Three hidden dangers lurking in century homes

There’s something about a 100-year-old home (a century home) that appeals to certain people. Perhaps it’s the history of the previous owners, the now-unavailable materials, or the craftsmanship. Nevertheless, sentiment cannot be the only factor in a home purchasing decision. If there are 100+ year old homes for sale on your search list, make sure to be aware of these three hidden dangers. To learn more, there is plenty of useful information available at Calgary Homes.

1. The wiring

Up until the 1930s, most homes were wired with “knob and tube”(K&T) wiring. State of the art for the time, knob-and-tube no longer lives up to the demands of today. Moreover, after almost a hundred years of use, many of these wires are deteriorating. The price of failure is high: an overloaded K&T circuit can cause an electrical fire. More immediately, these systems have no grounding wires, so forget plugging in new appliances.

Be sure to ask the current owner to see if any K&T wiring is left. If so, the only solution to knob and tube is to rewire the entire home. Costs can quickly add up, so make sure to talk to an electrician before making an offer.

2. The pipes

Up until the 1970s, lead could be found everywhere — paint, varnishes, gasoline, and — unfortunately for us — the pipes. If your home was built before the 80s, there’s a good chance that there is lead in the plumbing system in some form. Even non-lead pipes such as copper or galvanized steel may have been joined together with lead solder. It can be difficult to ascertain exactly what materials your pipes are made of. The current owner may know, but it may be smart to do a water lead test anyway.

3. The grounds

One of the biggest developments in the past 100 years has been the switch to natural gas and electricity for heating. However, many older homes currently have — or used to have — kerosene (or oil) heating. These bulky systems often had underground tanks. Unfortunately, these tanks can deteriorate and leak toxic sludge into your lawn. These tanks may still be around even if the system has been upgraded. During the inspection, be sure to ask your inspector to conduct a tank sweep.

Conclusion

Whether it’s living in a piece of history or taking care of the exquisite craftsmanship, 100-year-old homes for sale have a je-ne-sais-quoi that appeals to a certain segment of the population. However, any home must be functional for its occupants. The charm of an older home can quickly get old when costly repairs start adding up or if the occupants have to move out for physical safety. Luckily, with your new knowledge, you’ll be able to check for these hidden dangers before closing.

4 Facts About the Newly Legal Canadian Marijuana Business

In October of 2018, the Canadian government made history by becoming the second national government to legalize marijuana. Both online and brick and mortar marijuana dispensaries now give Canadian citizens a clean, safe, controlled environment to purchase their favorite strain of THC. Are you interested in learning more? Visit Leafythings for additional information.

Here are four facts about the roll-out and growth of the legal Canadian marijuana industry.

1. Canadian citizens spent close to 1 billion dollars in the first year of marijuana legalization

Canada officially legalized marijuana in October of 2018. Between Q3 of 2018 and Q3 of 2019 Canadian citizens spent ~$900MM on legal marijuana. While demand initially outstripped supply after legalization, the market quickly caught up as many brick and mortar stores opened in the different Canadian provinces.

2. Online marijuana sales have plummeted as citizens favor brick and mortar stores

As brick and mortar marijuana stores opened, online sales fell significantly. In October of 2018, online sales represented 43.4% of total sales. Fast forward to November of 2019 and online sales had fallen to 5.9%. This was mainly due to the 400+ in-person marijuana dispensaries that had opened. Marijuana looks to be following a similar trajectory to alcohol, which has struggled to make meaningful progress in the channel of e-commerce. Customers seem to prefer to buy alcohol and marijuana in person.

3. The marijuana black market still exists, but legal businesses are fighting back

While legalization has drawn some customers to purchase marijuana through legal channels, the marijuana black market still exists. This is mostly due to the large price difference between legal and illegal cannabis products. Legal marijuana is priced on average at $7.84 per gram, while illegal marijuana sports an average price of $4.36 per gram.

In response to the price difference, Canada’s largest marijuana companies are beginning to offer “value” cannabis products at prices as low as $4 per gram to entice customers to shop legally.

4. Governmental marijuana tax revenue has fallen short of projections

Marijuana tax revenue has fallen short of projections in both 2018-19 and 2019-20. In 2018-19 the government projected $35 million in revenue and earned $18 million, while in 2019-20 the government projected $100 million in revenue and earned $66 million. While revenue has fallen short there are positive signs that the government is learning how to more effectively structure a legal marijuana market as the gap between projected revenue and earned revenue fell by ~16% from 2018 to 2019. The government is learning not to overtax (as prices will be too high enticing customers back to the black market) and that overly strict licensing requirements lead to inadequate marijuana supply for existing demand.

4 Ways to Boost Productivity in Your Office

How do you boost productivity at work? While there are many ways to increase efficiency and get things done, one way is by making sure you have the right office supplies. The information below offers tips on how the right supplies can improve productivity in the workplace.

1. Use a Portable File Organizer

There are different methods for filing documents in an office. Some people prefer to go the color-coded route, while others prefer a simple alphabetical order system. Either way, it’s best to ensure you employ a system that allows you to easily access the files used most often. Sometimes this can be accomplished with a portable file organizer that’s maintained on your desk. This is an inexpensive product that can be purchased along with other office supplies.

2. Create an Urgent Folder

Imagine having a red urgent file on your desk. This is a file of things that must be accomplished before you leave for that day. Something as simple as a brightly colored file can help to ensure you get things done and stay on track. It’s the little things that can help you progress in your career and this is one of them. It’s not uncommon to end a workday only to discover that you didn’t complete an important task. A simple red folder can possibly prevent that from happening. Incidentally, this is why priority activities should be completed first thing in the morning. There is more information available at the Southwest Business Products website.

3. Toss Old Supplies

How much time is wasted clicking through old pens that don’t work? It’s common for ballpoint pens to dry up, yet remain on an office desk or inside of a drawer. It’s best to maintain a fresh supply of new pens available. If you’re not responsible for placing the order for office supplies, make sure you request quality pens that write well and last for decent amount of time.

4. Scan Documents Daily

If you don’t have a paperless office, it’s something you should think about developing. Why? Because having a paperless office means you’re able to access files from anywhere. This is perfect for companies with remote workers. It’s also great for increasing your productivity levels. If you’re scanning documents then you’ll likely need to have a shredder in your office to get rid of physical documents that are no longer needed. You can find an affordable shredder at most office supply stores. Once you go paperless, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner because it can make work much easier, while eliminating clutter.

Productivity is usually a priority for every business, as it should be. These tips can simplify everyday tasks so that you can focus on more important activities.

8 Questions to Ask A Mortgage Broker

Calling on the expertise of a mortgage broker will make it easier to get the right home loan for you and your family. Take the time to ask the following questions to ensure you understand everything about your mortgage.

1. What Home Loans are Available?

can typically find you any type of home loan available, but there are times the offerings of various lenders don’t include all kinds. Make sure you find out if you are getting the most comprehensive selection possible.

2. How Do I Qualify for a Home Loan?

Some types of home loan programs have specific qualifications you must meet in order to get the mortgage. Your credit score and ability to pay the loan back are essential elements of getting qualified.

3. Which Home Loan is Best for My Situation?

Your mortgage expert should be able to find the best type of home loan for your exact situation and level of qualifications. Find out about home loans that help with veterans, troubled credit, and other criteria. The CMS Mortgages website is a useful resource if you would like to learn more information.

4. What is the Difference between Prequalification and Preapproval?

Being prequalified to get a home loan is different from a preapproval. Being prequalified is the process of gathering basic information to determine which type of loan you qualify to get. Preapproval requires gathering the actual bank statements, other documentation, and credit retrieval to see if you are approved for a home loan.

5. What is the Amount I Can Borrow?

Your mortgage broker can help you through the process of getting a home loan approval that’s based on your ability to repay. You will be given the specific limit you can borrow after approval.

6. How Much Down Payment Do I Need?

The amount of down payment you need to purchase a home is generally 20% for a conventional loan. USDA and VA home loan programs can get you 100% financed. Other low-percentage down payment programs are available, such as an FHA loan.

7. What is the Interest and Annual Percentage Rate?

Each lender may offer a different interest and annual percentage rate for home mortgages. The interest is the percentage you pay for the actual loan. The annual percentage rate includes the closing costs with the loan.

8. What is My Home Loan Estimate?

Your home loan estimate will break down all the costs associated with the mortgage. It will show you the payment amount, fees, and terms to make you fully aware of where your money is going. Ask for an itemized breakdown if one is not immediately offered.

Always ask your mortgage professional when there are areas of a mortgage and the mortgage process you don’t understand.

How to Encourage Kids to Be More Active in School

Nowadays, with many students spending a lot of their time on the computer and on mobile devices and video games, it seems that a lot of students are not as active as they should be. However, there are ways that you can help kids to be more active in a school setting. From investing in more school gym equipment and school sports equipment to making other changes, you might be surprised by how much more active the students in your school can be with a little bit of effort.

Invest in Better Playground Equipment

First of all, encouraging kids to get outdoors and have some independent playtime is a great way to encourage them to be active. However, if there isn’t anything for them to play with, they might end up just standing around. Even though your school might already spend a lot of money on school PE supplies like gym divider curtains, basketball posts, school bleacher seats and other similar items, putting some of your budget toward buying things like swings, monkey bars and more can go further than you might think in encouraging kids to spend more time actively playing.

Improve Gym Classes

Even though your gym classes might have to follow a rather strict curriculum, there might be ways that you can improve it. Putting your existing gym teachers through additional training or hiring newer and more experienced gym teachers can help, for example. Looking at what other schools are doing in regards to improving their gym classes can also provide you with inspiration that you can imitate with your own school. For some kids, gym class is the only time that they are really active each day. This means that you should try to make the most out of it if you want to encourage active students.

Introduce New Sports Programs

Along with paying attention to gym class, you may want to look for other ways to get students active. For example, many students like to participate in after school sports but might not have found a program that works for them. By introducing more sports — such as starting up girls’ teams for popular sports and introducing sports that might not have been played at your school before — you can provide something for every student, even those whose interests have not really been reflected in the school sports that have been available at your school up until now.

As you can see, there are various ways that you can encourage kids to be more active in school. This can help ensure that the children who attend your school are as healthy as possible, and it can make them a whole lot happier as well!