Jennifer Queen Team Website Header












Water in the basement.  Four words that no homeowner ever wants to hear.  Yet, we are hearing it much more frequently this year.  Here is why:




  • Basement Foundation SeepageWinnipeg homes are built on silt and clay, not bedrock.  So the ground here is constantly moving and settling.
  • We had a very dry summer in 2018.  As many of you likely will have noticed, this caused the ground around your house to dry up, crack, and in most cases pull away from the foundation walls of your home.
  • This left larger gaps than usual leaving empty air pockets between the soil and your home.
  • We then had a very cold winter that started with very little snow.  So the ground froze, and it froze more deeply than typical.
  • We then had high levels of snow toward the end of the winter (SO MUCH SNOW!)
  • Up until the last two weeks, the weather has been fairly cold, however now we are suddenly hitting high, well above freezing, temperatures.
  • These high temperatures, while very welcome after this frigid winter, are causing the snow to melt very rapidly.
  • Your house emanates heat, so the soil that melts the quickest will be the soil adjacent to your house. 
  • Water will find the path of least resistance, so it is finding its way into the gaps left by the dry soil conditions of last year and sitting against your house.
  • Eventually this water has to go somewhere.  So if there were snap-ties used in construction of your house that have rusted at all, it may work its way in through those small holes. Alternatively, even if your weeping tile is working water can still find its way up under your basement floor slab and foundation walls (they are separate systems that aren’t connected), and appear as seepage.


So what does this mean? If you have already discovered water, I know how disheartening and concerning it is.  Logan and I have experienced it in our own home in the past.  But rest assured, it is not necessarily a foundation crack, or failing foundation.  So don’t go too crazy tearing down drywall (or wood panelling if you are so lucky) to investigate yet.  Here is what the home inspectors have told us:


  • Submersible Pump for WaterPrevention is the first line of defence.  Prevent that water from hanging out around your foundation.  Try redirecting it for now as it is still too early to do grading work.  You can buy inexpensive pumps that attach to a garden hose to pump pooling water away from your yard and foundation
  • Get remaining snow away from your house.  Yes, the people that shovel their yards do look crazy, but there is method to their madness.  Spread that snow out around your yard and away from your foundation
  • If you have a window well, do not let snow build up in it.  Shovel them out, and get that snow away from the house.
  • Depending on the age of your home, you may want to talk to a plumber about having your weeping tile flushed out.  The weeping tile can become clogged over the years and no longer function properly.  An early indicator of whether or not the weeping tile is functioning properly can be found by checking your main drain.  See if the pipes leading into it from the weeping tile are wet.  If they aren’t, there could be a blockage somewhere along the lines.
  • If you have a sump pump, make sure it is functioning properly, that the exterior hose isn’t frozen, and that the water is being directed away from your foundation.
  • If the water does manage to work its way in, don’t let it linger.  Get a dehumidifier and some fans set up.  Keep the air moving and get the area dry.  The last thing you want is mold forming.
  • Proper Grading Around HouseWhen it warms up, work on improving the grading around your home.  Remember, we always want the ground around your home sloping away from your foundation.  There should be no areas where water can sit and pool near your foundation.  This is an ONGOING homeownership task. The ground is constantly settling, so it is important to check every year to ensure you are maintaining a positive grade away from your home.
  • In the summer, water your foundation.  Yes, you read that right.  If we see dry conditions again this year, in which the ground is cracking and shrinking, it is prudent to water near your foundation wall (usually about 4-5 feet away from your foundation).  We want to keep enough moisture in the soil to alleviate gaps from forming between your house and the soil.  This is all weather dependent though.  In wet years, overwatering may put excessive pressure on the foundation walls.

If you are selling, be sure you disclose the water.  I know, it is not a great selling feature.  But the last thing you want is for the purchaser of your home to discover you have had seepage issues that were undisclosed during their purchase.  These are the types of issues that can come back to haunt you.  A good Realtor will know and be aware of the conditions this year and will be able to explain this to their client to alleviate concerns.


Do you feel there is something I have missed?  Please reach out!


Basement Flooding in Winnipeg

#AgentJen

Jennifer Queen

Sales Representative

Tel: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

Read full post

Are you thinking of buying a house? Then this blog is for you! 

You have decided to start the process of buying a house! YAY!  WHOOHOO!


That is serious business and it is also very exciting.  The question is: Where to start?

Now you may respond with “um have you heard of the internet?” and you would be right that is a great place to start, or is it?  Below I am going to run through my 6 steps for purchasing a home from start to finish.


In my opinion the absolute first step in your journey to purchasing your first property is simple:

1. GET A PRE-APPROVAL!!

How do you start looking for treasure without a map to follow? Think of the pre-approval as the paper you use to draw the map, without the preapproval you have nowhere to start. 


It doesn’t matter if you know what kind of house you like, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want or that you definitely need to have a hot tub.  These things mean nothing if you do not know what dollar amount a lender will actually give you a mortgage for.


Mortgage PreapprovalWhere to go for a pre-approval? The best answer is to do a little research. Most places will do a pre-approval for free, but not all.  You can get a pre-approval from almost any financial institution. Banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers will be more than happy to entertain taking you on as a client.  If you need some names and places give us a call and we can direct you to someone who will help.  Keep in mind this can get in depth.  They are planning on giving you a significant amount of dough so they are going to ask for a lot of documentation and background info.  Don’t worry about what is in your financial past, it is better to be honest than to get a mortgage you can’t afford.


Alright you have a pre-approval! SUCCESS!! That is a big step and the right place to start.


Now what? Realtor.ca? KIJIJI? Points2home? Real Estate News?

YES!!


2. RESEARCH AND BUILD A WISHLIST!

Go online.  Look up things on social media.  Do some research on property types.  Do you want a house? Is a Condo more your thing? Are you handy? Do you want something that is a fixer upper or something you don’t have to do anything to? You may not be able to get everything on your wishlist within your budget, but you should definitely have an idea of what it is that you need.  2 or 3 bedrooms? Two storey or one? Do you need a bathtub?   There are a lot of factors of a home that you may or may not even know that you wanted so look around. Getting an idea of the important things will help guide you when you start to look at properties in person.


3. FIND A BUYERS AGENT!!

I cannot stress enough how important this one is.  You can’t drive past 2 bus benches in this city without seeing the name of a real estate agent and the companies they work for and you should have seen plenty of agents’ names while doing your research about property types. So look into some agents.  A lot of us have our own websites with biographies and other information.  Maybe there is an agent with a similar background to you, maybe your friend’s mom or dad is an agent.  Go to some open houses and talk with the agents hosting them.  The person there is not always the listing agent and in most cases would love to help you on your journey.  It doesn’t matter how you find the agent you want to work with, as long as you do choose someone to represent you.


Pick an AgentMy best advice in this is to be honest with whoever you talk to.  Telling an agent you are working with someone when you are not doesn’t really help anyone.  If you are looking on your own and are not yet represented then say so.  You don’t need to be scared about telling the truth.  At the end of the day we all want to make good working relationships and not everyone will mesh with every agent.  There is someone out there who you are going to feel will best represent your interests.  Tell the agent you are just starting your search and you are not ready to commit to anyone specifically.  Ask for a business card and if you like how they interacted with you, maybe you will ask them to represent you.


As an aside if you are just a neighbor who wants to see the home, say so.  We are hosting an open house anyway so you are welcome to come in, and the best way to feel like the agent is just being themselves with you is to be honest, we can see when you walk up to a property from across the street.  


Ok now you have picked an agent to represent you, AMAZING!!  Have a real honest conversation with them about your wants and needs, and what you can’t live without.  The agent can begin assisting you in your search. Our backend system saves you hours and hours of research as it scours the MLS for anything set up in your own curated search.  They will be the ones drawing the directions to the buried treasure. Not to mention, listings on our system can pop up 2-3 days before Realtor.ca!


It’s time to pick some houses to see.


4. VIEW HOUSES!!

Ask your buyers agent to set up showings for houses you want to view.  This may be one of the most important pieces of information I can give you. Once you pick a buyers agent contact them to do everything.  Every Realtor in Winnipeg has access to every property that is on the MLS so if you see a house you like you should contact YOUR agent, not the listing agent. Thinking they are too busy so you will book with the listing agent is not cool and could get your agent into some hot water.  If you pick someone to represent you, LET THEM.  That is what they want. They want to get to know you, how you feel about the houses, what you like, what you hate.  It helps us fight for your best interests when you do pick a house you love.


Now get into some houses! All of the online areas are great resources but nothing and I mean NOTHING can simulate the way you see a house in person.  The smell, the feel, the textures, the room sizes.  I really do mean nothing is the same in person as it is online.  The #1 comment I get when I host open houses is: “it looked different in the pictures.” And it’s true.  A camera cannot simulate the way you experience a home.  You may think that you like the idea of a two storey home, but when you view it you hate the stairs.  Maybe a carpet looks grey in a picture but it is powder blue in person.  You NEED to see a home to know if you like it, and perhaps love it.


So you have found a house that you LOVE, it has everything you wanted and it’s in your budget, now what?


5. WRITE AN OFFER!

The map is getting closer and closer to the big X.  It’s time to talk with your buyers agent and write up the offer.  They will know what all of the comparable homes in the area have sold for, whether there is room to negotiate or not (maybe it is an offer date and a competition) and how to get your offer from conditional to FINAL.  Your agent will negotiate on YOUR behalf.  Your best interests are what they are working for.  They are going to fight tooth and nail to get you the best price and terms.  This is the reason they got to know you in the first place.




6. CLOSE THE DEAL!

Now it is the home stretch, time to work hard and dig up that treasure.  Your offer was accepted and it is time to finalize your conditions.  Remember the Pre-approval? Well now the lender has turned that into a Mortgage.  Did you request a home inspection? Time to do it, and if you did it will be the best lesson in how to maintain a home and worth every penny in my opinion.  Finalize all of your conditions and the home is yours.  Your buyers agent can help you with the particulars of closing the deal completely by suggesting insurance providers and lawyers to finalize the paperwork.


CONGRATULATIONS!! You have purchased a home. In 6 steps you have been the dream client and found that buried treasure, well done!!!



AgentLogan#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

Read full post

I cannot tell you how often we are asked by a client whether or not we think they should paint.  The short answer: YES!  

 

The next question we get asked: but what colour?  Stick to neutrals! That appeals to the widest group of buyers.  Yes, we acknowledge that this is boring and cookie-cutter, but there is a reason that so many people do it – it works!  The neutral palettes are less distracting and it makes it easier for buyers to imagine moving their belongings into the space.  If you are dying to sneak some colour into the home, do so with your décor (accent pillows, statement pieces, etc.).

 

Even if your house is already a neutral palette, you may still want to think about painting.  With time walls can get damaged and scuffed-up, which gives the impression to buyers that the home is dirty or unkempt.  Nothing that a fresh coat of paint can't help!

 

You do not have to paint the whole house either.  A quick cheat is to paint the living space and kitchen for the most dramatic effect. If the kids’ rooms are neon green and fuchsia, don’t worry too much about it — they are secondary rooms and do not affect the sale as much as the primary rooms would. I would only recommend making a change in those rooms if the colours are making the room feel smaller or if the walls are particularly banged up.  Of course if you have a lot of time on your hands (yeah right) you could paint these secondary rooms, but the return on dollars and effort spent will be negligible.

 

As a bonus to our loyal following, we are going to offer you three of the paint colours we most frequently recommend!

 

Greys are really in right now.  For a nice light and neutral grey, we recommend: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC23 because it is as neutral as it gets with its slightly greige (beige) undertone.  This means that depending on the room and exposure it will flex from the gray end of things to the beige end without committing 100% to either.  Also, for those of you that have painted a room in a neutral tone only to have it look purple or pink in the daylight, rest assured.  This paint does not have any purple undertones in it!

 

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC 23Benjamin Moore Classic Grey OC 23 on wall

 

 

For those that want to go the more traditional route with neutral tans/beiges, we recommend: Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW7531.  This colour works well in all rooms (including smaller ones) and looks gorgeous with almost all wood colors and white trim.  It is a nice warm and inviting colour too!  Just beware that this color looks horrible with pink hues. 

 

 Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531 Swatch

 

 

Another trend we have seen is one toward slightly off-white colours.  For this, we recommend: Sherwin Williams Creamy SW7012.  It is hard to believe, but white can be one of the most difficult colours to paint your home.  The wrong shade of white can make your home look sterile or dirty.  This colour however is the perfect off-white with warm undertones.  It also has a neutral base to calm it down so that it isn’t overly yellow or orange looking – it’s more like a very light ‘cream’.

 

 

There, now you know all of our secrets!  Does anyone have any paint suggestions they would like to add to this list?  We are always open to new suggestions!

Read full post