Home Improvement

Protect Your Home Against Break-Ins

Our homes are our most valuable possessions. We do everything we can to keep them safe and sound. Yet, we all hear local news stories about residential break-ins, where thieves would steal jewelry, cash, silverware, laptops, expensive electronics, etc. Sometimes even in broad daylight! It’s not a pleasant sight, to see your home was broken into, and your valuables gone. What’s even more troubling is homeowners not doing enough to prevent it.

Protect your home from break-ins
Protect your home from break-ins

In this post, we’ll go over some most common home security options and a few general tips to help deter the thieves, and keep your home safe and secure.

  1. Get a home alarm system – this is essential protection that will thieves away or at get them caught. You can either get a professional company to come out, evaluate your needs and setup a home security system, that can be monitored live. Alternatively there are home security systems such as Nest that can be setup easily and would save you thousands.
  2. Cover windows so that nobody can pry in and see what you have inside. Plus it gives you privacy. You’d be surprised how much you can see into people’s homes from outside on a dark night if their windows aren’t covered.
  3. Lock all doors and windows, garages, sliding doors and sliding windows too. Make sure to use the door stopper if you have one. For sliding doors you should definitely have one. Of course, all your doors and windows should be in good condition.
  4. Don’t keep keys under floor mats or flowers pots. Thieves will look there first. So that’s not a good idea to put anything there.
  5. Lock your jewelry, expensive stuff and valuables in a home safe or in a bank’s safety deposit box. Just don’t let it sit around your bedroom. If someone gets in, that’s the first place they’ll go look.
  6. Don’t post your travel plans on social media accounts (eg. check-ins, pictures of valuables, announcing you’r going on a vacation). By letting everyone know you’re not home, you’re risking someone going there to try and rob you.
  7. Light up your house well. Shady business is less likely to happen if the area is well lit. Make sure you have all corners of your house lit up and have motion sensors to activate lights if someone approaches.
  8. Get a guard dog if you can. Nothing stops the bad guys like a good guard dog.
  9. Always look who’s knocking. Check through the peephole so you’re not in for a nasty surprise. Today you can also get video door bell which brings it up on your smartphone, even if you’re not home.
  10. Eliminate hiding spaces around outside your house where thieves can hide eg. untrimmed bushes, old cluttered sheds. Keep your property clean and secure with very little hiding spots.

Do you have any recommendations or tips to help homeowner keep their property and valuable secure? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

This real estate advice was brought to you by Lori VanDinther, Burlington RE/MAX sales representative and a team lead of Team VanDinther. As a long time resident of Burlington, Lori has been helping home owners buy/sell their property. Contact Lori VanDinther today for all your Burlington real estate needs.

How to furnish long narrow living room

So you bought a townhome or a condo and it’s kinda narrow but longer, with high ceilings. Now you got this narrow living room, and furnishing this narrow space can be a little tricky. But it can be done! So here are some tips on how to do it “properly”.


Think about what activities you’re going to be doing on a regular basis in this space. That will help you figure out how much furniture you need. Ask yourself…
Do I want a TV spot? gaming system?
Do I need a certain number of seats?
Do I need a big table? or would something smaller be ok?
Do I need a little area where I can be secluded? etc.


All this helps you figure out how much furniture you’ll need and how you’re going to divide up the room. Think thin! It would help a lot if you measure your room dimensions, and then use a paper to initially test out some ideas and layout options given your dimensions.

Now when it comes to picking the right type of furniture , it’s really easy, just choose slim, non-fussy, more compact furniture and you’ll be fine.

Arranging furniture can be lots of fun. Basically start by marking a pass through corridor. This is a path through the living room where people can walk all the way to the end and back. This space should never be blocked to allow easy movement.

Then you would arrange the furniture in such way that is meets the criteria above, don’t block the main corridor, and make sure each space is optimally used. It’s a bit like playing a game of Tetris.

Of course you will find yourself making a few adjustments here and there, as you go along. You might even decide to ditch a certain piece of furniture, to open more space.
The illusion of open space is really important in a narrow living room. You don’t want it to feel too cluttered.

For example, say your living room needs to have 5 seats, a lamp for reading, a TV area. It also needs to have a table, a nice plants, and maybe a smaller side table that would be used for random things like books, keys, wallet, hats, etc.. How would you fit all this in if you room was say 10′-8″ x 14′-0″ dimensions.

Let’s see..


Here is an example of how one could arrange the furniture and still have plenty of pass through space (yellow lines), but yet have everything you need from your living room.


We have enough seats (5). Our corner, where the potted plant is, can also be used during Christmas to put up the tree there. As you can also see, the coffee table isn’t too big but yet big enough to be reached by everyone sitting. The TV is out of the way, yet visible by all, sitting on it’s bench that is low profile and not too bulky. This is just one variance of how you could do it. Note: If you wanted to control the flow to always comes from the left side, then you can move the arm chair closer to the sofa and close that gap.

Remember to just identify what you need out of the room, and then make sure when you arrange the furniture that you aren’t blocking the main passage. Don’t clutter.

Have fun!

Home Spring Cleaning and Organizing Tips

Cleaning SuppliesAlthough winter is still lingering around Burlington, spring is officially here and the temperatures should be getting warmer soon! One of the joys of the spring season is the spring cleaning of your home. That’s right! It’s time to wash everything and clean those hard-to-reach places..

As a Burlington realtor and a homeowner myself, I understand the importance of spring cleaning. Besides the obvious–it makes your home more appealing and enjoyable, it’s also very important for your health and mental well being. Although it can seem daunting at first, it can be a lot of fun if you break it down into manageable chunks. It’s only once a year! Here are some of my favourite spring cleaning tips. If you have some to share, just post it in your comments below..

First of all, do you have:
Anything in kitchen or bathroom that’s expired? get rid of it!
Anything in kitchen or bathroom that you never used and don’t plan to? get rid of it!
Anything remaining that needs organizing? get to that first.

Next you can tackle your:

Clothes – look at your winter clothing, what didn’t you wear at all? get rid of it – you probably wont be wearing it next year either. The items you did use, put them away.

Beds – inspect the mattresses, flip them, perhaps it’s time for new pillows?

Appliances – clean behind your fridge, stove, dishwasher. Microwave – don’t forget to wipe the inside. Vacuum the fridge coils, and clean the drain pan – your fridge will last longer.

Heating/Cooling – clean the main air filter and all the small air duct filters in each room

Ceiling Fans – wipe down the dust from the blades before you turn the fan on and spread all that dust everywhere

Windows and mirrors – clean your windows inside and outside, wash your blinds/drapes/curtains, shine that mirror

Floors – vacuum and wash your carpets, wash the floors, dust the ceiling corners etc..

Patio and fence – check their state, clean up your grill, clean up patio furniture, soon as the weather gets even nicer, you’ll be spending a lot of time here so you want to enjoy it

Getting the whole family to help would make this whole experience easier, make sure you include a task for everyone and throw in a reward at the end for getting the job done!