your grill in the spring for the first time. Just scraping them before barbequing isn’t enough! Fat and oils from cooking can build up on grills and harden. If you're getting a lot of flare-ups, this is likely the cause.

Finally, make sure nuts and bolts are tightened regularly, and replace any rusty hardware. Regular use, heat and weather can loosen or weaken bolts, particularly on the frame. Several fires each year are caused by barbecues either tipping over or collapsing.

Note: Thank you to the City of Hamilton for the featured image!


Moving Can Be Fun

 Wednesday, May 15, 2019     Jordan Zalter     Buying and Selling

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I was hosting an open house a couple of weekends ago and I heard the same line again.I love this house, but I can't imagine moving. Many people cite a move as one of the most stressful things you will do in life. More than your first real job, more than getting married, and more than having kids! When I tell people that my wife Kim and I have moved 7 times in the past 9 years, all while having 2 kids and establishing our careers, they think we are certifiably insane. Here's my secret though, moving doesn't have to cause nightmares. With the right help and taking the right lifestyle steps ahead of time, a move can be quite exciting.

One of my favourite parts of hosting an open house is when kids go rifling through the upstairs of a house, well ahead of their parents, debating and arguing over who is going to get which room. The excitement in their eyes and voices is evident, if not naïve, as they are likely to go through the exercise in dozens of houses as their parents scope out homes while they plan out a move. My goal is to help parents, or anyone else for that matter, tackle the task of moving with the same youthful excitement as those kids.

One of the biggest fears people have about a move is having to pack. If you are serious about moving at any point in the future, consider doing a yearly purge of household items that you don't need. No, I don't mean sentimental items, there is always room for those. My rule…if you haven't used something in 2 years, you don't need it anymore. You likely have a family member or friend who does, and if not there are countless local charities who would be happy to take most of these items and put them to good use. Be proactive about giving these things to others, or disposing of them if you need to, and the thought of packing will be far more manageable when the time comes.

Perhaps the biggest source of stress in a move is selling your house and seemingly being told 1000 different things by 1000 different people. This is what I refer to facing a massive amount of information overload. What lawyer should you work with? Where should you get your new mortgage? Should you stage your house? How big of a house do you need? Where should you live? What real estate agent should you work with? The constant chatter with anyone who knows that you are considering a move can easily become overwhelming. In a society that is seemingly far less loyal than it used to be, consider teaming up with a REALTOR® that can truly guide you through the process.

My mom Sarit and I have helped countless friends over the years in their purchases and sales of homes, and many more clients who quickly became friends. These individuals often had some of the best moving experiences with us. Not because they were our friends, but because they trusted our guidance to point them in the right direction and filter out the "noise".

In an industry with an abundance of questions to be answered, why not work with someone who at least has the answer to most of them. Whether it's with us or someone else, do yourself a favour and become part of a team. Moving when you feel like you have to make all of your decisions alone must be exhausting and stressful, but moving into the right house with a support network behind you can make you feel like a kid again!

Real Estate and Mortgage News

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DateHeadline/Summary
Oct 02 RAHB REALTORS® Release September 2019 Statistics
(Oct 2, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,020 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in September 2019. September sales are down from August and July, but are up from September 2018 by 3.2 per cent. The average price for residential properties increased by 8.5 per cent from September 2018 to $609,562. "With an increase in the number of homes currently available, and a more relaxed pace in the market, this may be an ideal opportunity for buyers to purchase their dream home," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande."
Sep 03 RAHB REALTORS® Release August 2019 Statistics
(Sep 3, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,067 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in August 2019. August sales are down from July and June of this year, as well as August of 2018; however, the 2019 year-to-date number of sales is up 10.2 per cent over 2018. The average price for residential properties increased by 6.4 per cent from August 2018 to $599,589. "The year-to-date number of sales is higher in 2019 compared to 2018 because we had a stronger spring," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "If the average price continues to increase and inventory stays low, we may shift out of the balanced market we???ve been experiencing over the last year and a half as we move into a busy fall."
Aug 01 RAHB REALTORS® Release July Statistics
(Aug 1, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,170 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in July 2019. This is a 10.3 per cent increase from July last year; however, a 2.7 per cent decrease over June 2019 and a 12.9 per cent decrease from May 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 0.9 per cent from July 2018 to $593,702. "A yearly real estate cycle sees peaks in spring and fall, with a typically slower summer," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "Average prices have stayed fairly stable since the spring high, which could point towards a healthy fall market when we could see the number of sales edge higher again."
Jul 02 RAHB REALTORS® Release June Statistics
(Jul 2, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,203 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in June 2019. This is a 4.2 per cent increase from June last year; however, a 10.5 per cent decrease over May 2019 and a 1.9 per cent decrease from April 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 5.2 per cent from June 2018 to $593,549; however, decreased from May 2019 by 0.03 per cent. "The number of sales and average price is up over 2018, showing that the market is edging higher since it balanced out last year," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "Sales have dropped compared to May and April of this year, but paired with a decrease of about four per cent in the number of new listings this could indicate the market is tightening."
Jun 18 Renters beware: Rental scams continue in Hamilton
(Jun 18, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) would like to issue a warning to the public that rental scams continue to take place within the City of Hamilton. RAHB continues to receive reports from REALTOR® members who find their for-sale properties posted without permission for rent on various online classified websites. RAHB encourages potential renters to be aware of a listing that seems too good to be true. "Prospective renters should always view a property beforehand, and obtain a phone number and office location for the landlord. When working with a REALTOR®, a business card would be provided," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "With increasing demand for rental housing, renters need to be extra cautious and exercise good judgement."
Jun 03 RAHB REALTORS® Release May Statistics
(Jun 3, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,344 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in May 2019. This is a 10.9 per cent increase from May last year, as well as a 9.6 per cent increase over April 2019 and a 30.2 per cent increase over March 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 0.9 per cent from May 2018 to $593,702. "The number of sales increased double digits over last year and the number of new listings decreased by 5.2 per cent, indicating that we are in the thick of a busy spring market for sellers," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "And prices only increasing an average of 0.9 per cent over last year means buyers haven't watched prices soar while they find the perfect home."
May 09 REALTORS® raise $76,525 for the Children's Fund
(May 9, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) Many children throughout Hamilton and Burlington will have a brighter holiday season this year, thanks to the generosity of those who attended and contributed to the REALTORS® 4 Kids Charity Auction held on November 15, 2018. The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) raised $76,525 for the 900CHML/Y108/Fresh Radio 953 Children's Fund through the Auction, which was held for its 30th year. "This goes to show that great things can happen when REALTORS® come together to support the children in our community," said Jack Loft, RAHB President. "The support our members and community show every year is amazing."
May 01 RAHB REALTORS® Release April Statistics
(May 1, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,226 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in April, 2019. This is a 6.3 per cent increase from April last year, as well as an 18.8 per cent increase over March 2019 and a 66.8 per cent increase over February 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 3.9 per cent from April 2018 to $589,324. "It's encouraging to see the overall number of sales increase since last year when the market balanced out from 2016 and 2017," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "Paired with a consistent increase in new listings month over month, Hamilton, Burlington and the outlying areas provide choice for buyers and a healthy market for sellers."
Apr 01 RAHB REALTORS® Release March 2019 Statistics
(Apr 1, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,032 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in March, 2019. This is a 1.2 per cent drop from March last year; however, a 40 per cent increase over February 2019 and a 74 per cent increase over January 2019. The average price was up from March 2018 by 4.9 per cent to $575,099. "The increase in the number of sales from January and February shows that we are full steam ahead and anticipate a healthy spring market," says RAHB CEO George O'Neill. "We experienced a two per cent increase in the number of listings over last year, which means more overall choice for buyers."
Mar 01 RAHB REALTORS® Release February 2019 Statistics
(Mar 1, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 735 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in February, 2019. This is a 4 per cent drop from February last year; however, a 24 per cent increase over January 2019. The average price was up from February 2018 by 1.9 per cent to $557,135. "Last year this time we saw the beginnings of a more balanced market," says RAHB CEO George O'Neill. "The data for January and February is trending upwards and could lead into a healthy spring market for both buyers and sellers."
Feb 04 RAHB REALTORS® Release January 2019 Statistics
(Feb 4, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 593 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in January, 2019. This is a 3.6 per cent drop from the same month last year. The average price was up by 4.7 per cent to $550,058. The number of sales for single family properties within the entire RAHB market fell by 2.8 per cent compared to the same month last year, and the average sale price increased by 7 per cent.
Feb 04 RAHB REALTORS® Release 2018 Year End Statistics (REVISED)
(Feb 4, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) has revised the 2018 year-end market data and reports. Inconsistencies were found within the 2017 data related to listings posted on multiple MLS® systems. These "double listings" resulted in the sales and listings figures being higher than what actually took place in 2017. In August of 2017 RAHB and the Ontario Regional Technology & Information Systems Inc. (ORTIS) entered into a data sharing agreement, whereby a REALTOR® would be able to view a property on both MLS® systems without having to list it on both.
Jan 02 RAHB REALTORS® Release December Statistics
(Jan 2, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 534 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in December, 2018. Although this is 26 per cent lower than the same month last year, the average price was up by 2.6 per cent to $543,210. Year-to-date (YTD) sales activity was down by 17.6 per cent from this time last year, and down 12.2 per cent from a decade ago. Average YTD price was also down from a year ago by 1.4 per cent, but up by 90 per cent from 2008.
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