Archive for May, 2010
By Vivian Martin
An article in today’s Financial Post dispels the fears of a “housing bubble” in Canada.
Canada won’t fall victim to foreclosure wave: Report
John Shmuel, Financial Post Published: Friday, May 28, 2010
Canada’s housing market won’t fall victim to the type of foreclosure wave the United States saw, according to a new report by debt-rating firm DBRS Ltd.
DBRS said in the report that Canada will continue to fare well in comparison with its neighbour to the south when the Canadian housing market corrects itself and interest rates rise. That’s because lending practices here are much more sound than in the U.S.
“The likelihood of us having the kind of situation they had in the U.S. is extremely low,” said Jerry Marriot, managing director of structured finance at DBRS. “It’s a combination of the lending practices prior to the peak in 2007 – they were more restrained, so there were better underwriting practices in Canada. We also think there are a number of factors in the Canadian market which have lent themselves to more prudent lending.”
That includes less aggressive lenders in the market, as well as systems designed to keep people paying their mortgages.
By Vivian Martin
While away the hours in the delights of DrummondHousePlans Model #3616-V1. This home provides pleasant comfort and luxury touches at every turn!
The front of the house boasts a generous covered porch to beckon guests in or to linger on while in conversation.
On the main floor one finds an office/den beside the foyer. The gourmet kitchen includes an oversized island and walk-in pantry. The soaring living room is customized with a fireplace and built-ins. Finally, the master retreat includes a generous walk-in closet and luxurious master bath.
On the second floor one finds a generous bedroom with private bath, plus two more bedrooms and another full bathroom.
The final delight is a generous covered deck from which to enjoy the back yard, complete with access from the dining room and master bedroom.
This plan is designed with a crawlspace foundation but could easily be adapted to a full basement if additional flexible space is desired.
It will be hard to choose a favourite part of this home! Click here for more details.
By Vivian Martin
This tempting little four-season hideaway includes 840 sq.ft. on the main floor and an undeveloped walkout basement awaiting your inspiration.
Designed for a sloping lot, the 9 ft. ceilings and abundant windows provide a bright and cheery space. Entertain in the open floor plan, stargaze from the exterior wraparound porch, or lounge on the generous covered octagon deck.
For more information on this plan, visit #3900.
This model has been extremely popular since its launch. To allow for more living space, we have added related Model #3930 which is a larger version with developed basement and Model #3930-V1 includes a dual level garage.
The Drummond Vacation & Cottage Collection includes some of the most casual and relaxing 4-season vacation home plans, ever! This affordable collection works well as all-season hideways, week-end getaways, recreational cottages and beautiful homes.
By Vivian Martin
The May long weekend is upon us and the promise of spring is all around. The long weekend can be relaxing, productive or both! Just in case you are wondering what to do with your first long weekend, we have compiled our “top 10″ list of activities:
1. Open the cottage.We have recently blogged on this topic. It is time to bring your recreation property out of hibernation to allow for maximum enjoyment for the rest of the summer.
2. Plant a veggie garden. The May long weekend is traditionally a safe time to plant all of your vegetables. The risk of frost is virtually past. If you are a novice to the art of planting veggies, fear not! Growing veggies, is fun and the product is rewarding. If you don’t have a family member or neighbour with a green thumb, the Internet is a great place to become an armchair market gardener. Great reference sites include:
3. Garden Centre Tours – Once you know what you are planting (or even if you do not!) a trip to your local garden centres is in order. Just remember that potted plants are fragile and need to be pampered until you get them in the ground. Allowing them to dry out, even once, will affect the health of the plants. Because of this, resist the urge to over-purchase. You can always do a trip back to pick up more.
4. Road trip! – This is a great time to be a local tourist. Pay a visit to your local tourism centre and get a local attractions guide. You can do several day trips or a weekend excursion which ties into the next item…
5. Camping – The May long-weekend is often the first major camping weekend. Campsites are normally at a premium so you are best to book a site before leaving to avoid disappointment. Critical grocery items? Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Camping is just not the same without S’Mores!
6. Build a deck – Summer living often involves a lot of outdoor living and great decks help with staycations – vacations in your own back yard! If you are very visual, try an online tool like the one at TimberTech to help you get a better idea of what your deck will look like. And don’t forget your building permit!
7. Time for a new BBQ? If your old BBQ just doesn’t cut it anymore, it may be time to look for a new one. What better way to kick off the vacation season than grilling something special! If you are not sure which BBQ is best for you, this article may be helpful.
8. Build a shed. Many home improvement stores include shed kits which can be quickly and easily assembled. If you are looking for something a bit more substantial, check out the DrummondHousePlans shed and storage collection. As always, make sure you have a building permit if one is required.
9. Shakeout cruise! The May long weekend is often the first outing in the family pleasure craft. It is important to note that all Canadian boaters operating a powered watercraft for recreational reasons in Canada need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or they risk a $250 fine. If you haven’t already written your exam, you can actually do so online.
10. Property hunting. On the May long weekend, realtors notice a marked spike in the number of clients who search for “that perfect place” for either their next home or vacation getaway. Most places look attractive at this time of year. Remember the property selection mantra… “location, location, location.” And when you have the perfect location, let the friendly staff of DrummondHousePlans help in the selection or customization for your perfect space.
Enjoy your weekend everyone, and be sure to play safe and stay safe!
By Richard Martin - BC Distributor
Being from BC, we had always thought of ourselves as being the true stewards of the environment. However, our neighbors due East are giving us a serious run for our money! Alberta has a number of environment initiatives that will be incorporated into the Alberta Building Code. One such initiative was illustrated in recent article in the Edmonton Journal:
EDMONTON — The Alberta government may be opening a window to more environmentally friendly building practices.
The province is working on new energy efficiency requirements for the Alberta Building Code and rules that would allow the use of reclaimed water.
Reclaimed water includes captured rainwater, stormwater and water that’s been used inside a building, for example.
An Alberta government working group is looking at potential uses for this water, including running it through dedicated pipes to flush toilets and urinals, or irrigating green spaces around buildings.
Rainwater is commonly reused but there are few examples in Alberta where rainwater is brought back into buildings for toilet flushing, said Alf Durnie, chief administrator/inspector of private sewage systems with Alberta Municipal Affairs.
The working group is looking at the use of rainwater in homes and larger apartment and office buildings.
Also, the current plumbing and building codes require all waste water to be directed to a public sewer or private sewage system. That would need to change, Durnie said.
Alberta Environment does allow waste water to be used for agricultural crop and golf course irrigation but there are strict requirements that rule out using that water for irrigation purposes around urban buildings, he added.
In a home, 25 per cent of water is used to flush toilets while in an office building, it’s 70 to 80 per cent.
Durnie said allowing reuse could make a big difference. Such a move would support Alberta’s Water for Life strategy, which aims to improve the overall efficiency and productivity of water use by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2015, he said. It could also reduce demands on water treatment plants for highly treated drinking water and it would reduce the amount of water we need to withdraw from rivers and groundwater aquifers.
Durnie some rainwater guidelines could be ready in the fall, while a draft of what the regulatory process might be like for other types of reclaimed water could come out in spring 2011… Read the full Edmonton Journal article here…
By Vivian Martin
94% of people still choose either fixed or variable rates, says CAAMP. Very few choose a combination of both.
That may be changing, if yesterday’s RBC/Ipsos Reid poll is right.
According to RBC, 40% of prospective homebuyers (people who plan to buy in the next two years) intend to take out a hybrid mortgage. That compares to 32% in last year’s survey.
These stats are a little hard to grasp given CAAMP’s recent mortgage survey. It suggests only 6% of Canadians have actually chosen a hybrid mortgage in last year. However, Ipsos Reid’s Sean Simpson, says: “I would account for the difference by saying that one is an outlook while the other is retrospective.”… Read full article here…
By Vivian Martin
This inviting beauty would be equally at home on a country property or a generous city lot!
With a home office overlooking the front porch, and rear deck for taking breaks, the work-at-home professional can easily mix work with pleasure. Within, one discovers the kitchen with both a casual lunch counter and dining area. The family room is warmed by a fireplace and the living room opens beneath cathedral ceiling.
On the second level, the master suite includes a private bathroom and walk-in closet. Two secondary bedrooms share a full bath with laundry chute and a light-filled mezzanine study area. Total: 2283 sq.ft.!
For more information on this plan, visit #2888.
Related plan #3813, is a slightly larger version of this house from the Drummond Country Collection.
The Drummond Country Collection includes plans which are infused with architectural elements that make country styling so appealing, from quaint dormers and balconies to gabled roofs, and other rustic New England touches.
By Richard Martin - BC Distributor
“They don’t build them like they used to.”
“New homes are put together too fast.”
When it comes to home construction, some people still long for the “good old days”.
The truth is that new homes are better built, better designed, and use better materials, products and systems than ever before.
Today’s professional builders understand building science and know how to build a home that not only looks good, but is well constructed and great to live in. Today’s new homes are bright and comfortable year-round, save on energy costs and have good indoor air quality and take full advantage of the many advances in building products, materials and systems. And to top it off, a new home is carefully crafted with attention to the details-both what you can see and what you can’t.
Modern home building is a team effort under the direction of a professional builder who uses the expertise of more than 30 different skilled trades working on a home at various stages of construction.
Builders use a variety of efficient construction technologies to achieve unparalleled quality and performance. While the majority of new homes continue to be based on wood frame construction (a system that Canada has perfected over many years), the use of other, more recent systems is growing, including steel framing, insulating concrete forms and panelized wall assemblies.
From roof trusses to cabinets and pre-finished flooring, many building components, which in earlier times were built on site, are now made to order in factories and arrive on site ready for installation. The result is tremendous time savings, greater precision, consistently high quality and elimination of storage.
Some aspects of the construction process are highly mechanized today. Thanks to standard foundation forms and specialized framing crews, the foundation can be prepared and the frame of the house erected efficiently and quickly. And automated tools such as powernailers allow trades to work with much greater speed and accuracy.
Continued research and development by the industry has resulted in an incredible range of new building components and materials. From engineered floor joists to high-performance windows to composite countertops, new products provide greater design options, reduce maintenance and increase homeowner comfort and enjoyment.
As new homes have become more energy efficient, it takes less to heat and cool them. Today’s mechanical systems are compact and energy efficient. New integrated systems combine functions, such as space heating and hot water heating, in a single piece of equipment. Heat recovery ventilators ensure a continuous flow of fresh air into the home, while exhausting stale air.
By Yves Carignan
Even if Mother Nature is slow to send us those first warm days, melting snow and the fact that the grass grows greener is the hint that it is time… to think of opening the cottage!
Alas, there is some drudgery before the enjoyment can begin. The first weekend of opening the vacation property is often spent on practical tasks to bring your cottage out of hibernation!
Electrical and propane
If you own a cottage with electrical access, a simple visual inspection of external connections can tell you if there has been any damage during the winter. Make sure the wiring is in place and that the winter’s rainfall combined with the ice did not damage the wiring and electrical connections. If something seems wrong, do not touch anything! Play it safe and contact a licenced electrician. If everything seems in good condition, simply activate the main breaker, then check the individual circuit breakers. Please note however that the water heater must be activated only once it is filled with water. Once these steps are completed, you can proceed with connecting other devices.
If your cottage uses propane as a main source of energy, first check the condition of the tank, the water main and secondary connections. WARNING: Make sure all valves are closed on devices before opening the main valve. Once the main valve is open, do an internal inspection of the cottage after a few minutes if you do not have Propane gas detectors. If you smell propane, close the main valve, open doors and make sure not to cause any sparks or open flame. I am personally always cautious about propane… The installation of a detector would provide peace of mind and protect your family.
Once you are sure that everything is in order, you can connect the water heater and turn it on. Make sure you fill the water heater before turning it on and turn the valves on for your various propane appliances.
Once the various energy sources are inspected and operational, it is time to supply the cabin with water. The first step is to conduct an inspection to ensure that the pipes and well have not been damaged by freezing.
For wastewater, you must perform a leak check of the pipes connecting the cabin in the septic tank. If you must drain the latter, be sure to contact the professionals who will ensure proper extraction and disposal of waste product.
With the drainage valves closed, flush water taps for several minutes. Water should not leak. If there is leakage, further inspection and repair of your pipes is required.
A visual inspection of all parts of your cottage is required. Look at every detail of the cottage rooms (water infiltration, condition of windows, appliances, electrical wiring inside, rodent damage, rodent carcasses, etc.) and perform the necessary repairs quickly to best maintain your investment.
Cleaning is in order!
At the start of the season, perform a thorough cleaning of your holiday property with products that protect your health and the environment.
Open windows and ventilate your cabin! A few hours of aeration is necessary because the overwintering coupled with the presence of small insects or rodents may result in odours. Of course, it makes sense to keep young children off the floors until insects have been removed and the floors cleaned.
If you do not have a cottage, we obviously have a number of vacation property solutions for you.
Have a great summer!
By Vivian Martin
If there’s one Drummond model that pleased as soon as it appeared on the market, it is house plan #3507. This house plan is charming, efficient and flexible in its use of space.
A covered wraparound porch links both entrances. Just past the service entry foyer, one finds a bathroom with a laundry closet. Then one discovers a good sized bedroom which could also be repurposed as an office/guestroom. The main living areas include a country kitchen and spacious family room with cathedral ceiling opening up to mezzanine.
Upstairs one finds the mezzanine (which could be converted into a bedroom), a generous bedroom and full bathroom.
This plan includes an undeveloped basement ready for your own personal ideas.
For more information about this plan, visit #3507 and make sure you look at the related plans for alternate versions of this efficient design!