Moving to a new home needs a lot of careful planning to avoid pitfalls along the way. Whether it’s a local or a long distance move, use these helpful tips when hiring your moving company.
1. Get Quotes or Estimates
Make a detailed list of what items you have and the condition. If possible, get your movers to check your items before booking them to ensure you get the right estimate. Quotes are based on weights and moving companies tend to quote on lower weight to make the price attractive. Once your belongings are loaded and weighed, the movers can hold you hostage without paying the actual cost.
2. Learn the Hidden Charges
Most often moving companies will give you low quotes but there are always hidden charges you have to be aware of. These fees include – stairs, elevators, handling large items, packing labor and supplies, moving cancellation, extra stops, storage, long carry, etc.
3. Purchase Moving Insurance
Moving companies only cover items based weight (basic coverage) but too often the final amount of coverage does not really cover that value of your belongings. Getting the full value protection guarantees reinstatement and replacement for damaged and missing items.
4. Read and Research Reviews
Read all the reviews you can get your hands on about the company. Reliable reviews such as BBB, Google, Yelp, Movers, etc. can provide you a full picture of the company’s reputation and level of customer service. If possible, ask the moving company their recent client’s references or feedback.
5. Watch out for Scams
Aside from hidden fees, be careful of moving companies that do the booking but hires subcontracts to perform the actual work.
19 household items you didn’t realize had expiration dates
We always remember to check the expiration date of milk, and we know how long we should keep our beauty products. Unfortunately, we don’t pay attention to items in our house that surround us longer than they actually should.
We at Bright Side advise you to start checking expiration dates…and not just the stuff in your fridge!
Visiting a farmers’ market is a fabulous way to experience locally-raised and grown produce and products from your surrounding area. Here are a few reasons why you should shop at your local farmers’ market:
-Support your local farmers by buying locally and help the environment by reducing fuel usage. Since the products are grown in the area there’s no need to transport goods from other places.
-Buy the freshest, tastiest fruits and vegetables of the season. It’s also a healthier option because most products are organic and you know where they originated.
-It’s a fun activity for the whole family and a great way to connect with your community.
So take advantage of the harvest season, go out, feel the wind on your face, the sun on your skin and check out your local farmers’ market today!
Castle Downs Farmers’ Market
Address: 11520 153 Ave.
Contact: 780-459-6082 cdfm.pxn.ca
Hours: Wednesday, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Season: Open all year
City Market on 104th
Address: Outdoor location: 104 St. from Jasper Ave. to 103 Ave.
Indoor location: City Hall (1 Sir Winston Churchill Square)
Contact: 780-429-5713 city-market.ca
Hours: Saturday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Season: Open all year
Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market
Address: 10310 83 Ave.
Contact: 780-439-1844 osfm.ca
Hours: Saturday, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm
Season: Open all year
Southeast Farmers’ Market
Address: 5004 98 Ave.
Hours: Thursday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm
Season: January 9 to December 24
Just because you read something on the internet does not mean it is true. The same can be said about something you may hear a co-worker or family member conversing about.
Real estate myths are all too common, however, they can be “debunked” with a proper explanation. I know you’re asking yourself, what myths could possibly exist in real estate?
All Real Estate Agents Are The Same
One of the most common real estate myths is that all real estate agents are the same. This myth can lead to buyers and sellers making big mistakes when selecting a real estate agentto represent their interests. Every agent has different skills, different experience levels, and different traits.
For example, a real estate agent who has been selling real estate for two years and primarily works as a buyers specialist is not going to have the same skill set as a real estate agent who has 20 years of experience and focuses mainly on Listings. There is a significant difference between real estate agents who work with sellers and real estate agents who specializes in working with Buyers.
Real Estate Agents Make Lots of Money
I mean, they certainly can but doesn’t necessarily mean they DO. Just like any other job or business the amount of time, effort, and money that top producing real estate agents need to put forth is significant. Don’t forget they also have to pay lots of fees (MLS listings, signs, advertising, office fees, lock boxes, assistants, etc. Commission does not go straight into their pocket)
When Selling a Home – Price It To Leave Room For Negotiations
Correctly pricing a home is one of the top 3 important things when selling a home. There are several real estate pricing mistakes that sellers commonly make. One of these common pricing mistakes also happens to be a very common real estate myth as well. You capture a majority of your potential buyer as soon as the home hits the market, if you’re priced to high and plan on doing multiple price reductions your most likely buyers are not going to see your property. If you are selling your home, you need to understand who today’s buyers are and what they are all about.
So before you list your home $10,000 higher than your real estate agent suggests to leave room for “negotiating,” you need to understand that most buyers will know it’s over priced and may pass on looking at your home.
You Get A Better Deal When Buying a Home Through The Listing Agent
Buying a home can be a complicated process, especially for a first time home buyer. It’s imperative that when buying a home, you have a great real estate agent representing your best interests. A common real estate myth is that when buying a home, using the listing agent will result in a better deal on the home. The thought process behind this myth is the listing agent will cut their commission percentage because they are receiving both “sides” of the transaction. Sounds like an ideal scenario for a buyer, right?
Wrong. What a buyer may not understand is that the listing agent is also still representing the seller. While they do need to be honest, fair, and ethical to all parties and certainly there are real estate professionals out there who can be trusted to represent both parties, it needs to be understood that the listing agent still has to represent the sellers best interest as well.
If you use a listing agent to buy a home, consider how hard the listing agent is going to negotiate the price with the seller, who also happens to be their client. Same goes for any negotiations from the home inspection findings. It’s possible by using the listing agent a better deal could be had, however, the biggest consideration that needs to be taken into account is the representation that will be received.
Getting Pre-Approved Is Done After Finding Your Perfect Home
One of the hardest myth to break for real estate agents relates to financing. Many home buyers believe that getting pre-approved doesn’t need to take place until they have found their perfect home. This is a huge mistake for many reasons.
A buyer should be and want to be pre-approved for a mortgage before they house hunt. House hunting can be time consuming, exciting, frustrating, and many other things. Before getting involved in a full out search for that perfect home, eliminate the chances of any disappointment down the road by getting a pre-approval from a mortgage lender. A buyer can be devastated if they find a home they love, write an offer, and have it accepted only to find out in the future they have been declined for a mortgage. It also eliminates the issue of looking at homes above your approved amount, eventually leading to further disappointment.
Another reasons why a buyer should get pre-approved for a mortgage before finding their perfect home is in the event their perfect home is receiving multiple offers. A multiple offer scenario is a dream for a seller and a nightmare for a buyer. A buyer who has been pre-approved has a significant advantage in a multiple offer scenario.
Open Houses Sell Houses
Many sellers love the idea of their home being open every Sunday. A common real estate myth is that an open house is a great way to sell a home.
You’re probably asking yourself why many real estate agents push open houses. When interviewing potential Realtors to sell your home, ask them why they want to hold your home open every Sunday. If the answer is because it will sell your home, you may want to reconsider hiring that prospective Realtor.
The primary reason why a real estate agent would swear by open houses is because they see them as an opportunity to pick up new clients. It’s possible that a buyer walks through an open house and does not have a real estate agent they’re working with. This is a great opportunity for the real estate agent to convert the potential buyer into a client.
Before deciding whether an open house is something you would want to take part in when selling your home, consider all the possible drawbacks of an open house.
Selling A Home “For Sale By Owner” Saves Lots of Money
The main reason sellers believe that selling their home “for sale by owner” (FSBO) is a good idea is because it will save them lots of money. This is a common real estate myth. Many sellers who attempt to sell their home FSBO believe that selling homes is easy. It would be great if selling homes was as simple as putting a for-sale sign in the front yard of a home, input the home into the MLS, and watch it sell, but it is not.
FSBO’s often will end up losing money by not hiring a professional real estate agent. This could be due to several different reasons. Did the FSBO overprice their home and it didn’t sell for 6 months? Was the transaction mishandled ending up in a buyer being declined after 3 months under contract? Did the FSBO not know how to negotiate the best price and terms for their home?
Real Estate Agents Only Can Show Their Own Companies Listings
Real estate agents who belong to their local real estate board and MLS have access to any listing that is multiple listed. A common real estate myth is that real estate agents can only show their own listings or their own companies listings. This is false.
Real Estate Agents Say And Do Anything To Make A Sale
Real estate agents are held to a very strict code of ethics and also many rules and regulations. Many believe, however, that real estate agents will say and do anything to make a sale, because they don’t get paid until a home closes. This real estate myth can certainly be possible as there are real estate professionals who will say and do anything to make a sale, however, the majority of real estate agents will not.
Most real estate agents business relies heavily on referral business, word of mouth business, and repeat business. A real estate agent who blatantly lies to clients just to make a sale, is unlikely to receive any of the above mentioned business. When buying or selling a home, it’s extremely important to select a very trustworthy real estate agent who you can trust and are comfortable with.
A Home Doesn’t Need To Be Prepared For Sale
The real estate myth that homes don’t need to be prepared for a sale can cost a seller thousands of dollars. Properly preparing a home for sale can be the difference between it selling in a relatively quick amount of time or it sitting on the market and developing a
negative stigma. It’s very important that you don’t list your home before it’s ready.
Why is it important to prepare a home for sale? First and foremost, today’s buyers are more often than not looking for a home that is move-in condition. Additionally, the first 3-4 weeks on the market are the most critical. If a home is priced properly, prepared properly, and marketed correctly, it should be under contract in the 3-4 weeks on the market. Simple preparations, such as staging tips, general cleaning, minor improvements, and pre-listing inspections can all help minimize time on market while maximizing the sale price.
In & Outs of What Is Happening Around #Yeg This Weekend. Never a boring weekend in Edmonton.
K-DAYS July 22-31 – This year we’re doubling the excitement with 20 concerts on two stages, new rides, new food, amazing indoor attractions and the K-Days Pow Wow in partnership with Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation!
ECM Picnic In The Park July 24 – Join Edmontons Children Magazine & The Italian Shop Ltd for Family Fun in the Park
Fair Spectacular Weekend July 22-24 – From freak shows, to fortune telling to amazing midway activities – join us this weekend for a fair amount of fun!
Slide the City July 23 – Come dressed to impress because it’s not every day you can strut through town with your hot bod, cool dance moves and slick slides for this all day party. Did we mention 1000 feet?
Taste of Edmonton July 21-30 – Brought to you by volunteerism and community involvement, Taste of Edmonton has become a summer tradition within our city that celebrates all the culinary delights our community has to offer. Pleasing the forever-loyal downtown crowd and other food-enthusiasts who head into the heart of the city to sample these scrumptious dishes, Taste of Edmonton has been able to grow into the largest food festival in Canada.
As a homebuyer you’re about to embark on one of the biggest, most stressful and exciting journeys in your life. You need to be certain that you can trust your real estate professional to deliver the goods.
However, choosing the right realtor can be difficult. There is a lot to consider, and with fierce competition between agents, all of the information can be a little bit overwhelming. Here are some key steps to help you pinpoint the real estate agent that will be the best fit for you.
1. Speak With Former Clients
When you meet the agent in person, they obviously will be putting their best foot forward. So, for a more unbiased view of their work habits, try to speak with people who have worked with them in the past. Online testimonials are a great place to start. But for more in-depth insight into the agent’s area expertise, check out their Facebook page. If you have friends in common, ask them about their experience with the agent in question.
2. State Board Records
Check with your local REALTOR® board for license information, employment history and disciplinary actions.
3. Industry Designations
Real estate agents often go above and beyond minimum education requirements to specialize in specific areas of the business. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might want to look for an agent with specific credentials and designations.
CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) – Looking for a residential home? These professionals have been specially trained in residential sales.
ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) – Qualified ABR agents specialize in helping their clients buy their new home. To become an ABR, agents first need to have the required experience before they are able to undergo specialized training. Once qualified, agents are able to assist you through the entire process, from locating suitable properties based on your wants and needs to closing the deal. These agents are top of their field.
SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist) – These agents have specialized knowledge and experience working with people in the 50+ age range.
Also, don’t disregard peer-given awards; these can be a sign of an accomplished agent.
4. How Long They Have Been In Business
This is obviously a great measuring stick for an agent’s experience. You can find out how long they’ve been in business through the licensing association. However, newer agents with the right work and community experience often offer a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to get the job done. Who you choose depends on your personal preference and real estate goals.
5. Current Listing Inventory
You can find an agent’s listings online through their social media pages, personal website and sites like realtor.com. Take a look at how their past and current listings compare to the type of house you are looking for and explore their marketing strategy. Also, take note of the number of listings they have and ask them what their typical inventory looks like.
Be prepared with listing inventory questions, should you take the next step and interview the agent. Do they specialize in select neighborhoods? What is their niche area? How long do homes typically stay on the market?
6. Knowing The Neighborhood
A good agent should know about other available properties in their area of expertise “off the top of his head,” says Robert Irwin, author of Tips & Traps When Buying a Home. “You want someone like that who’s on top of the market.”
Aside from inventory expertise, ask the agent about the aspects of the community that are most important to you, including school ratings, restaurants, the community, shopping and other local amenities. In addition to knowing what most attracts homebuyers to the area, a good agent also will understand the challenges homeowners in the area face.
7. Do They Have a Strong Online Presence
Social media is the new word-of-mouth, so an agent’s online presence can be a good gauge of how up-to-date they are on the market and their industry connections. Do they have an active Facebook, Twitter or Linkedln page? Are they updating their social media pages regularly with knowledgeable content? If they are, this is a good sign that they have their finger on the pulse. Smart agents often utilize online tools to streamline their social media systems and processes.
There is a lot to consider when you start looking for an agent. Don’t just pick the first one you find. Do your research online, interview at least 3 different agents and choose someone who you connect with and has your best interests at heart.
Want to get your home search started today? Search for properties in Canada or the United States at Realty Executives.
This guest post was written by Sara Luckman of CityBlast. The team at CityBlast helps over 10,000 agents and brokers with their social media marketing, keeping their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn up-to-date and professional.
We’re often told we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Unfortunately, people rarely apply this rule to the home buying process and that is why exterior and yard improvements are so important. Luckily, these investments can be inexpensive and can provide great returns. Here’s our list of a few items to consider:
1) Walls – Just like you maintain interior walls, exterior walls should be maintained as well. Replace anything that needs to be replaced, fill in any gaps or cracks, or rinse down anything that’s dirty. These are quick and easy fixes that can be done without a huge investment.
2) Front Door – Just as it is often important for you to make the right first impression, your home needs to make the right impression when buyers look at it for the first time. This first look often includes a peek at the front door, and knowing that buyers can make decisions in as little as a few seconds, you shouldn’t overlook this feature.
3) Landscaping – Landscaping can be inexpensive and can even increase your home’s value by up to 7% according to the National Post. It can help make your home stand out in a run down neighbourhood, or make sure that your house does not look out of place in an upscale one. Keep in mind that people enjoy low maintenance so focus on designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to maintain.
4) Decks – Decks are one of the renovations that are most likely to hold their value according to HGTV. Depending on the type and size of deck you install, it can really help increase the living space of the home.
5) Roof – Roofs are expensive and although a new roof may not justify a huge increase in the asking price, it can definitely be added to a buyer’s list of pros when comparing properties. If your roof is intact there is no need to replace it just yet, however if it needs repairs, do not put them off because if can be just as costly to mend the damage caused by a faulty roof.
International Children’s Festival – From interaction with artists and performers from around the world, to the ability to learn about far away places and time periods, to the hands-on creation of one-of-a-kind artistic masterpieces, this festival is a truly unique family experience.
Sprouts New Play Festival – Introduce your children to live theatre through this engaging and gentle first theatre experience. The plays can be enjoyed by children as young as 18 months to 12 years old. Babes in arms are also warmly welcomed
Farmer’s Day Rodeo – The biggest event of the year, the Stony Plain-Kinsmen Farmers’ Days Rodeo and Exhibition is a three-day festival jointly planned by the Town of Stony Plain and the Stony Plain Kinsmen Club. The weekend event features a rodeo, midway with carnival games and the Kids’ Korral, which includes a petting zoo, bounce room and activities area. Other activities include the General Store with more than 50 vendors; a pancake breakfast; the Rotary Parade; live entertainment; beer gardens; and a non-denominational church service on Sunday morning.
Legacy Park Family Festival – The Legacy Park Family Festival offers residents and visitors an exciting, hands-on day to celebrate Family and Community. Everyone can participate in fun family activities and enjoy fabulous entertainment. Local community bands, vocalists, and dancers will entertain you at the Legacy Park Band Shell. Throughout the day you can restore your energy at food and treat booths run by local youth organizations. The Legacy Park Family Festival is also the time when we officially welcome back our “Best Loved City SHEEP!” Come say hello to our sheep at 11:30 am as they parade up from the river valley to their summer home in the Peter T. Ream Historic Park.
Family Fun Day Birch Bay Ranch – Family Fun Day is an exciting, activity-packed day with something for everyone to enjoy. Come out to enjoy ziplining, rock climbing, rappelling and more on our state-of-the-art high ropes course (for kids — and adults — aged eight or older). Kids under eight can have a blast having pony rides and playing in bouncy castles! There will be hayrides all day for everyone of all ages, and a delicious barbecue.
Festivals (Not Just For The Kids)
Edmonton Pride Festival – 36th Anniversary for the Edmonton Pride Festival Pride. It will begin on 108th Street & Whyte.
Edmonton Craft Beer Festival – You can meet new people, sample delicious foods, enjoy the atmosphere and entertainment, and have a great time! Upon entry, each guest will receive an official Edmonton Craft Beer Festival sample mug to use throughout the event and take home with them afterwards!
We’re in for a BEAUTIFUL weekend full Sunshine! Here are a couple of activities & events happening in and around the city for Mothers day.
Saturday May 7th, 2016
Mother’s Day Market
Free event at City Hall from 9am-12pm. First 150 moms will get a special present at the door.
Get Ready in the Park
Not totally Mothers Day related, but free family event in Hawrelak Park from 10am-4am. You and your kids can learn about and explore all sorts of first responder personell and vehicles.
Mother’s Day Rose Sale
Friday 4-7, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-4 at St. Albert Botanic Park. Great for the mom with a green thumb (unlike myself).
Spring Craft Sale
Located at Millwoods United Church from 10am-4pm. Admission is by donation.
Mother’s Day at Thiel’s Greenhouses
9am-5pm. Facials, DIY planting and crafts, glitter tattoos and other activities for free while quantities last.
Another event not totally Mothers Day related, but a good way to keep the kids busy nonetheless. Free from 1-4pm at Elmwood Park, free food and events for children!
Tulips and Tabletops
Brunch and silent auction from 9:30am-1pm at Agora Community Centre in Sherwood Park. Tickets are $60.
Celebrate Mom at Pampa
Weekend brunch, Saturday 11am-1pm and Sunday 11am-2pm located at Pampa Brazillian Steakhouse.
Sunday May 8th, 2016
A Most Memorable Mother’s Day
From 10:30am-2pm at LaRonde Restaraunt and Ballroom. Prices are $42 per adult and $18 per child.
Westin Mother’s Day Brunch
At the Edmonton Westin Hotel from 10:30am-2pm. Prices are $48 per adult and $24 per child.
Empire Ballroom Sunday Brunch
From 10am-2pm at the Fairmont Hotel. Prices are $79 per adult and $39.50 for children ages 5-12.
Mother’s Day at Highlevel Diner
Brunch from 8:30am-1pm and Dinner from 3pm-9pm.
Brunch at Von’s Steakhouse
Call for reservations, prices are $39 per adult and $15 per child.
Mother’s Day at Union Bank Inn
Inside Madison’s grill, call for reservations for brunch. Prices are $39.95 for adults and $19.95 for kids 5-12. Brunch buffet is inside the Giverny Ballroom, call for reservations. Prices are $43.95 for adults or $19.95 for kids 5-12.
Mother’s Day at the Creperie
Brunch from 10am-2:30pm. Price is $29.95 per person.
Mother’s Day at the Zoo
From 12-9pm. Prices are $14 per adult and $8.75 for child. There will be magic shows, music and mini-massages for moms!
Mother’s Day Walk, Run & Ride
At Hawrelak Park 8:45-11am. Click here for more information and the course map!
Mother’s Day at the Muttart
Plants, crafts and mini-massages from 12-4pm at the Muttart Conservatory. Regular admission prices apply.
After listing a foreclosure today (1731 Lakewood Rd S) this seemed like a fitting topic for this weeks blog post.
Buying a foreclosed home can be a tricky process, so we’ve put together a list of Dos and Don’ts to help you navigate this meandering road. The foreclosure buying process is different than the traditional home-buying process, from choosing a loan to the length of escrow. Therefore, a healthy dose of research and patience will go a long way on your foreclosure-buying journey. Here’s how to buy foreclosures.
The 10 Dos and Don’ts:
Do get pre-approved for a home loan before starting the buying process. Getting pre-approved for a loan makes you a more attractive buyer, giving you more negotiating power when it comes time to make an offer.
Don’t pick just any lender. The lender you choose should have experience working with foreclosures. If specific foreclosure guidelines aren’t followed, the process could be delayed, resulting in fines or your accepted offer falling out of escrow.
Do hire a real estate agent that specializes in purchasing foreclosed homes. There are a lot more idiosyncrasies to the foreclosure-buying process than that of a traditional home-for-sale. .
Don’t rely solely on your agent for legal advice. Get in touch with a local real estate attorney for some sound advice.
Do narrow down your search. After choosing your ideal neighbourhood, determine the bare-bone basics your home must have. This will help guide your search and keep you from becoming overwhelmed with listings that don’t meet your needs.
Don’t think short-term. Foreclosures are investments, and should be approached from a long-term perspective. Foreclosed homes aren’t ideal for flipping, as the home may have depreciated after time spent vacant or because the previous owner was unable to pay for necessary repairs.
Do expect to spend money on repairs. The home may be in disrepair for the reasons mentioned above, but you have to prepare yourself to purchase the property as-is. Furthermore, keep the amount you plan to invest in repairs (about 10 percent of the home price) in mind when making your offer. Remember, the less contingencies with your offer, the better. Most banks won’t correct problems prior to selling a foreclosure, so the offer with the least amount of contingencies will likely win out.
Don’t do repairs yourself. Hire a professional home inspector to find out what repairs need to be done, then receive estimates on repair costs and use certified, licensed professionals to have them carried out.
Do have a maximum spending price in mind. Banks want the best possible price, and there may be several buyers vying for the same property. Therefore, expect a counter offer from the bank and then make your best possible offer—keeping your price ceiling in mind.
Don’t get antsy. The escrow process on foreclosed homes will most likely take longer than if you were buying a new or owner-listed home. Banks may use non-local escrow companies, leading to more obstacles and longer timelines. In short, be patient!
Buying a foreclosed home may be a bit more of a headache than the traditional home-buying process, but if you approach your foreclosure purchase with a long-term investment mindset, you’ll be able to take any setbacks in stride. Do your due diligence, don’t take any shortcuts, and remember: patience is a virtue, especially when buying a foreclosed home.