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Ottawa’s Best Dog Parks

Are you looking for that perfect dog park for your four legged friend? There are many factors you want to consider when finding the right park; is it off leash? Busy area?Which park is closest to your home? We have the top 3 dog parks in Ottawa that may be perfect for your dog!

Jack Purcell Park is located in downtown Ottawa off of Bank St. It is conveniently located behind Pure Gelato and other close by coffee shops. This off leash dog park is fenced in and has a fountain that is at a dog friendly height.  This park is perfect for anyone who lives in the downtown area and is looking for a larger space for their dog to roam and play.

Conroy Pit is located in the South End of Ottawa that is located off Huntclub Road. This park is a large piece of land that is not fenced in but offers multiple trails and fields for dogs to play and roam. Great for a family outing on a Fall day or a snowy weekend.

Bruce Pit is located in the West end of Ottawa off Cedarview Road. This park is also on a large piece of land that is not fenced in but has tons of trails and fields. This park hosts lots of dog breed meet ups where owners with the same breed meet up once a month for a giant dog play group. Great for socializing for both owners and pets.


New Rules Regarding Purchasing Power for Homes and Home Refinancing

 

B-20 Rule Changes from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)

New rules in effect January 1st 2018 will reduce purchasing power for homes and home refinancing.

The new qualifying rules will come into effect January 1st 2018 requiring all conventional mortgages to qualify at the greater of; a rate 2% higher than the contact rate, or the qualifying rate (currently 4.89%). The new rules will impact mortgage affordability by approximately 20%.

What does that mean for the average Canadian?

If you are considering purchasing a home with 20% down payment, start looking more seriously and purchase prior to January 1st 2018. Your purchase agreement must be in place prior to January 1, 2018 to qualify under the existing rules; however, you do not have to have closed on a home prior to January 1st.

People looking to refinance their existing home for debt consolidation, home renovations, purchasing a cottage, or other major financial goals, should strongly consider refinancing prior to the qualifying rules changing on January 1st 2018!

Thinking about moving? Click on the contact link next to this post to get started!


National Remembrance Day 2017

Ottawa is a home to the National Remembrance Day ceremony every year, to honour Canadian veterans and those currently serving.

The ceremony will being at the National Military on Beechwood at 10:55 AM and then continues at the National War Memorial.

Be advised that the ceremony will mean that some roads downtown will be closed! From 7:30am to 1:00pm, the following roads will be closed:

  • Rideau and Wellington Street between Sussex and Colonel By Drive and Bank Street
  • Queen Street between O’Connor and Elgin Street
  • Elgin Street between Wellington and Albert Street
  • Metcalfe Street between Wellington and Albert Street
  • O’Connor Street between Wellington and Queen Street

OC Transpo

OC Transpo and Para Transpo will operate on a regular weekend schedule. If it is safe to do so, buses will pull over to the side of the road at 11 a.m. to observe two minutes of silence. The Last Post will be played over the radio of OC Transpo Buses.

Most businesses downtown will be closed until 12:30pm, including the businesses in the Byward Market, Rideau Centre, and Sparks Street Mall.

Businesses that are exceptions to the bylaw include:

  • Food/grocery, tobacco, antique and handcraft stores with less than 2,400 square feet used for serving or selling to the public.

  • Pharmacies with less than 7,500 square feet in total area used for serving/selling to the public (those in larger stores must close).

  • Book/newspaper dealers with less than 2,400 square feet used for serving/selling to the public.

  • Convenience stores.

  • Nurseries, gardening supply stores, florists.

  • Gas stations or businesses selling propane, diesel, natural gas and other fuel products.

  • Vehicle/boat rental and repair businesses, including those as part of a larger store (Canadian Tire).

Businesses that are not affected by the bylaw include:

  • Hotels/motels.

  • Restaurants.

  • Recreational facilities including fitness centres

  • Doctor/dentist/optometrist offices and medical centres.

  • Funeral homes.

  • Hair salons and spas.

  • Pet groomers.

  • Repair services for computers, furnaces, air conditioners, pools.

  • Pay-day loan services.

  • REALTORs®

  • Dry cleaners.

  • Vendors at outdoor markets.


Choose The Right Paint Finish

It can be intimidating to stand in front of the paint swatches at the paint or hardware store and try to make a decision. Picking a color can be difficult enough—and then you have to choose the finish. Choosing the color is up to you, but here’s a simple guide to choosing the correct finish for your project.

High Gloss
High gloss paint has the most sheen, and will be the most durable. That durability is best suited for the kitchen, on surfaces like cabinets, door frames, and window trim. It’s best to avoid using high gloss on walls, because it will be too reflective.

Semi-Gloss
It’s not as shiny as high gloss, but it’s still great for kitchens and bathrooms, because the sheen protects from drips, splatters, and other moisture.

Satin
Satin has a velvet-like look, but is still a durable finish, and works best in high-traffic areas. Be careful when applying, because satin paint will reveal sloppy brush strokes.

Eggshell and flat
These finishes have the least amount of sheen, and are the least durable. They’re great for hiding imperfections in your walls, but the low durability means they should be avoided if the room is subject to wear and tear from kids or pets. Use these paints in dining rooms, bedrooms, and other low-traffic rooms.


Is it worthwhile to improve your property, or is moving a better choice?

Unless you built a custom home, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to improve in your current home. Browsing online listings might get you in the mood to upgrade to a new home, or you might be thinking about renovating your current home after binging on HGTV. The answer to renovation vs. relocation depends greatly on what you’re trying to fix.

Thinking about a new kitchen?
If you’re dreaming of a chef’s kitchen with new appliances and beautiful cabinets, renovating your own kitchen gives you incredible ROI and is less costly than moving. You’ll increase the value of your own home if you ever decide to sell, and there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a custom renovation.

Need more space?
If you’re running low on bedrooms, there may not be a lot of options. Converting an existing room to a bedroom doesn’t create any new space. If you’re in a condo, an addition is probably impossible. And additions can be expensive even if it’s a possibility. Moving is usually the best option.

If the neighborhood isn’t ideal
You may have seen some potential for your neighborhood when you first moved there, but perhaps it still isn’t welcoming the shops and restaurants you expected. If that’s the case, consider moving. There’s no sense in waiting years for the neighborhood to improve, especially if you can move to a house in the same price range in a more preferred part of the city.


Easy upgrades: Tackle these projects in a single day

It’s easy to get stressed out just hearing the word “renovation.” You’re instantly thinking of having your home life disrupted by construction debris, cluttered rooms, and loud noises.

But you don’t have to spend a ton of money and brace yourself for months of inconvenience to upgrade your home. Here are a few projects that you can knock out in a single day, and they’ll greatly improve the look and enjoyment of your home.

Paint or replace an exterior door: If you know the correct dimensions and specifications for a replacement door, replacing an exterior door is a quick and easy job. That’s even more true if you’re repainting it. Preparation and a few coats of paint will only take a few hours.

Plant some low-maintenance trees: Young evergreen trees are relatively simple to plant, and after some heavy watering in the first few weeks, they’re very easy to maintain. They’ll add some color and texture to your landscaping, instantly improving curb appeal.

New light fixtures: Whether they’re on the interior or exterior of your home, something as subtle as light textures can have a dramatic effect. Swapping out traditional fixtures for something modern or industrial can completely transform a room.

New hardware: Drawer pulls and door knobs are easy to change out, and like light fixtures, they have a big impact. You’d be amazed how your kitchen or bathroom could look with new hardware.


What to avoid before you buy

Even with the help of a trusted real estate professional, it’s easy to fall into some common traps when you’re buying a home. Here are some of the most common regrets from home buyers—make sure to consider them before you make similar decisions.

Using all of your savings
It can be tempting to throw all the cash you have into your down payment so that you can have a lower monthly payment. But keep in mind that there are several other costs on the horizon—closing costs, inspection, and more. There will also be surprise repairs, taxes, and home maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep some cash in reserve for hidden or unexpected costs.

Borrowing the full amount offered
Banks will often offer a bigger loan than you can comfortably afford. You may be able to pay the mortgage, but it’ll really tighten your budget. A good rule of thumb is to only take 80% of what’s offered. That’ll give you a lot more flexibility in the long term.

Assuming you’ll like the neighbors
Your neighborhood is part of the package when you buy a home, so it’s important to learn about your next door neighbors. Make an effort to do a little homework on the neighbors, and their history with pets, home maintenance, and general behavior. You don’t want to be stuck living next to someone who is rude or inconsiderate.


Five things to do right after closing

 

If you just bought your first home, you’re probably still celebrating and feeling the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with home ownership. You’re shopping for furniture, drawing up plans for renovations … but wait! There are some important tasks to cross off your list before you get to the fun stuff.

1. Change the locks: A lot of people came in possession of your keys during the home sale process, whether it was on the market for a year or a day. Protect yourself by changing all the locks, just in case a set of keys fell into the wrong hands.

2. Make copies: It’s good to have copies of all your closing documents, if only for reference. But in the worst case, you’ll be thankful you have your own copies if something goes wrong.

3. Make sure you get your mail: The post office won’t deliver your mail if the mailbox doesn’t have a name, and it’ll be difficult to sign for packages if UPS can’t get to your front door. If you’re in a multi-unit building, make sure to put your name on your mailbox and verify that the buzzer or call box is working.

4. Meet your neighbors: It’s not just about being cordial. It’s good to exchange contact info with your neighbors in case there’s a problem in the building or someone is being noisy.

5. Prepare for emergencies: Store the contact info for insurance agents and services like plumbers and locksmiths in your phone. You don’t want to waste time searching the internet when you’re locked out on a winter night or your home suffers fire damage.


Start here if you need to tackle summer maintenance

Winter is hard on your home. The weight of snow puts stress on your roof, and the cold expands and contracts the materials your home is made of. Now that winter weather is behind us, here’s where you should start with post-winter home maintenance.

Roof and shingles: It’s pretty common for shingles to get damaged or detach completely after a long cold winter. Thoroughly inspect your roof to ensure that shingles are in good condition and the roof is structurally sound. It may not be time to replace your roof yet, but consider how many more years it has left and start preparing a budget.

Check your gutters: The weight of heavy melting snow and debris is more than enough to make your gutters sag or loosen. Clear out all the leaves and other debris that’s collected in the gutters, and make sure they’re still securely attached at all points.

Check concrete surfaces: Fluctuating temperatures cause concrete to expand and contract. This can lead to damaged driveways, walkways, and other surfaces, and that can spell bad news for water drainage. Fill the cracks with an appropriate material, and seal your surfaces if possible.

HVAC service: Before you put your central air conditioner through a rigorous summer, clean the coils and change the filter. Better yet, bring in a professional for yearly maintenance.


New home? Here’s How to Save

When you’ve just purchased a new home, there’s a ton on your mind. There’s moving, decorating, getting to know your new neighborhood, and more. Here are a few things that should be at the top of your to-do list, because they’ll save you a lot of money.

Check on your water heater
Set your water heater for 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is plenty hot enough for bathing, washing dishes, and any other household use of hot water, so heating water above 120 degrees is a waste of energy and money. And if your water heater is an older model, it’s worthwhile to invest in a water heater blanket to keep it insulated.

Replace air filters
Sellers often put in a lot of cosmetic work to get the home move-in ready, but they often skip or forget about air filters in the HVAC system. Filters can be found at your local hardware store (just make sure to get the right size) and are easy to replace. Doing so will improve air flow and quality, and save on energy costs.

Get a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat, such as Nest, will cost you some money up front but is well worth the long-term savings. It’s programmable so that your AC and furnace run at lower levels when you’re not home, so you’re not wasting money to cool or heat an empty house.

Set up a space to air-dry clothes
Whether it’s a rack in your laundry room or a clothesline in the back yard, air-drying clothes is a big money saver over even the most energy-efficient dryers. Air-drying your garments will also help them last much longer.

Check for leaks and running toilets
A leaky faucet or a constantly-running toilet will use up water unnecessarily, and that’ll show up on your utility bill. And in the worst case, they’ll cause expensive water damage and mold.


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