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October 2014

Found 12 blog entries for October 2014.

House hunting can be a daunting task, whether it's your first time buying a home or your fifth move in a year. But after scanning your local real estate listings and investigating every ‘For Sale’ sign in your favourite neighbourhood, you may have finally found your dream home. If you’re planning to attend an open house to give it a thorough inspection, don’t go in blind.

What am I actually looking for when I visit an open house? How do I know what's staged and what's authentic? What should I ask my real estate agent before making an offer? These are all burning questions on a homebuyer's mind before a showing. To ease your angst, here are five essential things to have on your radar the next time you attend an open house.

1 Systematically explore the

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You may not be able to move mountains, but you can plan an organized move with a little help from this step-by-step timeline.

Two Months Before

  • Sort and purge.

    Go through every room of your house and decide what you’d like to keep and what you can get rid of. Think about whether any items will require special packing or extra insurance coverage.

  • Research.

    Start investigating moving company options. Do not rely on a quote over the phone; request an on-site estimate. Get an estimate in writing from each company, and make sure it has a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number on it.

  • Create a moving binder.

    Use this binder to keep track of everything—all your estimates, your receipts, and an

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Fall is here, and that means it’s time to think about how to
save energy as the thermometer drops. Here are some
simple tips that will save you money and reduce your carbon

Information Courtesy of Ontario's Ministry of Energy

  1. Shift electricity use to off-peak periods.
    With smart meters and time-of-use pricing, you can save money by switching some of your energy use to mid- and off-peak hours when electricity prices are lower.
  2. Unplug electronic items not in use.
    Many electronic items — computers, TVs, cell phone chargers — continue to consume small amounts of electricity unless they are unplugged. Try plugging these items into a power bar with a switch, so you can easily turn them off when they are not in use.
  3. Choose
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You own a home now, but it’s time to make a change. If you’re moving up or downsizing, you probably have questions about how it all works. That is, the logistics of buying another home while you still own your existing property.

Here are 10 facts you need to know about navigating through the two transactions at once - to make the move as smooth as possible...


Get the facts on your existing home

  • What is your home worth?

Find out the value of your home by asking a realtor to provide you with a detailed market evaluation. Alternatively, get a detailed estimate of the value by paying for an appraisal by a licensed appraiser. This will give you an idea of what residual funds you will net from the sale of your existing home which will

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You don’t have to break the bank to have your house looking as though it was professionally staged. These tips and tricks will have your house sell-ready and gorgeous before you can say “why hasn’t it always looked this way?!”



1) De-Clutter

The first step in getting ready to sell is de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter so potential buyers aren’t overwhelmed by your stuff, but rather impressed by your home. Counters and other surfaces should be kept clear and any furniture that isn’t needed stored away. The good news about this tedious task is packing and purging will make moving day that much easier.


2) Lights and Mirrors

Warm lighting and well-placed mirrors can make your home feel bright, inviting and even bigger. Mirrors placed

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Arm yourself with these essential tips and tricks to maximize your cleaning day.

Get Real

Set a realistic goal that can be accomplished in the given time frame. If you only have 30 minutes; prioritize. Spend more time on the most dire spots in your home (see our Top 10 Touch Points and The Worst Kitchen Offenders) and on the next cleaning day, you can start with the spots you missed.

Bucket List

Keep a well-stocked bucket with all your essential cleaning-day supplies: rubber gloves, all-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, window cleaner, disinfectant wipes, cloths and paper towels. This will ensure you don’t waste any time looking for products. Keep an inventory of what you have in stock to ensure you don’t run out on cleaning day.

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Whether this is your first home or fourth, really understanding your mortgage and how it works is crucial. After all, it’ll probably be the biggest loan of your life!


What IS A Mortgage?

In the most basic sense a mortgage is a loan to buy a property. The process of securing a mortgage means lender approval based on your income, credit rating and other debt.


Understand Your Fixed Costs

Before you decide what you can—or should—spend on a mortgage it’s important to take stock of your habits and your true fixed costs. Be honest with yourself when putting together your household budget, if you’re going to be miserable without your daily premium cup of coffee, then along with your student debt and car payments, consider that a fixed

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Buying your first home can be exciting and amazing, and scary. But knowing the common mistakes of first-time buyers will ensure you don’t make the same ones, and can help make the transition to "New Home Owner!" that much smoother.


1) Spending Too Much

It’s important to be realistic about what you can afford. The final sale price isn’t the only cost to take into account when owning a home. Houses come with plenty of bills like heating and property taxes, future renovations and occasional unforeseen costs like burst pipes or city trees needing to be trimmed.



What you can do about it: Take a close look at your finances. Be aware of your current fixed costs and always leave some breathing room. Ask the homeowners what they spend in a

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