No Comments

Should You Sell Your Home?

For many, you’ll know it’s time, when posed with the question to stay or sell. Specific reasons to sell your home can come quickly, including job changes, divorce, children, health issues and marriage.  But for others, the decision to stay or sell will be one of great deliberation.

Few decisions will have bigger impact on your life than selling your home. Often, the decision requires landing on priorities to ensure you are doing the right thing and you are clear about what you will gain if you chose to sell.  Pondering these three crucial questions to help shape your decision:

home-sell-summit

What do you value about your current property and what do you find lacking?

Make a list of pros and cons considering all features of your home and how it fits with your current lifestyle. If change is needed, see if renovating a viable option.

What are the pros and cons of your current location?

Remember why you moved to your neighbourhood in the first place and consider if those reasons are still valid.

How about the financial picture?

Are you looking to reduce expenses by downsizing to a smaller, less expensive home? Or, has your financial picture improved since you first purchased and it’s now time to leave this home behind?

Answering these questions will sharpen your perspective and help your decision to stay or sell your home.

If it’s time to list your home, we can help. click here to find your Summit Group agent.

No Comments

Paying Off Debt? Here are Some Tips to Reach Your Goal

Everybody faces debt at some point in life. While it can often feel overwhelming, here are some tips to help you pay off some of your debt to get you
back on track this year:

1. Create a budget for yourself.

This will help you manage how much money you’re spending each week or month. Make a
spreadsheet to help lay out what your spending limits are, you’ll feel great when you have extra
money each week.

2. Sell unwanted items.

The holidays are over, and now you’re left with lots of new items. Find yourself feeling cluttered
financially and mentally? Time to clean up! You can sell household items you no longer use,
search through your home and gather things you don’t use anymore. Take awesome pictures of
your items and put them online.

3. Treat yourself!

Having a reward system in place will help you stay on track to pay off your debt. Don’t let
yourself get discouraged if you don't meet your goals, try to improve the next week – and the
week after that!

4. Change what needs to be changed.

If you find yourself spending more money than you should every day, consider making changes
to your daily habits. Budget a grocery list for the week and buy items to have in your house to
take for lunch instead of buying something at work every day, or brew coffee at home and take it
to work with you instead of stopping at a drive-thru on your morning commute. You’re sure to
see a change in your spending habits with these small changes!

No Comments

Listing Your Property

selling-home-halifax

Listing a Property

The listing of a property is a relatively straight forward process, however there are a number of documents that your agent will want go over with you. We will outline a few of these documents to help you understand the process of listing your home with a REALTOR®.

Seller Designated Brokerage Agreement: Authority to Represent Document

The first, is the authority to represent document – known in Nova Scotia as the Seller Designated Brokerage agreement. This document, which is accompanied by the listing addendum and the property condition disclosure statement (PCDS) – sets out the relationship between you and the agent, including all of the duties they are bound to complete for you, and all of the disclosures they are going to require you to complete for the selling process. The listing Addendum, is a data collection sheet used for uploading the details of your property to the Multiple Listing Service.

Property Condition Disclosure Statement

The PCDS is a form that you will use to make any declarations about the home to prospective buyers, and goes a long way to creating some awareness about the issues that exist in the home for those who have interest in the property. It is the seller’s opportunity to disclose all that they know about the home – a key step in helping to minimize liability in the transaction. The PCDS will only be filled out if the owner is also the occupant, or has recently been. If it is a bank owned property, or being sold as a part of an estate, then likely there will be no PCDS.

Accompanying Informational Documents

The other forms that are required at time of listing are informational document – including forms discussing what agency means, what elements of the property are leased, and information gathering for the federal government through the FINTRAC data collection process.

Advertising Your Property

In terms of advertising your property – there are a whole host of options that you and your agent can discuss, including online, print, television, radio and more. Your agent will develop a marketing plan for your home, and in most cases, the agent will fund the marketing efforts during the listing time – thereby assuming much of the financial risk for the promotion of the home.

You should expect that your home should be marketed 24/7 through online efforts like REALTOR.ca, and the brokerage website. And finally, believe it or not – the old fashioned sign on the front lawn continues to be one of the best forms of advertising – so having the strength of a great agent and great brand suggests that you are approaching the sale of the property professionally.

No Comments

Securing a Mortgage

summit-group-mortgage

Getting Pre-Qualified

Getting Prequalified for a mortgage is the first step in the buying process. Prequalification lets you know whether you will be able to borrow money from a bank or other lender, what your maximum monthly payment can be, and even “holds” an interest rate for you. The reason that this should be the first thing you do is that you want to set up the framework for what you can spend before you start shopping for homes. The last thing you want to do is start to look at things that you can’t afford, as it is just bound to set you up for disappointment.

But here’s the thing – not all pre-qualifications are the same, and choosing who is to help you is a more important decision than you might think. Many banks will do a pre-qualification based upon your “ratios” only. The ratios are the percentage of your income that you are allowed to spend on housing. For example, at most financial institutions, you are only allowed to spend up to 32% of your total income on your housing needs.

home-buyer-halifax

Why Use a Mortgage Broker?

There’s a lot that should be considered when you go for a mortgage pre-qualification. First, the person doing the pre-qualification should also investigate your credit bureau – it’s a good time to find out if there are any skeletons that you may not know about – particularly if they are going to harm you when you seek final approval. Additionally, this is a great time to rate shop! However, did you know that if you go to multiple lenders who do a credit check each – that it can actually harm your credit? Consider using a mortgage broker, and you’ll have someone shop your “situation” around to the lenders for you. They will give you some options that you can choose from based upon criteria like rates, terms, features and more. There’s typically no cost for this service that the borrower pays – it’s the lenders who pay these folks. You can, of course, get prequalified by your bank or credit union as well, but it definitely pays to get a second opinion via a mortgage broker.

No Comments

THE $2 BILLION DOLLAR MEGA-PROJECT THAT WILL TRANSFORM HALIFAX

When completed, the complete re-development of the QE2 Health Sciences Centre will be the biggest investment in the history of our province.

Included in the blueprint is a massive expansion of the Halifax Infirmary, and a brand new cancer centre that will be built to rival any other on earth. The new QE2 Cancer Centre will include all facilities under one roof, meaning that cancer patients will no longer have to travel between buildings in order to receive their daily care needs.

Although this is a multi-year, and potentially multi-decade project, one aspect has already been completed. Hospice Halifax, the largest hospice in Atlantic Canada, opened last month.

The QE2 Redevelopment may be focused on facilities in Downtown Halifax, but it is not limited to the peninsula. A massive outpatient centre is going to be built in Bayer’s Lake, which will treat most all medical conditions that don’t require a long stay at the hospital.

These new facilities will allow Halifax to become a healthcare hub. We already have some of the best medical schools in Canada, and some of the best research institutions. These investments will undoubtably allow more world-class research and development to take place in Halifax.

John Grant – urbanhfx.com

No Comments

The Benefits of Buying and Selling in the Fall

Spring and summer are often thought to be the best times of the year to list your home, but that may not be entirely true. There are actually many benefits to buying and selling in the fall.

Benefits of Selling

  • There’s less competition on the market because there are fewer listings – a seller’s advantage.
  •  Now that the kids are back in school it’s easier to keep your home ready for showings during the day.
  •  People are no longer focused on their summer plans and become more serious about buying.
  • It’s a great opportunity to stage your home with the beautiful colours of autumn and create a warm, welcoming space.
  • The crisp weather makes for a nice ‘shopping’ experience when buyers are going from location to location during open houses.

 

Benefits of Buying

  • If a particular home that caught your eye during the summer is still on the market, chances are they’re more than anxious to sell. What was once out of your price range may now be, surprisingly, in your budget.
  • Again, with school in session, couples can take their time during showings to browse without their own kids in tow.
  • You can likely close and move in before Christmas and enjoy the holidays in your new home.
  • Less competition from buyers can mean not having to worry about dealing with multiple offers for the property you want.
  • Furnishing your new home can be more affordable by taking advantage of year-end sales.
  • Moving companies will be easier to schedule – and it’s much nicer to move when it’s cooler outside, rather than in the scorching heat in the dog days of summer!


If you’ve been thinking of listing your home but found yourself too busy in the summer there’s still time to list. I can help you buy and sell, and get you into your new home to start creating new memories.

No Comments

How to Choose the Right Water Heater Size

According to Natural Resources Canada, water heating represents 15 to 25 percent of our household energy bill and it is the second largest portion of energy utility costs, after home heating. So before calculating the right water heater size you need for your household, you should consider switching to an eco-friendly water heater.

Next you have to make sure to get the right capacity tank for your family’s needs. Getting one with too much capacity will cost more to rent and operate. As a general rule, below is a guideline of the size of tank you might need. While it does not necessarily factor the number of bathrooms in the house and your hot water usage, it should give you a good estimate:

Number of gallons/litres Number of people in the household
30-40 gallons (114 -151 litres) 1-2
40-50 gallons (151-189 litres) 2-3
50-60 gallons (189-227 litres) 3-4
60-80 gallons (227-303 litres) 5 people +

Source: What Size Water Heater Do I Need

If you want to make a more precise calculation, you have to check two factors:

The First Hour Rating (FHR)

it means how many gallons of water a heater can produce at any given hour. You can see this number on the EnergyGuide label of the water heater.

Peak Hour Demand

this corresponds to the amount of hot water your household uses during a busy hour, like in the morning for example. The easy method to calculate is the number of people living in your household multiplied by 12 (it corresponds to the FHR). For example, if you are 4 people in your household 4 x 12 = 48 which corresponds to your FHR. So you will want to buy a water heater of about 50 to 60 gallons (189-227 litres).

Once you know what size water heater you need, you can start shopping. You might consider renting. In your calculations, remember that the life expectancy of a water heater is about 7 to 15 years before being replaced. When you rent, make sure to also take in consideration the following: Natural Resources Canada explains that “Every energy-using appliance has two price tags. We know the first: the purchase or renting price. The second price tag is considered less in the purchasing or rental decision, but is just as real; it is the operating cost of the appliance which is the cost to operate the heater. It is wise to rent a model that is EnergyStar, as you will save in the long run.”

To make sure you choose the ideal Water Heater for your home, contact your Enercare specialist today.

No Comments

Tesla’s Partnership With Dalhousie Could Transform Halifax

tesla-halifax

Source: John Grant – urbanhfx.com

Did you know that Tesla’s only battery research facility outside of California is in Halifax? Elon Musk must see something in our young people, as the relationship between Tesla and Dal began in 2015 and continues on to this very day.

It makes business sense for Tesla to spend lots on researching battery tech. The battery is by far the most expensive component in an electric car, and reducing the cost to manufacture batteries would save the auto manufacturer billions annually.

Halifax is becoming a startup city, with more startups per capita than almost any other major Canadian cities. At the core of our startup culture are the countless of universities and colleges in the metro area. Nova Scotia is among Canada’s most educated provinces, which makes it a natural hotbed for young, entrepreneurial types.

If Tesla sells enough cars to warrant a Canadian manufacturing facility, there is no doubt Halifax will be on the shortlist. Unlike traditional auto manufacturers, Tesla requires most employees to be very specialized, with many jobs requiring a graduate degree or above. Halifax provides this, as well as Canada’s largest Atlantic port and abundant access to rail networks.

Could Halifax become the Oshawa of Atlantic? It may be more likely than you think!

No Comments

Why Choose a Summit Group Agent?

summit-group-realty-agent

With the wealth of online resources dedicated to helping you search for a new home or sell the one you own, you might be wondering if you even need a real estate agent in the first place. However, you may want to consider why many homeowners choose to enlist the services of a real estate professional.

home-buyer-halifax

A trusted real estate agent who comes recommended by others can increase your satisfaction with the process of buying a home in a number of important ways. These factors will help you determine the value your agent can provide:

There’s the Internet, Then There’s the “Pipeline

While a quick search on the web is a great place to start, you’ll want the inside track. A real estate professional will enhance your property search with a pipeline of properties. They, or others at their brokerage office, will also be aware of buyers who are looking within your area.

Opt for the Guided Tour

When you tour a landmark or attraction your experience is enriched by someone who is familiar with the location who can guide you. As a community expert, your real estate “guide” can provide insights on historical market values, culture, and attractions, as well as local resources relevant to your interests and needs.

A Single Point of Contact

A real estate professional will help you determine how much house you can afford, alert you to potential risks, help you find resources, and negotiate the offer. Often a seemingly simple transaction can grow legally complex and risky. Again, this is where the pipeline comes in, as your agent can help you locate trusted legal counsel, home inspection services, surveyors, and lenders.

Negotiating

A real estate professional can help you objectively consider the offer you plan to put forth. They can recognize the various strategies of a selling agent, which may serve to drive up the price. They can also provide insights that can help you submit a competitive offer on a home you don’t want to lose.

Click here to find your Summit Group Agent!

No Comments

Royal Lepage Shelter Foundation

foundation-shelter-royal-lepage

Helping Women and Children Escape Violence and Rebuild Their Lives

Because we are committed to strengthening the communities where we live and work, Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company with its own charitable foundation. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.

How We Help

To make a meaningful difference at a local level, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation matches Royal LePage offices with a women’s shelter in their community. Royal LePage brokers, agents and staff are passionate champions for their local shelter. They help organize fundraising events and many agents donate a portion of the commissions they receive when they help their clients buy or sell a home. All support stays in the local community and because Royal LePage covers the administrative costs of the Shelter Foundation, one hundred percent of the funds raised goes toward our cause. Since 1998, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation has raised $30 million.

Women’s shelters direct our funding to meet their greatest needs and priorities. Shelters use our funding to provide critical services such as: trauma counseling; job training and placement; emergency transportation to the shelter; play therapy for children; homework help for youth; renovations to existing shelters; and building new shelters. In some cases, the funds are used to help women and children after they leave the shelter and move into their own accommodations.

Our Mission

In addition to addressing the immediate needs women and children have for safety and support, we also take a long-term view to stopping the cycle of violence. We are a founding partner of the Fourth R, a curriculum-based education program that has been delivered in 5,500 schools across North America. We continue to help youth develop healthy relationships through annual funding of educational programs.  With the help of our national partner, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we support grassroots programs in every province that help women rebuild their lives after violence, that help children heal and prevent them from becoming victims or abusers themselves, and that help teenagers recognize and avoid abusive relationships.

As a founding national partner of the online resource sheltersafe.ca, we are making it possible for women seeking safety to identify a shelter in a specific geographic area along with its 24 hour emergency phone line. This ensures that women and children get the help they need as quickly as possible.

Click Here to Donate to the Shelter Foundation

Thank You For Your Support!