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4 Unconventional Ways to Save up for Your Down Payment

Fall is a popular time for new home buyers to start looking for their first house or condo. But with that down payment looming, everybody could use a bit of help saving up to make that bulk payment a little less intimidating.

There are plenty of unconventional ways to save up that may seem small, but will quickly add up and put a dent into that down payment.

Create A High Interest Savings Account

Talk to the bank about creating a secondary savings account with a higher interest rate. These super savings accounts usually come with the caveat that no money can be removed for a designated period of time. Using this account for the down payment works in everybody’s favor because it guarantees those extra dollars cannot be used for any other purpose.

Discard One Guilty Pleasure

Enjoy Starbucks coffee? Grab a pint every happy hour? Choose one vice and put the amount that would be spent on it into a jar. Most people will be surprised on how much money they spend each month on one guilty pleasure that can easily be cut out of their life. Every perk that’s cut will increase the amount by a decent margin.

Put Away Any Bonus Money

Holiday bonuses from work, tax refunds, birthday or Christmas presents, income from side gigs, any and all extra dollars that come in from any source outside of the main p

aycheck should be considered ‘down payment dollars.’ Sure it’s tempting to use that nice bonus or tax refund on a weekend trip or a night out, but all extra income should be saved away for that initial down payment.

 

Bring On The Roommates

People who already own a home and are looking to relocate can take this unconventional approach. Decent housing is hard to find so anybody with an extra room can rent it out and put that money towards the new house. Having a roommate can be a pain, but it’s for a limited time and can add up quickly.

 

 

 

 

While saving for a down payment can be stressful, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Sam will be able to guide you and provide some helpful tips for how to make that down payment without breaking the bank. Call me for help with your Calgary Real Estate purchase on 403-919-4574.

 

 

 

 

Getting Tired of Renting?

Getting Tired of Renting? Here Are the Top 5 Reasons Why Young People Prefer Owning a Home

At some point in their lives, every renter thinks about home ownership and whether it’s worth it. Let’s explore the top 5 reasons why young individuals prefer the idea of owning a home over renting.

It’s All About Control

It’s unlikely to come as a surprise that having control over their living space is the number one reason that younger buyers prefer owning over renting. Living in a home owned by someone else limits your ability to customize your home. Want to expand a room or rip out the kitchen cabinets? Good luck with getting your landlord to pay for that!

Privacy And Security Are Key

More than 90 percent of millennials reported that having a sense of privacy is an important factor when choosing between buying and renting. And this makes a lot of sense, especially in areas where a landlord has the right to enter the premises on short notice. It’s tough to imagine feeling secure when a landlord can demand access to their home for whatever reason they so choose.

Your Own Space Is Just Nicer

Take a look around your home. Is it as luxurious as you’d like it to be? While you can furnish a rented apartment or house however you want, in many cases, renters just don’t put the same amount of effort into it. 81% of young renters shared that one reason they want to buy is so that they can live in a nicer place.

You’ll Be More Engaged In The Community

If you want to feel more engaged in your local community, buying a home is an excellent idea. More than 75 percent of young and first-time buyers reported that community engagement is a key reason that they want to be a home owner. Not only are you more likely to care about the area around your home if you’re responsible for its upkeep. But as the value of your home is influenced by the surrounding area, you also have a financial incentive to staying engaged in the health of your community.

Owning Gives You Flexibility

Finally, consider that owning your own home will offer flexibility that you can’t get from renting. Not only will you be able to customize your home the way you want, but you’ll also have a productive financial asset. And that can be a huge help in securing additional credit if you want to make significant investments or other financial moves.

When you’re ready to expand your freedom by purchasing your own home, contact me on 403-919-4574 , I’m happy to help.

Brighten up Your House

 

Brighten up Your House With These Fall-inspired
Home Décor Ideas
The kids are back to school, the leaves are starting to turn and the
weather is getting cooler. Yes, Fall has arrived, but the end of
summer does not mean that your home décor has to suffer. Let's
take a look at a few ways that you can brighten up your home and
give it that warm, Fall feeling, before Calgary Winter is upon us!

 

 

 

 

Start With Oranges, Yellows And Light Browns

A quick walk through your local neighborhood will offer a good sense of the color palette that you should be using in your décor makeover. In much of the country, trees will be turning a variety of yellows, oranges and golds as the leaves change and begin to fall. These colors make for a warm palette and are ideal for use in the living room, dining room and other areas where you might host guests.

Of course, you do not need to run out and change the wallpaper. Simply look to add color touches in areas that it makes sense. For example, you can get a couple of new sets of towels for the bathroom that match up with the colors you picked. In the dining room, look to replace your tablecloth and placemats with an autumn theme.

 

Add Leaves And Natural Décor Items

Fall is one of the more “natural” feeling seasons and this should be incorporated into your décor. Look to add leaves, acorns, pine cones and other natural elements

that make sense for the area of the country that you live in.

Note that you don’t need to head out and gather up these items for your home. A quick trip to the local craft shop and you will be able to find everything that you need.

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Candles For A Fall Scent

Finally, no décor makeover is complete without adding a little seasonal fragrance. Nothing smells more like Fall than a subtle pumpkin spice. Scented candles are an excellent way to add a scent to a room without being overpowering. They are also an excellent centerpiece for tables and can be used for mood lighting as well.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can add a sense of Fall warmth to your home. And if your home just isn’t “Fall” enough, give me a call. I’m happy to share some fantastic local real estate opportunities so you can get moved before Christmas comes along !

 

 

 

 

Kids Moving Out of the House? Here Are 3 Tips for Creating a Warm, Welcoming Guest Bedroom

If you’re a homeowner with children, at some point, you’ll be saying goodbye. They’ll move off to college or to start their career and adult life. As children move out, you’ll discover that you have extra bedrooms and other living spaces that will need a new purpose. Let’s look at three ways that you can transform an unused bedroom into a welcoming place for guests to stay.

Get Started With A Deep Clean

The first thing you’ll want to do is engage in a top-to-bottom deep clean of the room. Get everything out of the room so that nothing’s left but the carpet. Clean the walls, windows, light fixtures, and closets until they’re sparkling clean. If the carpet is still in good condition and doesn’t have a lot of stains, have it professionally steam-cleaned. Or if it’s a little beat up from years of abuse, consider replacing it with beautiful new carpeting. 

Consider A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Have a look at the condition of the paint and walls. Does the paint still add a colorful “pop” to the room? Or have the years taken away its luster? Do the walls have scratches, dents, and holes in random areas? Are they in need of repairs?

Even if the paint is in good condition, this is an excellent opportunity to completely change the look and feel of the room. Consider going with a lighter color palette that gives off a welcoming vibe.

 

Go With Matching Furniture And Tables

Once the room itself is in tip-top shape, you’ll need to focus on the bed, dresser, tables and other furniture. As mentioned above, this is the perfect time to get rid of any mismatched furniture and replace it with a matching bedroom set. Also, be sure to toss out any dated mirrors or light fixtures that don’t match up with the room’s new look.

As your children get older and move out of the family home to start their own lives, you’ll be granted with a lot more space to make use of. Having a welcoming guest bedroom or two will ensure that you’ve always got some room for family members to come and visit. But if you decide that you’ve got too much space, call me on 403-919-4574 and I’ll help you plan how you can downgrade the size of your home while improving your quality of life.

Trying to Sell Your Home As a Fixer-Upper? Highlight These Key Areas to Attract Eager Buyers

Are you going to sell your house soon? If it’s a bit of a ‘fixer-upper’ – meaning that it’s in need of some renovation work – you may find some challenges in marketing it to potential buyers. Reducing the listing price is one option available to you, but there are other ways to highlight this kind of home. Let’s have a look at three key areas that you’ll want to focus on when trying to sell a home in less than perfect condition.

Push The Customization Angle

First, try to keep in mind that most potential buyers who are on the market for a fixer-upper are likely to be interested in customizing the home. Be sure to highlight any key areas that are ripe for change. Is the décor in your kitchen a little dated? No problem – it’s a chance for your buyer to build the kitchen they’ve always dreamed of. Is the basement unfinished? There’s a perfect opportunity for a keen buyer to create a basement suite which they can then rent out to a new tenant. 

Highlight The Surrounding Community

It’s a good idea to jot down a list of all the benefits of living in your community. How are the schools? Is the area well-served by public transit? Are there any amenities like a community center worth mentioning? Is the neighborhood considered family-friendly? What are the neighbors like? Are there hospitals or other medical services nearby? What about running trails, area hikes or dog parks? Many buyers care more about their quality of life than they do about the condition of the house itself. If the community is in better shape than your home, spend more time highlighting how great it is to live in the area.

Promote The Overall Property Or Land Value

Finally, don’t overlook the value of the property that the house is sitting on. Buying real estate is a financial investment that will appreciate over time. While the house might get old and dated, the land will always retain value. Be sure to point out any positive land value trends to potential buyers. Having details of other homes in the area that have been renovated and sold will also help buyers to see the value in renovating your home!

These are just a few of the many ways that you can promote a fixer-upper home. Many areas in Calgary have homes stuck in the 70’s and 80’s and sellers often feel they should do some renovation before selling. This is rarely a good idea, both in cost and design choices, so it’s important to hire a Realtor who understands home renovation and has the experience to sell the concept to all potential buyers. For more information or to get your house on the market, contact me on 403-919-4574. I have years of Renovation experience and I’m  happy to assist.

First-time Buyers: Boost Your Chances of Mortgage Pre-Approval With These 4 Tips

Buying a home for the first time? If you plan to take out a mortgage, you will likely want to know just how you can get pre-approved for enough financing to get the home of your dreams. In today’s post, I will share four tips that will help you to boost your chances of a successful pre-approval when you apply for a mortgage.

Polish Up Your Credit Score

It should come as no surprise that your credit score is one area every mortgage lender is going to inspect. Order a copy of your credit report and be sure to go over any outstanding items in detail. Are there any old or retired debts on there that need to be removed? Or do you have any outstanding black marks that will need to be explained? If necessary, take the next step and visit a credit repair specialist to get things polished up.

 

It’s Best To Apply When You’re Employed

While it’s not mandatory to have a job to get a mortgage, you will certainly need to demonstrate that you have enough income to afford to make your monthly payments. Waiting until you (and your spouse or partner, if applicable) are gainfully employed will go a long way in making your lender feel confident about your repayment ability.   

Don’t Take Out Any Major Loans    

Of course, you will want to avoid taking out any significant loans around the time you’re applying for a mortgage. Every lender will want you to demonstrate your ability to manage your debts. So if you’re trying to get a car loan, student loan and mortgage at the same time, you’re not likely to be successful. There are often cases where buyers get their pre-approval and before they find a home they buy that shiny new car and in a flash they have killed their home buying dream because now they don’t qualify for the mortgage!

 

Maintain At Least 3 Months Of Spending Cash

Finally, many lenders will want to see that you have at least three months’ worth of cash saved up. This is so that you can continue to make your mortgage payments on time, even if something unfortunate were to happen. If possible, it’s good to have as large a safety net as is possible. If you’re able to put six months of mortgage payments aside, don’t hesitate. You can even invest the funds in some low-risk or guaranteed investment and they will grow over time.

The mortgage pre-approval process is not meant to be scary or intimidating. In fact, it’s an excellent time to give yourself a financial tune-up before purchasing your new home. For more information about local mortgage options, contact me on 403-919-4574 and I’d be happy to put you in touch with a mortgage specialist best suited for your needs.

DIY Home Projects: Creating a Study Space That Will Help Your Children Stay Focused

If you’re a parent of school-aged children, you’ve likely been concerned with their study habits at some point. Sitting down in front of the television or at the dinner table to crack open the books is going to be less efficient than doing so in a quieter, more productive work space. Let’s explore how to create a study space that will help keep your children focused and on task.

Ask The Kids What They Need To Be Productive

Before you get to work on creating a new studying space, it’s a good idea to have a chat with those who will be using it most. Ask

the children what kind of surroundings they feel would help to keep them productive. Younger kids may only need a small desk area but would appreciate more space in the room. Conversely, older children who

are in high school are likely to need a lot of desk space for laptops, textbooks, and other studying materials. Starting the project out by asking what they need ensures that they get what they need out of the space.

Brighten Up The Room

Next, you’ll want to focus on how the room is lit. A dark room isn’t likely to be a positive studying environment. If possible, natural light sources should be used as much as possible. Studies indicate that sunlight is better at keeping individuals alert and focused than fluorescent or other types of home lighting. Also, consider adding some plants which can help to keep oxygen levels a bit higher in the room.

Note that you’ll want to avoid making the room so bright that it’s distracting. Plus, the sun can cause quite a bit of glare depending on how much outdoor exposure the room has. If there’s already a lot of natural light, consider a set of curtains that can reduce or block out any glare to allow for a more comfortable learning environment.

Eliminate Any And All Distractions

Distractions – especially those which are useful for procrastinating – are the bane of any productive space. There should be no television, no video games and no other distracting elements in the study area. The only furnishings should be those used for studying.

A study room is an excellent addition to any home with school-aged children. If you’re in the market for a new home – study spaces included – we can help. Contact Sam on 403-919-4574, at your convenience and she’ll be happy to show you some local options.

3 Reasons to Hit the Accelerator on Your Mortgage Payments – If You Can Afford It

Does the thought of repaying your mortgage for the next twenty-plus years leave you feeling a little down? Whether you’ve had your mortgage for weeks or years, accelerating your payments is an excellent option that can help get your mortgage fully paid off in a shorter period. Let’s explore three great reasons to accelerate your payments so that your mortgage debt is paid down faster.

You’ll Be Debt-Free That Much Faster

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating that you’ll be debt-free that much quicker if you accelerate your repayment schedule. Every extra payment you make against your mortgage debt builds the amount of equity you own in your home. So not only are you becoming more debt-free with each payment, but you’re also building your net worth. And while it’s true that you might only shave a year or two from your 25-year mortgage period, being debt-free faster is still worth the effort.


You’ll Pay Less Interest

With most mortgages, any extra payments that you make will go straight towards your ‘principal’ balance. Getting the principal paid down faster means that you’ll end up paying less in interest than if you hadn’t. If you consider that every year you shave off a 20-year amortization period is a full year of interest that you won’t have to pay, it adds up. Note that if you have an existing mortgage agreement, you’ll need to check the terms to determine the rules around extra principal payments.

You’ll Have More Financial Freedom

Finally, the faster you get your mortgage paid off, the more financial freedom you’ll have. The equity and credit you’ve built over time will also provide you with some options. You can invest in buying an investment property, or in taking out a line of credit to renovate and upgrade your current home. If the numbers make sense, you can also borrow against your home equity to invest in the financial markets. This will diversify your investment portfolio and expand your net worth.

As you can see, it’s well worth the financial investment to accelerate your mortgage repayment. If you can afford it and it won’t significantly lower your quality of life. If you have questions about a mortgage – new or existing –I’d be happy to put you in touch with a trusted mortgage professional to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. We’re happy to help.

Celebration on the Hill

All the community associations in the West side of Calgary came together to host a fantastic day of fun and entertainment is our own Celebration on the Hill for the Canada 150 celebrations. Congratulations to everyone who became a Citizen in the Citizenship Ceremony.
We were lucky enough to have the Stampede Stage for a great line up of acts. Thanks to Skip Time, Bollywood Calgary, Philippine Cultural Center, Calgary Stampede Line Dancers, Peruvian Rhythms, Acadanse Youth Dancers, Dance Spectrum Inc, Amica at Aspen Woods Choir and many others for the great performances they gave, it was obvious they were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended! Our own Re/Max Area with Bouncy Slide, Selfie Booth and Sno Cones was a big attraction along with the Re/Max Balloon offering rides to the excitement of all who went up.
A fantastic event on a beautiful day with friends and neighbours celebrating together.
Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy the day!

 

 

3 Home Renovation Lessons That You Won’t Want to Learn the Hard (or Expensive!) Way

Most people make several home upgrades when the time comes to put their home on the market, whether they’re minor fix-ups or significant improvements that come with a high cost. However, it’s important to determine what will improve the value of your home and what renovations you can forget before you move forward with any updates. If you’re wondering how to plan for your renovations, here are three things to ponder before getting started.

Make (And Stick!) To A Budget

If there’s a certain offer price you’re looking for on your home, it’s important to go into home renovations with a clear head and decide beforehand how much you’re willing to spend. You certainly won’t be able to do everything, but by doing the little fix ups, adding a coat of paint, and removing some outdated design features, you can likely spend less for a lot more value. The only thing to keep in mind is that once you’ve decided on a budget, you should try to stay within it!

Choose Complimentary Improvements

From year to year, what’s popular in the design market changes and it can be tempting to try and test out the trends in the hopes of garnering a higher price. However, simply because something is trendy does not mean that it’s going flatter the aesthetic of your home. Instead of choosing things that are trendy but out of place, opt for changes that will complement the home you have and add value at the same time. I am often asked to discuss renovations to 1980’s homes with lots of Oak. In these cases doing a few modern updates and leaving the rest of the house the same is not money well spent. Much better to do general maintenance repairs or look at the core components like furnace and hot water heater than have a couple of out of place renovations!

Re-Consider An Extra Room

Many homeowners in recent years have been strong believers in quantity over quality, and this means many people have invested in renovations to add another bedroom or a den. It might seem like an extra room is ideal no matter what, but if you’re cutting into your kitchen, living room or extra space, it can completely change the aesthetic of your home. With open floor plans becoming more popular, you may want to stick with fewer rooms that will garner more interest.

There are so many renovations that can instantly improve the look and value of your home, but it’s important to determine what will compliment your home and how much you want to spend before committing to anything. If you’re planning to put your home on the market in the near future, let’s chat!

My background in renovation and design can help you to make the right decisions and avoid unnecessary expenses that you can’t recoup. Call me on 403-919-4574