Two great renovation guides for your wintertime projects

I came across this excellent infographic prepared by Northshore Fireplace and thought I’d share it here for those who are itching to renovate but uncertain of where to start.

For those who appreciate more of a book type format, this 12-page brochure style guide that I came across recently is premium. It offers more extensive overviews of home renovation costs and their likely impact on your home’s value. Download it here.

Happy renovating.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

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Samsung's smart window technology coming to a home near you?

I happened across a video that was shot at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which showcases Samsung’s Smart Window technology. It’s amazing!

As a window, it does everything that you might expect, allowing light into the home and keeping the weather out. At it’s core, it’s so much more. The transparent touchscreen is home base for the display of digital media and widgets including weather, twitter, web browsing, and so on.

At the right price, it’s got great potential as the family media centre where a large screen television might be difficult to incorporate into the room.

The video that I initially saw said that Samsung intends to enter a mass production stage in the next couple of months. A post on Engadget says it’s still in the concept stage. In any case, check it out.

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

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Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

$5900 luxury toilet does most of the bathroom work for you

Click the image for a larger view

This fine piece of bathroom technology is built for those with more money than brains they know what to do with. However, if you’re looking to raise the level of comfort in the loo and you’ve got some bucks to throw around this toilet may be worth a look.

First of all, it sees you coming. As you approach the toilet, the lid begins to lift automatically and the seat warmer comes to life practically begging you to take a seat. Nighttime use brings additional surprises as the exterior of the bowl softly illuminates itself when you head its way. The interior is lit as well, a perfect feature for light duty deposits contributed by those who prefer to stand. He who stands misses at least half of the fun that this amazing toilet has to offer. Take a seat and it begins to make beautiful music eliminating all of the awkwardness that a silent bathroom brings at times like these. Odors are no problem either. The scented double deodorizer kicks into high gear to cover up that which cannot be masked by song. Finish your business and activate the hygienic cleaning device that treats the posterior to a warm water wash providing a “feeling of cleanliness like never before.” The warm air dryer leaves you feeling, well, dry. As you might expect of a unit of this caliber, the toilet completes its operation by flushing automatically and lowering the lid as you leave. This lid can’t be left up on purpose.

If you have $5900 U.S. that you can spare for a toilet, check it out here.

Read also: An aquarium in your toilet?

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Obtaining proper home improvement permits is the only way to go

When I first entered the real estate business in 1993 it was common to find improvements in homes that were completed without a required permit. At the time, it just wasn’t a big deal to move ahead with your basement development without one. Almost everyone did it.

In recent years, the failure to obtain proper permits has become a much bigger deal, and in fact, a point of contention that has caused many residential sale transactions to collapse at the last minute. In instances where the transaction can be salvaged (the seller agrees to obtain and close the required permits and the buyer agrees to complete the purchase), it often involves lots of “jumping through hoops” for homeowners and real estate agents. Occasionally, these hoops are hard, if not impossible to clear in a short period of time.

Let’s not debate whether the government has a place in regulating what we do with our private property. As a real estate agent, I’m likely at least as geeked up about your property rights as you are. Insisting that the government has no place to tell you what to do and refusing to play by the rules may be an example of “cutting off your nose to spite your face” when it comes to the resale value of your home.

Building codes are intended to ensure safe construction standards are met to protect occupants from structural failures, potential fire hazards and electrical shock. When a Saskatoon home owner, or a contractor acting on behalf of a home owner obtains a permit for home improvements they commit to completing the work in accordance with current building codes. Ultimately, they allow access to a qualified inspector who inspects the work and verifies that the improvements meet the code. Where deficiencies exist, the inspector will require adequate repairs before the permit can be closed.

When a potential home buyer discovers that improvements were completed in your home without the required permits, they lose the assurances that the work was done correctly and safely. Even if the buyer is comfortable moving forward on that basis, a lender may refuse to provide financing, or an insurer may refuse to insure the home. On the other hand, if the proper permits were obtained everyone who has an interest in the purchase can have some reasonable measure of confidence that the improvements are durable, valuable, and most importantly, safe. Simply put, your home improvements add more value to your property when they are completed with a permit.

More and more, home buyers who discover missing permits after entering into a conditional purchase agreement are insisting that the proper permits be obtained and closed by the seller before the purchase is completed. In most cases, this is completely possible but it is almost always far more difficult and costly to do after the fact. It’s not something that you want to be doing when you’re trying to coordinate a move.

In a short series of future posts we’ll talk about which home improvements require a permit and how home buyers might discover that your home improvements were completed without one.

Mean time, here’s some building permit information from the City of Saskatoon and some electrical/gas permit information from SaskPower.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Home renovation tax credit deadline looms but there may still be time for you

The opportunity to take advantage of Canada’s Home Renovation Tax Credit expires at midnight on January 31. Obviously, the clock has run out when it comes to hiring a contractor but a quick trip to your favorite home renovation store might be in order if home improvements are part of your plan over the next few months. Items purchased before the close of business this Sunday may qualify for a 15% tax credit up to $1,350.

More info here.

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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate