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You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.


That’s home automation for you!


But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors.


On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time.


Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.


Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too.


The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.


Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it! 


Until next time, 


Darin

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Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.

  1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)


  2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.


  3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.


  4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.


  5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.


  6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.


  7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.


  8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.


  9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
     
  10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies. 


Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you. 


Until next time, 


Darin

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Did you hold off purchasing a home for whatever reason?

 

  • Saving some more money for a down payment?
  • Waiting for a raise at work?
  • Exiting a rental agreement?

The average detached home in the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford all the way to North Delta) in the last calendar month, year over year, went up over 11.2% from September 2016 to September 2017.

 

Check out the infographic below.

 

 

 

The biggest question potential purchasers want to ask themselves is, "Is waiting really the best option?"

 

If you are saving for a down payment, can you save more in a year than the property's price is raising? Likely not...

 

The numbers are staggering and intimidating, yet the best thing you can do is know what is possible in your current situation. Have you talked to a bank or mortgage professional about financing? Have you spoke with your Realtor regarding a purchase? If not, now may be a good time to get pointed in the right direction.

 

Until next time,


Darin

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Water heaters 101: Getting yourself in hot water | REM | Real Estate Magazine
Sep 25, 2017

By David Dodge and Scott Rollans

 

David Dodge with his new tankless on-demand water heater

 

A typical hot water heater accounts for about one fifth of the energy used in most Canadian homes. Choosing the right hot water heater can have a huge impact both financially and environmentally – especially as energy prices and carbon levies continue to rise.

 

Many of us still choose conventional, gas-fired hot water tanks, because they’re cheapest – or are they? Over its lifespan, the initial price of your hot water heater can represent as little as 12 per cent of its overall cost. The other 88 per cent is energy.

 

For that 88 per cent, we wanted to get the biggest bang for our buck. So, we asked Ken McCullough of Think Mechanical in Edmonton to walk us through three high-efficiency choices: conventional-style high-efficiency power-vented tank, on-demand tankless and hybrid heat pump.

 

“The more people you have in your home, the more hot water you’re going to use,” McCullough says. “It’s important to know that you have the highest efficiency that you can possibly have. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money out of the window.”

 

Super-efficient water heater nirvana

 

These days, hot water heaters all come with an “energy factor” rating, or EF. A tank with an EF of 1.00 would be perfectly efficient, with all the energy being converted to hot water. This factor is often expressed as a percentage. A standard tank has an efficiency rating of about 60 to 65 per cent, meaning 35 to 40 per cent of the energy goes up the flue, or radiates out as the water sits in the tank.

 

You’ll also want to look at your new system’s recovery rate – the rate at which it can heat the fresh water flowing into the tank. The higher the rate, the less likely you are to run out of hot water during heavy use. Here we present three great choices for dramatically increasing the efficiency of your water heater.

 

High-efficiency power-vented water heater


If you’re reluctant around new technology, you might consider a high-efficiency power-vented tank. It looks like an old-school water heater, complete with a 50-gallon tank, but it’s side-vented (like a high-efficiency furnace) to decrease heat loss. This helps boost its efficiency to 90 per cent – or, about 30 per cent more efficient than a traditional tank. Meanwhile, its very high recovery rate, 80 per cent in one hour, will help keep the hot water flowing. You can get a 79-per-cent efficient model for $2,700, but the highest efficiency model we looked at clocked in at over $4,800 installed.

 

Tankless on-demand water heater


We were particularly interested in an on-demand tankless hot water heater. As the name suggests, this heater kicks in only when you turn on the hot water tap, heating the water as you use it rather than storing it in a tank. It heats the water quickly enough to provide an endless supply, assuming you’re not using a lot of hot water all at once (say, washing clothes and running the dishwasher while you shower). “You’re going to turn on your tap and you’ll get hot water,” McCullough says.

 

With an efficiency rating of 95-97 per cent, this is the highest efficiency available in a natural-gas water heater. At 95-per-cent efficient and priced at $3,700 installed, our choice is more expensive than a conventional water heater, but the long-term savings more than balance that out. And, because there’s no tank, the system frees up a lot of space in your furnace room.

 

Heat pump water heater


McCullough also showed us the state of the art in efficient water heating: a hybrid heat-pump hot water tank. It looks like a conventional tank, but with a cap on top containing a heat pump. The heat pump draws heat from the air in the (normally very warm) mechanical room – like a refrigerator in reverse – and transfers that heat to the water. This allows the heater to achieve an efficiency rating of 330 per cent, meaning the heat energy transferred to the water is more than triple the amount of electricity consumed.

 

Because the heat pump water heater is entirely electric, it is perfect for net-zero homes with no gas hookup (you also save $60/month on gas-line administration and delivery charges). Some early adopters are choosing these in conventional homes as well. McCullough quotes $4,400 for this option, making it slightly cheaper than the high-efficiency power-vented tank. The one downside is its relatively slow recovery rate of just 80 liters (21 gallons) per hour.

 

A good contractor can help you balance your needs, your budget and your environmental goals, helping you make the right choice. He or she will also bring pride of work to the installation itself. Shop around and read product reviews and remember: spend more up front and save more over the life of the water heater.

 

In the end, we went with a Rinnai tankless water heater in our own home. We consider ourselves early adopters and we loved the idea of endless supply of hot water. A current Energy Efficiency Alberta rebate definitely helped put us over the top.

 

So far, we’re thrilled with our choice, although the quirks of the system created a few start-up challenges. For example, our daughter’s first shower started out hot, but quickly switched to freezing cold. The culprit seemed to be our low-flow shower head; it turns out on-demand heaters require a certain minimum flow rate to remain on.

 

We solved the situation with a single quick adjustment (we turned down the temperature setting from 60 C to 49 degrees C on the water heater, thereby increasing the proportion of hot water needed for a comfortable shower). This has an added benefit of saving more energy – and, we’ve already had two showers going at the same time!

 

It does take a few seconds longer for the hot water to arrive. But, once it comes, it keeps coming for as long as you need it.

 

That said, please don’t tell our daughter she can now shower for hours.


The Smart Home series was created by GreenEnergyFutures.ca for the Alberta Emerald Foundation with financial support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation. 

 

This article was written by REW.ca.

http://www.remonline.com/water-heaters-101-getting-hot-water/


Until next time, 


Darin Germyn

 


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According to a recent study, the average homeowner pays more attention to kitchen stove safety than they do BBQ safety. But, the fact is, a BBQ mishap can be just as devastating. So, it pays to know the latest safety tips.


  • Keep BBQs at least 8 feet away from your house.

  • Check for venture tube blockages regularly. (Spiders are notorious

    for spinning webs in there.)

  • Clean the grill frequently to prevent flare ups. A grease fire on the

    grill can continue burning even after you’ve turned the BBQ off.

  • Don’t position your BBQ close to foliage, such as under a tree or next

    to shrubs.

  • Never BBQ in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even if the space

    is well ventilated.

  • Avoid leaving the grill unattended, especially when cooking greasy

    foods such as sausages, beef burgers or steaks.

  • Do not let children BBQ. 

 

Finally, make sure your BBQ is turned completely off after use. It’s a good idea to double-check this when making the rounds and locking up your home for the night.

 

Experts say you should treat a BBQ as you would a camp fire — with care. 

 

Until next time, 

 

Darin

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You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples.


1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage


If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.


2. If you’re nervous about the selling process


If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.


Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.


So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.


3. If you have questions


You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”

 

When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need. 


Until next time, 


Darin

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If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.
 

It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you.
 

It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.
 

If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:
 

  • Draw out several concepts for you to choose from,

  • Purchase the best building materials,

  • Hire the contractors, and

  • Manage the project.

He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!

 

There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In the U.S. check out the Professional Association for Interior Designers (www.asid.org). In Canada, it’s the Interior Designers of Canada (www.idcanada.org). 

 

Until next time, 

 

Darin

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Imagine this scenario...
 

You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty. You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed.
 

You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.”
 

Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might be covered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner.
 

But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists.
 

Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?”
 

Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and other big ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another.
 

Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferrable manufacturer’s warranty.
 

If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises.
 

Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind.
 

As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware of them, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement. 


Until next time, 


Darin 

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Did you hold off purchasing a home for whatever reason?

 

  • Saving some more money for a down payment?
  • Waiting for a raise at work?
  • Exiting a rental agreement?

The average detached home in the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford all the way to North Delta) in the last calendar month, year over year, went up over 10.0% from July 2016 to July 2017.

 

Check out the infographic below.

 

 

The biggest question potential purchasers want to ask themselves is, "Is waiting really the best option?"

 

If you are saving for a down payment, can you save more in a year than the property's price is raising? Likely not...

 

The numbers are staggering and intimidating, yet the best thing you can do is know what is possible in your current situation. Have you talked to a bank or mortgage professional about financing? Have you spoke with your Realtor regarding a purchase? If not, now may be a good time to get pointed in the right direction.

 

Until next time,


Darin

 
Read full post

 

Some people don’t give hallways much thought when painting and decorating. Instead, they focus on rooms.


The fact is, a great looking hallway can have the same, if not more, impact than the most eye-catching family room or bedroom, especially when you need to go through the hallway to get there!


Here are some painting tips that can bring a dull hallway to life:


  • Paint the hallway the reverse of the rooms around it. If the rooms are dark, use light colours in the hall. If the rooms feature simple colours, consider being more dramatic in your choice of hallway paint.
     

  • In a longer hallway, using two shades of the same colour on perpendicular walls can make the space seem less tunnel-like. (The darker shade goes on the shorter walls.)
     

  • Darker colours can work well if the space is well-lit and there are few, if any, shadows cast.
     

  • If you decide to paint the halls white, select an off-white or eggshell white. Avoid stark white as it will reflect light in a way that’s unpleasant.
     

One more tip: Pictures can go a long way in making a hallway look inviting, regardless of the wall colour.

 

Good luck with the painting! 

 

Until nex time, 

 

Darin

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