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Essential Winter Maintenance Tips for Single Family Homes – Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.

With Alberta in the midst of a record winter deep-freeze, as your committed Alberta property management team, we are keenly aware of the discomfort and inconvenience weather can cause, especially during the colder months. The following are some essential tips to help you prevent cold weather related frustrations, with a particular focus on a common winter challenge: ice buildup on fresh air intakes.

Why is Ice Buildup a Problem?

  • Furnace Maintenance Your home’s furnace and hot water tanks play a crucial role in your comfort. They require a consistent flow of fresh air to function efficiently. In the winter months, ice can form around air intakes, blocking this essential airflow. Such obstructions can significantly reduce heating efficiency and, in extreme cases, lead to complete system shutdowns.

Preventive Measures:

  1. Regular Checks

    • Winter Home Care — Regularly inspect the exterior air intakes for ice accumulation, particularly after snowfall or freezing rain and snow-fall events.
  2. Gentle De-icing

    • Safe Home Heating — If ice buildup is observed, carefully remove it. It’s crucial to avoid using sharp objects that could damage the intake vents.  And it may seem like common sense, but you also do not want to pour hot water into the air intakes.  Safety first.  
  3. Keep Vents Clear

    • Efficient Heating Systems Ensure that snow or other debris does not obstruct the vents. Clear pathways can significantly enhance the efficiency of your heating system.
  4. Report Issues Promptly

Bonus Tip: Regularly Change Your Furnace Filters

An often overlooked but crucial aspect of maintaining your heating system in top condition is the regular changing of furnace filters. Dirty or clogged filters can significantly hamper the efficiency of your furnace, leading to higher energy bills and reduced indoor air quality. For residents of single-family homes, we recommend checking your furnace filters at least once a month during the winter season and replacing them as needed. This simple yet effective step not only enhances the performance of your heating system but also contributes to a healthier living environment. Remember, a clean filter means a happier, warmer home! 

Remember, taking these simple steps can greatly contribute to maintaining a warm and comfortable environment in your home during winter. At Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., we prioritize your comfort and safety. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your home remains a cozy haven throughout the colder months.

For any assistance or inquiries, don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team. Stay warm, stay safe, and remember, we’re here to help!


Condominium Living Unleashed: Expert Tips from Emerald Insight’s Summer Edition 2023

The Summer 2023 edition of Emerald Insights in now LIVE!  As a preferred condominium management company located In Calgary, Alberta, Emerald Management & Realty ltd. is dedicated to enriching the condominium living experience and safeguarding the Corporation Corporations entrusted to our care.

Our summer edition is packed with essential procedures and expert tips designed to educate condominium residents about insurance, energy conservation, avoiding unnecessary claims, and preventing costly repairs. Furthermore, we take great pride in fostering robust relationships with stakeholders, to ensure condominium owners and condominium board members have access to top-notch resources.

Enhance Your Condominium Living Experience with Valuable Content

Valuable Content for Informed Living: Our summer edition of Emerald Insight has been met with overwhelming praise from our valued residents. Let’s delve into some of heartwarming feedback we received:

  • Spencer’s Gratitude: Spencer, one of our esteemed residents, expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the informative content. He finds the tips and procedures included in the newsletter to be immensely helpful and practical, with plans to refer back to them multiple times. We are truly gratified to know that our commitment to keeping residents informed is deeply valued.
  • Mike LLB’s Testimonial: Mike LLB, another cherished client, wholeheartedly endorsed the professionalism of Emerald Insight. He considers this publication to be an invaluable resource, offering a wealth of practical information that enhances his living experience.

Such encouraging feedback drives us to continuously deliver high-quality content for the benefit of all our condominium management and property management stakeholders.

 

Ideal Weather Conditions: Your Opportunity for Exterior Work

Seize the Season: As July unfolds into August, our city comes alive with the vibrant spirit of Canada’s birthday and the Calgary Stampede. Not only do these festivities mark the height of summer celebrations, but they also provide the perfect weather conditions for tackling exterior projects. Whether you’re considering investment opportunities, capital improvements, or preventative maintenance, now is the ideal time to act.

Our Proactive Approach to Property Maintenance

Our Proactive Approach to Property Maintenance: At Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., we take great pride in our proactive approach to property maintenance and condominium management services. We encourage residents to seize this opportune time for addressing any preventative maintenance needs. Our expert team is readily available to support you and address any queries regarding your Condominium Corporation. 

Strengthening Relationships: Forging a Community of Informed Residents

We are absolutely delighted with the positive response to our summer edition of Emerald Insight from our valued condominium boards and residents. As we continue to build stronger relationships with stakeholders and provide invaluable resources, we remain steadfast in our commitment to enriching the condominium living experience and fostering a well-maintained community. Should you have any inquiries or wish to take advantage of the summer season for preventative maintenance, please contact the team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. today! Thank you for your unwavering support, watch this space for our team’s delivery of more insightful condominium management content in the future to elevate the condominium lifestyle! 


About Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is a leading condominium management company dedicated to providing exceptional property management services to its property management community for 50 years. With a commitment to enriching the condominium living experience, we go the extra mile to safeguard the Corporation and ensure residents’ satisfaction. Our proactive approach to property maintenance empowers residents to make the most out of their investment, whether through valuable tips on insurance, energy conservation, or preventing costly repairs. As a trusted partner, we take pride in forging strong relationships with stakeholders, including our master insurance program partners, to deliver well-organized, practical resources like the informative Emerald Insight newsletter. With a team of experts and a focus on community engagement, we are here to support and elevate your living experience at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.


Managing Insurance Costs for Investment Properties: Tips for Positioning Your Property in the Face of Rising Premiums

As the Canadian real estate market continues to evolve, so does the importance of insurance for property owners, condominium boards, and managers. The insurance market has undergone significant changes in the past couple of years, which continues to have a significant impact on the real estate industry.

Current Insurance Market Conditions

The insurance market in Canada is facing a number of challenges, which have led to significant increases in premiums for property owners, condominium boards, and property managers. These challenges include an increase in natural disasters globally and in Canada, such as wildfires and floods, as well as an increase in claims related to water damage, mold, and asbestos. In addition, the insurance industry is also facing increased costs related to reinsurance, which is insurance that insurance companies purchase to protect themselves from large losses.

These challenges continue to present as a hardening of the insurance market, which means that insurance companies are becoming more selective about the risks and the types of investment properties they are willing to insure. As a result, property owners, condominium boards, and managers are finding it more difficult to obtain insurance coverage, and premiums are increasing significantly.

Challenges for the Industry

Natural Disasters — One of the biggest challenges facing the insurance industry is the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters. In recent years, Canada has experienced several catastrophic events, such as: the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016 and the flooding in Ontario and Quebec in 2019. These events have led to significant losses for insurance companies and have made it more difficult for them to offer coverage in high-risk areas.

Reinsurance — Another challenge for the industry is the increasing costs of reinsurance. Reinsurance is becoming more expensive as insurance companies are facing more significant losses from natural disasters and other catastrophic events. As a result, insurance companies are passing these costs onto property owners and managers in the form of higher premiums.

Inflation — Inflation is also having a significant impact on the real estate insurance market. Inflation refers to the general increase in prices of goods and services over time, which can lead to a decrease in the purchasing power of money. As inflation has increased, the cost of repairing or rebuilding damaged property also increases, which is another challenged directly impacting the cost of insurance. This is because insurance companies must pay out more money to cover the increased costs of materials and labor associated with repairs and rebuilding. As a result, insurance premiums tend to increase in response to inflation.

In addition, inflation and current market conditions are also impacting the value of property. As the cost of goods and services increases, the value of property may also increase. This can lead to higher property values and replacement costs, which can further increase insurance premiums. Furthermore, inflation can also impact the investment potential of real estate. As inflation increases, the value of money decreases, which can make real estate investments more attractive as a hedge against inflation. This increased demand for real estate can also impact the insurance market, as insurers may face increased competition for coverage in certain areas.

Rising market values — As highlighted by the impact of inflation, the market value of real estate investment properties and condominium corporations is also impacting the cost of insurance in several ways.  In this current climate, as the market value of a property increases, so does its replacement cost, which is the amount of money required to rebuild or replace the property in the event of a loss. As a result, insurance companies may charge higher premiums to cover the increased replacement cost of the property.  The market value of real estate investment properties can impact the cost of insurance in several ways, including replacement cost, location, property characteristics, type of property, and market conditions.

Secondly, the location and characteristics of the property can also impact the cost of insurance. For example, if a property is in an area with a higher risk of natural disasters or crime, the insurance premiums may be higher.   Similarly, if a property has certain features that increase the risk of loss, such as an outdated electrical system or a lack of fire safety measures, the insurance premiums may also be higher. 

Thirdly, the type of real estate investment property or condominium property can impact the cost of insurance. For example, a multi-unit residential building may have higher insurance premiums than a single-family home due to the increased risk of liability claims and the need for additional coverage. 

According to a recent articles on their websites, Lloyd Sadd, BFL and HUB International recommend that investment property owners should prepare for continued increases in insurance premiums in 2023 due to ongoing challenges in the insurance market. They note that increased claims related to natural disasters and other events are driving up insurance costs, and that insurance companies are becoming more selective about the risks they are willing to insure.

Overall, all these challenges are impacting the cost of insurance for real estate investment properties and condominium corporations.  This is further impacted with the decreased competition and appetite by insurers to provide coverage and capacity.  Combined, these challenges continue to have a significant impact on the real estate insurance market by increasing the cost of insurance premiums and impacting the value of property. Property owners should be aware of the potential impact of inflation on the insurance market and work with experienced insurance brokers to navigate these challenges.

Future Forecasts

Insurance companies are predicting that the challenges facing the industry will continue in the coming years. In a recent report, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) stated that climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters, which will lead to higher insurance costs for property owners and managers. The IBC also noted that insurance companies are likely to become more selective about the risks they are willing to insure, which will make it more difficult for some property owners to obtain coverage.

In addition, the IBC noted that insurance companies are likely to continue to increase premiums to offset the increasing costs of reinsurance. This could lead to significant increases in premiums for property owners and managers in the coming years.

Tips to Manage the Impact

Despite past indications from Insurers that the market is softening, the insurance market in Canada continues to face significant challenges, which are having a significant impact on the real estate industry.

Property owners and managers are finding it more difficult to obtain insurance coverage, and premiums are increasing significantly. Insurance companies are predicting that these challenges will continue in the coming years, which means that property owners and managers will need to be prepared for higher insurance costs.

There are several tips an investment property owner can do to position their property and help minimize the impact of increased insurance premiums:

  1. Implement Risk Mitigation Strategies: Property owners should implement risk mitigation strategies to reduce the likelihood of claims. This may include regular maintenance of the property, inspection programs, implementing preventative maintenance strategies and starting to accrue for the replacement of depreciating capital items (i.e.) roofs, electrical, plumbing related items, etc., Education of tenants and residents is also key.  Especially around the importance of tenant insurance and ensuring that tenants are aware of emergency procedures.
  2. Build relationships: It’s important to build relationships with your insurance broker to understand what the Insurers are doing and how best to position your property for the best coverage at the best rates.
  3. Increase Deductibles: Increasing deductibles can lower insurance premiums. Property owners should consider increasing their deductibles to offset the impact of increased premiums. Gone are the days of using your insurance policy as a bank.  Property insurance isn’t a right and management of claims needs to be considered on how it could impact future coverages.
  4. Invest in Property Upgrades: Upgrading the property can reduce the risk of claims and lower insurance premiums. For example, upgrading plumbing and electrical systems can reduce the likelihood of water damage and fire damage, respectively.  Reviewing the useful life of items in the property is important.  Re-investment into the property pays off from an insurance perspective as it helps to reduce the risk of claims, as well as preserves and improves the equity in your real estate asset. 
  5. Consult with a Professional: It’s important for property owners to consult with a professional, such as an insurance broker or real estate lawyer, or property management company to understand their insurance options and legal obligations. A professional can help property owners navigate the insurance market and ensure they have adequate coverage at a fair price.

By implementing these strategies and taking proactive steps to mitigate risks, investment property owners can position their property to help minimize the impact of increased insurance premiums and reduce their overall insurance costs.

Commitment to Navigating the Challenges of the Insurance Market

As a property management company locally owned and operated out of Calgary, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is committed to helping their clients navigate the challenges of the insurance market and find the best coverage options at the best price. They understand the impact that rising premiums and reduced coverage options can have on investment property owners and condominium boards and are working to stay up to date on the latest market conditions and trends.

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. has developed strong relationships over its 50-year history in the property management industry and remains committed to building relationships with experienced insurance brokers who have a deep understanding of the insurance market and can help clients find the coverage they need at a fair price. They are also working closely with their clients to develop risk management and loss prevention strategies, and are re-looking at ways to improve on inspections, education of residents in areas such as regular maintenance and upgrades, to mitigate risk and reduce insurance costs.

The team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., is proud of their master insurance program that has been customized for the properties under management.  With 50 years of property management service, they continue to leverage their buying power and proven track record to obtain best in class preferred rates and robust coverage for valued clients and property owners.  As highlighted in 2021 and 2022, the insurance market continues to be incredibly challenging for the real estate sector.  Emerald’s focus in 2023 remains on advocating for low corporate rates, reasonable deductible levels, and prompt claims management in the event of an approved claim. A large part of their process includes our focus on achieving stability and retaining loyal insurers for our stakeholders on our program.

By staying informed about the changing market conditions and working proactively to manage risk and reduce costs, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is helping their clients position their properties for success in the face of the challenges of the insurance market. They are committed to providing the highest level of service and support to their clients and helping them achieve their investment goals.  To learn more about how Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can help you achieve your investment goals and outcomes in this current insurance market, contact their team today!

Additional Resources

Looking for more resources on the topic of insurance market conditions and additional insights on the impact on the real estate market as well as strategies for managing rising insurance costs, visit:

  1. “Real Estate Insights” by Lloyd Sadd Navacord Insurance Brokers
  2. “Insurance Services Market Insights 2023 by BFL Canda
  3. “The Hardening Insurance Market: What You Need to Know” by HUB International. 
  4. “How the Hardening Insurance Market is Affecting Real Estate” by Insurance Business Canada
  5. “The Insurance Market and Its Impact on Real Estate Investment” by National Real Estate Investor
  6. “Insurance Market Hardening, Rising Rates Impact Real Estate” by GlobeSt.

Take Safety Home

Complacency is often a contributing factor with injuries or an insurance loss in the home.  With remote working for many still in effect, staycations continue to be in vogue, and school age children are now out for summer … great time to review your home for risk on often over looked items relating to appliance safety.    

 

 

Cooking fires are still a leading cause of household fires.  If at any time you use a cooking appliance make sure the area is clean and clutter free.  Always ensure appliances are turned off and never leave your stove unattended while in use. 

 

 

 

 

Microwave Safety Rules

Most injuries related to microwaves are the result of  improper use or heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids. Safety tips:

  • Never leave food unattended when cooking
  • Check containers for microwave safety symbols (look on the bottom)
  • Do not use metal or shiny objects in a microwave as they can spark and start fires
  • Use oven mitts to remove hot food food
  • Prevent steam burns by removing lids slowly and carefully

Stovetop and Oven Safety Rules

Without sounding like a broken record  … can’t repeat this one enough … never leave your stove unattended while in use.   Safety tips:

  • Use the back burners on a stove whenever possible
  • Turn pot handles towards the centre of the stove to avoid them being knocked while walking by or grabbed by a younger child
  • Avoid loose sleeves or roll up your sleeves while cooking
  • If a window is nearby, secure the window covering (especially if the window is open and the fabric could blow over the flame/heat)
  • Keep burners free from debris and shut off your stovetop or oven as soon as you are done cooking

Toaster Safety Rules

A toaster is another essential item in most kitchens, but like most electrical gadgets they pose a risk if used incorrectly.  Safety tips:

  • Never stick anything (especially a metal something) into the toaster.  This will help you avoid an electrical shock that could seriously harm you.
  • Clean the crumb tray after each use to prevent a fire
  • If you notice an odd smell or any sparking, unplug the toaster immediately and contact the manufacturer.  Do not use it again until it has been repaired. 
  • Always store the toaster away from the sink or any liquids that could spill on it to avoid an electric shock

Sometimes, appliance fires and appliance related injuries are caused simply by something beyond your control. 

Smoke alarms and heat detectors are essential in keeping you safe by raising the alarm in the event of a fire.

 

There should be a minimum of one alarm/detector per floor and cover all areas where a fire could start AND your sleeping areas. 

In a larger rental home or single family house, put smoke alarms in the hallways that lead to each bedroom. On floors without bedrooms, install the smoke alarm in or near each living area such as dens, living and family rooms. Put a smoke alarm on the ceiling at the bottom of any staircase leading to upper floors.

For more Fire Safety Tips …. visit Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s Fire Safety Blog Category!

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is a family owned and operated Property Management Company & Condominium Management company located in Calgary with 50 years of experience. Emerald provide a myriad of management and rental property services for tenants, property owners, homeowner associations, and condominium corporations.  Contact Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. today!  We’d love to show you why we are one of the most respected names in Calgary’s real estate industry