What can I (really) afford?

A Calgary home purchase income guide

Many would-be homebuyers find the home of their dreams, only to wonder, “can I afford it?” Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., as well as many major banks, recommend spending no more than 30 per cent of income on housing, including mortgage (principal and interest), property taxes, insurance and utilities. To help, we did the math for a typical detached home in each region of the city. (more…)

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Thinking inside the box

Six tips for a stress-free moving day

As exciting as it is to buy a home, it also brings with it the reality of moving day, and the hassles that come along with that process.

To take the guess work out of the big move, we talked to the experts to get their tips for planning a stress-free move: Barry Byman, sales manager and partner with AMJ Campbell International in Calgary, and Vince Kirton, regional manager with Sentinel Storage. (more…)

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Six things to consider when buying a rental property

  1. Location
    The location of a property will determine the type of renters that will want to live there. Central areas generally have the highest demand, but less-pricey options in working-class areas often have better cash flows. Opt for high-growth areas over those that are in decline. Safety is also an important concern. Renters steer clear of unsafe neighbourhoods, so make sure your income property is in a safe and secure area.
  2. Rent
    The monthly rent you can charge for a given property will be crucial to determining whether it could be a solid investment. Determine average rental rates in the area to make sure the rent you charge will be able to cover your mortgage payment, taxes and other expenses like insurance every month.
  3. Amenities
    Shopping, parks, restaurants, schools and public transportation are just a few of the amenities renters will be looking for, so make sure they are nearby when choosing a property.
  4. Inventory/Vacancy
    An area with a high number of vacancies, indicated by a lot of housing inventory on the market, means it might be difficult to find renters for your property. It might also reduce the amount of rent you’ll be able to charge, impacting your cash flow.
  5. Property Taxes
    Property taxes are a cost you will have to shoulder with any investment property, so make sure you review the most recent tax assessment to determine if they are high, and if so, why that is the case.
  6. Insurance
    This is another cost you will have to factor in when determining your cash flow. Try to avoid areas where your coverage options might be limited or non-existent, such as a flood plain or other area that is susceptible to natural disasters.

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Pain in the glass

Golf-course homeowners have several tools at their disposal to protect their property from errant golf balls

For people living along golf courses, glass damage from errant golf balls is no laughing matter. While the problem isn’t large in terms of total homes affected, it’s a big deal for the few that do live in the line of fire.

“Only a small percentage of courses have homes bordering them,” said Slade King, COO of Play Golf Calgary, which runs five courses in and around the city.

“Within all of the Calgary courses, only a few holes have issues, so out of 30,000 golfers who play that course in a year, you may have 10 incidents of golf-ball damage to houses.”

(more…)

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Sweet security

New-gen systems offer sophisticated safety

A6Randy Larkam sits at his desk in southeast Calgary looking at the sunny backyard of his vacation home in Arizona. The image on his computer screen is overlaid with several transparent tinted rectangles

As we watch, a caretaker enters the frame and checks the pool and surrounding patio.

“There she is,” said Larkam. “Right on time, too.”

The coloured areas on-screen show the motion detection fields of the cameras that monitor the yard. They can be adjusted in real time just by clicking and dragging.

This ain’t your dad’s burglar alarm.

(more…)

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