Category: helpful tips (38)

remax-blog-7-fireplace-safety-tips

Curling up in front of the fireplace with a book can be the quintessence of coziness on a cold fall or winter’s day, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t maintain your fireplace and use it correctly. And to coincide with Kimberley’s Fire Prevention Week (October 9 – 15, 2016) — here are a few fireplace safety tips when using your fireplace this winter.

1. Go with a pro
We suggest you hire a certified chimney cleaner to inspect your fireplace and chimney at least once a year. They probably won’t sing catchy songs in a Cockney accent like in “Mary Poppins,” but they will remove dangerous clogs and buildup.

2. Put a lid on it
Ever chase a squirrel around your house with a broom? Exciting, but not fun. Prevent critters, birds and debris from coming down your chimney by installing a proper and certified mesh cap on top of your chimney.

3. Play defense
Spark guards, the mesh screens that can be placed in front of your fire, prevent flying embers from launching into your living room and starting trouble. When you leave the room (or fall asleep) it’s especially important to use one.

4. Be wood wise
Burn seasoned hardwood that has been dried for at least six months. Green, unseasoned or soft woods emit more creosote — that’s the flammable stuff that can build up in your chimney.

5. Check your equipment
Test your smoke detectors every month, change your batteries every year and replace devices every 10 years.

6. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Have one. And be sure you know how to use it.

7. Seal it up
When not using your fireplace, close the damper to prevent warm air and the money you spend to heat your house, from being lost straight up your chimney.

Is a fireplace one of the top features on your “must-have” list for a new home? The right agent can help you find neighbourhoods that allow wood burning fires and a home with just the right hearth. Find one here!

**And don’t forget about Kimberley’s Fire Department Open House this Thursday (Oct 13, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Fire Station #1; 340 Spokane Street).  

Blog post by RE/MAX

remax-blog-thanksgiving

In recent years it’s become a trend for friends who stay in town to gather together for Thanksgiving, where in the past it has been a traditionally a family affair. If you can’t make it home for Turkey Day, consider gathering your crew for a “Friendsgiving” meal.  Here are a few tips:

1. Invite early
Send an invitation (electronic or stamped) to your friends before the feast to be sure they can join you. However, always make room for last-minute guests – it’s Thanksgiving so the more the merrier! 

2. Delegate
As host, etiquette dictates that you provide the turkey and gravy (and in some homes, a special cocktail for the occasion). Your guests can provide everything else potluck style. An online list can help your friends divide up dishes to avoid any repeats.

3. Empty your fridge
It’s a good excuse to start feasting before the festivities. You’ll need room in your fridge and freezer on the day of the party and afterwards, for all those leftovers.

4. Make a schedule
Breaking down the event into small tasks you can schedule (some even before the big day, like setting the table the night before) reduces the stress of hosting duties. Follow your steps, stick to the timeline and have fun.

5. Don’t forget the gratitude
Set out a bowl and index cards during appetizers and have guests list things they’re grateful for – sincere or silly. Between dinner and dessert, take turns reading the cards out loud.  And remember to make this task – easy and fun! For example, three of the staff from RE/MAX Caldwell Agencies wanted to pass along why they are “thankful”:
   “I’m thankful for time with my grandkids” – Joanne Kitt
   “I’m thankful for family and friends” – Rea Jarrett
   “I’m thankful for Katie being home for the weekend” – Lauriss Caldwell

Looking for a new home in a friendly neighborhood? Find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you find the perfect place.

Story by RE/MAX.

remax-blog-kids-stuff-place

While it won’t guarantee them a place at top Canadian University, having a room or designated space in your home for studying can help kids focus on their homework. Here are a few suggestions for putting together an A+ study space.

1. Brighter room, brighter mind
Lighting is one of the most critical features of a productive study space, especially as night comes early during much of the school year. Add a desk or floor lamp if the room’s main light isn’t bright enough.

2. A door – that closes
Shut out distractions – such as the sound of dinner being made or younger siblings watching TV – with a solid door that minimizes outside sound. If a door is not possible, foam earplugs, white noise machines or soft background music can help fight encroaching buzz.

3. Banish distractions
Make the room a cell phone-free zone and if there’s a TV, take the remote during study time to reduce temptation.

4. Consider colour
The colour of the room can affect kids’ ability to concentrate. Elementary school-aged kids do best when surrounded by warmer colors, like yellow and peach, while older students focus best with cooler hues, like blues and greens, according to psychological colour studies.

5. Clear clutter
Towers of magazines, piles of mail and even baskets of laundry can distract kids from homework. Help them focus by keeping the space, especially the desk, as clutter-free as possible.

6. Talk to an expert – your kid
Perhaps the most important factor in creating a great study space is finding out your child’s unique preferences. You might love the expensive ergonomically correct chair, but your kid might find it easier to read for long periods from a giant beanbag on the floor.

Thinking of buying or selling your home? Make sure to work with a professional who has done their homework. Find an honour roll agent here.

remax-blog-6-tricks-to-sell-in-autumn

It’s easy to boost buyers’ impression of your home in new, inexpensive ways with each season. Here are a few things you can do in the fall to make it inviting. 

1. Light it up.
Shorter days and longer shadows mean you need to be particularly careful to maximize natural light with open drapes and blinds, and add more light where needed with floor and tabletop lamps. Replace any burned-out bulbs in outdoor lights. And schedule showings earlier in the day, when the light is stronger. Adequate lighting makes a bigger difference than you might think.

2. Rake in the leaves (and the buyers).
Keep up with your yard work to help hike curb appeal. Clean up the leaves and trim back any overgrown or dead plants. Cut back trees and hedges that hide or overshadow windows and porches.

3. De-clutter your yard.
Store all those bikes and bocce sets. A less-cluttered yard appears larger. Leave the grill, though. One that’s shiny and clean can help buyers see the possibilities of living out their hamburger-and-steak fantasies. If you have nice patio furniture, arranging it around a fire pit – even just a portable or tabletop one – creates a warm, social atmosphere.

4. Pumpkins.
They’re cheap. Pumpkins can add a bright, seasonal touch, but be careful not to overdo it. You’re decorating a home, not a department store.

5. Burn, baby, burn.
If your home has a fireplace, now’s the time to let it shine. Of course, you probably don’t want to light a blaze for showings, just in case the fire’s unattended between appointments. But you can make sure it’s clean. Tasteful fall décor, like a simple vase of pinecones can add a nice seasonal touch to the mantle or hearth. If your agent will be hosting an open house, a crackling fire with lots of comfy seating can be a great touch.

6. Two words: pumpkin spice.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to actually bake a pie. Before showings, simply burn scented candles with seasonal aromas, like apple, cinnamon and ginger, to add to your home’s coziness.

If you’re looking for more personalized recommendations for selling your home, find a local RE/MAX agent who can help you show your home at its best!

~ Story by RE/MAX

remax-blog-6-tips-for-keeping-your-home-tidy

Keeping your home looking like a furniture showroom for long stretches isn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keep your house ready for showings while you’re still living in it.

1. Attack the clutter
As you prepare your home for showing, start with a major decluttering. Throw out, recycle or give away things you don’t use. Getting rid of junk will make your home more appealing to prospective buyers and free up space for you to neatly store things when it’s time to tidy up for a showing.

2. Rent storage space
Keeping things neat is easier when you have less things. An off-site storage unit can help (and you can keep it as messy as you like).

3. Start packing
Packing most of your dishes and large baking and cooking items frees up cabinet space that you can use to stash items you use on a regular basis. It also gives you a head start on packing for your move.

4. Rope off a room – or two
If you can, temporarily rope off rooms or areas from the kids, pets or spouses to contain your mess in a smaller space while your house is listed. But remember to make those rooms look nice, too, before the showing!

5. Buy hiding spots
The home sections of discount stores are filled with attractive fabric boxes and fashionable bins that can simultaneously hide junk and match your décor.

6. If all else fails, stash it under the bed
Invest in a couple of under-the-bed bins that you can use to store everything from socks to kids’ toys in when faced with a last-minute showing.

When showing your home, it pays to work with a professional. Find a great agent here!

Remax Blog - Container Garden

So what if your backyard is only a 40-inch planter? For renters or homeowners with little (or no) yard space, container gardens offer a way to grow fresh food and spend some time outside. Here are a few tips on getting started.

1. Find a container
While you can simply head to your local box store and buy plastic or wooden containers made for gardening, you can also get creative with things you have around the house. As long as there are holes on the bottom for drainage, anything from kiddie pools and old tires to buckets and dresser drawers can hold a mini-farm.

2. Locate the sun
Try to place your container in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun daily. Leafy greens can usually grow (slowly) with just four hours of sun every day, but the more sunlight the better. Sliding a plastic platform with rolling casters under your container enables you to relocate it to a sunnier spot throughout the season.

3. Learn how hardy you are
When purchasing your preferred seeds, ask your local gardening store which plants thrive in the Kimberley/Cranbrook areas.

4. Decide what you’re hungry for
Plant what you love to eat. Wild about fresh salsa? Go for peppers and cilantro. Crazy for cocktails? Plant mint and lemon balm. Eat tons of salad? Greens and lettuce grow well in shallow containers, making them ideal for window boxes. Plus, because the leaves grow back after you pick them, you can “harvest” throughout the season.

5. Kick up your flavour
Herbs can be expensive to buy, and sometimes you don’t need the entire package. But if you grow a bucket of basil or a pot of rosemary you can simply snip a few sprigs whenever you need them.

6. Mind your moisture
Over-watering can kill plants just as easily as under-watering. Learn how much water each kind of plant requires and monitor closely to keep the soil ideal for growing.

Looking for a townhouse with a patio perfect for containers? Or a condo with a balcony in need of hanging baskets? Start by finding an experienced agent.

Remax Blog - Misquito Free

Summer is here and the sunshine is calling. Don’t let mosquitos ruin your outdoor fun. Here are a few tips for keeping the bugs out of your backyard.

1. Look out for standing water
Standing water of any depth – whether it’s the half-inch at the bottom of a planter or the six inches stagnating in your wheelbarrow – is an invitation for mosquitos (they need water to breed). Be careful not to overwater your lawn and to refresh water containers, like dog bowls, often.

2. That includes your gutters
Make sure your gutters are clean and water drains freely. Otherwise, you’re the proprietor of a very long singles bar for mosquitos.

3. Switch your bulbs
In some areas of the country, depending on the breed of mosquitos, swapping out the bulbs you use in your outdoor lights for yellow bug bulbs can mean fewer insects swarming the lights.

4. Trim away
Mosquitos like to hang out in the shade and feast on plant nectar. Keep your lawn short and hack down heavy vegetation near your patio and house to make your property less appealing.

5. Blast the buggers
Mosquitos aren’t powerful fliers. Strategically placed fans around your deck can blow them away and a ceiling fan above your covered porch can help too.

6. Hang a net
When done correctly, mosquito netting can drape your patio or outdoor eating area in elegance while keeping the bugs at bay.

7. Light candles
Citronella candles, lamps and coils can help repel mosquitos.

8. Bring in the big guns
Work with a professional pest control company who can install misters to work all season or spray your yard once for a special occasion.

Are mosquitos just the beginning of your yard’s problems? A move to greener grass may be in your future. Start by finding an experienced agent.

Remax Blog - Building a Fence

A fenced in yard can help keep your pets in and strangers out. If you’re considering investing in a fence, start here.

1. Do your research
Your City/Community municipality or neighbourhood organization may have specific regulations about fence height, materials, colours and even the actual distance between fence slats. Make sure you know the rules before getting started. Also check with your local utility company to find out about where your gas lines are before you begin (dig).

2. Consult the professionals
Fencing your property may impact your home’s appeal differently depending on your neighborhood, your home and your property. Talk to a real estate agent or an appraiser who knows your local market to help choose materials and where best to place your fence.

3. Chat with your neighbours
Remember, they have to look at your fence too. Consider letting the neighbours whose property borders yours know that you’re thinking about building a fence. Also, avoid future disputes by making sure you’re all in agreement about property lines before putting in the first post.

4. Match your house
Choose a fence that goes with the architectural style of your house. For example, you probably don’t want to build a burly stockade fence around your quaint Victorian, or a rustic post and rail fence around your spiffy modern home.

5. Understand upkeep
If you’re considering a wooden fence, be aware of maintenance required for the type of wood you choose. Some types require more frequent sealing and staining to help keep them looking good longer.

6. Consider living fences
Strategically planted shrubs and trees, like fast-growing cypress and pine, can grow into beautiful fences that offer privacy and double as attractive landscaping. Another advantage? That added landscaping could possibly increase the value of your home.

Dreaming of a home with a white picket fence? Start your journey by talking to an experienced agent. You can find one here.

Caldwell - Kitchen Blog1

The kitchen is the busiest and most used spot in your house! We have gathered some helpful tips to help you maximize your kitchen space and make the most of this space.

#1 – Hide counter seating
If you have kitchen island seating, consider stools that tuck completely in or close to the cabinets. You can also choose to have them in a similar colour to the is the island cabinetry to blend them with the rest of the kitchen. This simple step can save you a lot of walking around the room.

#2 – Maximize Floor Space
Save floor space or dining table with your kitchen island. You can go with a countertop height or stick with regular height. If you don’t have an island, consider adding a bar table in your kitchen and double up to create both an island plus and eating area.

#3 – Go Handle-less
To maximize every small inch of a small kitchen space (if applicable), consider foregoing handles on your cabinetry and going with modern handle-less kitchen designs to gain an extra 1-1/2″ of free space in front of the cabinetry.

#4 – Tie It All Together
Tie your own concept kitchen in with the rest of your space by using the same colour and finish everywhere in the room. For example, TV/media units, shelves, frames for mirrors/shelves and tabletops etc.

#5 – Compact Refrigerator
To facilitate healthier eating, consider a compact refrigerator and freezer so that you only store essential food items.

Story by Remax Canada.

Photo feature from 845 – 307th Street home in Marysville, BC .

Remax Blog - Tips for Camping


While you may be crazy about your home, sometimes you simply can’t resist the call of wild. Don’t worry. These days there’s no need to rough it. With these outdoor must-haves, your campsite can offer all the comforts of home.

1. Hammock
For napping or catching nighttime zzz’s, there’s no need to actually sleep on the ground. All you need is two trees to set up your hammock and you can rock your way to relaxation. Buy one with a roof flap to weatherproof your siesta.

2. The biggest tent you can find
When car camping, why not? It’s not like you have to squeeze a tent in a backpack and hike up a mountain with it. Treat yourself to an expansive shelter everyone can fit into, even the pup. Look for a tent with a mesh roof so you can enjoy the stars on clear nights.

3. Air mattress & accessories
With the help of a battery-charged inflator, you’re only moments away from a cushy bed. And with high thread count sheets and a down pillow, you’re ready for the great outdoors. Throw in a patch kit, just in case.

4. Accent lighting
Sure, you’ll bring a headlamp and a few lanterns for utility, but nothing adds ambience to a campsite like solar-powered, hanging fairy lights – especially in parts of the country that lack lightning bugs.

5. Deluxe cooler
Make sure it’s big enough for all the champagne for morning mimosas and evening microbrews, plus solid enough to keep your steaks and Ghirardelli chocolate bars (for gourmet s’mores) chilled.

6. Hand-crank blender
Margaritas hit the spot after hiking – or strolling to your hammock. With a few turns of the crank and slices of fresh lime, you’ll be set to refresh. Be sure not to forget salt for your rims.

7. Stovetop espresso maker and accessories
Nature is so much better with a fine Italian roast. Pack a battery-powered, handheld milk frother and you’re set.

8. Solar/car battery-powered gadget charger
Because you’ll need the Tim Horton’s finder app on your smart-phone if you can’t figure out how to start your camp stove.

Is your campsite actually more comfortable than your house? Maybe it’s time to move. Talk to an agent to find out what’s in your budget, and your market, this season. Find one here.

Remax - 8 Staging Tips for Small Outdoor Spaces

An attractive outdoor space, even if it’s just big enough to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or evening cocktail, can be a major selling point for potential buyers. Here are a few suggestions for maximizing your outdoor living space.

1. Floor it.
If you have a small outdoor area, it won’t break the bank to invest in higher quality tiles or stones. Snap-in deck tiles are another option for adding a touch of class.

2. Envision clarity.
When it comes to tables, go for glass-topped: It will help create the illusion of a larger space.

4. Watch your back.
Chairs and benches with more open backs don’t interrupt sight lines as much. They’ll keep your space feeling open, and looking larger.

5. Focus.
Creating a focal point in a small space adds visual interest. A simple piece of garden art, a small flowering tree or a tiny water feature in a corner can add style and distract buyers from focusing on square footage.

6. Scale down.
The world’s largest outdoor chaise lounge may be a napper’s dream, but it won’t do much to help your patio or deck. Choose outdoor furniture scaled to set off your space, not smother it. You can even find fire pits in smaller sizes.

7. Get vertical.
Wall gardens help add green without sacrificing space. Wall art made from succulent plants is another low-maintenance option for adding foliage, and drawing attention to the edges of your space, which helps visually enlarge it.

8. Don’t hide the grill.
A clean barbecue can help buyers imagine their own outdoor meals. Unless you have a grill or smoker large enough to hold the entire pig, or if your grill is in disrepair, keep it out.

Ready to show off your newly decorated deck or patio? Start by finding a RE/MAX Caldwell agent here!

REMAX Blog - 7 Ideas for Using Feng Shui to Create a Harmonious Home


The ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui uses design principles to create harmonious spaces that encourage health, wealth and happiness. According to the practice, colours encourage energy to flow freely throughout a structure, and each colour is thought of as an expression of one of the five “Feng Shui” elements: fire, earth, metal water and wood.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your home using general feng shui color principles.

1. Wake up a space with yellow
Yellow energizes spaces and is great for brightening rooms and adding a welcoming feeling. Yellows can be an excellent choice for kitchens, living rooms, hallways and offices.

2. Hues that work for you
If it’s a calm sanctuary for a restful night’s sleep, feng shui rules suggest water-element colors of calming blues to create tranquility. If you’d like your bedroom to be more passionate than peaceful, fire element colors like red can help crank up the heat.

3. A blank canvas for the kitchen
In feng shui, white is one of the preferred shades for a kitchen because it encourages purity and freshness. Plus, it creates the perfect palette for the rich colors of food.

4. Better than a lullaby
Shades of green in a child’s room help make calm, serene spaces for sleeping. Plus, wood-element shades of green also encourage growth and learning.

5. Mind your reds
While red is the Chinese color of luck and happiness, too much of the fiery color can throw things off balance, bringing aggression and overstimulation.

6. Shades for success
Wood-element colors like greens and browns promote creativity, and water elements like blues and blacks promote wealth. Combining shades of each can change the energy of your home workspace.

7. Look outside your walls
According to feng shui principles, adding accent pieces and furniture in elemental shades also can help change the energy of a space. You don’t need to go big (or commit) with an entire wall.

Colour can help bring balance to your home, but it works best when you’re living in a place that suits your needs. Looking for harmony in a new zip code? Start by talking to an experienced agent. Find one here.