The Optimum Guideline to Home Secuirty

November 24th, 2016 No comments
Home Security
Our home is our sanctuary and we all take precautions to safeguard those who take refuge in it.  Technology has advanced recently to come up with some great state of the art security systems. Have a look at some features security systems are now offering to keep you and yours safe:

1. Doorbell Camera – A tiny infrared camera with Wi-Fi connectivity uses an app so you can see and speak with your visitor on your smart phone, whether you’re in the home or away. The video can even be recorded and stored on a cloud.
2. Glass Break Sensor – detects if someone breaks one of your windows.
3. Heat/smoke Sensor – detects an increase of temperature in your home, warning you if you seem to be in danger of a fire.
4. Window/door Sensor – detects if a window or door is opened.
5. Security Cameras – provides you with video footage of any events that may happen and act as a visible deterrent to criminals.
6. Carbon Monoxide Detector – detects toxic gas that you cannot otherwise see, smell, or taste warning you if of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, so you can get your family to safety.
7. Flood Sensor – detects water intake and can alarm you before a massive amount of damage or flood in your home.
8. Freeze Sensor – detects dangerously low temperatures and warns you before pipes freeze – saving you from expensive damages.
9. Smart Thermostat and Outlets – allows you to control the thermostat on any web-enabled device and a great tool to turn lights on and off while you’re on vacation. Can help give the appearance someone is home and can turn off any devices you may have plugged in.
10. Electronic Lock – can be remotely monitored and controlled, both to lock and unlock which gives you the advantages of key control, allowing keys or codes to be added and removed without re-keying the lock cylinder.

Home Maintenance Checklist for Winter

Fall is the perfect time to start winter proofing your home so you can enjoy the cold weather with zero worries. Whether you choose to have a professional handle them or do it yourself, here’s a checklist of things you need to go over your house before winter.
Attic Insulation –12-15 inches’ minimum of even insulation is needed to keep heat in the house and money in your pocket. Have your R-value checked by a professional if needed.

Furnace Cleaning – A dirty furnace is less efficient so have furnace inspected and cleaned once a year – before winter.  ATCO Gas offers a free furnace and appliances inspection for Edmonton. Call at 780-424-5222 (Edmonton and area).

Change Air Filter – For healthy, indoor air, change your air filter once a month in the winter months.  Your furnace has to work twice as hard with an air-borne allergen clogged filter.

Vacuum Heating Vents – Take off the covers and hoses to your dryer, bathroom and stove vents and suction out lint and debris.  This will increase efficiency and decrease fire hazards.

Replace Batteries in Detectors – October is Fire Awareness Month so use it as a reminder to replace batteries in smoke detectors, Carbon monoxide alarms and other safety instruments.

Drain Outside Faucets – Water pipes can freeze, swell and burst in the winter months, causing significant damage.  Turn the external shut valve off and open the faucet until the drip stops.

Drain Water Heater –  Drain this annually to help prevent any build up of scale inside the heater.

Inspect Roof Shingles – Shingles protects everything in the home so don’t overlook it. Also include the metal flashing at all the roof joints to look for signs of leaking, rotting or damage.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts – Use a ladder, gloves and a garbage bag to remove debris from the past year. Run water from a hose through the downspouts to ensure they are unclogged.

Install Gutter Guards – Gutter guards are a good idea to minimize the amount of debris accumulated, but you’ll still need to check for clogs once a year in the fall.

Seal Foundation – Repair and seal holes with a quality caulking material. Cracks and holes in foundation are inevitable and can lead to significant damage if not treated.

Check Sewer Service Pipe –  Sewer pipes carries wastewater from your home to main sewer line. Damaged sewers can cause serious flooding problems if not dealt with properly. The city provides a free basic inspection service to diagnose drainage problems.

Additional Resources:
City of Edmonton Sewer Service Pipe Free Inspection

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Halloween Events in The Capital City – Family Fun & Adult Only Events

Family Fun:

  1. Deadmonton Haunted House – 10233 Jasper Avenue (Old Paramount Theatre)  – Are you ready to conquer the fears that lurk in the dark corners of your mind? Can you handle what is waiting for you in the depths of Deadmonton Haunted House. Image result for deadmontonhouse
  2. Hospital of Horror – 10010 107A Av – Virtual Reality Haunted House. Walk the Halls of an Abandoned Hospital.
  3. Boo at The Zoo – Edmonton Valley Zoo – Costumes, Treats, Crafts and an Extinct Animal Graveyard
  4. Halloween Haunt – Servus Place – 400 Campbell Road – A Haunted Hotel, Laser Tag, Bubble Soccer, Just Dance Zone, Inflatable Haunted House for Younger Children, Giant Inflatable’s, Mini Wonderland, Ghoulish Games, Creepy Crafts, And much more!
  5. Edmonton Ghost Tours – Join us for our annual ghost tours of Garneau and campus lead by the award-winning team at Edmonton Ghost Tours. Shake off those goosebumps after the tour with hot tea, pumpkin pie, and cookies in the historic Rutherford House.
  6. Haunted Circus – Rundle Park – Haunted Tent, Crazy Clown Challenge, Food Trucks & more.
  7. Night of Fear Festival – Kinsmen Club St. Albert – Friday night is Freaky Friday!  Are you a big kid wanting a great scare?  Then, this is thenightoffear night for you!  Come check out the Headless Terror Illusion, or brave our insane 900 square foot haunted house.
  8.  School of Witchcraft & Wizardry – Katz Group U of A – Come witness magic unfold in the form of science!
  9. Halloween Howl – Butterdome – The Halloween Howl is a fun, family friendly event that includes a 3K and 5K fun run/walk and a chip-timed 10K competitive run. Help raise money & awareness for diabetes.
  10. Vampires Mansion – 501 Festival Ave, Sherwood Park – Haunted House, Maze and Frightful Features!

For the Adults:

  1. Dead Center of Town  – Fort Edmonton Park – This year, Edmonton’s only traveling historical live action horror show possesses Hotel Selkirk. Exhuming the sordid stories of some of Edmonton’s worst kept secrets, locked behind the guest room doors of some of the city’s best known hotels, Dead Centre of Town dares you to get your scare on. 
  2. Halloween Howl – Riverbend Community League – Catered Dinner, Live entertainment, Silent Auction, & Best Costume Prizes
  3. Rocky Horror Picture Show – Metro Cinema – Let’s do the Time Warp again! The all-time weird and wonderful Midnight Movie cult favorite returns.
  4. All Hallows Eve – John Walter Museum – Trick or treat! So goes the annual greeting from the candy-seeking children who arrive at our doors the evening of October 31st, Halloween night. But did you know that Halloween has been celebrated in Edmonton since the 1880s, and that the holiday’s roots go back even further? Join us for a family friendly event of fortune telling, historical games, costumes and more!halloween
  5. Halloween Theatre Sports – Citidel Theatre – he legend returns as Halloween Theatresports possesses Zeidler Hall once again with improv so funny it’s scary. Round up your squad and dress in your ghoulish best for a chance to win prizes, while we host Edmonton’s ultimate Halloween comedy event! At 7:30pm we have two great teams squaring off for your ghoulish amusement as Stranger Things takes on The Wild Things!
  6. Halloween Howler – Shaw Conference Center – Hosted by 100.3 The Bear – Headliners – BUSH & Theory of A Deadman




Tips to Avoid Moving Disasters

Moving to a new home needs a lot of careful planning to avoid pitfalls along the way. Whether it’s a local or a long distance move, use these helpful tips when hiring your moving company.

1. Get Quotes or Estimates
Make a detailed list of what items you have and the condition. If possible, get your movers to check your items before booking them to ensure you get the right estimate. Quotes are based on weights and moving companies tend to quote on lower weight to make the price attractive. Once your belongings are loaded and weighed, the movers can hold you hostage without paying the actual cost.

2. Learn the Hidden Charges
Most often moving companies will give you low quotes but there are always hidden charges you have to be aware of. These fees include – stairs, elevators, handling large items, packing labor and supplies, moving cancellation, extra stops, storage, long carry, etc.

3. Purchase Moving Insurance
Moving companies only cover items based weight (basic coverage) but too often the final amount of coverage does not really cover that value of your belongings. Getting the full value protection guarantees reinstatement and replacement for damaged and missing items.

4. Read and Research Reviews
Read all the reviews you can get your hands on about the company. Reliable reviews such as BBB, Google, Yelp, Movers, etc. can provide you a full picture of the company’s reputation and level of customer service. If possible, ask the moving company their recent client’s references or feedback.

5. Watch out for Scams
Aside from hidden fees, be careful of moving companies that do the booking but hires subcontracts to perform the actual work.

19 household items you didn’t realize had expiration dates

19 household items you didn’t realize had expiration dates

We always remember to check the expiration date of milk, and we know how long we should keep our beauty products. Unfortunately, we don’t pay attention to items in our house that surround us longer than they actually should.

We at Bright Side advise you to start checking expiration dates…and not just the stuff in your fridge!

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Explore Edmonton’s Farmers Markets

September 30th, 2016 No comments
Visiting a farmers’ market is a fabulous way to experience locally-raised and grown produce and products from your surrounding area. Here are a few reasons why you should shop at your local farmers’ market:
-Support your local farmers by buying locally and help the environment by reducing fuel usage. Since the products are grown in the area there’s no need to transport goods from other places.
-Buy the freshest, tastiest fruits and vegetables of the season. It’s also a healthier option because most products are organic and you know where they originated.
-It’s a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to connect with your community.
So take advantage of the harvest season, go out, feel the wind on your face, the sun on your skin and check out your local farmers’ market today!

Edmonton Farmers Markets

Sherwood Park Farmers’ Market
Address: 401 Festival Lane, Sherwood Park
Contact: 780-464-3354
Hours: Wednesday, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Season: Open all year

Castle Downs Farmers’ Market
Address: 11520 153 Ave.
Contact: 780-459-6082
Hours: Wednesday, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Season: Open all year

City Market on 104th
Address: Outdoor location: 104 St. from Jasper Ave. to 103 Ave.
Indoor location: City Hall (1 Sir Winston Churchill Square)
Contact: 780-429-5713
Hours: Saturday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Season: Open all year

Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market
Address: 10310 83 Ave.
Contact: 780-439-1844
Hours: Saturday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Season: Open all year

Southeast Farmers’ Market
Address: 5004 98 Ave.
Contact: 780-220-9681
Hours: Thursday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm
Season: January 9 to December 24

Salisbury Farmers’ Market
Address: 52337 RR 232, Sherwood Park
Contact: 780-904-7914
Hours: Thursday, 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Season: January 7 to December 22

Westmount Farmers’ Market
Address: 12720 111 Ave.
Contact: 780-456-0384
Hours: Thursday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Season: January 7 to December 22

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Top Myths You Think You Know About Real Estate

September 16th, 2016 No comments

Just because you read something on the internet does not mean it is true.  The same can be said about something you may hear a co-worker or family member conversing about.

Real estate myths are all too common, however, they can be “debunked” with a proper explanation.  I know you’re asking yourself, what myths could possibly exist in real estate?


All Real Estate Agents Are The Same
One of the most common real estate myths is that all real estate agents are the same.  This myth can lead to buyers and sellers making big mistakes when selecting a real estate agentto represent their interests.  Every agent has different skills, different experience levels, and different traits.

For example, a real estate agent who has been selling real estate for two years and primarily works as a buyers specialist is not going to have the same skill set as a real estate agent who has 20 years of experience and focuses mainly on Listings. There is a significant difference between real estate agents who work with sellers and real estate agents who specializes in working with Buyers.


Real Estate Agents Make Lots of Money
I mean, they certainly can but doesn’t necessarily mean they DO.  Just like any other job or business the amount of time, effort, and money that top producing real estate agents need to put forth is significant. Don’t forget they also have to pay lots of fees (MLS listings, signs, advertising, office fees, lock boxes, assistants, etc. Commission does not go straight into their pocket)

Image result for realtor meme


When Selling a Home – Price It To Leave Room For Negotiations
Correctly pricing a home is one of the top 3 important things when selling a home.  There are several real estate pricing mistakes that sellers commonly make.  One of these common pricing mistakes also happens to be a very common real estate myth as well. You capture a majority of your potential buyer as soon as the home hits the market, if you’re priced to high and plan on doing multiple price reductions your most likely buyers are not going to see your property. If you are selling your home, you need to understand who today’s buyers are and what they are all about.

So before you list your home $10,000 higher than your real estate agent suggests to leave room for “negotiating,” you need to understand that most buyers will know it’s over priced and may pass on looking at your home.


You Get A Better Deal When Buying a Home Through The Listing Agent
Buying a home can be a complicated process, especially for a first time home buyer.  It’s imperative that when buying a home, you have a great real estate agent representing your best interests.  A common real estate myth is that when buying a home, using the listing agent will result in a better deal on the home.  The thought process behind this myth is the listing agent will cut their commission percentage because they are receiving both “sides” of the transaction. Sounds like an ideal scenario for a buyer, right?

Wrong.  What a buyer may not understand is that the listing agent is also still representing the seller.  While they do need to be honest, fair, and ethical to all parties and certainly there are real estate professionals out there who can be trusted to represent both parties, it needs to be understood that the listing agent still has to represent the sellers best interest as well.

If you use a listing agent to buy a home, consider how hard the listing agent is going to negotiate the price with the seller, who also happens to be their client.  Same goes for any negotiations from the home inspection findings.  It’s possible by using the listing agent a better deal could be had, however, the biggest consideration that needs to be taken into account is the representation that will be received.


Getting Pre-Approved Is Done After Finding Your Perfect Home
One of the hardest myth to break for real estate agents relates to financing.  Many home buyers believe that getting pre-approved doesn’t need to take place until they have found their perfect home.  This is a huge mistake for many reasons.Image result for realtor meme

A buyer should be and want to be pre-approved for a mortgage before they house hunt.  House hunting can be time consuming, exciting, frustrating, and many other things.  Before getting involved in a full out search for that perfect home, eliminate the chances of any disappointment down the road by getting a pre-approval from a mortgage lender.  A buyer can be devastated if they find a home they love, write an offer, and have it accepted only to find out in the future they have been declined for a mortgage. It also eliminates the issue of looking at homes above your approved amount, eventually leading to further disappointment.

Another reasons why a buyer should get pre-approved for a mortgage before finding their perfect home is in the event their perfect home is receiving multiple offers.  A multiple offer scenario is a dream for a seller and a nightmare for a buyer.  A buyer who has been pre-approved has a significant advantage in a multiple offer scenario.


Open Houses Sell Houses
Many sellers love the idea of their home being open every Sunday.  A common real estate myth is that an open house is a great way to sell a home.

You’re probably asking yourself why many real estate agents push open houses.  When interviewing potential Realtors to sell your home, ask them why they want to hold your home open every Sunday.  If the answer is because it will sell your home, you may want to reconsider hiring that prospective Realtor.

The primary reason why a real estate agent would swear by open houses is because they see them as an opportunity to pick up new clients.  It’s possible that a buyer walks through an open house and does not have a real estate agent they’re working with.  This is a great opportunity for the real estate agent to convert the potential buyer into a client.

Before deciding whether an open house is something you would want to take part in when selling your home, consider all the possible drawbacks of an open house.


Selling A Home “For Sale By Owner” Saves Lots of Money
The main reason sellers believe that selling their home “for sale by owner” (FSBO) is a good idea is because it will save them lots of money.  This is a common real estate myth.  Many sellers who attempt to sell their home FSBO believe that selling homes is easy.  It would be great if selling homes was as simple as putting a for-sale sign in the front yard of a home, input the home into the MLS, and watch it sell, but it is not.

FSBO’s often will end up losing money by not hiring a professional real estate agent.  This could be due to several different reasons.  Did the FSBO overprice their home and it didn’t sell for 6 months?  Was the transaction mishandled ending up in a buyer being declined after 3 months under contract?  Did the FSBO not know how to negotiate the best price and terms for their home?


Real Estate Agents Only Can Show Their Own Companies Listings
Real estate agents who belong to their local real estate board and MLS have access to any listing that is multiple listed.  A common real estate myth is that real estate agents can only show their own listings or their own companies listings.  This is false.


Real Estate Agents Say And Do Anything To Make A Sale
Real estate agents are held to a very strict code of ethics and also many rules and regulations.  Many believe, however, that real estate agents will say and do anything to make a sale, because they don’t get paid until a home closes.  This real estate myth can certainly be possible as there are real estate professionals who will say and do anything to make a sale, however, the majority of real estate agents will not.

Most real estate agents business relies heavily on referral business, word of mouth business, and repeat business.  A real estate agent who blatantly lies to clients just to make a sale, is unlikely to receive any of the above mentioned business.  When buying or selling a home, it’s extremely important to select a very trustworthy real estate agent who you can trust and are comfortable with.


A Home Doesn’t Need To Be Prepared For Sale
The real estate myth that homes don’t need to be prepared for a sale can cost a seller thousands of dollars.  Properly preparing a homImage result for clean house realtor memee for sale can be the difference between it selling in a relatively quick amount of time or it sitting on the market and developing a
negative stigma.  It’s very important that you don’t list your home before it’s ready.

Why is it important to prepare a home for sale?  First and foremost, today’s buyers are more often than not looking for a home that is move-in condition.  Additionally, the first 3-4 weeks on the market are the most critical.  If a home is priced properly, prepared properly, and marketed correctly, it should be under contract in the 3-4 weeks on the market.  Simple preparations, such as staging tips, general cleaning, minor improvements, and pre-listing inspections can all help minimize time on market while maximizing the sale price.

Based on Material from: The Balance


Staying in Town This Weekend? Don’t worry, there is plenty to do in #Yeg

In & Outs of What Is Happening Around #Yeg This Weekend. Never a boring weekend in Edmonton.


K-DAYS July 22-31 – This year we’re doubling the excitement with 20 concerts on two stages, new rides, new food, amazing indoor attractions and the K-Days Pow Wow in partnership with Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation!

ECM Picnic In The Park July 24  – Join Edmontons Children Magazine & The Italian Shop Ltd for Family Fun in the Park

Fair Spectacular Weekend July 22-24 – From freak shows, to fortune telling to amazing midway activities – join us this weekend for a fair amount of fun!

A Fair Spectacle Weekend | Fort Edmonton Park Events

Slide the City July 23 – Come dressed to impress because it’s not every day you can strut through town with your hot bod, cool dance moves and slick slides for this all day party. Did we mention 1000 feet?

Taste of Edmonton July 21-30 – Brought to you by volunteerism and community involvement, Taste of Edmonton has become a summer tradition within our city that celebrates all the culinary delights our community has to offer. Pleasing the forever-loyal downtown crowd and other food-enthusiasts who head into the heart of the city to sample these scrumptious dishes, Taste of Edmonton has been able to grow into the largest food festival in Canada.

Edmonton Eskimos Game Day July 22 – vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Use your Ticket to get into #KDAYS afterward.

Chalk it up July 23 – Arts on the Ave, Chalk & 3D Art

7 Things To Have On Your Checklist When Choosing A Real Estate Pro

A woman writes in a journal
Picture courtesy of

As a homebuyer you’re about to embark on one of the biggest, most stressful and exciting journeys in your life. You need to be certain that you can trust your real estate professional to deliver the goods.

However, choosing the right realtor can be difficult. There is a lot to consider, and with fierce competition between agents, all of the information can be a little bit overwhelming. Here are some key steps to help you pinpoint the real estate agent that will be the best fit for you.

1. Speak With Former Clients

When you meet the agent in person, they obviously will be putting their best foot forward. So, for a more unbiased view of their work habits, try to speak with people who have worked with them in the past. Online testimonials are a great place to start. But for more in-depth insight into the agent’s area expertise, check out their Facebook page. If you have friends in common, ask them about their experience with the agent in question.

2. State Board Records

Check with your local REALTOR® board for license information, employment history and disciplinary actions.

3. Industry Designations

Real estate agents often go above and beyond minimum education requirements to specialize in specific areas of the business. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might want to look for an agent with specific credentials and designations.

  • CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) – Looking for a residential home? These professionals have been specially trained in residential sales.
  • ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) – Qualified ABR agents specialize in helping their clients buy their new home. To become an ABR, agents first need to have the required experience before they are able to undergo specialized training. Once qualified, agents are able to assist you through the entire process, from locating suitable properties based on your wants and needs to closing the deal. These agents are top of their field.
  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) – These agents have specialized knowledge and experience working with people in the 50+ age range.

Also, don’t disregard peer-given awards; these can be a sign of an accomplished agent.

4. How Long They Have Been In Business

This is obviously a great measuring stick for an agent’s experience. You can find out how long they’ve been in business through the licensing association. However, newer agents with the right work and community experience often offer a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to get the job done. Who you choose depends on your personal preference and real estate goals.

5. Current Listing Inventory

You can find an agent’s listings online through their social media pages, personal website and sites like Take a look at how their past and current listings compare to the type of house you are looking for and explore their marketing strategy. Also, take note of the number of listings they have and ask them what their typical inventory looks like.

Be prepared with listing inventory questions, should you take the next step and interview the agent.  Do they specialize in select neighborhoods?  What is their niche area?  How long do homes typically stay on the market?

6. Knowing The Neighborhood

A good agent should know about other available properties in their area of expertise  “off the top of his head,” says Robert Irwin, author of Tips & Traps When Buying a Home. “You want someone like that who’s on top of the market.”

Aside from inventory expertise, ask the agent about the aspects of the community that are most important to you, including school ratings, restaurants, the community, shopping and other local amenities.  In addition to knowing what most attracts homebuyers to the area, a good agent also will understand the challenges homeowners in the area face.

7. Do They Have a Strong Online Presence

Social media is the new word-of-mouth, so an agent’s online presence can be a good gauge of how up-to-date they are on the market and their industry connections. Do they have an active Facebook, Twitter or Linkedln page? Are they updating their social media pages regularly with knowledgeable content? If they are, this is a good sign that they have their finger on the pulse. Smart agents often utilize online tools to streamline their social media systems and processes.

Choose Wisely

There is a lot to consider when you start looking for an agent. Don’t just pick the first one you find. Do your research online, interview at least 3 different agents and choose someone who you connect with and has your best interests at heart.

Want to get your home search started today? Search for properties in Canada or the United States at Realty Executives.

This guest post was written by Sara Luckman of CityBlast. The team at CityBlast helps over 10,000 agents and brokers with their social media marketing, keeping their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn up-to-date and professional.

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Exterior Improvement to Boot Your Home’s Value

We’re often told we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Unfortunately, people rarely apply this rule to the home buying process and that is why exterior and yard improvements are so important. Luckily, these investments can be inexpensive and can provide great returns. Here’s our list of a few items to consider:

1) Walls – Just like you maintain interior walls, exterior walls should be maintained as well. Replace anything that needs to be replaced, fill in any gaps or cracks, or rinse down anything that’s dirty. These are quick and easy fixes that can be done without a huge investment.

2) Front Door – Just as it is often important for you to make the right first impression, your home needs to make the right impression when buyers look at it for the first time. This first look often includes a peek at the front door, and knowing that buyers can make decisions in as little as a few seconds, you shouldn’t overlook this feature.

3) Landscaping – Landscaping can be inexpensive and can even increase your home’s value by up to 7% according to the National Post. It can help make your home stand out in a run down neighbourhood, or make sure that your house does not look out of place in an upscale one. Keep in mind that people enjoy low maintenance so focus on designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to maintain.

4) Decks – Decks are one of the renovations that are most likely to hold their value according to HGTV. Depending on the type and size of deck you install, it can really help increase the living space of the home.

5) Roof – Roofs are expensive and although a new roof may not justify a huge increase in the asking price, it can definitely be added to a buyer’s list of pros when comparing properties. If your roof is intact there is no need to replace it just yet, however if it needs repairs, do not put them off because if can be just as costly to mend the damage caused by a faulty roof.