Getting a Free Smart Thermostat…Could You?

Getting a Free Smart Thermostat…Could You?

Possible free thermostat: Who knew?

Often when clients move into a home there are several things that they just assume they may have to update.  This isn’t a bad thing.  On the contrary, being able to improve some elements and add some value is a more preferred way to go in terms of your investment.  One small thing that we often find is that the thermostat tends to be a bit older.  Sometimes to the point of, should be taken off and sent to a museam.  The furance and AC may have been updated, but many times that old thermostat was neglected and forgotten about.

The new smart thermostats are a great idea, not only to lower your environmental footprint, but also help your manage your energy usage and help lower your bills.  They allow you, with relative ease, to set, monitor and mantain a more consistent temperature throughout your home.  The upside is fantastic!

 

"Try to leave the earth a better place than when we arrived"

                                                      Sidney Sheldon

When my wife and I recently moved into our home we faced the same thing.  So we looked into replacements and stumbled across www.greenon.ca.  This government program called The Green Ontario Fund, offers a variety of rebates for home owners to improve the energy efficiency of their home.  They offer a variety of different programs.  One of the programs is a No-Cost Thermostat.  There are some restrictions so be sure to have a read through the requirements.  It was very simple to apply and only took a few minutes.  We followed the website…filled out a survey about our home to make sure that we qualified…sent it in…Got approved and are now just waiting for the installation date.  A small footnote:  the installation date may be a little long, however, it is a free smart thermostat, so who can complain about that?

If you are deemed eligible, the program currently offers three different styles to choose from…

 

Image: Taken from www.greenon.ca

Upon doing some research each one has their positives and negatives, so it really just depends on what you are looking for in a smart thermostat.  It was a very interesting read.  I have mentioned to several clients and there were not a ton of people who were aware of the program. I know that we weren’t! Thought I would pass it along and may be helpful if you are in your home and looking to upgrade your thermostate.  Have a look at the website and maybe it is a solid upgrade that you can make for your home.  Will follow up more when ours is installed.

MP

 

 

 

Michael Plante

Sales Representative

Royal LePage Binder Real Estate

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South Windsor: What are Home Values Doing this Spring?

South Windsor: What are Home Values Doing this Spring?

South Windsor Housing Market

For many it is hard to believe where prices have gone in the last few years in certain parts of the city.  South Windsor has always been a desireable area and the last three years, it has only continued.  And why wouldn’t it really?  Quieter streets, excellent schools and close to several amenities it has been sought out by singles, young couples, families and even those looking to downsize.  We have seen continued growth this spring, sale prices continue to be strong and a sellers market is still in effect.

So what are we looking at…

Three of the most popular styles that sell in the South Windsor are Bungalow/Ranches, Raised Ranches and classic 2-storeys.  Taking a closer look we can see what kind of value each one has been able to generate on the open market for the last month.

Ranch

Ranch

Average Sale Price:  $264,387

List to Sell Price:  101% of asking price

Raised ranch

Raised ranch

Average Sale Price:  $372,693

List to Sell Price:  100% of asking 

2 Storey

2 Storey

Average Sale Price:  $437,033

List to Sell Price:  95% of asking 

Source:  Stats pulled from WECAR (Windsor Essex County Realtor Association) for February 2018.

Michael Plante

Sales Representative

Royal LePage Binder Real Estate

Pre-Approval: Needed or Not?

Pre-Approval: Needed or Not?

This is one of the questions that I get all the time.

In the current market, which seems to be moving like the speed of light, having a pre-approval is an important first step for home buyers of all kinds; first timers or those veterans of the real estate market.  More than ever having your financial ducks in a row is a critical step.  So what is the big deal about it all?  Why Mike should I spend my time going through the proccess before I move or find somewhere I like?

Excellent question!  Let’s look at it as stretching before going for a run.  You can do it, no doubt but it a good chance it could come with some pain.  Let me explain….

Am I ready? LEt’s find out…

One of the things that I always encounter with clients is that they often are not sure if they are financially ready to buy a home or move.  Some find out that they are in better a better position than they thought, and some find out that they are not, often to their disappointment.  Getting the pre-approval process started is a huge first step in finding this out.  Sitting down with a mortgage specialist, you can establish where you stand financially.  At worst, you discover that you need another year to improve credit or increase savings for a downpayment. I would recommend that anyone thinking of buying in the next 24 month goes through this process.  Often when people feel they are ready, financially they are not.  Finding this out a year or two earlier can be such a time saver and allow you to plan for your future.

 

WHAT CAN I AFFORD?

So you are in a good spot to afford your first home or make that desired move.  Knowing what exactly you can afford is important for a couple of different reasons.  First, it allows me as your realtor to focus on what you can afford based on the market and what areas may be best suited for you.  It is always an intricate dance between what you want and what your affordability allows you to do.  But that beautiful blend is there!  There would be little to no point showing you homes priced at $600,000 if your limit is $250,000.  Second, it allows you to know exactly where you sit it terms of comfort of a mortgage.  A mortgage specialist can walk through and show exactly what your mortgage payments may look like at different price points of the home.  And, a big point is that just because you can afford that $400,000 dollar home as your max budget, doesn’t mean that you have to spend it.  Plan for the future.  What if one us had to stop working?  How long could we live in this home? If interest rates changed in 5 years, could we still afford it?  It’s boring I know but good questions to ask yourselves.

 

let’s be “serious”!

Having the pre-approval makes you a serious buyer in eyes of a seller.  They understand that you have gone through the process and are actually in a position to buy their home.  This goes a long way, especially in this seller’s market.  When I present offers for clients in a multiple offer situations, having the pre-approval done gives the buyers and the sellers piece of mind that we are serious about buying their home.  Having the pre-approval done also means that the financial institution is prepared and waiting for us to bring them an accepted offer and they are in a position to process it faster.  Without a pre-approval it can take a significantly longer period of time to know if the home is approved by the bank and in a fast paced market, every hour saved is important.

 

Save yourself time, energy and heart break.  See a professional and get yourself in a position to confidently purchase your first or new home.  Whether it’s next month or next year, knowing where you stand and what you can afford helps take some of the stress out of process.

5 Things to Do To Your Home This Spring

5 Things to Do To Your Home This Spring

It may not feel like it, but spring will be here before we know it. The transition from Winter to Spring is one that often gets ignored as a home owner. I’m not really sure why that is but winterizing the home (which don’t get me wrong is extremely important) has some how taken the monopoly on preparation in transitions of seasons. We we think of spring we often think of the great, old classic cliche, spring cleaning. Now what that looks like is another story in and of itself. Getting your home ready for the warmer weather is a great opportunity to take some small steps to help maintain the condition and value of your home. So let’s dive into these simply, not very time consuming tasks.

 

1) Clean the Screens

It is one of those things that are often overlooked but do yourself a favour and conduct a little experiment.  If you have screens in your windows, pop one of them off, take a light coloured damp cloth and give them a wipe.  It is amazing how much dirt, dust and grime that can build up on those during the spring, summer and fall.  When spring hits and you want to open up those windows and get that beautiful breeze blowing through, don’t let that all that junk be blown in with it.  Taking a weekend and giving them a good clean will help improve the air quality in the home, lower the dust and just look a lot better.

 

2) Gutter

Not the most glamorous activity I know.  It involves getting that dreaded ladder out, climbing up and empty out the “who-knows-what” that has been collecting up there for the past few months.  Again, not glamorous, but is an important activity that should be done at least one a year.  Blocked gutters can cause real havoc.  Getting the water away from ones home is crucial.  With blocked and clogged gutters, water can pool, drip and drain into all those areas of a home an can damage that can take a heavy hit on the wallet when it comes to repairs.  So climb up (or get someone who can do it for you) and clean them out, your home and your bank account will thank you in the long run.

 

3)  Floors, Floors, Floors…

Spring is the perfect time of year to go do a deep clean on the floors.  Like the screens, it is incredible how much dirt, and during the winter months, salt has come in during the other three seasons.  Doesn’t matter if its hardwood, laminate, tile or carpet, there are a ton of great services and products that can help you bring those items back to life for not a lot of money.  And if you are looking to sell your home in the spring, this can truly help bring an extra bit of life back to your home.  It amazes me how many times people do not focus on floors and trust me, buyers are looking at them.

 

4)  Empty the Freezer

If your house is like mine, the freezer throughout the year can start to look like a frozen graveyard.  Things are stuck in, piled up, shoved to the back and forgotten, as terrible as it is.  A good spring purge should include the freezer.  Go through it, use up what you can, clean out the 5 leaky popsicles that have stained the bottom and get rid of the rest that are past date.  You just might save some money on your next grocery run as well if you can find this week’s meals in your fridge.

 

5) Ducts

How old is your home? The answer doesn’t really matter because year in and year out, dust and dirt build up in the duct work of your home.  However, the older the home, the great chance there is that this simple task may have never been done.  If you home is 30 years old and the duct work has never been cleaned, that’s 30 years of stuff gathering in their and blowing throughout your home every time you turn on your air conditioning or furnace.  This is an easy fix.  There are several companies that, for around $300, will come in and thoroughly blow out all of gunk that has build up.  We recently had it done at our home when we moved in, and it was worth every penny. It was incredible to hear and see how much stuff was in there and in our air.  This also helps keep your furnace and AC in top working shape.

 

Try some of these simple activities this spring.  They don’t take a lot of time but can make a big difference in helping maintain your home and enjoy it to the fullest.

What is Authentically Local?

What is Authentically Local?

So what is Authentically Local?

My name is Mike Plante, and I am a realtor with Royal LePage Binder Real Estate in the Windsor and Essex region.  I wear many hats.  I am a proud husband, father, traveller, business man, lover of food and family.  Upon building this website I wanted a section where I could share with and educate people.  The concept for this VLOG/BLOG was born through helping my clients in their real estate needs.  The more homes that I began to show and the more I studied and researched local areas, the more I realized that I, like many of my clients, didn’t just want to know about bricks and mortor, we wanted to know more about what neighbourhoods and areas had to offer.

You see buying the home was only a small part of the process.  The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, age of a roof or furnance was really just the start.  The process of buying or selling your home is truly a very short period, a stressful one at times, but a short time none the less.  It became aparent that knowing more about where you would be living, what is available to you and what wonderful businesses, people and places may be right at your finger tips.  Owning a home is more than just a purchase or a mortgage payment, it is where each and everyday you rest you head at night, you hang out with friends and family, venture off on walks and spend a good deal of your daily life.

One of the great joys I will have through this exciting, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say, nervous new adventure is being able to share with people, palces and history that may be right outside of your door.  It’s meant to educate and help build a better understanding and sense of community. The term Authentically Local was a term that came out of a conversation that I had one day with someone from outside of the region.  When I was trying to describe what the Windsor and Essex County region was like and had to offer, it really dawned on me how authentica it truly is.  It is unique in many different ways.  I have had the fortune of living and travelling abroad for several year, along the way developing a better understanding of what makes home…home.

My goal is to help share with you the many different ways in which this area truly is an Authentically Local place to live.  I hope that you will enjoy and follow along with me in this new journey!  Have any suggestions as to someone or place that is doing incredible things…visit the Facebook page or drop me a line.  I’d be only too happy to hear from you.

All the best,

MP

 

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