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Advice tips and ideas for home owners

How to evict mould from your home

 Tuesday, May 26, 2020     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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Whether you like it or not, you probably have mould quietly lurking in your home. When it finds a damp place to grow, it can contribute to poor indoor air quality and health problems.

To eliminate mould, clean affected areas that are less than the size of a standard large garbage bag folded in half (1 square metre). Put on protective wear including a long-sleeved shirt, appropriate and properly fitted dust mask, safety glasses or goggles and rubber gloves. These items are generally available in local stores.

Prepare a bucket with water and a bit of dish detergent (preferably unscented) and another with clean water. If you’re cleaning drywall, you can use baking soda instead of dish detergent. Use this solution to clean the surface.

To prevent mould from growing in your home, follow these simple steps:

Look for damp spots. Check basements, closets, windowsills, roofs and around sinks, tubs and pipes.

Fix damp spots right away. Repair any water leaks as soon as you notice them. Clean up immediately after any flood.

Keep your home well ventilated. Open windows in dry weather or use fans as needed and turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking or showering. Let the fan run for a few minutes after you’re done. Make sure your clothes dryer, stove, kitchen and bathroom fans all vent to the outdoors.

Seal tubs and sinks. Make sure the seal is tight, so water doesn't leak into the walls.

Throw out basement clutter. Cardboard boxes and old clothes are great places for mould to grow.

Reduce humidity. Keep humidity low, about 50 per cent in summer and 30 per cent in colder weather. If needed, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity levels. You can use a hygrometer – an inexpensive tool available at most hardware stores – to measure humidity.

Clean often. Regularly clean and disinfect anything that holds water, like humidifiers, de-humidifiers and air conditioners.

If you have a lot of mould, (greater than 1 square metre), if it comes back after repeated cleanings or a family member suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems as a result of mould, consider hiring a professional to clean it up. Remember, a large amount of mould is often the result of a bigger problem, like a leak in the foundation or a major flood, which you may need a professional to help fix.

Find more information at canada.ca/healthy-home. (NC)


How to maximize your investment on a basement reno project

 Tuesday, May 26, 2020     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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A great home improvement project is finishing your basement. That’s because research shows it gives you a major return on investment, providing you great value for your money. Here are some pro tips to make the most of your makeover:

Know when to hire a pro. It can be tempting to DIY many basement reno jobs to save on costs and maximize your investment. Some tasks are simple for you to do, such as painting and flooring installation. But be careful—for specialized tasks such as HVAC and electrical it’s much better to make the investment and hire a professional to save yourself headaches and money in the long run.

Protect your investment. A basement reno can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re building on a base that allows the natural moisture in your concrete foundation to evaporate and not seep into your finished floors.  This starts with a quality subfloor which creates an air gap and barrier between concrete and your flooring, which allows the moisture to naturally evaporate without touching your floors, helping to protect them from mould and mildew, and even small water leaks. It also insulates against cold, hard concrete to keep your floors feeling warmer and softer to walk on. A quality subfloor that helps protect against the ever-present moisture a concrete basement floor emits, is a critical step in your basement renovation, and it can help you enjoy a comfortable basement year-round.

Plan to add value. When deciding on your new layout and what to include, prioritize spaces and projects that give you the best ROI. For example, adding a kitchen and three- or four-piece bathroom will make your basement much more functional. These updates are also huge draws during resale for buyers looking for a multi-family home or to use the space as a rental property. (NC)


Easy ways to improve your indoor air quality

 Thursday, April 23, 2020     unknown     House and Home

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Creating healthy environments in our homes is important for our families. Rest easy when you enjoy a cozy night in with these helpful tips for better indoor air:

Keep on top of maintenance. You can save yourself many headaches and problems down the road by sticking to a maintenance schedule. Replace your air filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure your furnace, fireplace, gas stove and water heater are serviced once a year by a qualified expert.

Ventilate your home. Even if it’s cool outside, it’s important to have fresh air throughout your home, especially if you are renovating or using chemical products. You can open windows, but also be sure to check that your mechanical ventilation is working properly. That includes fans, ducts, or more complex ventilation systems. Don’t forget to turn on exhaust fans that vent to the outside when cooking, especially if you’re frying food or using a gas stove, or when showering. This can help eliminate pollutants and remove moisture that can eventually cause harmful mould. 

Have a smoke-free home and car. Many of us try to limit our exposure to chemicals in household and beauty products. But all those efforts could be in vain if you still smoke in your home or car, as the burning of a cigarette releases over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. The best way to reduce your risk from smoking-related diseases is to stop smoking. If you’re trying to quit, there are many options to help you, like counselling, a quit coach, self-help books, nicotine replacement therapies, medications and other less harmful sources of nicotine. Making your home and car smoke-free will help  protect your entire family and may even help you quit smoking from the dangers of tobacco smoke. Find more information at canada.ca/tobacco.

Article courtesy: NewsCanada


Five common roof problems to watch out for this spring

 Thursday, April 23, 2020     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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When it comes to roofing, little problems often go undetected until they become major issues, costing a lot of time and money to resolve. An annual roof inspection each spring is the best way to catch any problems before they cause serious damage. Here are five common problems to watch out for:

1. Broken gutters

Failing to repair or replace broken gutters could cause serious issues, especially after a big rainstorm. When your gutters are not properly attached to your roof, they are not able to do their main job: divert water away from your home. This can lead to costly property damage and flooding.

2. Defunct downspout

Downspouts can become dislodged, causing water to flow directly around the foundation of your home. This can lead to foundation cracking, mould growth, and the potential destruction of any renovations you’ve already done. Have your downspouts checked to ensure they are connected and positioned correctly.

3. Chimney deterioration

The older the chimney, the more likely it is to have cracks in the crown (top). When water gets into these cracks during the winter it freezes, which pushes the mortar and bricks further apart and makes the cracks larger. When the ice eventually melts, these cracks can cause your roof to leak and could even result in your chimney falling off your house.

4. Visiting pests

Loose flashing, rotten fascia boards and dormant chimneys all make great homes for raccoons, squirrels, birds, bats and wasps. If you hear strange sounds, or you’re concerned something could get inside, call in a wildlife or pest removal company to get rid of any unwanted house guests and protect the areas where they are entering.

5. Leaky roof

When snow melts and re-freezes, it can act as a wedge under shingles. Once the weather begins to warm up, these ice wedges melt and can leak through your roof. Your roof may look fine as you look up at it from the ground, but a professional will be able to determine any issue and how to fix it.

Inspecting your roof for these common problems is very important and hiring a professional to take on this task is always recommended. 

Article courtesy of: NewsCanada


Breaking into the housing market: Go get that first home

 Tuesday, January 28, 2020     unknown     House and Home Real Estate Market

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Today’s sky-high real estate market can make buying a first home seem like a distant dream. Don’t be discouraged. It might take a bit more planning, but you can do it. Good financial strategy and some real estate research can help you get into your first home sooner than you’d think.

Your first priority is to get your financial basics in order. Reach out to your bank or a financial planner to help you make a plan. A financial expert will be able to find a strategy that best suits your goals. You will also need to plan for your down payment. Many first-time buyers find this intimidating, but good old-fashioned saving is a great start.

Make sure your monthly budget allows you to put some money into savings, and work with your financial planner to help your savings grow as quickly as possible. Government programs are also available to help first-time buyers. You may be able to use savings from an RRSP or other resources — check with your bank for the programs and requirements in your region.

Reaching out to family can also be a win-win, but approach these arrangements with caution. Ensure any loan terms are realistic and clearly set out, and treat these arrangements with the same respect you would give a business agreement.

Once you have your finances in order, look for locations that will get you the best bang for your buck. Skip the high-priced, trendy spots where you’ll pay a premium without necessarily getting a better home. The best deals are often hiding under tacky décor: if you can look past the cosmetic hang-ups and make sure the house is structurally in good shape, you may have a great opportunity in the making.

The main thing is just getting started. Find a realistic strategy that will get you into a home, and then work your way up to that dream home. Think of real estate as a process. You may need to start small or look outside your ideal neighbourhood at first. But once you own a home, you’ll be building equity and value, which sets you on the path to your forever home. (NC)


What Clients Say…

Laurence is an absolute joy to work with; she is extremely knowledgeable, pleasant, full of energy, and dedicated to getting the job done. She managed to make everything to do with selling our home seemed almost effortless. I can't imagine selling our home without her! — Shelley M.
Laurence worked diligently at following up with each person who viewed the property... always available to let me know what kind of feedback she was receiving. — Stephanie B.
You always were there, available, and kept in contact with us when needed. You were self-motivated with an unbelievable amount of drive. — John & Rose-Anne P.
You are at the top of your class. I don't know of anyone that works as diligently at selling a property as you do! You have such an admirable work ethic and I have seen first hand how dedicated you are to your clients. — Dianna D.
The process of selling our house and purchasing another was made painless and exciting by you. Your tactful negotiation skills were invaluable in purchasing our dream home. — Maria & Jean-Michel B.
You were prompt, energetic, thorough and always had our best interest in mind. Selling our home for full asking price in just 19 days and finding a new one in less than a week is a true testament to your relentless commitment to excellence. — Angelo M.
I still think about it, it went so fast, I have a challenging work schedule, I needed a place fast and you came through and I trusted you. — Joseph D.
We are still amazed that it all happened so quickly and smoothly. You are an excellent listener, honest, reliable and caring. — Pina F & James A.
Just want to say thank you for your hard work and dedication in getting my home sold. You were very organized, professional and honest. It was a pleasure to work with you. — Gail A.
The best part of working with Laurence, besides her great skill of staging, was the fact that she made us feel like we were her only client even though we knew she was extremely busy. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. — Greg & Lindsey W.
The staging job that Laurence did was fantastic! We barely recognized the house when it was done. Laurence was bursting with energy and enthusiasm and remained positive, reassuring and confident throughout the whole process. We listed our home Tuesday morning and by Tuesday night it was sold!!! — Shelley M.
Laurence, did an amazing job of representing us and selling our home. She is a hard-working, dedicated, knowledgeable, highly professional, and passionate - Real Estate Agent! We highly recommend Laurence as an agent, home stager, and negotiator to anyone considering buying or selling a home. Jim & Judy N. — Jim N.
Laurence did a phenomenal job representing us both for the sale of our property and the purchase of our new home. She took the time to work closely with us to make sure she understood all of our needs and wants for both the sale and purchase. We were also very impressed with her detail-oriented focus, knowledge of the market, and the effort she put into making sure things went smoothly. Right from the start Laurence took the reins and we knew that we were in good hands. Thanks for everything Laurence! — Ron and Leslie Quinsay
We worked with Laurence when it was clearly a Sellers Market. Laurence was persistent and helped us find a home in an area unknown to us. Thanks to Laurence's expertise and proactive approach we were able to avoid a bidding war and we got a great home for our family. We enjoyed working with Laurence, every step of the way. — Andrea B & Stephen M
Nous avons fait affaire avec Laurence alors que le marché était nettement favorable aux vendeurs. Laurence a été persistante et nous a aidés à trouver un domicile à notre goût dans un secteur qui ne nous était pas familier. Grâce à l’expertise et l’approche proactive de Laurence, nous avons pu éviter une guerre d’enchères et devenir propriétaires d’une maison exceptionnelle pour notre famille. Ce fut un plaisir de faire affaire avec Laurence du début à la fin du processus. — Andrea B & Stephen M
When my wife and I bought our first home together, Laurence was instrumental in finding the right home of us. Laurence will take the time to listen to your needs, and understand your situation. She works tirelessly to comb though your desired area, finding gems that best suit YOU, your budget, needs, and wishes. She is very professional, organized, and well connected within the community, all of which is very much to the client's benefit. Above all, she is a really easy person to get along with and will make the often stressful and overwhelming process of home buying, painless and exciting! I highly recommend Laurence Mongeau for your real estate needs! — Alex & Teresa H
Nous recherchions un courtier immobilier afin d’acheter une maison en Ontario. Une amie nous a donc recommandé de contacter Laurence Mongeau. Très rapidement, il y a eu un premier contact par courriel et ensuite par Skype. Nous avons vite constaté que Laurence possédait les qualités professionnelles que nous recherchions. En effet, Laurence : - Offre un excellent service à la clientèle; - Apprend à connaître ses clients et repère vite leur besoin réel; - Est parfaitement bien organisée; - Met un point d’honneur à obtenir le meilleur rapport qualité/prix pour ses clients; - Assure une totale transparence et donc priorise la communication avec ses clients; - Maîtrise bien le français et la culture francophone; - Offre une très large disponibilité pour ses clients; - Possède un réseau de contacts professionnels (inspecteurs, collaborateurs courtiers, etc) très compétents dans leur domaine; - Est très à l’aise avec les nouvelles technologies. C’est donc pour toutes ces raisons qu’à notre tour, nous vous recommandons très chaudement d’utiliser les services de Laurence Mongeau. Nous sommes certains que vous bénéficierez d’un service de haute qualité! Merci beaucoup Laurence pour l’excellent service que nous avons reçu! — Hélène P & Sébastien T
Laurence Mongeau treated us like family, guiding us to make this, the biggest purchase of our lives, the smartest move we ever made. We happened to be buying our first home during this crazy real estate boom, where list prices were only starting points in major bidding wars, and the inventory of homes available within our budget was limited. But Laurence handled these challenges with grace and professionalism, and kept us feeling positive throughout our search. We always felt we had options, and whatever house, whenever we asked, she got us a private showing. She accompanied us through every visit, and went in ALL the basements (even the scary ones!). She asked the tough questions, and got us the answers we needed. She warned us about potential problems, sharing her experience and knowledge with us, while pointing out the positives of each property without pressure. She always made us feel important, and that our search for the perfect home was her top priority. In the end, it was a very happy outcome. We purchased the perfect home for us, and we owe it all to Laurence. She was the one who found us our dream first home and it was her experience and strategy that helped us "win" it! And we truly feel like we did win, because we had the best agent in the biz on our side. Thanks, Laurence, you're number 1! Karina and Andrew J — Karina

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