Here at the D. W. Howard Realty real estate office in Ridgeway, Ontario, we are in the middle of a real blast of Ontario Canada winter. Here are some ways you can make your Ontario Canada home as energy-efficient as possible, so you can save money on your winter utility bills.

There are many ways to save on your winter utility bills!

– Replace siding on your home. You retain more heat if the seal on your home is tightened up. Look for and rapair holes and damages in your existing siding which could be causing air (and money) to leak out of your home.

– Add insulation. It prevents hot air (or cool air in summertime!) from escaping the house, like a down-filled jacket. If you have an older home, it may have lower quality insulation than what’s on the market now. The 2 most popular types are fiberglass batt insulation (less espensive), and spray foam insulation (more expensive but denser). Spray foam insulation is blown in from holes drilled into your walls (from inside or outside.)

– Replace windows. Even when windows are closed, they can allow quite a bit of air flow if they are older, single pain or in poor condition. Wood frame windows can expend & contract with weather changes, so are more subject to cracking & leaking. New windows are usually double paned and have a heat-resistant gas in between the 2 panes. There is also a UV film option to block sunlight, to help your home stay cooler in summer.

– Repair or replace HVAC system. Heating (or cooling) usually makes up half of a homeowner’s utility bill. Older systems just won’t run as efficiently as newer systems, since the technology is so much more advanced now. If buying a whole new system is out of the question, ensure that your air filters are clean to maximize efficiency and longevity. Furnaces can also be installed on a rental basis, much like a hot water tank.

– Consider heated flooring! Luxurious and cozy, radiant heating systems can also be a great investment in energy savings. Yes the entire floor would have to be replaced, but radiant heating can be placed under tile or hardwood. Heat is disperesed evenly across the floor, making it more efficient than a vent in just one corner of a room. With this type of heating, each room has its own heating controls, so you’re only paying to heat the rooms that you’re using.

Click here for more ideas on how to reduce winter utility bills.


These improvements to your home will also impress a potential buyer, helping your home sell faster and for more money. Click here for more ideas on preparing your house to put on the market.  Contact D. W. Howard Realty now for an Opinion of Value report of what your Niagara Falls homes, Ridgeway homes, Fort Erie homes, or Port Colborne Ontario home might sell for.

Whether buying or selling, you need local knowledge and expertise. Contact D. W. Howard Realty now to chat about the current market situation and 2013 forecast for Niagara Falls homes, Fort Erie real estate, Ridgeway homes, Crystal Beach homes, Port Colborne homes, and Lake Erie waterfront homes.

Canada’s national average home prices fell 0.4%  from November to December 2012. Year-by-year price increases were the lowest in 3 years.Fort Erie Homes

Prices dropped in 8 of the 11 metropolitan markets surveyed. 3 cities (Hamilton, Victoria and Quebec City) saw prices rise.

A report from the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index shows that Canadian housing market activity has been steadily slowing since mid-2012. Will the market crash, or have a soft landing? Only time will tell.  We avoided a meltdown like the US suffered in 2009, thanks to our conservative lending standards.

Interest rates remain ultra-low. Despite low interest rates, in July 2012, the Canadian government tightened mortgage lending rules to make it harder for home buyers to accumulate too much debt, thus slowing down the market. This was in an effort to slow Canada’s red-hot housing market to avoid a crash later.  This was the 4th such government move in the last 4 years.

We can’t overstate the importance of having an experienced Realtor assist you locally. They should be aware of national issues and trends, but be alert to what’s happening in the local market. Niagara River or Lake Erie waterfront homes appeal to a different buyer, and their values don’t necessarily follow the rises and falls of urban residential real estate. In Fort Erie, the current economic situation is quite different from Niagara Falls. Let D. W. Howard Realty be your source for all your South Niagara real estate needs.

Click here for tips on preparing your house for sale.

Jarrett James, Broker, of  D. W. Howard Realty will host an open house at 3636 Bowen Road, Fort Erie,  this Sunday January 27th, 2013, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.


A loophole allows construction of monster-tall houses in Fort Erie, since the Town of Fort Erie housing bylaw defines the height of a Fort Erie house as 2 storeys, rather than a measurement defined in feet or meters.  Most municipalities in the Niagara Ontario region restrict home height to a certain footage, not storeys, and Fort Erie ON may soon follow suit.

Large Lake Erie Homes For SaleAn average two-storey house is 26 feet.  The Town of Fort Erie recently received an application to build a house that was to be a towering 60 feet tall! Because it was still technically only 2 storeys, it would be within the height allowance even though it would be outrageously taller than all of surrounding homes. The height would allow the resident to have a view of the river over top of the neighbouring homes.

The Town of Fort Erie has a height restriction on garages and other attached structures, but not the size of the house.

If you want to build the impressive Lake Erie-view or Niagara River-view tower you’ve been dreaming of, you’d better do it soon, since the Town of Fort Erie is now trying to remedy this with a zoning bylaw removing the notion of ‘storeys.’

Contact D. W. Howard Realty now to discuss building new homes in Fort Erie, Crystal Beach, or Ridgeway Ontario.

Unique South Niagara Homes For Sale

An introduction to the incredible homes & beaches of Crystal Beach, Ontario Canada brought to you by D. W. Howard Realty Ltd. Brokerage  Ridgeway ON 905-894-1703

Click here to read more about Crystal Beach Ontario, and why it’s a great place to consider for your summer cottage or year-round home!

We are about mid-way through winter, and although we at D. W. Howard Realty in Ridgeway ON have been blessed with a mild winter for the most part,  we are always trying to find ways to be more “green” as well as save money on your heating bills.

Updating drafty old windows and doors can bring a huge pay off with lower energy bills, and would bring the biggest return on investment which you will see in your heating and cooling bills.

New windows & doors also improves your home by adding enormous curb appeal to buyers, helping your  home sell faster and for more money. Click here for more tips on preparing your house for sale. If you stay in your home, an added bonus is lower maintenance. New windows feature low maintenance cladding, and easier cleaning with tilt features allowing you to clean them from inside your house.

Having your furnace and fireplace serviced is another great way to ensure your energy bills are as low as you can get them.  Replacing a clunky old furnace to a new, energy-efficient one can more than pay for itself over the years, and will make your house more appealing to buyers if you do decide to sell. Click here for tips on how to downsize.

Had enough of winter altogether and want to get out? Contact D. W. Howard Realty now to speak with an agent about selling your Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Ridgeway, or Crystal Beach homes.

Jan 17, 2013

Downsizing Your House

Many people come through our D. W. Howard Realty real estate sales office that have had enough of accumulating and storing years & years worth of STUFF, and are looking to downsize.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare to downsize for a move to a smaller home and simpler life:

It’s a good feeling to simplify your life! If it’s time for you to downsize, a good place to start is with larger pieces of furniture. A good way to get rid of older furniture is by selling them on Kijiji or Craigslist, or by placing an ad in your local newspaper. Make sure you take clear photos, and be prepared to negotiate with potential buyers. Another great way to lighten your load of extra household items is to contact local thrift stores or support agencies that might need donations. Donations are tax deductible. Garage sales can also be a fun way to clear out unwanted items. Place ads in local newspapers, on community boards, and online. Click here to read more about preparing your house to sell.

As you consider downsizing, think carefully about your plans and true needs.  Is a main floor master bedroom preferable for you? Is gardening your passion or a dreaded chore? Is proximity to family and friends a priority? Do you like to be close to shopping, or do you like to go for a drive?

As you sort through old items and pack, you are sure to come across old photos, furniture and other items you may not want right now but your children might. You might be able to give some items a new look with a fresh coat of paint, and use them to decorate your new home.

See related article: Preparing your dog for a move

Contact D. W. Howard Realty now for assistance with your real estate needs, and find out why Fort Erie homes, Crystal Beach waterfront homes, Niagara Falls homes, and Port Colborne homes are great places to downsize to!!

D. W. Howard Realty is RECO registered and ready to serve you with your real estate needs!

But what is RECO, and how can they help you?


– The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is a not-for-profit corporation responsible for administering the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 and associated regulations that protect the public, keeping the marketplace safe, fair and informed.

– RECO makes sure your deposit is protected: Real estate professionals must participate in RECO’s insurance program.

– RECO sets the education requirements for real estate professionals

– RECO investigates complaints. To submit a complaint for consideration, RECO provides complaint forms on their website, which also tells you the steps they take to process the complaint.

– You can search a potential agent to see if they’ve ever had any charges or convictions against them.


Click here to meet the agents at D. W. Howard Realty

Fort Erie and Niagara Falls real estate agents

Related article: How to choose a real estate agent

D. W. Howard Realty wants to help provide you with the information you need before you buy that special Ridgeway home, Niagara Falls home, or Fort Erie home that you’ve been dreaming of.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has a tool to help navigate the financial complexities of buying a home. The Homebuyers’ Road Map is available on CREA’s website by clicking on the “Buying or Selling” tab. The Homebuyers’ Road Map gives buyers the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions about probably the largest purchase they will ever make.

Recent CREA research indicated that the majority of young Canadians and first-time homebuyers are craving more information on the financial details required to purchase a home.

We at D. W. Howard Realty would love to help you understand the financial requirements of buying a house, and can offer insight or referrals in just about every aspect of your real estate transaction. Contact D. W. Howard Realty now.

Related: Click here to find out about the advantages of using an agent for your real estate deal.

Robbie Burns Day

Sunday January 27th, 2013
4:00 p.m. – ?

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 230 Ridgeway ON

$10.00 per person

Dinner includes: Haggis, Scotch eggs, Meat Pies, Mushy Peas, etc.
Special Performance by the students of Audrey Wilson School of Highland Dance

For details call 905-894-5927

Robbie Burns 2013

Let D. W. Howard Realty be your source for Ridgeway news, and allow us to share more great reasons to move to the charms of our beautiful small town.

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