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If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve come to the right place. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy, REALTOR.ca can guide you through the entire process and a REALTOR® can help take care of the rest.

Here’s an overview of what to think about:

Prepare to buy

Few joys can match the pride of owning a home, but the responsibility can also come with sacrifices – from the financial commitment to the required care and maintenance. You’ll want to be sure both fit within your current or preferred lifestyle.


Plan your finances

Buying a home is a big deal; it’s probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make. Being prepared means also understanding that expenses go beyond purchase price.

To secure your new home, you’ll likely need to arrange for a mortgage but before you do, take a look at how much you can afford each month. Based on your income and expenses, our affordability calculator can help you estimate your maximum affordable mortgage payments.

View properties

A REALTOR® can review your wants and needs to help you determine your price range, as well as answer questions about the markets you’re interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods. Your REALTOR® can also provide access to exclusive listing information, preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget and make appointments and show you homes that interest you.

Make an offer

You’ve found the perfect home? Congratulations! Now, if you actually want to make it yours, you have to make a successful offer, one the seller will accept. REALTORS® can prepare the offer for you.

Close the purchase

Buying a home involves piles of legal documents. You need someone to translate the ”legalese” and ensure your best interests are protected.

There are many experienced real estate lawyers out there. Like choosing any other professional, ask your friends, family and co-workers for their recommendations. Your REALTOR® can also give you the name(s) of experienced real estate lawyers in your area.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca

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From virtual picnics to video-chat mimosas, you can still celebrate her from afar.


From birthday car parades to virtual happy hours, we're starting to navigate this whole "shelter in place" thing relatively well, all things considered. But a socially distanced Mother's Day feels particularly hard, doesn't it? After all, your mother's likely the very person you need most right now—for a reassuring hug, for her homemade lasagna, and, okay, for occasional supervision of the grandchildren. (They. Are. Climbing. The. Walls.) And while those things may not be possible at this given moment, you can find solace in her voice as you catch up during a virtual brunch, seek refuge in her laughter while tuning into the perfect mother-daughter television show or movie, and watch her light up with the grandkids—even if she has to watch them pick strawberries via video ("We love you so berry much, Nana!") After you've shopped for the perfect Mother's Day gifts and put together some sweet Mother's Day crafts (yes, there's still time!), consider embracing one of these stay-connected activities that will serve up some much-needed quality time during quarantine. Whether you're socially distanced in the same town (surprise her with a Love Actually-esque poster board message!) or toasting her from many miles away, one of these ideas will leave you feeling a little bit closer in these distanced times. And if there's anything Mom taught you, it's to stand up straight, mind your manners, and always, always, look on the bright side.


Go on a Picnic "Together"



Mother's Day falls during that magical time of year when the weather is pleasantly warm and the trees and flowers are blooming. Surprise mom with a pre-packed picnic basket—either via porch drop-off or a snack-filled mail delivery—and schedule a time to enjoy your alfresco fixins at the same time (either on speakerphone or video chat). For another fancied up twist, make it a "Rose & Croquet" Mother's Day, and gift her the fun lawn game.


Original Article from: Country Living


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(BPT) – This year spring cleaning is more than ever about the deep clean. Spring typically inspires a little more time dedicated to cleaning, in fact, a recent survey commissioned by Bona and conducted by Harris Poll found that more than half of U.S. adults say that the start of spring triggers extra cleaning in the household. While in the past it might have been more about simply dusting hard-to-reach corners and cleaning out the fridge, this year it’s also about deep cleaning and disinfecting for health and safety.


Here are a few tips to deep clean this spring for anyone tackling the task.


Focus on high-use areas first

It may not be realistic to deep clean your whole home in one weekend so consider targeting busy areas of your home first. Bedrooms, bathrooms, family room, kitchen and entry areas likely get the most foot traffic, so start there and leave lesser used areas of the home for later. Gather some helpers and set a timeframe to establish a clear goal and end time. Consider a second round of cleaning if you’re unable to complete the task.

Clear out the clutter

Create a system that works for you to clear out the clutter and make space to deep clean. Set up boxes or bags clearly labeled “Trash,” “Recycle,” “Donate,” and “Belongs elsewhere.” Go through each target room, putting anything that shouldn’t be there in one of the labeled containers.


Be sure to get these boxes or bags where they belong to avoid additional house clutter (we’ve all been guilty of moving a pile from one room to another!). You’ll feel lighter and happier just seeing those boxes and bags head out the door. Consider tasking a family member with trash or donation drop-off.

Prioritize large surface areas

Once you’ve cleared the excess clutter, wipe down the room from top to bottom. Clean the dust accumulated on top of bookshelves or ceiling fans first, then wipe down walls from top to bottom to remove dust and grime, using a microfiber mop or cloth. Prioritize large surfaces like countertops and tables as well as potential germ hotspots like the kitchen sink. Finish up with the floors by vacuuming carpet or by using a cleaner tailored for your hardwood or hard-surface floors.

Disinfect

At every opportunity look for areas that can be disinfected. Focus on high-use items and areas like remote controls, doorknobs, drawer pulls, and keypads. Consider using products that use hydrogen peroxide, a proven, healthier way to kill germs. Many traditional antibacterial cleaners use quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats.” This specific class of chemicals is linked to skin irritation and respiratory problems and use of quats is contributing to the global problem of antimicrobial resistance.


For example, Bona PowerPlus® Antibacterial Hard-Surface Floor Cleaner is a new, hydrogen peroxide powered cleaning solution specifically designed to clean and disinfect hard, non-porous flooring surfaces. This ready-to-use antibacterial cleaner is formulated to clean and remove stubborn stains while killing 99.9% of household germs* with the power of hydrogen peroxide when used as directed. It also leaves your home smelling fresh and clean with no residue left behind.

Finishing touches

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned and refreshed your rooms, brainstorm other ways to improve your living space:


· Donate excess, little-used furniture to create more space


· Identify tasks best left to professionals, like exterior window cleaning or hardwood floor refinishing


· Display brightly colored artwork to renew your walls


· Set out a vase or two of colorful flower arrangements


Let your deep cleaning this spring bring a little renewal and brightness to your home. A clean home is also a healthy home for family, pets and friends.


*Kills 99.9% of Influenza A H1N1 Virus, Rhinovirus, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], and Trichophyton mentagrophytes on hard, non-porous surfaces in 10 minutes.


Original Article from: My Motherlode

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If you're a millennial considering buying your first home, congratulations! You're probably excited until you remember: houses are expensive and—regardless of your current financial situation—you'll likely need to save money to afford one.  

This can be intimidating for anyone but, according to a recent survey, millennials in particular say it's become more difficult to buy a home. And, those feelings aren't just isolated to millennials who live in expensive housing markets like VancouverTorontoand MontrealA majority from communities across the country agree

woman at kitchen table doing work

Do millennials struggle with short attention spans and a penchant for instant gratification? Who knows. Do they think saving for a down payment is the biggest hurdle to affording a home? They do. 

black man in a suit speed walking

Worry not! Where there's a will, there's a way and we hope these tips will help you exercise your delayed gratification muscles and save.

Set goals

Setting clear short and long-term goals can give you a roadmap towards your ultimate goal: homeownership.

It might start with bagged lunches and smaller investments but, in combination, those decisions can help bring you one step closer to where you'd like to be.

Pinpoint your priorities

Start by figuring out what you want in a home. Consider location, size and your desired current and future lifestyle needs. Compare your list with your preferred real estate listings to get an idea of what's available and how much it costs; this will help you adjust your expectations. 

Once you have a better idea of what you're looking for, find a REALTOR® to help you navigate the various stages of home buying and ownership. They're responsible for making the home buying process as easy as possible for you. They can also get you the information needed to make an informed decision: comparable prices, neighbourhood trends, housing market conditions and more.

Start saving

couple dancing in the kitchen

Once you know your price range, you can use a mortgage calculator to figure out how much you'll need to save for a down payment and an affordability calculator to see what you can comfortably afford in terms of monthly expenses (like living expenses and debt payments). 

birds eye view of person calculating and doing work on a laptop

From there, you can build a budget based on your goals. There are several tools, apps, techniques and systems for budgeting, but all of them start with tracking your income and expenses. For example, the envelope system helps you control your spending by putting a fixed amount of cash in an envelope every month for each expense category. Once you run out of money in your “groceries” envelope, you can't spend money on groceries until the next cycle. Whatever tools you choose, budgeting helps you clearly see how much your life costs, where your money is going and where there's room for adjustment. 

couple looking at finances

Saving money, working long hours and side-hustling requires discipline—so try to get comfortable with discomfort. When you feel burnt out, acknowledge it—give it space—but don't let it derail you. Practice things until they become good habits and prove the people who think you're wasting your life on Instagram and avocado toast wrong. Don't forget to reinforce your good behaviour by celebrating the small victories. 

Don’t be afraid to get help

girl at a bar staring at her phone

Does seeing your friends buy houses on social media make you feel isolated in your struggle? The truth is, you're not alone. 

According to Statistics Canada, despite being the most educated generation, concerns have been raised about millennials being “slower to launch.” 

young girl working as a barista

If you're struggling, open up about it. It might help relieve some of the pressure and hearing someone else's perspective could be a good reminder that everyone else is working hard to reach their goals, too. 

There are also programs and incentives to help make home buying easier, including: 

The new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (launching September 2, 2019) is intended to help qualified buyers reduce their monthly mortgage carrying costs. 

The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) allows you to borrow up to $35,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to buy or build a home.

The First Time Home Buyers' (FTHB) Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home, providing up to $750 in tax relief to eligible buyers.  

Saving for a home isn't easy, but if you have a plan and stick to it, you'll be on the right track to affording a home that's right for you. 

The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca

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Everyone loves walking into a home that smells amazing


Unfortunately, many products, such as aerosol room sprays, plug-in units or wax melts, also come with questionable ingredients and unnecessary packaging.  


If you crave a wonderful smelling space in a more natural and earth-friendly way, it's never been easier. We've compiled this handy list, along with a few simple DIYs that will be as delightful to your wallet as they are to your sense of smell. 

 
1. Reed scent diffusers

Reed diffusers, a low-maintenance home scent option, use natural hollow reeds that absorb a scented oil and naturally disperse the fragrance into the air. It's easy to dial the effect up or down by adding or removing the reeds and the vessel can easily be refilled when the oil has evaporated.


Pro Tip: Keep these out of the reach of pets and young children to avoid finding a giant puddle of oil on your living room rug.


2. Eucalyptus in the shower

There's nothing like the crisp smell of eucalyptus to add a refreshing element to your bathroom routine. This plant has long been touted as an anti-inflammatory, so it's especially helpful if you're feeling a cold coming on. Roll a few sprigs of fresh eucalyptus under a rolling pin to unlock their aromatic oils, then tie the bundle with an elastic and hang it over the back of your shower head. The warmth and humidity of the shower will release the leaves' healing essence. Bonus: this trick will also make your bathroom look even more Pinterest-worthy.


Pro Tip: Some research indicates eucalyptus can be dangerous for young children and babies, so skip this option if you share your bathroom with little ones.


 

3. Essential oil Diffuser

Purifies and humidifies while infusing your air with the healing power of plants. Releases negative ions to reduce dust, pet dander and other airborne allergens (like dust mite matter). Refreshes the air in your space using 100% natural essential oil blends. Preserves the full integrity and properties of your essential oil blends using a heat-free system. Gives your atmosphere the same refreshing feeling as standing near a waterfall


Pro Tip: You can purchase a diffuser from Homesense for about $30 but it's best to splurge on good quality oils 

4. Essential oils on your furnace filter or vacuum cleaner bag

A few drops of your favourite essential oil will easily diffuse throughout your home with a little help from the forced air of your furnace or vacuum.


Pro Tip: Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet before vacuuming to help deodorize at the same time.

5. Lavender linen spray

Refresh your linens between washes (and gain instant credit as the host with the most delightful-smelling sheets) with a DIY lavender linen spray. Believe it or not, low-priced vodka makes the best basis for this concoction: simply mix one part vodka (or witch hazel) with three parts water in a glass spray bottle, Next, add 10 drops (or more depending on your preference) of high-quality lavender essential oil. Spray whenever a sheet, curtain or closet is in need of refreshing.


Pro Tip: Lavender is known for its calming properties, so this spray can pull double-duty as a pillow spray to help you nod off to dreamland.


6. Cotton balls with essential oils

Adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil to cotton balls is one of the simplest DIY home scent hacks that can also go pretty much anywhere. Stash them in your closet or drawers, in bathroom cupboards or behind your computer at the office (if scents are permitted). Be careful not to add too much oil or the ball may leave a stain on surfaces.


Pro Tip: Scented cotton balls are an easy swap for plastic car vent air fresheners. Simply wedge a few into your dash vent or under the floor mats. When the heat is on, the hot air will swirl the fresh aroma around your vehicle.

7. Vanilla or almond extract on light bulbs

Here's a sweet way to scent your space at the flip of a switch— remove a cooled light bulb from its socket and apply a few drops of pure vanilla or almond. Allow it to dry fully and replace it back in its fixture. Anytime you turn on the lights, you'll be rewarded with a yummy glow, as the warmth of the bulb spreads the scent throughout your room.


Pro Tip: This trick also works with lemon juice if you prefer the zing of citrus.

8. Simmering potpourri

This eco-friendly method fills your home with fragrance using only water and what you can find around the kitchen. All you need is a simmering pot of water on the stove (or in a slow-cooker). Add a blend of your favourite scents: apple cores, citrus peels, extracts or whole spices such as cinnamon sticks or star anise. In no time, your space will be infused with delicious, comforting or invigorating smells. 

Caution: The use of certain essential oils may be hazardous to young children or pets. Always research the safety of any essential oil before using it in your home.


Original article from Realtor.ca

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As use of smart home technology continues to grow, it's hard to keep up with what's out there, what's compatible and how it all works together. Setting up your smart home can be as simple as putting a device in your living room or as complicated as installing a system of interconnected devices that speak to each other; how intricate you want to get is completely up to you. Keep in mind, however, not every system will be compatible with every product.

Check out our guide to setting up your smart home and control your lighting, security, thermostat, music and more with these smart devices and hubs.

Entertainment and assistants

a smart speaker on a pile of booksPhoto by Andres Urena on Unsplash

The simplest “smart devices” are voice command speakers. Consumers can choose from an assortment of smart home systems, including Amazon's Alexa and EchoGoogle HomeApple HomeKitSamsung's Smart Things and more. These devices are typically voice command-activated and can do things like stream music,read news headlines, set reminders or tell you what the weather is going to be like tomorrow. In some instances, you can link up your smartphone and make hands-free calls, send messages and even answer calls. You can also find nearby open houses with the REALTOR.ca skill for Amazon Alexa. For those of you not using an Amazon Echo, no problem, simply download the Amazon Alexa app and enable the REALTOR.ca skill for Alexa to use on your phone!

Security systems

a person using a smartphone to open a smart lock on a front door

Security products like cameras and alarm systems tend to be most people's first foray into home automation. Smart door locks, alarm systems, cameras and movement sensors can offer peace of mind when you're away from home. August Smart Lock is an easy way to lock and unlock your doors remotely through a phone app, making it popular for offices and shared workspaces. The Skybell Doorbell lets you see who's at your door and speak to them through your phone, even if you're not home. Plus there are many alarm system starter kits out there, like Nest SecureGo AbodeSimpliSafe and more.

Energy savers and automation

a smart thermostat on a wallPhoto by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

It's nice having things done for us, isn't it? One study suggests 1 in 6 Canadians have invested in some kind of home automation. Some of this automation makes our lives a bit easier—like scheduling the coffee maker to brew when your alarm goes off in the morning—but some can help save energy, too. LIFX smart light bulbs are Wi-Fi enabled and can be programmed to illuminate whenever you want, in a variety of colours. Smart thermostats like those from NestHoneywell and Ecobee, use sensors to help improve your home's energy efficiency by perceiving how many people are in a room and adjusting the temperature accordingly. They also allow you to make adjustments remotely from your smartphone. (In larger homes, you may need additional sensors).

The “home hub”

Photo by Status Quack on Unsplash

All of this technology can get overwhelming pretty quickly. If you want to be able to control everything from a single interface rather than delving into a dozen different apps, you're going to need a home hub. Smart speakers can only communicate directly with devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so if you're trying to automate your light bulbs or thermostat, you might need a software hub to unify your devices.

Most home hubs will be able to discover your other devices. Although technically not classified as hubs, Amazon Echo and Google Home have “Works With Google Assistant” and “Works with Alexa” programs so you'll know which devices will be compatible. (For example, Honeywell, Nest and Ecobee are just a few smart thermostats that work with Alexa). In addition, the Amazon Echo Plus works as a ZigBee hub. ZigBee and Z-Wave are alternatives to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and operate on a mesh network to control your devices.

It's important to note that while these devices can be helpful, you will need to do your research, as no one app controls every smart device on the market. Prioritize which features matter most and build from there. Before long, you'll have the smartest house on the block.

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Moe Pourtaghi


"Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my buyers & sellers have success in their Real Estate endeavours. I hope you find the articles on my blog inspiring and educating in your ventures." - Moe Pourtaghi

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.