Monthly Archives: June 2013


Top 5 Trendy Summer Drinks

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  1. Cold Brew CoffeeSummer2011503-1

ingredients

  • 1 lb of your favourite CORSE ground coffee (decaf works too!)
  • 10 cups of lukewarm water
  • an extra large bowl
  • mesh strainer or cheesecloth
  • desired coffee add-ins (cream/sugar)
  • ice
  • 4 mason jars

Directions

  1. Place your coarsely ground beans in the extra large bowl. Add the 10 cups of water.
  2. Cover.
  3. Leave at room temperature for ~ 16 hours
  4. Pour the mixture over the strainer and into the mason jars. Repeat if necessary. The jars now contain concentrated coffee.
  5. To make the cold brew, add one part concentrated coffee for every 2 parts water. Add ice and whatever add-ins you desire.

The cold-brewed process brings out the more flavour from the beans than any other method! 

  1. Sun Teaimages

ingredients

  • 1 pitcher of lukewarm water
  • 2-3 bags of tea
  • fresh lemon
  • honey or agave nectar

Directions

  1. Put the tea bags in the pitcher of water. Cover the pitcher and place in direct sunlight (outside is best).
  2. 2. Allow the tea to steep in the sun for ~ 2hrs.
  3. Add lemon juice or slices to the pitcher. Add sweetener and serve with ice!

Sun tea is much less bitter than traditionally brewed tea. 

3. Electric Lemonade

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ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup sparkling mineral water
  • Dash ginger ale
  • 2 – 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup vodka or light coloured pop
  • Mint sprigs and lemon slices for garnish

Directions

  1. Chill 4 serving glasses in the freezer. Combine lemon juice, sugar, mint, mineral water, ginger ale, and ice in a blender. Slowly blend until thick.
  2. Remove the four glasses from the freezer and pour a jigger (1/4 cup) vodka into each. Top     with frozen lemonade mixture.
  3. Add a straw and garnish each glass with a fresh mint sprig and a slice of lemon.

Makes 4 servings.

4. DavidsTea Pop 

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ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons of loose leaf tea
  • 16 oz cup
  • 1/2 cup of hot water
  • Ice cubes
  • 8-10 oz of sparkling water
  • agave (if desired)

Directions

  1. Bag the tea, or use a tea steeper.
  2. 2. Add 1/2 c. of hot water to saturate the tea. Add agave if desired–stir gently
  3. Fill 16 oz (or two 8oz) cups 2/3 way with ice. Strain the tea over ice until cup is 1/3 full with tea.
  4. Slowly top off with sparkling water.
  5. Stir gently and enjoy!

5. Smoothie

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ingredients

  • 1 cup of frozen fruit
  • 1 T. of greek yogurt
  • 1 c. of either juice, fruity tea, powerade,or coconut water.
  • honey or agave nectar (if desired)
  • other add-in options: chia seeds, fresh fruit, veggies, protein powder, extra yogurt, aloe, psyluum husks, shredded coconut

Directions

  1. Put all of the ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth.

Have any delicious summer drink recipes? Feel free to share!

Neighborhood Feature: The Fairways – Riverview, NB

Location: Gunningsville Blvd & McAllister Park, Riverview, NB

Ground Breaking: Fall 2013

 

The Fairways - Riverview Building Lots

Image Source: Clayton Developments

Welcome to The Fairways at the Moncton Golf & Country Club.  This prestigious, master planned community is carefully designed to maintain the gorgeous natural surrounding landscape as well as the value of the homes within the neighborhood.

 

Schools:

·      K-5: Frank L. Bowser

·      Middle: Riverview Middle School

·      High School:  Riverview High School

 

Features:

·      Golf Course lots available

·      Walkable community – trails connecting to the Gunningsville Trail

·      Amenities: shopping, schools, banking, medical centers & entertainment

Lot Prices:

·      50’ lots starting at $42,000.00

·      70’ lots starting at $60,500.00

·      80’ golf course lots starting at $72,500.00

 

To book a Discovery Session and start planning your new home in The Fairways, call Pierre today at 506-871-5237 or by email pierre@themartellexperience.com.

 

Get Your Money Right! Financing A New Construction Home In 6 Simple Steps

If you’ve got a ton of questions about buying your first home, you’re not alone. Join @RBC_Canada and a panel of 5 experts (including us!) for the #FirstHome Twitter chat, on June 26 from 9- 10 pm. Get answers to your most confusing questions and a chance to win RBC Visa Gift Cards!

Blog Image- Financing

Financing a new build – it seems so confusing! With terms like progress draws, turnkey, demand loans, deposits and downpayment floating around, it’s no wonder that first time buyers have lots of questions.

The best way to avoid complete overwhelm and to choose the right mortgage for you is to arm yourself with as much information as possible.  The right mortgage will save you money, stress, time and risk!

 

Step 1: Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be your first step toward building your home. A pre-approval will provide you with specific information about your budget and purchase.  The mortgage professional that you choose will consider personal information such as credit score, income, down payment and more.

By engaging in a pre-approval, you will get an idea of how much the bank will lend you and at what rate of interest.   A great professional will also advise you if there is anything that you should do before actually engaging in a purchase contract to help improve your credit score.

A pre-approval is the perfect place to start your process because it will provide you with an idea of what you can afford and will allow your builder to have some clarity regarding the budget and scope of your project.

 

Step 2: Determine The Type Of Mortgage For You

While any mortgage professional will talk to you about the advantages of open vs. closed mortgages, rates, terms and amortization periods, your builder will need to know if you’re planning on doing a turnkey contract or a construction draw contract.

TURNKEY CONTRACT

In a turnkey building contract, your builder agrees to build your home as per the specs quoted & finishes selected by you.  Financially, you are only required to pay an initial deposit up front and the balance is due on closing- very similar to the type of mortgage you would place on a resale home. This type of project is much easier for clients and usually results in a lower rate of interest on the home.

During a turnkey build, your builder will hold title on the land.

CONSTRUCTION DRAW CONTRACT

The term “construction draw” refers to the process of paying for your new home.  When you are building in a construction draw contract, your builder will usually require 3-4 construction “draws” (draws= payments) throughout the construction of your home.

Typically, your builder will collect invoices from trades for work completed & will request a draw from you.  You will contact your lender who will then require an appraisal of the work completed to date before releasing the funds.

During a construction draw build, you will hold title on the land.

Typically, it is much easier & less stressful for clients to engage in a turnkey build. Just be sure that your builder is financially strong enough to offer this option.

 

Step 3: Bring In The Builders

The third step in your home financing adventure is to bring in the builders for quoting.  This process can get a little confusing for homebuyers who are looking for the most value for their money.  Your builder should be able to provide you with a quote on the home as well as a comprehensive list of what is included in that price.  If one builder is missing some items in their quote, makes a mistake or underestimates allowances, their quote will look much lower than their competitors at first glance.

When comparing quotes, be sure that you are always comparing apples to apples.  Does one builder have a higher kitchen budget built in? Is the lower priced builder pricing very basic/entry level finishes?  It is crucial to your budget that your builder understands your tastes and has priced in the level of home that you’re actually looking for.

Once you’ve settled on a builder and a price, you will sign an Agreement Of Purchase and Sale which will outline all of the terms and conditions of your build.

 

Step 4: Financing Approval

Many first time buyers confuse the terms “pre-approval” and “approval”.   While the pre-approval is very important to your process, your lender cannot actually approve your financing until they have the details of your project.  To give you an actual financing approval, your lender will require a copy of the signed Agreement of Purchase & Sale, the house plans, and the building specifications provided by your builder.  The lender then confirms that the proposed home will appraise for the purchase price that you agreed to.

(No lender will finance a mortgage that is greater than what the home could sell for).

Once the lender is satisfied that the borrower and the proposed property meet all of their conditions, they will forward a letter of financing approval. Yay!  This very exciting step in the project usually signifies the beginning of construction.

 

Step 5: Staying On Budget

Financing has been approved and construction is underway… unfortunately, your job is not over yet!  Now, it is crucial that you stay as close to the original purchase price as possible.  A client who decides to add $40,000.00 in upgrades may get a terrible surprise at the end of the project if their bank is not able to qualify them for this increased price or if the home doesn’t show the increase in value.

This is why it’s important that your builder is accurate in Step 3 when pricing the home.  A few extra surprises and you can risk your financing and your budget.

 

Step 6: Closing

Ah Closing Day… you made it through construction & your home is finally complete.  At this juncture, your builder will settle up any differences from the original purchase price through your lawyer.  Perhaps you came in under budget? You’ll be getting a cheque on closing day.  Or, maybe you decided to add a few items during construction? These will be added to your purchase price & mortgage.  Ensure that you’ve engaged a lawyer who is competent in real estate law to manage this transaction seamlessly.

Building a new home can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.  Do your homework and ensure that you are working with the very best professionals in their fields to make your experience as stress free as possible.

Disclaimer: This post content is sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, however the views and opinions expressed herein represent my own and not those of Royal Bank of Canada or any other party and do not constitute financial, legal or other advice.

 

 

5 Great Reasons to Live in Miramichi

Miramichi! The city that is super fun to say, semi-fun to spell, and even more fun to visit!  Have you ever considered living in Miramichi? Martell is so proud to be building homes for families in its neighborhood, so we decided to put together what some residents have deemed the top 5 reasons to live in the ‘chi!

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photo cred: Anthony Munn, Miramichi Resident

1. Friendly Neighbours

Every single person I talked to said that,  hands down, the top reason to live in Miramichi is the people.

“The people are incredibly nice – more than anywhere else I have lived”-Amy Pike

2. Great food!

While pretty much any city has a wide variety of restaurants, Miramichi boasts some pretty darn delicious local eateries. Sure, they have a few chains like Boston Pizza, Jungle Jim’s, and Mike’s, but they also are home to some “hidden” treasures like Etsy’s Fish & Chips and Cunnard’s Chinese Restaurant. If your more interested in a watering hole, O’Donaghue’s Pub is a local favourite! To top off all the great dining experiences, Patty Cake’s Bakery has some of the tastiest, artsiest, cupcakes around! You’ll never be hungry if your hanging around this city!

3. Cultural Feast

If your taste buds don’t go nuts here, your eyes just might! Miramichi is located right on the riverbank and filled with tons of culture!  Richie Wharf features a wide variety of talent from the area and abroad on a regular basis. Check the schedule right here! The wharf also has a boardwalk with delicious ice cream, gift shops, a fun playground with a splash pad, and even boat rides!

In addition to the wharf, the community has taken it upon themselves to host musicians in their homes! Last week, Jon Bryant-who hails from Halifax-played a house show with 50 in attendance! The hosts had to turn people away for fire regulations!

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4. Employment

For those of you already into or starting to get into a trade in agriculture or forestry, Miramichi is one of the top places to find employment. If you Google photos of Miramichi, it won’t be hard to figure out why. The location is right smack in the middle of some amazing ecosystems and lush forests. If forestry is not your thing, there are lots of other types of jobs open at the moment! Take a look right here!

5. A  community of folklore

The Dungarvon Hooper, might scare some people around, but most people find it adds a really unique cultural flare! Legend has it, that a young Irish cook, often referred to as Ryan,  moved to a lumber camp located somewhere along, or very near to, the Dungarvon River, bringing all of his possessions with him, including a money belt. While the lumberjacks were out, Ryan is left alone with the boss of the camp, who murders and robs him. When the crew returns, the boss explains that the cook had taken sick and died suddenly. They then bury the body in the forest some distance from the camp. However, a terrible “whooping” sound keeps the group from falling asleep that night, presumably the ghost of Ryan crying out against the crime of which he was the victim. Scared, the men flee the camp the next morning.dungarvon_whooper

 

If you’ve been to the city or live there, let us know why you enjoy it!

Know Moncton: OMG Market

Get ready to rethink one-stop shopping! For years, Moncton-North has been enjoying both McBun’s and the Old Fashion Meat Market. The two stores are stocked with fresh products and friendly staff. Nothing beats McBun’s delicious peanut butter oat cakes (SO good!!!)

Screen shot 2013-06-14 at 3.42.04 PM BUT it’s way more convenient to head to a one-stop shopping location where some fresh veggies are available alongside baked goods and protein!

In comes the OMG Market. Last summer Shane realized the need for a shop specializing in produce on the North end of Moncton and the location between the meat market and McBun’s seemed like a great opportunity! People in the neighbourhood (or people like me who have to drive across town!) can stop at the Valhalla Plaza and pick up their entire grocery list from local shops! 

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Shane choose the name “OMG market” after his stepmom Carolyn suggested it. Initially, the name didn’t click, but the more Shane thought about, the more sense it made. He used to work in the Moncton Industrial park and there were many days that he would have to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few items on the way home. He would drive by the Trinity Superstore and forget to stop. Once he realized, he would think, “Oh My Goodness,” I forgot to stop and get the bread, or whatever; and he’d have to turn around and fight the traffic to get back there.

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The OMG market does their best to bring in as many local products as possible. They focus on fruits and vegetables and have a variety of organic products.

In addition to produce they also carry honey from Allison, NB (near Salisbury); maple products from Elgin; apples, apple cider, jams, and jellies from Memramcook; cheese, tea, and spices from Sussex; Covered Bridge Chips from the Saint John River Valley; Coffee from Saint John; olive oils & balsamic vinegars from Europe via a St. Andrew’s distributor; hot sauce from Cardigan, PEI; and culinary wines from Shediac! They also prepare fresh salads every day at the market!

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 Over the next five years, Shane would like to see, as a minimum, two other locations open! He plans to start in either Riverview or Dieppe and possibly continue throughout the province! These shops, like the Mountain Road location, will offer a unique blend of local products in a small, cozy atmosphere, with a strong focus on customer service! OMG staff focuses on making sure every customer is welcomed and that all questions are answered before they leave! 

A few fun facts about Shane!

Q. Do you travel? Where have you been?

R. My wife and I have been travelling to the Dominican Republic every year for the last few years. We certainly enjoy our time down there. 

Q. If you could choose one vegetable or fruit that does not grow in NB to grow here, what would it be? 

R. Bananas for sure. They are a favourite of mine. 

Q.What is your favourite vacation spot in the Maritimes? 

R. My favourite vacation spot in the Maritimes has to be PEI. 

Check out the OMG market (and lots of other shops) at 1855 Mountain Rd! Let us know what you think!

HomeBuilding Horror Stories: Avoid Becoming The Main Character

If you’ve got a ton of questions about buying your first home, you’re not alone. Join @RBC_Canada and a panel of 5 experts for the #FirstHome Twitter chat, on June 26 from 9- 10 pm EST. Get answers to your most confusing questions and a chance to win RBC Visa Gift Cards.

Blog Image Homebuilding Horror Stories

Trust us when we say, we’ve heard it all when it comes to homebuilding. Today, we’re sharing two stories of first time home buyers with you to help you avoid finding yourself as the star character in your own first time home building horror story.

Sarah & Luke:
Sarah & Luke were not your conventional first time buyers. Instead of buying a starter home, they decided to live with their parents and save a larger down payment. They wanted their first home to be their “forever” home. To them, a temporary living arrangement was a sacrifice worth making. Sarah worked a second part-time job and Luke picked up overtime whenever possible to continue to build up their house fund. They meticulously reviewed house plans and inspiration photos until they could literally imagine themselves living in their dream home.

When they chose a builder, Sarah & Luke truly believed that they had done their homework. They met with a few builders & visited their model homes. They called references and most of all, they trusted their gut… the builder that they chose in the end was a really nice guy!

What Sarah & Luke did not know, was that the builder was in trouble financially… as in, “verge-of-bankruptcy-trouble”. This was not something that they had even thought of when they excitedly signed over their large building deposit. After all, there was a signed contract to protect them.

As the build progressed, Sarah & Luke noticed their builder became more distant and difficult to reach. They felt like he was avoiding their calls and that their project was less and less of a priority. They started to feel it in their gut… something was wrong.

As their home was about 80% complete, their builder requested a draw- Luke & Sarah had their bank advance the funds. Within days, it became public knowledge that their builder was out of business. Worse yet, he had not been paying the trades that were building the home. Luke and Sarah found themselves with a house that was incomplete, tens of thousands of dollars owed to trades people and financial and legal issues they were totally unprepared for. What a nightmare.

Mike & Christine:

Mike & Christine could not have been more excited to build their first home and quit renting! This was the next step in the future that they were planning together. Instead of purchasing resale, they decided that they would build a new construction home. A new home would guarantee less maintenance for these newbie homeowners.

Mike wanted the perfect neighborhood- close to his parents and Christine’s work. They were thrilled when they found a builder who was developing exactly where they wanted to be.

Having signed a purchase contract, they proceeded to choose everything from siding to cabinets to flooring. Christine clipped magazines and watched design shows- she was certain that her new home would be perfect.
Driving by the jobsite every day for months, Mike & Christine got more and more excited about their upcoming closing date. They watched their home come together and it looked more beautiful than they could have imagined.

Finally, it was time for their pre-closing inspection… where they would get to see the finished interior of their home for the first time. Anticipation filled their veins as Mike & Christine approached their front door for the very first time. As they entered their home for the first time, they were thrilled to see their selections and choices come together beautifully.

The excitement was almost enough to make them miss the first warning sign… the trim at the top of their doors was visibly not level. They started to look closer and the trim on the hardwood staircase was uneven & the grout lines of their tiles were not inline with the walls. The closer they looked, the more obvious the flaws became. The feeling of excitement and anticipation was replaced with shock and disappointment.

They immediately voiced their concern to their builder who dismissed their thoughts, and told them that the house was built to code and that, in his opinion, nothing was wrong. Mike & Christine found themselves with a home that looked like a nightmare and there was nothing that they could do about it. It turned out that their builder made his profits by hiring the cheapest labor possible instead of specialists in their respective fields. The result was shoddy construction quality and extremely disappointed clients.

How could this have been avoided?
Many people interview client references for their builder. And while that is important, they should also be interviewing the trades that work with the builder, and local real estate agents. Ask your builder for 3-4 contacts that work for them and be sure to ask the following questions:

 

1. How long have you been working with ABC Home Builders?

Most buyers would not think to ask this question but, the answer can reveal a lot about your homebuilder. If the relationship between trades and builder is longstanding, then it is likely that two things are happening. First, the trades are more likely to be performing quality work since the builder is keeping them around. Secondly, the builder is likely treating the trade fairly well.

Beware of builders who have a revolving door of trades people working for them as this is more likely to result in sub-par quality and lack of pride in the work provided.

 

2. How does ABC Home Builders check the quality of your work?

Another great question, this is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting a well built home. Every builder should have a quality control program in place and should be checking every single component of every home! At Martell Home Builders, we require trades to submit a quality control checklist with their invoices for every job. Also, our project managers visit every jobsite, between trades, with their own quality control checklists.

The trades that are building the homes will be able to tell you how your builder monitors quality.

 

3. Do you have any issues receiving payment for your work in a prompt manner?

Let’s face it… the trades work hard for their money! And they won’t stay with a builder who doesn’t pay them on time. As Luke & Sarah found out, this is one of the first ways to evaluate your builder’s financial strength. Had they interviewed a few trades people, they would have found out that invoices were going unpaid… RED FLAG!

Make sure that your builder is paying trades on-time and treating them well… after all, they are the people who should be on their game when your home is being built.

What homebuilding horror stories have you heard?

Could these have been avoided with proper research & planning?
This post content is sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, however the views and opinions expressed herein represent my own and not those of Royal Bank of Canada or any other party and do not constitute financial, legal or other advice.

Colour Palette of the Month: June

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With lawns filling up with bright green blades of grass and patches of sunny dandelions, it’s clear that June is here! This month may be known for those nasty bugs, but this colour palette highlights fresh, saturated shades!

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Sunshine and milder temperatures, make June an ideal time of year to add some charm to your exterior. If you’re not blessed with a green thumb, why not paint your patio door green?

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Adding a bold accent to a fairly muted room really adds some cheer, but I tend to shy away from overlapping bold shades. However, there are always exceptions! I am totally in love with this bright and beautiful family room! The coloured silhouettes on this bold yellow wall with stand out end tables are so unique! The white accents keep the room from looking chaotic.

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This modern kitchen uses fresh lime countertops with yellow woods to create an airy, happy kitchen! This seems like the perfect backdrop to a glass of OJ and eggs sunny side up!

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A more muted shade of yellow looks great for a nursery! This keeps the room calm, without looking dull. As the kids get older brighter bolder shades and pattern add more energy to a bedroom, making a more enjoyable space for sleepovers and playtime. Finally, a painted bed frame looks awesome in a teen room–though I think the style is easily adapted for anyone!

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Lastly, I love the spash of sunshine in the bathroom! A sunflower yellow looks unbelievably nice as a backsplash, but a quick easy update can be made by spray painting an antique mirror a glossy daffodil hue!

What do you guys think? Would you colour your interior with shades inspired by a fresh lawn?

 

 

 

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