Halton Region Home Deals
Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to homeowners — money-saving tips, household safety checklists, home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc. Whether you currently are in the market for a new home, or not, we hope that this information is of value to you. Please feel free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.


ISSUE #1209
FEATURE REPORT

Is Your Home Healthy and Safe For Children?

Each year more children die from preventable injuries than from all
childhood diseases combined.  Taking preventive measures to protect
your children against unintentional injuries at home is essential.  With
foresight and action, you can help prevent burns, cuts, falls, poisonings,
drowning, choking, and other serious injuries.

 

Also This Month…

Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Hire an Agent

Picking an agent is one of those critical issues that can cost or save

you thousands of dollars. There are very specific questions you should be asking to ensure that you get the best representation for your needs.


Summer Health Dangers
When the temperature soars and humidity rises, it’s time to take
precautions to avoid health consequences such as heat exhaustion, heat
stroke and overexposure to the sun. With heat exhaustion and stroke,
the most susceptible are seniors, children, and people with chronic
illnesses. However, everyone is at risk.

Quick Links
Is Your Home Healthy and Safe For Children?
Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Hire an Agent
Summer Health Dangers

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Is Your Home Healthy and Safe For Children?

Taking preventive measures to protect your children against
unintentional injuries at home is essential. Each year more children die
from preventable injuries than from all childhood diseases combined. With
foresight and action, you can help prevent burns, cuts, falls, poisonings, drowning,
choking, and other serious injuries.

 

Use these four checklists to ensure that your home is healthy and safe for
the children living in it:

In the Bedroom

  • Install smoke alarms outside bedrooms and on every level of the home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month and change batteries at least
    once a year.
  • Practice fire escape routes and identify an outside meeting place.
  • Place a baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib with no pillows
    or soft bedding underneath.
  • Use a crib that meets national safety standards and has a
    snug-fitting mattress.
  • Never use an electric blanket in the bed or crib of a small child or
    infant.
  • Keep small toys, balloons, and small balls away from young children.
  • Check age labels for appropriate toys. Make sure toy storage chests
    have safety lid supports.
  • To prevent strangulation, use safety tassels for mini blinds and
    avoid strings on children’s toys and pacifiers.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms outside bedrooms to prevent CO
    poisoning.

In the Bathroom

  • To prevent poisonings, lock away all medicines and vitamins, even
    those with child-resistant packaging.
  • Have syrup of ipecac on hand, but use only at the recommendation
    of a poison control center or physician.
  • Never leave a young child alone in the bathroom, especially in a
    bath.
  • Before bathing a child, always test bath water with your wrist or
    elbow to make sure it’s not too hot.
  • To prevent scalds, set the water heater thermostat to 120° F and install
    anti-scald devices.
  • Make sure bathtubs and
    showers have non-slip surfaces and grab bars.
  • Keep electrical
    appliances, like hair dryers
    and curling irons, out of the
    reach of children and away from water.

In the Kitchen

  • Keep knives, plastic bags, lighters, and matches locked away from
    children.
  • Avoid fires and burns by never leaving cooking food unattended,
    turning pot handles to the back of the stove, and keeping hot liquids
    and foods away from the edges of tables and counters.
  • Make sure you and your children know the STOP, DROP, and ROLL
    procedure in case their clothes catch on fire.
  • Keep appliance cords unplugged and tied up. Replace any frayed cords
    and wires.
  • Securely strap young children in high chairs, swings, and other
    juvenile products.
  • Do not give young children hard, round foods that can get stuck in
    their throats — like hard candies, nuts, grapes, popcorn, carrots,
    and raisins.
  • Avoid scald burns by keeping children away from the hot water taps
    on drinking water coolers.

In all Living Areas

  • To prevent asthma attacks, eliminate sources of mold, dust, and
    insects, such as cockroaches. If you have a pet, keep it and its
    bedding clean and keep the pet off the furniture.
  • If you must smoke, avoid smoking in the house, and especially around
    children.
  • Make sure furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters,
    and gas appliances are vented properly and inspected annually.
  • Use safety gates to block stairways (and other danger areas), safety
    plugs to cover electrical outlets, and safety latches for drawers and
    cabinets.
  • Keep children — and the furniture they can climb on — away from
    windows.
  • Install window guards (on windows that are not fire emergency
    exits).
  • To prevent falls, keep hallways and stairways well-lit and use
    non-slip backing for area rugs.
  • Keep cleaning solutions, pesticides, and other potentially dangerous
    substances in their original, labelled containers, and out of the reach
    of children.
  • If you have guns or rifles in your home, store the firearms and
    ammunition in separate containers and lock them out of the reach of
    children.
  • Learn First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • Keep an updated list of emergency telephone numbers, including your
    local poison control center, physician and hospital emergency room,
    next to every phone in your home.
  • Make sure your family knows what to do during a natural disaster. In
    an earthquake, drop to the floor and get under something sturdy for
    cover; during a tornado, take shelter in a basement or an interior
    room without windows; and during a hurricane stay away from windows.
    Have handy supplies of food, flashlights, and water.

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Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Hire an Agent

 

 


 

“It’s critical that you make the right decision
about who will handle what is probably the single largest financial

investment you will ever make.”

 


 

Not all real estate agents are the same. If you decide to

seek the help of an agent when selling or buying your home, you need some

good information before you make any moves.


An agent can cost or save you thousands of dollars

Picking an agent is one of those critical issues that can

cost or save you thousands of dollars. There are very specific questions you

should be asking to ensure that you get the best representation for your

needs. Some agents may prefer that you don’t ask these questions, because

the knowledge you’ll gain from their honest answers will give you a very

good idea about what outcome you can expect from using this agent. And let’s

face it – in real estate, as in life – not all things are created equal.

Hiring a real estate agent is just like any hiring process –

with you on the boss’s side of the desk. It’s critical that you make the

right decision about who will handle what is probably the single largest

financial investment you will ever make.

1. What makes you different? Why should I list my home with

you?

It’s a much tougher real estate market than it was a decade

ago. What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place

to make sure that your home stands out favorably versus other competing

homes? What things does this agent offer you that others don’t to help you

sell your home in the least amount of time with the least amount of hassle

and for the most amount of money?

2. What is your company’s track record and reputation in

the market place?

It may seem like everywhere you look, real estate agents are

boasting about being #1 for this or that, or quoting you the number of homes

they’ve sold. If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve probably become immune

to much of this information. After all, you ask, “Why should I care about

how many homes one agent sold over another. The only thing I care about is

whether they can sell my home quickly for the most amount of money.”

Well, because you want your home sold fast and for top

dollar, you should be asking the agents you interview how many homes they

have sold. I’m sure you will agree that success in real estate is selling

homes. If one agent is selling a lot of homes where another is selling only

a handful, ask yourself why this might be? What things are these two agents

doing differently?

You may be surprised to know that many agents sell fewer

than 10 homes a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to do full

impact marketing on your home, because they can’t raise the money it takes

to afford the advertising and special programs to give your home a high

profile. Also, at this low level, they probably can’t afford to hire an

assistant, which means that they’re running around trying to do all the

components of the job themselves, which means service may suffer.

3. What are your marketing plans for my home?

How much money does this agent spend in advertising the

homes s/he lists versus the other agents you are interviewing? In what media

(newspaper, magazine, TV etc.) does this agent advertise? What does s/he

know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?

4. What has your company sold in my area?

Agents should bring you a complete listing of both their

own, and other comparable sales in your area.

5. Does your Broker control your advertising or do you?

If your agent is not in control of their own advertising,

then your home will be competing for advertising space not only with this

agent’s other listings, but also with the listings of every other agent in

the brokerage.

6. On average, when your listings sell, how close is the

selling price to the asking price?

This information is available from the Real Estate Board. Is

this agent’s performance higher or lower than the board average? Their

performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a price you

will get for the sale of your home.

7. On average, how long does it take for your listings to

sell?

This information is also available from the Real Estate

Board. Does this agent tend to sell faster or slower than the board

average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how

long your home will be on the market before it sells.

8. How many Buyers are you currently working with?

Obviously, the more buyers your agent is working with, the

better your chances are of selling your home quickly. It will also impact

price because an agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like

atmosphere where many buyers bid on your home at the same time. Ask them to

describe the system they have for attracting buyers.

9. Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?

Ask to see this list, and then proceed to spot check some of

the names.

10. What happens if I’m not happy with the job you are

doing to get my home sold?

Can I cancel my listing contract? Be wary of agents that

lock you into a lengthy listing contract which they can get out of (by

ceasing to effectively market your home) but you can’t. There are usually

penalties and broker protection periods which safeguard the agent’s

interests, but not yours. How confident is your agent in the service s/he

will provide you? Will s/he allow you to cancel your contract without

penalty if you’re not satisfied with the service provided?

Evaluate each agent’s responses to these 10 questions

carefully and objectively. Who will do the best job for you? These questions

will help you decide.

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Summer Health Dangers

When the temperature soars and humidity rises, it’s time to take
precautions to avoid health consequences such as heat exhaustion, heat
stroke and overexposure to the sun. With heat exhaustion and stroke, the
most susceptible are seniors, children, and people with chronic illnesses.
However, everyone is at risk. The early symptoms of heat exhaustion can
sneak up on us. Some people feel a bit light headed and weak and might have
a touch of nausea. The serious problems develop when symptoms are ignored
and additional fluids are not taken right away. The primary cause of heat
exhaustion is dehydration and a loss of electrolytes such as sodium.
Generally, try to stay well hydrated and take in extra salt (for those of
you who can use salt). Drink even though you don’t feel like it – you can’t
count on your thirst mechanism to prompt you. Here are the major symptoms of
heat exhaustion and heat stroke and some safety tips to help you cope with
health emergencies during the dog days of summer.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Body temperature usually normal or only slightly elevated.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Fatigue, weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea, sometimes vomiting.
  • Weak and rapid pulse.
  • Sweating.
  • Cool, clammy, pale skin.

NOTE: Symptoms take time to develop – sometimes several hours after
dehydration occurs.

Treatments for heat exhaustion:

  • Get out of the sun and into a cool place.
  • Drink more fluids (electrolyte sports drinks may help), but don’t
    drink too fast or you could become nauseous.
  • Eat salty snacks.
  • Rest.
  • Loosen clothing.

Be aware that heat stroke can come after heat exhaustion, but it can also
develop quickly and independently if one’s core body temperature rises too
high.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Very high body temperature (103 degrees or higher).
  • Hot, dry, red skin.
  • No sweating.
  • Disorientation, hallucinations, delirium.
  • Rapid breathing and fast pulse, then slow breathing and weak pulse.
  • Convulsions.
  • Loss of consciousness.

NOTE: Symptoms can come on quickly. Heat stroke can occur within 10 – 15
minutes of the first symptoms. If treatment is not given immediately,
permanent damage can occur to internal organs.

HEAT STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. CALL 9-1-1 OR TRANSPORT VICTIM TO A
HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY.

Immediate care for a heat stroke victim includes:

  • Move person to cool place indoors or in the shade outdoors.
  • Lower body temperature as soon as possible.
  • Remove clothing and wrap person in a wet sheet, or wet their cotton
    clothing.
  • Fan person with electric fan or manually (do not place wet items too
    close to electric fan).
  • Place ice packs or cold compresses on the neck, under armpits, and in
    the groin area.
  • If child is unconscious, carefully place them in cool water up to
    their neck.
  • If child is conscious, try to get them to drink cool water, slowly.
  • Person may not be able to drink if delirious (do not force them).

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