The Fraser Valley has received a blast of winter. When we only see winter once every 1000 days here in the lower mainland making it hard to remember to take the time to winterize our homes. Well, here are a few tips to get you started.
With the house prices sky rocketing in the lower mainland you might be left with the heavy feeling that you may never own the home of your dreams. Or, wondering how you will ever own a home big enough for your family. You could spend your days saving every last dollar to buy that big beautiful home or you could think a little outside the box. Buying a smaller home and doing some creative renovations to make every last inch count is an innovative way to make a smaller home more spacious and livable. I know what you might be thinking; tiny living isn’t for me. But, what if it was a step up from tiny living, a home that is larger but the functionality of using every possible space in the house was implemented? Here is a video on a family that did just that to make their smaller two-bedroom home into the perfect living space for their family of four. Check it out. It might give you some inventive ideas of how to make the space in your home work better for you.
Being a realtor in this busy market means I work long hours and usually 7 days a week. However, I find it important to spend time with my family when I can. I usually have to plan time to be with my wife and daughter, however, on the odd occasion I am blessed with a random afternoon or day off. Both have happened recently and both make my wife happy.
Over the long weekend I ended up with a Sunday off. So we packed up the car and drove into Vancouver to enjoy some BC beauty. We took a long walk along the seawall in Stanley Park and then we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Mahony & Sons. Mahony & Sons is a pub in Vancouver near the cruise ship terminal in Burrard Landing. We enjoyed the great atmosphere, stunning views, and impeccable service. Not to mention the food is amazing. If you are like my wife and need to find something gluten free, they have that too. The gluten free burgers will leave you wanting more. The bun is soft and delicious. Ashley had to ask the waiter to make sure it was gluten free because it tasted so good. Gluten free doesn’t taste that good, or so we thought. I would highly recommend you take me up on my recommendation and check out #mahoneyandsons. You won’t be disappointed.
April showers bring May flowers, or so they say. If you live in Abbotsford the flowers have already sprung and the sun is shining. One of the first spring flowers to bloom are the tulips. You can see them from the road when you are passing the Whatcom Exit headed east towards Chilliwack. And, boy are they BEAUTIFUL. If you are looking for a fun family outing, you might be interested in seeing these beauties up close and personal. The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is open for business. You can stroll through he fields, take lots of photos, play some lawn games, and if you are there on the weekend you can grab lunch from the food trucks and have a picnic. It might just be the perfect way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. If you would like prices or more information you can check out their website athttp://abbotsfordtulipfestival.ca/product/admission/
Spring is here, Finally! As the sun shines through the windows you might notice how much dust has collected over the winter. I guess that means it is time to do some spring-cleaning. I love spring-cleaning. It means cleaning out the old, dusting off the cobwebs, de-cluttering the piles of junk, and starting fresh. So, It’s time to get motivated by opening up the windows, letting in the fresh air in, and cranking up the tunes. When I go through the cupboards and drawers I ask myself, when was the last time I used this? If it was longer than a year… it’s time that item found a new home. Why hang on to things that you never use? Maybe your thinking there is a chance you will use it one day. Ok, I have to admit, I have been a victim of this. I have thrown stuff away and regretted it. However, it hasn’t happened enough to change my spring-cleaning ways. Whatever your spring-cleaning style may be, I hope you enjoy a fresh start. If you need some ideas for where to start I have attached some links to some helpful websites. Happy Cleaning.
10 spring cleaning tips http://www.styleathome.com/organizing/organizing-ideas/10-spring-cleaning-tips/a/901
6. Not considering long-term needs.
It’s important to consider whether the home your purchasing will suit your needs in 3-5 years from now.
7. Not examining insurance needs.
Purchase adequate insurance. Advice from an insurance agent can provide you with answers to any concerns you may have.
8. Not buying a home protection plan.
This is essentially a mini insurance policy that usually lasts one year fro the close of escrow. It usually covers basic repairs you may encounter and can be purchased for a normal fee. Talk to your agent to help you find the protection plan you need.
9. Not knowing total costs involved.
There are a lot of costs that come with buying a home. Mare sure you ask your realtor or lender for estimated closing costs early on. Title company and attorney fees should be considered. Pre-pay responsibilities such as Homeowner Association fees and insurance must also be taken into account. Remember to examine your settlement statement prior to closing.
10. Not following through on due diligence.
Buyers should make a list of any concerns they have related to issues such as; crime rates, schools, power lines, neighbors, environmental conditions, etc. Ask the important questions before you make an offer on a home. Be diligent so that you can have confidence in your purchase.
If you have any questions about these mistakes or would like any more information on what to consider when purchasing or selling a home please give me a call and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to buy your dream home by making a mistake that could easily be avoided. The market is hot right now and houses are selling quickly so make sure that you safeguard yourself from these simple missteps.
1. Making an offer without being pre-qualified for a mortgage.
Taking the time to get pre-qualified can save you from losing out on the home of your choice. It will also help determine what home you can afford and what your price range is.
2. Not having a home inspection
Yes, home inspections can be pricy and who doesn’t want to save a buck or two. But saving money now could end up costing you more in the future. A home inspection will detect issues that you may or may not be able to live with. It will also help to find issues that need to be addressed immediately by the seller before the home is purchased.
3. Limiting your search to open houses, adds, or the internet
Yes it is fun to search the World Wide Web for that perfect home, but these houses are mostly likely already sold. Contacting a realtor is your best chance in finding a home. He will send you the most recent listings and up to date information that isn’t available to the general public.
4. Choosing a real estate agent who is not committed to forming a strong business relationship with you.
A realtor should have your best interest at heart is crucial. They should know what you want and should put your needs first before, during, and after a sale.
5. Thinking there is one perfect house out there.
Buying a home is a process of elimination. New homes come on the market every day so be open to all possibilities. Ask your realtor for a comparative market analysis. This compares similar homes that have recently sold or are still for sale.
To be continued…
This past weekend, I was able to get away from work and spend some much needed time with my family. My wife, two-month-old daughter and I drove up to Edmonton to celebrate with my Cousin at her wedding. It was a lovely wedding and my cousin made a stunning bride.
We survived the 13-hour drive from Abbotsford to Edmonton with minimal screaming from our daughter. If you were looking for suggestion on surviving a road trip with a newborn, I would tell you to drive through the night. It was the best decision we made. Kaitlyn slept through the majority of the trip. I, however, was exhausted by the time we got there.
My wife was able to meet and spend some quality time with my side of the family. Unfortunately they all live so far away that she hasn’t had the opportunity to do so sooner. We spent a day with the family at West Edmonton Mall, watching the young cousins enjoy some rides, having a wonderful family lunch, and doing some shopping. The Mall is huge and has almost every store you can think of. One day was not enough to make the rounds. One day we would like to return with Kaitlyn to spend some time at the wave pool, do some shopping, and of course spend some quality time with extended family.
We are home now and I am back to work. No rest for this guy when the housing market is so hot.
Beating the winter blues is hard to do. With spring still a few weeks away and rain that doesn’t seem to cease, you might be looking for something to do that doesn’t include sitting at home watching re-runs of Breaking Bad. Have you ever checked out the Fraser Valley Circle Farm tours? Some of these farms offer tours, lessons, or even free samples.
Hofstedede’s Country Barn is one of my favorites. They have loads of local produce and organic products. You can find some of your favorite German or Dutch treats like salted licorice. YUM. They also have a bakery that serves some of the best soups and sandwiches in the Fraser Valley. And, if you are gluten free, you are able to get a gluten free sandwich on fresh in house baked bread.
In the fall, you might want to check out the Chilliwack corn maze. There is so much family fun pack into this one little spot. There is the obvious, the maze, but they also have a corn pit for kids, games, a jumping pillow, fire pits, picnic areas, and a pumpkin patch.
If you are interested in checking out some of these local gems I have attached the link to the flyer. Enjoy, spring will be here before you know it.
Being a first time home buyer can be a really exciting time in life. However, it could be difficult for some to save up for that new home. It may seem like it will never happen. Especially when the cost of living has your bank account crying at the end of each month and the price of homes is rising. So, how do you save money? It can be difficult. Here are some things my wife and I try to do to save a bit of cash.
1. Shop at Walmart or superstore. Yes these stores are more crowded and you might have to bag your own groceries, but we save about $50-$100 a month. We are not able to buy everything we need at Walmart but it is easy to pop into Save-on-Foods to pick up the few things we can’t get at Walmart.
2. Pay down debt. We put lump sums of money down on our debt to pay it off faster when we are able. This way we pay less interest and it makes our monthly payments less for the months we can pay down more.
3. Eat at home. This can be hard to do. Especially when life is busy and it is so easy to quickly drive through McDonalds. It does save you money. Make coffee at home and skip the Starbucks. Or make Starbucks a weekly treat instead of a daily indulgence.
4. Watch for sales. New clothes are something my wife enjoys. If there is something she needs or wants she waits for sales and only buys from the sale racks. Also, she will ask for mall gift cards for her birthday so that she can fulfill her addiction.
5. Find free activities to do in your local area. Go for a picnic. Walk in the park. Go hiking. Play baseball with your kids in the park. Have home movie nights. It can be hard to do but with a little creativity you are able to make memories without spending money.
6. Put away a little money each month. Maybe it’s just $50. In a high interest savings account it will start to add up. You might not have a down payment saved up in a year but if you plug away and put extra away when you can you will be able to afford that home in no time.
If you want more ideas on how to save some money, check out this website: