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10 Things New Homeowners Should Do to Save Money
Buying a new home will likely be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make. Between the realtor fees, property transfer tax, and the legal fees, you could be left with a somewhat smaller bank account. Now that you’ve purchased a new home, you have to think about your mortgage, insurance, property tax, utilities, renovation costs, and more.
A new home purchase is an exciting time and you can make sure you don’t detract from the incredible experience by having a sound financial plan. Keep reading for 10 smart tips that every new homeowner should do to save themselves money. These tips are straightforward and will help you handle the costs of new homeownership more easily.
1. Save On Moving Costs
This tip may be too late if you’re already enjoying the comfort of your beautiful new home. But, if you haven’t moved yet, we can’t stress how important it is to reduce moving costs. On average, it can cost between $870 and $1,160 to move a two-bedroom apartment in Canada during high season. The pricing will vary depending on your home size, the number of movers needed, and the hours worked.
In comparison, a large U-haul truck and buying some pizza and beer for your friends can cost you under $350. If at all possible, opt for the do-it-yourself move. It may be a lot more grunt work and planning, but it’s well worth the savings.
2. Change Your Mortgage to Bi-weekly Payments
This tip is more about your long-term savings. If you’ve signed up for a mortgage with monthly payments, consider switching it to bi-weekly. A bi-weekly payment schedule accelerates your mortgage payments and takes payments every two weeks. By the end of the year, you’ve made 13 monthly payments instead of 12.
Let’s say you have a $600,000 mortgage over 30 years, with an interest rate of 4.5%. If you switch to accelerated bi-weekly payments, you’ll save a total of $84,104 in interest and finish paying your mortgage off in 25.6 years!
Mortgage lenders allow you to make this change at any time, so visit your bank today and switch to bi-weekly to start saving.
3. Make Smart Furniture Decisions
One of the most exciting aspects of having a new home is all the decorating possibilities. With online shopping becoming more prevalent this year than ever before, virtually every home store is at our fingertips. It can feel so easy to order new things online.
If you are going to purchase new furniture, do it while keeping a budget in mind. First, make a plan for buying new furniture. Don’t go out and design an entire home on your credit card in just one month! Unless you already have a furniture budget set aside, plan out your purchases slowly. Find an item, save up for it, and then repeat.
The next suggestion is to consider alternative methods for furniture shopping. Consider buying something second-hand from Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, or a used antique shop. You could also try asking for a discount for taking the floor model home from a furniture store. Whatever you do, try to find sales or discounts, so you’re always purchasing furniture within your budget.
4. Do (Some) Home Repairs Yourself
Many new homeowners want to make improvements to their new home. Whenever possible, consider doing some of the home repairs or improvements yourself. You can save thousands by opting to make simple home improvements on your own. Of course, do your research first to establish how comfortable you are taking on a given project. You can find incredibly useful videos on YouTube that walk you through projects or step-by-step guides online.
Some of the more popular home improvements that are well-suited for DIY are painting, fence repairs or installation, minor plumbing, carpentry, or flooring projects.
Taking the DIY route can result in significant savings. The cost of painting the exterior of a 2,000 square foot home can range from $3,200-$7,200. In comparison, a DIY paint job will cost you an average of $15-$50 per gallon plus a good chunk of your time, of course. Sometimes breaking a sweat is a great way to save.
5. Use Professional Contractors When Needed
For the home repairs and renovations you can’t do yourself, it’s recommended you always use professional and insured contractors. This tip might seem strange as a cost-savings suggestion, since quality contractors aren’t the cheapest option out there. But, this is one of those times you won’t want to cut corners.
Working with unskilled professionals can actually cost you more money in the long run. They may make mistakes in their work that will only result in you having to hire someone else later on. Additionally, if you work with an unlicensed contractor, your home insurance policy can become void. Lastly, if the contractor is uninsured and makes a mistake on the job that leads to flooding or significant issues, you’ll have to pay for these repairs out-of-pocket. These are all costly risks that make working with non-insured and non-certified contractors simply too high.
Make sure to read reviews, ask them about their insurance policy, and find out if they’re licensed in their field.
6. Fix Drafty Windows
Drafty windows are a common problem for older homes. While it may seem like a minor issue, a small gap means money is flying out your window. As you pay to heat your house in the winter or cool it down in the summer, that energy is escaping and likely costing you hundreds of dollars.
If you have the budget, consider installing brand new energy-efficient windows. While this will be a bit of an upfront cost, it can save you up to 40% on your utility bills throughout the year. It can also improve the curb appeal of your home, as energy efficient windows are a top feature that buyers are looking for right now. If this isn’t an option for you, applying weather stripping to your windows is a cheap and easy DIY alternative.
7. Cancel Your Cable
According to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, Canadians spend an average of $52.58 on paid television services per month. That might not sound like a lot, but over a one-year span, that adds up to almost $631. That’s enough to purchase a few double pane windows!
In contrast, Disney+ starts at $8.99 per month, while Netflix and Crave plans start at $9.99 per month. Subscription services provide just as much value as cable, you can switch between them when you want to change things up, and you’ll save hundreds of dollars throughout the year.
8. Bundle Insurance
Now that you’re a homeowner, you’ve likely gotten (or are about to obtain) home insurance. If you also have other types of insurance (such as car insurance, jewelry protection, or extended personal health), consider bundling your services. Insurance providers often offer significant discounts for each additional insurance product you purchase with them. Just bundling home and auto insurance can save you hundreds of dollars in a year.
9. Choose LED Lights
LED lights are more expensive as an upfront cost, but they are well worth the investment. On average, LED lights can last 25,000 hours. They outlast and outperform their cheaper alternatives, meaning there’s savings to be had in the long run. They’re also considered the eco-friendly choice as you have to replace them less frequently, so less waste goes to the landfill.
10. Check Your Water Heater Temperature
As soon as you move into your home, check your hot water heater and lower its temperature to 55 degrees Celsius. Most people don’t use water hotter than this level, so it only serves to increase your utility bills for no reason. This is just one of many ways you can have an energy-efficient home, which costs you less money and is better for the planet.
Now that you’re a homeowner, you’ll also want to educate yourself on the 10 home maintenance tasks that you should be tackling every year. Get started now so they don’t add up and overwhelm you!
Buying a home for the first-time is an exciting time. It’s quite possibly the most significant financial transaction of your lifetime.
You’re also making the exciting jump from renter to homeowner. While buying a home is something to celebrate, it’s important to do your homework.
Here are four of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers are prone to make and how to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Buying Too Much Home
Before house hunting, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. When you’re pre-approved, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a home.
Your mortgage professional is going to tell you the maximum amount you can spend, but keep in mind, that doesn’t mean that you should spend the entire amount.
Set a housing budget and take some time to crunch the numbers and see if you can afford the mortgage payments on a monthly basis. Don’t forget to take into account property taxes and strata (condo) fees.
You’ll want to leave yourself some financial breathing room in case mortgage rates go up or you run into a financial emergency.
By overspending on a home, you could find yourself “house rich, cash poor,” with very little money to save, let alone to spend on having fun (say goodbye to dining out at restaurants and going on vacation every year). Don’t make this mistake.
By buying a home within your home-buying limit, you’ll be better prepared the next time life throws a financial curveball at you.
Mistake #2: Forgetting to Budget for Closing Costs
If you’ve never bought a home before, it’s easy to overlook closing costs.
They’re just a drop in the bucket, right? Wrong. Closing costs can add up to four percent of your home’s purchase price.
And your lender won’t cover these costs, so it’s your responsibility to put this money aside in addition to your down payment.
Examples of typical closing costs include land transfer taxes in some provinces, real estate lawyer fees and home inspection fees.
Mistake #3: Buying Based Solely on Looks
Have you ever stepped foot inside a house and it became love at first sight? You see everything you’re looking for in a home: granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and an open kitchen. You’re ready to make an offer right then and there.
But before you do, take the time to look at the bones of the home.
We are talking about the roof, windows, furnace and structure. Anyone can install a new backsplash in a kitchen or toss some fresh paint on the walls, but replacing something significant like the roof can cause a lot of heartache.
Don’t get distracted by the stuff that “wows” homebuyers. You want a home that’s the sausage and the sizzle, not just the sizzle.
Mistake #4: Never Ever skip the Home Inspection
In red-hot housing markets, a new trend is for homebuyers to skip home inspections. And it makes perfect sense – when you’re competing against 10 other buyers for a house, including too many conditions can cost you your dream home.
What’s worse than losing your dream home? Winning what turns into your nightmare home.
For example, the home could have flooding issues. But if you don’t know the signs to look for you’ll totally miss it. That’s an expensive mistake.
A home inspection sounds like a lot, but once you get the report you’ll be happy you did it. This is especially important for older houses. The report will provide you with a handy checklist of all the things you should do to make sure your home is in great shape. Don’t cheap out on one.
Contact us today - and have experience on your side. 403.850.0669
$519,900. MLS # A1031505
Beautiful family home located on a quiet street in the desirable community of WEST Thorncliffe. This one family owned 4 level split exudes pride of ownership and features an abundance of upgrades with over 2100 sq ft of developed living space on a generous sized lot. Extensive recent updates include new kitchen and bathrooms, hot water tank and professionally re-developed basement. The functional layout of this delightful home provides plenty of room for family gatherings while also allowing for individual space and privacy. The first of many amazing highlights is the gorgeous, spacious rooftop patio over the double attached garage, great for relaxing on those warm summer days! As you enter the main floor you are greeted by an open plan with large windows offering an abundance of natural light. The lovely kitchen features high end S/S appliances, granite counters, custom cabinets, newer window and a built in pantry. Patio doors off the dining room open up to the huge back yard and concrete patio, perfect for entertaining! The inviting living room completes this level. A generous size master retreat with a 2 piece ensuite awaits on the top floor along with 2 additional bright bedrooms and a 3 piece main bathroom. Bedrooms all have newer windows. The walk-out 3rd level introduces 2 great size rooms along with an additional 3 piece bath. There is also a porch to leave your shoes and coats when coming back in from the back yard! Work from home or study in the bright, sunny office/den with built in bookshelves. Then settle into the family room after work and school for some quality family time. Professionally developed basement is absolutely gorgeous. Area can be used as a tv room with the built in wall unit and cozy gas fireplace. Use a portion as an additional study or play area. The possibilities are endless! Here you will also find separate laundry room, tons of storage and a cold room/wine cellar! Enjoy the summer months in the fully fenced, sunny, west facing back yard and patio while looking at the gorgeous apple tree! The large upper portion of this massive back yard awaits your creativity with possibilities of a car porch, RV parking, fresh vegetable garden and more. This beautiful home is ideally located within walking distance of Egert's Park, Nose Hill Park, major transit routes, great schools and shopping. Easy access to Deerfoot Trail and city centre. Book your viewing today!
On July 1, 2020 CMHC implemented changes to high ratio mortgages purchases/mortgages that have less than a 20% down payment) and I have had a number of clients and realtors alike, call quite concerned about moving forward or even qualifying under these new rules.
In a nutshell, CMHC’s new policy for insured mortgage was an increase in the borrowers’ credit score from a minimum of 600 to 680, a reduction in the sources of the down payment and the ratio of debt to income was being reduced regardless of credit score.
This new policy had the potential of cutting the purchasing power of many home buyers by up to 11% For example, a household income of $100,000, with a 5% down payment (not including any other debts) would qualify for approximately $320,000. Under CMHC’s new guidelines, that mortgage would be reduced to about $280,000. While most people are at least somewhat familiar with or heard of CMHC, many Canadians are not aware that CMHC is just one of three mortgage insurance companies. While CMHC is the most generally known, and is a federal Crown
Corporation, there are also 2 private insurers, Genworth Canada and Canada Guaranty who are not following CMHCs lead and are both quite confident in the Canadian market. So it’s business as usual moving forward.
As always, any questions on mortgages, feel free to reach out for a no-obligation
TMG – The Mortgage Group
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently made changes to their underwriting criteria. On REALTOR.ca Living Room we highlight what this may mean for home buyers and provide additional information on mortgage insurance. Brush up your knowledge and share this resource with your clients.
The condition of your home will have a huge impact on how fast it sells, and its eventual selling price. Preparing your home for sale can pay you huge dividends.
Many fix ups cost very little and consist mostly of time and some elbow grease. Here are some simple tips to help your home show its best.
1) Clean the entire home thoroughly. Shampoo carpets, wash walls, clean sills, window screens and blinds. Clean out light fixtures and dust shelving. Get detailed here.
2) Clean the clutter from all closets, cupboards and cabinets.
3) Make your rooms look as spacious as possible. Store unnecessary furnishing items that make your home look crowded.
4) Arrange furnishing so that it is easy to walk through your home.
5) Scale down the number of photos, pictures, portraits and posters hanging on walls. Make sure you patch all nail and screw holes.
6) Keep your curtains and draperies open as a rule. You will want your home to show very light and bright. Find ways to screen any unappealing views.
7) Make your kitchen shine. Remove clutter from counter tops and cabinets and store it. Keep your sink clean and clear of any dirty dishes.
8) Clean your refrigerator, inside and out. Make sure that you do the simple things like putting an open box of baking soda in your fridge. Also, remove unnecessary clutter from the door.
9) Clean your oven. Degrease it and keep it looking as good as possible.
10) Keep scented candles burning in the kitchen and bathrooms. Pleasant fragrances will entice buyers to stay longer in your home.
11) Keep bathrooms scrubbed and tidy with fresh soap and neatly hung towels. Try to color coordinate your bathrooms.
12) Keep all sinks in the home clean and repair leaks or slow drains.
13) Go through your entire home and touch up paint. Pay close attention to corners where there is traffic wear. Touch up baseboards, trim and cabinets and cupboards.
14) Place plants or flower arrangements in strategic parts of the home. A splash of color from plants, flowers, pillows or small rugs can give your home some real flair.
15) Make sure that your home is well lit. Put higher wattage bulbs in dark areas or corners. Keep all lights on during showings, even in mid day.
16) Use mirrors on walls if necessary to reflect light and make rooms look larger.
17) Make sure that all door knobs and keyed entries are working. Replace any worn knobs or handles.
18) Clean up all around the house. Remove any debris piles such as wood, firewood and landscape trimmings. Trim all hedges, bushes and shrubbery away from the house. Keep all garden beds weeded and mulched.
19) Put some color by your home's entrance with potted flowers. Keep them watered and looking attractive.
20) Keep all walkways clear, clean and in good repair. This includes your driveways and any parking areas.
21) Keep all outdoor furniture clean and in good repair.
22) Clean your gutters and roof. Keep moss or algae from growing on, in or around them.
23) Keep your yard and lawn areas clean and in good health. A green lawn makes a home look great. Keep your lawn edged and free from weeds.
24) Repair any broken windows, screens, shutter or awnings.
25) Clean your garage area. Remove clutter and make it look organized and as spacious as possible. Try to have nothing in your garage but cars.
By following these 25 fix up tips, you can do a lot to increase the perceived value of your home and make it stand out above the competition!
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Stewart: 403.850.0669 email@example.com
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When thinking of buying a property it is not rocket science, but if you don’t have an intelligent approach it could still cost you money. Let us look at some smart strategies to adopt while purchasing a property today.
The first strategy is to always stick to your budget. Don’t get carried away by a property that is being sold at a bargain, or has all the features that you were looking for, but is priced above your budget. The price of the house should be just right for you to afford your mortgage payments, fixed costs as well as other payments.
The second strategy is to evaluate each and every option, and not ignore one just because the listing photographs do not look appealing enough – you will often be surprised by hidden treasures.
The third strategy is to know when to walk away from a deal – for example, if the house inspection reveals certain serious defects. It is better to walk away from the deal than purchase a home that becomes a liability.
The fourth strategy is to always think long-term, we always advise our clients to think “Exit Plan”. Even if you are looking at living in the house for a short period, you should be ready for the possibility that it may not sell at the expected price when the time comes to exit, and you might have to hold the property for a longer period than you wanted.
The fifth strategy is to have a good experienced team helping and advising you. We are here to give advice AND options, way up the pros and cons, have you thought about this or that. As real estate associates with a combined 23 years experience we are in our relationship with our clients, for the long haul.
Go into a possible purchase with knowledge and stats from sold’s in the area and a team you can trust.
Call us on 403.850.0669 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
After three months where COVID-19 weighed heavily on the housing market, sales activity in June continued to trend up from the previous month, totaling 1,747 units.
Caution remains necessary as monthly sales are nearly two per cent lower than activity recorded last year. However, this represents a significant improvement compared to the past several months where year-over-year declines exceeded 40 per cent.
“Recent price declines, easing mortgage rates and early easing of social restrictions are likely contributing to the better-than-expected sales this month,” said CREB® chief economist Ann Marie Lurie.
- The First thing is the First-Aid Kit – Very easy to not think about- until you need it!
- Throw out old cosmetics and beauty products, your beatiful enough!.
- Wash curtains and dust the blinds.
- Clean all tile areas.
- Fix any grout
- Put the vacum on the extractor fans & wipe after
- Wipe the light fittings and switches.
- Wash out the trash can after emptying
- Put a paper bag in it for the waste
- Put some "White Magic" down the plug drains to remove hair and stop them clogging up - This is a GREAT made in Calgary product.
Call 403.850.0669 for more information