Tag Archives: Maintenance

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Winter-ready maintenance tips

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Winter-ready maintenance tips

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association that represents power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf cart and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI offers maintenance tips for preparing for upcoming seasonal changes.

“Doing good maintenance in the fall means that your lawn mower will be in ready when spring arrives and you are eager to tackle landscaping projects,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “As you get ready for winter, now is also the time to do snow thrower and generator maintenance. You should also review safe handling procedures, so you know how to use your equipment and are ready when snow falls.”

  1. Re-familiarize yourself with how to handle your equipment safely, along with any maintenance needs. If you lost your manual, you can usually find it online. Save a copy so that you can consult it when needed.
  2. Before storing equipment that you won’t need during the winter months, clean and service it yourself or take it to a small engine repair shop. Drain and change engine oil, then safely dispose of old oil. Service the air filter, and do other maintenance activities as directed by your service manual. Check all winter equipment to see what maintenance and repairs are required.
  3. Handle fuel properly. Unused gas that’s left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale. It can even damage your equipment. Before you store your equipment, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, and then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty. For winter equipment, be sure that you use the fuel that your manufacturer recommends. Most outdoor power equipment is designed, built and warranted to run on 10 per cent, or less, ethanol fuel.
  4. If your equipment has a battery, remove and fully charge it before storing. It’s important that batteries are not stored on metal shelves or touching metal objects. Store the battery on a plastic, or wood, shelf in a climate-controlled structure.
  5. Store your spring and summer equipment in a clean and dry place, such as a garage, barn or shed. Winter equipment should be kept away from the elements, but be easily accessible for use when needed. Always keep your outdoor power equipment out of the reach of children and pets.
  6. Clear the paths the are regularly used in your yard, especially during the winter months, and put away warm weather items. Clear space in your garage and basement (before the weather changes), so that you have room to store larger yard items, like patio furniture, umbrellas and summer toys.
  7. Familiarize yourself with your winter equipment and make sure that you know how to turn the machine on and off the machine, along with safe handling procedures.
  8. Buy the type of fuel that is recommended by the manufacturer no more than 30 days before required. You should use fuel with no more than 10 per cent ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Also, fuel goes stale and will need to be replaced if you have not used it within a month. Use a fuel stabilizer, if recommended by your manufacturer.
  9. Keep heavy duty, weatherproof extension cords on hand for your generator.

 

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Condo investor checklist : Location, amenities and low maintenance

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Condo investor checklist : Location, amenities and low maintenance

Successful condo investors know that there are a number of key considerations to keep in mind when selecting a property that will reap them a solid return on their investment.

Here is a rundown of what investors should be focusing on in their search for a profitable rental property.

Photo courtesy Activa

Affordability

In the GTA’s increasingly expensive housing market, affordability tops the list of considerations for investors. A condo unit should be purchased at a price you can afford to carry, and you’ll need to consider condo fees and property taxes alongside sale price.

Also keep in mind the costs of routine upkeep for the property, particularly as you begin renting it out, and the potential for damage rises (hopefully it’s minor.) Speaking of damage, you will need to cover the cost of insurance for the condo unit; this is required by condo corporations.

Make sure you’re doing a cost benefit analysis of all of this to be certain that the rental income you get not only covers your carrying costs but also provides a bit of profit on top. The goal is to be cash flow positive, but it might take a year or two to get there.

Low-maintenance

Be mindful of a property that will require maintenance outside the routine needs, such as lawn mowing or snow shovelling. Buildings with swimming pools, for example, will have higher maintenance and common element fees down the line, which will cut into the rental income potential for the investor.

Room to grow

Space is a key consideration, especially with more families looking to live in condo properties versus actual houses, which are getting out of most people’s price range — buyers and renters alike. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom rental units with parking and storage will see greater demand from tenants who are willing to pay higher rental rates in order to have more room. If buying close to university or college, larger units can accommodate more residents, which helps students share the monthly rent.

Location

The essential element in the assessment of any condo property’s potential. The condo will have much greater value as a rental unit if it is close to transit, universities and colleges, and retail offerings. It should be noted that many new condo developments — such as the Regent Park revitalization in Toronto — are helping to reshape communities for the better. And the value of condo units in these areas is seeing significant growth as a result.

Jobs

Nearby employment opportunities should be a key consideration when assessing whether a condo unit will carry greater value as a rental property, such as locations that are close to work nodes. Basically anything in downtown Toronto, where much of the younger talent is flocking nowadays, will generate a stronger rental income.

Amenities

Amenities are definite value-add when it comes to rental properties. Gyms, party rooms with catering kitchens, front desk/ concierge service, bike parking and storage — all of these will translate into higher rental rates. The same is true for community amenities. A building will see far more renter interest if it’s close to parks, trails and libraries, with a variety of nearby shopping, dining and entertainment options. And that increased demand will mean more rental dollars.

DEBBIE COSIC, CEO and founder of In2ition Realty, has worked in all facets of the real estate industry for more than 25 years.

In2ition.ca

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