Travelling is always an exciting time, but how do you ensure your home is safe and secure while you enjoy a vacation away? You can do several things to prevent break-ins and decrease the risk of damage.
Consider this checklist next time you travel:
- Ensure all windows and doors are closed and locked, and double-check the basement and garage doors.
- Timers for your lights are another solid investment. Install the timers indoors and outdoors. Set the on and off times to the natural rhythm of when your home lights would typically be on. Setting them to be on 24 hours daily is a clear sign something is a miss.
- Securely lock up and put away all your valuables, such as jewellery, cash or other sentimental items. Avoid leaving valuables out in plain sights, such as near a window.
- Never leave spare keys hidden around your property. Contact a trusted friend or neighbour to hold onto any extra keys while you are away in case of an emergency.
- While you are at it, get that trusted friend or neighbour to check on your home while you are away. They can ensure that your house is still in one piece throughout your vacation, preventing frozen pipes, water damage and bringing your mail inside. Doing so will also give off the impression that someone is home. In winter, hire a company or friend to clear your snow, so it looks inhabited. Plus, it saves you the headache of shovelling when you return.
- If you haven’t already, install an alarm system and security cameras. You can check on your home via your cell phone and alert your trusted person to anything amiss. Doorbell cameras are another excellent investment; alerts can be sent to your phone when people approach.
- Shut off the water and unplug unused electronics if you go away for extended periods.
- Check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors before you leave. Replace the batteries and ensure they are in good working order.
- As exciting as going away is, avoid posting about it on social media until you return. You do not want to alert the public that your home is unattended.
Use this checklist to plan the security of your home and give yourself a piece of mind while you are gone on vacation.
Buying a house isn’t like buying a kitchen appliance. You don’t have the luxury of researching, reading reviews, price matching, and using all of that to choose the absolute right fit before bringing it home. And if it doesn’t quite fit as well as you thought, you have the opportunity to return it for an exchange or refund.
Instead, when buying a home, you are limited to the ever-changing availability of the real estate market inventory, which may or may not contain a home that fits all your wants and needs. This is especially true in a seller’s market, like we are currently experiencing in Saskatoon real estate. And if you do find one outside of your budget, saving up just a little more and coming back to it usually isn’t an option. There are no reviews other than those of the sellers, and if you feel like you’ve made a wrong choice, a refund is not an option. So how do you know you’re making the right choice?
Well, here are just a few tips for buying a house to help you along the way:
Tip #1 – Keep Looking Until You Find the Right Home in Your Price Range
Every market is different, and you may need to concede some of the items on your wish list to find the right house. Things like the neighborhood your dream home is in, the year it was built, and its condition can drastically change its value.
Don’t give up! And rely on the advice of your REALTOR®—they’re a seasoned professional. A house is one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make, so you shouldn’t need to feel like you are settling simply because you are in a rush.
Tip #2 – Pay Attention to Location & Layout
Hate the decorations? Disgusted by the paint colors? Get over it! These are all things that can be fixed later on. However, nothing can be done about a bad neighbourhood, crummy floor plan, or a 20-minute commute to the closest grocery store, so don’t compromise on those.
Look for a neighbourhood and layout that fits your lifestyle. And for a good deal on buying a home, be open-minded about that dated kitchen tile.
Tip #3 – Think About Home Value Growth
Don’t just go for a pretty porch or spacious yard; look for a property that will grow in value over time. Do some research on the history of home values and businesses in that neighbourhood and the surrounding area, or ask your REALTOR® about the trends they have seen. Are home values rising? Is the number of businesses increasing? Those are good signs!
And if you can, try to find a house at the bottom price range in the best community you can afford. No one wants to be stuck trying to sell a $300,000 home to future buyers who are shopping in a $200,000 neighbourhood.
Tip #4 – Ask Questions During Showings
Ask tons of questions when you’re touring the house to make sure it’s genuinely your ideal home. Your real estate agent should be able to help you develop a list of relevant questions to ask, but here are a few standards to keep in mind just in case:
What is included in the sale? Does the price include things like appliances, light fixtures, or the hot tub?
When were the appliances updated last? Look at the plumbing, HVAC, septic tank, fridge, oven, and the washer and dryer.
How old is the roof? When was the last time it was looked at for any potential damage or leaks?
Are there signs of any pest infestations or water damage? Quite often, these can be visible at face value, but ask the sellers if there may have been anything they may have encountered beneath the surface.
What is the home like in winter and summer? Is there a south-facing window that turns the living room into a sauna without a good pair of blinds? Is there a draft that doubles the electricity bill in the winter just to stay warm?
Of course, there are countless other tips that I could give you for buying a house, many of which I mentioned in my Official Guide to House Hunting. However, the best way to ensure you are finding the perfect home for you and your family is to work with your very own REALTOR®.
Don’t have one? I’d be happy to help—contact me today!