GREG STEELE

"Not All REALTORS® Are Alike"©

Peter Shostak Exhibition (Nov. 3 – 15)
Check out the work that covers scenes of everything from prairie life to hockey games. 


Open Studio (every second Tuesday)

A chance to create art with various members of Edmonton’s Art Club.


Habitat for Humanity Workshops (Nov. 10 – 24)

Learn home building skills such basic tools training and painting in Habitat for Humanity workshops at their Prefab shop. Limited slots only.


Rozenvain Family Show (Nov. 17 – 29)
A painting exhibition with textural mountain scenes and expressive animals where the works are available for sale.
 

On the Verge (Nov. 29 – Dec. 8)
A theatre production that follows the story of three Victorian women who set off to explore unknown territory. Special prize for seniors and students!

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Creative solutions for accommodation are always popular — and who’s not on the lookout for a good property investment. One of the most attractive options right now are secondary suites because of the flexible options they present.


Secondary suites are self-contained units that are detached from the main residency — such as a backyard unit, a laneway house, a basement suite or an above-garage unit.


Secondary suites are gaining acceptance across the country and laws are slowly catching up to reflect this new reality.

In Edmonton, for example, there are about 3,500 registered secondary suites this year. The city is expecting 1,600 additional suites in the coming years.


Now is an opportune moment to jump on the bandwagon of building rental suites.


Councils in cities across Canada from Calgary to Edmonton to Vancouver are paving the way to encourage landlords to pursue this option — but the incentives won’t last forever.


Back in August 20, 2018, the council approved the amendments of the zoning laws to expand secondary suite opportunities in semi-detached, duplex, and row houses. The requirements on the minimum lot size and location on where you can build your secondary suite have been relaxed.


If this is a direction you decide to head in, keep in mind certain safety measures to protect life and property.

For example, the unit has to have an interconnected smoke alarm, adequate fire separation and proper ceiling height and window sizes, and at least one emergency exit that leads directly outside.


In order for a suite to be legal, there are several steps that must be taken. There is the application, permits, construction and inspections, and the final building inspection. For more info, you can download the city’s secondary suite guide here


All this means that NOW is the perfect moment to look into legalizing a secondary suite. It’s not a difficult or complicated process but there are several steps and the sooner you act, the sooner you can reap the benefits of a rental investment.

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No matter how large your home, extra storage space is always a blessing.


Sometimes, it’s just as simple as adding some cabinets but other times, solutions need to be a bit more creative.


Here are some ideas to spruce up your storage space this fall:


Entrance way


Storage chests act as a tasteful piece of furniture where you can place flowers or other decorative items while still hiding away bulky items.


Mudroom benches serve the double purpose of providing a space to sit as you pull on your shoes and also a place to dump scarves, mitts, hats and other items of easily tossed off clothing.


Coat racks are a must — they make all the difference when it comes to walking in the door and immediately have a place to put your jacket — and take up relatively squared foot space.


Living room


A storage ottoman looks like a centre table but, in reality, has plenty of space under the lid. It can act as anything from a coffee table to foot rest, depending on your needs.


Hang your television up on the wall so that, when it’s not being used, it can be hidden away behind closing doors alongside all the television knickknacks like the remote, DVDs and wires.


Bedroom


Use a storage bed where you can artfully stack boxes or tuck away drawers underneath the bedframe.


Kitchen


Lay your bottles out in a counter top wine rack that stacks the bottles up neatly, one on top of the other, so save up space that otherwise would be wasted. A great way to keep your collection of wine tidy!


On the wall pot hangers are the best way to get your pots and pans out of a tangled mess in the cupboard and somewhere easily accessible.


Office


Create storage cubbies at your desk with layers of shelving where you can tuck papers, receipts, pens and other office supplies.

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Parkinson SuperWalk (Sep. 8)
A nation-wide fundraiser in support of Canadians living with Parkinson's.


Johnson MS Mountain Bike (Sep. 8 – 9)
An adrenaline-packed weekend with hundreds of bikers showing up for a 90 kilometre mountain-view ride.


Public Art Picnic (Sep. 9)
Enjoy some of Edmonton's public art at a picnic that welcomes all ages.


Kaleido Family Arts Festival (Sep. 14 – 16)
A fun, free event of creative exploration and street performances.


Edmonton Expo (Sep. 21 – 23)
A three-day pop-culture convention for comic fans.


Tibetan Bazaar (Sep. 22 – 23)
A celebration of the Tibetan culture, unique in Alberta, which includes a Himalayan market with food and gifts.


Edmonton International Film Festival (Sep. 27 – Oct. 6)
A buffet of films from around the world, showcasing some of the best cinematic works.

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You are probably feeling excited and overwhelmed as you go through the steps in purchasing a new home especially if you are a first-time buyer. Going to an open house and checking out your potential home is an essential step. Don't worry, we have provided a list of potential home pitfalls that you should watch out for.


1. The roof
This can be a major source of headaches if there are leaks and costly if there are repairs needed. A newer roof can even mean a lower homeowners insurance rate.


2. Plumbing
Don’t forget to check what’s happening underneath your future house. Check the pipes for leaks, damage and mold for both the sake of your health and your wallet.


3. Basement walls
Along that same note, when you’re looking down below, check out the state of the basement. The walls can tell you a lot about the state of the house from its foundation to humidity levels.


4. Electronics
Bring a phone charger to check that the outlets all work and take a peek at the electrical panel.


5. Take the temperature
If it’s unusually warm or cool, that might be a reflection of the insulation. Heating and cooling systems are a must in our climates and expensive to fix.


6. Windows and doors
Make sure they all open, close and latch properly – not just entryways but also cupboards and pantries.


7. Check out the land
Go beyond the garden and see what kind of natural disasters might have an impact. For example, check if the house is in the flood zone area.


8. Home inspection
For full peace of mind before you buy, hire someone to do a comprehensive home inspection from top to bottom.

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Dinosaurs Unearthed: Down to the Bone (August 8 – November 4)
Visit this featured exhibit at TELUS World of Science where you can find life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, full-scale skeletons, and many more.

Animethon 25 (August 10 – 12)
Featuring musical talents and cosplayers from Japan as well as an interactive panel.


Sri Lankan Folk Dance Workshop (August 17)
Learn the different forms of Sri Lankan dance with Anjalee Wijewardan, who has been dancing nearly as long as she’s been walking.


Edmonton Career Fair and Training Expo (August 21)
Perfect for those actively looking for employment or who simply want to network.


Edmonton Metaphysical Market (August 25 – 26)
Free admission for psychic readers, unique vendors, special healers, speakers and a tour of the Freemasons’ Hall.


Eats on 118 (August 29)
A culinary tour de force that guides you on along the avenue for a variety of flavours and foods.

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Have the chance to really relax and soak in the summer rays during this lovely season. Check out these coolest and stylish camping tents you can find out there, either for yourself or for family.
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Who doesn’t dream of a home-away-from-home vacation property on a picturesque lakeside somewhere?


A recent survey shows that sales of recreational property are on the rise across country and the prices are expected to appreciate by nearly six per cent this year, particularly in Alberta and British Columbia. Alberta is leading the way on recreational property purchases, reaching prices of $535,885 on average.


Retirees and baby-boomers are the ones driving up vacation property purchases, flocking to lakes and streams, the seaside and mountaintops, with an eye towards retirement or a secondary home to raise children.


However, a spike down in the recreational property purchases was reported due to the newly introduced speculation taxes in British Columbia.


The tax targets property purchased by those who live primarily outside of the province and second homes, causing many existing homeowners to sell their secondary homes to avoid the steep fees. For instance, although there was an increase in sales in BC, the prices actually decreased by 2.8 per cent to just over $53,000 on average across the province.


The speculation tax also encouraged Albertans, one of largest cohorts of recreational buyers in BC, to look for properties elsewhere — like closer to home in their own province. Regions like Canmore, and west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains were especially popular this year.


But the speculation tax is only part of the equation. Some areas in B.C., like the Cariboo, saw cabin prices soar by 25 per cent for lakefront properties. This is despite the new taxes and wildfires that devastated the region last summer.


Overall, the fluctuation on recreational homes are down to people’s appetite for certain type of properties and their prices. These trends are expected to continue in the upcoming years.

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Outdoor Vintage and More Market (July 7)
An outdoor market of all things antique and vintage from shabby chic to handmade.

Oh Snap! '90s Movie Marathon (July 12 – 15)
Good old movies and classics from the previous decade.

Africanival (July 14 – 15)

A festival that celebrates the diverse culture of the African continent.

Taste of Edmonton 2018 (July 18 – 29)

One bite at a time, discover this city through food.

Parks Day Celebration (July 21)

A great way to celebrate the outdoors and explore Elk Island National Park.

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Condominiums typically have an overall insurance policy covering the building but it’s nonetheless still important for individual condo owners to look into their own policies. Shared insurance doesn’t cover personal belongings, for example, or other costs that an owner could incur in the case of an emergency.

 

Insurance is particularly noteworthy when it comes to special assessments, a levy or financial contribution that can be imposed on condo unit owners.

 

Usually, special assessments and other costs like strata fees are explained and disclosed at the time of purchase. In the case of an emergency though, a special levy can be announced — usually after a strata vote.

 

This money is collected in instances, for example, where the shared insurance policy doesn’t cover the full cost of the damage and can add up quickly for condo owners.

 

Loss of assessment coverage can mitigate this.

 

Types of insurance:

 

1. Title insurance
It’s not unheard of to hear horror stories of condo buyers getting stuck with special assessments after they’ve bought their unit.

 

Title insurance protects buyers against several risks, including situations like this where special assessments crop up that were not disclosed at the time of purchase.

 

This kind of insurance covers the condo owners’ portion of any special assessment.

 

2. Special assessment insurance
It’s also possible to get insurance that specifically covers special assessments.

 

Problems can come up where this is needed, for example, when a condominium corporation faces a crisis where its own insurance policy isn’t sufficient enough to cover the costs and so a levy is collected.

 

Special assessment insurance covers the owner in this case.

 

These are just two examples of insurance that can cover an unexpected special assessment. Dozens of other policies exist to cover personal items and other costs, sometimes even moving costs or unexpected living costs.

 

Other types of condo insurances

  • All-risk insurance
  • Personal liability
  • Contents insurance
  • Replacement cost
  • Additional living expenses coverage
  • Improvement and betterments protection
  • Loss assessment

Know how you are covered by your insurance so you can fill in any gaps as needed for full protection and peace of mind.

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Foodie Bike Tour (all summer)
Enjoy a bike ride and hitting all the hottest spots to eat in the city.

FUR: The Fabric of Our Nation (until July 3)

An exhibition all about the fur trade and how it ties into Canada’s history.

Elves 2018 Golf Tournament fundraiser (June 7)
A massive fundraiser event that brings more than 100 golfers together.

Edmonton Pride Festival (June 8 – 17)
Very colourful and entertaining, the festival lasts more than a week and is one of Western Canada's largest LGBTQ festivals.

Eats on 118 (June 13)
Discover a variety of dishes from some of Alberta Avenue's best restaurants on this culinary tour.

Freewill Shakespeare Festival (June 19 – July 15)
The Bard is brought to life for everyone from children to scholars at these plays.

The Ultimate Race (June 23)
Two teams race around the city in costumes, looking for clues in this contest.

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Your credit score affects many areas of your life from your spending abilities to your stress levels.

 

Missing a couple of payments on a credit card can dramatically drop your score, even after years of consistently meeting payment deadlines.

 

Your credit report tracks your spending history for the past six years and bad credit (FICO score) makes it nearly impossible to get financing for a home, car, credit card or even cell phone.

 

So if, for whatever reason, your score has plummeted — there’s a few things you can do to repair it.

 

1. Know your score

Finding out your credit score and history is the first step to knowing what went wrong and how to fix it.

 

You can get a copy from two main credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax (the most highly recognized) and Trans Union. If you send it in by mail, you can receive a copy for free or you can pay for a digital version for the benefit getting it faster.


2. Review your history

Make sure that there are no errors. It’s not likely but not impossible either.

 

Check that no late payments have been erroneously added to your account, all the charges made are accurate and that your payments went through correctly.

 

3. Start making payments

This may be easier said than done but it really is the key to improving your credit score.

 

Set up a reminder schedule and make sure you are paying off your debt bit by bit each month — and on time. If you want, you can set up payment reminders or automatic withdrawals.

 

The general rule is to keep debt within 65% of your credit limit. When it comes to paying off debt, start with the one with the highest interest rate first.

 

It may seem overwhelming but, chunk by chunk, it is possible to pay off debt if you stay consistent with it.


4. Avoid more debt

Be aware of the credit limit on your card and don’t go over that limit. Also keep in mind that having too many credit cards, especially newly open accounts, can also negatively impact your rating.

 

5. Pay off debt as soon as possible

Although it seems strange to go into debt to pay off debt, and contrary to the previous step, sometimes taking out a loan or borrowing money is the best way to save your credit score.

 

Balance what the interest looks like, how quickly you can pay it off and whether a loan will ease your credit history.

 

Sometimes, borrowing money with a low interest rate can help pay off high-interest credit card debt. Repaying debt on a credit card will help speed repairs to your credit history.

 

6. Take the initiative

Check your credit at least a few months before you need to make a big purchase or re-finance something so you have time to improve your score if needed. This will help give you the best interest rates when you most need them.

 

Lenders make a lot of their financing decisions by looking at your history. If you pay off debt the day before, you score and reputation is much less credible.

 

If you absolutely cannot make the minimum payment on your card, consider calling the lender and explaining the situation.

 

They may have advice or ways to help you; people often look favourably at those who reach out with honesty and initiative and are therefore more willing to help in return.

 

7. Protect your credit score

If you have bad credit, don’t panic — it’s easy enough to repair it by paying off the highest interest rates first and being consistent with debt management.

 

If you have good credit, make sure you protect it — set up payment reminders and don’t fall into debt if you can avoid it.

 

Keep old accounts, even if you are not using them very often, and don’t open too many accounts too soon because the age of an account positively impacts your score. Use fraud alert services and be careful of who you give your information to in order to avoid identify theft.

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Copyright 2018 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.