RE/MAX Market Trends Report Feed

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RETIREES AND BABY BOOMERS CAPITALIZE ON HIGH-VALUE PRINCIPAL RESIDENCES TO ENTER ACTIVE RETIREMENT AT RECREATIONAL PROPERTIES, BLURRING THE LINE BETWEEN RECREATIONAL AND RESIDENTIAL.

A recent survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that in 91 per cent of popular Canadian recreational property markets examined, retirees were the key factor driving activity. This includes established recreational regions such as Prince Edward County and Comox Valley. This is in stark contrast to last year’s findings, when retirees were a dominant driving force in only 55 per cent of markets examined.

The survey found that in British Columbia, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, more retirees and soon-to-be retirees are purchasing recreational properties outside of urban centres for use as retirement homes, increasingly blurring the line between recreational and residential properties.

  • Retirees are fueling demand: 91 per cent of regions surveyed reported that retirees drive demand for recreational properties
  • One in three survey respondents (33 per cent) say that they own or want to own a recreational property for investment purposes
  • Buyers are increasingly renting in urban centres such as Toronto and Vancouver while purchasing recreational properties
  • Other than affordable purchase price, waterfront rated as the most important feature to Canadians when considering spending time at a cottage or cabin, beating out reasonable maintenance costs

“Last year, we found that Baby Boomers and retirees were increasingly selling their homes in urban centres like Toronto and Vancouver,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “It’s clear that many put the equity they received from those sales into the purchase of a recreational property with the intention to retire in comfort and away from the city.”

Many of these individuals are engaging in more active forms of retirement, choosing to maintain physical fitness and emotional fulfillment by pursuing passion projects and leading lifestyles that involve farming, hiking and maintaining vineyards. This is particularly the case in regions such as South Okanagan, Wasaga Beach and Rideau Lakes.

Due to the strong US dollar, retirees in the Sylvan Lake and Lake Winnipeg regions are selling their snowbird properties south of the border and purchasing recreational homes for use as retirement properties as well.

In a separate survey conducted by Leger, six in 10 Canadians (58 per cent) enjoy recreational properties as places where they can relax and spend time with friends and family. However, the majority of Canadians (84 per cent) do not actually own recreational properties.

“Many Canadians want to live out the ‘Canadian Dream’ and spend time at the cottage or cabin but today, that doesn’t necessarily mean owning a recreational property outright,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “Many are choosing to rent recreational properties, often by pooling resources with friends and family, which speaks to recreational properties still being in high demand.”

In fact, one in three Canadians (33 per cent) say that they own or would want to own a recreational property for investment purposes. In Toronto specifically, the survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that in regions such as North Bay-Sunridge, Bancroft and the Bruce Peninsula, many owners of recreational properties actually rent their principal residences in Toronto, where they live most of the year. Using their recreational properties every so often while renting them out for the rest of the year, these individuals are renting a principal residence where they live while buying where they play.

In Leger’s survey, more than half of Canadians (54 per cent) who own a recreational property, or are considering buying one, identify savings as their source of funding. Twenty per cent would use a loan, 20 per cent would rely on home equity and only 11 per cent would rely on inheritance.

The survey also found that other than affordable purchase price, Canadians who own or would consider owning a recreational property named waterfront access (55 per cent), reasonable maintenance costs (54 per cent) and proximity to town (43 per cent) as the most important factors when purchasing. The survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents, waterfront access was considered the most in-demand amenity in most regions, overall.

 

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BRITISH COLUMBIA

The recreational property market in British Columbia is being driven primarily by retirees. Other emerging trends include couples and young entrepreneurs seeking work/life balance, and recreational property buyers cashing in on expensive urban housing markets. Across the board, the region is experiencing a seller’s market due to lack of recreational inventory. The amenities in greatest demand are beaches and skiing facilities.

THE PRAIRIES

Demand for recreational properties in the Prairies is being propelled primarily by young families, followed by young couples and retirees. Retirees are commonly seen selling their recreational properties south of the border in favour of buying closer to home, due to the strong US dollar. The most sought-after recreational amenities are boating, fishing and beaches.

ONTARIO

Ontario’s recreational property market is being buoyed by retirees who are leaving larger metropolitan cities in favour of cottage country. Emerging trends include retirees or semi-retirees buying cottages as retirement homes; couples priced out of expensive urban markets opting for the waterfront lifestyle; and buyers holding cottages as investment properties. Due to lack of demand, the region is experiencing a seller’s market. Properties in greatest demand are those offering beaches and boat facilities.

ATLANTIC REGION

Demand for recreational properties in Atlantic Canada is being driven by retirees moving away from larger cities. Other market trends include young couples and families opting for the saltwater lifestyle; retirees and semi-retirees purchasing homes for retirement; and buyers seeking recreational properties in close proximity to the inland city centres, Across the board, the region is experiencing a balanced market. In highest demand are properties with access to beaches and golfing.

Key Findings from the 2018 RE/MAX Recreational Property Omnibus Survey

1. One-quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians would consider buying a recreational property in the future.

2. Canadians cite the following reasons to own or want to own a recreational property:

  • It is where I can go and relax and spend time with friends and family = 58 per cent
  • It is a getaway home = 46%
  • I can do activities I can’t do at my permanent residence (hiking, fishing, etc.) = 46%
  • It is an investment property = 33%
  • It is a retirement home = 19%
  • Other = 4%

3. Canadians identify the following sources of down payment when considering their current recreational property or their next purchase of a recreational property:

  • Savings = 54%
  • Loan = 20%
  • Home equity = 20%
  • Inheritance = 11%
  • Other = 4%
  • I don’t know = 11%
  • I prefer not to answer = 3%

4. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians who own or are considering owning a recreation property are willing to travel up to two hours, with 31 per cent saying they would travel two hours. Slightly less (28 per cent) are willing to travel three or more hours.

5. Canadians identify the following features as important when considering their current recreational property or their next purchase of a recreational property:

  • Affordable purchase price = 64%
  • Waterfront access = 55%
  • Reasonable maintenance costs = 53%
  • Proximity to town = 43%
  • Reasonable distance from primary residence = 37%
  • Relative seclusion = 33%
  • Land access = 30%
  • Proximity to sports/recreation = 25%
  • Accessible medical facilities = 24%
  • Nearby neighbouring properties = 15%
  • Island property = 12 per cent
  • Other = 1%
  • None, don’t mind which features my recreational property has = <1%
  • Don’t know/prefer not to answer = 3%

6. Canadians 55 and older (vs <55), who own or would consider owning a recreational property are significantly more likely to say waterfront access, reasonable maintenance costs, proximity to a town, reasonable distance from primary residence and accessible medical facilities are important.

 

 


The 2017 Housing Market Report: Halifax Real Estate Market Expected to Increase!

The Halifax residential market has experienced positive growth in 2016 with average residential prices increasing by 4% over 2015. It is expected to continue an upward movement in 2017 thanks to an increase in immigration and the ongoing $26 billion Royal Canadian Navy Shipbuilding contract.

View 2017 Housing Market Report

2017 Housing Market


It's almost that time of year again... At In-visible we are planning a Christmas party for the kids and we would love for Santa to make an appearance. If anyone could lend us a Santa costume from November 23-30th we would be so grateful.#tistheseason #party

If you are planning on going to visit Santa this year but not sure when and where he is going to be, then you have come to the right place. Below are the four major shopping centres with their time and dates so you don't miss out a wonderful tradition. It is the fastest way to get your holiday order in!

Santa at MicMac Mall

Santa is on duty until December 23rd.
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free Printed 5X7 Photo

Santa at Halifax Shopping Centre

Santa will be at HSC on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 29th through Dec. 23.
Photo Emailed Free
Printed 4x6 with $5 Donation - proceeds to Operation Winter Warmth.

Santa at Bedford Place Mall

Our social media elves report that Bedford has a really wonderful Santa, on duty daily through Dec. 23. His hours are:
Monday and Tuesday: 2:00-4:00pm
Wednesday-Friday: 6:00-8:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-12:00 noon and 1:30-4:00pm
Sunday: 1:00-4:00pm
Photos $5 - proceeds to Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Santa at Sunnyside Mall

His hours are:
Thursdays and Fridays 6:00-8:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-4:00pm
Sundays: 12:15-4:00pm
Photos are free (with a donation to Paths 2 Learning).
Silent Santa: Sunday mornings by appointment (Phone: 902-835-5099)
More details  here.


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Looking for something fun for the whole family this Saturday? #Cineplex Theatres at 760 #SackvilleDrive is showing a 10 am showing of Elf! Admission is $2 with the proceeds going to the Beacon House Food Bank! For more details please visit http://sackvillebusiness.com/events/sba-christmas-movie/

 


In case you missed last weekend’s back to back Parade of lights in Halifax and Bedford, all is not lost. You can still see a parade of lights this coming Sunday evening, November 23rd starting at Barrett Lumber at 6 pm and runs to the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre. 

For more information please visit: http://www.bbkcc.ca/event/lions-club-parade-of-lights/

 


Even though Christmas is 6 weeks away there are events starting to get everyone in the spirit! Take Victorian Christmas at the Halifax Citadel for example; this has been a tradition for 25 years. Maybe it is something you have been doing every year, but if you haven't then maybe it is time to check it out. This event is free to enter with a cash donation or non-perishable food item and takes place Saturday and Sunday Nov 22-23 from 12-4. For more details please visit Destination Halifax!


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If you are looking for a great way to show your respects for the service and sacrifice of our soldiers, then visit Halifax Citadel National Historic Site at 5425 Sackville St. this Remembrance Day. There will be FREE admission from 10 am – 2 pm, with a special 21 Gun salute at 11 am. To learn more about this event visit http://www.destinationhalifax.com/experience-halifax/festivals-events/remembrance-day-army-museum.


Purchase plus improvement mortgage allows you to buy and renovate so that you can enjoy your fixer upper.

 

Source: Original Content can be foun at http://mortgageintelligence.ca/mi/about/about-us/renovation-sink-or-swim/


 https://idesk.invismi.ca/assets/image/consultant/Hurley-Mark-40000348.jpg

By Mark Hurley, AMP

Today’s Bank of Canada rate hold announcement marks almost four straight years that the key benchmark rate has remained unchanged, since September 8, 2010. Great news if you have a variable-rate mortgage or home equity line of credit; the prime rate stays at 3%.

The announcement noted that “the risks to the outlook for inflation remain roughly balanced, while the risks associated with household imbalances have not diminished.” With these considerations, the Bank is maintaining its monetary policy stimulus, and remains neutral with respect to the timing and direction of the next change.

The next rate-setting day is October 22nd.

Whether you are looking to purchase, refinance, or renew, we can help you decide whether a fixed or variable-rate mortgage will work best for your situation. Or you may find that a hybrid mortgage, which is part fixed and part variable, is better suited to your needs. Call today!

We regularly receive short-term rate promotions that are not posted online, which means our rates change frequently. Please contact us for the unpublished rate specials.

Terms Posted Rates Our Rates
6 MONTHS 4.00% 3.95%
1 YEAR 3.09% 2.89%
2 YEARS 3.04% 2.34%
3 YEARS 3.44% 2.69%
4 YEARS 3.94% 2.77%
5 YEARS 4.79% 2.99%
7 YEARS 6.04% 3.79%
10 YEARS 6.50% 4.39%

Rates are subject to change without notice. OAC E&OE


Prime Rate 3.00%
5 yr variable 2.40%

Whatever your need is today – first or next home, renewal, refinance, renovation financing, equity take out, business-for-self mortgage, investing in property or a second/vacation home, contact us for a review of your situation, and the advice you need to achieve your homeownership dreams. After all, the right mortgage can build your wealth and save you thousands of dollars.

Every single day we're making homeowner dreams come true. And we're here to help you.

Source: https://www.magnetmail.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?recipient_id=1252096266&message_id=6356990&user_id=INVIS&group_id=1393260&jobid=21460922


Ride For The Cure Pic 1

 

The Bagogloo Team is proud to support our team partner Terry Campbell in his third year participating in a wonderful cause; Ride 4 The Cure. The 11th annual Ride 4 The Cure motorcycle rally through Cape Breton's Cabot Trail will take place on September 5th-6th, 2014.

Help Terry reach his personal goal of $2000 for a fantastic cause. To donate please click this link: http://www.ride4thecurecb.ca/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1105399&supId=410783819


Blizzard Treat

Miracle Treat Day

Buy a Blizzard® Treat on Thursday, August 14th, 2014
All proceeds will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network®

On Thursday August 14th, 2014, all proceeds from every Blizzard® Treat purchased at participating DQ® stores will be donated to your local Children's Miracle Network® member hospital to help children in need.

Together we can provide hope and healing to sick and injured children in your community.

To find a participating store please visit http://www.miracletreatday.ca/

Source: www.miracletreatday.ca/


Natal_DayHalifax-Dartmouth is celebrating it’s 119th Natal Day. The Halifax/Dartmouth Ferry will be FREE all day on August 2nd. There are lots of events going on including Fireworks!

There are several fireworks displays, choose the one that fits your needs.

Saturday Aug 2nd
Halifax Harbour Bridges Natal Day Fireworks
10:00 PM Launched from Macdonald Bridge!

Sunday Aug 3rd
Natal Day Halifax Common Family Fireworks presented by GoodLife Fitness
9:30 PM @ Halifax South Common, Canada Games Ball Diamond

Monday August 4th
119th Natal Day Lake Banook Fireworks presented by
Heritage House Law & The Dartmouth Kiwanis Club
9:45 PM @ Lake Banook

For a detailed list of activities going on over the long weekend visit: http://natalday.org/index.php


Residential Direct Install of Efficient Products

The Residential Direct Install of Efficient Products program aims to reduce the amount of energy used by Nova Scotian homeowners.  To achieve this goal, the program educates homeowners on available energy efficient products while providing free product installation. As one of the service providers, Clean Foundation delivers this program on behalf of Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation

This is a free-of-charge program, open to all Nova Scotia homeowners and renters. As a partner of Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation, Clean Foundation will come to your home and install, where appropriate:

  • Energy Efficient Lighting
  • LED Nightlights
  • High Efficiency Shower Heads and Faucet Aerators
  • Insulating Wraps for Electric Hot Water Tanks and Copper Pipes

All upgrades are done at no cost to you and should result energy savings for your home. A typical homeowner could save up to $160 annually on their energy bills.

To participate; call our Customer Experience Department at 1-888-281-0004 and book your appointment today. Or, if you prefer, visit the Clean Foundation website and fill out the form and one of our Booking Agents will contact you shortly.

SOURCE: Clean Foundation - http://clean.ns.ca/programs/energy/residential-direct-install-of-efficient-products/


The voodoo of lobster economics

Ian Brown, The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 11 2014, 5:15 PM EDT
Last updated Monday, Jul. 21 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

Amid an unprecendent glut, Larry the doomed lobster is followed from a Nova Scotia trap to a Toronto table

 
 
Small lobsters are thrown back during an early morning fish off the coast of Nova Scotia. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

To the best of my recollection, Larry the Lobster showed up in one of Lloyd Robicheau’s traps some time between dawn and 8 a.m. on a Tuesday. My memory of the event is impaired because at the time I was either vomiting overboard or lying in the hold of The Master Rebel, Lloyd’s boat. We were seven kilometres out to sea on a rare gorgeous June day, the eastern shore of Nova Scotia a long eyebrow in the distance, and Lloyd Robicheau had been saying what he often says: “In the lobster racket, sooner or later you’re going to get bit.”

He meant not just in the business sense, but on a lobster-by-lobster basis as well. The feeling had only just returned to his left hand after being nipped by a pincer claw two weeks earlier; now another glistening black devil was trying to sever another of his fingers through his orange rubber gloves. To make a lobster open a claw, you hold the other claw shut. “It’s like playing with fire,” Lloyd said to Reese Reardon and Glendon Bellefontaine, his crew.

Finally freed, he tossed the waving crustacean into the slotted wooden box that keeps newly landed lobsters from ripping each other apart. Then Lloyd searched across the silvery water for the glint of the buoy that marked his next trap. I returned to vomiting. It was 6 o’clock in the morning, and the sea was as calm as a mussel’s day.

Clockwise from top left: Deckhand Glendon Bellefontaine puts a rubber band on a lobster's claw; deckhand, Reece Reardon steadies a trap; three of the catch sit in a wooden box. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

In 2013, Atlantic Canada was responsible for 68,000 tonnes, or just over half, of the 131,500 tonnes of lobster landed on the east coast of North America last year. And for the 160 fishermen in Lobster Fishing Area 32 off the coast near Dartmouth, N.S., this year’s annual nine-week lobster season (April 19 to June 20) has been breathtaking. So much lobster had been landed in Nova Scotia by the second week of June that the shore price dropped to $3.50 a pound, which was why everyone was so cranky. I’d been calling it a glut until a couple of local exporters begged me to refer to a “bountiful harvest” instead. They didn’t want their customers to think lobster was cheap.

To a lobster enthusiast, of course, cheap lobster sounds like a good, i.e. delicious, thing. But it never materializes. There is a voodoo to lobster economics. What used to be poor man’s fare, the fallback meal of people too impoverished to afford anything else, is now a billion dollar business and a universal mark of luxury – with the result that a lobster that sells for $3.50 on the wharf can cost $60 and more on a restaurant plate in New York or Toronto or Shanghai, regardless of how many lobsters are pulled from the sea. How this happens is the life story of Larry the Lobster.

As Captain Lloyd Robicheau steadies the boat, deckhand, Reece Reardon, hauls up a lobster trap during an early morning fish. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

Like every other licensed fisherman in Area 32, Lloyd is allowed 250 traps. He checks every trap every day. The routine’s always the same, give or take the roughness of the sea. Lloyd steers the boat to a buoy. Reese gaffs the rope and slips it into an automatic winch that hauls the trap off the bottom. A trap consists of a kitchen (where the bait is) and a parlour, and for a lobster operates like a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness: It’s easy to get into but almost impossible to get out of. Lloyd’s using wire, or “American” traps, at $118 each (plus $30 more for rope and the buoy) whereas most fishermen in Area 32 swear by wood, because it’s “darker” and absorbs water faster and is therefore less buoyant. It’s not much of a theory, scientifically, but a lot of Area 32 lobster fishermen swear by it. Early on in his fishing career, Lloyd lost 130 traps on the third day of the season, and another 45 at the end, so he sticks to wire.

Deckhand, Reece Reardon, of West Chezzetcook, stacks a lobster trap. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

When the trap has been hauled to the gunwales, Reese – 26, built like a fridge – hauls it onto the boat and starts tossing pregnant females and undersized chicks back into the sea. The little ones look like bath toys. Lloyd helps him. They fling the keepers to Glendon, who measures them and checks for blooms of roe or a V notched in a female’s tail (a decade-old conservation measure used to track egg-bearing females that fishermen believe has increased stocks), either of which gets the lobster thrown back. Glendon then bands the claws of the keepers before packing them into grey plastic 100-pound crates, the most common object in the lobster business. While he does that, Reese replaces the trap’s bait with fresh redfish heads or mackerel or gaspereau or occasionally a sculpin on a spike (the big lobsters like them) and waits while Lloyd repositions the boat. On Lloyd’s nod, he heaves the trap overboard and prepares the next bait bag. They can haul and change out a trap in less than three minutes.

They leave every morning at 3:20 in the pitch dark to avoid the breezy seas of the afternoon. Rocks and whistling are forbidden on the boat, as is turning against the sun while steering out of their harbour. Lobstering’s a superstitious business.

Deckhand, Reece Reardon coils a rope on the deck of the Master rebel. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

Today starts badly. Several strings of traps produce nothing but little ones, and by the point where the boat would normally have landed 250 pounds, they haven’t filled a 100-pound crate. The mood on the boat grows quiet. “Get out and walk,” Glendon says to an undersized lobster, throwing it overboard. Ten years ago, 80 pounds of lobster a day was an average catch in Area 32, and the Eastern Shore was one of the poorest places in Canada. This spring, however, most fishermen are hauling 500 pounds a day. Theories abound, all of which are true to an extent: lobsters procreate in cycles; climate change is warming the ocean, and the lobster are moving north out of Maine’s coastal waters; fishermen have better technology and bigger boats; conservation is working. But everyone knows the most important reason: The disappearance of codfish means lobsters have no natural predators.

Suddenly, at 14 fathoms, the bottom gets rockier, to judge from Lloyd’s electronic scanner. Two keepers in a trap is all it takes to turn his spirits. Five keepers is a great trap. In an instant, it’s a good day again. By 8 a.m., the boys have hauled 300 pounds of lobster, including the aforementioned Larry. “It’s in the hunt,” Reese says, lighting another smoke. “You move, you try here, you try there. But you’re always on the hunt.”

Deckhand, Glendon Bellefontaine measures a lobster. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

By 10:30 they’re done. The trio gaff six brimming 100-pound crates up to the dock and into a tank of cold circulating sea water. They then retire to the eight-by-eight-metre boatside shacks they live in during lobster season, to await the shore buyer.

The shore buyers in Area 32 have paid as much as $7 and as little as $3 a pound for live lobster this spring. Lloyd’s daily catch has ranged from nearly 700 pounds to less than 300. If he can trap 500 pounds a day (not a given) and average $5 a pound (especially not a given), and can get out, weather permitting, five days a week for nine weeks (he has lost as many as 21 days to weather in past years), he’ll gross $112,500. The average fisherman on the Eastern Shore grossed $98,000 last year. “If you don’t gross $100,000,” Lloyd insists, “you can’t really call it a living.” Still, as people who aren’t fishermen say, that isn’t bad for nine weeks of fishing.

But they’re very big ifs. Lloyd runs the math incessantly in his head. The Master Rebel cost him $200,000, and drinks 95 litres of diesel a day. A license, if he had to buy his today, would be $160,000 more. Reese (who hopes to fish for himself eventually) earns at least $150 a day. Life raft, $1,000; electronics, $30,000. Insurance, traps, bait (500 pounds a day at 80 cents a pound): Lloyd figures it costs him $600 a day to fish. If he nets two-thirds of his (theoretical) gross, and doesn’t have any mechanical breakdowns, he still has to pay taxes. But nobody knows how long the lobster will last or what prices will do. (They have dropped and risen in the weeks since I went fishing with Lloyd.) That’s why, despite the bountiful harvest, he fishes swordfish in the summer, plows snow in the winter, and for a long time farmed wild blueberries.

“A dollar-a-pound drop doesn’t sound like much,” Reese says. “But on just a crate of lobsters, that’s $100 gone, like that.” It’s all a gamble. That’s part of what appeals to us about lobster, and part of what we pay for. It’s why Lloyd calls lobstering a racket.

Larry the lobster. (Ian Brown/The Globe and Mail)

Derek Stevens, the shore buyer at Lobsterworld, shows up at 1:40 p.m. to pick up Lloyd’s lobsters. It is Derek, in fact, who spots Larry in one of the cases and suggests he would make a fine homarus americanus to follow from trap to plate.

Derek’s been at work since 7 a.m. “Price is back up to $4, okay?” he says to Lloyd, almost as an afterthought, and hands him a piece of paper: 590 pounds, or $2,360.

By 5 p.m., Derek is back at Lobsterworld, having picked up lobster from 12 boats in three communities – 60 crates in total. The lobsters are roughly graded – chix (a pound), culls (one-clawed lobsters and other mutants), females to be thrown back, pound-and-a-quarters, pound-and-a-halfs, all the way up to jumbos (4.5 pounds) and beyond – and re-stacked in drain-through crates under spigots spouting cold sea water. It sounds like we’re standing under a 30-metre waterfall. This is when I get my first real look at Larry.

Drain-through crates for lobster storage at Lobsterworld. (Ian Brown/The Globe and Mail)

$8.00

Larry the lobster's value out of the water. (Tonia Cowan/The Globe and Mail)

He’s a fine specimen: two pounds, green-black, large claws, male (two penises!), and a brand new rock-hard shell, judging from the unworn spines under his tail. His chitinous carapace (or shell, which is actually his skeleton, just worn on the outside) is an eat-but-don’t-be-eaten machine. He has the classic inscrutable, pissed-off, prehistoric arthropod lobster look: I often try to imagine the moment when the first person figured out these things were ultra-edible if dropped in boiling water. Omnivorous, cannibalistic, even self-cannibalizing if they get hungry enough, utterly devoid of any feeling except the urge to eat and scuttle and survive – does that not sound like the devil, or at least the head trader at a large brokerage firm? Larry even has blue blood – like spiders, like snails, like Satan.

Rick Murphy, the owner of Lobsterworld, peddles a few live lobster in his storefront for $5.99 a pound – nothing like the $12.99 they fetch at St. Lawrence Market in Toronto – but sells most of what he buys to shippers. “If I could get 50 or 60 cents a pound, I’d be very happy,” he says. He seldom is, thanks to the shore price system, whereby 20-odd buyers up and down the Eastern Shore are forced to match each others’ prices.

$9.30

Larry's value after staying at Lobsterworld. (Tonia Cowan/The Globe and Mail)

But “there’s too many lobsters coming out, not just here but everywhere,” which means Mr. Murphy is paying $4 a pound today for live lobster he may not be able to sell for $3.50 tomorrow. Other regions such as Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands price lobsters by auction, or have binding collective agreements that help guarantee fishermen’s incomes. Mr. Murphy blames the federal government for glossing over the intricacies of the fiercely independent Nova Scotia lobster fishery.

Like Geoff Irvine, director of the Lobster Council of Canada, Mr. Murphy would like to see more vertical integration between his region’s inshore fishermen, if they could agree to a steady shore price or a boat quota, and buyers and shippers, if they’d agree to share their subsequent profits with the fishermen – one of many schemes the Lobster Council is considering. “We’re not organized,” Mr. Murphy says. “But there could be a lot more dollars landed on shore.” Between 2002 and 2012, Maritime lobster landings leapt 40 per cent, from 26,000 tonnes a year to nearly 44,000 tonnes. The shore value of that lobster, however, rose only 6 per cent, from $391-million to $416-million. This is why fishermen like Lloyd think someone in the lobster business is getting richer a lot faster than they are.

At least Larry has a place to rest. For trucking and giving him a home for a few days, Rick Murphy will add 65 cents a pound to Larry’s price. Two-pound Larry was worth $8 out of the water. Rick resells him for $9.30.

The outdoor "seasoning" tank at Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd. (Ian Brown/The Globe and Mail)

Larry cools his carapace at Lobsterworld for three days, until he’s trucked half an hour down the road to Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd., a shipper, on Friday.

Tangier is the lobster equivalent of a spa in Palm Springs, one of 30-odd companies in North America that specialize in shipping premium live lobster. It’s run by Stewart Lamont, a large, pink, pleasant and voluble man who grew up wanting to be a writer in Yarmouth, N.S., but became a lawyer and travel agent for lobsters instead. As the annual North American catch has nearly doubled to 136,000 tonnes a year over the past decade, lowering the price of lobster, Mr. Lamont has turned to Asia as his saviour.

“China has 1.4 billion people,” he will tell you, whether you ask or not. “Those 1.4 billion people have a huge disposition to seafood in general, and to lobster in particular.” They’re also used to paying $35.40 (U.S.) a pound for Australian rock lobster – vastly inferior, Mr. Lamont claims, to the product plucked from the pristine (7 C versus 13 in PEI) Atlantic Ocean.

His trick is to keep the lobster as fresh as the day it came out of the ocean for as long as possible, preferably until the season ends and prices rise. Hence the cutting-edge operation at Tangier, an intricate series of refrigerated, 2- to 4-degree ocean-water holding tanks and hi-tech packing rooms designed to keep live lobsters in a state of sluggish semi-hibernation so their shells stay hard and their eggs unreleased.

Outside in the 25 C sun, a lobster will die in an hour. But in Tangier’s refrigerated slumber-party conditions, they can live six months. Darrin Hutt, Tangier’s operations manager, conducts a blood-protein analysis on every 100 cases of lobster that arrive to see how close the lobsters are to moulting their old hard shells for soft new ones. The ones he can’t delay he sorts for immediate sale by size and colour.

"Lobster condominiums" at Tangier Lobster Co. Ltd. (Ian Brown/The Globe and Mail)

Darrin stores the keepers in indoor tanks and “lobster condominiums” – adjustable, individual compartments in which the lobsters don’t have to be banded or fed, given their limited movements and lowered metabolisms. You can tell if a lobster has spent a long stretch in a holding tank, Darrin says: “They’re cannibals, he’ll eat his own antennae.”

Mr. Lamont can truck bugs to New York, Boston, Montreal and Toronto for 25 cents a pound, and can fly them everywhere else for roughly $1.25. In the office next to Mr. Lamont’s, imminent orders are listed on a wipe board: 40 cases (at 30 pounds a case) to Sobey’s, 100 cases to the largest shellfish supplier in Korea, 67 cases to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (where a two-pound lobster dinner sells for $98), 39 cases to Edmonton. That’s 7,400 pounds of live lobster. If Mr. Lamont’s profit is 40 cents a pound on air shipments – a reasonable assumption – his profit on those orders alone is $3,000.

$11.60

Larry's value after staying at Tangier, the lobster "spa". (Tonia Cowan/The Globe and Mail)

For these tender ministrations, Tangier adds another $1.15 per pound. Two-pound Larry is now worth $11.60.

But where is Larry? Why, he’s lolling in Tangier’s outdoor “seasoning” tank, where over the next three days he will defecate what’s left of the last meal he ate (the mackerel and gaspereau in Lloyd’s trap), which will in turn prevent him from soiling his shipping container. (“The poop really messes things up,” is how Darrin put it.) Larry is having a colonic irrigation.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean to belittle Larry. I realize there are groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who believe, as David Foster Wallace explained in his brilliant essay Consider the Lobster, that lobsters have feelings, and that my decision to eat Larry is an act of cruelty and an affront to his existential spirit. I’m not a monster; I’ve had pangs. I have. One afternoon during Larry’s spa vacation at Tangier, in fact, I asked Kimberley Shears, the company’s director of logistics, whether eating Larry was cruel. Admittedly we were enjoying a delicious lunch of cold lobster tails in Tangier’s shoreside gazebo at the time, not the most sensitive choice of nourishment, considering the subject at hand. Ms. Shears bestowed a kind look on me, and said, “They technically don’t have a brain.” No, I thought: They have two penises instead, I guess it’s a trade-off. What lobsters have is ganglia, and a stomach where their brain would be if they had one. The jury seems to be out on whether lobsters feel pain. But even if they do, it is the act of confronting one’s own desire, and the moral price of that desire, that makes eating a lobster so compelling. That, in any event, was my thinking on the matter. “My advice,” Ms. Shears continued, “is not to be afraid of the lobster.” She said it as if many people were.

Deckhand Glendon Bellefontaine holds a lobster. (Scott Munn for The Globe and Mail)

One afternoon driving along the Eastern Shore I noticed a small house by the side of the road that was covered in carvings of animals and devils and pictures of Jesus. I pulled over and looked around. Eventually the owner came out. His name was Barry Collpitts. He was a folk artist, and a devout Catholic. (Acadia University’s art gallery was about to mount a show of his work.) There was a carving of a devil by the door, red and black, with horns and a pitchfork, and the legend I Am Not Welcome Here painted on his chest. I asked if I could buy it.

“The carvings on the house aren’t for sale,” Barry said. “Because then I’d have to make another for my house.” He meant that if he sold it to me, he’d have to put up another devil-guard in its place. “I guess you’re not religious or superstitious,” he said. “But I bet if you did put it up on your house, you wouldn’t take it down either.”

After that I began to notice how superstitious people who dealt with lobster could be. Not just Lloyd, with his rules about no whistling and no rocks on the boat, but everyone. They’re gamblers, reliable people who love tradition and schedules, but who also fancy a spot of danger too, whether it’s the possibility of a poor catch or too much catch, of a shipment delayed by weather or some other act of satanic randomness. Even Larry the Lobster looked a bit like the devil, dangerous and foreign but tempting. Larry embodied the dilemma of desire. Every time I thought of him – I’m serious about this – I was struck by the gravity of what I was about to do: Spend a shocking amount of money to boil alive an animal that had survived on the bottom of the ancient sea for 15 years before I came along.

Fedex staff unload a consignment of east coast Lobsters from the belly of Flight 7054 as it arrives at the Fedex facility at Toronto's Pearson Airport. (Chris Young for The Globe and Mail)

The following Monday, six days after being trapped by Lloyd Robicheau, Larry leaves Tangier Lobster Co. by refrigerated truck in a cardboard box with two ice packs and seven other lobsters at 11 in the morning. By 7 he’s on a plane in Halifax, having been passed as loose cargo from the truck into the rear belly hold of FedEx Flight 7054, a gleaming white 757.

$14.44

Larry's value after flying FedEx. (Tonia Cowan/The Globe and Mail)

The plane stops in Moncton and again at Mirabel Airport outside Montreal for fuel and more freight, and arrives in Toronto, on a dedicated runway at FedEx’s vast complex north of Toronto’s Pearson International, at 11:05 p.m.

By 1 a.m., Larry’s sitting comfortably in a FedEx way station in Toronto’s east end, for which FedEx charges $1.44 a pound, bringing Larry’s worth to $7.22 a pound, or $14.44 in total.

Tomorrow morning at 11:50, FedEx will deliver him to Toronto wholesaler and retailer Lorne Ralph at Seaport Merchants, who will in turn add another $1.50 a pound for handling and delivering Larry to The Abbot, a gastropub in north Toronto, between 4 and 6 in the afternoon.

By then Larry will be worth nearly $9 a pound. He’ll arrive with his fellow lobsters in the same unopened box he flew in, and he’ll look good – moving and shaking and reaching his claws back behind him as if he were John Travolta dancing his way into a disco. Alas for Larry, he is not.

Ian Brown and his wife Johanna Schneller, centre, and others eat the lobster dinner at The Abbot in Toronto. (Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail)

And so Larry the Lobster reached the final stage of his great journey. Chris Davis owns the Abbot with his wife Carrie McCloy and doesn’t usually serve lobster: It’s too expensive. But Lorne Ralph offered him a good price, so Chris thought he’d try it as a promotion and charge $30 a plate for a one-pound lobster.

An excellent lobster dinner for $30 is good value. I now knew, however, that the actual cost of Larry was barely $10 a pound. But that’s the formula in the restaurant business. “On the industry standard theory,” Chris said, “a third of what you sell it for is food cost.”

$17.40

Larry's value after passing through the wholesaler. (Tonia Cowan/The Globe and Mail)

Add another third for labour, and another third for overhead and profit, of which 60 per cent is rent, taxes, heating, napkins and the like. If Lorne sold Chris lobsters at $10 a pound, and Chris sold them for $30 a plate, he made $4 profit per meal. (No wonder nine out of 10 restaurants go broke.) The voodoo of lobster economics never goes away: a chunk of tail meat on a $23 apple, truffle and spaghetti squash salad may shout “Fancy!” to a diner, but the restaurant is making less profit than it can on steak, which isn’t alive and doesn’t spoil as quickly.

(By the same logic, two-pound Larry would cost Chris $8.70 a pound, or $17.40 in total, and tripled into a $52.20 meal on my plate. I gave the Abbot $60, including the tip. The lesson? There is no such thing as cheap live lobster in a good and profitable restaurant in Toronto.)

Chris planned a two-course meal: a butter-poached lobster crepe with ginger and pea shoots to start, and a boiled lobster later. By 6 p.m., his chef, Kevin Beale, had three huge pots of heavily salted water roiling with lemons and bay leaves. He planned to cook 30 one-pound lobsters for 14 minutes from the moment the water started boiling again after what he called “the drop.”

I watched Larry go into the pot. I waved goodbye. I am somewhat ashamed to say I felt no pang. Like, none. But by my count, at least 30 people helped Larry to his demise. I am willing to name names if it helps my moral case.

Left to right: A lobster is dropped in a pot of boiling water; cooked lobsters are removed; chef Kevin Beall cracks the shells of lobsters before serving them. (Matthew Sherwood for The Globe and Mail)

The meal was served at a communal table to 14 people, none of whom I knew except my wife. This is an excellent way to eat lobster. People are never shy at a lobster dinner, perhaps because you eat with your hands.

I asked Ms. McCloy what her next restaurant was going to be and she said, “It’s not a restaurant. I want to open a brothel.” I think she was serious. Then someone talked about eating tempura lobster in New York City, which sounded delicious and made me think about all the great lobster I had eaten – in the rough by the ocean and in a sublime lobster roll at a restaurant called Neptune in Boston; with friends every New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t separate the food from the company and the places. I can get quite emotional about this stuff, even if I have no feelings about eating Larry.

$52.20

Larry's value on the plate. (Tonia Cowan/The Globe and Mail)

Suddenly Larry arrived at the table. He was huge and red and imposing, but for some reason I waited before I cracked him. I owed him that. As I waited, I watched a young woman named Emma take on her own lobster. She approached it so methodically she might have been a welder. “It’s not for you that you need the bib, “ Emma said. “It’s for the person across from you. Always break the shell away from you.”

But mostly I remembered what Kim Shears said, back at Tangier, on that bright crisp day by the sea: Do not be afraid of the lobster. When I finally broke into Larry, I took my time. I rolled the sweet meat out of each of his legs with my thumb. I had to work to crack his massive crusher claw, but the flesh was astonishing and tender. I dipped his tail in butter or in lemon, and preferred the latter. I sucked his telson dry, and when it looked like there was nothing at all left in him I cracked his chest lengthwise and found mouthfuls of meat in there as well. I felt guilty and grateful, all at once. For that rare sensation alone Larry was worth the money.

Ian Brown is a Globe feature writer.

Source: The Globe and Mail
To View Original Artical - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/my-travels-with-larry/article19557387/


CMHC's new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after May 1, 2014.

  • The home is located in Canada.

  • For CMHC-insured mortgage loans, the maximum purchase price or as-improved property value must be below $1,000,000, when the loan-to-value ratio is greater than 80%.

  • You will typically have a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price of the dwelling, depending on the dwelling type.
    • Single-family and two-unit dwellings (5% minimum down payment)
    • Three- or four-unit dwellings (10% minimum down payment)

  • Normally, the minimum down payment comes from your own resources. However, a gift of a down payment from an immediate relative is acceptable for dwellings of 1 to 4 units. For eligible borrowers, additional sources of down payment, such as lender incentives and borrowed funds, are also permitted. Check with your lender for qualifying criteria and availability.

  • Your total monthly housing costs, including Principal, Interest, property Taxes, Heating (P.I.T.H.), the annual site lease in the case of leasehold tenure and 50% of applicable condominium fees, shouldn’t represent more than 32% of your gross household income (Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio). Use the GDS form to calculate how much you can afford in housing costs to be eligible.

  • Your total debt load shouldn’t be more than 40% of your gross household income. The Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio is your P.I.T.H. + the annual site lease in the case of leasehold tenure and 50% of condominium fees (if applicable) + payments on all other debt / gross annual household income. Add up your costs and determine your Total Debt Service ratio using the TDS form.

  • You also need to think about closing costs (for example, legal and land transfer fees) equivalent to 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price. Many first-time buyers are surprised by these costs. That is why, when qualifying for CMHC’s Mortgage Loan Insurance, our Home Purchase Cost Estimate worksheet form will help you calculate your total homebuying costs.

    Closing costs include but are not limited to one-time items such as lawyer fees, GST and PST as applicable, land transfer tax if applicable, adjustments, etc., to allow you to complete the house purchase.

  • Other requirements may apply and are subject to change. For details, please contact your lender or mortgage broker.

    Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. To view original article: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/moloin/moloin_003.cfm

"The smart money is betting on increased construction activity for the next several years, especially in the downtown core. Projects are underway now and beginning soon in Halifax that will keep crews busy and focus growth where it will benefit the city most- in the high-density core. ‎More density downtown lessens the burden on stretched infrastructure budgets, makes it easier to enhance transit and deliver municipal services, and concentrates population where the most services already exist. It leads to improved amenities (like our new public library currently under construction) and a healthier business district- for large AND small businesses.

The growth and increased success of the downtown is good for all existing homeowners in the Halifax Region, through rising property values and potentially better future property tax rates and better service delivery."

 

TAYLOR: A building boom for Halifax

Authour: ROGER TAYLOR BUSINESS COLUMNIST

Several sizable developments in the works for the city’s downtown area

An artist’s rendering of a proposed development by Southwest Properties Ltd. for 1583 Hollis St. in Halifax. (Contributed)
An artist’s rendering of a proposed development by Southwest Properties Ltd. for 1583 Hollis St. in Halifax. (Contributed)

 

Halifax has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to construction these days, especially when compared to other Nova Scotia centres.

After many years in the doldrums, development activity in the provincial capital has woken up in a big way.

That means much of the downtown and Spring Garden Road districts will be a construction zone for summer — and several construction seasons to come — if everything goes as planned.

Of course, the below-grade concrete work on the massive Nova Centre project on Argyle Street has already started, but Rank Inc. expects to receive official approval from regional council this spring to quickly start construction of the one-million square-foot complex.

The plans call for two office towers, a luxury hotel and the Halifax Convention Centre.

Earlier this week, the city’s influential design review committee approved three projects that could start construction as early as next month, once they jump through more hoops at city hall.

The endorsement by the city’s design review committee is a milestone for any developer.

It clears the way for developer Jim Spatz’s Southwest Properties Ltd. to move forward with its 21-storey mixed residential and commercial development at 1583 Hollis St., commonly referred to as the site of the former Bank of Canada building.

It is being demolished and Eric Burchill, Southwest’s vice-president of planning and development, says construction should begin in early May.

He says the company will reveal the name of the new building before starting construction, which should take two years to complete.

Southwest’s plan includes retail and restaurant space on the ground floor, with the remaining 20 floors containing a total of 281 residential units. The building will also have four levels of underground parking, enough room for 253 cars and 145 bicycles.

A number of the residential units in the building have been set aside for Premiere Executive Suites to use for long-term accommodations for visitors. Southwest is a major investor in Premiere.

Burchill says the company also hopes to get started this summer on the development of the Cunard Block on the Halifax waterfront and the long-awaited Motherhouse residential development in the Rockingham area.

Meanwhile, the new owner of the building at the corner of Sackville and Market streets also received approval from the design review committee for an eight-storey mixed residential and commercial project on that site.

Mosaik Property Management Ltd., headed by developer and landlord George Giannoulis, wants to redevelop the Night Magic Fashions building and the structure next door on Market Street.

The plan for Market Lofts calls for the demolition of the existing buildings while maintaining the three-storey brick facade of the building on the corner. The additional five storeys will be stepped back from the main facade.

A total of 39 residential units — a mixture of bachelor and one- and two-bedroom units — will be created, but the plan does not include any parking for cars. It has set aside facilities for bicycles, as stipulated by the land-use bylaw for the downtown.

In a slightly less ambitious plan, Westwood Developments Ltd. had its proposal for a two-storey addition to the former Royal Bank building at 5466 Spring Garden Rd., on the corner of Queen Street, approved by the design committee.

The building has two retail tenants: American Apparel and Starbucks. Westwood, headed by Halifax developer Danny Chedrawe, will also make alterations to the building facade along Queen Street, where American Apparel has its entrance. Another minor change is a new awning over the Starbucks entrance on Spring Garden Road.

There is plenty of construction going on in that part of the city, including the creatively designed new Central Library, which is being built across the street.

There are also many other projects in various stages of construction that should provide the sense that something positive is happening in Halifax.


by Crystal Hilchey, Client Care Administrator

There’s one dish my family can’t do without at any Holiday meal - sweet potato casserole. I expect to eat my sweet potato casserole at least three times a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. If you decide to try it, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have - maybe it will become a favorite in your household.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole

4 cups sweet potato, cubed

½ cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, softened

½ cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup  all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons butter, softened

½ cup chopped pecans


EasterDinner2013WP

Making a family meal special is all about preparation and looking after small details that come together to make an experience great. Trying to balance everyone’s favorites, timing the dishes so they’re all ready to plate together, paying attention to table presentation, special linens, fancy plates and the “good” table setting you don’t often use – these all make a difference in the final product, not to mention all the extra cleaning done & decorations put up to create a festive atmosphere.

Putting this time and effort into events (even though it can be extra work) pays off in the end. Although each of your family or guests may not notice every little touch, the overall effect helps everyone enjoy their time spent together and makes the food you’ve worked hard to prepare taste even better – it pays off in everyone’s positive experience.

That kind of diligence and caring about presentation can have the same effect on potential home buyers – if buyers feel at home in your property, and get that sense of care and preparation while they visit, chances are that feeling will be remembered. In life, people often don’t remember what they saw or what was said to them, but they always remember how those things or their experience made them feel. A house that looks and feels “together” during a viewing will often land at the top of a buyer’s favorites list, and will often sell sooner than its competition that may be lacking those qualities (even if the features or pricing make a better case “on paper”) and often for closer to asking price.

Working hard to “merchandise” or prepare your home in advance of showings can seem like a lot of work, but it all pays off in the end - through more favorable impressions from potential buyers and ultimately in earlier and better offers.

For help preparing your home for the most successful sale, give us a call. We can help.


ARIAL-PHOTO Public Gardens

It must be spring! The Halifax Public Gardens re-open on Thursday April 10th, from 8AM to dusk. Whether you live in the Halifax area or are just here on vacation, a trip to the Public Gardens is a must. Enter through the beautiful ornate wrought iron gates to visit the many attractions with-in.  There are two bridges great for wedding and graduation photos and you can enjoy lots of different kinds of flora and several statues and urns while you stroll around the park. Your trip would not be complete without a visit to the Bandstand, placed at the heart of the Public Gardens. Concerts and social events have been held here for over 125 years. For more information and details on the Public Garden visit www.halifaxpublicgardens.ca/.


A savvy Realtor can help you make smart decisions about not just how much you can spend, but how much you SHOULD spend, and how your investment in a home will fit into the market  for years to come. There are lots of extra factors that an inexperienced buyer may not consider, and an experienced Realtor’s insights can help you make the right choices for not only your budget but also your lifestyle.

Home buying has other related costs
By Denise Deveau, For Postmedia News

Home buying has other related costs
Jesse MacNevin decided to be modest in his choice in buying a home.
Photograph by: Tim Fraser For Postmedia News , For Postmedia News

Unlike a lot of first-time home buyers, in 2009 Jesse MacNevin decided to go for a house that was less than the amount he was approved for.

"I started doing the numbers and talked to a few real estate agents," he says. "Then I went to my credit union for a pre-approval. I realized then that I needed to focus more on what I could actually afford versus how much they would give me."

While he was given the green light to aim for a $350,000 home, he settled on a condo for just under $260,000 instead. "I didn't want home ownership at the expense of everything else. I remember looking at my budget at the time and thinking the last thing I wanted was not to be able to travel. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was cheaper and fulfilled all my needs. In hindsight, it was a good move."

MacNevin says having a good real estate agent and lawyer helped him determine what he could really afford, where there might be potential problems and the ins and outs of closing the deal. A mortgage broker was also important when it came to the signing process and making sure there was flexibility in his mortgage terms.

Not everyone entering the home buying market is so diligent.

When doing the mortgage math, it's not enough to plug some numbers into an online estimator, says David Stafford, managing director, real estate secured lending, for Scotiabank in Toronto. "This is probably the largest single financial transaction that most people do in their lives, and it can get very complicated. Online estimators typically won't give you the full picture."

He says buyers need to look beyond the actual purchase price and factor in a percentage (typically 1.5 per cent of the purchase price) for closing expenses from the outset. "Land transfer taxes, legal fees, title insurance and other things are all part of the math." They also need to consider ongoing expenses that will be over and above monthly mortgage payments, such as utilities, property taxes, insurance, maintenance and condo fees.

Sometimes there are additional surprises that come into play in the initial stages of home ownership, such as reimbursement fees if the former owner has prepaid their property taxes and moving costs, says Toronto-based Richard Desrocher, a general legal practitioner and former real estate broker.

The immediate financial aspects are only part of the process, which is why a home inspection is a good idea, he says. "You won't know what's going on behind the walls and on the roof. It's pretty scary after you close a deal to have to deal with drain problems."

There are also ways people can reduce their costs if they talk to the right people, Desrocher says. "A lot don't realize that many financial institutions are willing to negotiate down from their published rates. A mortgage broker is much better informed about where the best deals are and can shop the market for you."

© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
Source: To view orginal post http://www.thestarphoenix.com/business/Home+buying+other+related+costs/9662480/story.html

April-fool-day-image

April Fools’ Day is known for being a day of play and practical jokes. Some people love this day while others can’t wait for it to be over. There are several theories on how this day came to pass. One theory was that France changed its calendar in the 1500s to match the Roman calendar. This change made the New Year begin in January like it still does today. There were some people who chose to still celebrate the New Year in spring, and became known as “April fools.”

However this day is known for pranks so maybe another theory by Joseph Boskin makes better sense.  His theory is about a king who let a court jester become king for a day of the Roman Empire on April first. No matter how it came to pass it is a tradition at least for now and for the people who love pranks they refuse to give it up.

To see the “Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time” visiting the following link. www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/


Locals say the iconic Church Point Lighthouse was destroyed by wind during Wednesday night's spring blizzard.Photo: Dan Robichaud

We have all felt the effects of the nor'easter that hit the Maritimes yesterday. Our vehicles can be shoveled out, our driveways and roads cleared and the power outages restored, but some things cannot be fixed. A prime example of this is the loss of the iconic Church Point Lighthouse in Southwest, NS. The 140 year old lighthouse was ripped to shreds in the high winds. To see all the details please visit: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/fierce-winds-destroy-iconic-nova-scotia-lighthouse-1.2589000


Snow5[1]

Say goodbye to the grass you see, and say hello to snow covering the ground! It is official there is a blizzard warning in effect, we all thought Spring had arrived, but I guess because we live in Nova Scotia we had to have one more storm. Isn’t it fitting that it is hitting Halifax tomorrow, a Wednesday! If you want to keep in the loop on closures and the weather conditions check out the CBC’s Storm Central Page. http://www.cbc.ca/stormcentre/ns/


Learnign to Ride a Bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately this is going to be one of those blog posts where the title is confusing until the very end of the post. Like many of you are probably thinking, "I'll just skip the middle, and head straight for the end." While that is going to give you a very cleverly worked metaphor, you will be missing the heart and soul of this post. What is the best lesson you have ever learned?

One of those classic "interview questions" designed to have you share an experience that hopefully has shaped you in some way, shows some life experience or your character. However, many people panic at the question, trying to remember a past event that will portray them in an appropriate light to there perspective client, business partner or employer. The first time I heard this question, I was 17, going for a management possion at a retail store. I too, have asked the same question interview I have conducted. I've always seen it as a platform the applicant to tell me about them. I think we've all felt that pressure or need to tell a great tale, but, not many of us have stories or the gravitas of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Richard Branson, so we panic. Forgetting what the question is really asking, focusing on the solution and not problem. However, If we look at the likes of Richard Branson faced with the same situation, what would they do......answer it honestly from the heart...

If you don't have the right experience to reach your goal, go in another direction, look for a different way in. There's always a solution to the most complex problem. If you want to fly, get down to the airfield at the age of sixteen and make the tea. Keep your eyes open. Look and learn. You don't have to go to art school to be a fashion designer. Join a fashion company and push a broom. Work your way up.
- Richard Branson

Everyone wants to have things, now, but things take time, whether it be a new car, a house or a promotion. These things all take time, and none of them will define you, yet, the journey to get them just might. Goals or success are internal, what is important to you will be different from what is important to others, so be passionate about what you do and who you are. Put your heart and soul in to your goals and dreams and journey will be as rewarding as the destination!

For any of you wondering, what my answer to the question was, back when I was 17? My parents had taught me a lot of about hard work and never giving up particularly when it came to failing. So I said to the interview panel "learning to ride a bike." One of them laughed, the other two looked very unimpressed. She followed up "why?" To which I answered "when you learn to ride a bike, you learn the importance of getting up when you fall down and trying again. Also, that without balance you cannot move forward." This was not an amazing answer or even an entertain one. However, it was a honest one and a heartfelt one. No matter where life takes me I will always fall back on that lesson, and it also goes to show that even though the hardest questions are difficult, the answers can be quite simple.

Adam

 By Adam Cooper, ABR
 The Bagogloo Team, RE/MAX nova


Spring Ideal Banner

It’s that time again in Halifax to enjoy the Spring Ideal Home Show. RE/MAX nova is a proud sponsor of this event again this year, and the show is being held at Exhibition Park in Halifax. If you are looking to do some building, renovations or landscaping projects in the near future, this is a great way to get inspired, discover new products and services, and see everything under one roof. Maybe you’re not a homeowner yet and need a place to do some dream building- the home show typically features a number of builders and designers and there are often home plans on-site at the event that you can sample to get you started.

Either way you don’t want to miss out! Special guest this year is HGTV’s Damon Bennett, who will be doing two sessions per day - “Reno 101” and “Protecting Your Home”. The show starts March 28 and runs until March 30. To get full details on times and dates for the Spring Ideal Home Show please visit masterpromotions.ca/Previous-Events/spring-ideal-home-show-2014/.


‘We like to have fun:’ Halifax goes green as city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day Parade

By Geordon Omand For Metro

 

Irish-Canadian sisters Aiofe, 5 (left), and Niamh Bowes, 8, enjoy the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Halifax on Saturday.

Downtown Halifax was awash in shamrocks Saturday morning as hundreds of green-clad spectators lined the streets to take in the city’s seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“It announces to the town that (the Irish) are still here and we like to have fun,” said Blair Beed, who led the procession as the town crier.

“The town crier is a traditional thing for old Halifax,” he added, ringing a brass bell to announce the parade’s arrival.

“That’s who gave the news. And the news today is the St. Patrick’s parade — have fun.”

Hundreds of green-clad spectators line the streets of downtown Halifax to take in the city’s seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Despite the overcast weather, more than 30 groups walked, waved, drove and danced their way along the parade route, which began at Holy Cross Cemetery and continued along South Park Street, Spring Garden Road and Brunswick Street before ending near St. Patrick’s Parish.

The itinerary was new this year, a departure from the standard north end route, said event organizer Roberta Dexter.

“We wanted to gain a little more visibility in a more populated part of the city,” she said.

For Dexter, the best part of the festivities were the costumes.

This year’s parade entrants included the eclectically-attired sci-fi/fantasy group Hal-Con, as well as dancing troops, Celtic community organizations and local brewpubs, among others.

“I think everybody coming out and truly celebrating — whether you’re Irish or not — is quite incredible,” said Dexter.

Irish-Canadian Niamh Bowes, 8, watched the parade for the first time, alongside her parents and younger sister on South Park Street.

“It’s really good,” she said. “I especially like the dancing.”

This year’s presenting sponsor was the Charitable Irish Society, which celebrated its 228th anniversary this year.

“We just love to support everything Irish,” said President Sandy Phillips.

“Nobody realizes … the Irish history here in Halifax, and I think this will draw attention to the Irish community.”

“People truly do believe and feel they are connected to the Celtic nations and Ireland, so seeing that manifest itself here today is quite something,” added Dexter.

“It’s a very special day.”

Even Star Wars' Queen Amidala goes green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Halifax

All Photos by Geordon Omand/Metro

Source: To View Original Article http://metronews.ca/news/halifax/972882/we-like-to-have-fun-halifax-goes-green-as-city-celebrates-st-patricks-day/


Parade Image St Patricks Day

This weekend you may want to indulge in a favorite past time of the Irish and non-Irish alike. Our incredible city of Halifax has some great events to offer. Family fun for everyone can be had at the 7th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 11am on Saturday March 15th (route includes South Park Street, Spring Garden Road, Brunswick Street). Maybe you are looking for music, dancing and green beer. However you are looking to celebrate you can find the perfect event; check out The Coast for more information on where and when events are taking place this weekend and into Monday! www.thecoast.ca/halifax/EventSearch?sortType=date&eventCategory=1546712


 

Home repairsTaking stock of your home's condition before you sell, and considering some strategic renovations to maximize your home's appeal to prospective buyers is sage advice. If you'd like to know more about what renovations and small changes can net the best results in Nova Scotia, our team can help. We can also refer you to qualified trades many fields that have provided great service to our clients and ourselves over the last few years.

Repairs to Make Before You Sell Your Home

New. Just replaced. Upgraded. Such sweet music to any buyers ears.

Before your real estate agent puts the “For Sale” on your lawn, it is likely that you will need to make some repairs and improvements. But what kinds of repairs should you make? Do you repair larger items? Do you totally upgrade the basement? Do you hope nobody will notice?

A home in move-in condition appeals to more prospective buyers. It is a given rule in real estate that a house in good condition sells more quickly than one that requires upgrading. If your home is well maintained, and shows well, many buyers could possibly make you an offer. With multiple offers, the price is likely to rise. This is not unusual in a hot market.

A home requiring a lot of work is less appealing to some buyers. Some people do not have the time, money or the inclination to complete the repairs. First-time buyers and those with a busy lifestyle generally want a maintenance-free home.

When considering repairs on your home, consider the market and your neighbourhood. In a hot market, perhaps you will not need to do anything. Perhaps, in a buyer’s market your repairs and upgrades should be completed in order to achieve the best possible price.

Home inspections are popular

Many buyers will request a home inspection. This could work for or against a seller. Depending upon how it is written into the contract, a buyer could terminate the contract upon unsatisfactory findings or if specified repairs are not completed. He or she could also re-open negotiations. An unhappy buyer could also request a substantial discount for the cost of the repairs. The seller pays for it now or later.

Do not get carried away

Dollar-for-dollar, not all home improvements raise the value of your home. It depends on the cost and type of improvement. You could spend $30,000 on a backyard paradise, complete with mature trees, waterfalls, rock gardens and sprinkler system. Will this mean your property is instantly worth an additional $30,000? Unlikely.

Many buyers like the idea of a garden and backyard. But a simple, attractive yard with a nice fence, swing set and flowerbeds is adequate. Most people are unwilling to place a $30,000 premium on a garden. If you spent $25,000 on Italian marble for your bathroom you would likely have the same result. While you are willing to pay the price, it may not significantly increase the value of your home by the same $25,000.

When you are considering renovations to your home, consider the cost and the neighbourhood. Select renovations that will not stretch your budget. Be mindful not to over improve your home in regard to the neighbourhood. When it comes to buying a home, buyers seek the least expensive home in the most expensive neighbourhood they can afford. If your home has too many improvements, it may be priced at the high end of the local market. From a selling position, you may not get the best price. It may also take longer to sell your home. And, the longer your home stays on the market; you are more inclined to reduce the price to ensure a sale.

Perhaps you are planning to move in a few years and hoping to recover the costs. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation suggests the following as a payback range of typical renovations:

Kitchen68-74%

Bathroom64-71%

Interior painting62-66%

Exterior painting62%

Main floor family room49-56%

Finished basement50-52%

Upgraded heating system48-50%

Landscaping45-49%

In-law or rental suite40-42%

Central air-conditioning38-43%

Energy-efficient upgrades33-39%

Source: To view original article go to: http://www.punjabipatrika.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1088:repairs-to-make-before-you-sell-your-home


 

Kid 38 kids' craft projects out of household items

Looking to do a fun project with your children? Check out these easy recycled crafts you can make with your kids using stuff you already have around the house.

By Heather Camlot

"Ooh, stuff that we can use," my seven-year-old son enthuses as he peers into our recycling container and pulls out a diet cola bottle, a tissue box and a yogurt container. I can already see the neurons firing in his head, determining what fantastic and fantastical object he'll create with his newfound discoveries. Watching his thought process and the expression of delight on his face is inspiring. And I know they're more important than the mess on my floor.

Making crafts from recycled materials

"Using recycled or found materials forces us to think a little harder about the process of art-making," says Patrice Stanley, an accomplished artist and art educator who teaches both privately and for a number of organizations and school boards throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

"Art-making is mostly about problem-solving, so using found materials becomes more challenging and therefore more creative. In some cases, when you buy art materials, the uses are spelled out, cookie-cutter." Ideally, she says, using a combination of both bought and found objects is best.

Stocking up for simple kids' crafts
So what supplies should you have on hand and which should you purchase? According to Stanley, a well-stocked art box includes white glue, glue sticks, scissors, pencils, erasers, coloured pencils, markers, a basic paint set (at least the primary colours in acrylic or tempera), paintbrushes, an X-acto knife, aglue gun and construction paper. You could also add bristol board, black Sharpies or felt-tip pens (thick and fine), as well as scrapbooking paper.

Items to collect around the house are endless, but a good start includes recyclables, such as paper towel and toilet paper rolls, newspapers, magazines, boxes, packing materials, egg and milk cartons, and plastic containers. Some useful kitchen goodies are food colouring, salt, flour, foil, wax paper and plastic wrap. Add to those fabric, buttons, wire, tissue and wrapping paper, old cards, and gift boxes and bags.

Simple kids' crafts you can do at home
1. Shadow-box:
One of Stanley's favourite projects to make with items found around the house is an "all-about-me shadow box." "It's super fun and easy, and kids love it," she says. Paint the outside of a solid gift box (lid not required), then cover the inside with wallpaper, wrapping paper, photos, knickknacks, mementos, little toys– anything that says a lot about a person – and affix them in place with hot glue (mom's job). Hang it on the wall or sit it upon a desk or dresser.

2. Outdoor paint: Fill an empty honey or mustard container with water and food colouring, then "paint" the snow in your backyard.

3. Rocket power: Tape two toilet paper rolls on either side of a plastic soda bottle and wrap the entire thing in foil. Add embellishments like orange tissue paper to the bottom of the toilet paper rolls, or add the bottom of a yogurt container for a window and a couple of buttons for the astronauts' faces.

4. Totem pole: Collect boxes of similar widths. Using papier-mache (newspaper, flour and water), design a face on the top of each box. When dry, paint the boxes in bright colours, then stack one on top of the other to create a totem pole.

5. Holiday cards: Cut similarly themed (red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, orange and black for Halloween) pieces of tissue paper, wrapping paper, fabric, old cards, magazines or gift bags into various small shapes. Glue them haphazardly or mosaic-style onto card stock for one-of-a-kind mailings.

6. All wrapped up: Lay out long sheets of packing paper – or scrap paper for smaller gifts – then paint a sheet of bubble wrap (bubble side up) in various colours and lay it over the paper, press and lift. Make other designs with corks, cookie cutters, tin cans and plastic bottle caps.

7. What's in a name?: Cut the letters of a child's name out of stiff cardboard, then wrap then in complementary fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper. Secure each letter to a wide length of ribbon with tape then string the banner across a bedroom wall.

8. Bright light: Glue pieces of torn or cut tissue paper onto a clean glass jar with a wide opening and layer them as you go. When the jar is covered to your liking, use Mod Podge over the entire outer surface. (Mod Podge is an all-in-one glue, sealer and varnish available at craft stores.) Place a candle inside for a colourful glow.

Think twice before tossing your recyclables. One person's trash is another's treasure, after all. And what a brilliantly imaginative treasure it may turn out to be.

SORCE: To view original article http://www.canadianliving.com/moms/fun/8_kids_craft_projects_out_of_household_items.php


With our aging population and a growing desire for people to "age in place" and continue to live in their existing homes rather than moving into apartments or other assisted living scenarios, taking a hard look at renovations before they're begun to determine how well they will age with the homeowner is a major concern. "Universal Design" is a hot topic these days, and it involves looking at creating spaces that are accessible by individuals with reduced mobility by adding items like levers instead of door handles, relocating light switches and receptacles to an accessible (often lower) height on the wall and other similar items.

Design for universal accessibility and ageing in place is a winning strategy for a marketplace that is continually aging and provides for greater flexibility living situations in future years. The article below talks about some strategies advocated by the CMHC, which has been publishing on the topic since the early 1990s. If you have questions about how these concepts may affect you or your home's marketability, give us a call-we would be pleased to chat with you about it.

***

Renovations; Do it flexibly

Screen_Shot_2014-02-09_at_6.34.24_PMRenovators who incorporate flexible housing concepts into home design are able to take care of current needs and also look to accommodate the needs of a future generation as well

***

Is there a home renovation in your future?

If there is, and you are aged around 45, 50, 55, what principles will be guiding you on your project?

Most people are probably thinking modern, open-concept kitchen and dining rooms, expansive “indoor-outdoor” patios or crazy entertainment rooms – but are you giving a thought to 25 or 30 years down the road?

There is a small but growing movement in Canada to incorporate adaptable, or flexible, housing concepts into home design and renovations, with an eye to creating spaces not only for the present but also for household needs a generation or even two into the future.

Flexible housing is different from accessible housing. The former means planning for future changes, such that today’s renovation may include installing a piece of plywood into a bathroom wall now so that when a grab bar is needed by a future resident – perhaps the current homeowner, but aged and slowed in 25 years – the structure is all set for the minor addition. The latter is adding the grab bar, or low-level windows, or front-door ramp, right now.

“For people 45 to 55 years old, probably they own their house,” explains Josee Dion, senior researcher, housing needs for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. “And for them, 50 per cent of their housing stock is at least 30 years old.

“Most of them need repairs and renovations. So if they do the renovations right now, they should do it in a clever way, and think about the concept of flexibility.”

By now the statistics proving that society is aging are familiar. Statistics Canada notes that in 2006, Canadians aged 55 years and over made up about one quarter of the population, while those aged 65 years and older made up about 14 per cent. It is estimated that more than one-third (35 per cent) of the population will be over 55 by 2036, and almost one quarter (24 per cent) will be over 65.

Combine these raw numbers with surveys showing that 85 per cent of older Canadians want to age in place – that is, stay in their own homes as long as possible – and the need for wise and efficient planning for renovations becomes even more important.

The CMHC’s trademarked FlexHousing concept has been around since the 1990s and is expounded upon in an extensive section on the CMHC’s website. But predating the CMHC effort was that of Avi Friedman, 61, a McGill architecture professor who wrote about adaptable housing for both his master’s and doctor’s theses and in 1990 unveiled the concept of the Grow Home, a narrow, two-storey, single-family unit four metres (14 feet) wide with a basement that can adapt to multiple uses, including accommodating two or three households. “The design by nature is flexible,” says Friedman. “There were no support walls that prevented you from moving things.”

In 1997, he created the Next Home, again with an adaptable interior, that is three storeys and is intended for several families. In both cases, the theory he has espoused is that builders using his plans might offer buyers options for interior use of space. When needs change, he says, it is better to be able to move a wall in one hour than to take a sledgehammer to it, as depicted on all of the television renovations programs.

The Grow Home concept has been used in well over 10,000 homes in Canada, he says, primarily in the Montreal area where he lives, and also in the U.S. and England, and the book he wrote on it has been translated into other languages with the result that builders in the Czech Republic and China have also adopted his concepts.

In the context of adaptable homes, says Friedman, the number-one room for renovations is the basement.

“One of the things that distinguishes North American homes has been (the popularity of renovations in) the basement, basement areas by design left to the buyer to work on,” says Friedman. “We did some research and found tremendous things have been happening in the basement. People turning them into work spaces, living spaces, etc.”

Roofs are another area where his designs can mean future flexibility in renovations, he says. “If you look at roof trusses, we eliminated support wall from many interiors, and this gives us tremendous flexibility.”

Where builders have not borrowed complete Grow Homes plans in creating new housing, says Friedman, in many cases there are parts of the package used.

Both Dion and Friedman point out the advantages of embracing adaptable homes as a way of making renovations or additions more affordable. Dion says that by planning for future renovations now, major structural changes may not have to be undertaken down the road. Friedman says by incorporating adaptability from the beginning – with wide-open spaces that can be tailored to future needs that come along, perhaps when they can be afforded – the initial costs of a building a dwelling are reduced and so are future renovations.

One of the social trends that will dominate the next few years is the retirement of the baby-boom generation, says Friedman, many of whom will want to age-in-place. “The flexible home is about to be very critical in adapting the home to that stage. It will be on different levels. It will be on the component level, installing handrails, bathroom elements. And many people who will be able to afford it will have part-time or full-time help. So converting a portion of a home into a new dwelling can accommodate a nurse in those later years, or it will increase the income that they will have, if they can rent it out to someone else. So this will be the outcome of providing additional flexibility in design.”

The CMHC offers extensive information on its website to assist developers, renovators and homeowners in understanding the concept of flexible housing, and also looks for opportunities at conferences and home shows to preach the gospel of incorporating adaptability into building and renovations. Search “CHMC” and “flex housing.”

There have been several demonstration buildings or working structures constructed as well, including a National Research Council test house in Ottawa, Home 2000 in Burnaby, BC and FlexHouse in Richmond, BC. Student housing labelled UniverCity at Simon Fraser U. in British Columbia is also touted as embracing the adaptable housing approach.

Friedman, meanwhile, has two books available explaining the Grow Home and the Next Home, and of course there are thousands of units around the world that have been built that were inspired by his ideas.

“We sent fantastic amounts of information out, and I get postcards from British Columbia, from Ontario, and they say, this is a Grow Home. It isn’t recognized as such on the advertisements, but when you see a home that is 4.2 metres, 16 feet wide, with a basement, two storeys plus a basement, and when you walk in and you see the combination living room and dining room and kitchen, and the basement is usually unfinished, that’s it.”

“I gave the concept, and that concept was very successful.”

Look up “mix and match homes Calgary” on Google to view homes in Edmonton, Calgary and Austin, Texas that reflect Friedman’s concepts.

Source: To view original article http://foreveryoungnews.com/posts/2492-renovations-do-it-flexibly


Kid 2

March break is a great time to book house hunting trips or to get a head start on showings if your move is local. Make your way to Halifax and The Bagogloo Team will help you find the home of your dreams. You can make it a vacation by enjoying some of the many events and seasonal activities our city has to offer. Go skating at the outdoor Emera Oval then warm up at the Museum of Natural History's reptile zoo exhibit - or check out some of the following links to help find the right events for your family.

http://hrmparent.ca – Search under the events tab.

http://www.cineplex.com/Promos/tooniematinee?cmpid=toonie-matinees_ns - A great thing to relax in Halifax is to go to the movies, check out the Cineplex website for information on their March break toonie matinees.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/hcw/72640-march-break-attractions-abound - this article has several links to help you quickly find more fun items to add to your list.

Our team wants you to not only love your new home but also the city you live in!


SOURCE: 

New Years Eve party ideas and a laundry list of New Year's Eve activities have been published on Kids Activities Blog. Have a fun and safe celebration together with the kids this year.

Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) December 29, 2013

Moms and dads with kids at home do not get to go to a glamorous New Year's Eve party. Seasoned moms are sharing party ideas and New Year's Eve activities on Kids Activities Blog. Create a family-friendly party right at home with fun-filled activities and yummy food.

A New Year's Eve party for kids is easy to do. Simply prepare a few things in advance such as a treat-filled piñata or confetti-filled balloons. A hot coca bar, a cupcake decorating bar, or even an ice cream sundae station will be a hit during the evening with the kids and adults.

Have several activities planned such as star gazing, making an I Wish tree, playing karaoke, or having adorable New Years Eve coloring pages available with a set of fresh paint or markers for the evening.

Kids love making noise and New Years is the perfect time to do so. Spread colorful bubble wrap on the floor and let the kids have a blast popping the bubbles.

Get messy and make some party paint. Mix shaving cream, food coloring, and glitter and let the kids have creative playtime in the bathtub.

Make the family feel like they are at Time Square by making a glittery sparkling ball out of styrofoam, glue, sequins, and rhinestones.

Consider making a fun party favor sensory bin for younger kids. For older kids build a count down line of bags to open throughout the evening. Put disposable cameras, games, new movies or other fun items that get the kids excited inside the bags. When the new hour comes along, let the kids open the bags one at a time.

For detailed instructions and to get additional fun New Years tips, check out Kids Activities Blog today. Come get inspired to have a memorable time with the family on New Years Eve this year.

About Kids Activities Blog

Kids Activities Blog is a website created by two moms (who collectively have 9 children), Rachel Miller and Holly Homer from June Cleaver Nirvana. It is their daily goal to inspire parents and teachers to play with kids. This interactive website publishes simple things to do with kids twice a day. Kids Activities Blog is a great tool for moms and teachers to find kid-friendly activities that create memories and sneak learning into the fun.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/12/prweb11381827.htm

 


Phasing out CMHC insurance?

FLAHERTY: Should the federal government be in the business of insuring higher-risk mortgages at all?

Read More ... http://metronews.ca/news/canada/867379/consider-phasing-out-cmhc-insurance-imf/


Before Listing Your Home Checklist

Posted by HalifaxMetroHomes.com

You have probably heard how important first impressions can be. But did you know that within the first 15 seconds of a viewing, a buyer can form their opinion of your property? Establishing the right first impression is critical to achieving a successful sale.

Consider how you may have personalized your home over the years and think about whether personal touches may have a negative impression on a potential buyer. A buyer must be able to visualize themselves living in your home - too many personal statements may not allow a potential buyer to see how their family will settle in.

A little preparation can often bring you a higher sale price and a quicker sale! Is your home ready? Use this handy checklist to help you begin to get your home ready to show!

Clean and Store

Store all bikes, toys and equipment out of sight.
Get rid of unnecessary furniture.
Clean closets and clear off countertops.
Scrub all tile floors.
Clean all carpets.
Clean all windows and mirrors.
Clean stains in all sinks and tubs.

Fix-It

Fix leaky faucets.
Replace missing door or cabinet handles.
Fix or replace broken appliances.
Replace broken tiles in bathroom or kitchen.
Paint if necessary.
Discuss major repairs with your Realtor®.

Freshen Up

Stop smoking in the house.
Bathe pets and clean out litter boxes.
Empty all trash, recycle bins, etc.
Dry-clean drapes and shampoo carpets.
Use baking soda boxes in smell-prone areas.
Place flowers, potpourri or air fresheners around the house.

Ask a "buyer"

Invite a friend to walk through your home like a buyer would. Get their opinion on whether or not it's inviting, clean and well-maintained. Consider making any changes they suggest.


Print

The Bank of Canada is adopting a neutral stance on the direction of interest…

by The Canadian Press | on Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Bank of Canada is adopting a neutral stance on the direction of interest rates over the next few years, signalling it may be as prepared to cut the cost of borrowing as to raise it, in light of persistently low inflation and a weaker forecast for economic growth through 2015.

As expected, the central bank announced Wednesday it is keeping the overnight rate which impacts short-term interest rates at one per cent, where it’s been for more than three years.

But removal of the central bank’s so-called tightening bias — in place since April 2012 — suggests at the very least that it’s even less anxious to raise interest rates than a few months ago.

The Canadian dollar, which had already been down against the U.S. dollar before the announcement, dipped even further after the Bank of Canada statement.

Markets are liked to see the statement as an indication bank governor Stephen Poloz is likely to keep the trendsetting policy interest rate at one per cent well into 2015.

The reason, the bank says in its latest monetary policy report, is that the economy is still not ready to transition from a reliance on domestic demand to export-driven growth capable of getting reluctant Canadian firms to start investing and hiring.

“In Canada, uncertain global and domestic economic conditions are delaying the pick-up in exports and business investment, leaving the level of economic activity lower than the bank had been expecting,” Poloz and his governing council state in the summary of the report.

“As a result, the current level of economic activity is now estimated to be lower than was anticipated in the July report.”

In fact, the bank appears to have fundamentally re-written its playbook for the economy from a few months ago.

It has shaved this year’s growth projection by two-tenths of a point to 1.6 per cent, which would make the third consecutive year that the pace of economic expansion as slowed. It has revised downward even more dramatically next year’s forecast, by four-tenths of a point to 2.3 per cent, and for 2015 by one-tenth to 2.6 per cent. In July, the bank had forecast growth rates of 1.8, 2.7 and 2.7 for the three years.

As well, the bank says the economy is about 0.4 per cent smaller than it had previously calculated, has more unused capacity and will take longer by about six months to return to full capacity, now projected for the end of 2015.

For many economists, the bank’s new, darker tone puts it in the camp they’ve occupied for most of the year. They have long considered the bank’s growth forecasts too rosy and less enthusiastic about the so-called “rotation” from domestic to external demand — particularly given the fiscal games being played by Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress since the end of 2012.

The bank is optimistic the damaging spate of recent U.S. government shutdowns, automatic spending cuts and threats of default are coming to an end, which should restart the U.S. expansion and hike demand for Canadian exports.

“The U.S. economy is softer than expected but as fiscal headwinds dissipate and household de-leveraging ends, growth should accelerate through 2014 and 2015,” it predicts.

But it admits to some worries as to how much this will help Canada in the short term. Weak demand partly explains the difficulty Canadian exporters have been experiencing of late, it says, but not all, adding that the under-performance “may be due to shifts in trade linkages that have been difficult to properly capture and to ongoing competitiveness challenges.”

It is possible, it says, that competitive pressures due to the high dollar and poor productivity will result in an even greater loss of market share for Canada’s exporting sector than assumed.

The bank concludes that there are still many risks to the global and Canadian outlook, both for good and bad.


 

 

 

IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM
The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

                                                                                                                   image from http://aviary.blob.core.windows.net/k-mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp-13110716/d0e457e4-f75f-4b2c-8728-a88d73959fb2.jpg 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
 Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
 The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard am
id the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
 We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!  

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,

 We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
 

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

On May 2, 1915, John McCrae’s close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell. That evening, in the absence of a Chaplain, John McCrae recited from memory a few passages from the Church of England’s “Order of the Burial of the Dead”. For security reasons Helmer’s burial in Essex Farm Cemetery was performed in complete darkness.

The next day, May 3, 1915, Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson was delivering mail. McCrae was sitting at the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the YserCanal, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, Belgium.

As John McCrae was writing his In Flanders Fields poem, Allinson silently watched and later recalled, “His face was very tired but calm as he wrote. He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

Within moments, John McCrae had completed the “In Flanders Fields” poem and when he was done, without a word, McCrae took his mail and handed the poem to Allinson.

Allinson was deeply moved:

“The (Flanders Fields) poem was an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

(In Flanders Fields.ca)

 

REMEMBERING:

In Canada, Remembrance Day is a public holiday and federal statutory holiday, as well as a statutory holiday in all three territories and in six of the ten provinces (Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario, and being the exceptions). From 1921 to 1930, the Armistice Day Act provided that Thanksgiving would be observed on Armistice Day, which was fixed by statute on the Monday of the week in which 11 November fell. In 1931, the federal parliament adopted an act to amend the Armistice Day Act, providing that the day should be observed on 11 November and that the day should be known as "Remembrance Day". 

 

The Bagogloo Team wishes to express it's heartfelt gratitude to all members of The Canadian Armed Forces; Past, Present and Future; who's bravery, honour and devotion to this Country and it's People, has kept us safe and free.

Please remember to pause at 11am, November 11, and take a moment to remember and give thanks to those who have fought and died, for us, all of us - we honour you.

 

This message has been brought to you by:



 

 


Published  October 25, 2013

The Bank of Canada announced on October 23rd 2013 that it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate at 1 per cent. It has been at this level since September 2010.

The biggest change from previous statements was that it no longer hinted that the next move will be a rate hike. Instead, the Bank defended its decision not to cut rates amid persistently low inflation.

The Bank said it does not want to risk reversing the current “gradual unwinding of household imbalances” and slowdown in household debt growth. In other words, the housing market is well behaved right now and the Bank wants to keep it that way.

The Bank said global growth had become “less favourable” for Canada. This is a reference to the slow pace of economic recovery and increased uncertainty in the United States, which is resulting in weaker than expected Canadian export growth and business investment.

Accordingly, the Bank has lowered its projections for Canadian economic growth this year and in each of the next two years.

The Bank now expects economic growth of 1.6 per cent in 2013, down from the 1.8 per cent projected back in July. Growth is expected to pick up to 2.3 per cent in 2014, which is down from a 2.7 per cent projection in July, and edge up further to 2.6 per cent in 2015, also down from 2.7 per cent in July.

The Bank now expects that inflation will not return to its 2 per cent target and the economy will not return to full production capacity until “around the end of 2015”. That’s been pushed back from the previous expectation of their doing so by mid-2015.

As such, the possibility of the Bank hiking interest rates anytime this year or next is likely off the table at this point. If anything, the odds that rates could be cut has increased; however, unless the economic outlook deteriorates further, the most likely scenario is that the Bank will keep interest rates on hold for quite some time yet.

As of October 23rd, 2013, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 5.34 per cent, unchanged from the previous Bank rate announcement on September 4th.

(CREA 10/23/2013)


Canadian housing market expected to stay on hot streak


TARA PERKINS
REAL ESTATE REPORTER — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Oct. 13 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013, 8:29 AM EDT

"Canada’s housing market is back on a roll, a finding that should be evident in the September sales data that the Canadian Real Estate Association will release on Tuesday.

The slump that began in the summer of 2012 came to an end this past summer, with sales topping economists’ forecasts, and the market showing a surprising amount of momentum."

Read more...


Here is some great footage from Terry Campbell as he boarded the iconic RE/MAX hot air balloon while it visited Halifax, watch below!

 

For more information about the infamous balloon, read more here: http://www.remaxballoon.ca/How_It_Started.asp


We hope you're all having a wonderful day out there today!
Just wanted to share some great insight with you about Halifax's growth:

Halifax growth forecast in report | The Chronicle Herald.

Don't forget to comment, subscribe and follow--we love hearing from you!

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2013PinkMatt

2013PinkTerry

RE/MAX nova IS GOING PINK!

RE/MAX nova is proud to announce that for the month of October, our Agents will be fighting Breast Cancer in a unique way. Agents will be contributing a portion of all sales to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation during October, and to bring awareness to the cause:

ALL RE/MAX nova SIGNS WILL BE SWITCHED TO PINK FOR THE MONTH!!

These new signs have been specially designed in conjunction with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and feature a unique RE/MAX balloon logo. This will bring attention to both the cause and your listing.

All our signs will be replaced with the new PINK sign by October 3, 2013.

Almost everyone in Canada knows someone who has been affected by this terrible disease. We hope you share our pride and enthusiasm as we fight for the cure together.

Thank you for your continued support,
Frances Chaisson
President RE/MAX nova


Adam Cooper, Out and About in Beautiful Downtown Halifax

 

On September 21, 2013, the Alzheimer's Society of Nova Scotia hosted the Duck Derby in beautiful Downtown Halifax. This event brought out hundreds of people to experience and support this event. This city has a rich history of community involvement and local pride. We could really feel the enthusiasm and magic of living in Halifax on this day, and we would like to share a couple of clips from the Duck Derby and also the Seaport Market--a cultural staple in Halifax.

For more information on the Alzheimer's Society Duck Derby, follow this link:
http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/ns/Get-inv...

For more information on the Halifax Seaport Market, follow this link:
http://www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com/

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But Highlands sees healthy increase in the average sale price

The average sale price has made little movement in Nova Scotia according to the most recent data on the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®’ Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) System. Comparing the months of June, July and August in 2013 to the same three-month period in 2012 shows an increase in the average sale price of less than one per cent.

“Over the summer months last year, the average sale price was just under $216,000 provincially, while this summer the average sale price has held steady at just over $216,000,” says Gary Mailman, president of NSAR. “This means single-family residential listings are maintaining overall value here in Nova Scotia.”

There are, of course, some exceptions to provincial average changes. The Highland Region, for example, has seen a healthy increase in the average sale price, but no change in the amount of sales activity. Listings have also scaled back from last year’s levels as in other regions. So, why has the Highland’s average sale price performed differently?

“Every region is impacted by different economic factors and the impacts are ever more evident in smaller markets,” Mailman says. “This really is an example of each market being local and the reason why working with a real estate professional who specializes in your market is so important. An agent in your preferred location has the knowledge of what housing options are available, what types of housing are most in demand and what prices that market will tolerate.”

The Highland Region has enjoyed new growth thanks to job opportunities in Inverness and Port Hawkesbury. Employment is always a key factor in enabling people’s buying power and anyone looking to be active in the real estate market will be impacted by the results of the upcoming provincial election.

“The housing market in Nova Scotia has lots to offer right now,” Mailman says. “We have affordable housing, the continuation of low-lending rates and a high quality of life, yet we’ve seen less activity in 2013 compared to last year. One thing that can positively impact the market right now are economic opportunities and job creation, and that’s why the 1,800 real estate professionals here will be closely watching the election to see what positive movement may follow.”

Staff @ The Burnside News
Published on September 18, 2013


LARGE 4 BEDROOM FOR SALE IN
MONTEBELLO ESTATES, DARTMOUTH

 

Click on the play button below to take a virtual tour

 

Contact Matt Welch at (902) 209-5594 today and view this home for yourself!


Moving can be very stressful between packing up your house and making sure you've cancelled utilities, provided forwarding addresses and obtained all the necessary records you'll need. To make your move easier, here's a moving checklist to ensure you cover all your bases.

1) Cancel utilities - Thirty days prior to moving make sure you notify utility companies (water, electric, gas, telephone, Internet, cable TV, water heater) of your move. Let them know when they need to be disconnected and where final bills should be sent.

2) Change of address - Provide your new address to the post office, subscriptions, neighbours, friends, family, newspapers and any other relevant organizations that require a current address.

3) Pets - To ensure your pets don't get lost during the move, change your address and phone number on their licenses.

4) Notify insurance companies - Make sure the companies handling your health, auto, life and home owners insurance all have your new address.

5) Obtain important records - Ask your doctor, dentist or other healthcare practitioners for your family's records. Also request your children's school records to take to the new school that they'll be attending.

6) Banking - Transfer your bank accounts to a new location and take out anything you might have stored in a safety deposit box.

7) Compile information for future homeowners - Put together all the information on the home that would prove useful for the new homeowners such as warranties, floor plans, instruction manuals and keys.

8) Personal ID - You'll need to update your personal ID such as driver's license, car registration, health card and credit cards.

9) Book your moving company - Don't leave booking your moving company to the last minute, especially in the busiest moving months of spring and summer.

These are just some basic guidelines that will help you get where you need to go quicker for your big move.  If you require further clarification and assistance, contact our team at [email protected] or call (902) 830-9006 and we will help you get moving into your new home!


There is an endless supply of different types of homes available for purchase – ranging from condos to townhouses to fully-detached homes.

The key is to decide what you can afford and which amenities you prefer before heading out shopping for a new home.

Your best first step is to seek the advice of a mortgage professional and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

That way, you already know what your price range is – and, therefore, which type of home you’re in the market for – before you begin shopping. Budgeting is also an important part of preparing yourself for the purchase of a home.

If you save for a down payment and up-front costs, such as closing costs and emergency reserves, much sooner, you’ll be sure to save enough to cover the many expenses facing a new homeowner, including moving, utility hook-ups, tools, maintenance supplies, window coverings and the list goes on.

Once you have the money available to make your home purchase a reality, you should weigh the following options to help decide what type of home is right for you:

Condo - a condo makes a great first home because it typically costs less than a townhouse or a detached home, which translates into a smaller down payment. But there are, however, monthly maintenance fees you must take into consideration when budgeting for a condo. Condos are also ideal for those who do not want to maintain a lawn or worry about clearing snow away from walkways and driveways.

Townhouse - if the condo life is not your forte and you’re not looking for a big yard to maintain, a townhouse may be your best home purchase option. A townhouse costs less than a fully-detached home and results in cheaper property taxes as well. Many townhouses also come with monthly maintenance fees unless they are freehold townhouses. In situations where you pay a monthly fee, however, you won’t have to worry about outdoor maintenance or snow removal.

Detached home - if it’s privacy you’re seeking as well as a larger yard, a detached home is your ideal choice. Still, prices can vary drastically based on such variables as whether you’re seeking a spot in the city, a place in the suburbs or a more rural location.

Other considerations - the size of the home and property (if you decide not to opt for a condo) are also important things to consider before you head out shopping. While everyone has their dream home in mind, this is not always a practical purchase choice, especially if this is your first home purchase.

When it comes to location, think about in which area or neighbourhood you’d like to make your purchase, and which home features are absolutely essential – including what you can live without and what aspects are entirely out of the question.

Take a look at real estate ads for the area (s) you’re interested in to see what’s on the market and the price ranges. Also drive around a few neighbourhoods and see what’s for sale and also visit open houses and new home builders’ show homes.This can help crystallize what you want or don’t want in a home and also helps you to understand the market.

By making your first purchase a modest and affordable home, you will be putting money towards a mortgage that will build equity in that home. And once you’ve paid down a significant portion of that first home’s mortgage, you will then have more money to put towards an upgrade into your dream home.

http://www.reddeerexpress.com/opinion/Getting_prepped_for_the_home-buying_venture_222371121.html


Demand a thorough job and get results in writing so that you won’t be left with a list of to-dos that should have been covered by and discussed with the current owners before you move in. The home inspection advice below was recently posted on Money.ca and the following should give you additional insight into getting what you want out of your home inspection.

Make sure your real estate purchase contract includes an inspection clause. Typically, contracts allow home-buyers seven or so days after signing to have the property inspected. The results of the inspection can be used to ask the seller to fix trouble spots, or to adjust the selling price to cover the coast of necessary repairs. Get references – because laws regulating the licensing of inspectors are non-existent, Certification from a professional association is often a better barometer of an inspector’s experience and skills.

Demand a thorough job – There is very little stipulating exactly what must be covered during an inspection. A thorough job should include a complete assessment of the interior and exterior of the house, from roof to foundation, as well as some analysis of the heating, plumbing and electrical systems. Some crawl spaces may be too small or too dangerous for inspectors to wriggle into; expect to be told about any parts of the house that weren’t examined. For a three-bedroom, two-bath home, a complete inspection should last at least three-four hours, minimum and cost between $400 and $500, depending on the region and size of the house and property. A good home inspector carries a toolbox that includes natural gas detectors, moisture meters, outlet testers, voltage meters and an array of measuring devices.

Get results in writing – The inspection report is an excellent gauge of just how exhaustive the work is. A complete report should be anywhere from 15 to 20 pages long, describing in layman’s terms what was observed and any problems that were uncovered.

Some inspectors include estimates of the cost of repairs – but it’s considered a conflict of interest for inspectors to solicit repair business based on their findings. Make sure that the home inspector agrees to spend up to an hour or so with you to go over the details of the inspection and answer your questions. Hold the Inspector liable for missed problems – Inspection contracts tend to be “minimalist” documents, but they contain one critical piece of information: The Inspector’s liability if he fails to discover an existing problem with the house or property. In many cases, liability is limited to the cost of the inspection.

Guy Ward is a Mortgage Broker in Calgary, Alberta with TMG (The Mortgage Group Alberta).

A home inspection will cost you a little bit of time and money, but in the long run you'll be glad you did it. The inspection can reveal problems that you may be able to get the current owners to fix before you move in, saving you time and money. If you are a first-time homebuyer, an inspection can give you a crash course in home maintenance and a checklist of items that need attention to make your Halifax home as safe and sound as possible. Don't skip this important step in the home-buying process - it's worth every penny.


Switching brands is harder than you think!

Think of where we live: Halifax with its illustrious scenery and beautiful cultures coming together to call our home.

Your home.

BNea1GlCcAA-QfL.jpg largeJust like a logo on a t-shirt or an emblem on the hood of a car, identities can be discovered and transferred all over the place; an identity that is found between a person and the place that they are from can be stronger than any other force out there. We have that proud identity. It’s hard to convince someone to switch or leave their favourite shoe company for an unknown company; or worse yet, a company that once had a tarnished reputation. There is a very distinct car company that has taken the time to cater their product and brand to their loyal clients’ needs and wants—they have developed a vehicle to meet each stage of their life. We develop an attachment, a trust, a relationship.

This regional pride is a reflection that which extends greater than a tangible product that can be purchased off a shelf; it’s a lifestyle. Ranging from food, to music, to cultures, to homes—we are here to stay.

In a recent study, people actually have favourite real estate companies. This implies: stick to what you know! Furthermore, just because a home is available to you through different companies, it doesn’t mean randomly choosing one of them is the only way to purchase your new home. The study suggests that due to the regulations and company standards, the positivity is having a lasting effect on their clients. These home buyers and home sellers are committed to their favourite real estate company because of their need for a repeat experience. And that’s something to be proud of!

BP9O-kzCcAAaEk8.jpg largeRandomly search Halifax in any search engine and tell us you don’t see something exciting! All of those watery views and iconic landmarks, beaches and getaways that do not require more than 30 minutes of travel outside of the city’s core. We are truly privileged to live in such a breathtaking province when the seasons change we are able to experience the majestic nature that defines us.

Nature reflecting society. That is hard to find. Here in Halifax, we can say that with pride. Multicultural, multi-colourful. That’s exciting!

You’re home.

 

[Survey: http://www.inman.com/2013/07/22/study-consumers-more-loyal-to-real-estate-companies-than-agents/]

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If you have questions, or want advice on Buying or Selling a home, get in touch with The Bagogloo Team of RE/MAX nova by email at [email protected] or call 902-830-9006.

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Creating Curb Appeal, part 2

Are you looking to catch someone's attention when selling your home?
Are you looking to buy a unique home that stands out against the rest?

Halifax, we have another sunny weekend on the horizon, and what better way to spend it than being outside!  Grab your sunglasses, sunscreen, paintbrush and your partner in crime, because you'll be taking over your own front door! 

 

It's so important to figure out what type of paint you will need before you start buying. Starting with your inspirations and your home's surroundings (like we discussed in the previous blog) are some great ways to get yourself prepared before heading into your local home improvement store!  Staying up-to-date with design ideas and colour trends will give your house more oomph from the street (especially if Google Maps is updating your street).

However, trying to compete with design-industry professionals can be exhaustive at times, so go with your heart and pick the best way to accent your home from the outside in.  Grab some attention Halifax, call The Bagogloo Team and let them know if you're looking for a home with curb appeal, or selling your home that already has curb appeal, because (as you know) Experience Pays!