The Basics of Do-it-Yourself Video-based Home Security

According to law enforcement experts, a video-based home security system is significantly more effective than a simple alarm system. The reason is obvious. Burglars don’t want their crimes captured on video, which can then be used as evidence in court. So it’s no wonder that many homeowners have, or are considering, video-based security.
 
These days, most video-based home security systems are wireless. The cameras either record to your DVR (just like recording your favourite TV show), or to a cloud-based server provided by the manufacturer.
 
There are many do-it-yourself systems on the market. You simply place the cameras around your property and do some initial setup. Most of these have motion-detection that records automatically when someone comes into the frame of the camera. These are typically installed at your front door, patio door, main floor windows, and garage door.
 
Some systems will even alert you when a camera turns on, and let you see the action on your smartphone or computer. If it’s a burglary attempt, you have the opportunity to call the police. Although most of these products are weatherproof, check and confirm before purchasing. The packaging will say something like, “Suitable for outdoor use” or “Suitable for all-weather conditions”. Also look for night vision capability. Not all security cameras have that feature.
 
*Morris Marketing*

Beware of Over-Downsizing or Over-Upsizing

Buying a new pair of shoes is relatively easy. Once you find the style you like, all you need to do is try them on and see if they fit. If they do, you go to the cash register and pay. When it comes to size, buying a new home can be trickier! Whether
your intention is to upsize or downsize, figuring out the right size can be especially challenging.
 
Say for example, you’re downsizing from a large two-story home to a smaller bungalow. You don’t want to underestimate the space you need and end up in a place that feels tight. If you’re going the other way and upsizing, you don’t want to end up sinking extra money into a property that’s larger than you really need.
 
So how do you avoid these scenarios?
 
One of the best ways is to start by considering your current home. Do you use all the rooms in your home regularly? Is there a bedroom that’s rarely occupied? Has the recreation room become simply a storage area? If you’re downsizing, subtracting rooms you scarcely use can give you a better idea of what you need in a new home.
 
Upsizing is a bit more challenging because you have to anticipate what you will need in the future. For example, if you have young children, and your place is feeling cramped, then a home with a recreation room or separate family and living rooms may be a good idea. You may also need a bigger
kitchen with a spacious eating area (in addition to a separate dining room.)
 
Think about the extra room you’ll need and how you’ll use that space. When I work with a client, I typically sit down with them and discuss the type of home they want in detail — and, based on needs and circumstance, I make expert recommendations. Bottom line, I help clients find the perfect fit in a new home. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.
 
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Should You Buy the Latest Home Automation Gadgets?

You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.
 
That’s home automation for you!
 
But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors. On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of
bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time. Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.
 
Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too. The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.
 
Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!
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Putting Off a Big Project

Have you ever put off a big project because of the work involved? For example, say you want to refinish the deck, but the idea of all that scraping, cleaning and painting makes you think, “Hmm. Maybe I’ll wait until next month!”
 
That’s not unusual. We’ve all had the experience of putting things off until later in the month, season or year. Usually, it’s not a big deal. However, there are some projects you shouldn’t put off.
 
One of them is listing your home. If you’ve been thinking about moving, don’t wait until the last minute to put your property on the market. Give me a call and let’s get the process started right away. Yes, selling a home is a lot of work, but as your real estate agent, I do most of the “heavy-lifting” for you. And, I’m an expert at making the process go smoothly and easily.
 
Bottom line: If you’re thinking of selling, the best time to list is today. 416-779-8732
 
*Morris Marketing*

What Do Interior Designers Do?

If you want to transform a room into something that’s
functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.
 
It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you. It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.
 
If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:
 
• Draw out several concepts for you to choose from,
• Purchase the best building materials,
• Hire the contractors, and
• Manage the project.
 
He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!
 
*Morris Marketing*

Going “Green” in Your Garden or Flower Bed

There has been a lot of emphasis lately on the importance of “going green”. That simply means being environmentally-responsible. You likely already recycle, use energy-efficient lights, and turn down your thermostat when no one is home.
Yet, most of us don’t think about the garden or flower bed when we “think green”.
 
We should. Here are a few practical things you can do to tend to outdoor plants — without negatively impacting the environment.
 
• Pull weeds instead of using a weed killer.
 
• Avoid strong pesticides. (Products that target only one or two types of insects tend to be less harsh.)
 
• Don’t use flower bed ornaments (i.e. gnomes) that might bleed colour dye into the soil. (Ask your garden centre before you buy.)
 
• Be careful not to leave hand spades, trowels, and other garden tools lying around, especially over winter. They can rust, which contaminates the soil.
 
These tips may seem minor, but if you want to be environmentally conscious, every little bit helps!
 
*Morris Marketing*

How a Professional Chef Would Remodel Your Kitchen

Watch any TV cooking show, and you’ll notice that a chef’s kitchen looks quite a bit different than what you’d find in most homes. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one just like it in your home! With a little remodeling, and splurging on some new items, you too can have a kitchen worthy of Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, or Rachel Ray.
 
Chefs love counter space. So, when remodeling, plan to create as much as possible. If you have an existing island, for example, you can replace the countertop with a larger one. Just adding eight inches in both directions will make a big difference.
 
Most chefs have more than one oven. If that’s impractical for you, consider buying a double-oven stove. Also, chefs prefer gas burners for quicker heatup times and exacting control of cooking temperature. One thing you’ll notice about chefs is they love stainless steel. That’s because it’s easy-to-clean, hygienic and durable (assuming you take care of it).
 
Finally, because chefs spend so much time in the kitchen, they want the space to be attractive and comfortable. So, when remodeling, keep decor in mind.
 
Even if you’re just an amateur chef, creating a chef-worthy kitchen will make the foodie in you smile.
 
*Morris Marketing*

10 Reasons to List Your Home This Month

Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.
 
1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
 
2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.
 
3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.
 
4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
 
5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
 
6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
 
7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
 
8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
 
9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
 
10.You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies.
 
Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you. 416-779-8732
 
*Morris Marketing*

3 Reasons to Talk to a Realtor Today

You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples.
 
1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage.
If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify
to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.
 
2. If you’re nervous about the selling process.
If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.
Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible. So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.
 
3. If you have questions.
You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”
 
When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need. 416-779-8732
 
*Morris Marketing*

Creating a Practical Home Office

Is your home office the dining room table? Is it anywhere you can sit down undisturbed with your laptop? If so, you might be interested in converting a room or nook into a dedicated home office.

Depending on what you do for a living, there could be a tax advantage to creating this space too.

The first step is to pick a spot. Ideally, you want an area where you can work without too many distractions. Next, make sure the spot you’ve chosen can accommodate a desk and any other furnishings you’ll need. Think about what you want within easy reach of your work area. Will you need a place for books and other papers? An extra chair for client meetings? A flipchart? A filing cabinet? Think about all of the options in advance.

Then, you’ll want to make sure the spot you picked has the electrical outlets you need, especially if you’re going to have a printer, special lighting, a computer and other items that need power. Finally, you’ll want your home office to be a place where you can enjoy working. So decorate it with that in mind. If you like plants, get plants. If you enjoy golf, have your golf trip pictures hanging on the wall.

With a little work, you can quickly create a home office space that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable. It sure beats the dining room!