How to Remove Pet Stains and Odors
Accidents happen; here's how to clean up and eliminate the smell.
You know how it goes: Your pet decides that your new carpet's the perfect place to relieve himself. Or perhaps you walk into your bedroom and catch a whiff of something like ammonia, or worse.
You're struck with visions of cleaning and cleaning but never getting rid of the stain and smell. And even if you do manage a thorough clean-up, you worry that your pet has developed a new bathroom habit that will be impossible to break. Don't despair— here are some helping hints…
Follow a master plan
First, determine which areas are soiled. Then clean those areas completely. As long as your pet can smell his personal scent, he'll continue to return to the "accident zone." And even if you can't smell traces of urine, your pet can, so you must be sure to remove (neutralize) that odor—this means following all the recommended cleaning steps. If you fail to completely clean the area, your re-training efforts will be useless. Once it's clean, make the accident zone unattractive and/or unavailable to your pet and the appropriate "bathroom" area attractive.
Have your pet checked out by a veterinarian to rule out medical causes for the accident. When you are certain your pet is healthy, use positive reinforcement to re-train your cat or dog (or train your kitten or puppy) to eliminate in the proper place.
How to find the soiled area
This may seem obvious, but in some cases the spot will have dried and could be hard to locate.
Use your nose to sniff out soiled areas. Examine the suspect area closely to catch hard-to-find soiling. You might want to use a black light (which you can purchase at a home-supply store) to discover even old urine stains.
How to clean machine-washable items
Machine wash as usual, adding a one-pound box of baking soda to your regular detergent. It's best to air dry these items if possible. If you can still see the stain or smell the urine, machine wash the item again and add an enzymatic cleaner (available at pet supply stores) that breaks down pet-waste odors. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions carefully. If your pet urinates or defecates on the sheets or blankets on a bed, then cover the bed with a vinyl, flannel-backed tablecloth when you begin the re-training period. It's machine washable, inexpensive and unattractive to your pet.
How to clean carpeted areas and upholstery
For "new" stains (those that are still wet):
Soak up as much of the urine as possible with a combination of newspaper and paper towels. The more fresh urine you can remove before it dries, especially from carpet, the easier it will be to remove the odor. Place a thick layer of paper towels on the wet spot, and cover that with a thick layer of newspaper. If possible, put newspaper under the soiled area as well. Stand on this padding for about a minute. Remove the padding, and repeat the process until the area is barely damp. If possible, put the fresh, urine-soaked paper towel in the area where it belongs—your cat's litter box or your dog's designated outdoor "bathroom area." This will help remind your pet that eliminating isn't a "bad" behavior as long as it's done in the right place. Rinse the "accident zone" thoroughly with clean, cool water. After rinsing, remove as much of the water as possible by blotting or by using a wet vac.
For stains that have already set:
Consider renting an extractor or wet vac to remove all traces of heavy stains in carpeting (get one from a local hardware store). This machine works much like a vacuum cleaner and is efficient and economical. Extracting/wet vac machines do the best job of forcing clean water through your carpet and then forcing the dirty water back out. Don't use any chemicals with these machines; they work much better with plain water. Use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer once the area is really clean (available at pet supply stores).
Things to Avoid
Avoid using steam cleaners to clean urine odors from carpet or upholstery. The heat will permanently set the stain and the odor by bonding the protein into any man-made fibers. Avoid using cleaning chemicals, especially those with strong odors such as ammonia or vinegar. From your pet's perspective, these don't effectively eliminate or cover the urine odor and may actually encourage your pet to reinforce the urine scent mark in that area. Neutralizing cleaners won't work until you've rinsed every trace of the old cleaner from the carpet if you've previously used cleaners or chemicals of any kind on the area. Even if you haven't used chemicals recently, any trace of a non-protein-based substance will weaken the effect of the enzymatic cleaner. The cleaner will use up its "energy" on the old cleaners, instead of on the protein stains you want removed. Your job will be more difficult if urine has soaked down into the padding underneath your carpet. In some cases, you may need to take the drastic step of removing and replacing that portion of the carpet and padding.
New Kitchen? Here Are Some Great Ideas To Getting It Stocked!
When moving into your first home, the kitchen is always the hardest room to unpack, organize and stock with all those things you need for cooking, baking and entertaining. In many cases, every time folks pack their kitchen, they seem to have to make a new list of things they need, often leaving behind smaller items such as spices, flour, sugar and other pantry items.
But before we go any further, note that some companies are making it easier for people on a budget and first time “on their own” home owners, by creating starter kits that will suit most needs and budgets.
IKEA, Linens and Things etc
IKEA, Linens and Things etc have great kitchen starter packages. There is a large selection of such starter kits for kitchens from the ordinary to the extravagant. Many can be purchased online and shipped right to your front door.
Dollar Stores / Discount Store
The Dollar Store is an absolutely great place to find some of the smaller kitchen items on your list. They usually have bowls, utensils, small pots, plates and other dishware. It's a great place to purchase cleaner, garbage bags and other smaller items.
If you're on a tight budget, check out your local thrift store for kitchenware, especially if you're just starting out and really only need a few of each item, such as two plates, two cups, two forks, etc...
List of Items You’ll Need (some not right away)
How to Get Rid of the Smell of Cigarette Smoke
So you've moved into the perfect home but there's just one problem…the previous residents were smokers and your new home smells of cigarette smoke. This is not an easy problem to fix, but with time, patience and a lot of hard work, you'll be smelling sweet, clean air again. It's important to understand that while air and fabric fresheners cover the smell of smoke, they won't get rid of it - they simply mask it for a while. The smell will always come back.
Clean the Air: Fresh air is your friend so open all windows. Get as much fresh air into your home as possible. While this won't get rid of the smell, it'll help. Also, set bowls of white vinegar around your home, at least one per room (depending on the room size). If you have an air purifier or can borrow one or two from friends, this is a great way to decrease smoke smell. It takes time for the air to become clean, so I suggest keeping the purifier in the room you use the most.
Clean Walls and Ceilings: When it comes to smells cleaning the entire home is key. It's important to know that ceilings are the worst culprits for retaining smoke. Many people make the mistake of cleaning just the walls of their home, thinking that will be enough. But it's probably more important to thoroughly clean the ceilings, too.
Use cleaning products that contain ammonia and glycol - key ingredients for neutralizing the smell. Just be aware that these are harsh chemicals so you need to keep pets and small children out of the room you're working on.
After cleaning thoroughly and letting surfaces dry, smell the walls. Can you still smell cigarette smoke? If you can't - great! But make sure you keep checking after a day or two; the smell of the cleaner may be masking the smoke. If you can still smell smoke, you should consider repainting the walls and ceilings. A sealant may have to be applied to the walls and ceilings first before repainting to prevent smells from seeping through your new paint job.
Clean Carpets: Carpets are responsible for retaining a lot of the smell. If you have carpet in your home, first try to clean it yourself. Use a strong rug cleaner. Make sure you spread the product generously around the room, getting into corners and covering floor edges. Follow the instructions, leaving the product on for the maximum time allotted. Vacuum thoroughly. Let the carpet dry, then do a smell test. If you can still smell smoke in the carpet, you may need to hire professionals to do a deep cleaning. Call some professional companies for quotes, letting them know that you need to get rid of smoke. In the end, paying someone to get rid of the smell in your carpets is a good investment.
Clean Floors and Doors: For wood floors and doors, make sure you use cleaner that is wood-friendly. Mop the floor thoroughly, making sure you change the water regularly. If necessary, you may need to hand-scrub corners and floor edges. I also recommend cleaning the baseboards and door frames as well.
Clean Drapes and Blinds: Remove all drapes and blinds. Drapes may need to be dry-cleaned. If so, make sure you tell the dry-cleaner about the smoke smell and that it needs to be removed. If your drapes can be washed, wash them in hot water (if possible). Add some vinegar to the wash water - vinegar is a great neutralizer and natural cleaner. Use one cup vinegar per full load. Just make sure you add the vinegar to the water before placing drapes into washer. Vinegar is a natural bleach and will fade colors so you should never let fabrics sit for a long time in vinegar and water.
To clean non-fabric or non-wooden blinds, place the blinds in the bathtub. Fill the bathtub with hot water and a cup of vinegar. Let blinds soak in the tub for 15 minutes then scrub them using a fine scrub brush. Hang blinds to dry.
Clean Windows and Mirrors: Clean windows and mirrors using vinegar and water. Make sure you clean into corners, and while you're there, clean the sills and window frames, too.
Before you know it, all will be fresh as a daisy!
Buying a Home in Winter…Can You Say Leverage?
As we know, moving and real estate often go hand in hand, and though we'd like to dictate when we move and when we buy a house, very often other circumstances can emerge and force us to sell, buy and move any time of year.
Having to buy a house in the winter is not the worst thing that can happen. In fact, here are some advantages that show how you could benefit from house hunting in the winter.
Fewer Buyers to Compete With
The most obvious plus of buying and moving in winter is exactly because real estate wisdom says to shop spring and summer.
As a result of this popular piece of real estate advice, there will be fewer buyers in competition during the winter months…the low demand will work in your favor. So for the investor looking to find a good deal in the housing market, the winter can be prime time.
Prices are Lower
When you have fewer buyers in the market, supply exceeds demand. This usually results in prices being lower than during the hot or peak season.
Sellers are Motivated
All the low activity in the winter will result in sellers being far more motivated to sell. Real estate agents know that the slow winter months are when sellers are more willing to negotiate, whether it is on selling price, closing costs, closing date or even terms of the sale, including what household appliances and items are included in the sale.
Furthermore, there may be other circumstances at play with the seller which could work to a buyer’s advantage including a winter job offer/move or perhaps personal issues that are dictating his/her actions - financial issues, divorce, etc.
Fewer Chances That There Will Be Multiple Offers on the House You Want
Another reason that winter can result in a buyer's market is that the fewer number of buyers competing for homes means that the chances of there being multiple offers on a single property are greatly reduced.
So brave the cold, pull on a winter coat, and get house hunting!
House over $500,000? New downpayment rules in February.
On February 15, 2016, minimum downpayment rules are changing in Canada – for homes worth more than $500,000. The change is straightforward: for any portion of the house price over $500,000, buyers will need to provide 10% downpayment for an insured mortgage. The minimum downpayment for the first $500,000 will remain unchanged at 5%.
How much difference could it make? Here’s a simple example:
Right now, you could get a mortgage for a $750,000 home with a downpayment of $37,500: a simple 5% of $750,000. Once the new rules kick in next month, you’ll need $50,000 downpayment for the same house: 5% for the first $500,000 ($25,000), plus 10% for the $250,000 over the limit (another $25,000).
The change was announced in mid-December by the new Liberal Finance Minister, Bill Morneau. While most Canadian homebuyers will be unaffected, the move is designed to protect Canadian homeowners by ensuring a stronger equity footing in their homes.
You will need a mortgage approval before February 15 to qualify under the 5% rule, and your purchase must also close before July 1, 2016.
The Emotional Side of Selling
Let’s face it. Selling your home is as much an emotional decision as it is a practical one.
Sure, in some ways, a property is a “product”. You want to sell that product quickly and for the best price, so you can buy your next dream home.
A home, however, is also a place filled with memories and emotional attachments. You’ll think of the rec room where the kids’ birthday parties were held; the dining room where you had countless family dinners; and the backyard deck where many afternoons were spent enjoying the sunshine.
That’s why managing the emotional side of selling your home is so important. Here are some tips:
Want more ideas for making your next move go smoothly? Call today.
What To Do When Closing Dates Don’t Match
If you want to sell your current property and purchase your next dream home, you might be concerned that the closing dates need to be on the same day.
You might be worried about losing a property if the closing dates overlap, or being put out on the street if the dates are far apart!
For the most part, these concerns are unfounded. Thousands of properties change hands every day and usually everything works out just fine. In fact, it’s amazing how often closing dates actually do match!
But what happens if the closing date of the home you want to buy is days or weeks earlier than the closing date of your own property?
Most lenders anticipate this situation and offer something called “Bridge Financing.” This is a special loan that allows you to purchase the property with the earlier closing date. When your current property closes, the bridge financing ends and your new mortgage – if you need one – begins on the new home.
Alternatively, if the home you want has a later closing date, your REALTOR® can help you explore options, such as finding a short-term rental.
Finding the Right Professionals
If you’re considering buying a new home, one of your most important tasks is to find the right professionals to help you. You’ll need a good REALTOR® and possibly other professionals such as a real estate lawyer, contractor, cleaner, carpet installer, plumber, electrician and a moving company.
How do you find the right people to make your move go smoothly?
First, start with professionals you already know in some way.
You may already know someone – a contractor, for example – that you like and trust. If so, then it makes sense to talk to him or her about your plans.
Also, consider those professionals who have taken the time to reach out to you by way of a visit, phone call or helpful newsletters (like this one). They’re demonstrating their interest in getting to know you and being of service. It makes sense to give them a call.
Another tactic is to ask for recommendations. Ask friends, neighbours, and even other professionals if they can recommend a good company to help you. Chances are, they can.
You’ll find that most professionals, such as REALTORS®, have a network of trusted people and companies they recommend. A good REALTOR® can probably give you all kinds of real estate related referrals.
If you need a recommendation, please call today.
Celebrating 14+ years of real estate sales excellence in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Over 450 Properties Sold Valued At 139 Million Dollars+.
Manage Real Estate Assets Valued At 6 million Dollars+
Year After Year Of Award Winning Service
Fueled by breakthrough thinking, Chris brings creativity and innovation to the HRM real estate marketplace. Clients value his out-of-the-box solutions, strategic suggestions, meticulous organization, infectious energy and ability to tactfully action their wants and needs. Knowledgeable, approachable, attentive, honest, empathetic and fair, Chris’ solutions-oriented selling approach is highly regarded by clients. They repay his loyalty with loyalty of their own.
- About Chris Ryan And Royal LePage Atlantic - Resume - Awards
- Alternative Financing Options
- Project Management
- Fees and Options
- Armed Forces
- National REALTOR® Referral Service
- Property Management Services
- Listings - For Sale & For Rent
- Royal LePage TV
- Client Concierge
- Blog and Newsletters
- Community Links
- Contact Chris