Christmas might seem expensive, but with a few adjustments you won’t have to go into credit card debt to make it a memorable and fun holiday season.
Here are some ways to have an enjoyable Christmas on a budget.
Have a potluck
Even if you love hosting Christmas dinner, you don’t have to pay for the entire meal. Ask your guests to bring a dish - maybe exchange some recipe cards with them too.
Many families now play games like Secret Santa, White Elephant and Favorite Things where they only have to buy one gift for the adults in their family. Suggesting this can save hundreds of dollars a year. Plus, it’s a fun way to spend time as a family!
This is a great way to save on the gifts you give to teachers, co-workers, and neighbors. Feeling crafty? Try DIY or homemade gifts. Gifting something with a personal touch from your kids is a sure win for teachers too!
Stick to the four gift rule for your kids
Kids have so many toys these days. They can easily become overwhelmed, especially when the time comes to clean the playroom to make room for new toys. The four gift rule says that you can buy your kids something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. These four presents should be more than enough for them to enjoy their holiday season. You can also maybe do two gifts where one is something they want and another is something they need.
Use coupons and shop at discount stores
Many stores carry amazing...
When leaves have turned and the cold weather sets in, you might think about what activities you can do around Alberta. Here are some of the events that you can enjoy to bask in all the fall vibes this season brings!
Fall Trade Show
September 20-22, 2019 paves the way for the largest general consumer trade show in Fort McMurray with over 300 exhibits and over 12,000 consumers. Head to MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray and discover new products, innovative sellers and so much more! Click here for the event details and admission fees.
“Once Upon a Vine” 10th Annual SMS Equipment Wine Auction
2019 marks an important milestone for the SMS Equipment Wine Auction in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Wood Buffalo as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of raising funds for local children and youth in our community. The 10th Anniversary celebration, “Once Upon a Vine” will transport guests to an ethereal, boreal forest inspired, one-of-a-kind, magical evening! Now that’s a night to remember! Event details and...
House hunting during fall months might sound crazy to most people. Colder months often mean opting to stay at home, reading a good book, or doing whatever fall activities that you can enjoy at home - really anything at all as long as it means that you get to stay warm and toasty indoors. But this season could actually play to your advantage and here are some of the reasons why.
By fall, sellers who were “testing the waters” with listing their home in spring are either eliminated or are now serious sellers. These motivated sellers often want to get their house sold before the end of the year so they can complete their own move before the holidays. The longer a house has been on the market, the more likely a seller is willing to negotiate on everything from price, to closing costs, to move-in dates.
New inventory is appearing on the market, around this time of the year and there are fewer potential buyers after summer. And more often than not, sellers who put their house up for listing during the fall season need to move for a job and are eager to make a deal.
Colder months also bring about a more gloomy appearance to the surrounding area of homes. This will work to your advantage because it will give you a better idea of how the home’s interior looks like in low light. Another advantage-point is being able to see any flaws around a home’s exterior when there are no leafy trees and shrubs around that would otherwise hide anything that might need repairs.
One of the most important things that you need to have when planning to buy a home is an emergency fund. What is an emergency fund? It's money that you have set aside to use for unexpected events and circumstances that life throws at you so you won't take a big hit for it and you can still maintain your normal lifestyle. Here are some tips on how you can get started on building your emergency fund.
Don't Get Overwhelmed: Start low on your initial target amount
Setting too high of a goal can easily make you disheartened to continue saving up. Start on a more reasonable amount of just $500 or $1000. That’s a goal that you can reach in just a few months (or even less if you’re in a good income situation) and yet it’s an amount that can make a huge difference when you have an emergency. Having you get to that initial goal will make you feel like you can continue saving up and feel even better about the idea of setting money aside.
What you'd want to do next is to break that goal down into smaller pieces. Set aside money on a weekly basis. This is money that you are not likely to miss, or money that you have extra from cutting back on splurges like lattes and other unnecessary purchases. You'll find yourself with an emergency fund with a bigger amount without you even noticing it. Say you save $25 a week, you will then have a $250 emergency fund in just ten weeks, so you can set that as your overall goal, or increase it to $40 a week, which would bring you to the $500 goal in three months.
Bottomline is, your goal amount should challenge you just a bit, but should not be a number that’s simply unreachable.
Most people don't really have their car parked inside the garage, or if they do, there's barely little wiggle room left. The reason? There's too much stuff in it! Leaving your car out makes it vulnerable to sun damage, rain water damage and exposure to bird droppings and tree sap. So it looks like there's no arguing that your car will be much safer when it's stored inside the garage. Let us help you out with that. Get back your garage space with these garage organization ideas! Your car will thank you for this.
Getting Started: Clean it all out
It might look like quite a tall order to get started with the hardest part, but everything has to start somewhere right? The key here is to be organized, decisive and rational.
• Set aside at least a full day, or even a full weekend or two, to get the job done.
• Go through absolutely everything. Empty every box and bins that you have stored away.
• Sort all items into three piles: keep, donate or sell, and toss.
The nitty gritty
• What should you throw out? Let go off outgrown toys, items that are broken beyond repair, expired household chemicals, old paint, and anything you haven't used in two years or more.
• For the items that you will keep, sort them even further. They could be sports equipment, power tools, painting supply, etc. Store them in stackable clear-plastic bins for better visibility...
Saving money for your down payment seems like a very challenging step. This is especially true if you’re not keen on saving money or planning your finances at all. But sometimes, all it takes to get started is making small changes to get things moving in your favor financially. Learn self-control, make wise decisions and start saving money today to reach your goal of owning your dream home the soonest! Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Don't give in to the power of marketing
One big way to save money is to drastically cut down on the amount of television and YouTube videos that you watch. You'll notice that when you constantly expose yourself to ads and sponsored content, you're in high risk of eventually giving in to the temptation of making more unwanted and unnecessary purchases. That's the power of marketing. Less exposure to these will result in a lower electric bill (and perhaps a lower cable or internet bill if you downgrade your subscription), a huge cut-back on unnecessary purchases, and more time to focus on other things in life — such as a side business — and so on.
2. DIY Gifts
If you want to save money while also giving generously, creating your own homemade gifts is one way to accomplish both goals. It's the thought that counts anyway. Make mason jar sewing kits for your girlfriends, knit or crochet cute hats for their babies, mix up a mean barbecue rub for your guy friends, the list goes on!
3. Wait 30 Days
Avoiding instant gratification is one of the biggest game changers in saving money and waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to implement that rule. You'll find that after a month or maybe within a month, the urge to buy something have already passed. This is especially true for bigger but still unreasonable purchases....
When purchasing a foreclosure in Fort McMurray there are a lot of key things that you need to know. Due to the economic downturn happening in Fort McMurray, there have been a substantial amount of bank foreclosures coming on the market. But just because these properties are on the menu, it doesn’t mean that they go through the same home purchasing process that other properties do. That’s why it’s important to be well-informed about what you need to know about buying a foreclosure home.
There are different types and categories of foreclosures that you need to know about. Bank Foreclosure (through the bank), Insurer Foreclosure (through CMHC or Genworth), Court-Ordered Sale, and Estate Sale. These four categories are typically the more frequent types of foreclosure sales we see happening in our market.
When purchasing these types of properties, a lot of times, buyers feel that they can get a better deal. Sometimes this can be true but typically, the properties are appraised by one to three appraisers and listed for fair market value. The banks typically have a guideline that they follow when it comes to how much money they’re willing to negotiate or reduce each month.
There are risks associated with buying foreclosures. The first one being, the property is sold ‘As is, where is.’. This is where you do not get to know any past history of the property, nor are there any warranties or guarantees associated with the purchase of the property. It is critical to have a Realtor, such as myself help you through this process by doing...
Making simple changes in how you utilize energy in your household will not only help you save money by lowering your bills, you will also get to do your part in helping the environment. Check out these energy saving tips and start making these changes today.
Most electronics and appliances continue to draw electricity even when they're turned off. Make it a habit to unplug electronics and appliances when they are not in use, not just when you're leaving the house.
Use Power Strips
It's easy to forget to turn off electronics when leaving the house, never mind unplug them. Plug similar appliances and chargers into a power strip so you can shut off several devices at once.
Use LED Light Bulbs
This is not a drill! Incandescent bulbs really are a thing of the past. And yes LED light bulbs really are energy-efficient. They use about just a quarter of the energy consumed by incandescent ones, plus, they last 25 times longer.
Don't Stock Up the Fridge
Your refrigerator and freezer operate most efficiently when not crammed with food items. Leaving room inside the refrigerator as well as leaving enough clearance behind it allows air to circulate freely.
Air Dry Dishes
Remember that any appliance that emits heat uses up more electricity. Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle. Just open the door after the rinse cycle and let mother nature do the rest. If you run your dishes in the evening, you can wake up to dry dishes without a single kilowatt being used.
Turn Off the Water Heater
Turn off your water heater if you plan on leaving home for a few days. Most models...
Learning about the neighborhood where you’re planning to move to is an important part of relocating. What kind of community should you expect? What sort of recreational activities can you enjoy with your family around your new location? Which schools are in that area and so on. Checking out homes around Fort McMurray? That’s where our neighborhood search comes in handy! Here’s a sneak peek of our lovely neighborhoods.
Dickinsfield set a real estate theme as the first community to have executive style homes. It’s now popular for it’s smaller size and community feel, as well as its easy trail access and close proximity to the two Elementary Schools. Dickinsfield is a superb choice with great access uptown or downtown.
The second oil sand project was started in the mid-70s and Thickwood was established to accommodate the increasing population. As time went on, Thickwood became a mature neighborhood with large lots and trees. It’s also known for its Birchwood trail access, parks, schools and amenities, not to mention the quick access to anywhere in town.
To buy or not to buy? That’s really an intimidating question, isn’t it? With homeownership comes responsibility, while renting may be relatively carefree. Let’s look deeper into the benefits of buying a home versus renting.
Pros of Renting a Property
The lack of responsibility and maintenance
Fewer expenses that might be paid by the landlord (including utilities)
Fewer (if any) maintenance costs
No down payment when necessary
Cons of Renting a Property
You walk away with nothing after paying tons in rent
You’re often still stuck in a lease for 12 months or longer
Could be forced to move on fairly short notice depending on the lease
There might be lots of restrictions like no pets, no remodeling, and so on
Rental payment may exceed monthly cost of mortgage
No ownership or wealth creation
Payments never stop when renting
Rent will rise over time
Selling your home in a buyer’s market might mean a more stressful time. Buyers tend to be choosier, properties stay on the market longer and prices stagnate. But there are ways to make sure that you get your home noticed by buyers over the others and get it sold in no time.
Know your competition
What makes your home unique? If your property has something that the others don’t, use it as a selling point. Is it located in a prime neighborhood? Does it have all the upgrades that other properties don’t? Make your property stand out by highlighting these features.
Look at the comparables
In a buyer’s market, where buyers are more picky about getting the best deal possible, pricing it correctly is definitely essential. An experienced real estate agent will help you out with a free market analysis to know what other properties are going for in your area.
Show them their dream home
A well-maintained and well-presented home sells better. This holds true especially in a buyer’s market. In a competitive market, buyers are picker about small details like light fixtures and window furnishings, so you need to get your house in its most pristine state. Choose what repairs or upgrades will be the most profitable for the sale of your home.
Fort McMurray is located in the province of Alberta, northeast of Edmonton on Highway 63. It is situated 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of the Saskatchewan border. It is part of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, located in Northern Alberta. Fort McMurray services the nearby oil sands industry, and has expanded rapidly in recent years due to increased development of the oil sands. Most of the major oil sands projects are north of the town. Suncor and Syncrude are close to Fort McMurray. Other companies, such as Canadian Natural Resources and Shell are approximately one hour north of Fort McMurray in a hamlet called Fort Mackay. All sorts of recreation and entertainment is available, including golf, hiking, camping, biking, watching junior hockey games, and so much more. Another interesting place to visit is The Oil Sands Discovery Centre, where you can learn a lot about how oil is made.
Fort McMurray’s Economy
Fort McMurray is located in the heart of the Athabasca oil sands. Canada has the second-largest proven oil reserves in the world and Fort McMurray’s economy is dominated by the industries that support the extraction and export of oil. But apart from the oil sands, the economy relies on natural gas and oil pipelines, forestry and tourism.
How's the weather?
Fort McMurray has a borderline humid continental climate with long, very cold winters and short, warm summers. But since...
Not a lot of homebuyers expect to go into foreclosure, but due to the recent economic downturn, it is a consideration or situation a lot of people in Fort McMurray are in. Just know that you are not alone. Hopefully you’re reading this before actually ending up in foreclosure. But even if you’re already in foreclosure, as long as you’re still in the house there may be a way for you to continue to stay in it, long-term.
First things first: What is foreclosure?
Foreclosure is the legal means in which your lender is enabled to repossess or take back your house in order to get their mortgage money back and settle any outstanding fees. Apart from wilful mortgage fraud, where someone has no intention of making payments, most homeowners face foreclosure due to a sudden event that leads to them being unable to make their mortgage payments on time. The most common reasons include:
Loss of second income
Excessive debt obligations
Illness or injury
Death in the family
Divorce or family problems
Inability to pay adjusted/higher mortgage interest rate
Unexpected major home maintenance expense
How can you avoid foreclosure?
Being proactive is the best way to avoid foreclosure. Lenders do not want to foreclose but they will file a Notice of Default to protect themselves if it comes to that. While it might be hard to admit that you are starting to run into financial issues, if you know you are unlikely to meet your mortgage obligation, the first thing you should do is call your lender. Keep an open line of communication. Ignoring their calls or notifications will only make...
Whether it’s new construction homes or remodelled homes, there’s no question that choosing the right paint colors and overall feel of the home’s interior plays a big part on your home faring well with potential buyers. Here are some design and color choices that you can take inspiration from to improve the overall aesthetic of your home.
Beige gives off a classic look with a strong neutral tone. This particular tone of beige can transform your home’s exterior into something sharp and exciting. When working with this trending exterior house color, the most impactful applications are those that feature bold, contrasting colors used as visual outlining. Some ways to frame this rich beige color is to frame the siding with crisp white soffit, gutters and corner strips. The roof is another great area that can be used to offset beige siding.
Whether you’ve landed a new job in a new city or you’re simply ready for a change, relocating is surely an exciting adventure. You just have to get there first - and we’re here to help. Here are some helpful tips for successfully relocating without losing all your marbles.
Before you move, research as much as possible about your new city. From restaurant suggestions and local businesses to recreational activities and social clubs, you’ll find a wealth of information about your new home on the internet. I also suggest visiting the area and exploring the city for yourself. Speak to locals, ask questions, look at maps, and drive around neighborhoods to get a real feel for the area.
FIND A NEW HOME
At least a few months before you move, contact a local real estate agent in your new state to help you find a home. Regardless of whether you’re renting or buying, you’ll need someone who’s an expert in the area’s housing market to show you around. Realtors possess a deep knowledge of the market and can narrow down your search, so that you spend less time looking at houses and more time preparing for your move.
The real estate market varies widely whether you are coming from the US or from across Canada. While interest rates in Calgary or Seattle are likely very similar, the availability of homes in Roanoke VA or...
There is an increased number of homes that are under the foreclosed category around Fort McMurray. While some people shy away from checking out these types of properties, you might want to think twice and consider adding them to your list of “to-view” properties. Looking for foreclosure homes, bank owned properties, estate sales and court ordered sales is a great way to own a property. Whether you’re acquiring it as a real estate investment, flip it to be your or someone else’s dream home, or maybe you’re looking to purchase one for your personal home.
When a property becomes foreclosed or bank owned, this means that they are ones where the owner unfortunately failed to have the mortgage paid up, and in turn, the lender will repossess the property. The way to acquire these types of homes is through a judicial sale, under the supervision of the court, or by a power of sale authorizing the holder of the property to sell the home without any court supervision.
If you’re considering to buy a foreclosed property in order to save money, you need to make sure that you really do your research before making an offer. This is where my expertise come in. I will help you save valuable time that would be rather wasted in endless property searches looking for potential bargains. We offer excellent client service to exclusively send you foreclosure listings to your specifications. We will guide you all throughout the process of purchasing...
Finally! Spring is here! Now that we are blessed with warmer days ahead. It’s time to tackle spring cleaning. While it’s a daunting task for some people, let’s look at it as a great opportunity to rid our home of unwanted clutter and regaining our shiny happy homes to pave the way for enjoyable sunny days ahead. Here are some tips to make spring cleaning effective and rewarding.
Make a list
Spring cleaning can seem overwhelming at first. There is so much to do, where do you even start? One of the easiest ways to begin is by making a checklist. Walk through your home and have a look at everything that needs cleaning and organizing and add it to the list. That way, you won’t forget anything.
Channel your inner Marie Kondo
Declutter. Decide on which items in your home are to be donated or thrown away. Let go of clothes, shoes, kitchen items, books and other items that no longer “spark joy” to make cleaning your home easier. An added perk is that you will actually find it a lot easier to maintain the cleanliness of your home when it’s not cluttered with stuff that you don’t need.
Dust and grime can accumulate almost anywhere....
With most people moving into the new year with the mentality of frugality, I am offering you some cost-efficient and awesome ways to treat your honey and spend less money! Here are some cost-saving date ideas in YMM for that last-minute valentine date.
Breakfast in Bed
Treat your king or queen to a hot cooked meal and start the morning right with some laughs. If work starts at too early of a time, sneak a love note or some heart cookies in their lunch. They will surely enjoy the gesture!
Steal a scene from “Serendipity”
Go skating at Mac Island or an outdoor rink with a cup of hot cocoa. Sometimes being able to enjoy some exercise while holding hands and a few laughs is a date well spent.
For all those animal lovers, go to...
There’s barely a week left to go before Christmas! Do you still have people on your list that you need to shop presents for? Here are some of the best last-minute Christmas gift suggestions that we have for you.
Christmas Gifts for Him
For the Hockey Fan
Easy, no-fuss with gift wrappers and this is surely something that will be put to good use! Price starts at $10. Get it at shop.nhl.com.
For the Outdoorsman
A 16-piece survival kit that conveniently fits in a tin can. Get it here.
For the Homebody
THE BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT IN FORT MCMURRAY?
Sometimes you hear people call themselves "the best" this or "the best" that. When it comes to who is "the best" Realtor in Fort McMurray, I am not as worried about whether I am "the best" Realtor. Here's why:
The best is totally subjective. Some real estate agents may claim to be the best because they sell the most. Or maybe they think they are the " best real estate agent " because they won an award. Or maybe they made the most money. The truth is that just because a real estate agent may have some reason to claim they are #1, truly does not mean that they will be the BEST for you.
What's My Focus?
So my focus is not about being the best. It is about being the best choice for YOU. Each day I strive to do the best job I can for my clients. My goal is to be professional, efficient, thorugh and put THEIR needs first. It is how I have beena successful real estate agent in Fort McMurray for a decade and have scores of happy clients and friends for life.
It's all about being the best choice for them more than it ever is about being "the BEST". Whatever your needs, if you are looking for homes to buy in FortMcMurray, or looking to sell your home, or if you are relocating to Fort McMurray, my team and I are happy to assist you!
But I DO have the BEST Clients! :-)
While we are talking about the BEST... one of my favourite parts of my business is meeting and working...