(NC)-It is always important to employ fire safety procedures in the house, but it is especially important as warmer temperatures return.

"Your home is a major investment, both financially and emotionally," says Royal LePage broker Steve Gray. "That's why it's crucial that you take measures to fireproof it."

Gray recommends the following five tips for ensuring the safety of your family and material possessions:

1. Avoid plugging too many electrical appliances into one outlet. Overloaded outlets can cause house fires. In fact, in the United States, an estimated 5,300 residential fires annually are caused by overloaded outlets.

2. Sleep with bedroom doors closed. A bedroom window can serve as a fire escape route. As such, keeping the doors closed to sleeping areas to isolate smoke and heat will provide more time to escape.

3. Routinely check electrical appliances for irregularities. Be sure to replace or repair any malfunctioning appliances. Whether gas or electric, appliances need a careful watch.

4. Use a chimney sweep service at least once per year. In doing so, you remove soot, blockages and any accumulating creosote, thereby reducing the potential for a chimney fire. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney over time.

5. Remove combustible and flammable materials from your attic. During the summer, your attic can be warmer than the rest of your home. The heat can easily increase the temperature of items stored there. Relocate these items to a cooler place. If you take some simple fire safety measures around the home, you can sleep soundly, knowing you've done your due diligence.

More information is available online at


(NC)-Saving and investing for retirement is important. But how and when to spend what you have worked so hard to accumulate is just as important, if not more so. Retirement planning expert Debbie Ammeter of Investors Group suggests that there are several key considerations:

Retirement date - If you decide to retire before age 65, each extra year will be one less year of saving and investing. If you retire after 65, you can continue the tax-saving, income-building advantages of your RRSP until the end of the year in which you turn 71.

Retirement lifestyle - You may decide to keep working full-time or part-time, perhaps start a business. If so, you can afford to save less in advance because even a modest amount of extra employment income can go a long way.

Retirement income - Include all income -ranging from your personal savings, company pensions, investments held within RRSPs or TFSAs and non-registered investments to government sources including the Canada Pension Plan/Québec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) and Old Age Security. Retirement paycheque - Identify your continuing costs and expenses. Take inflation into account and the happy fact that you could need that income for 40 plus years. Establish a mix of investments that will bridge the gap and deliver the cash flow you will need without depleting your underlying assets.

Taxes - Minimize taxes with a withdrawal plan for your registered and other income-producing investments that takes full advantage of all the tax benefits available to you, such as age and pension income credits, while avoiding OAS clawbacks.

More information on this topic is available from the Investors Group, or contact a financial advisor to get specific advice about your circumstances.

Editor Note: This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Quebec-a Financial Services Firm), presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments.


We'd love it if you would pop in to say "HI" to us at our Open House at 23032 BILLY BROWN RD in Langley.
Open House on Saturday, June 20, 2015 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm There will be NO signs - but home will be OPEN 1 -3 .
BEDFORD LANDING! This Home is A MUST SEE! 4 Bedrooms! 4 Baths! Stunning Quality Finishing Throughout! Incredible OPEN PLAN Design with Living & Dining Rooms with attractive Picture Windows! Fabulous Kitchen with Lovely cabinetry and an Oversized Breakfast Island! Open to Great Room - making it PERFECT for Entertaining! Walk-out to Sundeck & Private South backing Yard! Master Bedroom boasts 5 pce Ensuite & Vaulted! Bedrooms up - both with Ensuite Access! Fully Finished Basement with Sep Entrance! "L" shaped Rec Room! Bedroom! Storage! 4pce Bath! Roughed in for Suite! WOW! Loaded with Upgrades -- New Hardwood on Main! Central Air! 9 Ft Ceilings! Freshly Painted Outside (2014)! The list goes on! Don't Wait -- You'll LOVE IT!! WOW!! BE FAST ON THIS ONE!!


Check out our clients' lovely home!    We have listed a new property at 23032 BILLY BROWN RD in Langley.
BEDFORD LANDING! This Home is A MUST SEE! 4 Bedrooms! 4 Baths! Stunning Quality Finishing Throughout! Incredible OPEN PLAN Design with Living & Dining Rooms with attractive Picture Windows! Fabulous Kitchen with Lovely cabinetry and an Oversized Breakfast Island! Open to Great Room - making it PERFECT for Entertaining! Walk-out to Sundeck & Private South backing Yard! Master Bedroom boasts 5 pce Ensuite & Vaulted! 2 Bedrooms up - both with Ensuite Access! Fully Finished Basement with Sep Entrance! "L" shaped Rec Room! Bedroom! Storage! 4pce Bath! Roughed in for Suite! WOW! Loaded with Upgrades -- New Hardwood on Main! Central Air! 9 Ft Ceilings! Freshly Painted Outside (2014)! The list goes on! Don't Wait -- You'll LOVE IT!! WOW!!

Lighting is possibly the most powerful tool you have when it comes to interior design. It does not make sense to invest in beautiful furniture, rugs, paintings and accessories if they are in the dark. The perfect light fixture not only illuminates a space - it is also a beautiful, decorative design element.

"When looking for a light fixture, think of yourself as a curator looking for a perfect piece of art," says interior designer Laurie Smith, known for her role as a featured designer on the hit television show Trading Spaces. Smith says, "Like art, a fabulous fixture can make a strong design statement, as well as provide illumination for your space."

Often consumers do not realize the difference updated lighting can make in their homes. Smith suggests finding one special piece and building a room around it. "In design school, we learned that lighting is the most exciting and mysterious medium in design. Lighting is sculptural; it's textural, it's exciting," she says.
"There are so many varying styles and designs in lighting today that the possibilities are endless. Different materials and shapes are just part of what goes into determining that perfect fixture," says Smith. "For instance, do you want the shape of your piece to contrast with your room's schematic or coordinate with it? Taking a traditional fixture and placing it into a modern setting creates interest through contrast, while taking a sleek modern fixture and putting it into a traditional setting infuses new vitality and a sophisticated accent."
With so many choices on the market, the task of selecting a light fixture can be difficult and overwhelming for many homeowners. It's just a matter of developing a plan or one idea. To help consumers get started, Smith talks about the importance of lighting to interior design in a new video series. Each minute-long video focuses on a different aspect of lighting and ways to incorporate it into every homeowner's design plan.
Videos in the series include:
* Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture
* Find an Object of Inspiration
* The Impact of a Single Lamp
* Lighting Fixtures as Art
Whether looking for one fixture or a complete lighting design plan, a great place to start is at a lighting retail showroom. There you will find professionally trained staff to help you select the perfect light for your space. 

When "want to" and "have to" meet, they create the opportunity to make a smart buying decision - and choose an upgrade that will look good and improve the livability of your home. The key to making smart home improvement decisions is to recognize these opportunities and take full advantage of them.

Here are a few "have to" improvements that have the potential to turn into a good-looking, energy-efficient, enjoyment-enhancing "want to."

Replacing the hot water heater.

You probably don't care what a new hot water heater looks like sitting in your garage or basement - or wherever it resides in your home. But the right replacement water heater can help your house achieve a lovely shade of green. High energy-efficiency water heaters can help reduce energy usage, thereby trimming your energy bills and your home's environmental impact. Solar water heating systems take the beauty a step further by using the power of the sun, collected through low-profile solar panels on the roof, to heat water - at a monthly savings that's about 80 percent less than the cost of traditional heaters.

Getting some light in here.

Do you really need a bunch of scientific studies to tell you that a home filled with natural light just feels better? Probably not. Illuminating your home with natural light is a smart buying decision on multiple levels. First, you don't pay to power the sun. Second, natural light delivers a host of mood-enhancing benefits. If you have the wall space, by all means add some windows.

But for rooms where a window is impossible (like a powder room) or where you don't want to sacrifice privacy (like a master bathroom) a tubular skylight is a good alternative. Some are easy enough to install that a seasoned do-it-yourselfer could accomplish the task. They cost less than traditional skylights and bring natural light to hard-to-light areas like closets, hallways and other small spaces.

Getting some air in here.

Just as natural sun is good for your mood, ventilation can be good for your health. An Energy Star qualified venting skylight is a great way to passively vent stale, moist air from inside your home, especially from baths and kitchens. While some skylights are "fixed," those that do open can be controlled by a remote to open when you want fresh air and close when you want to retain warmth. They can also close automatically in case of rain. In addition, they introduce free light into your home. Adding blinds - also remote-controlled - can help you better control the amount of sun a skylight admits into your home. And blinds are not just functional - you can get them in colors and patterns to complement your decor while increasing energy efficiency. Compared to other venting solutions, a skylight is a relatively low-cost, great-looking way to address ventilation issues while adding drama to a space. Log on to to learn more about skylights.

When one door opens ...

Beat up, weathered garage and front doors not only look bad, they can be a source of air leaks that make your heating, ventilation and cooling system work harder. Exterior doors aren't something you buy every day, but they can have a big impact on how your home looks and on its energy efficiency. They can definitely be a smart buying decision if you opt for doors that not only look good, but are also highly rated for energy efficiency. If you're not sure how to choose, look online, where you'll find guides for buying garage doors and front doors.

(NC)-Most condo and apartment balconies are barren spaces surrounded by dull, grey concrete, steel and glass. They're not very inviting. And that's probably why most of us don't use them very often.

But why not use every inch of your little piece of urban real estate to its fullest? If your building's rules allow you to, the experts at Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse offer a range of suggestions to maximize your living space by creating a cozy outdoor haven.

A concrete floor isn't very welcoming.Addinga small outdoor area rug will make it comfortable for your bare feet.

Look for small-scale furniture that is both comfortable and functional. A cushioned corner chair or lounge at one end of a balcony gives you a place to read a book or take a breezy nap.

A small bistro table and two chairs tucked into another corner create a relaxing nook for your morning tea or evening glass of wine.

If you have the space and a suitable corner, two short storage benches or deck boxes and a square table form a dining booth for entertaining.

Whatever furnishings you choose, make sure your seating is comfortable. If your current chairs don't have padding, invest in a few washable outdoor cushions. Then add some outdoor pillows and throw blankets.

Don't be afraid to choose bright colours and fun designs. A balcony is for relaxing and entertaining, so it should be friendly and inviting!

If you'll be using your patio at night,the rightlantern or outdoor candle can create a warm, relaxing ambiance.

A tiny garden can also add some life to your balcony. Many potted flowers and plants - including tomatoes, peppers and herbs - thrive in small spaces.

"For a little variety, combo planters are great for creating balcony gardens, and they come in a range of colours and styles," says Sarah Skeates, a Merchandising Specialist with Lowe's. "If you don't have space for a garden, a hanging wall bag adds a splash of colour to any outside wall space."

Now that Spring is here, it's time to get started with turning that dreary condo patio into an urban haven!


We'd love it if you would pop in to say "HI" to us at our Open House at 310 16085 83 AVE in Surrey.
Open House on Sunday, June 7, 2015 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
YOUR WAIT IS OVER!! "FAIRFIELD HOUSE" Corner Penthouse! 1239 sq. ft! 2 Bedrooms & Den! This is an incredible home and shows "pride of ownership" throughout! Spacious Living Room with Gas Fireplace & walk-out to the lovely corner south balcony! "Open Plan" Dining - makes it perfect for Entertaining! Lovely Kitchen with new stainless steel appliances, white cabinetry and eat-in area! Bonus Open Plan Den! The Master Retreat with spacious walk-in closet & luxurious 5pce Ensuite! 2nd bedroom also a good size! New Flooring in Kitchen & Bathrooms! In suite Laundry! Upgraded Fixtures! Situated in one of Fleetwood's Most Sought After Complexes! Don't Wait! You'll LOVE IT!!

Traditionally, the role of a kitchen was restricted to cooking and dining. However, in the modern home set up, kitchens have evolved as a space for social gatherings as well. As the most important place for family conversations, the look and feel of kitchen has a significant impact on the members of the family. A well-organized kitchen enhances the pleasure of cooking and dining. To serve the new role of a social space, fitted kitchens provide the best solution. Sporting excellent designs, these structures come with a great sense of luxury and functionality.

Planning for a Fitted Kitchen: What to Look for?

Fitted kitchens are available in a range of designs. To select a kitchen suited to you and to your home, consider the following points:

• Analyze your existing kitchen and make a list of your requirements. Focus on the ways to simplify the process of cooking. For example, you can estimate the number of cabinets required for storage.

• Measure the kitchen area with great precision. Create a rough diagram of the kitchen with exact measurements. Mark the placement of doors and windows in the kitchen. It will help you select from different fitted kitchen designs available in the market.

• List the number of appliances, such as refrigerator, microwave, washing machine and so on. It is best if you can plan their placement according to your requirements, well in advance. The concept of the golden triangle (installing refrigerator, cooker and sink to form three points of a triangle) is considered an ideal placement.

• Consider the supply of services such as electricity, telephone line and water. Also, mark the expected drainage system in the layout.

It is confusing to consider these small, but essential, details once you set out for the actual shopping. Thus, planning always helps to make an informed decision.

How to Choose a Fitted Kitchen

Fitted kitchens are the order of the day in the building industry. There is a huge and bewildering range of different varieties of fitted kitchens, from the traditional to the ultra modern, available in a wide selection of colors, woods and finishes. This makes choosing one rather difficult. To make this process easier, one should stick to the basics, such as:

• Requirements: Based on the details mentioned in the layout plan, select fitted kitchen designs that match the space and appliance requirements. Look for what facilities are covered in a kitchen design.

• Cost: Pricing remains the determining factor for a majority of the families. Look for designs that fall within your budget. Remember, investment in a fitted kitchen is a smart decision. It makes your kitchen appear luxurious and adds to the market value of your house.

• Longevity: Examine the raw material used to manufacture different components of the kitchen. Are they durable enough to pay for their cost?

• Lifestyle: Mostly, people want to buy a kitchen that will reflect their standard of living. If budget is not a limitation, you can look for luxurious kitchen designs.

• Installation cost: Check the cost of kitchen fitting. This will vary between suppliers and manufacturers.

• Service: Opt for a company that offers high quality after-sales service. Read blogs, testimonials and forums to know which companies you can rely upon. You'll want to use an organization that takes away their unused waste materials and cleans/vacuums behind them, leaving just your tidy new kitchen.

A fitted kitchen is a big investment when it comes to home remodeling. It is essential to buy a good quality fitted kitchen that aligns with your requirements and has a long life. To this end, you should search the market for different products and companies. This will help you get the best deal at an affordable price. For example, oak kitchens are considered a good choice for their fine texture and longevity. However, you may prefer traditional pine or even a sleek modern kitchen.
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