5 Awesome Innovations on the Frontier of Home Automation

Home automation

In today’s digital world — recently dubbed “The Age of the Internet of Things” — technology is changing everything. From wearable health tracking devices to cars that drive themselves, tech has made day-to-day life easier, more convenient and also more fun. One area in which technology is having a huge impact is in the home. Recent inventions have made maintaining, taking care of and enjoying domestic life better than ever before. The following five home automation innovations represent some of the most cutting-edge technologies that are shaping the way humans experience their homes.

Connected Refrigerators

5 Awesome Innovations on the Frontier of Home Automation

There’s a good chance you’ve run to the grocery to pick a few things up — only to return home and find out you’ve forgotten one essential item. You can avoid that annoyance now that there are smart refrigerators, which not only help you regulate the energy that your fridge uses, but also help you keep track of what is inside them. Smart refrigerators have a Wi-Fi connection and are equipped to take photos of the inside each time it opens and closes so you can check and see what is in them, even remotely. Some smart fridges even have the capability to play videos and songs, while others allow you to pull up recipes or order groceries from a touchscreen. Two of the most popular smart refrigerators on the market right now are the Samsung Family Hub and the LG Smart ThinQ.

Connected Washers and Dryers

Connected Washers and Dryers

Connected appliances don’t only make cooking easier — they make laundry better, too. Internet-connected washers and dryers now allow you to stop and start cycles via an app remotely, as well as to monitor how much energy you’re using. Many smart laundry appliances also allow you to “download” special cycles for certain clothing items in order to make sure you are washing and drying your garments just the right way. Whirpool’s Smart Cabrio Washer and Smart Cabrio Dryer are two of the most popular smart laundry devices on the market.

Self-Learning Thermostats

Keeping the temperature regulated in your home is key to making sure you and your family are comfortable. Now, you can use a self-learning, self-regulating thermostat, like the popular Nest device, to keep the air feeling just right. Nest’s thermostat does a whole host of things, including learning your schedule after you use it for a week, then automatically changing the temperature by itself — both to make sure that you’re comfortable when you’re at home, and that you’re not using excess energy when you’re not.

Smart Locks

Smart Locks

Keeping your home locked means that you can keep your family and your belongings safe. But locks can also cause challenges, such as when people get locked out, or when you leave your house and forget to lock up. Thanks to smart locks, however, you can control the security of your home via a remote app, which allows you to lock, unlock and check the status of a lock, whether you’re at home or far away. Many smart locks, like August locks, also have doorbell cameras, so you can see who is at the door from your smartphone.

Leak and Moisture Detection

Another home automation innovation designed to keep you safe is the leak and moisture detection device. Devices like Wally Home can detect whether there is excess moisture in your residence — letting you know about a potential leak or flood as they are happening. Leak and moisture detection innovations can help you avoid dangerous things like mold or rotting flooring or walls, and they can help you avoid having to make frustrating and expensive home repairs by catching small problems before they become big ones.

Kelly Ebbs and Kerry Millican are your Ottawa real estate professionals at Royal Lepage Team Realty. Whether it is a condo or a family home, we are here to help guide you through the selling process. Together, we can make it happen. Get in touch to get started today!

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Spring Cleaning: Tips On Getting Your Home Ready For Sale

spring cleaning

Contrary to years prior, 2018 has presented us with a rather mild, wet March. As such, we’ve barely approached the standard season for “April showers” and have already received enough rain and wet weather to rid most of the snow! The month, however is still young; and, as unpredictable as Mother Nature can be when it comes to delivering cold weather and long winters, we think it’s safe to assume that Jack frost might just bite a time or two more. This said, if you’re in the market to (or in the process of) selling your home, the traditional “Spring cleaning” chores, though tempting, might need to wait until the season has truly sprung –perhaps leaving you feeling in limbo. Not to worry! We’ve collected a list of pre-spring maintenance chores that you and your family can work on in order to help sell your home in the meantime:

  1. Plants and flowers and weeds, oh my! Although it might still be a little too early to plant new flowers in your garden, removing the lifeless, rotting plants away from last year’s soil can go a really long way toward making your overall garden space look clean. Tip: don’t forget to eliminate any additional leaves and other debris as, they too, get noticed! Remember, although it may seem like a tough time of year to keep things looking fresh, giving a little extra TLC to your greenery can give your home that curb appeal you might be looking for!


  1. Leaves and other things: if you didn’t get a chance to rake up any fallen leaves before the snow quickly hit us last year, now’s your time to shine! Despite the grass not necessarily being at its greenest, cleaning up any leftover, broken leaves – as well as any pet droppings – can certainly paint a more vivid picture for potential buyers.

  1. Check your deck! If the weather is warm enough, you might want to take an afternoon or two to clean your patio furniture, garden features and/or any other moveable items around your yard. Winter typically leaves a dull, grey film on these household belongings – including your garage door and windows – so be sure to scrub down any outside surfaces. Check out these DIY cleaning tricks.

  1. Sweeping your walkways: Curb appeal aside, be sure to take advantage of the milder days to clear your decks, walkways and stairways of any built up snow and/or ice for the safety of those coming through your home. Salt and grit from the prior winter-filled months can leave a rather daunting mess to your driveway and walkways; consider rinsing these surfaces down with a hose while the weather cooperates!

Before we know it, spring will have sprung! Despite the premature preview of spring we’ve been granted with, there’s a lot you can get a jump start on Spring-cleaning-wise. After all, the Spring market is fast-approaching!


Kelly Ebbs and Kerry Millican are your Ottawa real estate professionals at Royal Lepage Team Realty. Whether it is a condo or a family home, we are here to help guide you through the selling process. Together, we can make it happen. Get in touch to get started today!

Pool Dreams: Creating Your Stay-at-Home Backyard Oasis

Home backyard pool

The hot ticket item throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been changing at a pace that almost seems impossible to keep up with. It began with toilet paper and Lysol wipes, and moved quickly to office furniture and electronics, and now that summer is here, and a hot one at that, Ottawa area residents are now looking to get their hands on patio furniture and swimming pools to transform their backyards into an oasis where they can fully enjoy their summer at home. While installing a pool is a project that has excellent benefits both for personal use and resale value, finding the right pool for your property can be a tricky game, and there are many factors that need to be considered. So before you call the contractors to your home to make room for a large inground pool in your medium-sized backyard, take a look at the different options available to choose the pool that suits your needs and your space the best.

Inground Pools

Inground pools are becoming an increasingly popular option for at-home swimming in the Ottawa area. Not only do they please aesthetically, but they are long-lasting, and add value to a home by giving the backyard a sense of luxury that homeowners find appealing. While the inground pool option has a lot to offer in terms of size, depth, and other customizations, it can come with a hefty price tag. Ultimately the final cost of your pool will depend on the planning and machinery needed to purchase and install the pool that you require. Taking this into account, you can expect to spend above and beyond 20k to get the inground oasis you are looking for. Fortunately, there are three options for inground pools to meet your unique needs and cost requirements:


A fiberglass pool is one of the quickest and most durable types of inground pools you can install and is most popular among pool owners. Because they come ready-made, instead of the 3-6 months you may spend in creating a concrete design, the time frame is 3-6 weeks until you can take the first dip in your new pool. An added bonus is that the fibreglass pools come gel coated and are nearly resistant to staining from algae or mineral scaling; Because of this, they require less maintenance than vinyl or concrete pools, ultimately allowing you to spend more time in the water and less time cleaning it.


A concrete pool will usually have the most time-consuming installation process due to the fact the concrete has to be fully cured before construction can be completed. From start to finish, the entire process can take anywhere from 3-6 months. That being said, concrete pools offer an array of options in terms of design, depth, and size, allowing you to truly design your outdoor oasis. If you are looking for something to fit a unique space, or have dreams of a custom made, one of a kind swimming pool, this option is definitely worth exploring!

Vinyl Liner

Vinyl Liner pools fall in between fiberglass and concrete pools in terms of length of time to install but are generally on the less expensive side of the inground pool dollar scale. Like concrete pools, the vinyl liner option is also customizable, but the liner allows for a smooth non-abrasive surface and offers an easier maintenance regime because of the limited growth of algae that these vinyl pools incur.

Above Ground Pools

Just like inground pools, the above-ground options come with a few different styles to fit differing needs. Installation takes much less time than an inground option, the cost is much lower, and depending on the type of above ground pool you decide on, you can still have the aesthetically pleasing backyard oasis that you have always dreamed of. Here are the different above ground pool options available for your summer swimming needs:


Inflatable pools can be purchased at many different types of stores, and in a variety of sizes to accommodate space and family needs. This style of pool is usually inflatable and provides an excellent option for those who cannot or do not feel comfortable in making alterations to the space in their backyard, but are looking for a means of cooling down in the summer heat. Installation times for inflatable pools usually can be done in a one-day time frame, and can easily be taken down for winter storage.

Traditional Above Ground Pool

Traditional above ground pools can be found in pool specialty stores and are an excellent cost-saving option that are great for all age ranges. They sit on top of the ground, and typically come with a ladder to be used for entering and exiting the water. The pools are built with a steel or aluminum wall, resin or metal posts, a support ledge, vinyl liner and pump and filter system, and can generally be set up within a day or two. While the sizing is not customizable like in-ground options discussed above, the durability is still present; The traditional above ground pools can last anywhere from 15-20 years with proper care and maintenance, are an excellent option for families of all sizes, and can be moved or relocated at any time.

Buried Above Ground Pool

Though similar to the traditional above ground pools, these pools have fully insulated wall panels that stand strong against the ground forces pushing against them. By burying the pool even slightly, and building or extending their deck around the perimeter, the pool gives off an inground feel that homeowners find appealing. Depending on if you want the pool semi-buried or fully buried, installation can take anywhere from 3-5 days as there is more work involved than the traditional option.


Kelly Ebbs and Kerry Millican are your Ottawa real estate professionals at Royal Lepage Team Realty. Whether it is a condo or a family home, we are here to help guide you through the selling process. Together, we can make it happen. Get in touch to get started today!

6 Things To Do Before Settling Into Your New Home

New House

Buying a home is an exciting time for both new home buyers and experienced buyers alike. It is a fresh start, with new walls to build your life within. However, once the move begins, things can feel stressful, frantic, and exhausting, especially if there’s extra work to be done while boxes are being piled one on top of another. To make your transition go smoothly, we have compiled a list of 6 things to do before settling into your home. This will undoubtedly save you time and energy that could be put to better use come moving day.

Update Your Information


Before officially moving into your new home, you should begin updating your address on your driver’s license, OHIP card, banking information, and any other services that require your place of residence on file. Additionally, you will want to inform your insurance providers to ensure that your home insurance is transferred and appropriate for your new home coverage. You will also want to touch base with utility companies before you move so that your home has electricity and gas set up under your accounts. Lastly, have any internet, phone, or television service providers in to get your systems up and running, primarily if you rely on a good connection to work from home. See here for a change of address checklist, to ensure you don’t miss informing anyone.

Make Your New Home Shine

Before the big day comes, set aside some time or hire a company to complete a deep clean of the home. Ensure high-touch surfaces are disinfected, carpets are steam-cleaned, appliances are cleaned out, and that every nook and cranny is spotless and ready for a new life. If the home’s colours aren’t in line with your decor or aesthetic, or you want to rid the home of any lingering smells from pets or smoke, take this time to add a fresh coat of paint to the walls. By the time you move in, it will feel like you were the first family ever to own the home, and the hustle of moving-day will be a breeze.

Make a home maintenance schedule

Home maintenance should never be something you skip on when it comes to homeownership. Keeping a regular schedule will ultimately help you protect your investment, and hopefully, minimize any high-cost repairs you may have to do. You can begin the work for this as early as your home inspection report comes in, as it might contain suggestions for work or repairs that should be completed.

Create and organize a filing system for any manuals or instructions, with clear outlines on how frequently you should have large items or appliances serviced or replaced and when to conduct seasonal maintenance. This is also an excellent opportunity to do your research and find a list of local plumbers, electricians, exterminators, landscapers, or snow removal companies that you may need to use in the future.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors



It is good practice for every homeowner to frequently check both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in good working order. Before moving into your home, checking or replacing existing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or their batteries should be one of the first items to check off your list. Home Safety experts recommend changing the batteries every 6 months, so make sure to mark it on your calendar for semi-annual maintenance to be completed. If you are unsure how to test your systems, your local fire department may have some tips or offer free inspections.

Change Your Locks

Getting keys in hand for your new home on closing day is easily one of the best feelings when buying a new house. Everything is real, and a new adventure is about to begin. But for safety reasons, the passing on of keys should stay ceremonial. You never know how many copies of your house keys have been made and how many people may still have them in hand. This can be an easy fix by installing new deadbolts yourself or by calling a locksmith in to do it for you. Make sure if you get copies made that you only give them to necessary persons, and write them down, so you don’t lose track.

Get Familiar With Your Home

Once you become a homeowner, it is essential to get familiar with the systems in your home. Take the time to understand how everything works. Locate the furnace, air conditioning system, circuit breaker, and the home’s main water shut-off valve. Take note of these things during your walkthrough with your REALTOR ® or home inspector, and once in your home, inspect them yourself or hire someone to do a secondary inspection with you so that you know how best to care for your home and protect your investment.

Kelly Ebbs and Kerry Millican are your Ottawa real estate professionals at Royal Lepage Team Realty. Whether it is a condo or a family home, we are here to help guide you through the selling process. Together, we can make it happen. Get in touch to get started today!

Most Important Things to Repair Before Selling a House


Some normal wear and tear over the years are typical for any house. However, if you are considering selling your house, repairing these small blemishes can make a big difference to the value of your home on the market. So, what is worth fixing? Here is a list of important things to repair before selling your home.


Paint roller brush and a paint container

Updating the paint is one of the most effective ways to transform your home. When picking a new paint colour, keep in mind that it should appeal to most people’s taste. We recommend using light and neutral colours for mass appeal.


Do you have torn or outdated wallpaper in your home? To enhance your home’s style, it is best to upgrade the wallpaper to a modern look. There are many wallpaper brands in the market that offer unique and trendy patterns which are quite easy to install. You can also create an accent wall in a bedroom or in the living area with wallpaper or a bolder choice of paint colour.  


exterior of house

First impressions matter; the exterior condition is critical as it is the first thing that buyers see walking up to your house. Simple things such as replacing missing fence boards, cleaning and organizing clutter, and landscaping the front yard can have your home feeling more welcoming and pleasant.



A spacious and inviting kitchen can be an excellent selling point for the house. However, we do not recommend doing a complete kitchen renovation unless your real estate agent advises so. There are more straightforward ways to update your kitchen, for example:

  • Replace old kitchen countertops.
  • Paint or replace cabinets, especially if they are chipped or stained.
  • Replace kitchen backsplash.
  • Update lighting fixtures to brighten up the room.

We also recommend replacing any appliances that are run down or out of operation. While they do not have to be top-of-the-line, buyers will expect functional kitchen appliances.



A clean and functional bathroom is a necessity if you want your house to sell. If there is any water damage in the bathroom, now is the time to hire a professional to fix it. Some other things to consider are:

  • Make sure that the toilet is running properly, and the faucet is not leaking.
  • Clean up dirty grouts.
  • Replace missing tiles.
  • Remove old wallpaper and replace it with new coats of paint.

We recommend focusing on kitchen and bathroom repairs as they are pricey areas to upgrade, and buyers are likely to put their focus on them.


lighting chandeliers

Clever lighting can make the smallest room look open and inviting. Take some time to analyze the space and find appropriate lighting fixtures to maximize the perception of space. Remember that natural lighting is your best friend, so ditch the heavy drapes and let the sunlight in!


Kelly Ebbs and Kerry Millican are your Ottawa real estate professionals at Royal Lepage Team Realty. Whether it is a condo or a family home, we are here to help guide you through the selling process. Together, we can make it happen. Get in touch to get started today!

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