Tax Benefits of Home Ownership - RE/MAX nova
04 February 15 02:31 PM | Merv Edinger | 2 Comments   

As a potential Home Buyer, I am sure you are like so many others in the same situation & have many questions regarding buying your first home. What many home buyers don't consider when buying a home is the Tax Benefits of Home Ownership. Consult with a Tax accountant for all the tax deductions available to you & you may be surprised at how much money you can recover just by being a homeowner.

First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

The value of the Home Buyers Tax Credit is based on $5000 multiplied by the lowest federal income tax rate for the year. In 2013 the lowest federal income tax rate was 15 percent, and it remains the same in 2014, so the value of the HBTC would be $750. Who is eligible for the First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit? If you buy a home & neither you nor your spouse or common-law partner owned and lived in another home in the year of purchase or any of the 4 (four) preceding years. To qualify for the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, a home must be a housing unit located in Canada, including mobile homes, condominiums and apartments. Shares in co-op housing that provide an equity stake also qualify. If you both qualify, you and your spouse or a friend can share the tax credit, but the total can not be more than the total allowable tax credit. 

The Home Buyers Plan

The Home Buyer’s Plan allows those who plan to purchase a residence to withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) to help with the purchase or even the construction of a home. The best part is that you can pay it back over a 15-year period without penalty. The plan can also be used to buy a home for a relative who is disabled, although the conditions are slightly different. Starting two years after your withdrawal, you get 15 years to repay the money to your RRSPs without incurring taxes. If you don't pay back the required amount in any year, then it is considered taxable income for that year. You can pay back at a faster rate if you wish. The repayments do not affect your RRSP contribution limit for a given year. 

New Housing Rebate ( GST/HST Tax Rebate )

If you buy a new home ( newly constructed ) as your principal residence, & it is less than $450,000, you may be able to claim the GST/HST new housing rebate too. Ontario & BC residents may also claim the provincial portion of the HST if they buy, build or do a major renovation on their principal residence. Other home tax deductions exist for homes that are built by the owner as well as for residential rental properties. In NS, most builders account for this rebate in their list price with the rebates going back to the builder.

 Renovations for medical reasons

Those with mobility issues who had renovations done to accommodate it can claim this as an expense that was required in order to make their home more accessible. Keep in mind, however, that medical expense reimbursement has to fall within a 12-month period ending in the current tax year. 

Allowable expenses for rentals

Renting out a property you own or that you are currently using? Report your rental income and claim allowable expenses like advertising, insurance and interest on the money you borrow to make improvements. As an income property owner, you can also have your mortgage lender set you in what is referred to as The Smith Manoeuver, which will essentially make all the interest on your mortgage tax deductible.  

Taxpayers who work from home or are self-employed with a home office

 If you work from home, there are a number of expenses that you can deduct if you are either self-employed, a commissioned employee or professional. Examples of such expenses that you may be able to claim are a portion of your heating, home insurance, electricity, cleaning materials, internet service / phone ( if used for business ) etc. You can also have your mortgage lender set you in what is referred to as The Smith Manoeuvre, which will essentially make all the interest on your mortgage tax deductible.

 Selling your home

Typically, the taxes do not apply when you sell your home, but there are cases where it does. If you built the home or sold a home that you don’t currently live in, then you may have to pay the GST or HST. If you operated a business from your home that collected GST / HST, there may be GST / HST applicable to its sale. However, there are a few moving tax deductions, such as if you are being relocated for work, that are available that you may want to take advantage of.

There exist other tax deductions that are available on a province by province basis, such as Manitoba homeowners benefit from two other home tax credits: Education Property tax credit and the School Tax Credit for homeowners. In Ontario, homeowners can apply for the Ontario property tax credit and the Senior Homeowner’s Property tax credit. Contact you Tax accountant & the CRA for more on which ones may be available to you.



Now it is time to get you started on the whole home buying process! Click here on where to begin.

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Fall River & Waverley - our Halifax communities
25 January 15 10:24 AM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   

Our Communities: Fall River & Waverley

The Fall River / Waverley area is among the most picturesque in metro. It has an abundance of lakes, rivers, canals and trees.

It is located north of the Bedford Basin, northwest of Bedford, east of Lower Sackville and north and west of Waverley.

Fall River's name is derived from a stream running between Miller Lake and Lake Thomas which had a waterfall. These falls supplied water power for several mills during the 19th century as well as a local electrical utility during the early 20th century. The waterfall was demolished in the late 1950s as a result of the construction of the Bicentennial Highway leading to Halifax; the waterfall was located where the 4-lane expressway currently runs up the hill from the crossing of Lake Thomas to the interchange with Highway 118 at Miller Lake. Hydro-electric power is now generated by an underground tunnel that carries the water from Miller Lake which once flowed through this stream and down the waterfall. Turbines produce electricity for the main grid, during peak periods.

There are many lakes in Fall River and its surrounding communities of Wellington, Waverley, Windsor Junction and Lakeview. There is an eighteen-hole golf course, Ashburn Golf Club, and two parks, Laurie Provincial Park and Oakfield Provincial Park.

Lake Thomas and Fletcher's Lake in Fall River form a section of the Shubenacadie Canal, which connects the Bay of Fundy with the Halifax Harbour.

Soldier Lake, a large reservoir lying almost completely within the boundaries of the game sanctuary.

Johnson River, a small river emptying into the east side of Soldier Lake and originating in the rugged interior of the game sanctuary.

Tillmann Brook, a swift flowing waterway, begins at a Nova Scotia Power Hydro dam on Soldier Lake inside the Waverley Game Sanctuary, eventually emptying into Miller Lake.

Third Lake, the third in a series of lakes starting in Lower Sackville. Third Lake forms part of the western boundary of Fall River

Kinsac Lake, a large lake, part of which forms another section of the western boundary of Fall River

Miller Lake, a reservoir from which empties into Lake Thomas. Home to the Miller Lake Dragon of Camp Lone Cloud, a familiar summer sight out in the lake, near the #102 Highway.

German Creek, a small waterway which flows from the Gunn Ponds, under Perrin Drive into Miller Lake.

Fall River & Waverley also offers an array of essential need services such as grocery, hair care, gas, dining/fast food, etc…

The subdivisions in the area are well planned, offer spacious lots – many with Lake Frontage, and some also offer city water. The soil is often better and there are many more deciduous trees than other areas of metro. This gives the area a unique feel, with sweeping lawns canopied by many varieties of leafy trees.

There are two excellent private golf courses in the area and a wonderful selection of parks and fresh water beaches.

Most subdivisions are located within 5 minutes of the Trans-Canada Highway (Rte # 102) and are a 25 – 30 minute drive to downtown Halifax.

Lake Charles Fall River, NS - Halifax real estate Remax Nova

There is a wide variety of single family homes to choose from and they are situated in many subdivisions, each with is own unique personality. All homes have septic systems and most have a well.

Schools

Many consider the schools of the area to be some of the best.  To discover more about the area schools, please visit http://www.halifax.ca/.

Shopping

The Fall River Shopping Centre: It features a Sobey’s grocery store, a Liquor store and several small special needs stores. There is a gas station, Macdonald’s, Tim Horton’s, convenience stores etc., in the area.

Fall River shopping mall - Remax Nova Halifax Real estate

Housing styles:

There are many subdivisions in the area and all feature similar choices in house styles. Some of the subdivisions are 20-30 years old but almost all have been or still are expanding, giving buyers the option of buying an existing home or building a new home.

Fall River Village: Started in the 1970’s, this subdivision has been and still is among the most popular in the area. The main reason for this is that it features city supplied water. The houses range from 30 – 40 year old split entries to large 4000 and 5000 square foot homes only a few years old. Many of which are located on lakes. Opportunities to build are still available in the area.

Saint Andrews Village: Begun about 10  Years ago, there are still many lots available to build your own home. All the houses are situated on large 1-2 acre lots and feature well and septic.

Schwartzwald: A beautiful subdivision offering majestic homes on sweeping lots. Some homes are 25-35 years old but there has been a new expansion giving buyers the choice of building there own home as well.

Commute

The commuting time from any of the three listed subdivisions to Downtown Halifax is between 25-30 minutes.

How much lower can they go? Bank of Canada drops key interest rate to 0.75% - Mortgage rates should follow
21 January 15 01:24 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

How much lower can they go? Bank of Canada drops key interest rate to 0.75% - Mortgage rates should follow

Bank of Canada shocks market with rate cut. How much lower can they go?

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. The looming threat of sliding oil prices forced the Bank of Canada to drop its trend-setting interest rate Wednesday, a surprising move that shows just how much the country's economic outlook has soured in a matter of months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The Bank of Canada announced a surprise quarter-percentage-point cut to its key interest rate Wednesday – a move it calls “insurance” against the potentially destructive effects of the oil price collapse.
The reduction in the bank’s overnight rate to 0.75 % from 1 %t – its first move since September, 2010

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/bank-of-canada-rate-cut/article22548417/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=Referrer%3A+Social+Network+%2F+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

Ross MacDonald of  Scotiabank® Logowas already offering 2.89% on a 5-year closed mortgage. I am looking forward to updating my clients with his new rate following this exciting announcement.

These are some of the lowest rates we have seen in decades

Historical 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates From 1973 - Today

 

Variable rates are even lower! Ranging currently from 2.15% ( True North ) to 2.60% ( Scotia Bank ).
Pack those memories away - staging your home for sale will pay off putting more $ in your pocket
19 January 15 05:23 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   

 

Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are

 

an important part of what makes a home a home. Pictures on the fireplace

 

mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us.

 

You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other

 

mementoes on display in key places.

stuffed animal trophy heads.   

 

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home.

 

However, if you're preparing your home for sale, it's a good idea to pack

 

those memories away - at least until you've sold your property and moved to

 

your new home.

 

Why? Because those pleasant mementoes that mean so much to you may

 

actually turn off potential buyers.

 

You see, when buyers view your property, you want them to be able to

 

clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That's difficult to do

 

if everywhere they look they see reminders that this is your home!

 

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized.

 

Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those

 

displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself,

 

with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn't feel that way if it

 

looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

 

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But helping

 

them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster –

 

and possibly for a better price.

 

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Contact Merv Edinger & Associates, RE/MAX nova Halifax

Creating quiet in a (sometimes) noisy home
19 January 15 04:43 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   

Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your

teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are

there other sources of noise you'd like to minimize?

There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise.

Here are some ideas:

Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can

dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf

covering a third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by

25%.

Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other

sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness

of incoming sounds.

Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting,

can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.

Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall

coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration.

There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to

install.

For more on all your Real Estate needs in the greater Halifax area, contact Merv Edinger & Associates, RE/MAX nova  

Selling your home doesn't have to be overwhelming
16 January 15 03:17 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   

Selling your home doesn't have to be overwhelming

RE/MAX nova - selling your home with the right Realtor 

When some people think about selling their home, they imagine all the

things they will have to do: paint the kitchen, clean closets, prepare for

viewings, find another home, arrange financing, start packing, etc. It can all

seem very overwhelming very quickly.

In fact, the long to-do list you imagine you’ll have to deal with may dissuade

you from making a move!

It doesn't have to be that way.

There are many ways to make selling your home and buying another

relatively simple and easy.

Sure, there will be some work to do. You may need to prepare your property

so that it looks appealing to potential buyers – cleaning, decluttering, doing

some repairs, etc. Of course, you will also need to view some properties for

sale in order to find your next dream home.

But those activities may not be as time-consuming or difficult as you had

imagined. In fact, you and your family might actually enjoy the experience –

and see it as an adventure.

The trick is to work with the right REALTOR®, someone who can guide you

through the process, show you the shortcuts, and generally make things

easier for you.

It's a little like baking your first cake from scratch. The task seems daunting,

unless you have a master baker by your side to guide you step-by-step

through the process. Then it's a lot easier, and even fun!

That's what a good REALTOR® can do for you. Looking for one?

 Contact Merv Edinger & Associates, RE/MAX nova today.

 Most productive Realtors in Canada - RE/MAX

 

You don't notice it – but most buyers will - the smelly truth
16 January 15 02:46 PM | Merv Edinger | 0 Comments   
You don't notice it – but most buyers will.

Imagine you're viewing a potential new home. You walk in the front door

and are instantly impressed. You explore the property room by room and

like what you see.

Then there's something you notice that's not quite right. An odour. You

realize that it's likely cat dander and, now that you've identified it, you smell

it everywhere. Suddenly the home doesn't seem as attractive as it did just

moments earlier. 

 


The owner of the property is probably so used to the smell that he doesn't

even notice it. Neither does anyone else in the household.

So, when marketing your home for sale, be scent sensitive. Think about the

odours that you may have become used to but others are likely to notice.

Even odours you think are pleasant, like the strong scent given off by some

house plants, may not be pleasing to everyone.

An odour can easily distract a buyer from appreciating the good qualities of

your property. Pay particular attention to garbage bins (which can smell

even when empty), pets, kitty litter (even when fresh and unused), the

kitchen (especially after cooking), perfumes, and closets. 

The smell of cigarette smoke is particularly unpleasant to many people. Its

odour can linger even on an outside deck or patio.

Bottom line? Don't assume buyers won't notice certain smells. They will.

Looking for more advice on selling your home quickly and for the best price?

Call today Merv Edinger & Associates, RE/MAX nova for all of your real estate needs CELL ( 902 )497-1217
Avoiding unwelcome guests - household pests
16 January 15 02:08 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   
 
Avoiding unwelcome guests

There are unwelcome guests that most homeowners dread. They come into

your house, eat, sleep, make a mess, and never leave willingly. No I am not talking about your in-laws or your second cousin twice removed, I am talking about the ones

that have at least six legs and sometimes flies.  

They are, of course, insects. They’ve been freeloading in homes since

homes were invented. Here are some practical ways to keep these

unwelcome guests out:
Find out how they got in. Look for gaps around windows and doors,
 
and cracks in the basement. If you find a spider web, there's likely an

insect entryway nearby.
Watch out for standing water near the foundation of your home. Make

sure rain gutters drain water well away.
Eliminate clutter. Insects love warm, cluttered, moist areas.

Check the seal around dryer vents and other vents, pipes and cable

wires going through the wall. Reseal if necessary.
Rinse recyclables before putting them into a bag or bin. Few things

are more tempting to a bug than the dark, moist, sweet insides of an

un-rinsed pop can.

If you do end up with a serious insect problem, call a professional

exterminator.

First-time home buyers take note! No need for a "starter home" when you can afford to move into this renovated family home in Dartmouth
12 January 15 01:01 PM | Merv Edinger | 0 Comments   

Affordale, move-in ready, renovated home for sale in family friendly Dartmouth neighborhood - 28 Eastwood Court - RE/MAX nova

 

28 Eastwood Court MLS® 04888723

First-time home buyers take note! There is no need to buy a starter home when you can move right into this affordable & lovingly renovated 3 bedroom + office 2 bath split entry. 28 Eastwood Court will make you feel right at HOME as soon as you pull up to the curb. Located on a large, nearly 11,000 square foot, beautifully landscaped & fenced lot at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac with so many amenities close at hand: trails, bus service, shopping, banks, restaurants, spas & Cole Harbour Place all within walking distance. The welcoming ambience & pride of ownership continues throughout the home. With gleaming hardwood floors running through living room, dining room, down the hall & into all 3 bedrooms. Crown molding adds charm to the home. The updated kitchen has been openned up into the living room allowing natural light to flow through the home. Patio doors off the dining area lead to a spacious deck, with a retractable awning, overlooking the beautiful yard lined with a variety of shrubs & perennials. A shed adds extra storage for all the Summer time toys. A long list of renovations / upgrades over the past 12 years make this home move-in ready & include: vinyl windows, exterior doors, siding, fence, deck, kitchen 2 baths, rec room, crown molding, flooring, fireplace, hot water heater, furnace & landscaping just to name a few. A picturesque lifestyle could be yours on this quiet cul-de-sac in Forest Hills.

 

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Do you think you know Dartmouth? Trivia about our beloved city on the other side of the Halifax Harbour
09 January 15 03:07 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   

Lesser Known & Interesting Facts About Our Beloved Dartmouth - Some history about the other side of the Halifax Harbour

 

As many of you know, I was posted from my origins in Ontario to CFB Shearwater in 1992.  I took one look at the ocean & decided that I was HOME.  My wife & I love living in Dartmouth & are proud to call this wonderful community in Halifax home.  I am also a fan of history.  Recently, I read & shared a blog that I found interesting regarding lesser known facts about our provincial capital of Halifax. So I thought I would create one about our fair city on the “other side of the Harbour”.

MacDonald Bridge with Dartmouth in the background
 
·         The Mi'kmaq occupied the region for millennia. The Mi'kmaq called the area Boonamoogwaddy, which means "Tomcod Ground" in reference to the fish which were presumably caught in this part of Halifax Harbour. There is evidence that bands would spend the summer on the shores of the Bedford Basin, moving to points inland before the harsh Atlantic winter set in. The Mi'kmaq resisted the settlement of Dartmouth by the British. One of Halifax's last surviving Mi'kmaq communities was located near present-day Tuft's Cove but was devastated in the December 6, 1917 Halifax Explosion. Today the Millbrook First Nation has a small satellite reserve in Cole Harbour on the eastern edge of Dartmouth.

·         Founded in 1750, an ocean vessel called Alderny arrived at the Dartmouth port carrying only 150 immigrants. The Halifax Council determined the new residents should make homes across the harbor in a settlement then called Boonamoogwaddy (Tomcod Ground) by the Mi'kmaq natives. The settlement was later named Dartmouth Nova Scotia, commemorating William Legge. Legge was a departed nobleman in Queen Anne of Great Britain's court and the inaugural Earl of Dartmouth

·         The ferry service between Dartmouth & Halifax is the oldest saltwater ferry service in North America & has been in operation since 1752. Ferry Terminal - Dartmouth to Halifax

·         Cameras scan all ships that enter the Harbour.

·         Allan Bundy was born in Dartmouth and was the first African Canadian to fly as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. After graduating from Dartmouth High School, Bundy received a scholarship to study chemistry at Dalhousie University. When WWII broke out, he enlisted in the air force and flew 42 missions in Europe

·         John Forbes (1833-1955 ) was an inventor. He is credited with designing the first spring-loaded ice skate, which revolutionized the sports of skating and Hockey. He lived in the “Lakeside House” which still stands on Crichton Avenue.

·     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    During Father Le Loutre’s War, there were 8 raids on Dartmouth. During this War, In August 1750, 353 people arrived on the Alderney and began the town of Dartmouth. The town was laid out in the autumn of that year.[11] The following month, on September 30, 1750, Dartmouth was attacked again by the Mi'kmaq and five more residents were killed.

·         on May 13, 1751, Broussard led sixty Mi'kmaq and Acadians to attack Dartmouth again, in what would be known as the "Dartmouth Massacre".

·         Legend also has it that pirates or privateers had buried treasure in the still waters of Cole Harbour, just outside of Dartmouth. Lore has it that a group of men who knew of the legend found a treasure buried beneath a rock, which has since been known as “Money Rock”.

·         In 1785, at the end of the American Revolution, a group of Quakers from Nantucket arrived in Dartmouth to set up a whaling trade. They built homes, a Quaker meeting house, a wharf for their vessels and a factory to produce spermaceti candles and other products made from whale oil and carcass. Only one Quaker residence remains in Dartmouth and is believed to be the oldest structure in Dartmouth.
 

·         Lore also stated that a Norse axe was once found near Cole Harbour but its wearabouts has long since been forgotten.

·         Loyalists who arrived in 1785, and received a grant that included land bordering present-day Portland, King and Wentworth Streets. Woodlawn was once part of the land purchased by a Loyalist, named Ebenezer Allen who became a prominent Dartmouth businessman. In 1786, he donated land near his estate to be used as a cemetery. Many early settlers are interred in the Woodlawn cemetery including the remains of the "Babes in the Woods," two sisters who wandered into the forest and perished

·         By the early 19th century, Dartmouth consisted of about twenty-five families working as a sawmill and agricultural outpost of Halifax. Boy, has Dartmouth grown.

·         In 1860, Starr Manufacturing Company began operations near the Shubenacadie Canal. The factory employed over 150 workers and manufactured one of the world's first mass-produced ice skates, as well as cut nails, vault doors, iron bridge work and other heavy iron products

·         The Mott's candy and soap factory, employing 100, opened at Hazelhurst (near present-day Hazelhurst and Newcastle Streets). They were the first manufacturer of chocolate in Canada.  They also made soap, spices & candles.

·         How the Burnside Industrial Park got it’s name? A Scottish immigrant, D. Waddell purchased a parcel of land just North of Tufts Cove. When he named his homestead, he referred to the Scottish term “burn” , for stream, due to the fact that his new property had a stream running through it.

·         A canon from the ship The Mont Blanc, involved in the Halifax Explosion in 1917, was thrown through the air as a result of the World’s 2nd largest manmade explosion, & landed on the corner of Pincecrest & Albro Lake Road in Dartmouth’s North End.

·         Two attempts were made to bridge The Narrows of Halifax Harbour with a railway line during the 1880s but were washed away by powerful storms.

·          During World War II Dartmouth as with Halifax was busy supporting Canada's war effort in Europe. On July 18, 1945, at the end of the Second World War, a fire broke out at the magazine jetty on the Bedford Basin, north of Dartmouth. The fire began on a sunken barge and quickly spread to the dock. A violent series of large explosions ensued as stored ammunition exploded. The barge responsible for starting the explosion presently lies on the seabed near the eastern shoreline adjacent to the Magazine Dock.

·         The Carriage House in Dartmouth has had reports of being haunted…

·         Mi’kmaw history notes that the Mi’kmaq played a game on the ice on Tufts Cove with 8 men on each team & a wooden puck in 1700s. It is believed to be the origions of hockey. A painting shows the game game being played.
 
 
References: Hockey's Home by Martin Jones; Wikipedia; www.HelloDartmouth.ca; Fred Myers; www.pscan.org
Best 14 Apps For Interior Design To Help You Redecorate Your Home
03 January 15 03:26 PM | Merv Edinger | 1 Comments   
Top 14 Apps For Home Design & Decorating
There are apps out there to do almost everything!

So of course, it shouldn't be any surprise that there are many to help you decorate your new home or rejuvenate your existing too. 

Here are some of the best to date:

Color Capture By Benjamin Moore.  no need to carry around paint chips when trying to color coordinate your new décor.  Simply save you favorites in this app to recall them when you think you have found an item that is a perfect match

Color Schemer Create a palette for your new design

Color Smart Upload a photo of your room & let this Behr paints app create a color scheme for you based on your image.

Houzz Interior Design Ideas - Some great decorating ideas for Houzz itself.

Home Design 3D Create a floor plan of your room or of your entire home & place furniture.  Then view in 3D.

Snap Shop Helps you visualize furniture in any room in your house. Drag & drop furniture from the app's catalogue to see how it would look in your room.

iHandy level Found that perfect piece of artwork? Use this app to help you hang it properly.

Snap Guide A step-by-step DIY guides to just about everything.

Photo Measure Lite Snap a picture of your space, add measurements as a visual reminder of the space & its dimensions when you are on the go shopping for furniture or renovation supplies.

Mark On Call An app for professional designers & consumers alike. Use for both designing & space planning. This app will keep your project well organized.  It will even allow you to customize furniture or finishes to give you a better idea of how it will look

Homestyler Interior Design Take an empty photo of the room you are planning to redecorate, import it into the app, apply the position of the corners of the room & the add the furniture, change the hues, etc.


Room Planner Create realistic floor plans & 3D models to quickly place & arrange rooms.

Sun Seeker Desire lots of natural light? Concerned how it will influence your décor? Stand on a site in the room, move the phone across the sky, & the app will your the phone's GPS to show you where the sun will be located at various times of day.

Handy Man Calculator helps you calculator dimensions, square footage & costs.
Online Dating Is Much Like Real Estate: It is all about the laws of attraction to find the perfect match
02 January 15 07:33 PM | Merv Edinger | 0 Comments   
Online Dating Is Like Real Estate: all about attracting the right 1!
By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Remax Nova
January 02, 2015 03:44 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online or Internet dating is an experience that allows individuals to contact & communicate with one another over the Internet. This experience is usually with the objective of developing a personal, romantic, or sexual relationship. The practice has quickly become an accepted way to meet a significant other in recent years with continually growing popularity of smartphones & the World Wide Web.

Online dating

 40 million North American men & women use online dating in their search for love. That is about  76% of all single people in the US & Canada. The China dating app Momo, launched in 2011 & has 100 million registered accounts & 40 million monthly active users.*1  You may be surprised to know that the percentage of home buyers who begin their new home search online in the United States is 88% ( 2012 )*2 & even higher in Canada with 94+%.  This is why it is very important to hire a Realtor® with a good online presence & a marketing plan that will expose your home to a wide variety of websites, not just MLS.ca®. When looking to meet someone, most do not limit themselves to one dating site. They will get on a few to increase their odds of meeting the one. Trust me, in this case, Real estate is very much the same way. You want to plaster your home for sale all over the World Wide Web. We have a marketing approach that has achieved this getting your home listed on over 50 websites., as well as on several social media sites. If time allows, we also like to create a little buzz about our upcoming listings providing snippets of information to tantalize buyers & their agents before the home actually comes on the market. When there is a buzz, the buyers gets excited. Their agents want to do a good job for them so they want to view the home first! This is one of the reasons our average Days On The Market are significantly lower than the industry average. 

 

Most dating adults have set standards & criteria when they're searching for that special someone. The hundreds of dating sites normally require you to fill out either a questionnaire or an online profile or perhaps both. When buyers are searching for a home, they do the same: # of bedrooms, # of bathrooms, square footage, style, special features & neighborhoods.  A dater might want to meet others who are serious about a lasting commitment. The individual with specific needs can cater to those core values with a niche dating site geared towards their preferences."*3 Some people only ask that their date be gainfully employed. Other daters want to meet others within a certain specific niche: a fetish, worldview, career, geographical area, status, age, activity, a certain ethnicity, religion or hobby. Of course the criteria you enter, brings up different results. The same is true of Real Estate searches online. The single first-time home buyer is not looking for the same type of home as say a family of 4 nor the income property investor.  When it comes to real estate, we can say that the "Fix & Flip" buyer is similar to online daters looking for a fun one night stand.  They are not looking for commitment. They are more interested in the overall structure/mechanical aspects of a property, want to get in & out quickly with little investment & hopefully having some fun & making a profit. The income property investor buyer is more comparable to say an arranged marriage - they are willing to keep commit, invest money, as long as it is profitable in the long term. They are not necessarily emotionally involved in the purchase. If it is not beneficial to them, they are not going to invest. The majority of buyers are like the majority of the online daters.  They are looking to commit. The average buyer remains in their home for 5-10 years.  They are hoping to find an emotional attachment.  They are trying to create a "lifestyle" that they desire.  Our jobs are Realtors®, is to determine who is most likely to be the buyer for your  particular listing & present it in a way that will attract that buyer in a means that that group of buyers are most actively searching. 

  

Photos need to stand out to the ultimate decision makers, the home buyers.  Like e-harmony & other dating sites, if someone is attracted to the photo, then they will read what that person/ home has to offer them. Online, being bashful will get you nowhere. Women & men who post their photos receive more than twice as many e-mails as those without photos, according to a study published by economists at MIT & University of Chicago. *4 People want to see if the candidate may have the qualities & interests to create the storybook ending they are hoping for. Home buyers are the same way. Every advertiser knows, a good marketing campaign starts with great photos." The buying process starts with the click of a mouse and can result in the largest purchase of a lifetime. The first, primary exterior photo is absolutely critical to the sale of a home. When using real estate search engine websites, the buyer usually narrows the search criteria with elements such as price, location, number of rooms and lot size, so their next click action is based on photography. After clicking on a specific listing, the following interior & additional exterior photographs need to validate the initial click through decision & motivate the viewer to schedule a visit. In fact, 61% more clicks occur on houses captured by a real estate photographer, using a DSLR camera verses a point-and-shoot as reported by Redfin. "  - Ashley Hall  We actually had a set of selling clients who were highly dissatisfied with their previous Real Estate agent, & one of their main complaints was the quality of the photos that he took with his smartphone.  We listed the home, took several dozen photos with our Nikon DSLR, used our iPhone to capture video, edited them both, created a virtual tour, & had the sellers approve the photos. The photos, YouTube video tour & our proven marketing plan, led to an accepted & unconditional offer in just 19 days. The other Real Estate agent had had the listing for 35 days.  Sometimes, buyers fall in love with a home based on the photos alone, prior to even viewing the home in person.  Buyers are generally emotional people & want to connect to the place they are going to call 'Home', much like couples.

 Okay, here are some amusing links to more fully explain what I mean about photos & descriptions:

 World's Weirdest Dating Website Profiles

 

Some Of The Worst Real Estate Listing Photos Ever 

  

Contact! So the love prospects have discovered each the other now it is time to make contact to see if it will go anywhere. You want to make a good first impression. You want to connect on some level to see if a relationship will develop. Selling real estate is the same way. Part of our jobs as real estate agents is to weed out qualified buyers from nosey neighbours or those who are " just looking " aka looking for decorating ideas. When a member of the public calls on a property we have listed for sale, there are a series of questions that we ask during the friendly phone call/text/email, to distinguish the qualified from the waste of timers. Your life is a busy one, like ours, so there is no reason to clean your home & leave it so that someone can be simply curious. It would be like a woman spending time to get her hair done & get dressed up, only for her date to be a non show. As Realtors®, we can help you with suggestions on how to make your home show to its full & best potential. As a seller or as a dater, you only have a few seconds to capture someone's attention & only one chance to make a first impression.  In the age of digital living our attention spans for scanning information seems to have shortened. Make sure your Realtor® offers a description of your property that is appealing & makes a buyer wanting more information.

 Real estate in Halifax - how it is like online dating   house buying -remax

Date night - think about good and bad dates that you have had - what made them good - what turned you off. Now think about your home. What do you love about it? What are the things you always wanted to change about it but just never got around to it? How can you highlight the good? When on a first date, men decide within 15 minutes if their date is worthy of a second date.  Women take a little longer to ponder such a decision giving their date about an hour before making such a decision.  It really isn't that much different in Real Estate. Buyers begin to make their decision on a home starting at the curb. Women are often more willing to add their personal touches to a house in order to make it feel like home. Men, today, prefer move-in ready.  Think about the senses. Sight - is it appealing & clean. Hearing - what sounds will accentuate the feeling and location of your home. Smell - clean & homey. Lemon scented cleaners are always associated with cleanliness. There are other tricks we have learned throughout the years to stimulate the sense of smell to achieve a feeling of comfort of home that we share with our sellers. On a date, the ease of flow of conversation is usually a sign that it is going well. In a home for sale, it is the traffic flow. You want the visiting buyers to be able to move freely through your home without tripping over toys, having awkwardly placed furniture. Don't be afraid to contact a stager for help with this.

 

 

 

Other interesting factoids:

 

- 33% of singles agree that it’s less intimidating to ask someone out via text. Buyers prefer to contact agents via text as well.  They also do most of their new home search on their mobile phones.  Make sure that your Realtor has a mobile friendly format as their website. Cell phones, the top selling consumer product of all time, already have more mobile subscribers than there are Internet subscribers, & 40%of mobile users are finding websites through searches. In fact, studies show more than half of iPhone Web traffic goes through Google.

- 47% of singles research their dates on social networks like Facebook before meeting. 59% of people consult friends & family for purchasing decisions. Most of our preferences are learned & largely formed by social norms and expectations. 

- In May 2013, 74% of women were users of social networking sites, compared with 62% of men.

 -Facebook users tend to be more trusting.

 -61% of global Internet users research products online. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
- 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
- 60% of all organic searches go to the top 3 organic search results.
  - RE/MAX ranked 6th among the Top 200 franchisors for sales growth ( among the overall standings, the top ranked franchises were McDonalds, 7-Eleven, KFC, Subway & Burger King.

 - YouTube has become the 2nd Largest Search Engine – bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask & AOL combined. (Social Media Today)
 - 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase. (Search Engine Watch)
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (Search Engine Journal)

 

References: DatingSitesReviews.com; NAR; CREA; RE/MAX nova; RE/MAX; Match.com; OnlineDatingStatistics.com; StatisticBrain.com; Inman; DeltaMediaGroup


One Of Halifax's Best Neighbourhoods To Call Home - that you may not know about
30 December 14 04:31 PM | Merv Edinger | 437 Comments   


  
Railway Station in Cole Harbour

Forest Hills is a wonderful family oriented suburb in Cole Harbour adjacent to & immediately east of the former city boundary of Dartmouth which was originally settled in an area known to the Mi'kmaq as "Boonamoogwaddy" or "Tomcod Ground". The community was later given the English name of Dartmouth in honour of William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth who was a former Secretary of State. By 1752, 53 families consisting of 193 people lived in the community.  Dartmouth was initially a saw mill and agricultural outpost of Halifax. However in the mid 19th century, it grew, first with the construction of the Shubenacadie Canal & more importantly with the rise of successful industrial firms such as the Dartmouth Marine Slips, the Starr Manufacturing Company, & the Stairs Ropeworks.

Legend has it that previous visitors knew of Cole Harbour, perhaps as a sheltered haven, as a Norse axe was discovered here during the 1800’s.  The local native tribe of Mik’maq also were aware of  the location, as they identified it as “Wonpaak”, meaning “still water”.

In her book “History of the County of Guysborough”, Harriett Cunningham Hart states that the first settlers of Cole Harbour were George Tanner & William West, originating from Lunenburg, NS in 1817. Of course, the Mik’maq community were already known to be familiar with the area. In fact there is a Mik’maq burial site located on what is now a residential property just outside the eastern boundary of Cole Harbour.

Legend also has it that during the early days, pirates or privateers had buried treasure inside the harbour entrance.  Early residents recalled a group of seamen arrived, & after digging for some time excavated a chest reportedly containing treasure, & leaving a depression in the ground beside a large granite rock to become known as “Money Rock”.  Could Cole Harbour be another Oak IslandMystery?

A Post Office & a School House were already in existence prior to 1876.  The one-room elementary school continued in service until after the late 1950’s, & even served the occasional Gr.10 student, depending on the teacher’s qualifications.  The Post Office moved numerous times over the years, depending on who became postmaster.  It usually was kept in the postmaster’s home or business.

In the beginning, the economy was typical of the area, inshore fishing & farming.  To commemorate the agricultural history of the area, a community museum was created restoring one of the farmsteads, The Cole Harbour Heritage Museum which is owned & operated by the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society, a registered charity which relies heavily on community support, volunteers & donations. The collections, at the museum, link the rural past & urban present.  Museum collections feature artifacts used by the farming families of this community. The farm operates seasonally with a variety of animals, a tea room, & a wide variety of events for the entire family to enjoy including plant sales, Farmer For A Day, & more. The small parcel of farmland, once part of a 500 acre property, is nestled on a hill overlooking a pond and a well-developed commercial area along Cole Harbour Road. The area was developed into a residential & commercial area in the 1970’s.


Farm that once operated in Cole Harbour



During World War II, an Air Force Radio Base was established at Cole Harbour on the Queensport Road at the high elevation of the “barrens” about a mile from the north side of the harbour.  This base housed about a hundred airmen for several years until the war was over, and was later torn down.


Extensive residential and commercial development took place during the 1970s & 1980s following completion of Highway 111 and the widening of Cole Harbour Road. Homes range in age from brand new to those built in the 1970's.


28 Eastwood Court - example of homes for sale in Forest Hills



In the early 1900s, this section of roadway 207, east of Portland Estates Blvd. to the junction of 328, or Ross road was referred to as the "BreakHeart Hills" which runs through the community of Cole Harbour to Upper Lawrencetown. There are several Metro Transit bus routes connecting Cole Harbour with Dartmouth and Halifax, including MetroLink bus rapid transit service.


Newly resurfaced portion of the Forest Hills Trailway


Until the mid-1980s, CN Rail operated a rail line from Dartmouth to Upper Musquodoboit with part of the route crossing the southern edge of the community. The abandoned rail corridor was converted to a rail trail named the Salt Marsh Trail and is part of the Trans Canada Trail. Throughout Forest Hills, there are a series of interlinking pathways that connect to parklands, to shopping & rec facilities such as Cole Harbour Place. Maps of the Forest Hill Trailways, the Cole Harbour Heritage Trail & The Salt Water Marsh Trail. With these rec facilities as well as 3 popular beaches, Rainbow Haven, Lawrencetown, & Conrad, just minutes away, Forest Hills is obviously popular with those desiring an active lifestyle.



Cole Harbour Place Rec Center
The Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum
Historical photo of the Tea Room

Forest Hills is divided by the Forest Hills Parkway, the parkway's intersection with Cole Harbour Road ( Route #207 ) is the centre of Cole Harbour. A business district offering a wide variety of amenities & services can be foun along both the Forest Hills Parkway & Cole Harbour Road, as well as the eastern end of Main Street ( Highway 107 ) bordering the north boundary of Forest Hills., making the neighbourhood desireable for those looking for a "walkability factor". These routes make commuting easy for the residential neighbourhoods that border them including Forest Hills ( North of Cole Harbour Road ) & Colby Village ( South of Cole Harbour Rd ).


Sobeys - Cole Harbour Shopping Center on Forest Hills Parkway



 
One of several strip malls along Cole Harbour Road


MAP of Forest Hills
Shopping center on Cole Harbour Road


 
Views to be enjoyed from the Cole Harbour Heritage Trail
Cycling the trails

 


References: Fred Myers - History of Cole Harbour; Wikipedia; Google Maps; Explore HRM; Cole Harbour Heritage Museum


How Hanna-Barbera's 1960's animated tv sitcom The Jetson's changed our lives
11 December 14 09:02 AM | Merv Edinger | 2 Comments   
In the 1960's, a family would gather around their television set ( more of them were black & white in those days ), whilst one kid was designated to carefully adjust the antennas, or perhaps the rabbit ears ), until the picture came in clearly.



There weren't hundreds of channels, no HDTV, no Netflix, etc... Most of us only had 2-3 channels.  People gathered in anticipation see what whimsical inventions our future  may hold according to Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek & Hanna-Barbera's animated sitcom The Jetson's.  Now 50 years later, you may be impressed to see how much of today's technology was first conceived by tv writers of the 1960s. I am going to focus on The Jetson's as William Shatner has already aired a special several years ago on How He Changed The World.

 

Of course, we all enjoyed Rosie The Robot, the beloved  house cleaning robot & Jane Jetson's house cleaning at the touch of a button but are we all that far off now? iRobot has delivered us the Roomba, for floor sweeping, the Brava for mopping, they have even introduced a new robot to clean your gutters or pool.  They may not refer to us by cute nicknames in the way Rosie called George "Mr. J", but they do a pretty good job of cleaning at a touch of a button.


We are not just limited to interior cleaning at the touch of a button.  Developers have come up with a robotic lawn mower too.  Nothing like sitting back with a cold brew smelling the scent of fresh grass clipping as your lawnmower wanders around your lawn. Some do not realize that self-cleaning windows are already being manufactured. The LaFlamme Natura windows uses the sun's rays to loosen dirt which then easily washes away in the rain practically without a trace. They are also energy efficient in design.



Moving sidewalks are now common place in most airports in North America.



You do have to wonder if Edward Carlson & John Graham Jr were fans of The Jetson's when you compare their design for Seattle's Space Needle to the buildings of Orbit City.

  

Even deceased Michael Jackson appeared at the Bill Board Music Awards in this hallogram




where Jane Jetson used the technology for shopping for new clothes.



We don't quite have zero gravity on Earth, at least not yet, but astronauts & NASA have learned to temporarily create zero gravity in flight on airplanes




Astro, the adorable & loveable family dog that had evolved how to talk. Well no, our dogs have not evolved to have actual speech but some inventors have attempted & claim to have created a device that can translate your Fido's whines & barks into speech.




So what futuristic technology that we are entertained by today will become our reality tomorrow?
Perhaps you will be inspired to invent one yourself.
Top 27 FREE events & things to do in Halifax - whether you are cheap or just frugal, there is much to enjoy in our Coastal city
08 December 14 02:46 PM | Merv Edinger | 0 Comments   

Monday, 8 December 2014

Whether you are on a budget, frugal or just cheap, there are many FREE things to enjoy in Halifax



Whether you are a student on a tight budget, you are trying to save up money to purchase a new home, or you just enjoy living by a frugal means, or are perhaps just known for being cheap, there are many ways to enjoy Halifax for free.

Horticultual Hall and Uncommon Grounds Cafe (# 9 on Map) 

  1. Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market
  2. Stroll through the beautiful Public Gardens. Not only is it a gorgeous garden offering many photo ops but they also offer a variety of events to the public including movie night, music, yoga classes, storytime, historic tours of the garden, & concert series.  For a full list of the events, visit http://www.halifaxpublicgardens.ca/events/
  3. With several communities comprising Halifax, there are many fireworks displays throughout the year including Canada Day, Natal Day, Christmas tree lighting & more.
  4. Visit one of the local Farmer's Market - okay, yes you may be tempted to actually spend some money but checking out the sights & smells, hustle & bustle are all free. The Halifax Seaport Market is a vibrant arts & cultural district found at the south end of the Halifax Waterfront. You will find retailers, artisans, great food & products, a museum, cruise terminals, galleries, & more.  The market was designed to showcase local talent.  It has even been the location of a flash mob. About the Halifax Seaport Market
  5. If you are a sports fan then you must check out the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame where you can even see the laundry machine that suffered Sidney Crosby's slap shots.
  6. Pack a picnic to enjoy at Point Pleasant Park or check out a performance by Shakespeare By The Sea ( performances are free but donations are accepted ). For nineteen magical seasons the troupe has been performing the Bard's tales in the forest, against the backdrop of our historic forts and batteries. They also perform family friendly matinees.
  7. Halifax's Award Winning design for the new Public Library, so when it opens make sure you drop in for a visit.
  8. Take in one of the free concerts held at Grand Parade Square or at Alderney Landing.
  9. Halifax is the Maritimes' center for Cultural events including Nocturne, The Greek Festival, & the Multicultural Festival. Many of the activities are free.
  10. There are many art galleries throughout the city & beyond. Most are free. NS Tourism sites & often the galleries themselves often provide maps of art galleries based on areas.
  11. Enjoy all the free events of Canada Day celebrations.
  12. Take in the free outdoor performances put on by some of the performers of the Royal NS International Tatoo.
  13. Visit Fisherman's Cove & if you don't mind spending a little money for the world's best fish & chips, then drop into Wharf Wraps rustic restaurant.
  14. Cycle along one of the many trail systems located in HRM
  15. Go bird watching along the Salt Water Marsh Trail
  16. In Summer, everyone strolls along the Halifax Waterfront.  When the Tall Ships are in town, tens of thousands visit to check out the vessels.
  17. Sun, swim, or play volleyball on one of Halifax's terrific beaches.  There are several nearby including Crystal Crescent, Rainbow Haven, Conrad's, & Lawrencetown.
  18. Create a historical landmark treasure hunt for yourself. For example create a list of historical sites/items affiliated with either the sinking of the titanic or perhaps the Halifax Explosion ( did you know that the 1,140 lb anchor from the Mont Blanc flew 2.35 miles landing in what is now a Halifax Park & that a canon flew in the opposite direction landing in the North end of Dartmouth.
  19. Why watch Judge Judy? It can be amusing to watch & listen as average people try to represent themselves in court. So for something different, visit the Court House. It is Reality TV without the tv.
  20. Play board games in the sun at the Dingle in Flemming Park
  21. Visit the many fortress remnants around Halifax
  22. Everyone has to visit Peggy's Cove at least once.
  23. Open Doors Halifax - The mandate is to make available to the general public, free access to buildings of historical, contemporary or architectural significance & to generate interest in our built environment. 
  24. Check out all the facilities of the Halifax Commons: skate board park, play ground, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer & baseball fields, ultimate Frisbee & come Winter, there is the Emera Oval ( don't fret if you don't own a pair of skates, you can rent them).
  25. Parade of Lights welcomes Santa in an evening of bright lights & festivities for all ages to enjoy.  So grab a thermos full of hot chocolate & enjoy.
  26. Bring your own ingredients & use Dartmouth's Park Avenue Wood Oven to make a deliscious pizza for you & your date.
  27. In August, the city gets to enjoy the Annual International Buskers Festival. 
Conrad's Beach

Bird watching along the Salt Water Marsh Trail




 


Shakespeare By The Sea
PACO - Park Ave Wood Oven
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