7 Steps to Remember to Prepare Your House for a Showing

When you decide to sell your home, it can be an emotional process, especially if you’ve lived there for many years. You make so many memories in your home that it can be hard to let it go.

With all the stress of selling your home comes the added stress of getting it ready. You want to make as much money as you can off of the sale. Preparing your house for a showing is one way to help.

What do you do to get your house ready to show potential buyers? Follow the guide below to get you started.

Start Cleaning

The first thing to do is to begin cleaning the entire house. No one wants to walk into a dirty and cluttered house if they’re thinking of buying it. They want to picture their family in your living room, and it’s hard to do that if your stuff is lying around everywhere.

Dust every nook and cranny you can find. Don’t forget about any railings, both inside and outside. They can collect a lot of dust and often get forgotten about.

Organize Your Closets

Potential buyers want to see every aspect of your home, including the closet. Although it may be snoopy to some, many viewers will open up closet doors to see what’s behind the door. Be prepared for this. Organize and declutter the closet. You don’t want junk falling out when someone opens the door. Nor do you want any personal items visible that you want to be kept private.

Repair Any Minor Damages

You want to show your house in the best condition possible. If you spot any minor damages, try to fix them before the showing. Anything that is major, you can either fix it or have the realtor make a note that it will get discussed in the deal.

Take Down Items Moving With You

Since you want your potential buyers to picture themselves living in your home, you should remove any items that you’ll take with you. Avoid any awkward conversations over an item that was around in the showing, but you instead took it with you. The buyer can’t dispute an item if he or she never saw it in the first place.

Check the Curb Appeal

When a buyer drives up, they’ll make their first impression of your home based on the front yard. Picture yourself as someone first approaching the property. What do you see and how does it make you feel? If there are children’s toys lying around everywhere and the grass looks like a jungle, it doesn’t give off a good first impression.

Set a Comfortable Temperature

You want to have the temperature in your home at a comfortable level. Set it to a level that keeps the potential buyer inside. If it’s summer, your home should be a place of relief from the heat. During the winter, the warmth should make them want to continue walking through your home.

Create a Pleasant Smell

The smell of your home will factor in the appeal of it. A good tip is to bake a fresh batch of cookies or have some citrus fruit in a display bowl. Be careful about candles and air fresheners, as many people have allergies to the fragrances.

Don’t Overlook These 6 Things When Designing Your Home

Designing a home can be a fun time, or it could be one of the hardest things you do. If you don’t have the most creative mind, you may struggle on how you want your home to look. Maybe you’ll even hire someone to do the job for you, and that’s okay too.

Whether you’re designing your home yourself or having someone tackle the task for you, there are many things in your house that you don’t want to overlook. We have six of those things to consider when designing your home.

How Livable the Space Is

One of the top priorities when designing a home is how livable your plan is. Is your home easy to maneuver through? Does one room flow into the next? Your home should meet the needs of you and your family first.

Many designs seem really modern and appealing until you actually live in them. Do you have enough storage for everything, or did you sacrifice storage space for a particular design detail?

Railings

They may not seem like a big deal at the time, but any railings you have in your home can add or take away from the design of the space. Railings along the staircase can make them pop out. If you have an open upstairs that overlooks below, having glass railings gives off a different illusion instead of closed-off railings.

Your Personality

Your personality to shine in your home. If it doesn’t, how long do you expect that you’ll like the design? Although you can pick any style you want for your home, it should still make sense to who you are. If you don’t like going to the beach, would a beach-themed house make sense then?

Storage

Having enough storage in any home is an essential part of every design. It’s frustrating when you run out of space to store things. You either have to become super creative with where you put items, or you have to start decluttering your home. Ensure that your design has enough storage spots for the whole family.

Outdoor to Indoor Transition Spot

Although this may not seem like a big deal, having a spot that is a transitional space between the indoors and outdoors is very handy. A mudroom is an excellent spot to put shoes and coats in, and it helps to prevent dirt from getting tracked throughout your home. It’s a bonus for making your home more comfortable and livable.

Counter Space

At the time of the design, you may think that you only need a minimal amount of counter space. Then, you start to cook for your family and wish you would have added in additional counters or built the island you were thinking about. Not having enough counter space is very frustrating in any home, let alone one that has a large family. So, ensure that you have enough space to do everything you need to in the kitchen.

If you don’t follow the points above, it doesn’t mean your home won’t be livable or desirable. However, these points will help make your home more appealing and more comfortable for everyone inside it.

5 Tips for Taking Care of Outdoor Wood Railings

If you have a deck, chances are you have railings around it. If not, it may be time to invest in installing some.

Railings serve as an essential purpose for the safety of those who use the deck. Since they are outdoors, it’s important that you continue to take care of them to maintain their structural integrity.

Keep your outdoor railings in top shape by using the following five tips.

Know the Type of Wood

Before doing anything, you need to know the kind of wood used to make the railings. What you do to clean one type wouldn’t necessarily work for another kind. Knowing the type of wood allows you to pick cleaning products that are meant to protect and seal that specific type.

Use Non-Harsh Cleaners

Certain cleaners are too strong to use on wood as they can strip the finish. With your railings, you want them looking like new for as long as possible. Try and stay away from detergent cleaners and go for non-detergent ones.

For a more heavy-duty clean that will protect the wood, look for cleaners that are meant for outdoor wood, and even better if you can find products that won’t harm the environment. If you can’t find any, non-detergent dish soap works fine. Water and white vinegar is a good combination for tough stains.

Apply an Oil or Sealant

To keep the wood shiny and looking like new, apply a sealant or protective coating to the railings. This step is what helps protect the wood from the harsh elements, especially when winter rolls around.

When applying a sealant, rub with the grain and ensure that you get into all the crevices in the wood as well. Allow the product to soak into the wood before wiping any excess product off with a clean rag.

Inspect for Wood

You should regularly inspect the railings to see if any nails are sticking out, slivers to remove, or if there are any broken pieces. For any nails sticking out, you should immediately drive them back in to prevent any snagging.

If any parts of the railing are damaged, it could put the whole railing in jeopardy of falling apart, and that is not something you want to find out if someone is leaning against it.

Stain the Railings

Even a good stain will fade after a while as it sits outside. Between the sun, rain, cold, and snow, at some point, you’ll need to restain the railings. To keep the railing looking like new, adding a fresh stain every five years is a good guideline to follow. When that time comes, stain the railings as you stain the deck to maintain the same colour and look.

Get the most out of your railing by taking care of it and having a maintenance routine. Even as simple as cleaning the railings regularly will help maintain the health of the wood so that you’re left with a strong and healthy railing.

Is Your Fence in Need of Repairs? 4 Warning Signs to Watch For

If you look around your neighbourhood, chances are the majority of fences you see are made from wood. That is because wood is an excellent resource for building fences. It is quite often affordable, easy to work with, and very reliable.

With most things that are outside, after a while, they will need repairing and even replacing. Fences are no exception. Even if you have a brick or aluminum fence, at some point you’ll need to fix it.

Since wood fences are the more popular option, we’re going to look at four warning signs that say you need to repair your wooden fence.

Rotting

Rotting is a common indicator that your fence is on its last life, or at least that particular board. If you notice rotting spots on your fence, it’s something you want to address right away. Over time, that rot can cause your fence to warp and damage the structural integrity. As the rot deteriorates the fence, it also loses the look you were initially going for.

If you find only a few boards that have rot, you likely can get away with repairing only those boards. However, if the rot spreads, it probably has weakened the fence to the point of replacing the whole thing.

Insect Damage

Can you spot tiny holes in your fence? That could be a sign of insect damage. Many insects will burrow and eat away at wood, and if left untreated, can cause significant damage to your fence. As with rotting, inspect the whole fence to see where all the infested spots are. If it’s spread too far, you’ll likely have to replace the fence instead of repairing it.

For insect damage, you may want to further investigate as to where the infestation is coming from. You wouldn’t want to replace only to have the bugs return.

Splintered Boards

Splintering is another good indicator that it’s time to repair your fence. The problematic thing with splintering boards is that it can be difficult to determine if you need to simply repair certain boards, or if the whole structure is weakened.

If the fence is still standing upright even though there are splintered boards, you likely can get away with repairing only what is needed.

Sagging

If you notice that your fence isn’t standing up straight anymore, maybe it’s starting to warp or has a lean to it, that is a sure sign that your fence requires your attention. Sagging can come from the weather or from age.

The important thing to remember with a sagging fence is to determine what is causing it to sag. If the boards are rotting and making the fence sag, the structural integrity of the fence could be damaged, making the fence quite dangerous.

After building a fence, it’s essential that you spend time taking care of it. Fences provide privacy around the property. However, if you notice one of these signs and don’t act on repairing your fence, it soon becomes dangerous. A falling fence could seriously harm someone.

If you’re unsure whether or not to replace or repair your fence, call a professional contractor to help come up with a plan for you.

6 Features in Your Home Not to Forget About

Do you ever walk through your home and think of a few things you wish you did differently? Maybe you bought an existing house and felt a different layout would be better, or you wish you would have picked a different colour for the living room?

There ends up being at least one feature in our houses that we wish we could easily change. If you’re in the process of renovating or building a new house, we have six features in your home not to forget about.

Number of Outlets

Outlets seem like such a small thing in the grand scheme of the house that we tend to forget about them. The thing is though, forgetting about the outlets will lead to frustration down the road.

When installing outlets, put them in spots that you know you’ll use them. Have one on either side of where you plan to put your bed. Have multiple outlets in different locations in the living room. Don’t forget about outlets in the garage and outside your house too.

Indoor and Outdoor Railings

Railings are another thing that can be an afterthought, but shouldn’t be. Having a boring railing on a unique and exciting staircase will only bring down the effect it has. The colour and style of the railings can help finish off a room and give the staircase the pop it needs.

Storage Space

It’s not that we forget about storage space, rather, it’s that we underestimate how much we’ll need. Once you move into your new home and start unpacking, you’ll soon realize whether or not you have enough storage.

When planning out your house, have storage space at the top of your list. You can get creative with how you add it, like building shelves into the wall.

Exhaust Fans

By now, we know how important it is to control the humidity levels in your home. Having excess moisture in the air can lead to mould growth, and mould can cause serious harm to your health.

Having exhaust fans in your home will help control the humidity and circulate the air. Install them in your bathroom where there is likely to be the most amount of moisture.

Pet Accommodations

Pets are family, right? If you have a furry friend or are planning to get one, it’s easy to forget about certain pet items until you need them at that moment. More and more pet owners, though, are building their pet accommodations right into their house. Integrated food and water dishes that pull out from a cabinet, an addition the master bedroom for the puppy to sleep on, and having a dog wash station, they may sound silly, but they keep all of your pet supplies organized and tidy.

Indoor Plants

If you don’t have any indoor plants, you should invest in some. Adding greenery to your home not only adds a pop of colour, but real plants offer many health benefits as well. Living plants produce oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the air. We’re left with fresh and healthy air.

How to Build the Perfect Deck

Decks are one of the best hang out spots on the property. Especially during the warm summer evenings, gathering with friends to relax on the deck is the best way to finish off the day.

There’s a difference, though, between lounging and relaxing on a deck built for just that, or hanging out on a piece of wood that looks like it’s going to fall apart. As much as you want the deck to be the feature piece in your backyard, safety should also be of top priority.

If you’re planning on building your house a deck this summer, we have a few tips that will help you out.

Get the Permits

Before you even begin planning out your deck, you need to ensure you have the proper permits from your community. You wouldn’t want to start building, only to find out that you don’t have the right permit and you have to start over.

Go through the bylaws of your municipality to see what type of setbacks you could face. Knowing any limitations will help you come up with a plan that won’t get shot down by the municipality.

Design the Layout on Paper

Trying to build a deck from an image in your mind is next to impossible, especially if you have people helping you. Make things easier on you and design your layout on paper first. That way, you’ll have an idea of what things will look like, and you can show it to people helping you, so everyone is on the same page.

Build a Strong Foundation

You want to prevent as much shifting as possible. Living in Canada, the ground is always freezing and thawing out. The change in temperature can cause structures to shift. If not built properly, that shifting can damage the structure.

If you’re unsure of the best solution for a solid foundation, it’s best to hire someone to do this part for you.

Don’t Push Screws too Deep

It’s important to pay attention to how far you push the screws into the deck. You need to go far enough that it connects that materials together. However, going too deep into the wood, and you’ll create a little crevice that is perfect for holding water.

Don’t Forget About the Railings

We know that railings are an essential safety feature for the deck. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the style of railings you install. You have many options of unique and stylish railings to match the deck you’re building, all while being sturdy and safe.

Think About the Surface Material

Depending on where you live in the country, that may help you decide on the material you use for the deck surface. If you want to go natural, then stay away from pressure treated wood. Cedarwood is a popular option for a natural surface, but it does come with a price tag. Recycled plastic composite boards are becoming more popular. They’re made to look like real wood, but are made out of recycled plastic. This type is very durable and has an extremely long lifespan. Lastly, there’s the option of tropical wood, but many don’t like this option as it makes a big dent in the rainforests.

7 Design Tips for Your Backyard

The backyard of your home doesn’t have to be an area with grass and a few plants. It can be your own oasis. Think of it as an extension of your home. The ways of decorating your backyard are endless.

When it comes to designing a backyard, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you’re looking for and what your personality is like. However, there are a few general design tips that can help guide you in the right direction.

To design your perfect backyard oasis, consider some of the following tips to help.

Have a Lounging Area

You want your backyard to be a welcoming and comfortable place for friends and family to relax at. To do so, incorporate a lounging area. Fill it with comfortable seating and lounge chairs. If you wouldn’t want to relax on it in your living room, then would you be comfortable sitting on it outside?

Add a Pergola

Pergolas are a great structure for almost any backyard. They work great as a frame for your lounging area, and they are sturdy enough to grow beautiful plants and vines on. If you add a pergola to your backyard, you can even hang string lights from it for a luxurious effect. Make sure the pergola is built properly to prevent any injuries.

Use Lights

Backyards need lights, especially if you plan to hang out there in the evening times. Not only that, they add another element of safety. You have so many options to choose from for backyard lighting. From string lights as mentioned above, to post lamps and exterior wall lamps, you can install light fixtures to reflect any design.

Install Fencing

Adding a fence doesn’t have to be simply for privacy and for identifying your property line. Let your fence be a part of the overall design of your backyard. From modern to traditional, many options will work with any backyard theme you have.

Add a Pop of Colour

Adding colour to any design helps add that wow element. Whether it be through decorative pillows, plants, paint, or sculptures, adding colour helps bring the whole design together.

Have a Water Element

To really make your backyard an oasis, install a water fountain or sculpture. The trickling noise of the running water can be very calming while you relax. On top of that, they work excellent as a statement piece that will have your guests talking.

Build a Pathway

If you want to keep your grass healthy and green, and prevent anyone from running into the flower bed, build a pathway for people to walk on. You can design any kind of pathway that fits into the theme of your backyard. Use brick, wood, stone, and other outdoor materials that can withstand the weather.

When designing your backyard, you want to do so with a primary purpose in mind. Before you begin, ask yourself what you’ll use your backyard for mainly. If you plan to host parties and entertain guests frequently, then you’ll want to have relaxing spaces and possibly an outdoor bar or kitchen. If you have kids, you’ll want to add in something for them too.

Is Your Home Safe? 9 Things to Check

The safety of our homes is always of top priority. Whether it’s yourself, you have children, or pets are running around, you want everyone that steps foot on your property to be safe. If something happens, you could be liable.

Ensure that your home is safe by going through the following checklist. We have a combination of obvious points and some that you may not have thought about.

Replace Frayed Wires

Frayed wires are an electrical shock waiting to happen. Especially if they are easily accessible by kids crawling on the ground, grabbing a live and frayed wire could be fatal. If you spot any, turn off the power to the source so you can safely replace the wire.

Outside Vents Cleared

If we don’t pay attention, outside vents can become blocked and obstructed due to plants, snow, and other items that can get in the way. You want those vents cleared otherwise carbon monoxide can flow back into your house.

Inspect Water Heater

You may forget it’s even there, but have you inspected your water heater lately? If not, you should add it to your yearly checklist. While inspecting the water heater, check for any leaks and rusting. Also, ensure there are no flammable materials nearby.

Check the Railings

It’s one thing to install railings along staircases, decks, and openings on high floors. However, you should also inspect them to ensure they are still sturdy and properly attached. Railings are a way to keep people safe as they walk up and down stairs, and it helps deter small children from getting too close to the edge of something.

Nonslip Bathtub Decals

It’s quite easy to slip and fall in a bathtub, especially if someone was using oils and bubble bath beforehand. Slipping in a bathtub can cause serious injuries or even worse. Add nonslip decals to the bottom of the tub. Not only do they provide grip when standing, but they add a fun design as well.

Emergency Numbers List

Having a list of emergency numbers is especially important if you have kids in the house. The list should be easily accessible if an emergency occurred. Ensure that you have police, fire department, poison control, cellphones of parents, and a number for a trusted neighbour.

Secure Stands to Walls

Large bookcases and stands that you have sitting on the ground should still be installed into the wall. It doesn’t take much for someone to pull on the bookcase and have it come tumbling down.

Have a Fire Extinguisher

Many think that fire extinguishers are only for businesses. However, houses should also have a small fire extinguisher handy. It’s best to have one in the kitchen. If a fire broke out while cooking, you would have your fire extinguisher to put it out before it got out of control.

Ensure Smoke Detectors Work

Smoke detectors are one of the best defences against a fire that families have. If you’re sleeping and a fire broke out, you would likely wake up to the smoke detector. Always check that they have batteries and are working properly.

Use this checklist to ensure the safety of your home. The more you can do to keep everyone inside, and outside of your house safe, the better everyone will be.

The Importance of Railings in a Home

Whether you’re building a new home, renovating an existing one, or planning to sell your house, do you have railings installed in the appropriate areas of the home? If not, you may want to consider adding some in.

Not only do railings add additional safety to your property, but in many cases, they are mandatory. Depending on the location, the size of the stairs, and the height, you may be required to install handrailings for additional support.

The importance of railings cannot be understated. Although they can add an aesthetic appeal to the area they are in, the primary purpose of adding railings is for safety.

Consider the following four reasons as to why railings are crucial for every property.

Support When on the Stairs

Imagine walking down a set of stairs and missing a step. Your first instinct is likely to grab onto something, like a railing, to stop you from falling. If that railing wasn’t there, or it broke away from the wall due to improper installation, you would likely fall down the stairs. There is a good chance you would seriously injure yourself, or even worse.

Railings along staircases add another security level of support for everyone who uses them. It’s easy to miss a step or step on the stairs. Without that railing, instead of losing your breath from a quick scare, you could fall down the whole staircase.

Prevent Falls from Upper Levels

If you have a house with a second level that looks over the main floor, you should have a railing along the open area. Having the floor extend over the main floor so that you can look down, adds a unique look to the house. Many like having that extra space as a reading or lounging area, or a place to showcase decorations.

Adding a railing will help prevent someone from falling off of the second floor. No matter how high the next level of the house is, someone falling from it could still seriously injure him or herself. The railing stops you from going too far.

Prevent Slipping into Pools

Having a railing around an open pool will help prevent people from slipping into the pool, especially children. Many enjoy the benefits of having a pool outside. Without that railing though, a child could easily walk too close to the water, slip and fall in. If no one is around when this happens, the consequences could be dire.

Adding a railing around the pool, almost like a fence, marks where you need to be extra cautious. It prevents kids from running too close to the water, and if someone slipped on the wet surface, they would have something to hold on to.

Secure a Deck

Another common place for a railing is a deck, and you should have a railing around the perimeter of it if you don’t already. A deck is typically off the ground, enough that if someone stepped on the edge and fell, he or she could get hurt.

Not only will that railing add an aesthetic element to the area, but it provides safety to those who use the deck.

We cannot state enough the importance of having railings in the right places of your property. If you’re unsure if you should install a railing or not, Railings Toronto will help you out.

Every House Needs These 8 Things

Do you ever take a moment to look around your house, and wonder what is missing? You get that feeling that there should be something in a particular room, but you don’t know what it is?

Every room in the house needs to have certain essential items. However, we don’t realize we need a particular item until that moment. If you had a checklist of what you should include in your home, wouldn’t that make life easier?

Well, we have that list for you. Here are eight things that every house needs.

First Aid Kit

Having first aid supplies is not something you want to realize you need until that moment. You should be prepared for any injury that could happen. Keep a fully stocked first aid kit in the room that is likely to have the most injuries – the kitchen. How often do you get a cut and need a band-aid?

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is another item that not many people think of, but they should have in their house. If a fire broke out, would you be able to put it out in time before it gets out of control? Fire extinguishers can help prevent the spread of fire and from having thousands of dollars (if not, more) in damage

Railings

Although this may seem like an obvious point, it’s important to note that every house should have railings installed. For staircases, pools, decks, and overhanging second levels of a house, they should all have a railing to prevent slips and falls. A simple railing can protect someone from seriously hurting him or herself.

Storage Closet

A house can never have enough storage. We always seem to collect things the longer we live in a place, so it’s easy to run out of storage. Have a designated closet that is meant for storing items. Just be careful that it doesn’t get out of control, and you can’t find anything.

Plants

Whether they be real or fake, every house needs a plant or two. The greenery adds a comforting element to the room. Plus, if you can remember to take care of a real plant, many of them have benefits that help with our health, breathing, and focusing.

A Rug

Does a rug really serve a purpose? Yes, it does.

A rug does a few things for a room. It adds a comforting and warming feeling to the area. It helps layout the furniture. The rug also feels like on people’s feet.

Tool Kit

Every home should have a tool kit that has basically every essential tool you would use. When something breaks, you want to be able to fix it yourself. Having a tool kit on hand will let you repair just about anything.

Window Coverings

During the summer months when the sun is beating down, and you struggle to keep the house at a comfortable temperature, window coverings will come in handy. They help block out the hot sun when you don’t want it. They also add another design element to the room. Not only that, window coverings can give the illusion that the window is bigger than what it is.

Use our checklist to ensure you have all the essential items in your home. When it comes to installing railings on your property, call Railings Toronto to get the job done.