Blog

Indoor Air Quality

Oh Squamish – you’ve been chilly and beautiful! We’re not used to these consistent minus temperatures…but the days of skating on Brohm Lake with a bluebird sky makes it all worthwhile. It’s also been a great time to practice the Danish notion of hygee (pronounced: hoo-gah), the sense of well-being achieved through cozy surroundings such as warm blankets, candles, and mugs of steaming tea. It’s basically permission to be a homebody during the dreary months of the year. While we love the idea of enjoying your home during these darker times, indoor air quality tends to be at its worst during the winter months. One way of improving your indoor air quality is by adding plants to your décor. Research shows that plant-filtered rooms can have 50-60% less airborne microbes, and can absorb contaminants like benzene and formaldehyde. We’ve put together a handy infographic with easy to care for plants that will help clear your air until we can open those windows again and welcome the fresh mountain air into our homes.

NASA (yup, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) identified 29 plants with air purifying qualities from its ‘Clean Air Study’ back in the late ‘80’s. Their list has stood the test of time, and the suggestions continue to be a great way to improve our indoor air quality in both our homes and workplaces. Be sure to check out fresh offerings arriving at local shops such as Nootka & Sea (1861 Mamquam Rd Unit #11, Squamish, BC V8B 0M5), Billies Flower House (38082 Cleveland Ave, Squamish, BC V8B 0B2), and occasionally at the ‘big box’ stores within Squamish. Enjoy plants as functional décor pieces inside your home, with the added benefit of breathing a little easier this winter.

How to Lower your Home Insurance Premiums

How to Lower your Home Insurance Premiums

With building and material costs on the rise in BC, we’ve all noticed a
subsequent increase in our homeowners insurance. This cost associated
with home ownership doesn’t go away but we can find ways to lower
your homeowners insurance premium without compromising protection
of your most valuable asset.

Here are 12 suggestions to lower your home insurance premiums:

1. Ask
It’s that simple. Insurance companies won’t offer you
discounts…it’s up to you to ask for ways to reduce your premiums. Don’t
be shy. Call your current insurance company and inquire what discounts
they offer and talk about your eligibility. For example, some insurance
companies offer discounts for good behaviour (ie: claim free), security
systems, neighbourhood watch programs, hard-wired smoke/carbon
detectors, etc. If you’re over a certain age and retired, you may qualify for
additional discounts.

2. Shop Around

It’s easy to get free quotes for homeowners insurance rates. We
recommend 3 agents – and don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re
shopping around. If you’ve been with the same insurance company for
several years, ask about a longevity or loyalty discount.

3. Credit Score
A good credit score will keep you in good standing with your
insurance company because providers have found a direct correlation to
lower claims incidence. Ask about a ‘soft credit check’, which allows your
insurance provider to check your history without leaving a mark on your
credit score. Mortgage free homeowners enjoy lower home insurance
premiums and paying your premium in full, rather than monthly
installments, often results in overall lower costs to the homeowner.

4. Professional Associations
Select providers offer members discounts on home insurance;
through professional associations, memberships, unions, and alumni.
Certified Management Accountants of Canada, Chamber of Commerce,
BCAA members, graduates from certain universities, are a few examples.

5. Bundle Policies
Some insurance companies offer lower insurance rates if you
bundle your policies by purchasing through the same provider, such as
homeowners and car insurance. While you may be offered a lower price,
we recommend you double check to make sure this is the BEST discount
rather than 2 lower priced policies from 2 different companies.

6. Lifestyle/Age

Non-smokers often pay less premiums. This is a no-brainer. Stop
smoking to improve your health, longevity, and risk of fire within your
home. Insurers actually look at many factors within your personal profile,
including your marital status (married clients are considered a lower risk
according to some insurers) and occupation, so reduce your risk and
save money. Retirees typically pay less premiums because it’s thought
they are home more during the day, so will be able to detect trouble early
to prevent a bigger loss.

7. Home Improvement

– Fire-resistant siding – such as Hardie Board
– Asphalt or metal roofing – rather than cedar shingles
– Copper and plastic (PVC) pipes – rather than galvinized or
lead which can build up corrosion and potentially burst
– Copper wiring – rather than knob and tube or aluminum
– Installation of a stronger garage door (particularly in high
wind areas)
– Replace rubber washing machine hoses with no-burst
stainless steel hoses

Water claims make insurance companies squirm because of the
residual mold risk associated with the water damage. Mitigate water
damage with extra home protection measures. Many companies offer
extra credit for green initiatives and major renovations, etc.

8. Lower your Risk Factor

Swimming pools, hazards causing past claims such as driveway
tripping hazards, and owning certain breeds of dogs, can all raise your
homeowner insurance premiums. The #1 insurance claim is dog bites.

9. Safeguards and Trouble Protectors

Hard-wired carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, temperature
sensors, leak protectors, water shut-off valves, install deadbolt locks on
all exterior doors, and video cameras, security, alarm, high-tech and
smart home systems (particularly centrally monitored systems) are all
helpful with lowering your rates, not to mention giving you peace of mind.

10. Increase your Homeowners Insurance Deductible

Insurance companies certainly don’t assume all the risk when it
comes to protecting your property. It’s typically not in your best interest
to file small claims without raising your premiums significantly…so save
your money with premiums to pay the deductible in the unfortunate event
of a worthy claim.

11. Location, Location, Location

Your neighbourhood could be affecting your insurance premiums.
BC has a history of earthquakes, so that is factored into costs. Flood
zones affect premiums; remember High River in Alberta? High crime and
break-in areas pay higher rates. Proximity to fire hydrants or a fire station
may affect rates with some companies. While you may not be able to
control some location factors, it’s good practice to be aware so you can
budget accordingly.

12. The Right Protection

Don’t skimp on essential coverage to protect you and your family,
but are you paying extra premiums for jewellery/wine collection/art when
you don’t own those particulars? Or hurricane coverage inland? Or
including the value of your land with your policy? Be sure to keep your
policy up to date with any changes. If you are renting, you won’t be
protected by your landlord’s insurance for your contents…that requires
your own tenants insurance policy.

Most of the suggestions are a win-win situation* for both your and
your insurance company. Hopefully, these serve as a reminder that it
never hurts to ask for ways to lower your rate, while maintaining a
comfortable level of protection.
*Disclaimer: the information contained in this blog is for general education purposes only.
Please contact your home insurance provider directly for an accurate audit of your needs.

SEA TO SKY HOLIDAY MARKETS

While not in Squamish, this market features some local Sea to Sky vendors and is one of Canada’s largest holiday markets.

What: CircleCraft Market
When: Wed. Nov. 7 10am – 9pm
Thurs. Nov. 8 10am – 9pm
Fri. Nov. 9 10am – 9pm
Sat. Nov. 10 10am – 7pm
Sun. Nov. 11 10am – 5pm
Where: Vancouver Convention Centre
West Building, Hall C
1055 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC V6C 0C3
View on Google Maps
Cost: tickets@circlecraft.net
Program: http://www.circlecraft.net/coop-2/market-info/2018-program/ 

What: Refresh Market
100 Local Designers, Makers, & Shops
When: Fri. Nov. 16 4pm – 9pm
Sat. Nov. 17 10am – 5pm
Where: West Coast Railway Heritage Park
39645 Government Road
Squamish, BC V8B 0B6
View on Google Maps
Cost: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/refresh-market-tickets-51093960411


What: Lions Bay Arts Christmas Fair
Jingle & Mingle
When: Sun. Nov. 18, 2018 10am – 2:30pm
Where: Broughton Hall
400 Centre Road
Lions Bay, BC V0N 2E0
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE

What: Mamquam Elementary Craft Fair
Cake Walk, Santa Photos
When: Fri. Nov. 23, 2018 6pm – 8pm
Where: Mamquam Elementary School
40266 Government Road
Squamish, BC V0N 1T0
View on Google Maps
Cost: Nominal

What: St. John the Divine Anglican Church
Church Bazaar
When: Sat. Nov. 24, 2018 10am – 1pm
Where: St Johns Anglican Church
1930 Diamond Head Road
Squamish, BC V0N 0G2
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE

What: Art Whistler Holiday Market / Bratz Biz
Formerly Bizarre Bizaar with 100+ Vendors
Youth Entrepreneurs
When: Sat. Nov. 24, 2018 10am – 7pm
Sun. Nov. 25, 2018 10am – 5pm
Where: Whistler Conference Centre
4010 Whistler Way
Whistler, BC V8E 1J2
View on Google Maps
Cost: Entry by donation
artswhistler.com/holiday-market

What: Garibaldi Highlands Christmas Craft Fair
Unique Gifts, Silent Auction
When: Thurs. Nov. 29, 2018 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: Garibaldi Highlands Elementary School
2590 Portree Way
Garibaldi Highlands, BC V0N 1T0
View on Google Maps
Cost: Nominal

 

 

 

What: Christmas Night Market
Local Vendors
When: Fri. Nov. 30, 2018 5pm – 9pm
Where: Squamish Nation Totem Hall
1380 Stawamus Road
Squamish, BC V8B 0B5
View on Google Maps
Cost: Entry by donation for Christmas Care

 

What: Squamish Public Library Foyer Gallery
Artisan Holiday Celebration
Market, Santa Photos*, Live Music
When: Fri. Nov. 30, 2018 1pm – 5pm
Sat. Dec. 1, 2018 10am – 4pm
Sun.* Dec. 2, 2018 10am – 3:30pm

Where: Squamish Public Library
37907 2nd Avenue
Squamish, BC V8B 0A3
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE (Sunday – Santa Photos $15)


The Annual Shop Downtown during the holiday season starts on the day of the Santa Clause Parade! From December 1st until December 21st, when you shop and support local downtown Squamish businesses, you will have up to 21 chances to win 21 stockings – filled with each participating store’s merchandise. Here’s how it works:

  • Shop at the ‘Store of the Day’ and fill out an entry ballot
  • Your entry is place in the ballot box which will be moved to the next shop
  • On December 22nd 21 winners will be drawn at the Squamish Christmas Market
  • Those 21 lucky shoppers will receive a stocking filled with merchandise
  • https://www.downtownsquamish.com/events/21-days-of-christmas/

What: Christmas Fair
Squamish United Church
When: Sat. Dec. 1, 2018 10am – 3pm
Where: Squamish United Church
38014 4th Avenue
Squamish, BC V8B 0A3
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE

What: Sip & Shop*
Adult Only Night Market
When: Fri. Dec. 7, 2018 7pm – 9pm
Where: Squamish Waldorf School
38265 Westway Avenue
Squamish, BC V8B 0Y5
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE* Adults Only

What: Christmas Fair
Local Vendors
When: Sat. Dec. 8, 2018 11am – 3pm
Where: Squamish Waldorf School
38265 Westway Avenue
Squamish, BC V8B 0Y5
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE

What: Winter Faire
Natural crafts, Artisan Market
When: Sat. Dec. 8, 2018 10am – 2pm
Where: Whistler Waldorf School
7324 Kirkpatrick Way
Whistler, BC V0N 1B0
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE


What: Bungalow968 DUDES ONLY
Holiday Shopping Event
When: Fri. Dec. 14, 2018 5pm – 9pm
Where: Bungalow968
39021 Discovery Way
Squamish, BC V0N 0B5
View on Google Maps
Cost: FREE

 

 

 

Baby It’s Cold Outside…

As the leaves turn their brilliant kaleidoscope of fall colours, we’re enjoying crisp autumn evenings, crackling fireplaces, and reminders that our slick summer tires are no match for what the Sea to Sky Highway dishes out in the coming months (HINT: get those snow tires on!). With the onset of winter in the Sea to Sky Corridor, the excitement builds for snow sports and outdoor activities as the white line creeps down our mountainsides. The annual Whistler/Blackcomb Turkey Sale helped get us gear ready, but are our homes ready for winter? Here’s some helpful FALL HOME MAINTENANCE suggestions to prepare for the upcoming winter months to avoid costly damage to your biggest investment, brought to you by www.simonhudson.ca.

Insulation

When it’s chilly in Squamish, everyone dons a toque; the same thinking should apply to your home. Adding attic insulation is the easiest way to boost your home’s cozy factor. Buy bags of fiberglass or mineral wool insulation and fit the batts snugly on top of what’s already in place, ensuring there are no air gaps and not covering the eaves vents. Be sure to wear a mask, goggles, and long sleeves. Fall is a great time to do this chore, you wouldn’t want to be wrestling insulation in your attic during the summer months! Speaking of summer, the extra insulation will also help to keep your home cooler in the warmer months, by acting as a buffer to the heat radiating down into the house. It’s an all season win-win.

Gutters/Downspouts

Remove debris such as tree needles, leaves (and baseballs) from gutters to ensure unrestricted water flow. Check for pooling around downspouts to ensure proper drainage. Caulk gutter seams when it’s dry to avoid a constant drip spot, which could pool and later cause a dangerous ice patch. Secure gutter support brackets. Consider installing leaf guards, especially if you live in a particularly wooded area (I may have just referred to all of Squamish).

 

Windows and Doors
Double or triple paned windows are the ideal choice for energy efficiency as far as windows are concerned. If the thermal seal has broken (you’ll see condensation between the panes of glass), then it’s best to install new windows. If new windows aren’t in the budget, fill the gaps with caulking (both interior and exterior) and consider covering some windows with a plastic film such as bubble wrap using double sided tape, which may prove to be less unsightly than a whopping hydro bill. Install door sweeps on all exterior doors to reduce drafts.

Heat

Forced Air Homes – replace your furnace filter (you can add some essential oil drops if you want to be extra fancy), and clean/service your ductwork for complete heating system efficiency Electric Baseboard Homes – thoroughly clean the baseboards (including dusting the interior section of the unit Wood Burning Homes – an annual cleaning of your fireplace or woodstove is essential to not only the efficiency of the unit, but for the safety of your family. We recommend using Coast Chimney Services Ltd.; Chris is a local career firefighter with solid experience installing, servicing, and inspecting fire systems. You can contact him at coastchimney@shaw.ca 

 

Electrical & Plumbing

Add foam insulation pads (gaskets) to your electrical outlets and switch plates and keep them covered when not in use. This tip is especially important for exterior wall outlets. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to push the warm air back down. Cover your hot water tank with a blanket. Turn off the water valve leading to your exterior hose bibs to prevent freezing.

BC Hydro offers rebates to stretch your electrical budget as well: https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/savings-and-rebates/current-rebates-buy-backs/deals.html?WT.mc_id=f19_retailer_fall_referral_psca

In Squamish, we all love to play outside, but every once in a while, we need to thaw. With these tips, you can make the most of your real estate investment and enjoy a comfortable winter in your home. If you’re not sure who to contact to help you keep up with home maintenance, feel free to contact us at info@simonhudson.ca for our list of local, vetted service providers.     

Here’s to a enjoying all things fall!

A Peek Behind the (Matterport) Curtain

Technology is firmly entrenched in real estate sales and marketing. Consumers are driving this change within the industry…with more mobile applications than ever before, both buyers and sellers are changing their search habits and their expectations. Studies show that buyers are using online searches at a whopping 95%* to vet properties before they pick up their cell to text their realtor. Sellers are, in turn, expecting their agent to use technology to showcase their property to best capture a wider, global audience, through search engine optimization, social media, and creative visuals such as inviting interactive property tours. To keep ahead of the curve, we have recently introduced our in-house Matterport photographer, Andrea Stokes, who specializes in staging and preparing the listing for its 3D interactive tour complete with stills and dollhouse views. Through this sophisticated program, we’re able to share the property digitally to save buyers and sellers valuable time! Our sellers have a 24/7 open house without the need to prepare for each viewing. Matterport’s walkthrough tour can take potential buyers through the home at their convenience. More exposure – leads to engaging more buyers – which leads to successful sales.

The interactive tour shows AAALLLLLLL of the home, but we like that just fine. The actual real-life tour of the property does not disappoint because the buyer has familiarized themselves with the listing. While we love quality, professional photography to show the home in all its glory, Matterport allows an expansive tour of the home, rather than glossed over, curated snapshots. Real sells. Staying relevant and tech-savvy in this industry also does a pretty good job of selling too.

*Source: National Association of REALTORS® Research Department

REFRESH FAMILY

Refresh Market was established in 2011 by two Squamish moms looking to build a ‘new community of local artists, makers, and small shop owners’. As one of BC’s leading indie markets for curated wares and locally made goods, the original market has expanded to include REFRESH FAMILY on Saturday, September 29th from 10am until 3pm at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Parking is Free! There will be music, artists, independent makers of quality and locally sourced goods, food truck yumminess, and that cool, friendly Squamish vibe. Help support the mini-maker lineup too, showcasing budding entrepreneurs 16 and under.

Tickets are available for $3 online http://refreshmarket.ca/tickets/or $5 at the door. Kids 12 and under are Free.

Spring Selling Tips in Squamish

It’s no secret Squamish is beautiful. Snow capped mountain vistas, surrounding old growth forests, 5 glacial fed rivers intertwining and eventually spilling out to Howe Sound, roaring waterfalls, soaring fjords, and have we mentioned the coffee shops? Whoops, I digress. This level of pristine beauty and greenery can only come to you care of Mother Nature herself and after a heavy winter cycle of rain, snow, thaw, rain, repeat; the exteriors of homes tend to look like they’ve weathered a storm…because, well, they have many times over. There’s certain tasks that can be done to ready your property to sell at certain points within the year. Early spring is an active time in the local real estate market and Simon’s team wants your home to be presented in the best light possible for potential home buyers to realize their dream of joining our quaint community. Here are 5 Quick To Do’s to get the exterior of your home ‘market-ready’.

1. Power wash driveways and walkways. I can’t stress this weird, typically overlooked suggestion enough. This is a great job to do rain or shine and, boy, does it make a difference! Off with the mossy sludge that sneaks into those shadowy corners! Out with the sand, salt, and grit from road maintenance that inevitably gets tracked into your house everyday! Every. Day. It’s like a clean shave for your home; everything looks fresher, brighter, and a whole lotta smooth.

2. Remove seasonal décor. Those holiday lights that took 3 hours to untangle, 2 hours to hang, and another 4 hours to find the faulty bulb? Yes, those. Remove them without attempting to justify that the new homeowners will have to hang lights again anyway. Bah, humbug.

3. Spit and polish. Is your brass front door handle tarnished or tired looking from the damp weather? It is possible to salvage those door handles with silver or brass polish so they appear new and, oooohh, look! something S H I N Y…. What were we talking about?

4. Front door mat. It welcomes your visitors, stops grit in its tracks, asks for nothing in return, and yet, we stomp all over it and treat it like a door mat. Time to freshen the stomp with a neutral coconut coir mat. Avoid the ones with cute/sarcastic sayings, like ‘If You’re Pizza, Amazon, or Ryan Gosling, I’m Home’. A simple ‘Welcome’ is ok, but that’s as far as we’ll go.

5. Have you ever been to Paris in the spring? Magical. Rephrase: Magical landmine. If you cease to look down while walking, there’s an inexplicable squish underfoot that will have you rhyming off French words you didn’t even know you knew! Have a thorough sweep of front, side, and rear yards to ensure that your furry creatures (or your, ahem, neighbour’s) haven’t left a winter’s worth of souvenirs. Obviously, a sh!##y chore. *No image provided…you’ll just have to use your imagination.

The above list is short, sweet, and requires very little cost to complete. As a future home seller, it helps to adjust your mindset from ‘this is my home’, to ‘I am going to maximize my return on this investment!’. By having a fresh, clean exterior entry, potential home buyers can feel relaxed and start planning their house-warming BBQ, rather than thinking of the chore list that you’ve left for them to complete.