GREG STEELE

"Not All REALTORS® Are Alike"©

Summer Solstice Music Festival (June 11 – 21)

The 12th music festival hosted by Edmonton Chamber Music Society.


Improvaganza (June 12 – 22)

An international improve and sketch comedy festival with ten days of laughter.
 

Tri A Taste (June 15)
A food festival bringing flavours together from around the world.
 

Freewill Shakespeare Festival (June 18 – July)

Different variations of Shakespeare’s productions, from the contemporary to professional.
 

International Jazz Festival (June 21 – June 3)
More than 50 concerts are orchestrated at different venues around the city.


Boodang Outdoor Music Festival (June 28 – 30)
A three-day festival of music, hosted outside where you can enjoy the warm weather.
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Mother's Day may be over but it's never too late to give something special to the special woman in your life. Check out these luxurious and trendy gift ideas for Moms.
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Interest in electric cars is growing as prices at the pump surge and Canadian society in general turns away from fossil fuels.


In British Columbia, for example, the government recently announced a new law requiring that all cars and trucks sold in the province be zero emission by 2040. In addition, the federal government is offering buyer’s incentives for newly purchased or leased electric vehicles on or after May 1, 2019. Click this link to find the list of eligible vehicles.


This may seem all fine and dandy — who doesn’t like the idea of no longer paying high gas prices to commute? — but a lot of questions still remain about the infrastructure surrounding electric vehicles.

In particular, charging them is a concern.


It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours to charge an electric car, depending on the vehicle and the type of charger.


In an ideal situation, you plug in your electric car when you pull into the garage at home and let it charge overnight. Come morning, you’re all topped up and good to go.


But it’s not always that easy.


The cars can charge with a variety of different charge points, including a standard 120-volt outlet. That’s the option that takes the longest to charge, though, and still ideally requires access to a garage or somewhere covered to park your car.


Most electric car owners opt for a 240-volt charging station – but that needs to be installed at home and can cost several hundred dollars.


If you rent or live in an apartment with building policies, it can be tricky to install the charger you want. That’s why it’s crucial to look into your options before buying an electric car.


If you can’t charge it at home, though, not all is lost.


Many apartment buildings are opting to install charging stations – bring it up with your building manager. The same is true at workplaces where, increasingly, charging stations are being installed in parking lots. Then you can simply charge it while you work.


If none of those are options, look into what is around you in your neighbourhood. Oftentimes, malls and other public places will have free charging. There are also hundreds of paid super-chargers around the city, as well.

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Check our photo gallery featuring spring themed wallpapers to bring vibrant colours into your living space. 


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The first signs of warmer weather and spring are starting to appear. For homeowners, that means bringing out the home maintenance to-do list.


Fear not, we have some tips on what you need to do this season to get your house in the best condition. All these things can help preserve the value of your property and save you money down the line.


1. Go high
Examine the state of your roof to make sure there are no cracks, missing shingles, or leaking spots. While you’re poking around the upper levels of your home, have a look in the attic for leaks, water damage, and pests.


2. Probe wood trims and frames
The winter wetness can wreak havoc on the wooden elements in your home. Make sure any exposed wood is in good condition and not slowly rotting. Don’t forget to check windowsills and door frames.


3. General spring cleaning
Now is the time to declutter your home. Store any winter gear you won’t be using, donate the items you no longer use, and give the whole house a good scrub.


4. Check the AC and furnace
Spring is a good time to make sure your AC is all ready to go before the hot weather hits - check the connection, and filters to make sure it’s working efficiently. While you’re at it, see what state the furnace is in too.


5. Clear out the gutter
Loose or leaky gutters can cause all sorts of problems down the line. Double check that the run-offs aren’t full of debris.


6. Plan ahead for the garden
Start laying down soil to prevent spring flooding and think about what crops you’ll want in the coming months. Start by planting bulbs and keeping them indoors on a windowsill if it’s still a bit frosty at night.

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First-time homebuyers have something to look forward to in the new 2019 federal budget: Canada's housing agency is offering to pitch in towards the purchase price.


Exact details of how this "shared equity mortgage” will work still need to be hashed out by the government and are expected to be released in the fall.


In the meantime, this is what we know so far about the new incentive:


The First Time Home Buyer Incentive is a measure to help with housing affordability and lower the amount of money Canadians pay.


Under the program, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) contributes up to 10 per cent of the purchase price of a home. This brings down the mortgage load for borrowers.


In exchange, the CMHC gets a 10 per cent stake in the house — which is why it’s described as a “"shared equity mortgage."


For example, let’s say a homebuyer is purchasing a $400,000 property. Under both the old and the new rules, they need at least a $20,000 down payment — five per cent of the price.


So that means they would usually need to borrow the remaining $380,000 as a mortgage.


Under the new program, the CMHC would contribute 10 per cent and so throw in an additional $40,000 at the time of purchase. That means the buyer only needs to take out a $340,000 mortgage – which leads to savings over month-to-month payments.


Homebuyers pay back the money to the CMHC when they sell the house (or sooner, if they want).


Essentially, it acts as an interest-free loan but what is still not clear is if the buyer pays back the same dollar amount that was originally fronted or if it changes based on the increased value of the home. 
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Walk in Her Shoes (April 6)

Women and girls in developing countries must walk an average of 10,000 steps every day to collect the basics their families need to survive –water, food and firewood. This event helps raise awareness and funds to end the cycle of poverty.

AVENTURA Live Salsa Bachata Series (April 6 – 7)
A Latin dance series playing a mix of Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba music.

Calm Abiding Meditation Retreat (April 13)
Catch your breath at this one-day meditation retreat.

Spring Gallery Walk (April 13 – 14)
More than 30 artists and eight galleries are featured in this springtime tour.

The Celtic Tenors (April 16)
This popular trio from Ireland are taking the globe by a storm.

Kids All In (April 25)
A fundraising event at the casino to support children’s programs.

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Home designs, though more permanent than the fast fashion of catwalks, still follow the ebbs and flows of trends.


What homebuyers look for and want in a home is partially dependent on what is popular and trending at the time of purchase. Gone are the days of orange carpets, patterned curtains, and burgundy furniture of our parents’ generation.


Currently, the latest home trends reflect a shift in society due to land shortages, home prices, and the economy. Going smaller has become more popular, with an emphasis on sustainability and affordability, without forgoing comfort.


Here are some of the top trends right now.


1. Light and airy
Natural light has physical and mental benefits — and home buyers know that. People want to feel more connected to the outdoors and so look for more windows, screened porches and better access to the views outside.


2. Technology for greater convenience
Society’s gadgets and technology has increased at an outstanding rate. Things that used to be part of a futurist dream — like robotic house-helpers — are now part of a reality. Homebuyers are starting to expect things like smart fridges and smart alarm systems in their homes the sake of convenience. The technology exists, so why not?


3. Big tubs and remodelled bathrooms
Bathroom renovations are huge right now. No one wants a dingy, dark hole-in-the-wall bathroom and, instead, there’s a growing emphasis on a more spa-like experience.


Overhead showers, particularly square-shaped ones, are making a come back. But the biggest surprise is the demand for big, free-standing tubs: Homebuyers wants a little corner of luxury in their home.


4. Colours and motifs
Grey is the least popular colour currently — colours set the tone of the room and keep things feeling fresh. Trending colours right now include different tons of green and wood details.


5. Sustainability and green-minded
Things like solar panels, charging ports for electric cars and water-runoff systems are spiking in demand. It’s popular across the board, both for the environmentally conscious and those looking to save money long-term.

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Swing into Spring: Witches Market (March 9)
The Original Witches Market brings in spring with more than 40 vendors selling everything from herbs to soul stones.


Floral Education Week (March 11 – 15)
Florists come together for a week of information sessions all about plants, aimed at anyone looking to start a career in the industry or simply learn more about flowers.


Edmonton Boat and Sportsmen’s Show (March 14 – 17)
The show covers all aspects of outdoor life from boating and off-roading to hiking and fishing.


Annual Interfaith Symposium (March 14)
A ladies-only event that brings women together for an interfaith dialogue focused on peace and respect.

Spring Craft Retreat (March 15- 16)
A workshop to learn all about creation and craft-making.


Western Canada Fashion Week (March 20 – 24)
Five nights of runway shows and fashion extravaganza, for big names and new talent alike.

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Who doesn’t dream of a multi-room house with a large garden and picket fence? But sometimes, your palace might be a bit smaller than you hoped and you’ll have to get creative with the space.


Tiny homes, which are less than 400 square feet, are becoming increasingly popular in big cities like Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.  Despite their size, tiny homes are subject to the same land use bylaws as other residencies.  


However, mobile tiny homes have to abide to a different set of municipal rules, depending on whether they are built on a chassis or on a permanent undercarriage. For example, parking regulations can vary city to city.


We turned to people living in the smallest of spaces for advice: those living in vans, RVs, micro-homes, laneway houses, and other unusual set-ups for a variety of tips.  


No matter what your living situation is, these ideas will inspire better living in minimal spaces.


1. Dual purpose storage

 

"If and when you need to bring organizational pieces into your tiny home, consider stylish items that can function beyond their intended purpose," says Whitney Leigh Morris, author and founder of The Tiny Canal Cottage.


Items that pull double duty, like storage chests that act as seats, are both functional and stylish.

 

2. Wall mounted shelves

 

"Open shelving allows you to see what you have, while maintaining openness," say Alexis Stephens and Christian Parsons, who live and travel in a tiny home on wheels.


These shelves can be everything from pots and pans, spices, and bicycles. Open shelves help create the illusion of space by clearing the floor.


3. Space saving tables and beds


Furniture that folds up and tucks away, like a bed that hides away or turns into a couch, means more space for everyday use. Some tables, for example, have hinges so you can hide it away when not in use.


4. Use lighter colours  

"Use white or light color paint on your walls. Painted wall panels can also lead your eye to a focal point, creating length in your space," says Jenna Spesard, who runs a tiny house blog.


A lighter colour palette brightens up a space and makes it look larger. Avoid dark coloured woods.


5. Think vertically


"Store items high and low, and out of the eye-line to make spaces seem bigger," says blogger Jenna Spesard.


Other tricks to make space look bigger include hanging mirrors up and keeping windows clear and open.

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Every January, Edmonton mails out property assessments for both municipal and provincial taxation purposes. The assessment reflects the estimate market value — essentially how much it would sell on an open market.


The tax rate is calculated by dividing the city’s budgetary needs by the number of properties assessed. As an individual homeowner, you then pay a share of that tax based on the rate and the assessed value of your property.


This means that the amount of tax you pay each year can fluctuate based on the assessed value of your home or the city’s budget.


If you disagree with the assessment, it’s possible to dispute it.


Before reaching out to the city, check the factual information on record, review your assessment, and compare your assessment to similar properties through a sale search. 


Contact the city or Edmonton’s Assessment Review Board with any concerns.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream (until Feb. 9)
One of Shakespeare’s best known plays, filled with humour and mirth. 


The Art of the Book (until Feb. 16)
A book event that only happens once every five years, this is a great opportunity to learn more about both Canadian and international book artists.

Chinook Series (until Feb. 17)
A 11-day performance series that brings everything from dance to theatre together for the community.


Swingin' City Sundays (until Feb. 24)
Free live music and dance lessons every Sunday at City Hall this month.


Habitat for Humanity workshops (until Feb. 28)
The non-profit housing organization is offering workshops to the public — not only are these a pre-requisite to volunteer with the group, it’s a great way to learn about home building and renovations.


Mommy Mentors for Professionals (until March 4)
A great network for other career-minded moms to seek advice and support each other.


Portraits Exhibition (until April)
From quirky to iconic, this art exhibition has a little bit of something for everyone to identify with.

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Putting together your resolutions and goals for the new year is a great motivation to make positive changes in your life.


Although we sometimes fall off our resolutions quickly, we can think of our resolutions as a plan, and make it a habit to celebrate small milestones you’ve achieved to keep you inspired and excited throughout the year.


We searched the net and put together the 20 most popular resolutions that people write every year.


  • Lose weight or stay in shape
  • Eat healthier 
  • Live a more active lifestyle
  • Travel more and see the world
  • Save more money
  • Get out of debt
  • Get a new job (turn hobbies into a career)
  • Enjoy and love yourself more (Self-care)
  • Learn a new skill
  • Read more
  • Get a new hobby
  • Make new friends
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Reduce stress
  • Stop procrastinating
  • Find a significant other
  • Be more confident and face your fears
  • Reinvent yourself or give yourself a makeover 
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink less alcohol
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Copyright 2019 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.