Every Christmas, we at Royal LePage South Country take a few hours during Oliver’s annual light-up to host Santa Claus, so he can spend some quality time with the local kids. Proud parents can trade a small donation to the Food Bank for a quick photo session with the big guy!
Here’s a few from this year (sorry moms – with close to 100 families having joined us this year, we can’t fit them ALL in!)
Preparing to buy a home requires more than just a down payment. Before you purchase property, take time to understand your available mortgage options and balance your debt load. Thorough planning and smart budgeting now can help you avoid running into high debt or repayment problems down the road.
Farhaneh Haque, director of mortgage advice at TD Canada Trust, says that first time home buyers should answer three important questions before they start hitting any open houses this season.
• Do I understand the process? It never hurts to meet with a mortgage specialist to learn more about the home buying process and the different mortgage options available, such as fixed versus variable rate mortgages, flexible repayment schedules, and even mortgages that offer cash back. Before falling in love with a home, consider getting pre-approved so you know what you may be able to afford and avoid getting disappointed by falling in love with a home that is outside your price range.
• What is my personal debt load? If you have other obligations like a car payment or student loan, ensure you are taking on a mortgage that you can manage within your total budget. Try using an online debt management calculator to help determine how much debt you can reasonably take on based on your income, current debt payments and expenses.
• Can I afford my mortgage and save for the future? Sometimes home buyers take on more debt than they can manage and quickly find themselves "house poor" – with no money left for future savings or a rainy day. Before you take the leap into homeownership, crunch the numbers to ensure your budget reflects the lifestyle you want after you move into your new home, and you are clear on what sacrifices you may need to make to continue to live comfortably and save for your future.
Mortgaging is kind of like a collectivized loan that can affect you and your family for a long time if it is not worked out properly. People generally fall for deceptive advertisements boasting about best mortgage rates, so you need to be cautious.
Many people who have fallen into the trap of companies offering the best mortgage rates have experienced problems down the road. It is very important to go through each and every piece of the mortgage deal that you are making. Do not get carried away by those deceptive advertisements that would make your life a disaster. A small mistake, or one wrong signature, and you could end up paying installments for your mortgaged property for the rest of your life.
A thorough study of the entire plan, and all its terms and conditions, is necessary if you want to go for a safe mortgage plan with the best mortgage rates. Buying a home is the biggest investment that you will make in your life, and you would not want anyone to fiddle around with it. Mortgaging is an option for people who cannot afford to pay entire amount in a single go, and thus they look for deals with mortgage rates suitable for their pockets.
Always try to understand the power of credit limits that you can impose on yourself. There have been many examples from the market where people have actually gotten deals with great mortgage rates, but due to their negligence and insufficient funds, they have created traps for themselves and fallen in.
If your relations with your bank are good, then they would also offer you some interesting deals with a good mortgage rate. If you are one of their privileged clients, then you might be entitled for special discounts on mortgage rates. If you go into your loan search with a high credit score and a clean credit record, you would also have better bargaining power.
If you have stains on your record, you should try to get them cleaned up before going into negotiations. If you can afford to, hire a financial advisor who can help you out with the deal, making the best possible negotiation for you with the mortgaging company, credit union, Investment Company or banks with which you are dealing. Each person should play carefully in the mortgaging business, even if he is getting the best mortgage rates for his deal.
Always prefer fixed mortgage rates for your deals. This will be beneficial and score great mortgage rates with no regrets. Interest rates can bounce around, but if your deal has a fixed rates, then it is one less thing for you to worry about. Proceed in your deal with sound mind and alert eyes and nothing will go wrong.
Crown molding is a great way to beautify an ordinary looking home into one that exudes class and style. Crown moldings are typically decorative strips made up of wood, plastic, or fiberboard. These are introduced to any room decor in an effort to camouflage the existing flaws and ugly blotches on the walls or ceilings. The crown molding is therefore similar to a wall decoration which adds a touch of elegance to a room, making it appear more grand and unique.
Crown molding ideas can be retraced to the Roman and Grecian culture where it became vastly popular. Wooden crown molding gained popularity later when craftsmen mastered the art of cutting, sanding, and carving wooden blocks to create masterpieces. Crown molding is affordable and can be implemented in almost any type of room. You can buy the raw materials yourself and get it made professionally by customizing it. What materials you choose for crown molding will largely determine how durable and beautiful it is going to be. Superior quality materials for home furnishing are likely to be far more expensive but are less likely to be damaged.
Home furnishing experts choose crown molding these days because it helps heighten a property's real estate standing. When a property appears visually stunning, chances are buyers will be willing to pay more for it. Simply demolishing walls to give your rooms a spacious look is not enough; instead, this is more expensive and impractical. An easier and economical alternative is using decorative columns and ceiling medallions for your home decor. These home decor ideas are easy to implement and will not cost you dearly.
Buying crown molding online can give you many advantages. This is because you can purchase your decorative columns or door casings or ceiling medallions directly from the maker without having to handle the wholesalers and retailers. They offer you the luxury of customizing your home furnishing ideas and guarantee you good quality materials. Unlike furniture, such decorative columns or ceiling medallions will not occupy unnecessary space, nor will they clutter the room. Besides, they are fire-resistant and help keep away harmful UV rays. Crown molding can be easily maintained and these products seldom rot. Installing them is never a problem and most of the products can be set up by following simple instructions, except ceiling medallions where professional assistance is recommended.
Crown molding can come in various designs like the traditionally classic designs which help add elegance and class to your home decor. Crown molding in the kitchen is similar to ceiling and wall decorations, but the installation process is different. Although challenging, using crown molding is a sure way of giving your rooms that much-needed makeover. It helps give every room a distinct flavor, an aesthetic appeal, a unique personality, and a sophisticated touch.
When choosing the crown molding for your rooms, make sure to choose the right molding depending on the room dimensions and ceiling height. Select the materials that are sturdy, dependable, and weather-proof. The world of home furnishing has undergone a revolutionary change with the advent of crown molding.
By: Walter Mitchell
Are you thinking about using a keyless entry deadbolt for your home, but are not sure this is smart? Then you need to be aware of the many reasons why it is smart for anyone.
There are a number of reasons that you have to be aware of, but the following are the most essential reasons for you to know.
One: Security – When you use a keyless deadbolt, this will make your security much better for your family. No burglar is going to be able to just break into your home anymore.
They will have a very difficult or even impossible time trying to get in. These deadbolts are designed so they will be able to keep people out that you don’t want in your home.
When you want to keep your family safe, security is the most important thing you can provide them against burglar danger. The only way to make sure that your family stays safe is to make sure that danger can’t get into your home and this lock was designed to do just that.
Two: Convenience – You will not have to worry about losing your keys and not being able to get back into your house, when you have this type of lock for your home. With it being keyless, it is very simple for anyone in your family to get in and not get locked out.
Three: Prevents theft of your keys – Using a keyless door lock requires the use of your fingerprints for your family to get into their home. This means that you will be safe from someone taking your keys and using them to gain access to your home and they won’t be able to make a copy of them either.
This will prevent anyone from being able to get into your home from the theft of your keys. That means better security and safety for your family, which is very important these days.
Four: Multiple users – You can choose to add as many people’s fingerprints to the deadbolt system as you need to. Adding and removing fingerprints is really easy for any family to do.
This makes it simple for everyone in your family to have their fingerprints added so that they never have a problem getting into your home.
These are the main reasons that you want to consider using a keyless entry deadbolt for your home. There are many benefits to using this type of lock for your home, as you can see. Now, you just need to decide if this is the right type for your home, or if you prefer another type that may not offer these benefits for your family.
by: Jeff Schuman
It’s a sobering truth of real estate that sellers often have to spend money to make money. Even if your home is relatively new, you still face costs associated with getting it ready to show, such as repainting interior rooms or hiring professional cleaners and stagers. If your home could use some TLC and updating, spending as little as $5,000 on key upgrades could improve its appeal for buyers – and ensure a speedier sale at a better price.
Here are five upgrades you can make for under $5,000 to help put your home at the top of every buyer’s must-see list.
1. Upgrade your entryway – Replacing an old, dated or worn entry door can be a cost-effective way to ensure buyers get a good first impression when they walk in your house. Whether you choose a fiberglass, wooden or steel model, installing a new entry door can cost a few thousand dollars, yet the return on investment at the time of resale can be significant. A fiberglass entry door returns about 72 percent of its investment, while a steel door recoups more than 100 percent of its value, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report.
Enhance your new door with attractive plantings, fresh paint and clean windows around the entryway to create a memorable, attractive entry for just a few thousand dollars.
2. Increase natural light – More buyers are becoming aware of the mood- and productivity-enhancing benefits of natural light, and homes with big, bright windows have always been in demand. Adding windows to a room can be a costly, time-consuming affair. Not so with adding a skylight. For well under $5,000 and in just a day or two, a professional can install an Energy Star qualified, solar powered no-leak fresh-air skylight, like those from Velux America. Professional installation costs nationally ranges from around $900 to $2,325, with an average of $1,400, according to HomeAdvisor.com.
The low installation cost will leave you plenty of budget to enhance the skylight upgrade even further with energy efficiency-boosting solar-powered blinds. The skylight and blinds are operated by remote control and the blinds are available in designer colors and patterns to enhance your décor. The products, as well as installation costs, are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit to further reduce the cost of the improvement.
The most popular rooms in the home for fresh air skylights are baths, where they provide privacy in addition to natural light, and kitchens, where they vent cooking odors and humidity naturally while brightening this much-used workspace.
3. Beautify a master bathroom – Bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. Making a few cosmetic upgrades to even a small master bath can help increase a home’s appeal and value. For less than $5,000 you can easily repaint, upgrade faucets, replace old cabinet hardware and add decorative touches like designer towels.
If you’ve already done all that, take a look at the floor or countertops – two cost-effective upgrades that can wow buyers. Since counters don’t make up that much square footage in most bathrooms, replacing them with granite can cost just a couple thousand dollars. Tile flooring is also a relatively inexpensive way to improve a bathroom’s look and usability.
4. Heat things up in the kitchen – Kitchen remodels can offer high ROI for sellers, but a full remodel may be outside your budget. If you’ve already done the obvious – like repainting and decluttering – it’s time to look for a few more cost-effective improvements that will appeal to buyers.
Just as in the bathroom, swapping old faucets and cabinet hardware with new designer options can enhance the appeal of a kitchen. Shabby, outdated appliances can hinder a speedy sale, so consider replacing them with new ones. You don’t necessarily need to install top-of-the-line, high-priced appliances to make a good impression, either. Newer, Energy Star qualified appliances represent savings for buyers down the road.
5. Lavish landscaping – No single aspect of your home has a greater impact on a buyer’s first impression than the landscaping. A great front yard sets the tone for the rest of the home, appealing to buyers on a number of levels, including beauty, practicality and savings.
With $5,000, you can accomplish a lot in terms of landscaping. You can sod a small front yard, add decorative planting beds to a lush lawn, or even install shade trees that will both beautify the yard and enhance the home’s energy efficiency in summer. Decorative concrete stamping of walkways and driveways is another cost-effective way to improve a home’s curb appeal.
Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, no one wants to see their home linger long before selling. A few simple upgrades can help ensure your home gets plenty of attention this season.
GET YOUR CREDIT SCORE AS HIGH AS YOU CAN
Pay off credit cards and only use 10% of your limit moving forward. You can sell large things, but don’t make any major purchases (like a car). Don’t cancel any lines of credit and don’t open any new lines of credit. Stay current on all of your bills and remember, no major purchases!
You’ll need money for the down payment (if you need to), inspection, and closing costs (eg:lawyer fees, taxes, etc.)
CHOOSE A REAL ESTATE AGENT
A good real estate agent will guide you through the next steps so that you don’t make any errors. It’s also important to have an understanding of how your real estate agent is going to market your property (i.e. email, social media, MLS, etc).
CHOOSE A LENDER
If you don’t already have one in mind, your real estate agent can provide a list of preferred lenders. The lender runs your credit and gives you mortgage options and estimated rates. The lender also calculates how much you can spend on a house based off of your debt to income ratio.
DECIDE WHAT FEATURES ARE IMPORTANT AND VISIT HOMES
Make a list of features most important to you before you start looking. Your real estate agent will book showings for houses that match your list. Visit the homes and take notes and photos.
Make sure to test the commute, consider resale value for the home, and finally make a decision!
MAKE AN OFFER
Offers are often contingent on many things, including, home inspections, financing, and insurance. Your real estate agent will help you decide what conditions are important in your purchase.
FINAL WALK-THROUGH AND CLOSE
Make sure the house is the way that it should be, as this is your final moment to speak up if something is wrong. Bring your closing money to the lawyer, and get ready to sign paperwork!
Congrats and enjoy your new home!
A little smile. A word of cheer.
A bit of love from someone near.
A little gift from one held dear.
Best wishes for the coming year.
These make a Merry Christmas!
Photo Credit: Leza MacDonald (ODN)
Keeping an eye our for the Annual Caroling Truck with the Oliver Fire Department? This route map and schedule will help make it easier!