Monthly Archives: February 2009

Making the Move to New Brunswick

Have you recently made the decision to move to New Brunswick or are you perhaps in the early stages of relocating? There are so many resources to check out online to help you make a smooth transition to this magnificent province.

Where to Live
If you have the choice, the first question you might ask is where to live. The three largest cities in New Brunswick are Moncton, Saint John and the provincial capital of Fredericton. Almost half of New Brunswick’s population lives within the metropolitan areas of these three cities. Smaller cities include Miramichi, Bathurst, Campbellton, Edmundston and Dieppe. Throughout the province you will also find many attractive towns and villages, each offering a range of attractions to visitors and residents alike. New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province, with about 33% of its population French speaking, and today boasts a varied and increasingly multicultural population.

Buying a Home
Real estate in New Brunswick is amongst the cheapest in Canada. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average price of an existing home in New Brunswick was $142,009 in January 2009. Should your move to the province include a search for a home, a few good places to start are the CREA’s online Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the New Brunswick Home Builders’ Association as well as the Manufactured Housing Association of Atlantic Canada.

Things to Do
A great resource for visitors as well as those making a permanent move is the official tourism site of New Brunswick. The site is brimming with information on the province such as maps and regions, festivals, culture, shopping, theatre, markets, museums, heritage sites, provincial parks, family activities and so much more. The site includes New Brunswick’s “Top 10 Attractions” as chosen by a panel of independent travel experts. The province is branded “Maritime Magnifique” for its many extraordinary qualities and the site proudly displays New Brunswick’s recent awards.

Living in NB
The official government website of New Brunswick includes essential resources for both residents and visitors. Service New Brunswick is the provincial government’s chief provider of front-line services to the public and includes information you will require once you have made the move to the province. Another great resource providing a wealth of information on the province as well as its regions and communities is

Running a Business
Business New Brunswick, The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Enterprise Network are all essential resources if you are relocating or starting a business in New Brunswick once you arrive. If you run a small business, you should also make note of the Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs). If you are a woman business owner, the Women in Business website offers useful information on business resources, training, networking opportunities and access to funding.

Do you have children? Information on schools and districts as well as post secondary education is readily available online.

Will you be looking for a job once you arrive in New Brunswick? Check out these handy job finding resources.

If you are immigrating to New Brunswick, the Population Growth Secretariat, is a great place to determine what you’ll need to get started.

If you want to catch up on provincial, regional and local news, check out CanadaEast, a collection of news sources from across the province.

Which events, activities or useful resources would you pass on to a new resident of New Brunswick?

Amazing Wooden Homes

Have you ever thought of owning a luxurious, wooden home? The desire may be the result of wanting to own an attractive, superbly crafted log home but may also have something to do with the locale many of us attribute to log homes – sitting mountainside with snow-covered rooftops. Here are some facts about wooden homes:

– wooden homes are eco-friendly and healthy to live in
– wood is one of the most durable building materials
– wood is naturally warm in the winter and cool in the summer
– wood homes are fast to build and low on maintenance

Take a look at some amazing wooden dream homes and click on the image to view a larger version:

This may be considered a “Dream Home” for those who are really fed up with their electricity bills…

The Firewood House

The Firewood House

For further information on wooden homes, specificially log homes, you can check out The Canadian Log Home Directory and The Log Homes Council.

What does your wooden dream home look like?

10 Steps to Get Rid of Fleas in the Home

Fleas – the thought of them makes you itch but may also make you cringe as you consider the nasty problem of ridding your home of these tiny invaders. With some patience, persistence and the following steps, you should be on the right track:

Step 1 – Treat your pet(s)
Wash your pet with soapy water or a low toxin flea shampoo. You may want to use a flea comb and dispose of the fleas in hot soapy water. Treat all animals in the house simultaneously.

Flea control products used in the past such as flea powders, collars and dips are slowly becoming obsolete. The latest, more effective treatments are top-spots, which are much safer for both pets and humans and are usually applied monthly. Examples are Advantage, Frontline and Revolution. Ensure the product you use is safe for the animal you are treating, i.e., don’t use a treatment for cats on your dog. If in doubt, check with your vet.

As only 5% of the flea population lives on the animal, killing fleas on your pet will not solve the entire problem. Flea eggs, larvae and pupae can be found virtually anywhere so only killing the adult fleas is just part of the solution. It is imperative that you isolate your pet and get rid of the fleas in your home.

Step 2 – Clean all surfaces where your pet spends a great deal of time, especially their bedding, using the hottest water cycle.

Step 3 – Remove, wash and/or dry clean all bedding in the home.

Step 4 – Vacuum all floors, carpeting, rugs, draperies, furniture, nooks and crannies thoroughly and often. Once you have finished, discard the vacuum bag.

Step 5 – Have all your carpets and rugs steam cleaned or shampoo them yourself using an insecticide carpet shampoo.

Step 6 – You can try some “do it yourself” products like foggers or an aerosol “bomb” which are available from your vet or pet store. You and your pets (including birds and fish) must temporarily vacate the premises prior to using this remedy. These products may contain IGRs (insect growth regulators) which disrupt the cycle of the flea by preventing eggs from hatching, killing the larvae and preventing the adult fleas from reproducing.

Step 7 – If all else fails or the fleas return even after completing the above steps, you may want to hire the services of a pest controller who can spray the house for fleas.

Step 8 – Don’t forget to treat the outdoors too. There are a number of yard products available to treat fleas outdoors. Don’t spray near flowers or vegetables.

Step 9 – Once your house and pets have been treated for fleas, try not to let them come in contact with other pets that may be infested. One visit by a dog or cat with fleas can start the cycle all over again.

Step 10 – Prevention is key. Treat your pet with a monthly flea treatment as mentioned above. Fleas are worst in the summer months and early fall, so it’s important to start your flea prevention strategy in late spring. However, a heated, winter home may provide the perfect setting for fleas to breed so don’t forget about the preventative measures in the cold months as well.

If you’ve had the task of ridding your home of fleas, what worked or didn’t work for you?

What are Homes Selling for in Your Area?

Whether you are currently involved with buying or selling a home or a homeowner with a healthy dose of curiosity, finding out what homes are selling for in your area can be a very worthwhile process. There are a few ways you can accomplish this task and some involve a little more digging than others.

Search the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service)
The MLS® is operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association and contains information, including current listing prices, of various properties listed across Canada. Advantages of using this system in researching home prices include:

– very user friendly
– you can search from your own computer at your leisure
– you can define your search by using various parameters

You can also peruse listings from various local real estate websites; however, most of these listings, unless they are exclusive to that office, are the same as those you would find on the MLS®.

Real Estate Agent
A conversation with a real estate agent may shed some light on the listing and selling prices of homes in your area as well as the length of time they have been on the market. A real estate agent or salesperson has access to the SOLD information which they obtain from the local Real Estate Board. This would not be the ideal manner to go about researching prices for curiosity sake. You should be willing to form some sort of relationship with the agent in exchange for the information they will provide to you. This could be ongoing, even if you aren’t thinking of buying or selling for some time. A REALTOR® has the research and expertise to provide a market assessment of what properties in your area have sold for. They can also provide information on market history, such as the number of properties sold in your community the previous month or year.

Local Real Estate Boards may produce Real Estate Guides usually on a weekly basis and often included in local newspapers. The guides will display homes currently listed for sale with the various real estate offices within a specific location.

Builder Websites or Sales Offices
New home builder websites may contain prices of current models for sale, available and sold lots and lot premiums. You can also visit the sales office, if available, and ask for the same information. Model plans and prices are usually very accessible to the public and they may even disclose prices of homes sold in the project. If you are searching for a builder website, you can visit your local Home Builders’ Association website to obtain the link and contact information.

Property Assessment Information
Property assessment information in New Brunswick is available online through Service New Brunswick where you have the ability to look up the assessed value of properties in your area as well as other locations within NB. Assessed values of homes are based on market value. According to SNB, “Market value is the most probable price that a property would sell for on the open market on a given point in time – as of January 1 of each tax year in New Brunswick. Assessors in New Brunswick review and measure each localized real estate market to establish typical market value.”

The assessment office also has access to the purchase price of homes sold in their area but this information has not been readily available to the public in the past. Legislation is currently changing that will now allow this information to be available to the public. The information is not available online; however, you could contact your local assessment office to enquire whether their office is set up to provide you with this information.

Can you suggest any other ways to research prices of homes in a specific location?

Financing Your New Home – First Steps

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to purchase your new home. Now, what are some of the important first steps you need to take in order to realize your dream? They have to do with determining what you can afford and how you are going to pay for your new home.

1. Obtain Expert Advice

There are many experts available to guide you through the process of financing your home purchase. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers a Homebuying Step by Step Guide which provides examples, worksheets and printable guides to assist with the entire homebuying process, including financing. There’s also an interactive version where you can plug in actual figures, personal to your situation. CMHC also provides valuable information on Mortgage Loan Insurance (typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price), should you require it.

Many of the top mortgage lenders include some excellent information on financing on their websites. For example, BMO Bank of Montreal offers valuable information on the complete homebuying process, including several sections on financing. They also offer a First Time Home Buying from A to Z podcast series which includes “providing advice, answering some questions and de-bunking the myths around buying a home, drawing on experts from a number of fields”. You can search any of the other lenders and find similar information on their websites.

2. Determine your Lender or Mortgage Broker

Like most Canadians, you will most likely have to finance your home purchase with a mortgage loan. Many institutions offer mortgages such as banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, pension funds, insurance companies and finance companies. Shop around like you would for any other product or service and speak with more than one lender as options, features and services will vary. Ask your builder about mortgage options as some may offer pre-arranged mortgages and other entitlements. Some buyers find that using a mortgage broker is helpful as they don’t work for any specific lender and their role is to find the lender with the terms and rates that will best suit the homebuyer.

3. Get Pre-Approved

A pre-approved mortgage can help you shop for your home with confidence and save you some valuable time in the decision making process. According to BMO Bank of Montreal, a pre-arranged mortgage will help you determine:
– what you can afford
– how much you can borrow
– how much of a mortgage payment you can handle
– what your interest rate will be for the term you’ve chosen
– what happens if interest rates rise while you are looking for a home

4. Find out if any additional assistance is available

Determine whether there are any other programs in your province such as home assistance plans. Check out the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan where consumers can borrow up to $25,000 tax-free (under proposed changes) or $50,000 for couples from their RRSP funds for the down payment and closing costs on their first home.

It’s important to do your homework, shop around and determine what you can afford to make financing your home a little less stressful.

Are there some additional first steps that a homeowner should consider when financing their new home purchase?

Why Buy a New Home?

So, you want to purchase your Dream Home. With the vast selection of homes on the market today, what do you choose – a new home or a resale? There are many factors to consider when making this crucial decision and you may find that purchasing a new home has certain advantages over a resale.

of home – you can choose a model based on your family’s lifestyle and needs
of features – you decide on which finishes, colours and upgrades your home will have
of modern designs – combining functional work spaces, lighting and living areas
of builder – do your homework and choose a reputable builder based on their skills, experience and quality of construction

Quality of Construction
New homes are built today using the latest construction codes and standards, advanced techniques and materials resulting in a solid, safe and comfortable home.

Energy Efficiency
Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, higher levels of insulation, more efficient windows and building techniques benefit both the customer and the environment.

You know what you expect when you purchase a new home. Costs are laid out and you don’t have to allow for repair bills or maintenance costs for some time to come. There is also the advantage of time and flexibility with respect to deposits.

With a standard New Home Warranty, the builder’s after-sales service program and the product manufacturers’ guarantees, you have the peace of mind that it’s covered.

Maintenance costs are much lower than a resale due to the fact that everything is new.

There’s a certain personal connection with a new home. You see what you get. You can follow the progress of construction at all stages and have your questions answered along the way. There’s nothing like the smell of new paint, floors and lumber and you savour the fact that you are the first to live and make memories in your new home.

Can you think of any other reasons why buying new is better?