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Article, Buyer, Home, Lifestyle, Real Estate

Moving from Condo to House, Things You Should Know

Had enough of condo living and ready to take the next step with home ownership, there can be bit of a learning curve when transitioning to a house. Here are some useful tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Garbage Day

Missing garbage day can really stink. It is really important to sort organics, recycling and waste when the garbage truck only come twice a month, while recycle and organics are pick-up weekly. 

As a homeowner there are yearly fees for waste management based on your bin size as well as an annual fee for large item collection, Check out the fees here. 

Raccoons and Vermin

As you may know Toronto is the raccoon capital of the world and those smart buggers can even break into the raccoon proof bins (did you know they have 5 fingers). Plus, where there are people, there are rats. Yup, Toronto as in most large cities has a rat problem.  Building a secure home for your bins or having an pest control company vermin proof your home maybe an added stress and expense to your home ownership.

Off & On Street Parking 

You should be aware that if you buy a house that has a driveway, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can park there. And a front yard parking license isn’t automatically transferred to a new owner.  You can apply for a licence providing that on-site parking is neither available nor feasibly accessible, by means of a driveway or a contiguous street or lane.

In Toronto, you can’t park anywhere for more than three hours without a permit, so if you have to park on the street you will need a permit. Parking permits are issued on a six month basis, but you can apply for a permit for two consecutive terms: December to May, or June to November. Fees for this permit vary according to a priority system based on need.

Something to Fix

Even if you are moving into newly built home there will always be something that needs to be repaired. When owning a house, you will face the inevitable maintenance that will need to be performed. From resealing the driveway, re staining the deck, cleaning the gutters, repairing and eventually replace the roof, repairing any cracks in the siding, patching the front steps — and that’s just the exterior! These costs can be costly, and quite time-consuming so be proactive and put a monthly amount aside for the inevitable “something”.

Replacing the Furnace Filter

The general rule is to change your furnace filter every three months minimum. If you want to do a little extra dust control and up you air quality, then opt for a filter with a higher MERV rating and change your filter more frequently (every 30-45 days). 

Main Water Shut-off

Water leaks are far more likely to occur in a home that has just been renovated, but it’s best to be prepared. Know where the main water shut-off valve is located so you can minimize the damage (it’s usually in the furnace/mechanical room coming up through the basement floor.)

Winterizing 

Before it gets frosty, remember to empty your garden hose or it will freeze and ruin the tube. Cover your outdoor furniture, store cushions and other outdoor accessories. Clear walkways to make shovelling easier.  Make sure you have a shovel, winter boots and a supply of salt or sand.  And maybe ask your neighbours if there is anyone local you can hire to shovel? 

Property Boundaries 

There can be confusion between owners who live next door to each other and their rights relating to the boundary lines between their properties. When buying your home make sure to review the survey which will show any encroachments or wandering fences. 

But who is responsible for the fence that sits on the boundary line? The main principle under the Ontario Line Fences Act is that adjacent owners should co-operate to share the costs on a 50/50 basis. However, if one side wants to build a fancier  fence, they will usually have to cover the  additional costs, as the 50/50 rule applies to the cost of a simple chain link fence that meets the municipal bylaw requirements.

What about trees located on the property line? The Forestry Act of Ontario indicates that trees on the property line are jointly owned and both have obligations to maintain the trees. If a tree is on one owner’s land and the branches are hanging over another owner’s land, then the other owner can trim the branches back to the property line. As a courtesy, you should inform your neighbour.

Yard Maintenance 

Having a yard is usually a huge reason people transition to a house. Do you have a green-thumb or are you planning to be hands off, either way maintaining your lawn and yard is an added expense. Set aside a couple of spring weekends to weed, plant and maintain your property. 

Be prepared to purchase a lawnmower, weed whacker, hedge trimmers, a hose, sprinkler, rake, gloves, buckets and more. And, you may need a shed to store all of your new lawn gear. 

If you have large older trees on your property having an arborist check on their health and trim any dead branches is recommended. Having a large branch fall in a windstorm can be very dangerous and is quite common. 

Neighbour Relations

It is always better to have a good relationship with your neighbours. Being friendly, respectful, helpful and tidy, are great ways into your neighbour’s good graces. But being able to let some things go, is most important. There will always some things your neighbours do that will be annoying, even unintentionally. Always ask yourself if it is really worth causing a fuss over. 

Enjoy your new house and let us know if there are anything else you wish you knew when you moved into your new house.