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Sunday, March 15, 2020 - Avoiding tax trouble on Real Estate transactions

In 2019, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) assessed a 65-per-cent year-over-year increase in gross taxes related to real estate ? some $171 million. Penalties totalled more than $57 million, which is more than double the year prior. Recently REM spoke to Mariska Loeppky, director of tax and estate planning for IG Wealth Management, to explain why Canadians are paying more than ever before in gross taxes and penalties related to real estate. A key point that Loeppky makes is how Canadians should ...
posted in home tips at Sun, 15 Mar 2020 17:44:38 +0000

Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 22 small ways to live greener

Trying to live a greener, more environmentally sustainable life can seem overwhelming?what do you do and where do you start? Can a few little changes around the house really make a difference?  To borrow an old adage, ?the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.? With that in mind, we have small changes you can gradually work into your home routine that aren't just eco-friendly, they're also budget-friendly.  Outdoors: 1. Plant a small backyard or patio garden Reduce your grocery ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sat, 14 Mar 2020 16:14:25 +0000

Saturday, March 7, 2020 - Bathroom rebirth

Bathrooms have obvious practical uses, but for many people, they are also a place for relaxation and rejuvenation. This need for both style and function is why a complete bathroom remodel is a popular renovation, especially for ensuite baths. Justin Mauro, president of Renova Homes & Renovations, says many people will spend between $50,000 and $100,000 to create the ensuite of their dreams, while $10,000 to $20,000 is more common for other bathrooms in the house. Mauro says the first things ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sat, 07 Mar 2020 18:53:08 +0000

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - Backyard suites

?We are originally from Edmonton, but we were receiving inquiries from Calgary and finally decided that the time was right to expand,? said Ashley Salvador, president & co-founder of Calgary Backyard Suites. The non-profit organization promotes the development of backyard suites through educational workshops, where people learn the rules, regulations, financing options and design considerations for these suites. ?It?s a great place to get all the resources you need to proceed with building your ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:23:22 +0000

Sunday, January 5, 2020 - 7 things a buyer should know before buying ahome

1. Online house pictures are fake What one sees online and what one sees in person are two vastly different things. It?s a bit like supermodels who, in the pages of a magazine, shimmer with perfection, but in real life, are unrecognizable in the real-world grocery store garb of hasty ponytails and make up-less faces. House photos get a similar treatment; wide-angle lenses make rooms look more spacious than they are and the place is scrubbed within an inch of its life for staged for photos. ...
posted in home tips at Sun, 05 Jan 2020 00:29:02 +0000

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - Basement Inspections

When you?re buying a new home, the last thing you need is to inherit someone else?s problems. Even if you?ve done a walkthrough and taken a close look at plumbing fixtures, paint and ceilings, the potential for disaster might be lurking just beneath the surface ? literally. That?s why it?s always a good idea to have an expert to check the home?s basement foundation when purchasing a resale property. In Calgary, companies like Basement Technologies and Doug Lacey?s Basement Systems offer ...
posted in home tips at Wed, 11 Dec 2019 16:18:26 +0000

Thursday, November 14, 2019 - Saving for your down payment - what you need to know

For many, saving for a down payment is one of the biggest roadblocks to becoming a homeowner. In today?s economic climate, saving money is challenging to say the least. Every month we try to put something away despite our normal expenses and it still seems like there is always something that will pop up and eat into our savings. Many people believe, ?Real estate prices are so high that I will never be able to save 20 per cent, so I will never own a home?. Putting less than 20 per cent down: A ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Thu, 14 Nov 2019 19:44:15 +0000

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - Curb appeal tips

Here are nine curb appeal areas  as a seller you need to pay attention to: Clean the siding, front door, windows, porch, driveway and walkway with a power washer to clear the winter?s dirt, dust and cobwebsClear out dead plants and shrubs from garden beds and plantersPlant frost-hardy plants like hostas, begonias, pansies and sedumsAdd fresh mulch to the garden bedWeed and mow the lawn regularlyFix any uneven interlocking stonesRepaint the porch or stair railingsMakes sure no weeds are poking ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 03 Sep 2019 16:52:44 +0000

Saturday, July 13, 2019 - Finding your forever home

Finding the perfect ?forever? home can take, well, forever. Not only will it likely involve several moves, but you'll have an ever-evolving vision of what ?perfect? means to you as you change and grow. Your ideal home today can quickly become a far-from-ideal situation when life throws you a curveball. Changing jobs, getting a new puppy, bringing home a baby or a having your mother-in-law move in are just a few life-altering events that can change the way you experience your home. Just like our ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sat, 13 Jul 2019 21:41:11 +0000

Monday, July 8, 2019 - Tips to prevent your home from flooding

For a growing number of Canadians who have experienced basement flooding, they describe it using remarkably similar language?you wouldn?t wish it upon your worst enemy. As Canada?s most formidable and growing climate challenge, the question many homeowners are asking themselves is, ?What, if anything, can I do to avoid a flooded basement?? Inside the home -  Sump pumps should be tested to ensure they have not seized, and they discharge water. This can be accomplished by pouring a bucket of ...
posted in home tips at Mon, 08 Jul 2019 17:26:21 +0000

Saturday, June 22, 2019 - The Everything Guide to Buying Your First Home

How to find exactly what you want, and how to work with the experts who?ll help you get it. So you?re thinking about buying your first home. Your very own house (and mortgage). A place to call ? and make ? your own. It?s a big move, literally and figuratively. Buying a house requires a serious amount of money and time. The journey isn?t always easy. It isn?t always intuitive. But when you get the keys to your new home ? that, friend, can be one of the most rewarding feelings pretty much ...
posted in home tips at Sat, 22 Jun 2019 17:23:33 +0000

Monday, June 17, 2019 - Self storage can simplify your move

When you?re moving, it can be hard to think outside the boxes ? where to get them, what to put in them and where to store them. It adds up to extra stress in an already stressful time, which could explain why storage locker rentals are on the rise. ?Self storage is about simplifying and de-stressing in a period of transition,? said Celeste Blackmore, who handles national promotion and sponsorship for Sentinel Storage. ?It?s a great way to prepare for listing a home by decluttering and staging ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 17 Jun 2019 23:23:15 +0000

Sunday, June 9, 2019 - The Unmarried Couple's Guide to Buying a House Together

So you've decided to purchase your first home with your significant other. But wait?you and your partner haven't tied the knot. Instead, you're cohabitating, perhaps as common-law spouses. What kinds of challenges are likely to arise when buying property with someone to whom you're not married? And what happens if (heaven forbid) you split up after you've bought a place together? Let's take a look at some of the issues unmarried couples typically face when purchasing a home together. Mortgage ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 09 Jun 2019 16:11:14 +0000

Saturday, June 8, 2019 - 6 Easy Ways to Soundproof a Room

Whether it's noisy neighbours, bleeping garbage trucks or thudding footsteps, unwanted outside noise at home can be infuriating. Thankfully, there are several ways we can minimize those sounds so our home is a peaceful, tranquil oasis. Here are some of our favourite soundproofing solutions. 1. Use sound-absorbing rugs and carpets Hard surfaces reflect sound waves while soft surfaces absorb them, so materials like padded carpeting will help reduce vibrations. Uncovered, hard floors?like bare ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sat, 08 Jun 2019 22:55:47 +0000

Friday, June 7, 2019 - Benefits of net zero homes

One of the most interesting trends these days in the homebuilding industry is the growing popularity of net-zero homes. ?Net-zero homes produce as much clean energy as they consume. They are up to 80 per cent more energy efficient than typical new homes and use renewable energy systems to produce the remaining energy they need,? said Sonja Winkelmann, director of net-zero energy housing with the Canadian Home Builders? Association (CHBA). ?Every part of the house works together to provide ...
posted in home tips at Fri, 07 Jun 2019 23:15:57 +0000

Sunday, May 26, 2019 - 5 home staging details that attract buyers

Replace old curtains and rods: You may think that something as small as curtain rods might not make such a huge impact on potential buyers, but as a window treatment specialist, let me assure you that you?d be wrong. It is often said that the windows are the eyes of the home, so you can think of the curtain rods as the eyeliner or makeup that beautifies the overall appearance of the home. It?s details like these that count the most. Repairing cracks and mildew: Imagine your potential property ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 26 May 2019 15:45:39 +0000

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - Protect your home as it protects you

According to Statistics Canada, more than one-third of Canadian households own a home.  As housing affordability continues to be a hot topic, it goes without saying that those of us who are fortunate enough to do so are proud of our investment. For the majority of us, our home is our largest financial asset. Due to the soaring cost over the past decade, more than one-quarter of households spend more than 30 per cent of their total combined income on shelter alone. As I write this, there?s an ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 14 May 2019 14:18:28 +0000

Thursday, April 11, 2019 - Make the most of small spaces

As the name suggests, when people downsize their home, they usually find themselves dealing with less square footage. That?s where multipurpose furniture can help, such as a storage ottoman with a seat that flips over to become a side table, or an entryway bench to use while putting on shoes, with shelves underneath for footwear and a built-in rack above for hanging winter jackets. Even entire rooms can be made to play multiple roles in the home, such as a laundry room that has extra shelves ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Thu, 11 Apr 2019 16:05:29 +0000

Friday, April 5, 2019 - Decluttering

Too much clutter in your home can make you feel the same way you do after too much turkey dinner: stuffed and uninspired. Though it may have taken years to accumulate all those useful, somewhat useful and utterly useless items, you can get unstuffed in a fraction of the time by following a few simple guidelines. ?Uncluttering has become more popular these days, and it?s not surprising,? said Helen Youn, professional organizer and Calgary?s only certified KonMari specialist. ?Thirty years ago, ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Fri, 05 Apr 2019 20:07:07 +0000

Monday, March 11, 2019 - vacation property? - things to consider

Owning a winter vacation home means spending time with family and friends skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating or just sitting together around a warm fireplace. But as with any real estate purchase, the first step is deciding if buying a winter vacation home makes sense for you. Tom Feigs, a Certified Financial Planner with Money Coaches Canada, says the first consideration is whether you should actually buy a property or just rent a place during winter vacations. ?Can you justify the ownership by ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 11 Mar 2019 01:13:18 +0000

Friday, March 1, 2019 - Paying off your mortgage

 Your Road to Mortgage Freedom Do you dream about paying off your mortgage? The new year is usually a time when people review their finances and, if they are in debt, create a plan to reduce that debt. With interest rates rising in Canada, the perennial question resurfaces: Should you pay off your mortgage early? Or invest your money instead? Paying off your mortgage may be the best investment you can make. Here are some ways to save some serious money and become mortgage-free faster. It only ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Fri, 01 Mar 2019 16:33:30 +0000

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - Three tips for selling your home in a buyers market

Selling your home in Calgary?s present real estate market can be a challenge, but some common-sense decisions can help improve the odds. A REALTOR® in Calgary, says he?s recently noticed basic things that some sellers are not doing ? things that, if done right, could make a difference when selling in a down market. Price it for the marketWe still see homes priced today at what would be considered a ?seller?s price? rather than a market price. ?The reality is it has to priced in the marketplace, ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Thu, 21 Feb 2019 17:01:10 +0000

Thursday, February 14, 2019 - Water heaters explained

There are three types of water heaters in a home: conventional tank-style, tankless and solar. Each operates differently and there are a few things to consider when choosing the type of water heater to be installed in a home. Conventional Conventional tank-style water heaters can be powered by electricity, oil, natural gas, propane or even wood. This style not only heats the water, they also store the water once it?s been heated. This is why they?re so large. The tank?s water capacity usually ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Thu, 14 Feb 2019 17:44:43 +0000

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - Mould is a serious health hazard

People are exposed to mould spores daily in the air they breathe. However, sometimes mould can grow excessively in certain areas called ?amplification sites? and can cause different types of illnesses. Some moulds are more hazardous than others and different people have different responses to mould exposure. Those with allergies, existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems are especially susceptible to health problems from mould exposure. Researchers have identified that some ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 29 Jan 2019 20:30:15 +0000

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 10 important things to know about home insurance

Home insurance is a lot like one of those ?break glass in case of emergency? boxes?you don?t expect to use it, but you?re happy it?s there when you need it. This powerful tool protects you, your property and your belongings in all kinds of ways. Here are some surprising facts about home policies?many of which you might not even be aware of. NOT ALL POLICIES ARE CREATED EQUALA bargain-basement insurance quote often reflects what you get in return. For instance, basic insurance covers your home ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:43:29 +0000

Sunday, January 13, 2019 - Rural Home Security

Rural crime in Alberta has been on the rise for the past five years?a trend that worries law enforcement officials. We asked Jennifer Kee, crime reduction coordinator with the RCMP?s K Division in Edmonton, for tips on how rural homeowners can protect their property. Where should one hide spare keys?Don?t hide spare house keys on your property. Perpetrators know all the hiding spots?under the doormat, in the flower planter?so it?s best to leave keys with a neighbour or family member, even if ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:57:07 +0000

Saturday, January 5, 2019 - Pitfalls of gifting a home

While mixing family and money is a cardinal sin, it?s being done in Canada on a daily basis. The reason: the Canadian housing market is so hot that millennials can?t touch it alone. Parents are ?gifting? or selling their rental properties to their children for a nominal value. While this is a valid strategy, there are several important factors to consider. As someone who worked in many law firms, it never ceased to amaze me as to how seemingly happy siblings from functional families squabbled ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sat, 05 Jan 2019 15:23:16 +0000

Sunday, December 23, 2018 - Top 5 staging mistakes to avoid

Staging is one of those often-overlooked details that can make all the difference when it comes time to sell. According to research conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 49 per cent of potential buyers said that staging impacted their view of a home, while 58 per cent of Realtors reported a significant increase in sale price after a home was staged. Unfortunately, there are some staging mistakes that actually make a home seem less desirable to potential buyers. Make sure you?re not ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 23 Dec 2018 18:30:11 +0000

Sunday, December 9, 2018 - Keeping your house ready to show

1.Make all beds everyday.2.Keep all toilet seats down.3.Make sure towels are hung properly.4.Make sure all crumbs are cleaned from counter tops after meals.5.Turn all lights on when showing and have FM radio with light music on during showings.6.Don?t leave dirty clothes on the floor and put all your belongings away.7.Keep all counter top items put away.8.Keep medications out of sight.9.Don?t cook foods with odours that will linger. Remember, this is a short period of time to keep up a staged ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 09 Dec 2018 18:58:10 +0000

Thursday, November 29, 2018 - How building a garage can dramatically increase your home value

Driving has always been a way of life for Calgarians, and given the ubiquity of cars in in the city, garages are a must for almost every home. Whether looking to build a home for the first time or renovating an old one, detached or attached garages are the options most builders choose. However, special builds also exist and can even include underground parking or tunnels, at costs upwards of $35,000 for a triple-detached unit. According to appraisers, a garage of any kind added to a home will ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Thu, 29 Nov 2018 17:35:21 +0000

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - Packing up plants

How to take pieces of your garden with you when you move If you want to move your entire garden when you sell your home, think again. First, it?s illegal, and second, plants ripped out randomly in summer wilt and die unless pampered. But what if you have a sentimental piece of grandma?s peony, a special perennial plant or a friend?s perfect poppy? Taking bits and pieces of your garden with you without changing the look of the yard is possible with these tips: Collect SeedsAfter a few moves, I ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 28 Nov 2018 17:01:55 +0000

Monday, September 17, 2018 - Fire safety tips to protect your home

In Calgary, a recent string of house fires has people thinking about fire safety in the home. Carol Henke, public information officer with the Calgary Fire Department, says kitchen fires are the most common residential call for the fire department, ?and often it?s because people leave their cooking unattended.? She says someone will put oil in a pan to heat up, and once the oil reaches its ignition temperature, it bursts into flames. People often make things worse by trying to carry the pan out ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 17 Sep 2018 16:11:51 +0000

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 - 5 tips to remember when you are buying or renting together

1. When renting, everyone will have to sign the lease. A careful landlord will make sure that there is one lease, signed by all of the tenants. This means that each tenant will be responsible for the entire monthly rent. It is thus important that you are satisfied with your fellow tenants because if one just disappears, the others will have to make up the shortfall and figure out how to find the new tenant to share expenses. 2. How do you protect yourself when buying a property together? The ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 01 Aug 2018 22:38:34 +0000

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - patio season!

How to create a great backyard getaway for patio season Patio season is underway, so it?s time to get your garden ready. With a little planning, you can make your own cozy corner for sitting and entertaining a reality this weekend. ShelterNew neighbourhoods lack trees and high-rise decks are exposed to the elements. Both mean you need to think windbreak and sunbreak first, planting second. Shade cloth, outdoor curtains or overhead shade sails are an instant source of comfort for patios where ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 17 Jul 2018 22:10:57 +0000

Thursday, June 21, 2018 - Hidden Rooms!

The broad appeal of secret-room renovations If you love those scenes from old movies where a wall opens to reveal a secret room, you can now put yourself squarely in the picture. Hidden rooms in houses ? usually custom-built homes, rather than existing structures ? are growing in popularity, and for good reason. ?The demand for these rooms is huge right now, partly because thieves aren?t taking televisions or stereos anymore ? they?re going after your identity,? said Sandy Scheiris, CEO of ...
posted in home tips at Thu, 21 Jun 2018 14:03:02 +0000

Sunday, June 17, 2018 - understanding your budget

How much home can you afford? Shopping for the home of your dreams requires knowing how much you can afford to spend, which for most buyers ties directly into a mortgage. Financial institutions in Canada look at a buyer?s Gross Debt Service (GDS) and Total Debt Service (TDS) ratios to help determine how much mortgage to approve, and therefore, how much home a person can afford. GDS includes expenses related to the home, such as mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, heating costs and ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 17 Jun 2018 17:06:01 +0000

Friday, June 15, 2018 - Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

Spring has sprung!! While it is time to welcome flowers, leaves and warmth, it?s also time to do some home maintenance and get your house cleaned up after the long winter. Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Re-attach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If any leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer. Check all wood ...
posted in home tips at Fri, 15 Jun 2018 20:31:40 +0000

Thursday, June 14, 2018 - demystifying condo fees

Demystifying condo fees We?ve probably all heard someone say they?d love to buy a condominium, but they don?t like the idea of paying condo fees. ?We see that $500 condo fee and ask, ?what do I get?? ? said Bernice Winter, CEO of Condo Check, a Calgary company that provides condominium services, including document reviews. Winter says when people buy into a condominium, they buy into a share of responsibility for expenses related to operating, maintaining and repairing areas of the building ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Thu, 14 Jun 2018 17:01:22 +0000

Friday, May 4, 2018 - allergy free home

Allergies are often associated with the arrival of spring, but indoor allergy sufferers will often find themselves sniffing and sneezing year-round. The culprit? Indoor allergens such as dust, dust mites and pet hair and dander. So how do you make sure your home is a respite from both seasonal and interior allergens and create a healthy environment for you and your family? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, there are several best practices you can adopt to manage ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Fri, 04 May 2018 21:17:15 +0000

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - Timber frame and log homes

Classic timber-frame and log homes are the perfect fit for many Alberta acreage properties Attractive acreage properties lend themselves beautifully to some classic building methods: timber-frame construction and natural log homes. Each has its own appeal, and while the homes come at a premium cost, Alberta specialty builders say the results are worth the money. Lloyd Beckedorf, president of Moose Mountain Log Homes Inc. in Cochrane, says the look of a log home is timeless. ?You can look at log ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:00:10 +0000

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - Renovations on a budget

Renovations on a $5,000 budget At first glance, doing meaningful home renovations for $5,000 is akin to those travel guides for ?Europe on $10 a day?: easier said than done. Yet, like the backpacker who squeezes every penny from their budget to travel the globe, affordable renovations are not out of reach if you spend your nickels and dimes wisely. According to Bob Weir, vice-president of operations with Calgary?s Reborn Renovations, making improvements with $5,000 certainly narrows your ...
posted in home tips at Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:38:15 +0000

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - Going "green"

10 energy-efficiency tips for the home Conduct a home energy assessmentTo save energy in your home, it helps to understand how you?re currently consuming ? and possibly wasting ? heat and electricity. A professional home energy assessment will provide comprehensive data on your home energy use and help provide a road map for improvements. The investment ? $500-750, depending on the size of your home ? will pay off in the long run. Some municipalities offer rebates to help cover the cost. You ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:53:33 +0000

Sunday, February 11, 2018 - February in the garden

Ordering seed for the horticultural season ahead ?I?ll start ordering seeds soon,? I think to myself, as I browse the catalogues that are filling my mailbox and inbox. As a gardener, I don?t have to wait for catalogues to arrive to get in on seed mania and neither do you. If you have a balcony or a patio, you can dream of growing Tiny Tim or Siderno Tomatoes, Delize strawberries, Mascotte green beans or flower dragon muskmelons in pots later this spring. And if you have a big backyard, you have ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 11 Feb 2018 19:14:29 +0000

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - Net zero homes

Have you ever dreamed of living in a net-zero home? Peter Darlington says that dream may be closer than you think. In fact, you might already be living in your future net-zero home. Darlington runs Solar Homes Inc., a Calgary company specializing in renovating existing homes to net zero ? a home that produces as much energy as it consumes. Net zero might seem like a remote, ambitious target, but Darlington insists it?s more attainable than you might think. His first green reno project was on ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:21:40 +0000

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - November in the garden

Gathering in the beauty of the season Weather changes in Calgary quicker than a fashion model on a runway. Clear and sunny becomes snow, and then rain and wind follow ? sometimes all in one day. But don?t fret: Calgary holds the record as the sunniest city in Canada. This means we still have sunny days ahead this month. Take advantage of the light and boost your natural vitamin D levels while finishing up some last-minute garden jobs. Gardening builds health and happiness while you create a ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:52:27 +0000

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - Energy bill reduction

Here are some notes from Ron Kube and how he saved! Lighting ? saved 82%  He points to his dining room as a typical culprit. In one fixture, the couple had eight 100-watt incandescent bulbs, for a staggering total of 800 watts. By switching those eight bulbs to LEDs, Ron was able to slash the total to 112 watts without sacrificing a single lumen. By the time Kube switched the rest of the bulbs, his home?s ?biggest monster? had become a veritable pussycat. ?In fact, we went from 340 kilowatt ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 01 Nov 2017 21:30:24 +0000

Monday, October 30, 2017 - Living Architecture

Green roofs add a touch of nature to the concrete jungle Great thinkers have always known that nature is essential to the human spirit. Perhaps that is why more and more architects, designers and builders are choosing to create green retreats in their designs, including rooftops that allow the eye to drink in nature?s beauty. ?There are just so many benefits to green roofs,? said Kerry Ross, one of Canada?s leading green roof experts and the first accredited green roof professional in the ...
posted in home tips at Mon, 30 Oct 2017 17:18:07 +0000

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - RRSP Home buyers plan

 I often receive inquiries about the eligibility requirements for the RRSP Home Buyer?s Plan (HBP). For regular RRSPs, the basic rule is simple: If you make a withdrawal from your RRSP, those funds are included in your income for the year that the withdrawal is made. The plan administrator will deduct the income tax from the funds being advanced and will remit the tax to Canada Revenue Agency on your behalf. However, the RRSP HBP is a key exception to the basic rule on how RRSPs are treated. ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 25 Oct 2017 21:37:09 +0000

Sunday, October 22, 2017 - Solar 101

Harnessing the sun for all your energy needs St. Albert?s Ron and Carole Kube had never known anyone with a solar-powered home. Then, in 2014, Ron Kube read a story in the newspaper about a household that installed a solar array. He was surprised to learn they were his former neighbours. ?In fact, the guy was Craig Dickie ? he used to live across the street from us,? said Kube. ?And I was so excited that I called up Craig and I said, ?can I come over to the house and see the solar system?? And ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sun, 22 Oct 2017 21:35:26 +0000

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - Can't get a mortgage?

There are many reasons why your favourite bank or lender may reject you when you apply for a mortgage. Here are some of them. Not enough credit history: If you are new to the country or you recently finished at college/university or you don?t own any credit cards, lenders likely will not give you a mortgage because of the lack of credit history. Lenders want to know your paying habits. Low or bad credit score: If your Equifax credit score is bad or too low, banks and lenders may not lend you ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 18 Oct 2017 23:44:30 +0000

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - Home insurance

What is home insurance?It protects policyholders and their families from exposure to the costs of unexpected incidents like fire, water damage and theft?not to mention identity theft, an evacuation, or if a person is injured on your property. But it?s not a maintenance plan; it doesn?t cover wear and tear or neglect. We?ll make every effort to cover the damage if a storm puts a hole in your roof and rain leaks in, but we don?t pay to fix damage caused by poor maintenance. How do deductibles ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 10 Oct 2017 22:53:32 +0000

Monday, October 9, 2017 - Water heaters 101

A typical hot water heater accounts for about one fifth of the energy used in most Canadian homes. Choosing the right hot water heater can have a huge impact both financially and environmentally ? especially as energy prices and carbon levies continue to rise. Many of us still choose conventional, gas-fired hot water tanks, because they?re cheapest ? or are they? Over its lifespan, the initial price of your hot water heater can represent as little as 12 per cent of its overall cost. The other ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:11:56 +0000

Friday, October 6, 2017 - Selling a second property?

Owning an investment property can provide useful income, while having a recreational property can provide a great place to spend time with family and friends. But if you are thinking it?s time to sell, some careful research is in order. ?There?s a lot to consider when selling your investment property or a vacation home,? said Laura Parsons, the Calgary-area manager for mortgage specialists with BMO Financial Group. ?Do your homework.? A major factor when selling a property that is not your ...
posted in home tips at Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:45:53 +0000

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - To buy or not to buy

It?s an age-old question that still gets hotly debated, particularly by young adults who are determining where they are going to live: should I rent or should I buy? It?s not an easy question to answer, and there are no clear right or wrong answers. ?One of the big things to contemplate is your time focus, because when you do buy a home, it is a long-term commitment. It does involve a five-year mortgage that?s amortized over 25 years,? said Tim Gensey, a market analyst with Canada Mortgage and ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 04 Oct 2017 21:25:55 +0000

Saturday, September 16, 2017 - Best Returns on renovations

With the prime spring selling season gearing up, your clients may be wondering which parts of their home can give them the best return on investment if they choose to renovate. Here are the 5 key renovation strategies that are time-tested, require minimal effort, and provide options for every budget.  They are designed get sellers the best bang for their buck and top dollar for your listing: 1) FLOORING Every single person in a household will touch the floor every day in varying degrees, ...
posted in home tips at Sat, 16 Sep 2017 21:40:15 +0000

Monday, September 4, 2017 - Renovation Returns

Will a home makeover make you money? There are many motivations for renovating a home: expanding the space, upgrading the look or even making the neighbours jealous. While they?re all valid, the hope to enrich a house?s value along with its appearance is one reason that?s often cited. And though there?s nothing wrong with that on the surface, it?s important to dig deeper to see if a higher home value is really in the cards before taking the renovation plunge. ?It really depends on the type and ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 04 Sep 2017 20:24:35 +0000

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - Top 10 renovations in 2016

These were the top 10 renovation projects among Albertans in 2016: (Trusted Pros Crebnow Jul 2017) Bathroom renovations$12,500 ? $20,000-plus TrustedPros says anyone budgeting less than $11,000 for their bathroom renovation is ?really cutting it close to an under-budget nightmare.? The extent and nature of a powder-room renovation impacts its actual cost, as it?s a very broad category. A bathroom renovation can mean a facelift with new lighting, a new toilet and a fresh coat of paint, all the ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Sat, 02 Sep 2017 20:00:27 +0000

Friday, June 12, 2015 - Cleaning tips

For this project, you?ll need three or four medium-sized decorative buckets.  Because the buckets will be on display, choose ones that either complement the style of your home or pick up on an accent colour that you?ve used throughout. 1. Label your buckets by room, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc.  2. Once the labels are in place, fill each bucket with the cleaning supplies that are needed for the room indicated on the label.  How genius is that?  So, the next time you need to clean the ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Fri, 12 Jun 2015 20:32:22 +0000

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - Tips and tricks for Spring

With Spring just around the corner, our showhome designers are gearing up for what is looking to be a season full of light colours, fresh accents, and statement pieces.  The deep dark hues of fall and winter are making way for beautiful blush tones, and of course florals!  If you?re having a Miranda Priestly moment (see The Devil Wears Prada) and thinking that there?s nothing groundbreaking about florals for Spring, or are not interested in having your home resemble that of your grandmothers, ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:20:27 +0000

Thursday, September 4, 2014 - Air quality

Follow these tips for better air quality in your  home Enforce a smoking ban Keeping your home smoke-free is among the best things you can do for your health, says Connie Choy, Air Quality Coordinator, Ontario Lung Association, a provincial office of the Canadian Lung Association. Second-hand smoke is one of the most harmful indoor air pollutants, says Choy. Plus, contaminants linger in what she calls "third-hand smoke," the built-up residue of tobacco and other particles on floors, walls, ...
posted in home tips at Thu, 04 Sep 2014 18:03:00 +0000

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - Tips on moving

Courtesy of AMA - Let?s be honest: nobody looks forward to packing everything he or she owns into boxes. Start early to ensure it goes smoothly, packing up lesser-used items (like books and pictures) until you?re closer to the move date. As you go, number each box and keep a written inventory of the items that go into it. Clearly note, on all four sides, which room it should be delivered to. For fragile items, fill any hollow spots (the inside of a teacup, for instance) with a wad of packing ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:02:28 +0000

Friday, July 25, 2014 - Home buyer protection Act

New Home Buyer Protection Act in Effect: February 1, 2014 What You Need to Know  Warranties will be required for all new homes in Alberta, starting on February 1st.An easy to follow visual outline of the Act and its requirements is here.This new legislation will apply to: New homes (building permits after Feb. 1/14 including modular and manufactured homes.)Major reconstruction of homes (only in cases where construction results in four times the square footage prior to rebuild.) Home Warranty ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:13:18 +0000

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 10 things you should know about mould

Ten Things You Should Know About Mould Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mould exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.There is no practical way to eliminate all moulds and mould spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mould growth is to control moisture.If mould is a problem, then it must be cleaned-up and sources of moisture eliminated.Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mould growth.Maintain ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Tue, 24 Jun 2014 18:56:31 +0000

Friday, June 6, 2014 - Managing the risks of Mould

Toxic mould has become a preeminent concern for property owners. However, mould contamination can be prevented through measures that control moisture, and respond efficiently to a water leak or discovery of an emerging mould condition.The term ?mould? or ?mold? describes more than a million species of microscopic fungi that grow on wet organic matter. Its many varieties can be found naturally outdoors as well as in indoor environments. As a rule, ?healthy? buildings contain levels of mould ...
posted in home tips at Fri, 06 Jun 2014 18:28:45 +0000

Thursday, June 5, 2014 - Home equity line of credit

If you have a home equity line of credit or are thinking of applying for one, pay close attention to its flexible terms and features. These can help you use credit wisely and plan a repayment strategy that works for you.

Use it as you need it. A home equity line of credit makes it easy to finance renovations, pay for large purchases or consolidate other debts at a more affordable interest rate. Since you pay interest only on the amount you actually use, it leaves you the flexibility of having a ready source of financing when you need it, whatever you need it for, subject to the terms of the Line of Credit Agreement.

Credit-wise tip: Borrow only what you really need right now. Avoid over-spending just because you have ongoing access to credit up to your available credit limit.

Pay at your own pace. Your home equity line of credit gives you the flexibility to pay as little as interest only, if that’s necessary for you. How and when you choose to repay your balance is up to you. As you pay off your outstanding balance, your available credit increases. It’s always important, though, to increase your payments when you can to ensure that you are paying down your balance responsibly.

Credit-wise tip: Pay more than just your minimum payment – any extra payment will go towards your outstanding principal balance. Whether it’s a one-time payment or increased monthly payments, you will save on interest costs.

Reduce your exposure to possible interest rate increases. With the TD Canada Trust Home Equity Line of Credit you can use the Fixed Rate Advantage Option to convert part of your balance to a fixed interest rate, if you are concerned about potentially rising variable interest rates.

You can opt to lock in all or a portion of your outstanding balance to a fixed interest rate, subject to a minimum amount of $10,000. You may choose a term of 1 to 5 years, amortized over any period of up to 25 years, and the applicable mortgage interest rate will apply. Once you’ve set up the Fixed Rate Advantage Option, you simply make regular payments of principal and interest and you may be given the option to renew it when the term ends.

Credit-wise tip: This option is great if you are working towards paying off your balance in a specific timeframe or simply trying to manage your budget!

posted in home tips at Thu, 05 Jun 2014 16:56:20 +0000

Monday, May 26, 2014 - Green for the garden!

Whether you have a backyard garden oasis or simply perch a flowerpot on a windowsill, organic gardening is about putting nature first, according to experts from Canadian Organic Growers. Here are a few tips from this Ottawa-based national charitable organization. Go local Choosing hardy native plants could make a garden easier to maintain, since plants have adapted to local conditions. This approach can apply to the most urban of settings ? for example, one of TD's recent initiatives was to ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 26 May 2014 14:58:50 +0000

Monday, February 10, 2014 - A couples guide to decor

Best time to combine ?The time when people are moving in together as a couple is usually a really good, positive time, when both people may be really open to try to compromise or find a middle ground when it comes to decorating choices,? says Stein. We asked her to recap a few of her most common suggestions that could apply equally to fresh newlyweds and established couples who share their living space. Bridge your décor divides. ?This isn?t a contest to see who wins the style battle. Even if ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:39:29 +0000

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - what are your closets telling potential buyers?

1) This home is too small for these people.? 2) There?s no place in this home for storage. ? So see below: 6 ways to get your closets organized 1) Edit any unused or seasonal clothing.  Since you are going to be moving anyway start the packing process.  Edit any items you don?t need or no longer want or wear.  There are plenty of charities that would gladly accept your donation. Pack away any seasonal clothing you won?t need for the next few months. 2) Separate clothing by style for an ...
posted in home tips at Tue, 21 Jan 2014 21:35:30 +0000

Monday, January 13, 2014 - energy saving tips

Year-round tips: Turn off lights, TVs and other appliances when they are not needed.Wash laundry in cold water. This does just as good a job, keeps your colours bright, and saves lots of energy.Take short showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower uses about half as much water as a bath.Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescents, which are four times more efficient and last about eight times as long.You can also control the intensity of your incandescent bulbs ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 13 Jan 2014 20:20:33 +0000

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - Energy saving tips

Winter tips: -Since up to 25 per cent of heat loss is through windows, plastic window covers can help reduce drafts. They can be purchased at most hardware stores.-Keep window curtains open during the day to allow solar energy into your home.-Put removable, temporary caulking on the inside of your windows that you can peel off in the spring.-Reduce the temperature on your thermostat when you?re not at home and overnight. Many new thermostats can be programmed to change the temperature ...
posted in home tips at Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:17:48 +0000

Monday, January 6, 2014 - a "greener" garden

(Taken from TD bank newsletter) Whether you have a backyard garden oasis or simply perch a flowerpot on a windowsill, organic gardening is about putting nature first, according to experts from Canadian Organic Growers. Here are a few tips from this Ottawa-based national charitable organization. Go local Choosing hardy native plants could make a garden easier to maintain, since plants have adapted to local conditions. This approach can apply to the most urban of settings ? for example, one of ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 06 Jan 2014 17:35:10 +0000

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - severe storms and home insurance

Severe storms are unpredictable and can occur during any season. Storms of this nature can develop quickly and often include hail, lightning, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. Canada?s increasingly severe weather means that basement flooding and water damage are becoming more common.Damage from sewer backups is costly for homeowners, municipalities, and insurance companies. Based on recent estimates, the Canadian insurance industry pays $1.7 billion each year in claims due to water damage.Water ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Wed, 01 Jan 2014 20:21:29 +0000

Monday, December 30, 2013 - 12 ways to save money in your home

If you?ve ever gathered loose change from around the house, you know how those loonies and toonies can quickly add up! Take the same approach when trimming household expenses, and you could find a pocketful of ongoing savings you can use to pay down your mortgage faster. Consider these ideas ? large and small ? that can help save money in your home. We've compiled a dozen tips from a variety of sources including Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 1. Seal ... Full Article...
posted in home tips at Mon, 30 Dec 2013 16:46:00 +0000

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