Team Royal LePage Raises $3,470 for Coldest Night of the Year

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 12.21.57 PMA team of 14 walkers participated in Saturday’s Coldest Night of the Year walk as part of Team Royal LePage.

It was hardly the “coldest night of the year” but it was certainly a crisp one that produced some rosy cheeks by the time the walk wrapped up around 5:30 pm yesterday.

At the current time, the fundraiser’s total is inching toward the goal number of $50,000. Team Royal LePage raised $3,470 for the hungry and homeless in Saskatoon through the generosity of some of our agents and many of our friends. On behalf of all who participated, our sincere thanks to those who helped with this very worthy fundraiser.

Homelessness is still a serious issue in Saskatoon. These two charities are vital in the ongoing fight to eliminate homelessness here.

If you’d like to make a contribution to the Lighthouse and the Bridge, you can do so here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

Forty-seven percent of couples argue about cleaning: Cool house cleaning facts

It’s not everyday that you think about house cleaning. Well, actually, you probably do think about house cleaning most days but I expect that it’s rare that you actually think about house cleaning facts outside of the regular scrubbing, dusting, washing and such. I stumbled across this awesome infographic today that details some interesting facts about house cleaning and I thought I’d share it here.

The infographic was produced by the Golden Shine Cleaning Company in San Diego. While you may never have the opportunity to use their services at home, you may find their website handy, particularly their archive of blog articles where you’ll find all kinds of great house cleaning articles, several on health friendly ways to clean.

Mold: A growing problem in the home

I happened across this video today and I thought it was worth re-posting here. Its a report done by CBC in Ottawa about mold in the home.

In my experience, it’s not unusual to find traces of mold in resale homes. As the video suggests, some of them are toxic while others pose far less of a health risk. In any case, if you notice the presence of mold in a property you’re interested in buying it’s definitely worth having tested. The cost of remediation can be significant if the mold is toxic and at an advanced stage.

A company like Canadian Indoor Air Quality Investigators can assist you with testing if you discover traces of mold in your home or in one that you’re considering. They’re both well equipped to remediate as well.

CMHC has also published a helpful guide titled, Fighting Mold – A Homeowners Guide that’s worth checking out.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

Short film provides a look at living homeless in Saskatoon

Nowhere to Go: Homeless in Saskatoon is a short film produced by the group Passion for Action Against Homelessness. The 23-minute two-part documentary provides insights into homeless living and the challenges that these people face everyday.

“The biggest thing that I experienced was a complete loss of self-esteem. To do that, to be sitting on the sidewalk, to be visibly homeless, to look through a garbage for whatever you can find, bottles, to ask people for change you have to drop all of your self-respect. It makes you feel like you’re a whole other species and that’s one of the problems with being homeless. You’re just different from everyone else and you’re not worth it, and you don’t feel like you’re worth it.” David Ferris

Part One

Part Two

“You hear a lot of people and they think that people who are addicted to drugs must be stupid or unintelligent. If they’re poor, or on welfare they must be stupid. Just through circumstances people lose their way. From my experiences I believe the most important thing is for them to make the decision that they want to move on, that they’re ready to move on but in order to do that they need to believe that they can. Don’t let them slip through the cracks.” David Ferris

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Vermiculite: How it can affect health and resale of your home

Vermiculite is a mica-like mineral mined around the world and used in a variety of products including insulation. Vermiculite mined from the Libby Mine in Montana between 1920 and 1990 is known to contain asbestos, which can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma in people who are exposed to airborne particles.

Vermiculite was one of a number of loose fill insulation products approved for installation under the Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP) that provided grants to home owners who improved energy efficiency in their property between 1977 and 1984. Health Canada believes that vermiculite was installed in approximately 250,000 Canadian homes during that time. There is no information available as to where vermiculite use was most common but I can tell you that I have run across Saskatoon homes containing vermiculite insulation a number of times during my sixteen-year real estate career.

Health Canada’s position is this; “If vermiculite-based insulation is contained and not exposed to the home or interior environment, it poses very little risk.” Perhaps this provides some comfort to homeowners who have vermiculite insulation in their home, but in my own experience, the presence of asbestos is a growing concern for home buyers. Asbestos which is contained and undisturbed may never cause you or others in your home health problems but there is some significant likelihood that it could cause problems in completing a home sale when you’re ready to move. Some home buyers may be totally disinterested in purchasing a home that contains such a potentially toxic substance insisting that it be remediated as a condition of the sale, or they may walk away from the deal all together once they know.

It’s important to note that not all vermiculite insulation contains asbestos. If you suspect that you may have vermiculite insulation in your home you should avoid disturbing it. Contact a qualified expert for assistance in obtaining a sample for testing. In Saskatoon, Pillar to Post Home Inspections is qualified to gather samples and they can submit them to a lab on your behalf for testing. Testing costs can vary from one day to the next, but generally, a range of $150-$200 is what you should expect to pay for the service.

If vermiculite is present in your home and it does not contain asbestos, a lab report will be helpful in eliminating the concern that potential buyers for your home may have when you’re ready to sell. If it does contain asbestos, you can decide to remediate now, begin saving for an eventual remediation, or you can choose to leave it and deal with it at the time of sale. Remember though, leaving it until that late stage almost certainly raises significant concerns for your prospective buyer and could derail your sale.

One should probably consider that knowing your home contains asbestos might require you to disclose its presence when you offer the home for sale. The Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS), which is not mandatory for home sellers, but is commonly used in Saskatchewan, has the following question. “To the best of your knowledge does the dwelling contain asbestos or urea formaldehyde insulation?” If you know asbestos exists, you are legally required to answer this question in the affirmative, if you choose to utilize the form. Home buyers are often suspicious of sellers who refuse to complete a PCDS. Even if you choose not to use the form a buyer could argue that disclosure is required based on the potential health implications of asbestos. In any case, professional home inspections are so common that it’s doubtful that vermiculite in your home could escape scrutiny when selling.

Health Canada has some good information online about vermiculite and asbestos including precautionary steps you can take to avoid contaminating your living space if vermiculite containing asbestos is present in your home. Check it out here.

Related posts: Asbestos in the home.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

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Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate