Real Estate Questions

How to Build an Emergency Fund: Tips and tricks to get you started

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.

...

Start saving money by making these small changes!

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...

Foreclosure Homes in Fort McMurray

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...

Buying vs Renting in Fort McMurray

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

  • No commitment

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...

How to Sell Your Home in a Buyers Market: 5 Tips

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.

Be flexible

...

Fort McMurray Relocation Guide

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,...

How to Avoid Foreclosure?

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:

  • Sudden unemployment

  • 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...

Relocation Tips

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.

moving boxes stacked

RESEARCH

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.

HIRE A REPUTABLE MOVING COMPANY

With so many moving companies available, hiring the right one can be tricky. Ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations to see if they’ve had good experiences with...

How to find Foreclosure Homes in Fort McMurray

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...

How do you sell a house on your own? For Sale By Owner Tips

how-do-you-sell-a-house-on-your-own

Selling your house?  You may be thinking about going down the “For Sale By Owner” route.  Here are a couple of things that you need to know before you decide on selling your house on your own.

how-do-you-sell-a-house-on-your-own-negotiation

There are a number of parties involved in a real estate transaction.  People with whom you would otherwise not have to deal with if you were to hire an agent to help you sell your home.  Realtors act as a buffer in negotiations with all parties throughout the entire transaction.  Should you decide on selling your house on your own, here is a list of people that you will have to negotiate with:

  • The Buyer
  • The Buyer’s Agent
  • The Buyer’s Bank
  • The Home Inspection Company
  • The Appraiser
  • The Title Company

how-do-buyers-search-for-listings

With the continuous growth of social media, internet usage, as well as everyone already being equipped with a smartphone, you’ll have to know how to keep up with the ongoing trends to have your house seen by potential buyers.

Nowadays, having an ad on the paper just won’t cut it.  With all the technological advancements available, the most popular way wherein buyers search for real estate listings in by doing an online search.  These buyers don’t just...

How to sell you house fast: Top tips on getting your home on top of every buyer's list!

how-to-sell-your-house-fast

Home sellers always aim for one thing - selling their home as fast as possible.  In neighbourhoods with lots of homes for sale, sellers must be willing to take their efforts up a notch in order to beat the competition and make sure that their home is on top of every buyer's list.  Here are some of the easiest and inexpensive tips on how to achieve your goal in selling your home in no time.

how-to-sell-your-house-fast-top-tips-declutter

De-cluttering your home gives way for space to be showcased in your home.  It gives the buyer an idea of the areas in your home that they can utilize for the items that they'll be bringing in once they move in.

De-cluttering is also a way to eliminate the potential of buyers seeing your home as messy or unorganized which might otherwise cause them to steer clear of putting your home at the top of their list.

  • Clear your kitchen counters, night stands, coffee tables, etc.
  • Organize closets, shelves and other storage spaces.
  • Consider renting a storage unit for the sale period.

how-to-sell-your-house-fast-top-tips-donate-sell-throw-away-unused-items...

What Questions Should I Ask During Home Inspection?

home-inspection-tips-questions-to-ask-during-home inspection

A home is one of the most important purchases you will ever make, so the need to make sure that you are getting the best value for your hard-earned money.  It is vital for you to be certain that everything in your target home is checked and evaluated before you buy a home.

Enter the value of home inspection.  A home inspection is an inexpensive way to become aware of the overall condition of a home.  It is important to make sure that you are not making a costly mistake of buying a home that is in need of major repairs or replacements.  In line with this, you also need to know the key questions that you need to ask during the home inspection process - and I'm here to sum them up for you.

home-inspection-tips-questions-to-ask-during-home inspection

The inspector should be able to tell you if the home is in a condition that's ready for move-in, or if you still need to do some work on it.

home-inspection-tips-questions -to-ask-during-home-inspection

If the inspector tries to get work fixing the problems, you may want a second opinion.  The inspector should be able to tell...

How Do You Stage a Home?

how-to-get-started-with-home-staging

How do you stage a home?  First, we must learn what home staging is.  Home staging is when your home is prepared to be sold in the real estate market.  The goal is to make your home appealing to the highest possible number of potential buyers.  In turn, you will be able to sell your home fast and for more money.

Here are some of the easiest and most effective ways for you to get started in staging your home.

home-staging-tips-an-inviting-porch

Nothing else says, "Welcome Home" more than an inviting porch!  An updated, easy-to-read house number will make sure that your house is easy to locate.  It also immediately gives an impression of a well-maintained home.

If you have a tiny stoop, a clean and cheery welcome mat will do the trick.  Add a potted plant in bloom, and you're golden!  For porches with more room, a few pieces of furniture will also make a huge difference.  A nice rocking chair, a small coffee table and some chairs, or you can also add an outdoor sofa.

home-staging tips-boost-curb-appeal

Many people thinking about touring your home will often do a drive-by first to see if your home is even worth their time.  Make sure that your home is sure onlooker-magnet with these tips:

1. Power wash sidings and walkways.
2. Give your front windows a good wash.
3. Plant blooming...