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
Feb 04 RAHB market bounces back after slow December
(Feb 4, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 692 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in January 2020. Sales are up 5 per cent over the same month last year, and up 18.3 per cent over December 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 11.9 per cent from January 2019 to $617,496. "Our market area experienced a reduction in activity and average price in December, as is the case for that typically slower month; however, we bounced back in January," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "Buyers seem to be coming out early, so sellers shouldn't feel the need to wait for the spring market to get a great value for their property. We expect the spring market will be strong with more competition between sellers, as many wait for the flowers to bloom to market their homes."
Jan 16 RAHB REALTORS® Release 2019 Year-End Statistics: A Modest Sellers' Market
(Jan 16, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 12,866 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in 2019. This is 10.1 per cent more sales than in 2018. The average price of a residential property in 2019 was $587,745. This is up 4.9 per cent from 2018, and 95.3 per cent higher from 10 years ago. New residential listings were down 4 per cent compared to the previous year. "The RAHB residential market has balanced out from the high activity experienced in 2016 and 2017; however, increases in average price and number of sales, paired with a decrease in new listings, indicates that 2019 favoured sellers more than in 2018," says RAHB CEO Carol Ann Burrell. "Buyers in 2019 were able to take more time to find their preferred, and in many cases more affordable, property compared to previous years, and so the sellers' market was not as noticeable."
Jan 03 RAHB REALTORS® Release December 2019 Statistics
(Jan 3, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 585 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in December 2019. This years December sales are up 3.9 per cent over December 2018; however, are down from both November and October of this year. The average price for residential properties increased by 7.6 per cent from December 2018 to $581,566. "With the holidays and cold weather, sales tend to dip in December when compared to the previous months. It's a trend we see almost every year," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "A decrease in new listings and an increase in sales can equal less inventory on the market. With increased competition for the properties available, this looks to be an opportune time to sell your property."
Dec 03 RAHB REALTORS® Release November 2019 Statistics
(Dec 3, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 955 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in November 2019. November sales are down from October and September, but up from November 2018 by 5.5 per cent. The average price for residential properties increased by 5.6 per cent from November 2018 to $591,334. "As we near the end of the fall market for 2019, the number of sales and the average price within the RAHB market area are down from the previous month, but up from November of last year," says RAHB President, Bob Van de Vrande. "This decrease in listings and a higher ratio of solds to listings indicate that the market is currently an opportune time for sellers to consider listing."
Nov 04 RAHB REALTORS® Release October 2019 Statistics
(Nov 4, 2019 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,145 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in October 2019. October sales are up from September and August, as well as up from October 2018 by 6.4 per cent. The average price for residential properties increased by 7.1 per cent from October 2018 to $602,029. "The RAHB market area experienced more activity in October with an increase in number of sales from last month, as well as from the previous year, which is good news for sellers," says RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande. "The number of new listings dropped by eight per cent compared to October 2018, and by nearly 12 per cent since last month, so there was less choice for buyers."
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."
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