3 Tips for Moving in the Winter

We all know that the first dusting of snow can come as early as October and the last of it might not leave until March. That means if you’re a homebuyer in Canada, there’s a good chance you might end up undertaking a move during weather that’s less than ideal. Use the tips to tackle a winter move, whether you’re dealing with endless slush, sudden flash freezes or sub-zero temperatures.

Leave yourself more time. Many elements of a move can be slowed down during the winter, especially if driving conditions are impacted. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time the day of a move and have a contingency plan in place if your move is delayed.

Be mindful of protection. Almost all of your belongings could be a risk in winter conditions. Electronics and glass items, for example, do not tolerate extremely cold temperatures. These may benefit from extra packing and limited time outside during your move. There’s also the issue of slush or snow, which can damage carpets and hardwood if tracked in during a move-in or move-out. Make sure you use plenty of protection on your floors.

Don’t forget to set up your utilities. What’s worse than moving into a new home during the winter only to find out that your heat won’t turn on? Probably nothing! Make sure your utilities are transferred well in advance, and even test out your heating and hot water in advance, if possible. Sometimes heating units have to be reset, which can take a bit of time or even a professional.

Despite the frigid temperatures, winter moving doesn’t have to be a drain! Make sure you’re being extra careful, have a contingency plan in place and ask your moving company what their policy for moving in cold conditions is to make your cold-weather moving a success.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

The Upside of Using a Real Estate Professional to Find a Rental

Once you’ve made the decision that you’re going to hunt for an apartment or a rental home, there are a few things to consider. Working with a real estate professional isn’t one of them. This is something you definitely shouldn’t think twice about doing.

Most real estate professionals in Canada aren’t just in the business of buying and selling houses, they can also help you to find your perfect apartment or home to rent while you’re saving for a down payment to buy your own place.

Time Saver
Once you let your real estate professional know what it is you’re looking for in an apartment or home you’re looking to rent, he or she will go to work finding it for you. The rental market in Canada can be tough these days. Finding a place in certain areas can be time-consuming and frustrating.

A real estate professional can direct you to the areas where you might find your new home. They can also let you know what documents you’ll need and the frame of mind you should adopt when actually looking at places.

Your salesperson can also review new rental listings that come on the market and let you know if they might be a good fit for you. When your salesperson finds a listing that they think might work, they’ll book an appointment for you right away so you might be able to get a jump on others vying for the same place. A real estate professional may also agree to preview the place for you if your schedule is really packed.

Quick Turnaround
Units in prime locations can be snapped up pretty quickly, so working with a real estate professional can get things started for you. If a real estate professional finds the right rental for you, they could also get the paperwork started since there are always rental applications to fill out.

One big plus for renters is that enlisting a real estate professional’s help comes at no financial cost to them. The landlord typically foots the bill. Real estate professionals don’t make their living off finding rentals, but they do hope that when the time comes for you to buy a home, you’ll remember how helpful they were when you were looking for a rental. It’s part of a salesperson’s networking process.

Added Protection
By using a real estate professional to find your rental, you are less likely to get scammed by unscrupulous types just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. There have been numerous cases in which people have lost money looking for rentals on social media sites. Having a real estate professional on your side will ensure things are done on the up and up.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

9 Tricks for Organizing Your Kitchen Counter

For many Canadians, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s a gathering place for chats over coffee or tea, catching up on what’s happening in family members’ lives. As such, things could get a little disorganized when it comes to kitchen"kids leaving the peanut butter and jelly out, dirty dishes waiting to be washed, etc.

When the counters in the kitchen are sparkling and free from disarray, it makes the area look more open and organized. Here are some tips you might want to put into use for keeping your kitchen counters clutter-free.

If you can hang it, do it. Hanging fruit baskets is an ideal fix for keeping fruit off the counters and opening up space. These kinds of planters are popular again, why not do the same for your apples, oranges and bananas?

The low-down on the microwave. Most people have their microwaves on the counter. If you can, create a little nook for it in your kitchen island. It might be a little lower than you’re used to, but it actually looks great and lends a more modern feeling.

Cutting board culprits. If you leave your cutting boards out on the counter, you’ll lose valuable space. You might want to store them on the inside of one of the doors. There are units you can buy at hardware stores for just that.

Door organizers. An over-the-door organizer can be just as effective in your pantry as it is in your closet. It could house things like spices, canned goods, cookie jars"stuff that would take up valuable counter real estate.

Hang utensils. If you keep your utensils on the wall and handy, it adds a very modern, trendy look to your kitchen. And that wooden spoon or spatula won’t get in your way.

Floating shelves. Put the space on the side of your cupboard to good use with a few floating shelves. Use every bit of space you can for the sake of your counters.

Open storage island. When you choose an island that has open spaces, shelves can be the perfect spots for items like cookbooks, pots, pans or additional cooking tools.

Mason jars. They’re clean, sleek and are pretty hot right now in terms of kitchen dcor. Clear jars can look great on a counter and can be used for everything from sugar to cookies to dry pasta.

Divide and conquer. If you’re lucky enough to have a long counter, mentally divide it into sections. You can keep paper towels and napkins in one area, jars in another and perhaps a nice vase of flowers on one end. Imagination is key.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

6 Things Not to Do Before Purchasing a Home

Buying a home is one of the most exciting life experiences there is. To make the process as smooth as it possibly can be, there are some things you shouldn’t do before signing on the dotted line and closing on a property.

Nothing is written in stone until you have those keys in your hand, so these six tips may be useful to you to ensure that happens:

Don’t buy something major. That driveway might look stellar with a new car sitting in it, but if you’re planning on mortgage shopping, waiting until after you’ve secured the funds might be wise. You don’t want to chance not being able to get financing because your shiny, new car reduces your debt-to-income ratio, which banks use to calculate how much they’ll lend you.

In addition, Canadians must now pass a mortgage stress test. That means a lender will simulate your financial circumstances by qualifying you at the higher of either the benchmark rate"the qualifying rate set by the Bank of Canada composed of an average of the posted five-year fixed rates used by Canada’s major banks"or 2 per cent higher than the rate being offered by the banks.

Don’t quit your job. Mortgage lenders want to see consistency, and they will look at your job history, to be sure. Unless you’re offered the job of your dreams, it’s better to stay put until you’re sure of a lending institution’s firm lending offer.

Don’t become best buddies with the seller. Being friendly is one thing, but if you make what you think is an insignificant comment like “I’m going to change the horrible paint colour in the living room,” it could possibly rub the seller the wrong way. Keep it casual.

Don’t get too emotional. Keep a level head by not sweating the small stuff and by not falling too much in love with the place, either. A sense of logic is important in the home-buying realm. Thinking with a clear head is best.

Don’t give any money directly to the seller. Any deposits should go into a trust account. You don’t want your money spent before the deal is closed. And you don’t want to have to fight to get that money back should something happen and the deal doesn’t solidify.

Don’t try to navigate the waters alone. Your agent will help you through the process. He or she will schedule a final walk-through of the home before closing and will have your best interests at heart. Your agent will be able to answer your questions and figuratively hold your hand every step of the way.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

What to Know Before Buying a Pre-Construction Condo

Thanks to Canada’s condo building boom and a competitive market, many luxury buyers are making the choice to buy a condo from floorplans; that is, a condominium unit that hasn’t been built yet. Buyers put a deposit down after reviewing the building plans in a sales centre, and continue paying instalments until the building is built, which could take up to five years. If you’re considering this route, here’s what you should know:

Move-in timelines can be hard to predict. When you purchase pre-construction, the developer will give you an estimated move-in date, but ultimately these depend on many factors outside the developer’s control, such as sales volume, vendor supply and city bylaws. Keep in mind that your occupancy date can be delayed by months or even longer.

Closing costs are different than with a re-sale home. In addition to your down payment instalments, there will be closing costs when you take possession of your new luxury unit. These include HST, development levies and initial utility hook-ups. A skilled real estate lawyer will be able to explain these to you.

Secure a mortgage rate early. It often pays to lock down an interest rate early in the process, as opposed to waiting until closing.

Expect possible building changes. A lot can happen between the time a building design is proposed and when it’s actually completed. When you buy from plans, you will have access to renderings, 3D models, maybe even a model suite, which can give you an idea of what the building will look like. Developers, however, have a certain amount of leeway in their contracts to alter plans, based on material availability or city planning policies. On the flip side, many buyers are drawn to pre-construction because it often means they can choose their unit finishes.

Know about the occupancy period. With pre-construction, you may be legally able to occupy your luxury unit on a certain date, but if certain parts are still under construction (such as units on higher floors or common amenities), the building may not be “official.” This means your mortgage won’t kick in and instead you will be paying “occupancy fees” to the developer. This period may last for months.

Buying a luxury unit pre-construction can be a smart way to get the condo of your dreams while avoiding stressful bidding wars. The process, however, is somewhat different than buying a re-sale home. Make sure you work with a real estate agent who is experienced in pre-construction sales.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Local Residential Real Estate Market Heading In The Right Direction

KELOWNA, B.C. – June 2nd, 2020. Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland increased 95% totaling 446 units sold in May compared to April’s 299 unit yet remained down 42% from this time last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).


New residential listings also saw an uptick totaling 1,198, an increase of 49% compared to last month’s new listings. Overall active listings increased 9% over April’s inventory of 3,467 yet remained 16% lower than April 2019’s
inventory of 4,490.


“While we are still in the midst of a global pandemic it is encouraging to see that residential sales are moving at an upward trajectory,” says OMREB President Kim Heizmann, adding that “we are starting to see a return to real estate activity which looks promising for the future, however we remain cautious about predicting future outcomes as many economic factors will have impacts.”


“Virtual tours and alternative technological solutions have ensured that real estate transactions can continue to transpire responsibly.”


The average number of days to sell a home increased from 83 days to 91 days. It is important to note that OMREB reports on all market statistics for the entire Board region and that the indicators will vary depending on home type and sub-region.


Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it’s always a good idea to work with a REALTOR® who will protect your interests on such a significant financial transaction.


More info on the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board Here

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