June 26, 2017
Security is important all year round but during the summer months especially, property crimes and break-and-entries tend to spike. Warmer weather means people are more likely to leave their windows open, their patios unlocked and their houses unattended.
We talked to our city’s police department about why property crime increases and what people can do to keep their homes safe and secure during summer. This is what they told us:
Always lock up
It’s easy to pop out quickly for a walk around the block or a quick trip down the road to the shop, but always lock the door, windows and patios behind you no matter how soon you’ll be back. A third of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door. Even if you are out in the back gardening, lock you front door — you’d be surprised at how quickly and quietly a thief can slip in.
Out of sight, out of mind
Most property crimes are opportunistic – the thief sees a chance to steal something and takes it. If it’s hidden away, there is less temptation and opportunity. So if you buy a nice new item, wait till pick-up day to put its packaging outside in the recycling. You don’t want to advertise to thieves what valuables you have in your home. Don’t leave visible items in your car; thieves have been known to smash a car window to steal something as small as a gym bag or a pile of papers.
Report suspicious activity
The police want citizens to call and report suspicious activity, even if doesn’t seem like a crime is being committed yet. If you see someone milling around and you have a bad feeling, report it. It’s not a waste of time or resources, the police officer we spoke to told us, and it might prevent a theft.
Before you leave your home, do a quick walk around and final check. Put yourself in the mind-set of a thief – if you wanted to break and enter, how would you do it? That curtain fluttering in the breeze? Close the window. That ladder leaning against the wall? Put it away. Prevention is the best way to keep your property safe and thief-proof.
Keep a list of details about your most valuable items if worst-case scenario should happen. If something is stolen, you will have more chances of getting it back if you can provide details and a picture of the item. The majority of stolen goods the police recover are never returned to their rightful owner because they can’t be tracked down. With bicycles, for example, you can imprint a serial number on the frame and log it with the police; that way, if your bike is stolen and someone tries to sell it, you will be notified.
June 5, 2017
Working from home, coffee shop or rent-a-desk?
Who hasn’t dreamt of working from home — no more alarm clocks beeping, lengthy commutes at rush hour or having to choose fancy office attire over pyjama pants, so the vision goes. It’s a life that many freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals choose.
But many of those who have traded corporate for coffee shops are now turning to a new environment: coworking spaces.
Sharing workspace and renting a desk in a flexible office has taken off in popularity in recent years because of the endless opportunities it offers to socialize, network, collaborate with other like-minded professionals and increase productivity.
According to studies, one of the biggest factors that determines productivity at the office is the workspace itself and a well-designed space can increase productivity by 20 per cent.
Whether renting by the hour, setting up a more permanent environment at home or tweaking the space at your office desk, here are the top three things to create a more efficient workspace:
- Lighting: Choose a desk next to a window if you can for natural light or, if not, consider bringing natural light bulbs. Many of the coworking offices are now focused on light, airy spaces and décor.
- Noise level: Everyone has a different tolerance to noise and, for some, too quiet is just as bad as too loud. Part of the appeal with coworking spaces is the chance to be around other people but, unlike your neighbourhood coffee shop, there are designated quiet zones and respect for fellow workers.
- Refreshments: Almost all the coworking offices offer a fully equipped kitchen with amenities like blenders, toaster ovens and espresso machines. Some offer limitless coffee or beer on tap. Whatever fuels your brain should be easily accessible, wherever you choose to work.
March 31, 2017
Real Estate Industry Facing Major Changes After B.C. Ruling
A recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling has been gaining a lot of attention right now as it will hugely impact Canada's real estate market today. The ruling specifically targets tax exemptions given to foreign nationals who bought and sold houses. Check out the article below for more details:
March 16, 2017
Modern Office Shed
In recent years, the number of business owners who run their businesses from home has increased for several reasons. The most important one is to be available for their kids or be near family. However, working from home brings a lot of distractions even with a temporary office set up within the house. A solution to this could be to build an office in your backyard, or a “Shedquarter”. Shedquarters, a cube room, or a garden room are becoming a rage these days. It offers the privacy and uninterrupted workflow you need, like being in an offsite office, yet provides the advantage of being a few steps away from your home. Your shedquarter does not necessarily have to be an office space, it can also be your workshop area, an art room, a getaway space, or simply just an extra room where you can hang out.
Several companies mostly in the US, Australia, Europe, and Canada offer services to set up these miniature studios that can really add value to your home. You can even build it yourself. Just check with the local building permit office about obtaining a permit before you plan your shedquarter. As a rule of thumb, permits are normally required for structures exceeding 100 square feet
February 22, 2017
FRIDGECAM: The Smarter Solution For Food Shopping
We’ve all been guilty of buying more groceries than we need and oftentimes throwing away food because it’s spoiled or expired. There is now a high-tech solution to this problem called the FridgeCam™ by Smarter. This new home gadget presented at the CES 2017 in Las Vegas, is the first wireless camera that can be placed inside the fridge to keep track of the contents, item expiration dates, and other relevant information. The device connects to the Smarter Chef app, which provides recipe suggestions based on the ingredients in your fridge. It can also help make accurate shopping lists even when outside the home to help families eat healthier meals and save money by limiting food wastage.
January 18, 2017
The Micro Condo Global Trend: The Future Of Real Estate
Micro apartments or condominiums have become a popular trend in huge urban cities like Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, etc. The roots of this “Tiny House Movement” has started in Japan, where the residential land area is limited. Nowadays, limited land space is not the only reason why people are shifting to “living small”, other reasons such as financial concerns, environmental concerns, and the desire to live simply and experience freedom have encouraged homeowners to get into this global phenomenon.
Typically, the micro units are under 600 square feet and have a very minimalist design to create the illusion of space. Latest condo design layouts usually have incorporated ingenious ideas to provide comfortable living space as well as a lot of storage areas, yet still aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Micro Condos may not be for everyone, however, you should not disregard this idea entirely especially with the new condo designs along with multifunctional furniture ideas that are available right now. Tiny living is all about swapping the size of your home for the benefits in cost, flexibility, location, and efficiency.
November 16, 2016
October 31, 2016
Home Maintenance Checklist For Winter
Fall is the perfect time to start winter proofing your home so you can enjoy the cold weather with zero worries. Whether you choose to have a professional handle them or do it yourself, here’s a checklist of things you need to go over your house before winter.
Attic Insulation –12-15 inches’ minimum of even insulation is needed to keep heat in the house and money in your pocket. Have your R-value checked by a professional if needed.
Furnace Cleaning – A dirty furnace is less efficient so have furnace inspected and cleaned once a year – before winter.
Change Air Filter – For healthy, indoor air, change your air filter once a month in the winter months. Your furnace has to work twice as hard with an air-borne allergen clogged filter.
Vacuum Heating Vents – Take off the covers and hoses to your dryer, bathroom and stove vents and suction out lint and debris. This will increase efficiency and decrease fire hazards.
Replace Batteries in Detectors – October is Fire Awareness Month so use it as a reminder to replace batteries in smoke detectors, Carbon monoxide alarms and other safety instruments.
Drain Outside Faucets – Water pipes can freeze, swell and burst in the winter months, causing significant damage. Turn the external shut valve off and open the faucet until the drip stops.
Drain Water Heater – Drain this annually to help prevent any build up of scale inside the heater.
Inspect Roof Shingles – Shingles protects everything in the home so don’t overlook it. Also include the metal flashing at all the roof joints to look for signs of leaking, rotting or damage.
Clean Gutters and Downspouts – Use a ladder, gloves and a garbage bag to remove debris from the past year. Run water from a hose through the downspouts to ensure they are unclogged.
Install Gutter Guards – Gutter guards are a good idea to minimize the amount of debris accumulated, but you’ll still need to check for clogs once a year in the fall.
Seal Foundation – Repair and seal holes with a quality caulking material. Cracks and holes in foundation are inevitable and can lead to significant damage if not treated.