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How to Spot a High Quality Rental

There have never been so many home rental options readily available on the market as there are today. That being said, these rentals range in terms of quality, and you don’t want to be stuck in one full of problems or challenges. Here are some key characteristics of high quality rentals that you should definitely keep an eye out for.

Structural Integrity

Good quality rentals are those that have reliable and strong foundations and structural components, or those that have had these issues addressed and properly repaired. Ensure that the foundation is free of major cracks or fragmentation. If the foundation is warped, mossy, or heavily cracked, it could be the sign of possible structural problems. This will worsen with each passing season, especially during extreme temperatures, and can make your home more difficult to keep warm or cool. If you notice sagging or leaning walls, uneven floors, or that the exterior of the building is clearly not level, it’s best to steer clear.

Good, Quality Roof

A healthy roof makes for a healthy home, and it should be one of the first things you keep an eye out for when viewing a rental property. Ensure that the roof is free of curling or cupping shingles, and that the material used to hold them together isn’t visible. If the property includes an attic, check it thoroughly to ensure it is properly insulated and free of other seal-related issues, as the condition of this area is often an indicator of what shape the roof is in. You don’t want to settle into a home that needs a roof repair. You will be dealing with leaks and discomfort.

Another sign of a good, quality condition roof is that it and the home are free of rust, cracked caulk, and large clusters of moss or lichen. These are dead giveaways of a roof in poor condition if you see them, so be sure to look carefully when inspecting your potential new home.

Follow Your Nose

A good quality rental should feel clean and inviting, and an odourless or naturally clean-smelling home — free of air fresheners masking hidden smells — is an indicator of a healthy environment. Unwelcome or potent stenches in basements or bathrooms can be signs of mildew or mould problems hiding in plain sight, and also an indicator of major pests such as German Cockroaches. Not going alone will allow for a second sniffer to give the property an inspection as well, and if both of you identify specific problem areas, it could be a sign of a health and safety hazard.

In conclusion, a high quality rental is inviting, clean, free of structural problems, and topped with a healthy roof. Be sure to keep an eye out for these characteristics during your next visit to a rental property, and it’ll be easier than ever to find the ideal new home.

 

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5 Advantages of Renting a Condo

Moving into a condo development is like joining a community within a community, and it can often be more beneficial to those who don’t require or want excessive space or acres of land to maintain. Here are some advantages to renting a condo that are surprisingly overlooked by many searching for the ideal place to call home.

Privacy

You might not think of a home connected on either side to other units as private, but condos allow for maximum privacy without sacrificing the comforts of home. Intended to mimic the design and style of neighbouring units, they also give nosy neighbours less incentive to poke their heads around if everything from the street looks the same.

Security

Many condo developments offer secure enclaves, security gates, checkpoints, camera and alarm systems, patrolling security staff, and intercom systems, among other protective features. Enclaves in particular are ideal, as they shelter developments from the street with foliage, structural decorations or other features. They allow residents to coexist harmoniously without outside interference. If unruly neighbours begin to cause problems, however, security staff or the development’s homeowner’s association will intervene to remedy any disturbances.

Maintenance

It might sound lazy to some, but focusing on making memories rather than busywork can be more beneficial to the human mind. As such, living in a condo usually comes with the added perk of maintenance workers, who will tend to repairs, waste disposal, landscaping duties, inspections, and more. Maintenance staff can be a valuable and useful addition to your everyday life and alleviate many common frustrations of homeowners. Keep this in mind the next time a few dozen centimetres of snow covers your driveway.

Common Facilities

Every condo development is unique, and with that, you just might come across even more perks associated with moving in. Common facilities including swimming pools, gyms, tennis and basketball courts, soccer pitches, and even coy ponds, libraries, or lush gardens might be available to residents. Depending on what you’re paying, you can expect more or less of these common spaces to exist in the development you choose.

Lower Cost

This is the most obvious reason people search for condos. Everybody likes to save money, and it goes without saying that renting a condo will be cheaper than having a swath of land with a house. Consider that basically all repairs, upgrades, yard work, protection, safety inspections, cleaning, tools, and the bills associated with them will be your own responsibility. Of course, responsibility is a good thing for anyone, but for those with thinner wallets in need of a new home, condos are a wonderful alternative.

Renting a condo has never been easier, and there have never been more developments available to choose from. Search for units, features, and prices that pique your interest. Read things over, and consider whether this cost-saving living strategy would be ideal for you and your household.

spring-garden

Brighten Your Garden With Bird Feeders

If you’re looking for a way to really brighten and liven up your garden this spring/summer season, why not invite birds into your garden? Nothing summons more than the sound and sight of birds chirping.  And with the simple addition of a bird feeder, you can welcome all of those beautiful colours and sounds into your own natural surrounding.

Read on to learn a few of the basics about bird feeders and how they can really brighten up your spring garden.

Learn what birds are native to your area

Different species of birds require different types of food. So before you get started, take some time to research what birds are native to your local area. Once you learn what the species of birds are, you can then focus on what type of food to have in your feeder to attract certain species.

Be consistent with your supply

Birds are also very intelligent creatures and they learn very quickly. So one you stalk up your feeder for the first time, as they begin to recognize your feeder, it’s important to be consistent with supplying food and water throughout the year if you want them to hang around.

Finding a location to place feeder

Selecting the location of where to hang the feeder is also very important. The main factor is to place it at least 8-10 feet away from shrubbery or anything that can allow easy access for predators. It’s also helpful to place it somewhere that isn’t so exposed to harsh winds.

Use a bird feeder pole

Sometimes a bird feeder pole might be necessary to hang the feeder from if you don’t have a convenient place where squirrels can’t access the feed. These are usually made of rust-resistant iron and can be found at many garden supply or hardware stores.

Combining feeder with a birdbath

Water is just as important as feed, especially throughout the year during the winter when water is frozen. So placing a birdbath in close proximity to your feeder is an excellent way at really attracting a consistent presence of birds to your garden.

Why not welcome spring into your garden each year by adding a bird feeder? It’s the perfect way to let the sounds and sights of spring brighten up your entire outdoor space!

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Spring Cleaning: Time to Declutter

When you finally roll up your sleeves to embrace the spring cleaning fever, take this opportunity to declutter and make more space in your home. A thorough cleaning allows you to clear out any unused junk so that you can free up more space to breathe and live in. So, when it’s time to get in on the spring cleaning, here’s how you can tackle it.

Start from the Top to Bottom

When you begin your clean, it’s always a helpful method to begin from the top and work your way down. So if you have an attic that you haven’t been in for years, begin there. Each item that you want to discard can be moved downward until you have a section of the home (or the garage) where you can place items for recycling, donation or trash.

Focus on the bulky Items First

As you move throughout your home from room to room, it helps to focus on the larger, bulky items first. For example, if you have unused dressers, or a TV stand from the 90s that you know will never be used, remove any of those larger, cumbersome objects first. This will help clear up room and give you more space to clean out the rest of the room that you’re focusing on.

Move into the Deeper Layers

Once larger items have been removed, you can focus on being more thorough with the deeper layers of cleaning. This can involve going through old cupboards, disposing of old, burnt out light bulbs for example, cleaning through any drawers and closets as well. Be stern and strict as you move along through the clean out.

Dispose of Items

Finally, once you have determined what’s staying and what’s not, you will need to determine how to dispose of various items. You can donate items, set up a garage sale, and take old construction material and garbage to the dump.

So now it’s in your hands – clean up and have your home fresh and ready for the summer in no time!

copper-dishes-kitchen

5 Home Design Trends of 2017

2017 is gearing up to be one of the most extraordinary and unique years when it comes to interior design trends. It’s fascinating to see patterns, décor, colours, and themes from yesteryear returning to thriving popularity and relevance. Here are 5 home design trends that will make heads turn this year for better, rather than for worse.

Butterflies

Motifs, patterns, and actual framed species — any way you can incorporate the beauty of these winged gems, you can be assured of a fashionable home that will start conversations and inspire envious friends. Previously banished to children’s rooms or nurseries, these beautiful, multi-coloured insects are now free to spread throughout your stale interior. They’re a perfect way of adding vibrancy and character to any home, and play nicely with solid colours.

Cerused Wood

The process of applying special techniques to a wood surface to bring out its unique grain, cerused finishes offer as natural a look as possible for wood furniture, surfaces, and décor… minus the splinters. Most effective when applied to larger furnishings such as tables, chairs, storage furniture, and countertops, cerused finishes provide an air of natural splendour. Previously common in high-end spaces, lately this technique has crept into universal acceptance.

Smart Homes

LED light bulbs with remote-controlled settings and mood lighting features, digital thermostats that adjust automatically according to the temperature, wireless charging pads for smartphones, and alarm systems that contact the appropriate authorities for you are just a few examples of how firmly tethered we are to smart living. Applying these features to your home will not only make it more edgy and feel like you’re living in a spy thriller, but their energy efficiency will also cut on hydro, heating, and utility bills depending on what you opt for.

Copper

Brushed aluminum and stainless steel is so 2014. Metals such as copper are back in style, perhaps to combat the dystopian vibe of the world today with some inviting warmth. It looks stunning on everything from stoves to light fixtures, and if applied in moderation, it will make your home feel more comfortable and welcoming.

Furry Furniture

No, it’s not because of the recent surge in animated films starring anthropomorphic animals — soft, furry cushions and upholstery are back with a vengeance. Everything from throws to pillows and chair cushions is the ideal candidate for some fluffing up. Faux-fur furniture allows for your home to feel even more comfortable and cozy, and nothing beats snuggling up in a stylish living chair as soft as a cotton ball. Neutral colours are ideal, to maximize aesthetic appeal and minimize blatant weirdness.

This year, indulge in shaking things up to dispel staleness. Refreshing your home and adding a bit of playful flair does wonders for the imagination and spirits, and the great thing about interior design is that sometimes only a few small changes are enough to alter your home’s atmosphere for the better.

senior-couple-laughing-on-couch

Benefits of Renting as a Senior

Renting property couldn’t be more ideal and leisurely a way of living out your remaining years. With so much taken care of for you and no nasty surprises or frustrations such as those associated with maintaining your own private property, it makes perfect sense to opt for rental living instead. Here are some of the benefits of renting property as a senior.

Less Responsibility

Renting means that you’re not responsible for carrying out anywhere near as many repairs or maintenance work; this could include exterior work, cutting grass and shovelling snow, depending on your unit type. Not only will this put less stress on your remaining income, but it’ll better protect you from physical ailments or injuries, enabling you to live a more leisurely life and free up time to truly enjoy retirement. Your landlord will keep track of scheduled maintenance and inform you well in advance of any upcoming work, so there will also be a lack of unwelcome surprises in that regard. If you feel like you may still need some help around the home, consider a home care service.

You Can Downsize to a More Suitable Home

Now that the kids have left the nest and the household is smaller, it makes sense to downsize and relocate to a home that is better suited to your lifestyle, needs, and personal taste. A smaller footprint with fewer stairs and rooms providing simply for your needs will enable you to live more comfortably without having to worry about everyone else. With the rest of the family able to take care of themselves and not have to rely on living with you, living in a rental unit can be hugely beneficial towards your own specific needs or desires. Find a rental unit that allows you the lifestyle you require.

More Financially Feasible

Renting will cost less than maintaining a large empty house, and will allow you to save money to enjoy your remaining years. Everyone deserves the chance to live a retirement free of financial stresses, and by downsizing and cutting costs through renting a smaller and more appropriate home, you’ll have more financial opportunities as well as an exciting new living environment. With the money you earn from selling and switching to renting and the security of steady rent payments, you can easily budget for years in advance, usually with some extra funds left over for any hobbies, purchases, or trips you had in mind over the years.

Retirement living is intended to be a reward for years of hard work, and it should certainly feel as if it was worth the wait. Renting property can help to alleviate many stresses inflicted upon seniors associated with home ownership, save you money, and also provide an exciting new way to live out your remaining years.

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Preparing the Nursery For Your New Arrival

Preparing the nursery for your new arrival can be exciting and nerve wracking. It’s understandable that you want it to be the perfect environment for your baby to grow in. And with these design tips you can create a beautiful and tranquil space that’s great for both you and your newborn.

Painting

Give your nursery a personalized touch with a fresh coat of baby safe paint. You can also get a shade matched in VOC-free paint to eliminate fumes. When selecting a hue, you don’t have to go with the classic blue or pink tones, there are no rules on what you can paint the room. Yellow, greens, purples and neutral tones are popular choices when it comes to nurseries.

Wall Trim

Alongside your painted walls, you can add different colour wall trim to add more colour and make the room more fun. Mid-level wall trim can also let you split the colours. By placing the lighter colour on the top half you can visually heighten the ceiling and open up the room.

Furniture

Before your newborn enters the world, don’t forget to put the crib together and set up the furniture in the nursery. A change table and rocking chair are also key pieces of furniture to use with your baby.

New Lights

Consider adding new lighting to the nursery. Soft lighting helps prevent over-stimulation and helps the baby feel more comfortable. Plus, a dimmer switch can allow you to switch between diaper changes and sleep time without alerting or disrupting the baby.

Blackout Curtains and Blinds

Darkness during nap time is vital for sleep. If your blinds don’t block out enough light your baby may not be able to get the proper rest. Installing blackout blinds or curtains is the perfect way to obtain the optimal level of darkness for your tired baby.

Closet Organizer

One way to make your life easier once your new arrival is at home, is to add in a closet organizer in the nursery. This can help you have everything you need all in one place – diapers, toys, cleaning wipes, blankets, and clothing.

With a little preparation, you can ensure your nursery is ready when you bring your baby home. And whatever decorating styles you decide on you don’t have to do everything on your own – To Do Done Handyman Services can help with it all! Contact us today to help you get started with your nursery room.

apartment-bedroom-window-coverings

Stylish and Affordable Window Coverings for Your Rental

When renting a property and living in close proximity to others, it’s important to have ample privacy as well as the ability to block out the sun or stormy weather. Thankfully, there are several low-cost ways to cover your windows that don’t sacrifice stylishness along the way. Here are a few examples, which may or may not call to you depending on your tastes.

Bamboo Blinds and Shades

Environmentally friendly and very affordable, bamboo blinds and pull-down shades are wonderful additions to windows of rooms yearning for a warmer and more and exotic atmosphere. A cheaper but equally stylish alternative to wooden blinds, they provide ample privacy and lend a charmingly idyllic, and rustic style to any room in your rented home.

Layered Basic Coverings

By incorporating multiple sets of incredibly cheap yet otherwise drab and plain sheers alongside a clean yet basic set of blinds, you can turn your frugality into a clever form of creative expressionism. Another trick is to incorporate bed sheets of solid colours or subtle patterns that coordinate well together, trimming and fitting them to suit, and then add them to a cheap piece of unassuming PVC piping to give the impression of your room boasting an upscale atmosphere. If your guest look closely and happen to notice your technique, they just might be inspired to cut costs and try it out in their own homes. You never know!

Window Scarves

Go for a stylish bohemian approach by incorporating tastefully woven window scarves — but you don’t have to just run out and buy a purpose-built set. Instead, head to a local thrift store and see what unique fabrics you can come up with. Entire wardrobes end up in such places, so it’s often that you’ll find several pieces with matching colours or patterns. Take them home and then measure, cut, and sew accordingly. With some careful attention to detail, you can easily create a chic atmosphere at home oozing personality and stylish charm without breaking the bank. The same thing can be done for sheers with bed sheets, so long as you carefully measure and cut them so they won’t look raggedy.

Renting an apartment or home doesn’t mean you have to splurge on expensive window coverings. If possible, pick a rental that has new replacement windows so that your coverings are strictly for convenience and comfort, instead of a full cover scenario.

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Ways to Save Money on Your A/C Bill

Air conditioning bills are, to many, a necessary evil. However, with some clever workarounds and an ability to resist the urge to leap for that thermostat, there are ways to minimize the financial impact it will make. Here are some ways you can easily save money on your air conditioning and energy bills this summer.

Interior Renovations

By choosing a landlord that has renovated the interior of their home, including increased insulation efficiency and more, you’ll be able to more easily control and maintain temperatures inside. Upgrading windows, doors, ventilation, seals, and wall insulation will make it far less of an expense to operate your air conditioning system during warmer weather, as less usage will be required to maintain a comfortable interior temperature. Take the time to inspect the quality of your home’s insulation, as even making a few adjustments could help to cut back on air conditioner usage.

Pay Attention To The Thermostat

Air conditioning systems are known to operate most efficiently at full speed during longer periods of time. Setting it to a lower temperature when you get home will be more financially beneficial than leaving it to cycle on and off throughout the entire day. Investing in a programmable thermostat is a crucial step you can take towards regulating your system’s minimum operating temperature. Try programming it to operate at higher temperatures while you’re away, cooling down just before you’re scheduled to arrive home. Being conscientious and perceptive is an important part of air conditioner ownership, unless if you want to be stuck with high bills.

Fire Up The Grill

It’s obvious that cooking indoors produces heat, so why not take advantage of the temporarily beautiful weather and barbeque outside? Cooking outdoors prevents heat and pollutants from being trapped inside your home, therefore keeping your air cleaner, fresher, and cooler. This means that your air conditioner won’t have to go through extra hoops to regulate a set temperature.

Exterior Protection

What do reflective roofs, trees, window and door awnings, bright-coloured exterior finishes, and ample shrubbery have in common? Well, they all are excellent ways to dissipate heat from your home. Choosing a rental with even a few of these recommended features would surely drastically cut back the amount of heat your home absorbs. Plants help create oxygen and clean the air, lowering humidity and helping to filter fresh air throughout your property. Awnings and protective covers prevent direct sunlight and heat from being sucked through windows and doors and inside, and a reflective roof is the equivalent of slapping a highly effective “return to sender” stamp on the heat being directed at your home. All of these features will enable you to cut back on air conditioner usage, as the interior temperature will be less impacted by the conditions outside.

If you are able to acquire a rental with even a few of these highlights, and implement good energy use habits, your bills will be significantly lower over time with each day of less-intensive usage. If you do start to see spikes in your bill with no obvious reasoning, be sure to contact your landlord as you may require HVAC maintenance.

people-backyard-bbq-party

Bring Your Backyard Dinner Party to the Next Level

It’s never been easier to throw a great party, but do you want to make your next backyard dinner gathering something of legendary proportions? Here are some exciting and edgy ways you can make your next dinner party something your guests will never forget.

Get Creative and Come Up with a Theme

Going all-out for a themed evening of great company and stunning food can be as exciting for yourself as it will undoubtedly be for your guests. Indulge in a Mexican Fiesta complete with tamales, quesadillas, sombreros, and tequila aplenty. Or, assemble a culturally divine evening of Croatian delicacies for seafood-lovers, tinged with the exotic flair of the Dalmatian Coast amidst the clinking glasses of fine wines.

Another option is to create a retro throwback dinner featuring classic dishes of the eighties and nineties set against a backdrop of video game music and pixelated decorations, followed by some retro gaming action via a projector-connected Nintendo 64 with four controllers and an always-appreciated copy of GoldenEye 007. The possibilities are endless!

Games and Entertainment

Set up dart boards, fill the pool and pepper its surface with floating toys aplenty, or even assemble a makeshift outdoor dance floor, complete with lattice-strung lights, as well as a Bluetooth speaker set up for your phone’s party playlist. If someone is a talented musician (or not) break out the guitar or digital keyboard either way for some impromptu entertainment. By thoroughly entertaining yourself and your guests, it’ll be easier to make a lasting impression and care some great memories.

Minimize Distractions

You want your guests to be fully immersed in the atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create, so don’t let nagging distractions get in the way of a great party and sour everyone’s experience. Have backup meal plans ready to go in case of allergic guests or a miscalculation of food consumption by your excited visitors.

Keep pesky bugs at bay with mosquito nets and/or citronella candles, as well as plenty of bug spray to provide guests when in a pinch. Keep bathroom access open to all available toilets in the house, and be sure to have a medical emergency kit and fire extinguisher nearby just in case of unforeseen safety issues or illnesses. These might not all sound like the hallmarks of an iconic dinner party, but rest assured, being adequately prepared will prevent your latest social gathering from being known as a disaster.

In the end, make your next backyard dinner party unique. Be creative and daring, and bear in mind that you can always use what you already have to make a fantastic get-together. Regardless of what you spend, keep your guests entertained, safe, and comfortable, and your next dinner party will be remembered for some time.