Purchasing a Condominium

Purchasing a Condo

Purchasing a Condominium

So you have decided to purchase a condo. Whether you are upgrading from a rented apartment or downsizing from a house there are w few things to consider before you sign the papers.

1) Do your research
Find out if there have been any special assesments in the last few years. If there is something that needs to be fixed or upgraded in the building that affects all the residents then the Condo board will issue a special assessment. This means the cost of repairs will be split between all the residents, and can be very costly. To find out if there have been any recent cash calls review the minutes from the meetings.  You’re real estate professional should be offering you guidance and recommending having a professional document review service going over your documents with you.
2) Inspect the entire facility
Don’t just look at the unit you are interested in. Check out the outside of the building and the common areas. Check for any damage (cracks, water damage, rust, mold etc) that could be indicators of larger problems. If these areas are neglected either the board doesn’t have the funds to fix them or they don’t care to. Either way, be wary.  Some home inspectors will now only inspect the physical unit and not the common areas.  Your real estate professional should be providing you contact information for inspectors that will inspect all of the areas.  Many of the common area infrastructure expenses can be estimated from reading the reserve fund study of the condominium corporation.
3) Be clear on all policies
Do you have pets? Or children? You want to make sure they are welcome in the building.  Many condos have restrictions. Some only allow residents who are over 18, and sometimes pets are banned or there is a maximum weight for your pet or a maximum number of pets you can have. You should also be clear about any other restrictions. You can review the rules in the condominium corporation bylaws.
4) Talk to your real estate professional.
Your real estate agent will be able to help you with any general condo questions, and will likely be able to answer questions specific to the building.
Hosting a block Party

Settling in to your new Community

 

Hosting a block Party
Your new home has been purchased, the keys are in your hand and you have started to unpack. Now it is time to meet your neighbours and get involved in your community. Here are some handy tips to get you started.
1) Check out the community centre 
Especially if you want you and your family to get to know other families in the neighbourhood then check out the local community centre. If you have kids consider signing them up for a class or a sports team so they can meet the other kids in their neighbourhood and form new friendships.
2) Host a block party 
One thing that always brings people together is food! If space allows, set up the barbecue, buy some hot dogs/hamburgers/veggie burgers etc and print off some invitations. Slip these in your neighbours mailboxes. In order to cut down on your costs and ensure there is enough food for everyone who attends consider hosting your block party as a potluck.
3) Get involved!
Is the local soccer team looking for a new coach? Do you think kids in the neighbourhoods would benefit from an art class? Talk to the staff at the community centre and see about getting involved.
4) Take a class or join a club
Consider signing up for a class or joining a club that matches your interests. Especially if you are in a new city where you don’t know anyone this is a great way to meet people and make new friends.
5) Attend a local fair or event
This is a great way to meet people who share your interests. Calgary has lots of events such as the Calgary Children’s Festival, Folk Fest, the Sled Island Music Festival, the Calgary Stampede and Adult’s Only Night at Telus Spark. For a list of local events and activities try websites like http://www.todocanada.ca/things-to-do-calgary-this-weekend/

Fun and Tasty School Lunches 

Healthy School Lunches

Healthy School Lunches

It can be hard to break from the formula of sandwich, fruit, juice box, treat that seems to be king of the bagged lunch. Keep things fun and interesting with these healthy kid-pleasing lunches

1) Healthy Lunchables
Create your own cheese-meat-cracker lunches. Pair slices of garlic sausage with cheddar cheese and ritz crackers. For a vegetarian option, swap the garlic sausage for thinly sliced apple.
2) Hummus and Veggies
It is easy to sneak in veggies when the are paired with a delicious dip. Pack fresh, raw veggies such as carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli or cauliflower with hummus.
3) Chicken and Veggie Pita-wich
Give your tired old sandwich some wow factor! Slice open a piece of pita bread to create two “pockets” and spread hummus inside. Stuff with fresh spinach, shredded roast chicken and some grated cheddar cheese.
4) Mozzarella and Veggie Sandwich
A delicious meatless option, this sandwich is made with pesto, green peppers, avocado and (you guessed it) mozzarella cheese. Toast before you pack to melt the cheese, but make sure you let it cool before you pack it to avoid making the bread soggy
5) Hearty Lunchtime Salad
Spinach is a healthy and hearty base for any salad. Mix fresh strawberries or dried cranberries with some goat cheese, almonds and spinach for an easy and delicious salad. Need some extra protein? Top it off with some shredded roast chicken. Mix a simple dressing by adding olive oil to balsamic vinegar. Be sure to pack the dressing separately so the spinach doesn’t get soggy, and always use a leak proof container!
Preparing your home for sale.

A Quick Guide to Prepping Your Home for Sale 

Preparing your home for sale.

So you have decided to sell your home and you are prepping for your home to go on the market. Here are some handy tips to help entice potential buyers.

1) Half empty closets 
The point of an open house is to show off your home’s assets and convince potential buyers to become definite buyers. To show your home in its best light avoid any clutter, especially in places people expect it like storage rooms and closets. By keeping these areas tidy (an ideally almost empty) you make the space seem bigger and more enticing.
2) Hide your pets 
Not everyone loves animals. To avoid putting off potential buyers ( and reduce clutter) put away any pet related items, especially things like pet food and litter boxes, which smell. Arrange for a pet sitter or animal play date for the day, hide Fluffy’s litter box and Fido’s ratty tennis ball and be sure to vacuum up any pet hair!
3) Don’t overdue the upgrades 
Remember, you are planning on leaving and you don’t really know what the next family to live in this home is like yet. So while you may want the marble countertops they may not. Doing some touch ups is fine, but don’t pour money in unnecessarily. You may not get a good return on the investment, and the new home owners may redo your renos anyways.  A general rule of thumb is you will receive most of your investment back on Kitchens and bathrooms.  While the other upgrades may not result in a positive net return on your investment, they will enhance the saleability of your property.
4) Make it neutral
When potential buyers go to an open house they are picturing what it would be like if they lived there instead of you. To help them get into this mind set make your house as neutral as possible. Hide any family photos, take down the mechanical singing fish from the wall and (as mentioned before) hide any evidence of pets. This also helps reduce clutter and make them space feel more spacious.
5) Don’t forget the kitchen!
People spend a lot of time in their kitchens, so make sure yours is up to snuff!  Dated or unattractive kitchen can drastically reduce the price point of your home. Invest in a coat of fresh paint and make sure your cupboards, light fixtures and counter tops don’t look dated.
6) Always be ready for a surprise showing
You never know when a potential buyer may ask to see your home. To avoid a last minute panic keep your home in “open house standby mode”. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, dirty laundry on the floor or let the bathrooms and kitchen get dirty. Do a quick clean each day in the off chance your realtor calls and asks to show your home on short notice.
Painting Bathroom

Remodelling your Bathroom

Painting Bathroom

Whether you are fixing up your home before it goes on the market or making your new home your own you don’t want to forget about the bathroom. Rarely thought about, this often used space is an important one. Here are some important tips for when you choose to remodel
1) Choose appropriate materials 
The bathroom gets a lot of use, and as such the surfaces need to be durable. Porcelain is always a safe bet, and can be found in a variety of colours and textures to suit your style.
2) Choose appropriate colours and lighting 
Bathrooms are often small, so you will want to avoid anything that makes them seem cramped. Choosing bright or light colours will help to make the space feel bigger. If you have your heart set on dark, bold colours you can still incorporate them by doing things like tiling the floor or backsplash in that colour, choosing it as your shower curtain or painting a feature wall. For a feature wall, pick one with a window or the shower so it doesn’t feel overpowering.
3) Tub, Shower or Both?
You want to create a space that you will actually use. If you aren’t really going to use the tub you may consider ditching it in favour of a more spacious shower. Then again, if you have a dog or small children the bathtub may be essential. Base your choice on what you will actually use. If you are looking to sell consider a bathtub/shower combo (room permitting) since you want to appeal to as many people as possible.
4) Lighting
You want the room to be well lit, using both natural lighting sources and artificial ones. Natural light from a discrete window can make the lighting less harsh. Opt for a frosted window, or a window with a curtain light enough to allow light in while still maintaining privacy.