May 9, 2013
Stanley Park voted second most beautiful city park in the world
Coming in second isn’t bad.
Vancouver’s Stanley Park has been named the second most beautiful city park in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
“The most beautiful combine meadows, woodlands, ponds, lakes, and streams with museums and other man-made attractions,” according to the criteria.
Coming in at number one is Park Guell in Barcelona.
But Vancouver’s own Stanley Park is number two. “The temperate rainforest of Stanley Park is almost completely surrounded by water, with both gorgeous skyline views and wild forest of 500,000 cedar, fir, and hemlock trees. It connects to the historic waterfront and downtown via a 5.5-mile portion of seawall that surrounds the park, popular with joggers, strollers, and cyclists. Rose and rhododendron gardens, nine intricately carved First Nations totem poles, a small golf course, an outdoor summer theater, a seaside swimming pool, and areas for lawn bowling round out its charms,” says the article.
Read more: http://globalnews.ca/news/543234/stanley-park-voted-second-most-beautiful-city-park-in-the-world/
May 8, 2013
7 Mistakes When Negotiating the Price
Of all the life decisions that people have to face, choosing and buying a piece of real estate is easily one of the most important. A home is the most expensive purchase of most people’s lives, and it is the place where you live. For this reason, you need to be very careful and very thorough in your process for choosing just the property you want. When you start trying to find an ideal property, it’s important to remember all the different factors that are involved.
The price you pay for your real estate is one of the most important of these factors. Because of the high prices associated with real estate, a person buying property will often think that any price will be a good one. The truth will tell otherwise. You need to do your proper research in order to make sure that the price you are paying is a fair one. You should know that most real estate sellers will be looking for the highest price they can get, so you need to be wary. In this post, we’ll look at a seven blunders that many buyers make when negotiating the price of their “dream” home.
1. Not understanding the seller
In a home-price negotiation, it’s essential to look at the deal from the opposite side of the table. Understanding the seller and what drives them to sell is a huge boost for your corner. So before you start negotiating the price, ask yourself, “What are the pressures on the seller of this house?”
Sellers today could be facing any number of anxieties. Could be that the seller has recently suffered a job loss resulting in less family income to support the house, maybe the seller has landed a job in another city and has already bought a home there or it could be that the sale of the home is a result of a death in the family or divorce. Any information you can obtain about the local real-estate market or the seller will strengthen your negotiating position.
Read more: http://renting2own.ca/2013/05/07/7-mistakes-when-negotiating-the-price/
May 6, 2013
7 Ways To Add Curb Appeal
Adding curb appeal makes your home more welcoming and more appealing to potential buyers. Here are a few ways to increase your home’s curb appeal and let first impressions speak for themselves.
1. Fix or replace roofing as needed. Gutters and downspouts that look neglected should also be repaired or replaced. A roofing contractor can give you an estimate and save you the hassle of climbing up on the roof to do it yourself.
2. Make the front entry appealing. Paint the door, change out the hardware, add a welcome mat, seasonal wreath or potted plants. Small punches of color can really ramp up the wow factor of your front entry.
3. Spruce up your porch, deck or patio. Clean and restain the decking and change the railing so that it is safe and matches the rest of the home.
4. Pay attention to the big picture. If your home’s façade has seen better days, a few home improvements might be just what you need. Paint the trim, replace the siding and have damaged windows fixed or replaced.
Read more: http://www.my-home-improvement.com/2013/04/27/7-ways-to-add-curb-appeal/
May 4, 2013
Easter[nb 1][nb 2] (Latin: Pascha; Greek Πάσχα Paskha, from Hebrew: פֶּסַח Pesaḥ) is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide, or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.
Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar, whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are etymologically related or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs. Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades, which are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians.
In both Greek and Latin, the 2nd-century Christian celebration was called Pascha, derived, through Aramaic, from the Hebrew term Pesach (פֶּסַח), known in English as Passover, the Jewish festival commemorating the story of the Exodus. Paul writes from Ephesus that "Christ our Pascha has been sacrificed for us," although the Ephesian Christians were not the first to hear that Exodus 12 spoke about the death of Jesus. In most of the non-English speaking world, the feast today is known by the name Pascha and words derived from it.
The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern German Ostern, developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre.[nb 3] This is generally held to have originally referred to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess.[nb 4] The evidence for the Anglo-Saxon goddess, however, has not been universally accepted, and some have proposed that Eostre may have meant "the month of opening" or that the name Easter may have arisen from the designation of Easter Week in Latin as in albis.[25
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter
May 3, 2013
Are you ready to buy a house? Read these home truths first
Many young Canadians associate home ownership with their inevitable coming of age, but first-time buyers flocking to the housing market should be armed with knowledge.
As homeownership rates for those in their twenties have been steadily climbing over recent decades in all but the lowest category of income earners, many of these young people are entering the market without knowing much about buying their first home.
“I’ve been saving up for the down payment on the house probably since I was 21,” said Josh McMaster, a 28-year-old who works in accounting in Brantford, Ont.
He hopes to buy his first home within the next year and is looking for a place in the $215,000-$250,000 range. But despite diligently saving hefty portions of his paycheque over the years, Mr. McMaster said he hasn’t done much research beyond scanning local listings online and in the newspaper.
Combined with the fact that buying a home is such a huge financial commitment, inexperienced young home buyers need to be very careful before signing on the dotted line, said Gail Bebee, a personal finance author who is currently teaching a course on home buying at the University of Toronto.
It’s easy for young people to forget about additional costs of home ownership — things they never had to worry about while renting, Ms. Bebee said. These include ongoing maintenance costs, home insurance, and building up an emergency fund earmarked for surprise special assessments if they purchase a condo.
Young people are often attracted to condos because of their size and proximity to downtown, but condos are among the most complicated properties to buy, Ms. Bebee said. In part, that’s because you’ve got to factor in costs such as condo fees, which condo unit owners can’t control.
Even if young people factor in home insurance, they might not consider that they’ll be paying additional insurance for their mortgage if they can’t afford a minimum 20% down payment.
“[Mortgage loan insurance] can add 4.75% to the value of the mortgage,” Ms. Bebee said. “Which is huge.”
Renting until you can afford a sizeable down payment can avoid that cost, but there is huge appeal — financial and otherwise — to home ownership.
“Once you rent, the money is gone forever,” Mr. McMaster said. “It doesn’t contribute to anything in the future. To have a house in the end, I think that’s great.”
Read more: http://business.financialpost.com/2013/03/28/are-you-ready-to-buy-a-house-read-these-home-truths-first/?__lsa=9859-7d88
May 2, 2013
Spring delivers greater balance to Greater Vancouver housing market
A closer relationship between home buyer demand and the supply of homes for sale has been having a stabilizing impact on home prices in the Greater Vancouver housing market over the last three months.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,627 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in April 2013. This represents a 6.1 per cent decrease compared to the 2,799 sales recorded in April 2012, and an 11.9 per cent increase compared to the 2,347 sales in March 2013.
Last month’s sales equate to the lowest April total in the region since 2001 and 20.9 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
“While the number of home sales remains below average, properties that are priced right are selling and we’re seeing greater balance between buyer demand and the number of homes listed for sale. This is having a steadying influence on home prices in the region,” says Sandra Wyant, REBGV president.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,876 in April. This represents a three per cent decline compared to the 6,056 new listings reported in April 2012 and a 21.4 per cent increase from the 4,839 new listings in March of this year. Last month’s new listing count was 0.4 per cent above the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.
The total number of properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver is 16,730, a 1.2 per cent increase compared to April 2012 and an 8.2 per cent increase compared to March 2013.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 15.7 per cent in Greater Vancouver. This is the second consecutive month that this ratio has been above 15 per cent. Previous to this, May 2012 was the last time this ratio was above 15 per cent.
“There have been modest increases in home prices across the region over the last three months. This comes on the heels of home price declines of approximately five to six per cent in Greater Vancouver during the last half of 2012,” Wyant said.
Read more: http://www.rebgv.org/monthly-reports?month=April&year=2013
May 1, 2013
Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.
History of Cinco de Mayo: Battle of Puebla
In 1861 the liberal Mexican Benito Juárez (1806-1872) became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III (1808-1873), decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat.
Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez (1814-1892) set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a rag-tag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and led an assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.
Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza's success at Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. Six years later—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juárez's forces. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed for General Zaragoza, who died of typhoid fever months after his historic triumph there.
Read more: http://www.history.com/topics/cinco-de-mayo
April 30, 2013
PORT MOODY FINGERLING FESTIVAL
Every year, the Port Moody Ecological Society invites the community to celebrate the annual Fingerling Festival at the Noons Creek Hatchery in Port Moody: the largest festival of its kind in the Tri-Cities.
The 2013 Fingerling Festival is May 4.
Entrance is free but we ask for kid-friendly food donations for the Share Society’s Food Bank.
The kids will have a ball seeing Bobs & Lolo in Concert at 11:30am and 1:30pm
This multi-award winning society continues to be 100% volunteer-run and has operated for seven days a week for the past 20 years. Many of the founding members are still active within the society and are in attendance at this celebration.
This popular community event provides an opportunity for children to help release 40,000 young salmon into Noons Creek for their four-year journey at sea. In the adjacent Port Moody Skating Arena at 300 Ioco Road, a broad variety of displays provide opportunities to learn more about community initiatives and environmental stewardship. Over eighty organizations with informative displays and interactive children’s activities attend, including Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity, and Wildlife Rescue.
Read more: http://www.portmoody.ca/index.aspx?page=169
April 25, 2013
Port Moody plan envisions sea of highrises
Rapid transit is bringing rapid changes to the face of Port Moody.
The 100-year-old community is proposing to approve plans for a sea of highrises when the Evergreen Line opens in 2016.
The proposals have caught some off guard and left others wondering what took so long.
Staff’s draft community plan calls for up to 400 hectares of industrial areas to be designated for things like 30-storey residential towers.
For pro-development individuals such as David Gray, it’s an opportunity to replace old-time lumber yards with a “waterfront village” at the head of Burrard Inlet.
“What is Port Moody’s future? I wish people could get up to 20,000 feet and look at tomorrow. It’s very different from looking over your back yard fence,” said Gray, a spokesman for Mill and Timber, an 11-hectare industrial site which is a candidate for rezoning in the future.
“This is about making Port Moody a seaside community, as opposed to one that happened to be near the sea, but damned if you could get there,” he said. “It’s a bit of a shock for some.”
April 22, 2013
Vancouver crowned Earth Hour capital by World Wildlife Fund
The city of Vancouver has taken another step toward its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world after being crowned the Global Earth Hour Capital 2013 by the World Wildlife Fund.
The city was given the award at a ceremony Tuesday in Malmo, Sweden, beating five other finalists including cities in India, Italy, the United States, Sweden and Norway, according to a news release from the city of Vancouver.
The Global Earth Hour Capital award recognizes a city taking serious action to address climate change, the release said.
"Being named the WWF's Global Earth Hour Capital is an exceptional honour for Vancouver and more international validation of our comprehensive efforts to be the world's greenest city," said Mayor Gregor Robertson, in the release.
The WWF said, in a separate release that Vancouver was chosen for its actions on climate change and "dedication to create a sustainable, vibrant urban environment."
April 20, 2013
A Guide to Vancouver’s Cherry Blossoms
This is why I live here!” is a phrase many Vancouverites exclaim during cherry blossom season. Each spring, as the rainy season fades, city dwellers pack their sweaters away and are rewarded with one of the world’s most cheerful sites: 40,000 cherry trees bursting with pink and white blooms.
Best Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver
Vancouver’s many parks and gardens are ideal showcases for the beloved trees, but there are also a number of urban places to view these pink beauties.
- Queen Elizabeth Park touts several varieties of cherry trees, which bloom at different intervals throughout early March and late April
- Stanley Park also has rows of blossoming trees near the formal rose garden and the Japanese Canadian WWI war memorial
- VanDusen Botanical Garden boasts more than 100 cherry trees, representing 24 varieties. Plan your trip to the garden with this cherry tree map
- For a truly peaceful (and cultural) experience, make sure to visit the UBC Nitobe Memorial Garden, where you’ll find colourful cherry trees in a traditional Japanese garden setting
- Walk beneath a canopy of blooms at the downtown Burrard SkyTrain station, Vancouver City Hall and along Yew Street in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Events
Each year, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival introduces an array of events to celebrate the blooming of the trees. From bike rides to art classes, these community activities bring people together to enjoy the natural splendor of spring.
Read more: http://www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/sightseeing/cherry_blossoms/
April 18, 2013
Real estate eyes focus on North Vancouver
NORTH VANCOUVER — Is the North Shore the next big real estate play?
That's the question posed at the April 9 Vancouver Real Estate Forum, which, for the first time in its nearly two-decade history is eying up the North Shore as the next investment hot spot.
The forum is slated to include Park Royal Shopping Centre vice-president Rick Amantea, as well as Beau Jarvis, vice-president of development at Onni, which recently won approval for its 344-unit condo development on Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver.
The decision to focus on the North Shore was made by a committee of about 20 real estate executives who cited the overhaul of Park Royal, the Seaspan shipbuilding contract and the possible Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.
Those elements, combined with a scarcity of land south of the Burrard Inlet, have combined to make the North Shore a fertile ground for fresh foundations, according to Mark Stephenson, vice-president at Informa Canada, the company producing the forum.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Real+estate+eyes+focus+North+Vancouver/8213074/story.html
April 12, 2013
6 tips to reduce stress when renovating
Could creating a beautiful bathroom or the kitchen of your dreams wreak havoc on your life? In one word, yes. High expectations, ballooning budgets, things that go creak (and crash and boom) in the night, a phalanx of strangers coming and going and limited access to those amenities you’ve grown accustomed to – like running water and working appliances – can get to anyone. While you can’t escape the anxieties tied to a major bathroom or kitchen reno, you can definitely lay the foundation for a less stressful one.
1 Be realistic
A tiny north-facing bungalow bathroom is unlikely to ever become a sun-drenched, loft-style retreat (except in your dreams). Work with what you have – flip through books and magazines for attractive similarly sized bathrooms. Your bath may have the potential to become a cozy Moroccan-inspired cocoon.
2 Come up with a project budget
Then add another 10 percent for unplanned expenses. Go to kitchen and bath showrooms and see what your renovation budget can buy. Labour and materials add up fast, as do miscalculations both big (“Why did we think our old appliances would match our new kitchen?”) and small (“Did I say matte finish for the paint? I meant gloss!”).
Read more: http://www.styleathome.com/homes/renovating/6-tips-to-reduce-stress-when-renovating/a/46323
April 12, 2013
Terry Fox’s story in works as feature film
LOS ANGELES (NEWS1130) – It was 33 years ago today when Terry Fox dipped his leg in the chilly Atlantic and began his Marathon of Hope.
Now Los Angeles-based studio Therapy Content, maker of Dave Grohl’s acclaimed documentary “Sound City,” is raising funds to make a feature film about Terry’s incredible journey.
Executive director Kelly Slattery, from Newmarket, Ontario, is developing the film hand-in-hand with the Fox family.
“They’re definitely a big part of it and I think that is going to add to it tremendously,” she tells News1130.
Kelly’s father, an Adidas executive, was the recipient of the letter Terry wrote to secure the shoemaker’s support for his run.
“He’s always been a big part of our life in our household. The ‘Terry Fox religion’ is what I call it,” she says.
The film will be a $10-million Los Angeles production, to be released in the American market. Several actors are being considered play the lead, including Anton Yelchin.
“He looks so much like Terry Fox and he’s a fantastic actor,” she notes.
Director Danny Boyle is also on Slattery’s wish-list; his credits include 127 Hours, Trainspotting, and Slumdog Millionaire, which won him the Academy Award for Best Director in 2008.
All profits from the film will go to cancer research and Slattery hopes to start a whole line of films that are non-profit.
“We hope for this to be the biggest philanthropic [fundraiser] of all time.”
Read more: http://www.news1130.com/2013/04/12/terry-foxs-story-being-developed-as-feature-film/?cid=dlvr.it
April 11, 2013
First-time purchasers eye $300,000 homes
Is there an ideal price tag attached to the dream of home ownership?
Well, first-time homebuyers in Canada think so. In fact, they are zooming in on the $300,000 price range when looking for a new house.
And, they plan on putting down about 16 per cent ($48,000), according to a new BMO First-Time Home Buyer's Report.
Interestingly enough, the average resale house price in Canada has grown over the years. In fact, the latest figure from The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is $368,895.
And that's up significantly from a decade ago when the average resale house price was sitting just above the $200,000 margin.
Times have certainly changed. I remember when we bought our home way back in (ahem) 1989 when both interest rates and housing prices were at an all-time high.
But that was then and this is now.
For the past few years, Canadians have been fortunate to be able to take advantage of the historically low interest rates. The current rates have made it a lot easier for first-time homebuyers to get their foot over the welcome mat and into the door of home ownership.
According to the report, most first-time homebuyers indicated they hope to be mortgage-free in 20 years or even sooner.
Read more: http://www.everydaymoney.ca/2013/04/first-time-home-buyers-want-to-be-mortgage-free-in-20-or-less.html
April 9, 2013
Can I ditch the home inspection when I buy a house?
I’ve been house hunting for months and finally found a great house, but I know there’s going to be a lot of interest. I know everyone says I need a home inspection, but I’m afraid I’ll lose the house if I put any conditions on the offer. Should I ditch the inspection?
Finding the right approach to offer conditions, is hot button topic these days, especially in the Toronto market where multiple offers have become the norm. Sellers with multiple potential buyers will often look to offers with the minimum of conditions, and the home inspection clause is often one of the first to go.
My advice: Don’t succumb to temptation or pressure to ditch a home inspection. If a client wants to skip the inspection, I always outline the ramifications.
Savvy buyers do have several options to protect themselves while staying competitive in the marketplace. Let’s take a look at the most common scenarios and some options to better equip yourself for success:
Scenario 1: You are not in a multiple offer situation
This one’s simple: put in a home inspection clause. If you get any resistance from the seller, you can offer to tighten up the timeline for the home inspection as a negotiation chip (perhaps 2 business days instead of the standard 5).
Read more: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/real-estate/can-i-ditch-the-home-inspection-when-i-buy-a-house/article10805485/
April 8, 2013
MINTER: There’s more to a nice lawn than keeping it clipped
A beautiful lawn can make all the difference to the appearance of your home and is a great enhancement to your landscaping.
Keeping your lawn in prime condition, however, does take a little effort and a bit of experience.
From all the questions I have been asked over the past few weeks, it is clear there is some confusion over the various lawn care steps that need to be taken each year.
The first step is moss control. Moss thrives in areas of shade, acidic soil, poor drainage and low fertility. You can’t usually do much about the shade but lime, while not eliminating the moss, will correct acidic soil by raising the pH level and allowing grasses to pick up more existing nutrients in the soil.
The easy-to-apply ‘Dolopril’ lime contains magnesium and releases quickly to get the pH level up in wet spring weather. A 10 kg bag covers about 2000 square feet (200 square metres) for twice the coverage of older Dolomite limes.
Read more: http://www.tricitynews.com/lifestyles/201507851.html
April 6, 2013
7 Tax Deductions for Canadian Homeowners
According to a recent survey conducted by ComFree-Harris Decima, 42% of Canadians are hesitant to talk about the value of their homes. What’s even more incredible is that 34% of Canadians think it’s impolite to talk about money. When it comes to tax deductions, however, Canadian homeowners are all willing to speak up.
When it comes to tax time, most of us cringe at the thought of handing even more money over to the government, but rejoice, Canadian homeowners, because there are several home tax deductions that you can claim.
Tax deductions for Canadian homeowners #1
First-time home buyer
If you are a first-time home buyer, you can claim a non-refundable tax credit to a maximum of $750. This non-refundable tax credit is based on a percentage of $5,000. So if this is your first foray into home ownership, then take advantage.
Tax deductions for Canadian homeowners #2
Renovations for medical reasons
Those with mobility issues who had renovations done to accommodate it can claim this as an expense that was required in order to make their home more accessible. Keep in mind, however, that medical expense reimbursement has to fall within a 12-month period ending in the current tax year.
Read more: http://blog.comfree.com/2012/03/01/tax-deductions-for-canadian-homeowners/
April 4, 2013
Mortgage Penalties exposed… an in-depth study, part 2…the update.
Two years ago I published, what would become, my most widely read article. Mortgage Penalties exposed…. an in-depth study reveals unjust penalties was written to show just how unfair penalties had become. The surprising results showed that the BIG SIX BANKS were the leaders when it came to charging the highest penalties in Canada. If you had a Fixed rate mortgage and thought your mortgage penalty could only be a 3 month interest charge, you were in for a huge shock.
Consumers were experiencing $10k, $15k, $20k and even $30k in prepayment penalties and more! Ridiculous amounts. Put another way, these penalties equaled 12, 16, 20 months worth of interest and sometimes more! But we also discovered some good news.. There are better alternatives to the BIG SIX BANKS.! There are several other Lenders that don’t use the same inflated and unfair prepayment penalty calculation as the BIG SIX BANKS. There are other Lenders with competitive, and often better, interest rates, and with much lower penalties. That original study opened the eyes of Canadian borrowers. (another eye-opening stat…the BIG SIX BANKS reported a record $30billion in combined profits for 2012.)
Two years later, with more consumers being forced into Fixed Rate products, we thought it was time to revisit Mortgage Penalties and see what changes had been made, if any…
Read more: http://canadamortgagenews.ca/2013/04/01/mortgage-penalties-exposed-an-in-depth-study-part-2-the-update/
April 3, 2013
How to Prepare your Home for the Spring Season
Spring is right around the corner, and for most home owners it’s an exciting time to get your home ready. In the winter time, many portions of your home are neglected or aren’t used as often because of home owners staying inside their homes. From the interiors of your home to the exterior, getting your home ready for spring will ensure you’ll be ready to enjoy the warmer weather once it hits. Space out your maintenance tips and by time spring is here, you will be able to enjoy the season!
- Start on your exterior: The outside of your home has taken more wear and tear from the harsh winter, than the interior so start here. Walk around your home and examine caulking around windows and doors, as well as open windows and doors and look at weather stripping. Replace old or cracking caulk and replace weather stripping. Inspect the roof for broken or missing shingles, or tiles, and clean out gutters and downspouts at the same time.
- Landscaping tips: While it may not be time for you to start planting flowers and watering your lawn, it isn’t too early to ensure you will have ready your garden hoses, walkways, and adjacent areas to your landscaping. Replace cracked or old garden hoses, and rake away leaves, tree limbs and debris from sidewalks, plant beds and surrounding areas. If you no longer have snow in your area, now is a good time to start planning out your spring landscaping ideas and lawn care maintenance regimen. Pressure wash concrete and paver areas that have become dirty and power wash vinyl siding, brick walls and vertical surfaces on your home if need be.
Read more: http://freshome.com/2011/03/01/how-to-prepare-your-home-for-the-spring-season/