Why a Professional Photographer is Best When Selling a Property
January 28th 2018
When it comes to selling your home, first impressions count. For most home hunters the majority of research starts online, and your photographs need to be up to scratch so you can reel them in on first glance.
Think about it - when looking for a new home, the first thing most people do is look at the photos. Whether it’s online or in the local paper, people want to visualise the property not read about it. If they like what they see, then they’ll move onto the text.
So it pays to find someone to photograph your property the best way it can be.
Why a professional?
The first reason is, of course, the most obvious: Taking photographs is their job. They know how to make areas look brighter, bigger and more inviting. Professional photographers know what areas will look best, and what angles will best capture the most desirable attributes of your home.
They know how to use the light to their advantage and they know how to frame the room just right so it looks the best it can possibly look.
On top of this, professionals know how to retouch the photos further to make them even more appealing. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean they change the colour of your walls or add in grass that isn’t there, it just means they enhance the features they have already shot.
This especially comes in handy on days where weather doesn’t particularly cooperate, or when you have views. Often, the exposure needed inside will not capture the view in the best way. A little nip and tuck in editing software and suddenly you can see how beautiful the water is outside, while still taking in the space inside.
While you may be tempted to snap some photos and hit some buttons through Photoshop to show your property perfectly, professionals know where to legally draw the line. There is a clear difference between retouching to make best use of the light, and retouching to falsely represent something. For example, trees, neighbouring buildings or cracks in the walls cannot be removed as this misleads the consumer.
It’s all in the details
Not only do professionals understand the importance of light and staging, they also have the equipment for it. This includes lights, a top-quality camera and the best lenses to capture properties. And, importantly, they’ll have a variety of lenses that they will chop and change between depending on the type of photograph they’re taking.
Further, as ridiculous as it sounds, many people just cannot take a straight photo. Or, the lighting will be so bad and the photograph will turn out blurry because the person taking it moved slightly. A photographer comes with a tripod and therefore, no movement and a perfectly straight photograph.
On top of the equipment, photographers understand the correct composition needed to highlight your home the best. Photos must be composed by deciding the focus of the photograph and the elements to include. Once this focus is chosen, they know how to set up the shot properly. This is especially true when you’re dealing with architectural or structural elements that may be a bit unusual.
The photos you need
If photos entice potential buyers in, it’s important to have the right photos displayed. Generally, your agent will have photographers either in-house or outsourced that they work with on a daily basis. But it doesn’t hurt for you to know the photographs you need to create the best advertising and marketing collateral.
The master bedroom
The view (if you have one)
Smaller areas such as powder rooms
If there are custom features to the house, for example, heritage ceilings or custom-made built-ins.
Exterior - Always make sure there is at least one photo of the front of the house.
Draw on people’s emotions with excellent photography. It’s guaranteed to be worth it. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and it can also speak thousands of dollars if you do it right.
How to Maintain Your Hardwood Floors to Last a Lifetime
January 28th 2018
Wood flooring has been a must-have addition to any luxury home for as long as people have been building luxury homes. The elegance added by a hardwood floor simply can’t be overstated. Unfortunately, as with most things beautiful and luxurious, hardwood floors need a lot of maintenance to keep up their great looks. Here is a how-to to make sure your hardwood floors stay clean, shiny, and beautiful:
Clean Often and Clean Right
The single most important thing to do to keep your wood floors shiny for years is to clean them often. It isn’t enough to just mop and vacuum once a month. Particles like dust and dirt can do some major damage to your wood flooring if left to their own devices, so experts recommend you clean your floors weekly.
When cleaning, use a cleaning solution that is specifically made for your type of hardwood floor. Using non-wood-floor cleaners can cause the cleaner to not bond or improperly bond with your flooring’s finish which could lead to peeling. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the old wives tale of using vinegar to clean wood floors is a major no-no. Vinegar is highly acidic and will dull the finish on your flooring faster than just about anything else.
When vacuuming your wood flooring, make sure you have the brush set to the “Floor” setting to prevent the spinning bristles from damaging your floor. Similarly, make sure you use a broom with soft bristles to keep from scuffing it up.
Repairing Wood floor damage
Repairing a lightly damaged wood floor is a lot easier than most people think. For most minor scuffs, a simple rub-down with some water or hardwood-cleaner will do the job. More persistent or deeper scratches that don’t penetrate through all the way to the wood can be repaired with a procedure called “buff and pad”. This is an extremely simple procedure: simply rent a floor buffer from your local hardware store (or get a trained handyman to bring over theirs), buff-sand the affected area, and apply a couple of coats of wood finish. The whole process will last just a couple of hours and leave your floors looking brand new. For deep dents and pockmarks caused by furniture or heels, you might need to go through with the more expensive and difficult sand-and-refinish process. Sand down the finishing material on your wood floor all the way to the wood, then refinish it with wood sealer and finisher (follow the directions on the finisher closely for best results).
August 7th 2017
There are more decisions that go into planning a patio than may be obvious at the start.
How important is privacy?
What about prevailing winds?
How about your gardening interest?
Do you want a picture-book effect with borders of colorful annuals, or do you want to spend time just sitting?
Imagine your patio as outdoor living space, not just somewhere to clean mud off your shoes or for haphazard deposits of bicycles, toy and garden tools.
Today, patios are planned as extensions of livings rooms, with sliding door between, providing a physical connection and ready access.
A small patio slab is seldom satisfactory. Plan one of adequate size even if the project must be completed over a longer period of time. Make simple sketches on paper and work toward this goal in small steps, if necessary.
The most common type of patio construction is poured concrete. You can also use brick or other loose aggregates, but concrete is a pretty good step-at-a-time material, because the slabs are usually poured in the form of grids and therefore can be done in stages. Concrete is durable and fluid enough to be cast in curves and flexible in surface texture and coloring. It’s also relatively easy to maintain.
Take time to consider all the surface options and then proceed with the one that seems most attractive and suited to your intent and the style of your home. Do you plan to entertain a lot of guests? Will you be putting your barbecuing skills to the test?
Trends in Patio Design
Here are five hot trends in patio design to help elevate your backyard patio from a nice patch of bricks to your favorite spot to entertain and relax this summer:
Make the backyard a destination: More people are foregoing costly summer vacations in favor of sinking that travel money into creating a getaway spot in their own backyards. Enterprising homeowners are using decorative concrete to create mini theme parks with faux rock water features, sculpted pools with water slides and garden bridges.
Cost-sensible, eco-conscious: Environmental awareness doesn’t have to take a backseat to luxury. Backyard oases must also emphasize eco-consciousness, incorporating environmentally-friendly materials like concrete, which is sustainable. But they also like the organic look and feel that the material can impart. Concrete patios can mimic the look of natural stone – even lava – without the eco-impact associated with quarrying the real thing. Plus, concrete costs considerably less than many natural stone products.
Furniture built to last and last: Anybody can go to the local home improvement store and pick up a patio set. The truly trendy backyard designer turns to permanent backyard furniture, custom-made to fit your yard’s style. Custom concrete furniture can take on any shape, from pool tables and benches to patio tables and planters. It lasts a lifetime and never needs to be painted or refinished.
Light my fire: When it comes to creating ambiance, few home improvements pack the wallop of a fireplace. Outdoor hearths are growing in popularity as homeowners continue to recreate all the appeal of their home’s interior in the backyard. Whether you choose gas or wood-burning, custom designed or pre-cast, adding a fireplace to your outdoor landscape is sure to light up its appeal.
Size – and shape – matter: We’ve all seen patio disasters – the sprawling slab that totally dominates a tiny backyard, or the postage-stamp-sized patio that appears lost in a sea of grass. Homeowners are no longer leaving patio size to chance. Instead, they’re putting a lot of thought and planning into right-sizing their patio to create a living area that meets their needs and fits the profile of their backyard. Determining how your space will be used and how much you have to work with before you undertake any remodeling will save time and avoid regret later on.
Patio Design Ideas
Whenever you are researching patio ideas there are numerous elements to look at: lighting, furnishings, heating and the types of functions you will want to utilize it for.
Will you be utilizing this outdoor space largely for relaxing or will you use it as an additional living and entertaining spot?
Patio designs which include a fire pit could make the space not just cozy and relaxing but very exotic also. A fire pit can be built into the outdoor patio with bricks or stones, or it may stand alone and still have the flexibility to be moved as needed. Most important is the fact that as soon as the sun goes down and the weather is cooler, the special event can still continue.
You will discover quite a few patio ideas that also contain beautiful water features. A fountain or small waterfall can also be built with the use of the many unique and gorgeous rocks which are now offered and very easy for almost any homeowner to install. You can to find pre-built water features online or at home improvement stores that anyone can merely set in place, fill with water and plug in. The sound of trickling water sets the ambiance for relaxed entertaining.
Light is another yet extremely significant element to think about in patio designs. There are many affordable choices of lighting on the market today. You’ll find several solar or low voltage selections that produce excellent illumination and create plenty of atmosphere for virtually any outdoor living space.
Shade is another factor to consider in patio design. The form and degree of shading you are going to want depends on the direction your patio is facing and the amount of natural light you want. Canvas awnings are a colorful and affordable way to manage both shade and temperature.
The finishing touch will be the pieces of furniture you choose.
Modern patio furniture is very weather resistant and can last for quite a few years. Almost all outdoor patio furniture can be casual and stylish at the same time.
Patio canopies are particularly convenient for residences with a swimming pool, backyard deck, or other large and exposed areas. For added comfort, privacy and security, manufacturers even offer screen attachments to close off a desired area. For wide-open patios, canopies effectively allow an extension to the house or even a new room, giving the homeowner wider space and more comfort.
The exposure that patios have to rain, snow, sun and the elements has encouraged canopy manufacturers to come up with varying models of different materials, from retractable awnings to aluminum patio cover kits.
Some covers are made from heavy-duty vinyl and are available in various sizes. Some companies offer lattice patio cover kits, created primarily for garden settings. The market includes types made from aluminum material that feels and looks like wood, without posing any of the typical problems identified with wood, including peeling, warping, repainting, or attack by termites.
Other desired features include wind-release protection and awning flexibility. There are portable and permanent models, created for every type use imaginable. Combined with appropriate lighting in the evenings, patio canopies bring a festive air to a backyard party or barbecue.
An online perusal can provide a wealth of information regarding the styles and types of canopies available to homeowners these days.
Inspecting Your Home For Winter Damage
March 27th 2017
As the days get longer and warmer, our attention naturally turns toward spring and summer activities, but this is also an ideal time to do a walk-through of your home and property to determine what damage or weathering this past winter may have caused.
Check your gutters, eaves and downspouts. When snow melts and refreezes on your roof, it causes ice dams to form. Over time, this ice continues to build up, blocking water from draining. The longer it remains, the more water will seep into—and through—the roofing materials, prompting leaks. Ice dams will also begin to push gutters away from the house.
Ice also creates “freeze thaw” in cement and asphalt, leading to cracks and splits on your sidewalks and in your driveway.
These will widen and deepen over time, so the sooner you can manage repairs, the easier and less costly they will be. Likewise, your home’s foundation can succumb to this same problem, especially if water pools against it, freezing and thawing repeatedly throughout the winter months, creating slow, insistent damage.
Extreme temperatures—both heat and cold—take their toll on your home. Water promotes both rot and mold. Heat causes peeling paint and cracked vinyl. Conduct an inspection to see if the harsh winter months have created any of these problems on your property.
Inspect roof shingles to make sure all are intact and secure. Check to make certain that the trees on your property, particularly those closest to your house are healthy and trimmed, with no cracked or damaged branches that could fall and cause significant damage later.
Look at all outside faucets closely. Test them to make sure no pipes have frozen or cracked. Don’t leave water running on your yard or garden for any length of time unsupervised until you know there isn’t a leak creating havoc somewhere inside or beneath your home.
Many homeowners think to have their furnaces serviced and their fireplaces cleaned in the autumn before colder weather sets in, but spring can be a more efficient time to attend to these details. You won’t be using them during the summer months, and the professionals who provide these services will likely be able to get to you right away.
Thirty minutes spent now to evaluate how well your home came through the winter can eliminate surprises and unexpected repairs further down the road. Your local Canmore House Doctor office ready to provide assistance with both a survey of your property and in repairing in problems that come to light in the process.
Common Painting Mistakes To Avoid
March 23rd 2017
Now that Spring is in the air, it's time to open the windows and freshen up the home! With that comes a fresh interior paint update so here is how to avoid some of the most common painting mistakes! Here’s what you will need to know…
Too Much Tape
While painters tape can be a huge help in keeping the paint inside the lines, when used in excess, it can also have the opposite effect. Lining every edge of the wall can cause paint to seep under the tape, leading to erratic smudges when it’s peeled off. Avoid this by taping only what’s necessary and using an angled brush for the rest.
We’ve all been in the home where the outlets look fused into the walls. This is the result of not properly prepping for paint. Before you begin, it’s important to remove all covers and tape the remaining outlet to keep paint from staining it.
Don’t paint over problems. Before painting, you want to make sure you fill in any dents or holes in the wall. Caulk the edge of the wall where it meets molding, spackle smaller holes, and repair larger holes. After everything is dry, sand off the excess filler, and then with a damp cloth or sponge, wipe off the dust.
Sand & Primer
Get the most vibrant color possible! Both sanding and priming your wall will prepare it to take in more color. Sanding helps open the pores of the wall so the paint is absorbed as much as possible. This will especially help improve the pigment of the color you chose and potentially limit the number of coats you will need to apply.
Similar to sanding, primer makes it so you get the most out of your chosen wall color. These steps are especially essential if you plan on going from a light color to a dark color or vice versa.
Painting large areas or textured walls can be a large undertaking. Don’t get overwhelmed. Handyman Matters is here to assist in the process of any home improvement or repair project.
7 Ladder Safety Tips To Help Avoid Injury
March 19th, 2017
You may not think of cleaning out the gutters as a high-risk task, but the fact is that any job around the house that involves climbing a ladder has the potential for injury. Statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the United States relating to ladders.
In the fall season, many homeowners are getting outside to clean leaves and needles as summer comes to a close. This commonly involves breaking out the ladder (or getting a new ladder that excels at gutter cleaning) and climbing on the roof. We want you to be safe this fall season so that you can enjoy the cooler weather and beautiful fall colors.
“There is a potential for injury any time someone climbs a ladder,” says Jeffrey Smith, MD, of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA). “While setting up and using a ladder may seem like a simple, everyday task, there are definitely safe and unsafe ways to do it.”
To help avoid injuries due to falls from ladders, the AAOS has developed the following tips for staying safe on a ladder:
Make sure your ladder is sturdy and in good shape. Before using it, inspect it for any loose screws, hinges or rungs that you might not have fixed before you put it away last time. Clean off any mud or other liquids that might have accumulated on the ladder.
Be sure to place the ladder on a firm, level surface. Never place a ladder on ground that is uneven or on spongy, soft or muddy ground. Likewise, during colder weather, never set your ladder on slippery, frozen spots.
Take reasonable safety precautions. Make sure to engage the ladder locks or braces before you climb. If you’re working outside, make sure the ladder will not hit electrical wires, tree limbs or any other obstructions when it is extended.
Remember the 1-to-4 rule: The bottom of the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder rises. For example, if the ladder touches the wall 16 feet above the ground, the feet of the ladder should be 4 feet from the wall. If you are going to climb onto a roof, the ladder should extend at least 3 feet higher than the roof. If you’re using an extension ladder, the upper and lower sections should overlap to provide stability.
Always reposition the ladder closer to the work. Over reaching or leaning far to one side when you’re on the ladder could make you lose your balance and fall. Your belly button should not go beyond the sides of the ladder.
Wear proper footwear. Ditch the leather-soled shoes when using a ladder – they’re too slippery. And make sure your shoelaces are tied and the soles of your shoes are free of any greasy, oily or wet substances. Pant legs shouldn’t be too wide or too long.
Get help if you need it. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb, stay in the center of the ladder as you climb and always hold the side rails with both hands.
Don’t Wait – Check The Date
March 9th, 2017
Have you replaced your smoke alarms recently? ever?
Every year during Fire Prevention Week, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has themed this year’s fire safety observance with the slogan, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”
According to NFPA statistics, half of all U.S. home fire deaths occur between the hours of 11pm and 7 am, when people are most likely to be sleeping.
Having a working smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a fire by half. And remember, of course, that merely installing detectors is not enough; it’s important to check them periodically to make sure they remain in working order, and to replace the batteries at regular intervals.
Along with maintaining your smoke detectors, there are a few other home improvement tasks you can do to ensure your family’s safety in the event of a fire:
Have An Evacuation Plan
The American Red Cross also reminds homeowners that it’s important for all members of your household to be aware of the quickest, safest way to exit in case of a fire, and to practice this escape so that it’s firm in everyone’s mind. Both a primary and a secondary escape route should be mapped, for added fire safety.
Keep An Eye On Flammable Materials
Remember to never to leave fireplaces, candles, space heaters or even running clothes dryers unattended. All have the capability of igniting a house fire. Keep curtains, fabrics and all objects away from space heaters. Never overload electrical outlets. Entryways need to be kept free of clutter and objects that might impede a hasty egress in case of emergency.
Senior Fire Safety Measures
Seniors and people with reduced mobility issues are at a particular risk; it’s important that they or their caregivers do a careful walk-through of their homes to make sure every step has been taken to ensure the ability to exit as quickly and directly as possible.
Fireproof New Additions To Your Home
When it comes to home repair, or building or buying a new home, it’s important to balance your desire for attractiveness with practicality and safety. Cedar siding, for example, is a popular choice, but it is also one of the more flammable surfaces. Take the time to consult with builders, carpenters and handymen to make sure all of the materials being used are designed for safety as well as for appeal.