May 15, 2020

Tips for Virtual Home Shopping During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much of the way we live right now, home shopping included. With social distancing mandates in place, we certainly can’t be going in and out of strangers’ homes touching doorknobs, light switches, and appliances.

If you are needing to move soon, however, don’t despair! We can help you find a home and stay safely within the health guidelines. Here are some tips for home shopping during the pandemic.

  1. Start with a Virtual Tour. Many sellers are making virtual home tours available for buyers. The technology for virtual tours has improved greatly in the last couple of years, and will help you feel what it is really like to walk through the rooms. Enjoy a Virtual Walk through of our listings by clicking HERE!  
  2. Be selective about the homes you choose to visit. If you are the type of buyer that likes to cast a wide net and see everything in your price range, you may have to change your methodology. Try to narrow down your list of homes to visit to your very top choices.
  3. Take a Facetime tour with your agent. Your agent, can take a video for you or Facetime with you while you tour the home.
  4. Scheduling a live showing. When you find a home you really must see in person, don’t bring anyone with you that isn’t vital to the decision-making process. Besides the fact that sellers probably don’t want a family of six parading around, with fewer distractions you can get a better look and eliminate the need to come back a second time. Take lots of pictures and measurements so you don’t miss anything.
  5. Put safety first when touring. You want to safeguard your own health, and you want the sellers to appreciate that you safeguard theirs as well. We arrange for the sellers to open all the doors, cabinets, and closets so you don’t have to touch anything. Use hand sanitizer before and after you enter the home.

    We are showing and selling houses during the pandemic, so don’t let it discourage you from looking. Most of the process can be handled online now, and what cannot be done digitally we are taking care of with your health and safety in mind.
Posted in Home Trends
May 1, 2020

#ymmstrong

 

These are challenging times, and we are praying for our community.  We have been busy this week helping our community any way we can, and hope you’re all staying safe during the downtown evacuation. To receive all community updates via email, you can sign up at rmwb.ca/floodupdate

 

Here is a list of resources for anyone affected by the floods and those who want to help. 

 

Evacuee Supports

 

  • The Canadian Red Cross has a registry to support evacuees. To register, call 1-800-863-6582 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. MT. All evacuees should register.

  • If you need accommodation, register at the Casman Centre. This registration is not necessary to receive emergency financial aid or to access other support programs. However, all evacuees should register directly with the Canadian Red Cross.

  • Evacuees who have registered with Emergency Social Services will have a hotel or camp room for at least 7 days from the date of registration. Emergency Social Services will continue to monitor the need for lodging beyond that date.

  • The Government of Alberta announced funding for residents affected by flooding. Starting May 4 at noon, you may apply online at www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx. You do not need to register at the Casman Centre to receive this funding.

  • Businesses affected by the flood can contact Wood Buffalo Economic Development if they have questions or need support. www.choosewoodbuffalo.ca email: info@choosewoodbuffalo.ca or call 1-855-WB-ECDEV (1-855-923-2338)

  • If you are concerned about the well-being of an animal, please contact the Fort Chip Animal Rescue. If you are displaced and need cat or dog food, we have set up at the Gregoire Quality Inn for you to take what you need!  If any evacuees need temporary housing for any of their pets, we have fosters available to take everything from birds to dogs



How to Help

 

Thank you to the first responders, emergency management staff, volunteers, & community organizations who continue to support those in need.

 

Posted in Community Update
April 10, 2020

Creating A Productive Atmosphere While You #STAYHOME

 

In countless homes across the country and the world, there has been a major shift to working from home - even for students. If you are working from home and trying to manage your children being home and doing school work, you may be at a loss when it comes to ensuring productivity. With a television across the room and no boss or teacher hovering, distraction comes easily.  Here are some tips to create a space that enables productivity!



1. Light up your space!

Letting in as much natural light as possible to your at-home work space is the first step to making a better place to get things done. Your body works best with natural light because of circadian rhythms, which tell your brain to be awake and productive when natural light is around you. Natural light will help you feel alert and the vitamin D you will get from opening those windows will help boost your immune system.




2. Add minimalist decor!

You don’t want to crowd your work space, but it is important to decorate your space in a way that you will enjoy. Having a clean, organized space with a few quirks that will make you smile - like a favorite photo.  Make sure any items you will need, like pens and highlighters, are within reach, so you are more motivated to stay put!



3. Make your work space only a work space.

It is important to train your brain to differentiate when it is time to work and when it is not. When we drive to work or school, it is natural for us to switch into ‘working’ mode, but when we work from home, it is hard to get into that mode. By only sitting in your work space when it is time to get things done, you will train your brain to be more productive when you are in that space.




4. Manage your cell phone use.

While you may need your phone to make work calls or check in with your teacher, it is important to set boundaries and stick to them. If you find yourself constantly wanting to scroll through social media instead of getting work done, try download an app that will limit your social media access each hour. If you don’t need your phone for work or school, try keeping it in a box across the room.

Posted in Home Trends
March 31, 2020

Quarantine Spring Cleaning

There’s a good chance you’re spending more time at home than you are used to. Whether you had travel plans change, or you are now working remotely from home, you probably have some extra time on your hands. Now is the best time to get ahead on spring cleaning so when things are looking up, you won’t have to worry about clutter or chaos at home! 

Take advantage of this extra time. While a large project can seem daunting, added stress is unnecessary. Taking on a project like spring cleaning step by step can help it feel doable. Make a list of what you want to take care of, section by section. For example:

-Backyard - sweep patio, clean furniture, update light fixtures
-Kitchen - deep clean floors, clean out fridge and pantry, organize freezer items

Once you’ve made a step by step list for each part of your home, you can create a to-do list for the members of your house and spread the items out over the next week or two. 

This is also a great time to get rid of clutter. If you are spending more time in your house than usual, it may become more obvious what is clutter and what is necessary. Take time on one of your first days home to deem items as “clutter” and store them away. If you didn’t miss them over that week, you know it is time to toss or donate them when you can leave your house again.

As you continue to clean, you may be concerned about a shortage of cleaning products. Even if the shelves are running low on Lysol, you can create your own DIY disinfectant. A popular combination includes rubbing alcohol, essential oils, and water. You can also use vinegar and dish soap to clean glass!

Lastly, make it fun. Open the windows if the sun is shining and play your favorite music. Being stuck inside doesn’t have to feel so terrible.

Posted in Home Trends
March 12, 2020

Is It Time to Update Your Bathroom?

Just like your bedroom, your bathroom should be a relaxing place. Whether you unwind in the shower or with a hot bath, making sure your bathroom is a place of comfort and not stress is key to making your home a happier place. Because it is a room you will definitely spend time in every single day, these signs might indicate that it is time for some changes and some tips to help you do so.

 

1. Poor Lighting

You can consider investing in brighter bulbs and updating your light fixtures.

 

2. No Storage Space

You may want to install a larger vanity or additional shelving about the toilet

 

3. Outdated Paint Color

Updating your wall color with something more neutral, light, and timeless can help bring your bathroom back to life.

 

4. That ‘Bathroom’ Scent

Checking for mold, fixing any leaks, or adding ventilation can help relieve any scent you can’t seem to get rid of.

 

5. Leaks

Calling a plumber to make repairs is usually necessary if you have brown water stains.

 

6. Time to Sell

If you’re getting ready to sell, updating whatever needs updating will increase your home value.

Posted in Home Trends
Feb. 27, 2020

Reducing Closet Clutter

 

The closet might just be the hardest place to reduce clutter in the home. So often, we find ourselves using closets as the one space in the home that we allow a little chaos. Whether we use it as the space to keep unfolded laundry or to tuck away things that we forgot to clean up before having guests over, closets don’t always get the de-cluttering treatment they deserve. Here are a few ways to reduce closet clutter and in turn, reduce the stress it might be causing.

 

GROUPING THINGS 

The easiest way to keep your closet organized is to have a grouping system. You may not be someone who color coordinates your closet, but you can group work shirts together, and casual pants, etc. in a way that will make it easier to find and easier to put away.

 

SHELVING THAT MAKES SENSE

Your current shelving set up might not be ideal for you. Take the time to group and sort your clothes an see what you may be missing. Maybe you need less shelving as a way to make space for more hanging clothes, or more shelving for folded pants.

 

ORGANIZATION BASED ON USE

If you have a walk in closet, you can make your life easier by storing what you use frequently closest to the entrance. If you don’t store seasonal clothing, this will help greatly in making sure the season in use is always the most accessible.

 

UNIFORMITY IS KEY

The satisfaction of an aesthetically pleasing closet can help you to keep things de-cluttered. Get matching hangers, and invest in matching organizing bins or shoe boxes if your closet needs those items.

 

   

 

Posted in Home Trends
Jan. 23, 2020

Why Rent If You Can Buy

 

In most cases, it is cheaper to buy a house in Canada than it is to rent for a long period of time. If you have the resources to buy, home ownership is more than likely a smart investment. Every time you make a mortgage payment, you are essentially paying down the principal and taking a step towards owning a piece of property that will appreciate over time. Think of your mortgage payment as an investment or a savings strategy: if you sell your house down the road, you’ll not only get back the money you’ve paid out but also likely turn a profit. If you stay put long enough, this can grow into a very healthy nest egg.

 

Of course, there are no guarantees and even buying a house comes with risks. In the past, CMHC has warned about overvaluation in certain areas of Canada’s housing market, but for the most part, buying a house in Canada is a safe bet. Just make sure to buy within your budget and plan to hold onto the place for more than five years.

 

The money saved over a mortgage's lifespan can result in tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands. That's more money in your pocket today. With a heated housing marketing, rental prices are soaring, and statistics are constantly showing that home ownership can be equivalent to your rental rate each month, if not less. Why get stuck in a small 2 bedroom apartment if you can move into a 3 bedroom house with a great backyard and pay a monthly rate that is the same?

 

There is also the fear that a home can keep you "stuck" or "rooted" to one place, without an easy transition out if you decide to move. Although the future of the housing market isn't easily predictable from location to location, you can always discuss with your agent about buying a home in an area that has a strong turn-over rate when a home hits the market. The equity build up when it comes time to sell is going to be far more beneficial than if you put money into a rental and decided to move. The money from selling the property can be used to purchase a new home. With renting, there would be no additional funds to transition into a new place. 

 

Now imagine if you were renting a home for $2000/month. If your landlord is renting to make a profit, think how much less you'd be paying on a monthly basis towards your mortgage, if the home was yours. Then you wouldn't be paying a landlord to profit off of you, you'd be paying a reasonable rate, and get to call the property your own. Discuss with your agent and lender the steps you need to take towards home ownership, and you just might be happily surprised about the type of home you can afford to move into. 

Posted in Home Trends
Dec. 27, 2019

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help You Buy A Home in 2020

 

If 2020 is the year for you to buy a home, consider making these 5 New Year’s resolutions to help you be as prepared as possible to become a homeowner.

 

1. Cut down on monthly subscriptions.

With each month, there is a new subscription service out there. What starts as convenience turns into an endless list of subscriptions that we often don’t use enough to justify the costs. Sit down and go through your monthly/yearly subscriptions and cancel whatever you don’t use. Set aside that extra money with the rest of your savings so your down payment can continue to grow.

 

2. Build a better credit history.

Paying bills on time and paying off debts will help create a solid credit history. Make sure you have some utilities or rent in your name so that you can pay them on time and continue to build a solid credit history. 

 

3. Avoid changing careers.

Alongside income, your employment history will be a major factor during your mortgage application evaluation. While a new job could be a good career move, most evaluators are looking for a steady job history with little to no gaps in your employment over the last few years. 

 

4. Check your credit.

If you don’t know where your credit is at currently, now is the best time to check. Most credit sites will tell you what is impacting your credit, and you can use those tips to change your choices heading into the new year. If large debts are negatively impacting your credit, get started on a pay off plan so your score can improve in the new year.

 

5. Avoid large purchases.

Your debt-to-credit ratio makes a major impact on your mortgage approval. If you buy a brand new car or fund a large vacation, that ratio could sway in the wrong direction. If you want your lender to be willing to give you the maximum amount possible, make sure you aren’t making any large purchases heading into the new year.

 

Posted in Home Trends
Dec. 4, 2019

Is It Time to Update Your Heating System?

Winter has arrived and along with it, much colder temperatures. Maybe the heating system in your home has been in place since you moved in and you’re not sure if it is the best option for you, or you’ve recognized that heating your home is putting a hole in your pocket. Here are the different heating system options to help you find out if your current system is best for you, or if it is time for an upgrade so there will be no shivering indoors this season.

 

Boilers

Boilers heat the floor, walls, and air by circling heated water through a piping system loop. Electricity, propane, and natural gas can all power a boiler system and can distribute heat in a variety of ways. There are old-school steam radiators, hot water radiators, and hydronic radiant floor heating. Boiler systems are usually more expensive and costly to install, but are typically more quiet than forced air and can be more efficient than forced air systems.

 

Furnaces

Furnaces, commonly referred to as forced air, are the most common system because while inexpensive, they are quite reliable.  Two-thirds of all Canadian homes are heated with forced-air furnaces; of those, two-thirds are fired by natural gas, and the remainder by oil or propane or heated electrically. These systems are popular for a number of reasons, primarily their ability to heat a house quickly: turn up the temperature on your thermostat, and seconds later warm air comes blowing out of the registers.  You may have an older furnace that needs replaced, and based on the current efficiency rating, it may be worth your time and money to invest in a new maximum efficiency furnace.  A key factor in saving money with a furnace is making sure it is the right size for your home so it doesn’t overwork itself, costing you more in the end.

 

Give me a call for trusted recommendations on local heating experts if you need quotes for upgrading, or advice on your current heating set up!

 

Sept. 30, 2019

5 MUST-HAVE TECH ITEMS FOR YOUR KITCHEN

Technology advances are constantly happening all around us and it can be hard to keep up. While you may be eyeing that new iPhone set to release, keep in mind that there is plenty of tech out there that can help make your day-to-day life so much easier. When it comes to kitchen tech, it seems like something new is being announced everywhere you turn. Here are some great new tech items that can make life in the kitchen just a little bit easier.

The Range Thermometer

 

Always checking temperatures when trying to make a big meal can become overwhelming. Avoid the headache and pick up a Range Thermometer. You can insert the thermometer portion into the deepest part of whatever you’re cooking, and from an app, you can set up an alert for whenever your meal reaches that temperature. Remove the guessing and find comfort in being able to leave the oven and actually enjoy the time while you have guests in the house.

Smarter Kettle

 

Are you an avid tea drinker? If you feel like you’re wasting time waiting for your water to boil, the Smarter Kettle would be a great addition to your kitchen. With wi-fi capabilities, you can pick a temperature and turn your kettle on right from your phone, so you’ve got boiling water for tea whenever you need it!

Quirky Egg Minder

 

If eggs are a big part of your daily meals, this may be a great tool for you. This egg minder sends you notifications when you need to buy eggs, and it has LED lights to alert you when your eggs are going bag.

Taylor Digital Measuring Cup

 

Is baking one of your favorite activities? If so, precision is probably a big deal to you. This measuring cup will weigh your items while also indicating the volume and it can convert from ounces to grams for you!

DaysAgo

 

Tend to forget how long it has been since you opened that jar in the fridge or pantry? DaysAgo is suction cup digital tracker that will allow you to keep track of how long it has been since you opened a container, so you can avoid eating something that has gone bad.

 

 

Posted in Home Trends