Saturday, 27 April 2013

Being Green....

Kermit the Frog used to sing “It’s not easy being green “, and with this past Monday having been Earth Day, I started to think about all of the ways I am “Green” around my home and work place.
Like most people, I recycle my cans, paper and food scraps (using Ottawa’s Green bin program); we observe energy saving times by doing larger hydro consuming tasks after peak hours and turn off all lights and non-essential electronics after use. We try not to waste water…. Being green can be fairly easy, regardless of what The Frog says, but there are always ways to improve.

Over the years, I have, while viewing homes and reading real estate industry news, come across various ideas and features that can help a home and family be more eco-friendly. Some are easy to incorporate, other projects or ideas require a bit more work or financial output but all will benefit you and your family over time, personally and financially.
Here are a few of my favourite green ideas for house and home….

Rain Barrels
When I was growing up, my grandparents had rainbarrels at the end of every downspout. They lived in a rurual setting and the water collected was an integral part of their water system and was used for all outdoor needs. For us grandkids, they were for great splashing around in on hot days. In an urban setting, rain barrels can help decrease your household water consumption in outdoor areas – they are great for watering the lawn and garden, washing the car or filling up the kiddie pool. During dry summers and municipal water bans, they are a thirsty yard’s salvation. All this and they are long lasting, easily portable and best of all affordable.

Solar Energy
Over the past year, I have started to notice more and more solar panels being erected or installed. True, most of them are in the countryside, but not too long ago, a near-by neighbour of mine had solar panels installed on two sides of his roof. What was once a very expensive technology has now become a more affordable and attainable for those interested in incorporating a renewable green energy source. I love the idea of solar energy! It is clean, very abundant and allows you to significantly cut down on your need for conventional hydro. In Ontario, there is even the possibility of selling energy produced back to the main grid. Although at this point, a solar panel on everyone’s roof isn’t a reality, I think the future possibilities are quite exciting.
Indoor Living Walls
I love plants and flowers so I was super excited when I read an article in a real estate industry publication about living walls. An interior living wall system is comprised of a variety of plants (usually),  bedding  and an irrigation system. This wall of plants, in a home or commercial space, helps clean the air, increases oxygen,  dampens noise and, during summer months, can actually help keep your interior cool.  It can also create a calm and peaceful ambience in a room helping us relax in our busy lives.   Although I don’t think that this would work in a smaller home or condo, due to moisture concerns, for larger open concept spaces, this could be a great conversation starter and beautiful d├ęcor… not to mention the possible health benefits and energy savings that could result.

I encourage you to look for new ways to be green around your home and with your family.  Whether your eco-friendly changes are big or small they can make a big difference for the environment,  and can help you save money!
Sorry this entry was so long... and a little tardy.  I do hope it has inspired you though!

Monday, 4 March 2013

What's in your Closet?

Closets are a vital part of a home’s storage space, something we all need and most of us would like more of; but when buying a house, it generally isn’t the most exciting feature you will look at.   Despite the variety of closet types – coat closets, clothes closets, linen closets, storage/utility closets and the odd pantry - it has been my experience that most buyers, when viewing homes, only give them a cursory glance; mostly to determine size and space or to note the presence or lack of shelving.
I, myself, have been guilty of not giving the humble closet its due attention and on several occasions it has resulted in some unexpected surprises. 

The most exciting - an almost near death experience, occurred during a showing of an old farm house east of Ottawa.  After touring through the home once in its entirety, and being sure to note the lovely walk-in pantry in the kitchen, we were ready to head to the next appointment. (It’s important to note that when we looked in the pantry, I had actually stepped into the closet in order to demonstrate its size to my buyer). On our way out the front door, I realized we hadn’t seen the basement mentioned in the listing info.  Back into the home we went and started opening all the main floor doors again, ending, finally at the pantry.  Again I opened the door and stepped inside.  There’s nothing here, I said. I can’t imagine where this basement would be.  Cory popped her head in the doorway and at the same time, switched on the panty light.   There… right at the edge of my toes, was the steep wooden staircase to the basement!  One tiny step forward and I would have found myself on an uncomfortably bumpy ride to the dirt floor below.  Needless to say, I learned an important lesson that day, well two, actually… the first: always be careful entering pantries in older homes, and more importantly, the second lesson, always turn on the light!

In spite of seeing many vacuums, food stuffs and sequined skirts, I have yet to encounter any skeletons in any of the closets I have viewed….but I am keeping my eye out for them… them and stairs!!!   I’ll keep you posted!

Friday, 1 June 2012

In Praise of Hardwood Floors

As a person who looks at homes and their finishings everyday, I understand the popularity of hardwood flooring.   It's pretty; it shines; it has the ability to update a room and add warmth and class.  I have hardwood floors, myself, and love them but it wasn't until last night that I truly appreciated one of the other very important aspects of a hardwood floor... how easy they are to clean!  Excluding major abuses, like, say, dragging a 25 lb potted palm across the floor, hardwood withstands the various trails and tribulations, drops, spills and messes that everyday life can, and does, dole out.

My reflection on the forgiving nature of hardwood started early, early, this morning, sometime around 2am. I had already been up for a few hours cleaning up after my extremely sick dog and was laying on the couch lamenting the fact that my (previously gleaming) maple floors, were now covered in cough syrup, honey, water droplets and doggie spit up.   You are probably wondering about the cough syrup and honey... Well you see, Harley (my dog) came down with a cold yesterday, well really a horrible hacking cough that not only sounded painful but caused him to choke and cough stuff up.... I will spare you all of the nasty details.  At any rate, not having much experience with sick dogs, I consulted the all knowing internet and read that honey was a good natural remedy for dogs with a cough; not only are they supposed to like it (they lie), but it is supposed to sooth their scratched throat.   Harley does not, in fact, like honey and preceeded to dribble it all through my dining room.  
The next thing I read was that children's cough syrup would help suppress his cough... great I thought, now we can both get some sleep!   Surprise, surprise!!!! Imitation, medicinal grape flavour, goes over with dogs about as well as it does with children and most adults, which is not at all.  So now added to the honey I also have sticky purple cough syrup on the floor, on Harley, and on his blanket.

Now.. I digressed. This post was not supposed to be about my sick dog, but how wonderful hardwood floors are; and dear reader, it is.  As I said, early this morning I was reflecting on the forgiving nature of hardwood floors, as I lay on the couch grossed out by the state of my flooring, I knew that in the morning, all traces of the traumatic night passed would, and could be, washed away.  All I needed was a bucket of warm water and the help of my good friend Murphy's oil soap.  No steam cleaners, no permanent stains... just my beautiful golden floors ready for another day.   

Poor Harley and my Hardwood floor.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Adventure begins....

For those of you unfamiliar with me, my name is Jenn, and I am a Real Estate Salesperson with Royal LePage Performance Realty here in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Over the years, many of my clients have commented on what an interesting job real estate must be and ask if I have any exciting stories about homes I have seen or experiences I have had.  I always have a story to share, whether it is about a home I have viewed or something seen along the way.

What prompted me to start this blog was an event that didn't even happen to me. 
An unfortunate collegue of mine happened to be showing a listing of mine located in a high rise building.  While taking his clients up the elevator in the company of an unknown resident with a cart full of fans, the elevator broke down leaving them stranded between the 6th and 7th floors for 50 minutes before help could arrive! Can you imagine.

Although I have yet to be stuck in an elevator, every day and each appointment has the potential to be exciting and I would like to share my adventures and insights with you!  I hope you will check back often and join in my ADVENTURES IN REAL ESTATE!