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By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 19
It's a cover and yes... it's a cover for electrical box, but it's not a cover for this electrical box. It looks like a frugal and creative solution. It is the cover for common wall/ceiling connection boxes and it does prevent errant fingers or tools from being poked in where they should'nt be.However, considering that the parts actually made to cover those openings are very inexpensive (A pack of ten is less than $2.)  Think about it.......Is it really a good idea to sink a few screws into a hot electrical panel? And do you think this was done by a liscenced professional electrician?  Where else have corners been cut?   N.B. Notice the hand labeled numbering system imposed on the breakers. Manufactureres label the odd numbers on one side and even on the other. You can even see the numb...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 21
Do You Really Want To Live In A Fireman's' Reno?   I saw this a few weeks ago while inspecting the neighbouring property. I couldn't resist taking a shot of it. The selling agent noticed and told me  a fireman owned the property and was fixing it up, renovating it in his off time. Her tone and attitude to this told me she thought this was admirable and she was 'wowed' by this industriousness. That's all fine but as a home inspector and understanding structure a well as I do, am somewhat less impressed. Yes, the joists are cantilevered but the building is very narrow so this length is over extended and originally was actually build with the outer posts transferring weight to the ground.  The top floor deck is fully renovated. The second floor one is not, but the ground floor unit is most...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 5
How Does A Flipper Like Their Eggs.....................................................The Lazy Flipper's Fridge  Have you heard of this one ?; How does a flipper like his fried eggs.....................I don't know, but you can bet they're not sunny side up! And - What does a flpper keep in his fridge?; Not much, right? And there's a few more paint touchups tp be done. (Paint roller and brush are wrapped in a plastic bags and put in the fridge to keep them from drying between coats of paint - so you don't have to wash and clean them each time.) it's powered, that looks normal, but nobody uses it. There's no food in it. And it rocks back and forth. When I look under I can see it's up on blocks, kind of like a wrecked car.  This fridge is a total prop. It's staging. It has a stainless st...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 8
You Might Be A Vampire If…………You’re Worried About Radio Activity. I recently got this warning via an acquaintance on facebook It came with the link below, which takes you to a site inviting you to a seminar/meeting on the subject.                                             Hydro Qc Installing Smart Meters- Info Session on RadioActive Dangers from Smart Meters The idea sounds familiar because this can has been kicked around before.  It is the same dumb idea as getting cancer from cell phones and hands free ear sets. The Smart Meter is being introduced by our local power utility, Hydro Quebec. These hydro meters, (residential electric utility meters), are now going digital and will have a limited low power wireless network which works just like the cell phone equipment. What is that, exa...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 6
KABOOM. Nanny, Family, 2 Small Children Die in Fire. Cause Said To Be Electrical!  That may be the way the headline would read, but fortunately it has not happened. But conditions are prime for it and the risk level is high. The grey 'snow' layer covering everything under this house is laundry lint. About 12 to 20 years accumulation. And it does cover everthing; soil, rocks, insulation roll and other debris a like. And its hanging off joists, wiring and walls. It's a real mess! But thats not all. The photos below show the area heater and where it is plugged in.     This is a powerfull portable commercial heater. It is the only heater in this large crawlspace and it is short cycling, starting and stopping several times a minute. It draws 240 volts when running and may surge higher at sta...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 24
Was it snowing on 10th Street today? Tool kit - check, Car brush - check, Ladder - check, Snowshoes - check                 This was todays job, at a lull in the wind,       and this is how I dealt with it. So, yes it was snowing. It was what a New Englander would call a sou'wester: gusting, drifting blowing snow, in your face, weather. I'm prepared for it. It's not like it was going to be a suprise. It's winter. It's just going to be there. I even have a second pair for my clients who want to follow the inspection. Something I encourage all my clients to do when they can. If you are a professional you are prepared for all conditions. 
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 4
  "Every breath you take"...Is It A Red Flag?   No "Every breath you take" is the songs' refrain (POLICE/Sting). Every breath you expel does add humidity to your homes interior, but that's normal, no red flags for that.  But... Seeing a laundry drying rack like the one in the photo Is a big RED FLAG to any inspector. Why?, Well the modern home is equipped with several exhaust systems located in specific rooms to remove excessive moisture at the source before it can be allowed to spread to places where it will do damage.  These would be laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Exhaust fans of the same type are sometimes found in powder rooms, but are not required for humidity unless there is a shower or bath installed too. Laundry racks like this or basement clothes lines have no means of ...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 22
Have You Got The 'New House plumbing Blues'? or What's wrong in this picture.?  A Plumbing Puzzler. Everything is clean and new and dry, no leaks. It's a new house, less than 2 years old, being sold by the builder owner. He (or his plumber) would get 3 out of 4 on this issue because of the 4 sinks in the home only this one is like this.  Very likely, one person did the rough-in plumbing (blue and red lines) and later, somebody else connected the sinks at a finishing stage. The plumbing IS all clean and new. There are no leaks and all the parts are there, so what's wrong. Look at the copper parts at the ends of the 't' offshoots. As they are installed they are filled with water and that defeats their purpose and function. This shows another sink in the same house done correctly. Here you...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 3
Is Your House Sporting A Beret?   It's That Time Of Year. Keep Looking Up.      It is that time of year. Snow does build up on roofs. You even get snow drifts on roofs with windy conditions. You also get what I like to call snowbrows. Which may look like your roof is wearing a snow beret. The right conditions can create built-up overhangs, or 'brows' at eves and other roof edges. They often get heavy enough to break of and fall with a big 'whump' sound as this pile of snow hits the ground or a lower roof. Sometimes this happens while it is still snowing.  But  if the conditions are right they can 'hang' there for days, even weeks.  They can look ominous but some people think 'it's only snow so it's not a danger'. But that's not right. It's a lot of snow.  If it drops on you, you're goin...
By John Joseph
(Groupe Sutton)
Comments 5
The Great White North 2012   This December has been kind to us in the NorthEast. Not only did we have a white Christmas, one ski hill after another has been announcing it is open starting from the end of November. And so, as a present to us we decided to head out during the holidays and see what the hub-bub was all about. Skiing within 3 hours of Montreal provides an assortment of terrain and environments. The Laurentian region has some of the oldest hills in Canada and though not high, are flavoured by the small, quaint villages at their base. The Lanaudiere region has some neat ski areas near the Saint-Lawrence river and provide spectacular river views while shussing the slopes. Then closer to the U.S. border we have the Eastern Townships sporting larger, more remote ski terrain with ...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 3
Cabinetry 101, Carpentry 312 Cabinetry 101; If your woodworking skills are not up to fine millwork...just do this;Nail wooden boxes to the wall. The wrinkle now is to find wooden boxes like this not being sold as antiques. Carpenrtry 312: The diagonal wall brace seen here is a good example of a 'let-in brace'. There are 6 of these stiffening the walls of this garage. This was done in the days before the use of skill saws and availability of plywood. If plywood was used as sheathing on the exterior wall, the bracing would not be needed.  These notches in the studs fit tight, prevent sideways or lateral wracking of the frame and fit leaving a flush surface so interior finishes can be applied. This is all hand work. Powered saws always leave overcut kerfs in the wood and it's a rare carpen...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 11
Jack Frost Locked This Gate.   Has He Locked Yours Too? This is a metal latch on a gate post meant to hold the gate closed but be operable from two both sides. There were two of theses gates seen on a recent inspection. Both were in the same state. The posts had been heaved up by ground frost. Now the latch bar cannot be lifted to open the gate.  Originally the top of the post and gate would have been level and in line with each other. This is a pressure treated wood post set into relatively well draining soil, but it is not deep enough and not protected from frost adhesion.  Jack Frost has two tricks up his sleeve when it comes to moving things:   - The first is to push up anything that is not deep enough to be lower than where the cold penetrates sufficiently to freeze water. That dep...
By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Comments 6
While last month I wrote about the larger Montreal real estate market and specifically September’s results, this time I’ll focus more specifically on the Montreal West Island real estate market. The chart below shows the West Island* results for the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011, using statistics presented by the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards in their MLS® Barometer.   West Island Third Quarter 2012 versus Third Quarter 2011   Sales Median** Price # Active Listings # Average Days on Market Residential (total) ↓8% (488) n/a ↑13% (1,356) n/a Single-family homes ↓5% (397) ↑5% ($370,000) ↑7% (929) ↑1 (60) Condos ↓21% (81) ↑7% ($225,000) ↑31% (400) ↑16 (83) Overall, the number of residential sales was down in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the s...
By John Joseph
(Groupe Sutton)
Comments 1
Land Transfer Tax Welcomes Home Buyers Commonly referred to in Montreal as the "taxe bienvenue", it is a misnomer that has creeped into common language use here in Quebec. Minister Bienvenue made recommendations leading to the collection of transfer duties by Quebec municipalities. Since January 1, 1992, every Quebec municipality must collect duties on the transfer of any property on its territory in compliance with the Act respecting Duties on Real Estate Transfers. Some circumstances provide for exemptions as in the case of public corporations, farms, woodlots or mines. As a real estate broker in Westmount and NDG, in Montreal, I always inform my clients on the land transfer duty due when clients go to the notary to sign the Act of Sale (Deed).   Here is an example of how this is calc...
By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Comments 23
If you’re from out of town, you may need a primer on “Montreal Real Estate Speak.”  Ask any Canadian – we do things a bit differently here in Montreal.  French has infiltrated English, and English has infiltrated French, and most of us love it.   Here are a few common expressions and translations to help you along the way:   1. “There’s a dep right around the corner.”   Wasn’t that a brand of hair gel back in the 80s? We’re not referring to hair here: dep = dépanneur = convenience store   2. “You can walk to the metro.”   Good for commuters: metro = subway system. But it’s also the name of a grocery store, so better check whether you’re going to be commuting or cooking.   3. “Is there a saq nearby?”   Sack of what?  Actually, someone may be thirsty: SAQ = Société d’alcool du Québec = li...
By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Comments 10
I wanted to share a few home staging before and afters from a Montreal home staging project we did last week for a condo in N.D.G. These shots were taken quickly with my iPhone so the quality is not great, but the results are still there. (I always hire a professional photographer when it is my own listing. I was staging this for someone who was referred to me by a client, but another agent was listing it.) Method to Our Madness We do have a method to our madness in Montreal home staging although, after 5 years in the business, the process is now pretty intuitive. Broken down to its most fundamental, once we know the target buyers for the property, we focus on: 1.Feeling; 2. Editing; 3. Art; 4. Lighting; and 5. Accessories – in that order. 1. Feeling In each room, we determine the feeli...
By John Joseph
(Groupe Sutton)
Comments 1
October 2012 Montreal West Homes Market Report MLS® reported 5 homes sold in Montreal West this October. One cottage at 336 Ballantyne North sold for $550,013, a bungalow at 10 Banstead Road sold for $595,000 and 3 split-levels at 48 Place Rugby ($591,000), 128 and 229 Prom. Sheraton for $572,500 and $665,000 respectively. One contract expired and 5 new homes came to market bringing active properties for sale to 16 for the month of October. These sales reported an average discount off last ask price of 7% and the average sales value was $594,703. The inventory absorption rate was at the usual low of 3.2 months and it took an average of 83 days to sell a home in Montreal West this past month. Montreal West homes are known for their particular styling’s dominated by homes built by archite...
By John Joseph
(Groupe Sutton)
Comments 2
 October 2012 NDG Market Report Homes This October MLS® reported 12 home sales in Notre Dame-de-Grace (NDG). The sale prices ranged from $320,000 for one of the war time detached houses on St. Ignatius to $980,000 for an attached townhouse on Decarie beside Villa Maria metro. 6 contracts expired this October and 19 new homes came to market bringing the active homes on market to 52, down from 55 last month. Average home sale prices were up this month to $584,500 and homes stayed on market for 40 days (DOM) on average, lowering the absorption rate for property inventory to 4.3 months, more near the average for this year. In line with the fast turnover of inventory, discounting followed at only 2% off the last asking price on average. Prices and sales delays on market reported above will c...
By John Joseph
(Groupe Sutton)
Comments 1
October 2012 Westmount Homes Market Report This October, 7 homes sold in Westmount as reported on MLS®. Prices ranged from $685,000 in the Village to $2,800,000 on the summit near St. Joseph’s Oratory. Three sales were under $1mm and two exceeded $1.5mm. These sales were sold at this year’s lowest average days on market (DOM) of 39 days! This is faster than our last best month DOM of 46. The average sales price was $1,358,571 for the 7 sales with an average discount off the last ask price of 9% which is the second lowest average discount level for 2012. This October, five contracts expired, and the fall season continued with 33 new property listings coming to market bringing active property inventory up again this month to 135 from 114 last month. These numbers have raised the absorptio...
By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Comments 28
Absence of Body Or Alien Invasion? Scary? Yes! Is it a Halloween prop or a science fiction horror film of alien invasion? Is it arriving through a bend in space, And Materializing in front of your eyes?   Well.....No!  But this is very much an earth bound phenomenon, even though winged beings with multi-faceted eyes and antennae on their heads does sound “out there”. This is a wasp nest.  Yup!   A big one. And you can be sure it extends in up and under the shingle siding. You can see at least four shingle joints filled with the hive ‘paper’. Even the window screening has been pulped and papered. Odds are there is a hole in the screen. This one is likely bigger than it looks, and it looks big.   Combating this ‘invasion’ successfully will require preparation and planning.  If you’ve ever...

Montreal Area, QC Real Estate Professionals