Winnipeg Realtor and Real Estate Blog



 Diet. Did you know that some dogs have certain food allergies? Or that they can have certain sensitivities that can cause them to itch. When your dog starts to itch this creates dander, if you start to notice constant scratching, licking of the paws, chewing or flaky skin you should take them in to your vet right away to see if diet is the cause. It is amazing how quickly your dog’s coat can change from simply changing their food.

Brushing. Rule of thumb for brushing your dog is to try and do it every day! This helps loosen and reduce dander. To avoid spreading the dander throughout your house you should try and brush your dog outside! If you prefer or your dog will let you, you can purchase a pet vacuum to suck up the loose hair.

Bathing. Giving your dog a bath weekly is fine! If you are bathing this often you should be using a high quality shampoo (oatmeal works the best) so that your dog’s skin does not dry out. Bathing them also helps eliminate dander and helps loosen their hair. When your dog is shedding you can bathe them more often during this time (just make sure you are using a VERY good moisturizer) to help get rid of the hair and dander.

Keep it short. If you don’t have a lot of time to groom your pet regularly or you have allergies, try trimming your long haired dogs. This will help prevent the hair from attaching to other hair (we don’t want it just hanging around). Short haired dogs you can try damping a cloth and wiping them down occasionally to help keep that dander in its place and not tracking everywhere in your home.

Supplements. You can by certain supplements for your pet that can help minimize dander and soften your dog’s coat. Lack of enough fatty acids can cause your dog to have dry skin. Try adding Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids such as fish or coconut oil to your dog’s diet, this can help make your dog’s skin healthier so it don’t flake as much.


We all love our furry friend’s but some of us have allergies that we need to maintain, while also maintaining our pet’s health. I hope that these tricks of the trade can help both you and your little friend out! 


Know what you want the finished product to look like. It’s always best to have some kind of idea what you want it to look like after you are done refinishing it! A good tip (especially if you bought this piece of furniture second hand) is to make sure that you match it to the rest of your home’s décor. Whether it is wood and you are re staining it or painting it, make sure you go through the proper steps, you don’t want to just throw some stain or paint on without sanding it first, this will help so it doesn’t chip or crack easily!

Make sure your piece of furniture is clean. A lot of older pieces of furniture are unfortunately neglected, so the dirt and grime starts to build up rapidly. If you don’t give it some good elbow grease before starting your restoration project, then most of the time your paint/stain will just end of peeling off. Plus it’s always nice to clean something to your own cleanliness standards anyways! This way it’s a win for the furniture and you!

Make all necessary repairs. You make luck out in finding an old piece of furniture in pretty good condition therefore you will not need to worry about doing this! If you aren’t that lucky however you will want to replace any loose nuts/bolts, table/chair legs, knobs or anything else that needs to be fixed. This step can be done before or after you have done any kind of cosmetic adjustment. My advice is to replace/add anything AFTER you are done painting/staining. I recommend this because then you don’t have to tape anything off and you don’t have to be as careful, so it can make your project go a lot quicker!

Pick up a How-To-Guide book. For a lot of us who have never done any kind of furniture restoration before, it’s probably a good idea to pick one of these guides up, so that if you need a quick question answered you can have it on hand. You can find these books at your local library, book store or maybe even your supermarket. YouTube is also a great place to look for step-by-step guide for any project that you may have on the go or would like to start. There all are types of videos on there for almost anything, and you can follow along easily and at your own pace!

Here are just a FEW suggestions on the types of tools you will most likely need/use. Sand paper, and I would get both the rough type (80 to 120 grit) and the finer type (300 to 600 grit). Get a couple different putty knives, plastic and metal, hammer, screwdriver, rubber mallet for wood, wood putty, wood glue, measuring tape, gloves, face mask, and a few different sized of paint brushes!

Hope this helps and you create something beautiful!   


First decide what your interests are. First you must know whether this vacation is a family one or a “just the two of us” kind of trip. If you are planning to bring the children along, you might want to go somewhere that has a beach, theme parks or maybe even some camping. If you are into things like history or architecture places like Paris, Italy or Rome would be an excellent choice. If you are into adrenaline or adventure try looking for places that offer activities like zip-lining, skydiving, river rafting or mountain climbing!

Make sure you have a budget before traveling. The best thing to do always before planning a vacation is looking at your finances, things like airfare, hotels, transportation, food and activities. A lot of the time the more costly part of the trip is just getting there because they are remote locations. Once you arrive they are relatively cheap usually due to their economy. Things do tend to add up quickly so in my experience set out a budget but try and put a little extra aside just to be on the safe side!

Make sure that it is the RIGHT time to travel. Check things like, monsoon season, blizzards, rain or even heat if you’re not use to severely hot weather. Sometimes even going on an off season can be beneficial, you deal with fewer crowds and the pricing can sometimes be less expensive. A few things to remember when picking the right time to travel is to research first the weather, local festivities, and customs of your travel destination.  

Foreign languages. Decide first how comfortable you are with speaking or listening to foreign languages. When traveling it sometimes can be challenging going to a place that doesn’t speak or know or spoken language. If you get lost and need directions, or need to find a specific attraction or shop. This can become stressful at times and vacationing should be anything but that. If you aren’t so comfortable with this, then do some research on places where you can go that this won’t be an issue/stress.

Safety/Medical. Center for Disease Control (CDC) web site. Search your travel destination to see what medications and vaccinations are recommended, if any. Some vaccinations require doses spaced out over the period of several months, so make sure when you choose your destination you look this up beforehand so this doesn’t create a problem with scheduling.

Everyone loves to travel and take time off! So here are just a few helpful tips to get you leaving on that jet plane a little faster and easier! Happy Vacationing Everyone! 


Try Not To Change Your Mind. Everyone will change their minds at some point during a home remodeling project but, every time you change your mind about something it will result in either a change in cost, time or order. Also remember that whoever you have working on the job needs to be informed of any changes so this doesn’t result in contractors working on an old project plan! It’s ok to make a change everyone does during the process, but just be cautious of all the disruptions it can potentially cause!

Try Not To Delay Decisions. The best thing to do before starting your project is to make all your decisions before the job is scheduled to begin. Once you pick out/order things like paint, trim or faucets and make all the necessary appointments for painters, plumbers/contractors and then after decide to go with something else you then have to reschedule everyone for a different date/time which can be tricky if workers are busy or booked up. This can cause a potential long delay in your project! So it’s best to have everything ordered and picked out before the home remodeling is set to begin, no one likes to be set back or wait to start something.

Take Kids & Pets Out Of The Home. Of course any contractor will try and accommodate your family, but in a sense they shouldn’t have to. If you want your project done swiftly, safely and accurately then you should try and make arrangements for the house to be empty while the project is in effect. Also let’s face it, it is never safe to have children or pets around when there is any type of construction going on, especially if it’s a big project with multiple contractors in and out.

Try Not To Be A Distraction. This may sound a little abrasive but every time a contractor is having a conversation with you it takes away from the time they could be working on your home (which is what you are paying them for!)  Think of it this way, if the conversation has no merit to your project then it’s best to have it after to job it completed.

Always Over Budget.  It is best to always have a little more then you have budgeted for when starting on a remodeling project! Almost all of the time things never cost less or equal to what you have had set out in terms of cost. This is why we go back to “Always make your decisions beforehand” because it can save not only time but money as well. If you have things picked out and already ordered then you know there will be no surprises during the remodel.


Remodeling can be a very stressful time in one’s life, so I hope these few little tips can save you some troubles so you can sit back and just look forward to how great your home will look after it’s completed!




 Tip #1. MOWING. Don’t set a final cutting date, well there are some grasses that stop growing in warmer climates, the mainstay grasses that are mostly used for lawns will still continue to slowly grow as the temperature gets cooler. It is beneficial to maintain a 10-14 day mowing schedule until to ground freezes.

Tip #2. AERATION. Aeration is important because it creates a healthy environment for the roots of the grasses. You can use the coring style to aerate your lawn or the slicing method this is completely up to you as they both get the job done!

Tip #3. FERTILIZATION. When it comes to fertilization you should be doing it every 45 days throughout the growing season which is from March until November. With each fertilizer application there is a different goal in mind and different fertilizer required. From the early Spring application that has a higher amount of nitrogen so the grass gets a quick green up along with pre-emergence weed control all the way to the final application of the year which has a lower level of nitrogen so we aren’t promoting too much growth, it also has a greater amount of potassium to help the roots of the grasses get ready to survive the harsh winters.

Tip#4. Perennial Plants. People spend so much money, time and effort to make their yards look beautiful! My thought is to let these plants flourish and grow until the very as close to winter as possible! This also helps them store up lots of energy to survive the harsh climate in the winter! When the time comes though to cut them back or remove them from you landscape be sure to use a sharp well maintained pruners. This will help so you don’t damage the plant or cut them in a way that may hurt the re growth next spring!

Tip#5. Tree & Woody Perennials. This is the perfect time to remove any dead wood from trees and woody perennials you have in your landscaped yard. Doing this will promote a healthier plant and a more vigorous plant when it wakes up from winter months. Some woody perennials do well pruning them back before winter and some prefer to be pruned in the spring. I would check with your local garden center to get precise information and advice for the plants grown in your garden.

I hope everyone stays warm during this winter season! Be sure to take great care of your lawns, trees and plants so you can enjoy them in the spring and summer to come! 


Selling Secret #1: Pricing it right

Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be flooded by buyers with all kinds of offers — even when the market is at its worst — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes a lot of strength and most seller won’t want to risk it, but it’s one of the best strategies when selling your home in today’s market.

Selling Secret #2: Don’t over-upgrade
Before selling simple quick fixes always pay off. Huge over the top makeovers, not so much. You most likely won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. For example a fresh coat of paint will always do the trick. Cleaning the curtains or buying some new inexpensive ones also help. Replacing the door handles or cabinet hardware to modern looking ones, or making sure the closet doors are on its tracks, also fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

Selling Secret #3: Conceal the critters
A lot of people who are selling their home might think a cuddly dog or a sleeping cat on the window sill would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but that is just the opposite. Not everyone is an animal lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have clumps of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the sense that your house isn’t very clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a family or friends house for the day and definitely do a clean sweep of your home.

Selling Secret #4: Half-empty closets
One very important thing that all home buyers are always looking for is STORAGE, you can never have enough of it. If you can take half of your stuff that’s in your closets and neatly pack it away some place this will allow them to see how much room for their stuff there is. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

Selling Secret #5: Light it up
Lighting is so important to a home buyer, so maximizing the light in your home will go a long way! Here are some examples you could do to make your home more bright and cheery, take down your curtains/drapes, cleaning the ins and outs of your windows, increase the wattage of your current light bulbs & maybe even trimming up some of your bushes outside to let the natural light in! This will all make your house more sellable.

Selling Secret #6: Play the agent field
Finding the perfect agent is so important to you when selling your home! Don’t take this lightly, do your research make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. Take a look at websites, all their advertising and most importantly their Testimonials, hearing what other people have to say always gives you a better understanding of the agent! They should always be monitoring the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the competition in your neighborhood!

Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. It’s important to make people feel welcome and safe as they approach the house. Dress up your home’s exterior with low cost shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can usually get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. The entry way in your home is also very important. It’s mostly used as a place to store your keys, shoes and jackets. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or a decorative mirror even a vintage coat rack would give it a little something else!


There are many different way and ideas for making the selling process of your house a little less stressful and tiring! Try out a few of these tricks and see if any of them work out for you or your family and friends trying to sell their homes!  



  1. 1.    Tin Foil. A simple and easy way to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, particularly on those attached to external walls, is to use heat reflective aluminum foil behind the radiator. It will help prevent the heat from disappearing through the wall by reflecting it back into the room.


  1. 2.    Setting Timers. Setting your timer for your heater is important. "It's a myth that keeping it on all day is better. If it's very cold, the timer should be set to switch the heating on earlier, rather than turning the thermostat up to warm the house rapidly. Keeping a consistent heat throughout the house for the whole day will keep your home warmer.


  1. 3.    Clear Your Registers. I know sometimes when you’re going for a certain look in your home or design it can be an eye sore to have furniture such as a couch or entertainment unit a bit away from the wall, but if you are trying to keep your home warm through the day and night avoid placing large pieces of furniture in front of them. If these items are directly on top or very close to your registers they will absorb all your heat! So try at least for the colder months pulling them away from the register.


  1. 4.    Natural Sunlight. Try letting some of the natural sun light in during the day! It’s important to use this and bonus it’s FREE! Window shades and curtains should be kept open during the day, and then closing your curtains as soon as the sun falls will maximize your house's potential to retain that heat.


  1. 5.    Thick Curtains. Curtains is one of the main ways to retain heat in your home! Curtains with a thermal lining are a relatively cheap option, "The thicker the better," If you don't want to spend too much on new curtains you can line them yourself with materials like cheap fleece. And it's not just windows that can have curtains. Placing a curtain in front of doors to the outside adds another layer of protection.


  1. 6.    Close Doors. If you can try closing doors to UN used rooms. Keeping doors closed will prevent cold air moving into the rest of the house and contain the heat you've generated in a smaller area.



Hope these few little tips will help keep you and your family/friends a little warmer this winter without having to spend any extra funds! 


Rent DIY-friendly sanding equipment

You most likely won’t be sanding tons of floors in your life time so renting random orbital sanders are the best choice for do-it-yourself floor refinishers. They take longer to remove old finishes than drum sanders, but they do not require a lot of experience to use and are less likely to damage your floor. With a random orbital sander, you can move with or against the wood grain. Just be sure to keep the sander level at all times. Even an orbital sander can “run away” from you and cause sander markings that are difficult to remove. 


Don’t get too aggressive
Begin with coarse-grit abrasives sufficient enough to remove the old    finish and most surface scratches. Try not to use grits coarser than 60; this will help prevent you from damaging the flooring. Proceed with abrasives that are gradually finer until you reach the desired degree of smoothness. (My preferred progression for a hardwood floor such as oak begins with 60-grit abrasive, goes to 80-grit, and finishes with 100- or 120-grit.) Sand like you are mowing the lawn. Proceed row by row, overlapping runs by half the sander’s width. You will have to make go over it numerous times with each grit.


Always remember the corners

A palm sander may be used to sand near baseboard moldings, but use a sharp scraper to remove any areas of old finish the sander may miss. Scrapers allow you to get into recesses without having to remove a lot of material with the sander.


Guard against dust and hair
After you have finished with the sanding step, remove all dust by vacuuming and wiping the sanded areas with a tack cloth. If you find a stray hair embedded in dried polyurethane and you still have at least one coat to go, lightly sand over the hair with a very fine (320) abrasive. Carefully dig out the hair with a pin or fingernail, if possible. Then re sand with the same very fine abrasive, taking care not to breach the stain layer. Upon recoating with poly, the hair mark will all but disappear.


 Apply stain evenly

Apply stain evenly, especially over a large space. I find that the best technique involves applying the stain with an applicator to one small area at a time (about 18″ x 3′) and then rubbing off all excess with a rag. Avoid letting the leading edge of your job dry; you will end up with lap marks. Try using Oil-based stains as it tends to stay workable longer, rather than using a water-based stain.


Thin coats are better than thick
An easy way for the do-it-yourselfer is to roll on the polyurethane using a foam roller, preferably a high-density foam roller. The coat will be thin, even, and will quickly dry to a glassy smooth finish. Use a good brush for cutting in around the room perimeter.


Have an exit strategy
Start your applications along the wall opposite the door you intend to exit. Work in parallel rows toward the wall with the door. When you get close, you will have to change your work pattern and work from the end walls toward the door. This makes it tough to achieve uninterrupted smoothing strokes, so apply a little extra poly and count on its self-leveling properties for a smooth finish.


Hopefully this will help anyone who is thinking of keeping those beautiful hardwoods maintained and refined! Enjoy!















Buying Secret #1: Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan

When buying a home there is actually quite a big difference when it comes to being pre-qualified verse being pre-approved. Mostly anyone can get pre-qualified for a home loan/mortgage. Getting pre-approved means a lender has looked at all of your financial information and they’ve let you know how much you can afford and how much they will lend you. Getting pre-approved first will definitely save you a lot of time and hassle so you are not running around looking at houses you can't afford. It also gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best deal and the best interest rates

Buying Secret #2: Don’t Try to Time the Market
Try not to get caught up in timing the market and figure out when is the best time to buy. It is impossible to try and figure out the housing market (buying a house can be stressful enough without adding any other pressure.) The best time to look/buy is when you feel it’s the right time & you can afford it, the housing market continuously fluctuates, it goes up then it goes down then up again, relying on the market to pick a time for you may make you potentially lose out on something great & a perfect for you!

Buying Secret # 3: Bigger Isn’t Always Better 
It goes without saying that everyone dreams of having/buying the biggest most luxurious home on the block! But bigger is usually not better when it comes to houses. There’s an old adage in real estate that says don’t buy the biggest, best house on the block. The largest house only appeals to a very small audience and you never want to limit potential buyers when you go to re-sell. Your home is only going to go up in value as much as the other houses around you. If you pay $600,000 for a home and your neighbors pay $350,000 to $400,000, your appreciation is going to be limited. Sometimes it is better to purchase the worst house on the block, because the worst house per square foot always trades for more than the biggest house.

Buying Secret #4: Check out the Neighborhood
Before you buy, get the lay of the land – drop by morning noon and night. Many homebuyers become very upset/angry because they had thought they found the perfect home, only to find out the neighborhood wasn’t for them. Drive by the house at all hours of the day to see what’s happening in the neighborhood. If you are choosing a brand new location quite a ways away from where you are currently living, then I would recommend doing a daily commute for a week or so to see if it’s something you will be able to handle on a regular basis (friend’s homes, shopping, family homes, & most importantly WORK!) Even if you don’t have kids, research the schools because it affects the value of your home in a very big way. If you buy a house in a good school district versus bad school district even in the same town, the value can be affected as much as 20 percent.

Buying Secret #4: You’re Buying a House – Not Dating It
One of the worst things you could do is to buy a house based on emotion! Doing this can sometimes persuade you to make some not so good financial decisions! Your instincts and emotions are to totally different things! Going with your instincts means that you recognize that you’re getting a great house for a good value. Going with your emotions is being obsessed with the paint color or the backyard. Buying a house is an investment, so make sure to make wise and smart decisions! (Plus you can always change the color of a wall!)

Buying Secret #5: Give Your House a Physical
Think about it, would you ever buy a car without checking first what’s under the hood? Of course you wouldn’t. The best thing to do is to hire a home inspector. It’ll cost about $400 (Winnipeg, Manitoba) I know that sounds like a lot but in the end it potentially could end up saving you thousands of dollars. A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with information so that you can make a decision as to whether or not to buy. It’s really the only way to get an unbiased third-party opinion. If it turns out that the inspector found any issues with the home you are looking at purchasing, you could use that to your advantage as a bargaining tool for lowering the price. It’s always better to find out sooner rather than later if there is going to be any major issues in the future that could cost you big time!

Buying Secret #8: Avoid a Border Dispute
It is very important to remember to have a survey done of your property so that you know exactly what you’re buying. Knowing where your property lines are will potentially save you from having a dispute with your neighbors. Also, your property tax is likely based on how much property you have, so it is best to have an accurate map drawn up.


Happy house hunting everyone, and try not to stress out, as this is a great step toward your future for the better! J



The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.