Budget-Friendly Home Security

The safety of your home should be a top priority, but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. And if a professional security system isn’t an option, doing something is better than nothing. You may be surprised to learn that there are simple DIY projects that can make your home safer in a weekend. With a small budget and a few basic skills, you can help protect your home and make your family feel more secure. Here’s how.


Scout the exterior of your house like a burglar might (you can even make it a game with your kids). Do you see obvious hiding spots? Are there dark areas where suspicious activity could go unnoticed? Is part of your yard hidden from neighbors and passing traffic? Knowing your home’s weak spots helps you decide where and when to spend money on more involved security steps. Cost: $0.


The most effective security is often the simplest. Keep your windows and doors locked. Remember to lock garage and sunroom doors and windows too. Keep vehicles locked, even when parked in your driveway or garage. Low-cost devices can strengthen existing door and window locks, and wedge locks prevent a window from fully opening. Pin locks work similarly and also help keep windows and sliding doors secured. These devices simply require a screwdriver and drill to install. Add security film to windows and doors with glass inserts to make glass harder to break. (You can find several options from 3M.) Manufacturers usually provide DIY installation instructions, but some recommend professional installation. Cost: Pin and wedge locks start around $3. Small rolls of security film start around $40.


Automation comes in low- and high-tech options. If you’re away after dark, use timers to turn on lights so it appears someone is home. Low-tech timers can be plugged into a traditional wall outlet, and on and off times are set by a dial. Smart timers connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network and are activated using a smartphone app. You can also use apps to control compatible locks or alarms. For example, a video doorbell—like the popular Ring—sends alerts or video streams to your smartphone whenever someone rings the bell or approaches your front door. Cost: Low-tech timers start at $4. Smart timers start at $20. Advanced automation systems usually start at $100



When outdoor spaces are well lit, it’s hard for anyone to approach your house unseen. Inspect your house after dark to note poorly lit areas. If you are handy, you may be able to install hardwired fixtures yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable performing electrical work, hire an electrician. Solar-powered motion detection lights don’t require hardwiring and are simple to install with basic skills and common tools such as a ladder, drill, and screwdriver. Cost: Hardwired lights start around $15 but may require an electrician to install. Solar security lights start around $40 and most are DIY.


Thorny or spiny plants can be a deterrent for thieves. Rose bushes, holly, and barberry plants make great options. To protect your investment, ensure you install plants where they can receive the recommended amount of light. Buy as large a specimen as you can afford or purchase a smaller specimen if it has a fast growth rate. Also, trim existing trees and bushes to improve visibility and eliminate hiding places. Cost: A 3-gallon rose bush starts around $60.


Installing a camera system once meant contracting with a security company to install wired cameras and paying monthly monitoring fees. Although this is still a viable option, you don’t have to go that route. With Wi-Fi and mobile apps, security camera installation can be a DIY project. There are systems for indoor and outdoor use from companies including Blink, Ring, and Nest, which typically include at least one camera that either plugs into a nearby outlet or runs on batteries and is then connected to Wi-Fi. Most systems activate when motion is detected. Video is then captured and sent to a local storage device or the cloud. Apps paired with these systems allow users to control and monitor activity. Cost: A basic wireless camera starts at $40, but systems that include cloud video storage and additional features can start at $100. Written by Ronda Swaney. Photography by kate_sept2004/E+/Getty Images.

Recent Blog Posts

OTTAWA — The number of homes sold nationally rose 11.3 per cent in November compared with a year ago but the picture varies significantly by region, said the Canadian Real Estate Association.

By: Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The number of homes sold nationally rose 11.3 per cent in November compared with a year ago but the picture varies significantly by region, said the Canadian Real Estate Association.

A major rebound in sales in the Greater Vancouver Area and continued growth in the Greater Toronto and Montreal regions propped up sales, while the Prairie cities of Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina saw declines.

Overall, there were 37,213 homes sold through CREA's MLS system, up from 33,437 in November 2018.

The increase in sales came as the national average price for a home sold in November was about $529,000, up 8.4 per cent compared with a year ago. Excluding Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver, the average price was around $404,000, up 6.9 per cent compared with last year. The MLS home price index rose 2.6 per cent year over year to $638,300.

Price gains also saw regional variances, with the Greater Vancouver benchmark price down 4.59 per cent from a year ago and Prairie home prices also down, while Greater Toronto saw gains of 6.52 per cent, Greater Montreal had gains of 8.72 per cent, and Ottawa registered gains of 11.45 per cent.

"Sales continue to improve in some regions and not so much in others," said Jason Stephen, president of CREA in the release.

In its updated outlook, the association says it expects home sales this year to total 486,800, while it says the national average price is on track to rise 2.3 per cent.

That compared with an earlier forecast for 482,000 home sales for 2019 and a 0.5 per cent increase in the national average price.

Prices rose as the number of newly listed homes slid 2.7 per cent, driven primarily by fewer new listings in the GTA.

Nationally there is 4.2 months of inventory, the lowest recorded since the summer of 2007. The inventory, which represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, is well below the long-term average of 5.3 months.

For 2020, CREA says it expects home sales to rise 8.9 per cent next year to 530,000. The national average price is forecast to rise 6.2 per cent to $531,000.

TD economist Rishi Sondhi said he also expects rising sales in 2020 from job growth, population gains and a mild boost from government programs for first-time home buyers, though he notes there is some room for caution.

"This view rests on financial conditions remaining accommodative. The backup in bond yields since September, if sustained, could offer some downside risk to our forecast."

He said the recovery in home sales, especially helped by the Greater Vancouver Area's 55.9 per cent jump, would yet again support fourth quarter economic growth.


When you think of the best timing of selling your home, winter might not be the first season that comes to mind! Aside from the freezing temperature outside, people are often preoccupied with the holiday season! However, there are many reasons why you should consider selling your home during the winter.

If you want to sell your home during the winter but are hesitant, here are five reasons to do it!

1. The buyers are serious.

Unlike popular belief, demand does not really go that low during winter. And while it is not the peak buying season, the buyers that will encounter are much more serious and motivated. The buyers you will encounter during winter are often in a rush, are ready to make offers, and plan on moving in before or after the new year. This is a great advantage for sellers because you don’t have to waste your time with buyers who are just looking.

2. There Is less competition.

You won’t have that much competition if you sell your home during winter. Many people decide against listing their homes during winter and wait for Spring instead. With less competition, it will be easier for your listing to stand out. You’ll be able to have a higher chance at attracting buyers and selling your home much quicker and at a better deal for you.

3. Loans are processed quicker.

For lenders, winter is a time when the inventory is smaller and they have more time to process loans. Since loans can be processed more quickly than other seasons, your selling process will be much smoother and your road to closing will be faster. If you or your buyer is in a rush to close the home before the new year, your buyers will not have s problem processing their loans.

4. You can get better deals.

Since there is less competition and buyers are much more motivated during this season, you can definitely negotiate better deals with your buyers. According to Redfin, listings during winter actually sell faster and for more money. Make sure to stage your home, create a good and sound contract, and have it inspected so you can put a premium on its price. You can take advantage of serious buyers and try to sell your property at a higher price and better payment terms.

5. It’s a great way to start the year.

If you’ve been wanting to sell your home or if there’s an inevitable reason to do it, doing it before the start of the year is definitely the best time. The end of the year is the perfect time to let go of your property. It is the perfect timing for Spring where you’ll be able to move on and start anew without carrying any pieces of baggage from the year before.

Selling your home during the winter, whether it’s because of financial reasons, relocation, or if it’s an investment property you’ve been holding on to, is a decision that you will be thankful for when Springtime comes.

If you think that it’s best for you to wait for Spring or Fall to sell your home, you better think again. While there are many factors that can contribute to your listing being sold, winter can definitely be a good time to sell it if you give it a chance. Keep these five reasons in mind the next time you hesitate on selling a home during winter!