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Buy a House on Amazon

Tue, 27 Aug by Pauline Relkey

Amazon dives into home sales with new $105K property

With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, the new home dwarfs the tiny homes Amazon began selling earlier this year

The latest offering is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. Titled “The Cliff” and manufactured by Estonian wooden structure distributor Q-haus, the property, which boasts an open kitchen, dining room and sauna, dwarfs the guest houses and backyard pool cabanas that previously sold on Amazon.

The home weighs 44,000 pounds and arrives in two modules that can be assembled by “two skilled workers,” according to the listing.

Furniture and appliances are also included.

While the home is currently unavailable on Amazon (without a timeline on when it will be), the notion is that interested buyers will be able to add it to their cart and get it delivered. According to Q-haus, buyers sign a contract of purchase, after which it will take approximately 3 months to produce and ship. The house has been designed by architect Kertti Soots and went up on Amazon last week.

Currently, Amazon offers an array tiny homes on its site, including a build-it-yourself garden house and a 12-foot transparent igloo dome. Due to the uniqueness of these designs, the homes are typically ordered on demand rather than kept in stock.

Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory – Fraudulent attempts to rent properties for sale

Mon, 19 Aug by Pauline Relkey

This applies to anyone that has a property for rent or for sale and also for people looking to rent. Home owners, google your property address regularly and look for false ads. If you find any, contact your local police or RCMP. Renters, google the rental address you are inquiring about to see if it is listed for sale also. If so, contact the realtor to see if this is a false rental ad.

The following advisory went out this past weekend:

This is a message from the RCMP Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network.

Fraudulent attempts to rent sale properties – Yorkton RCMP file # 20191183436.

It has been brought to the attention of the Yorkton RCMP that culprits have tried to secure damage and rental deposits for sale properties which are not theirs.

This is a reminder to exercise caution when replying to ads for rental properties. Ensure you speak directly with the REALTOR® or homeowner. Do not e-transfer, wire or mail any money if you can not verify the property representative’s identity and information.

Thank you.

If you have information related to this advisory please call 9 1 1 or 310-RCMP.

To sign up please go to www.saskcrimewatch.ca.

Why Put Money into a House You are Leaving?

Mon, 08 Apr by Pauline Relkey

I received some great info from a home stager that I work with, Dianne Thompson with Simply Stunning Designs.

“I am selling! Why would I put money into a house I am leaving?” I would say this is the most common question professional stagers field every day! On the surface, you can certainly understand why the question is being asked. There are many reasons to support the process of staging a property before showing it to the public.

Who Is Buying?
Whether you know it or believe it, it is true; the buyer will determine if, when, and for what price your house will sell. You can have your hopes, wants and dreams but ultimately the power lies with the buyer. A great staging professional is knowledgeable about which demographic is most likely to purchase your property and will make recommendations to improve condition and presentation. The largest property buying demographic today is the millennials. The younger members of this generation may still favour renting; however, once they hit their thirties and begin to settle down, they want their version of a great house.

What they want is move-in ready. Why? Pressing student debt is already a worry, so they scrape together as much as possible for the down payment and simply don’t have extra cash to invest in fixing up the things you couldn’t get to do. The other factor to consider is this group of people do not want to be DIY Weekend Warriors; they want to have fun on the weekends! Also, they don’t have the skills to do the work and they aren’t interested in learning how to do it.

You many have finished with this property, but to them it is their new home. They want it to look and feel fresh and new. In fact, research shows they want the feel of new so much; most of them are willing to pay more money to get it. What that means to you is this: If you choose to bring your property onto the market “as-is,” you risk:
a) being on the market longer than you want or
b) having offers for less than you expect.

Why Stage?
Staging is a service for selling property that has measurable value. Whether the market is a buyers market, sellers market or a balanced market, staging is a powerful marketing tool that should never be discounted because of the outlay of money. If you were selling your vehicle, wouldn’t you clean, fix and polish it to make it feel new? Why would your house be any different? Especially when the return of investment comes at a much greater margin.

The largest investment most people ever make is in real estate. Sellers want the most money possible in the shortest time for no effort and no money. But, that’s a pipe dream. 97% of prospective buyers look on the internet first, which means you need lots of great photos to capture interest and get on the must-see list. Don’t play with your investment! When you are competing with new houses, your house must look and feel new too. Failure to meet this expectation will just have millenials favouring other properties.

   

Seniors and Reverse Mortgages

Wed, 08 Aug by Pauline Relkey

A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to get money from your home equity without having to sell your home. You may be able to borrow up to 55% of the current value of your home tax-free.

Eligibility for a reverse mortgage
To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must be:
a homeowner
at least 55 years old. If you have a spouse, both of you must be at least 55 years old to be eligible.

Qualifying for a reverse mortgage
Your lender will consider:
your home equity
where you live
your age
your home’s appraised value
current interest rates

In general, the older you are and the more home equity you have when you apply for a reverse mortgage, the bigger your loan will be.

Accessing money with a reverse mortgage
You may choose to get the money from your loan through:
lump-sum payment
planned advances, giving you a regular income
a combination of both of these options
You must first pay off any outstanding loans that are secured by the equity in your home with the funds you get from your reverse mortgage.
You can use the remainder of the loan for anything you wish, such as:
pay for home improvements
add to your retirement income
cover healthcare expenses

Repaying the money you borrow with a reverse mortgage
You don’t need to make any regular payments on a reverse mortgage. You have the option to repay the principal and interest in full at any time.
Interest will be charged until the loan is paid off in full. The interest will be added to the original loan amount, which increases the loan amount over time.
If you sell your house or if you move out, you’ll have to make payments. When you die, your estate will have to repay the loan.

Costs to get a reverse mortgage
Costs associated with a reverse mortgage may include:
higher interest rate than for a traditional mortgage
a home appraisal fee
a closing fee
a prepayment penalty if you sell your house or move out within 3 years of getting a reverse mortgage
fees for independent legal advice
Shop around and explore your options before getting a reverse mortgage.

Compare the costs and impact of the following:
getting another type of loan, such as a line of credit or credit card, etc
selling your home
buying a smaller home
renting another home or apartment
moving into assisted living, or other alternative housing

Where to get a reverse mortgage
Two financial institutions offer reverse mortgages in Canada:
HomEquity Bank offers the Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP). It is available across Canada directly from HomEquity Bank or through mortgage brokers
Equitable Bank offers the PATH Home Plan. It is available through mortgage brokers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario
Your financial institution may offer other products that might meet your needs.

Pros and cons of a reverse mortgage
Before you decide to get a reverse mortgage, make sure you consider the pros and cons carefully.
Pros
You don’t have to make any regular loan payments
You may turn some of the value of your home into cash, without having to sell it
The money you borrow is a tax-free source of income
This income does not affect the Old-Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits you may be getting
You still own your home
You can decide how to get the funds

Cons
Interest rates are higher than most other types of mortgages
The equity you hold in your home may go down as the interest on your loan adds up throughout the years
Your estate will have to repay the loan and interest in full within a set period of time when you die
The time needed to settle an estate can often be longer than the time allowed to repay a reverse mortgage
There may be less money in your estate to leave to your children or other beneficiaries
Costs associated with a reverse mortgage are usually quite high compared to a regular mortgage

Questions to ask a lender about reverse mortgages
Before getting a reverse mortgage, ask your lender about:
the fees
any penalties if you sell your home within a certain period of time
how much time will you or your estate have to pay off the loan’s balance if you move or die
what happens if it takes your estate longer than the stated time period to fully repay the loan when you die
what happens if the amount of the loan ends up being higher than your home’s value when it’s time to pay the loan back

Myth: The bank owns the home.
Fact: The homeowner always maintains title ownership and control of their home and they have the freedom to decide when and if they’d like to move or sell.

Myth: The bank can force the homeowner to sell or foreclose at any time.
Fact: A reverse mortgage is a lifetime product and as long as property taxes and insurance are in good standing, the property remains in good condition, and the homeowner is living in the home, the loan won’t be called even if the house decreases in value. Reverse mortgages provide peace-of-mind that the homeowner can stay in their home as long as they’d like.

Myth: Surviving spouses are stuck paying the loan after the homeowner passes away.
Fact: Surviving spouses can choose to remain in the home without having to make a payment unless they choose to sell the home.

Myth: The homeowner cannot get a reverse mortgage if they have an existing mortgage.
Fact: Many people use a reverse mortgage to pay off their existing mortgage and debts, freeing up cash flow for other things.

Myth: A reverse mortgage is a solution of last resort.
Fact: Many financial professionals recommend a reverse mortgage because it’s a great way to provide financial flexibility. Since it’s tax-free money, it allows retirement savings to last longer.

Home is where the heart is, but it’s getting more difficult for seniors to stay in their homes.
93% of Canadian Seniors live at home and prefer to age in place.
60% of retired Canadians say staying in their home is critical to their quality of life.
700,000 Canadian senior-led households face a housing affordability challenge.
Canadian seniors who live alone at home experience poverty at nearly twice the rate of other seniors.
1 in 4 Canadian senior-led households are spending more than 30% of their income on housing.
Only 1/3 of the Canadian workforce is covered by a registered pension plan down from 37% in 1992.
Almost 30% of Canadians who are nearing retirement have $50,000 or less in savings.
35% of those nearing retirement plan to use the value of their home to generate retirement income.
Nearly 70% of Canadians nearing retirement are still carrying debt.

THE TAKEAWAY
Most seniors prefer to live their retirement years at home but live on modest incomes and may face challenges to their financial security. Canadian seniors do benefit from access to CPP, OAS and housing assets but are feeling the pinch.

WD40 – the answer to so much

Thu, 02 Aug by Pauline Relkey

Here Are 20 Little-Known Ways That WD-40 Can Change A Person’s Life

1. Polishing silver: If you have a collection of silver that always seems to be tarnishing over time, WD-40 can definitely help you out with that. Spray down your silver and wipe it clean. It’s just that easy to keep it looking sparkly and new! 

2. Cleaning shoes: When it comes to sneakers, WD-40 is a person’s absolute best friend. In the winter, you can remove stubborn rock salt spots that build up by spraying them and wiping them down. If you want to make your whole shoe waterproof, spray the entire surface with the stuff. 

3. Protecting bird feeders: While having a bird feeder in your yard is a great way to keep beautiful birds in plain view, squirrels are notorious for stealing seeds from them. To keep these critters away, spray down the center pole with WD-40 and the squirrels will slide right off. (Is this how they make those funny videos of squirrels twirling and slipping and sliding around like crazy?)

4. Cleaning toilets: Depending on the type of water in your house, cleaning your toilet can feel like a pointless task. If you use WD-40 the same way you would use your regular toilet bowl cleaner, you’ll notice that it gets clean quickly and stays clean longer.  Remember this blue color??? 

5. Unsticking gum: Chewing gum is delicious and a great way to keep hunger at bay—but when it doesn’t make it to the actual trash can, it can get stuck on shoes and other surfaces and never come off. If you need to banish hard, chewed-up gum, go ahead and spray it down with WD-40. That will help it come right off!
6. Removing crayon marks: Do you have kids or grandchildren who love to take their crayons and scribble on walls and even on furniture? Don’t break your back trying to remove the marks! Instead, lightly spray them with WD-40 and they should rub right off.
7. Defrosting ice: Whether you live in a cold climate year-round or you’re gearing up for the winter season, spray your windows down with WD-40 and then wipe the excess away. Believe it or not, this will keep the ice from sticking to your windows and save you time getting out of the driveway in the morning. 
8. Removing water stains: It’s so frustrating that the same shower you step into to get clean tends to collect a crazy amount of water stains. If you want to get rid of them fast, follow up your usual cleaning routine with a spritz of WD-40 and watch the water stains disappear.
9. Polishing scissors: If you use scissors in the kitchen or crafting regularly, then you know just how sticky they can get over time. If you want to keep that stickiness at bay, polish them regularly with a healthy dose of WD-40 and they’ll be just perfect. Use this on tools also. 
10. Removing stickers and price tags: If you have ever tried to peel off a sticker on a window or a bumper sticker on your car, you know what a hassle it can be. Using WD-40 makes it a breeze. Just coat the sticker and gently peel it away! 
11. Unsticking zippers: Is there anything more frustrating than having a zipper on your backpack or your favorite coat get totally and absolutely stuck in place? Here’s good news: if you spray WD-40 on the zippers and gently work them back and forth, they’ll slide right back into place! 
12. Removing tea and coffee stains: If you or a house guest have ever spilled a little coffee or tea on a table in your home, you know how hard it can be to ever get it out again. Thankfully, combining your regular cleaning routine with a squirt of WD-40 will banish it in no time. 
13. Banishing tar stains: If your car gets covered in tar, then it’s definitely time to break out the WD-40. Just spray down the surfaces and even the most stubborn patches should melt away like hot butter! How great is that? 
14. Taking off rings: If you wear a ring regularly then you probably know what it’s like when it gets stuck on your finger. It happens to everyone at some time or another. Don’t panic! The easiest way to remove it is to cover your finger with WD-40 and then slide it off. It works like magic! 
15. Remove lipstick: Lipstick is always a fun way to make your look for the day pop. Unfortunately, it’s less fun when it transfers onto other items of clothing and settles in to stain. Luckily for you, WD-40 as a pre-wash stain treatment will help remove that lipstick in no time flat. 
16. Helps Open Rusty Locks: If you’ve got a rusty key or a keyhole that won’t cooperate, apply some WD-40 and you should be able to gain easy entry. 
17. Extends the Life of Shower Heads: This is another little-known household use for WD-40. Shower heads have a tendency to break down over time, but applying WD-40 can extend their life span by years.
18. Removes Mildew From Refrigerator Gasket: We’ve all seen it before: Disgusting gunk builds up on your refrigerator gasket. Well, WD-40 will remove this. Simply apply, let it sit for a few minutes, wipe off, and you’re done.
19. Filters Dust When Sprayed on Air Conditioning Filter: Spray a light coating of WD-40 on your AC filter before installing, and your filter becomes exponentially more effective. I tried this method, and it did seem like I was breathing cleaner air in my home. Later, when I went to change out a filter that I had sprayed with WD-40, it seemed to have filtered a great deal more dust than normal.
20. Quiets Squeaky doors: whether it’s your front door or kitchen cupboard door, spraying a little WD-40 on the hinges will quiet things down. 

Sask Power Outages

Mon, 30 Apr by Pauline Relkey

Are you wondering if your area will have a planned outage soon? Check Sask Power’s website to plan ahead. Click here.

When an Outage Occurs

  • Step 1: Determine if the power failure is limited to your home

    • If your neighbours have power, check your electrical panel to see if the main circuit breaker has tripped. Even if it appears to be on, turn the breaker off and back on again to ensure a good connection.

    Step 2: If your electrical panel or main breaker isn’t the cause of the outage, call 310-2220.

    • Turn off or unplug any appliances, computers or electronics you were using when the power went out. Leave one light on so you’ll know when your power returns.
    • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed. If the power is out for a long time, make sure you check all refrigerated and frozen food before you eat it.
    • Close all doors, windows and drapes to conserve heat (unless the sun is shining in).
    • Never light a fire indoors unless you’re using an approved fire place or wood stove.
    • When faced with multiple outages, Sask Power prioritizes as follows:

      1. Life threatening or hazardous situations like power lines that have fallen on a road or vehicle.
      2. Large outages — Main lines and major equipment that return power to the largest number of customers.
      3. Small, isolated outages — Secondary lines and neighbourhood equipment.

When the Power Is Restored

They restore power when repairs are complete. If your neighbour’s power has returned and yours has not, there could be a problem specific to your home. Recheck your main breaker and reset it even if it appears to be on.

Occasionally, the power goes out again; this is sometimes the sign of another unidentified problem. Make sure to call us every time the power goes out (after you’ve checked your own main breaker). If power is not restored, call us toll-free at 310-2220.

Tips for the First-Time Home Buyer

Wed, 25 Apr by Pauline Relkey

When venturing into the world of home ownership, first-time buyers often find themselves having to make important, fast decisions in what feels like a surreal situation — after all, it might have only been a few weeks since owning a home seemed more like a far-off daydream than an immediate reality. A few common sense tips will help you navigate these unfamiliar landscapes as you move towards one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

1. Get pre-approved
Though a pre-approval isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a mortgage when you’re find a property, having one can give you a firm grasp on what you can afford before you start looking. A pre-approval from your bank or lender will save you time by narrowing your search to a more precise selection of homes, and this, in turn, can protect you from the all-too-common disappointment that follows setting your heart on a house you can’t afford.

2. Don’t expect your standards of living to change
It’s bound to happen: you see a house that maxes out your budget, but you imagine you can make it work by cutting out things like morning coffees, cellular data and cable TV. Remember, ‘roughing it’ for the sake of your house quickly loses its charm, and you’ll soon regret the lack of wiggle room for things like new furniture, redecorating, or unexpected repairs. Don’t regret your first home — avoid becoming ‘house poor’ by staying below the upper limit of what your bank is willing to lend you.

3. Make a list and check it as many times as it takes
Each property you consider will have its own unique combination of pros and cons, and going through them can feel a little like comparing apples to oranges. Don’t expect to stay clear-headed when the house with the poor walking score has the kitchen of your dreams; instead, stay on track by building a list of “must haves” and “nice to haves.” Though your list might evolve over time (especially if the “must haves” are rare for your price range), having a set of self-imposed guidelines can keep your search on course when you’re feeling overwhelmed by options.

4. Don’t confuse “first home” with “forever home”
Most first-time buyers start out a little starry-eyed, imagining that new home will be stylish, spacious, efficient … basically, everything they’ve been dreaming of. In reality, being able to afford a house that has everything you want is pretty rare in the first go-round, which can make you feel so discouraged you start closing yourself off to the available options. Remember, your ‘starter home’ doesn’t have to meet all the criteria of your ‘dream home,’ and the equity you’ll build for the next few years will get you closer to your goal.

With so much new information to absorb, steps to take, and decisions to make, buying a first home can feel like a rollercoaster ride. It’s important not to lose your head throughout all of it. Taking a few steps to keep your expectations rooted firmly in reality can help you glide through the process and feel confident in your final decision.

Want to be on TV?

Tue, 24 Apr by Pauline Relkey

I have been contacted by CBC to see if I have owners selling houses/looking to downsize/interesting stories/also if anyone is buying a cottage and what that experience is like for Canadians across the country.

The casting call will be sent out soon.

Four days of filming.

Selling between June and October 2018.

Let me know.

8 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Home

Mon, 26 Feb by Pauline Relkey

As winter moves closer to the finish line, the annual spring real estate market heats up. There are many things to consider before you put your home on the market – here are 8 of the more critical ones.

1. Budget

Know what you can afford so that you don’t stretch yourself thin. Talk to your mortgage person.

2. Know the costs.

There are plenty of expenses when selling your home. Some are straightforward such as renovations and paying for movers. Others may not be as obvious – nor who pays for them – such as land transfer taxes (buyer pays), real estate agent commissions (seller), mortgage insurance (buyer), legal fees, bank fees and possibly capital gains taxes.

3. Find out your home’s worth.

Knowing how much you’re likely to get for your home can dictate how much you may be able to afford when buying another house. Do your research by checking what similar homes have sold for in your neighbourhood. The best way to do this is to meet with your Realtor who will be listing your house for sale.

4. Choose a real estate agent.

You can choose to sell your home yourself to save the commission fees – but you also incur all the responsibility for writing legal contracts. Of course, I suggest that you choose a trusted real estate agent who knows your area and by asking for referrals. If your Realtor helped you find your present property and has stayed in touch with you, give her/him a call.

5. Decide when to sell.

Do you sell during the traditional peak markets of spring and summer or or off-season? Selling during the peak means more buyers and possible bidding wars, while selling off season means fewer homes competing with yours. As the saying goes, 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

6. Add visual appeal.

Creating curb appeal is an obvious benefit, but don’t forget to freshen up the interior as well. Make any minor renovations, declutter and consider staging, because professionally staged homes typically sell faster and for more.

7. Get a home inspection done.

While buyers will probably get their own inspections done, having one ready says that you’re confident in your home and have nothing to hide because you have taken care of what work is needed – it provides peace of mind for everyone.

8. Coordinate closing dates.

Being able to move from one home to another on the same day can be hectic and cause you stress. Hopefully you can take possession of your new place before you have to be out of your present one. If not, you may have to either rent another home short-term, put belongings in storage and generally cause unnecessary upheaval in your life. Talk to your bank about bridge financing.

January Residential Sales and Home Prices Move In Opposite Direction

Mon, 12 Feb by Pauline Relkey

2018 has started off to a solid start compared to the 2 previous years in Regina. (Personally I am saying not much of a change).

143 sales in Regina compared to 139 in 2017 = 2.8%.

The Home Price Index reported a price of $279,400 down from $293,600 one year ago. The downward direction on prices is because of the over supply of properties and it’s pushing sellers to keep reducing their asking prices.

We have 1,133 active residential listings on the market at the end of January, over 20% increase from 2017.

The ratio of sales to new listings for the month was 30% (meaning only 30% of listings sold). Still a buyer’s market.  Condos make up almost 30% of the listings which is high.

Click here for the full report.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.