Buying or building a house / Guides

Real estate

Real estate services: access to power, water and sewers (this is more relevant for building lots) Green space: being close to parks and waterways Soil conditions and topography to avoid flooding Stay away from flood plains Backyard privacy and greenery Sun exposure: for interior quality of life, also for a garden if t...

Real estate

Downsizing your home: buying tips for seniors

...anges. If you're shopping for a forever home, search for houses that can take you through every stage of seniorhood. At minimum, a home intended for aging-in-place should allow for complete first-floor living, ideally have a step-free entrance, doorways wide enough for a wheelchair and be located near public transit an...

Lifestyle and environment

Resources and getting started isn't always the case. On average, high performance homes seem to cost between 5 and 15% more. But when you factor in reduced energy costs, payback on that additional investment might be 10 or 15 years, after which you will see a net savings. Not to mention a final product that will be far more durable and have grea...

Lifestyle, location and commuting

Home-buying tips for seniors looking to downsize

...ake it easier for you to age in place? For example, does it have a walk-in tub or shower? You should also look for homes that are a single-story, have wide doorways to accommodate a walker, and have lower cabinets and countertops. If these home modifications don’t exist in your ideal potential home, invite a contractor...

A Tiny House for sale locally set me thinking, should I buy a Tiny Home?
Tiny house


...orate and depreciate over time - whereas regular real estate tends to appreciate . As anybody who has ever owned an RV or a boat in a damper climate knows, water leaks, high humidity from cramming too many people in a small space, and the damage and mold that can cause can be simply horrid, as well as adversely affecti...

Drywall and construction dust
Cleaning and maintenance

Tips for keeping air clean during renovations

...aterial selection: This is less about what you will breathe as work is in progress and more about what you will breathe for years to come - for a very small premium you can get plywood and other cabinetry materials that have less or even no VOCs and formaldehyde. Some building materials will off-gas for many years afte...

Leed platinum plaque
Green building certifications

All about green home certification programs & rating systems for USA & Canada

...Association, Built Green is a Canadian-developed rating system administered by Built Green Canada, a private not-for-profit organization. Similar to LEED for Homes, it covers a wide range of sustainable building measures, including energy and water conservation, indoor air quality and sustainable materials. Also simi...

Real estate

Evaluating a home before purchase: how to recognize value and potential problems

...a day and weeks in a year. If you make travel time a priority in a house hunt, with luck you may find a location that will add free time to your day or possibly facilitate a switch from being a driver to being a bus rider or cyclist. The cost savings that may come from eliminating a daily drive might make affording a b...

How to plan and budget for home renovations and new builds
Concept and design

Important tips for a successful build or renovation

...ary materials, with prices and the name of the store where you will get them. Don’t leave material selection to the last minute as product availability can be a problem at times, and even more so with higher quality materials that aren’t usually available at the average big box store. Buying materials yourself is an ...

Efficient green home design choices
Concept and design

Efficient home design, or how to design a home to use less energy

...and walls that leak heat and moisture. A reasonably-sized house: We just can’t stress this enough — a smaller house is a more efficient house. A smaller house means less land to excavate, less materials to manufacture and ship, less space to heat, less space to cool, less taxes to pay, less to clean. And they are a...

Bike lanes in Vancouver
Lifestyle, location and commuting

Vancouver's goal of becoming the Greenest City by 2020

...and can cause damage to the interior of walls as many litres of water carried in warm air can pass through even the smallest of holes in a heating season. A house with an EnerGuide rating is like a car with a safety check. It is an independent third party report on the quality of what you are buying, and an indicatio...