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Advice tips and ideas for home owners

Affordable winter warmth ideas!

 Friday, October 25, 2019     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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Whether you prefer to stay indoors during the chilly winter weather or get outside and get active, it’s nice to have your home be a warm refuge after a long day. As we transition from fall to winter, the air becomes cooler and the humidity begins to drop. While our heating systems in our homes increase the temperature, many do not add moisture to the air. Winter heating costs can vary depending on how you heat your home, so here are some money-saving tips to help keep it cosy all season long:

  • Maximize the power of the sun. If you have south-facing windows, take advantage of the sun and leave the blinds or curtains open during the day and closed at night. Attach the edges of your curtains to the wall or window frame using Velcro or magnetic strips. By doing this you can reduce heat loss from one side of your house to the other.
  • Raise the humidity in your home. Dry air feels cooler, so try to add some moisture to help bring up the temperature and retain heat. Aside from a humidifier, you can add houseplants and spray them with a water bottle once or twice a week to promote moisture in the air. Dry your laundry on racks indoors or even leave out a dish of water near heat sources, although be mindful of pets and kids when leaving out bowls of water. Even running the shower or bath with the door open if your family or roommates allow it. Sometimes boiling a large pot of water on your stove or kettle will help add more humidity to your kitchen or home.
  • Inspect and seal all doors and windows. You can save up to 25 per cent on your heating bill by weather-stripping around windows, doors and air ducts. Cracks that allow cold air to pass through will remove heat and even moisture from your house. Not only do cracks add to the dry skin problem in the winter but it also ups your heating bill. Be eco conscious this season by taking care of your doors and windows with proper weather stripping and sealing. This is one of the most efficient and effective ways to manage your heating costs.
  • Keep a steady temperature. Setting a higher temperature on the thermostat won’t heat your home faster. Remember to cool it down at night when you’re going to bed and increase the temperature during the day. Better still, use a programmable thermostat so you can set it and forget it.
  • Change it up. Cosy can mean temperature, but also lighting can help make a space cosy. Switch out old bulbs for Energy Star LED lightbulbs labelled warm white or soft white. They have a traditional warm, cosy feel and are best for living spaces. As well, LED lights tend to have a longer life so you’re not only being cost effective, but you are reducing your waste and energy costs in the long run!
  • Don’t forget blankets! Blankets of all shapes, sizes and materials can help you stay cosy and warm this season! Whether it’s an electric blanket or grandmas old knitted afghan, blankets can help make a room feel cosy and add more personality to a space. Throw a few extras on your bed at night and you’ll feel much warmer without having to hike up the heat. It’s affordable and fun! 

3 big home décor trends for fall 2019

 Tuesday, October 15, 2019     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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This time of year isn’t just about books and backpacks – it’s also about giving your interiors an update. Here’s a look at the top trends this autumn and how to try them at home to create beautiful rooms you will love.

Rich, luxurious spaces. After years of the cool, restrained style of minimalism, we are now embracing maximalism with interiors that are bold and dramatic. This trend means spaces that are warmer and richer, as we move to surround ourselves with our favourite things and mix and match elements and aesthetics. Think deep jewel-tones for wall colours and furnishings and layers of cozy, natural fabrics and materials.

Bold and artistic pieces. Similarity is out and incorporating unique, interesting items that tell a story and bring out your own personality is in. This means opting for more handcrafted or statement pieces that create visual interest and are anything but bland and boring. Get the look at home by letting your creativity shine with furniture and décor that inspire you or you’ve always wanted to try, like a traditional clawfoot tub, luxe canopy bed or one-of-a-kind rustic tables made from reclaimed wood.

Conscious consumption. Forget buying something without a second thought as to where and how it was produced. Today it’s all about ethical and intentional shopping for items that are sustainable and well-made. When it comes to fluffy duvets, blankets and pillows, it’s never been easier to find locally sourced, humane and ethical down. However, if that’s not your taste, there are tons of other options that are not only warm but completely natural and plant based, like cotton, bamboo, hemp and silk. Do your research if you’re eco and ethically inclined!


Five tips for a perfect open house

 Thursday, August 29, 2019     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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Tidy up landscaping and paint any features that look worn. If it’s in your budget to buy some new items for an even bigger wow factor, consider new garage doors, house numbers, and new light fixtures. Remember to remove all cars from the driveway on the day of the open house.

Keep it clean. Hiring professional cleaners is money well spent, especially if cleaning isn’t your strong suit or you simply don’t have the time. This could include house cleaners, window washers and carpet cleaning services.

Declutter. Make all rooms in the home look as spacious as possible by removing some furniture and knickknacks (pack them away so they’re ready for your new home). A clean, uncluttered space gives buyers a better idea of the home’s features.

Stage the home. Paint in neutral colours and, if possible, replace cabinets and faucets with new hardware. Add in a few small touches such as crisp new towels in the bathrooms, and vases of fresh flowers throughout. No matter the weather on open house day, open up all blinds and curtains to let as much light in as possible. Also remember to hide toothbrushes and toiletries by stowing them under the sink. Remove anything personal. Items such as family photos, certificates and awards should be packed away. This allows homebuyers to visualize their own family in the home.

Keep pets at bay. If you’ve got a dog, it may be as easy as taking them out with you on the day of the open house. Other pets such as cats should be confined to less trafficked areas. Remember to put food bowls away until you return home.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be providing a more marketable home that’s ready to show any and all potential buyers.


Keep cool this summer

 Wednesday, July 10, 2019     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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Since the sun’s powerful rays are very effective at heating up a structure, the first step is to consider how you can effectively block some of those rays and deflect some heat away from your home. A strategically placed awning, pergola or a few trees will block the sun from hitting your windows and doors 12 hours a day.

One of the easiest ways to keep the heat out is by closing blinds, drapes and shutters during the hottest part of the day. For those looking for a more permanent solution, exterior rolling shutters might be a good option. They are effective at helping to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, will reduce noise levels and also add an extra layer of your security to your home. The only downfall is price – good quality rolling shutters are expensive. Solar screens, which look like standard window screens, will cut glare in addition to heat. “Double glazing” your windows can cut the intake of summer heat inside your home by as much as 30 per cent.

Another simple and inexpensive option for keeping cool is oscillating fans. Lightweight and portable, fans have come so far in the past 20 years, style-wise, and are still an extremely effective way of keeping a room cool. Place fans in a few rooms throughout the main level of your home to keep air circulating. During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down. This evaporates perspiration, creates a cooling wind chill effect, and makes a room feel up to eight degrees cooler without changing the temperature in the room!

Still feeling the heat at home? Before you switch on the A/C, get rid of all the incandescent light bulbs in your home, barbecue as often as possible instead of turning on the oven, always use the bathroom fan to remove hot steam after showering and open the windows after the sun goes down to let in the cool evening breeze!


How to avoid moving day hassles

 Wednesday, July 10, 2019     Laurence Mongeau     House and Home

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You've done a lot of work to get to this point, between preparing your home for sale, sealing the deal and packing up all of your worldly belongings. The last thing you need is unnecessary stress on your closing date/moving day.

First, ask around for a moving company recommendation. Check with friends, colleagues, neighbours and family for referrals. If you're not able to get a good referral from a trusted source, check online websites like Kijiji, but proceed with caution! Ask the company to provide at least three recent references and follow-up with them. Request a meeting ahead of time to get a feel for the individual. Are they professional, prepared and courteous? Did they show up on time?

Once you've chosen a mover, get everything in writing. It's the law. According to Ontario's Consumer Protection Act (CPA), all moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:

1. The mover's name, address and contact information

2. A description of the service(s) and their prices

3. The total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes

4. Start and end dates for the service

5. The terms of payment (cash or cheque)

Other items that should be included in the contract are size and value of items, who is responsible for loss or damage, the number of staff and vehicles that will be provided and the name of the person who holds their insurance policy.

Hopefully with a little research ahead of time, you can help ensure a stress-free moving day!


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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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