As much as homeowners enjoy the shelter and comfort of their home, mice, rats, and other rodents do, too. Not only do rodents make a mess, they can carry and spread diseases, contaminate food, and cause property damage. The first step in keeping rodents out of the home is prevention. Rodents commonly enter homes, garages, sheds and other structures through small cracks and openings. Even a dime-sized hole is large enough for a mouse to get through. Common entry areas include behind stoves and refrigerators, around where water pipes enter the home, attics and crawlspaces, basements, and laundry drains. Outside the home, look for openings around windows and doors, gutters, and places where wiring, plumbing, and gas lines enter the home. Small holes can be stuffed with steel wool, which rodents cannot chew through, and caulked into place. Larger holes may require patching with metal, hardware cloth, or lath screen.
Removing food sources is another key to prevention. Pantry foods should be stored in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight fitting covers. Food-soiled cookware and dishes should be washed and kitchen surfaces cleaned soon after use, and pet food should not be left out overnight. If food waste is kept inside, it should be stored in a metal container until it can be disposed of outside in a rodent-proof trash can. If homeowners enjoy feeding wild birds, feeders should be located away from the house as spilled bird food is a real treat for rodents.
If rodents are present, it is extremely important that they be removed properly prior to sealing holes and gaps. Snap traps are the most effective method of catching rodents; follow the manufacturer's instruction for best results. It can take several days for rats to respond to a baited trap. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, snap traps are preferable to live or "humane" trapping, which can cause stressed rodents to urinate and increase possible exposure to disease. Once a rodent is trapped and killed, it should be wrapped in newspaper and disposed of in the trash. Any rodent - dead or alive - should not be handled with bare hands; Puse disposable rubber or vinyl gloves. Rodents are carriers of Hantavirus and other viruses and bacteria that can cause serious, even deadly, diseases in humans. A person can become exposed to Hantavirus while sweeping or cleaning up rodent droppings as particles become airborne and are inhaled. In addition, fleas, mites, or ticks may be present on the rodent, providing an additional carrier for the spread of disease.
What appears to be minor infestation of rodents can quickly grow into a serious problem. With trapping, sealing, and diligent monitoring, homeowners can keep rats and mice at bay.
The leaves are falling, the air is cooling off - autumn is here at last. Now is the perfect time to get your home in shape before winter starts to take its toll, and while the weather is still pleasant enough to spend time outdoors.
Seal it up: Caulk and seal around exterior door and window frames. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape from these openings, but water can enter and cause structural damage and mold problems.
Look up: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Water, wind, ice and snow can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater change of further damage inside the home. It's best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but you can do a preliminary survey from the ground using binoculars.
Clear it out: Clear gutters and eaves troughs of leaves, sticks, and other debris. Consider installing leaf guards if your gutters can accommodate them - they are real time-savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments to tighten them.
No hose: In climates with freezing weather, drain garden hoses and store indoors to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and burst, causing leaks and water damage.
Warm up time: Have the furnace inspected to ensure it's safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide no-cost inspections, but there can often be a long waiting list come fall and winter. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturer's instructions. Using a clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving you money and energy.
Light that fire: If you enjoy the crackle of the fireplace on a chilly fall evening, have the firebox and chimney cleaned before using it this season. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up to dangerous levels and cause a serious chimney fire if not removed.
Happy Fall to you
The shutdown in the U.S. Government has been a welcome occurrence for Canadians looking to buy a home or refinance their existing mortgage. It has caused investors to move from U.S bonds to Canadian bonds which lower bond returns and subsequently, mortgage interest rates.
The housing market has continued to remain strong with house prices on the rise across Canada. A new survey by Royal Lepage suggests the average price of a home in Canada increased between 1.2% and 4.1% in the third quarter of 2013. Sales volumes are also up year over year. It’s becoming evident that Canadians continue to have a love affair with real estate despite the government attempts to soften the real estate market.
Timing is important and right now might be the best time for people to buy or definitely have a good look at their current mortgage.
The U.S. Government will rectify the “shutdown” shortly, causing normalization of the markets.
It’s best to act now. As a real estate professional I have direct access to the real estate market. I empower people with information and advice that enables them to make decisions that save stress and money.
Need some real estate advice? Contact me today!
Sleep Fix #1
Establish a regular routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. People who frequently switch their sleep times experience something akin to jet lag. "Sunday night insomnia," is where weekend warriors stay up late on Friday and Saturday and then have trouble falling asleep on Sunday. Just that 24-48 hours can shift your circadian rhythm and cause poor sleep.
Sleep Fix #2
Put away your gadgets. It's tempting to watch TV or surf the web from bed, but those activities usually make it harder to wind down. The latest research suggests that artificial light coming from laptop screens, TVs, etc. suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. So give yourself a technology curfew and turn off those screens at least an hour before bedtime.
Sleep Fix #3
Give your bedroom a makeover. Make your sleeping area conducive to rest by keeping it dark and quiet. If you live in a city, consider using a white-noise machine to block out loud noises. Keep in mind that your body temperature drops at night, so you want to keep your room environment at a cool, comfortable level.
Sleep Fix #4
Avoid alcohol before bed. Contrary to popular opinion, drinking alcohol before bedtime is not a good idea since it disrupts sleep and causes nighttime awakenings. "Chronic use of alcohol also takes away slow-wave sleep," says Basner. "It wears off quickly, and then you're left with nightmares and sleep fragmentation." Caffeine before bedtime is also a no-no.
Sleep Fix #5
Get up instead of tossing and turning. If you have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the middle of the night, don't lie in bed just staring into space. Get out of bed, do something that is relaxing, and come back to bed when you feel drowsy. "Keep the bedroom associated with sleeping rather than being awake," says Collop. If you're a worrywart, try to make a list of things you need to do the next day an hour before bed. That way you can get your worrying done before you get into bed, she says
TORONTO, October 16, 2012 – Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,961 sales through the TorontoMLS system during the first 14 days of October 2012. The number of transactions was down by 10.5% compared to the same period in 2011. New listings were up by 5.5 % year-over-year .to 6,505.
“Some households have put their home purchase plans on hold in response to the higher cost of homeownership brought about by the recent changes to mortgage lending guidelines. Both first-time buyers and existing home owners have been affected, given that sales were down across house types and geography,” said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Ann Hannah.
The average selling price for sales reported from October 1 through October 14 was $501,146 – up by almost 6% in comparison to last year.
“The average selling price grew well above the rate of inflation in the first half of October due to relatively tight market conditions from a historic perspective. However, the market continued to become better supplied, pointing toward a slower pace of price growth as we move into 2013,” said Jason Mercer,TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.