11 Smart Upgrades to Consider Before It’s Too Late

Mon, 18 Dec by haidarealty

Some upgrades are difficult or impossible to do later. Tackle these projects now to save yourself the headache.

Houzz Contributor, Nicole Jacobs

Building a new home is a pleasure not everyone gets to experience. You get to construct your home exactly to your taste, with the components and finishes you want and can afford. Often you’ll be deciding what is worth the money to do now and what you’d prefer to save as a renovation project to do later. There are a number of factors to consider, including how long you plan to live in the home, whether you’ll be able to put upgrades directly onto your mortgage or pay out of pocket, and what upgrades are valuable for resale.

Upgrading later by doing it yourself can sometimes be a good plan allowing you to avoid paying the builder’s premium. But sometimes waiting will not only not save you money, it will cost you more in the end or create a headache when the upgrade is finally addressed.

So here is our now-or-never list: upgrades that will be difficult, costly or nearly impossible to do later. If you’re building a new home, you’d be wise to check these off the list now.

1. The Stairs

Before construction can begin, the builder has to finalize plans and submit them to your city, town or county for approval and permits. Depending on your builder and where you live, this may mean you’ll have an opportunity to make some changes to your plan prior to submission. One big element to address now is the staircase. If you’re building your home with a production builder — that is, a builder constructing a home development, usually in a suburban neighborhood — the typical builder’s-grade staircase is carpet over plywood. Unless you’re prepared to rip out the entire staircase later, which is no small feat, now is the time to request solid wood.

Wood staircases come in different varieties, so be sure to ask what your builder offers and at what additional charge. Wood upgrades are usually either oak or maple, which have very different looks. Oak has a heavier grain, while maple is smoother and more subtle in texture. These woods also differ on price, with maple being the more expensive.

Do you want a stair runner? If you’re on the fence, then wait. That way, you won’t have marks from installing the carpet left in your wood if you change your mind.

If you plan to upgrade to solid wood stairs, the other thing to consider is the flooring that abuts the staircase. The stairs are stained on site, and if you select a prefinished flooring, it’s important to ensure that the stain used on the staircase is the best possible match. Bear in mind that an exact match is unlikely, but you’ll usually be able to get pretty close. Ask questions and be involved in the stain selection process, or at least make sure the painter custom-mixes a stain to work with your flooring.

2. Recessed Lighting

While can lights themselves are generally inexpensive to buy at any big-box store, installing them is another matter. Avoid the hassle of an electrician cutting into your brand-new drywall to install the lights and switches. If your builder has an upgrade, just go for it now.

3. Tub and Shower

Two of the first elements to be installed in your home after framing are the bathtubs and showers. If you want an upgrade such as soaker tubs, jets or multiple shower heads, plan for it now. Once tubs and showers are installed and tiled, they require a sledgehammer to change out later.

4. Niches and Half Walls

Structural upgrades in the bathroom that would require a full remodel to do later are wise to tackle now. These include tiled niches — perfect for soap and shampoo bottles — as well as half walls for glass shower walls and doors.

You might also think about how you can incorporate niches and half walls in other areas of your home, perhaps for displaying art or partitioning rooms, respectively. Any remodel that requires framing and drywall is messy and disruptive, so unless you’re prepared to live with the dust, now is the time to discuss these ideas with your builder.

5. Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant floor heating is nice to have, especially in the bathroom to warm your tootsies on what would otherwise be cold tile. But this is one of those items that needs to be done before the tile is installed, so keep this in mind if it’s on your wish list. Installing it later is a big job that requires busting up the tile first and having a clean subfloor on which to install the product before tiling again.

6. Door From Garage to House

Some builders include this, while many offer it as an upgrade. Access from the garage to the house is a great feature, allowing you to avoid the elements. Because of grading, there are some circumstances where a door to the house from the garage is not possible. Be sure to ask so you aren’t surprised later.

7. Anything to Do With Windows

Have a close look at your plan and find out whether it’s possible to upgrade the windows or add more. Depending on your city’s bylaws regarding the percentage of glass you can have in correlation with the distance to the property line, your builder may be able to add a couple more windows to your plan or enlarge the ones that are already there. Also, if you like the look of windows with mullions, this may be an upgrade as well.

8. Gas Fireplace

To decide whether to tackle this project now or later, consider these facts about gas fireplace installation. For starters, you obviously need to run a gas line to the fireplace location. If you want your fireplace to be flush with the wall, you’ll usually need a foundational bump-out to support the weight of the unit, and that must be on the plans early. If you like the look of a flush fireplace wall, such as the one in this photo, building one later would become a pretty major structural renovation, so best to do it now.

If it’s too late to build the fireplace out the exterior wall, the unit must be installed into the room, usually framed into a drywall box-out. It’s possible that you’d be able to select the depth of the box-out — as in, how far into the room it will go — to accommodate flanking bookcases, for example. This is also a good opportunity to have an electrical outlet for your TV installed above the fireplace, if you desire. Also, if you require a gas line for your kitchen range, it’s best to do it now.

9. Insulation

An item that is really impossible to upgrade later is the type of insulation you have in your walls. Builders will usually use batt insulation at the minimum code requirement, but often you’re able to upgrade to a higher value batt, or a more expensive spray foam. Looking to have a future music or theater room? Ask about your soundproofing options now, as this affects both the type of insulation and drywall used.

10. A Future Basement Bathroom

One pretty valuable upgrade, in terms of function and resale value, is the basement bathroom. It’s inadvisable to finish a basement within the first year of its build. Among the reasons: The foundation needs time to settle, the concrete needs to dry and finishing it too early could void a new homeowner’s warranty. But preparing for finishing it is wise. Upgrading to add the basement bathroom rough-in, which means the ABS pipes and drains are in place and ready to go, is something that will be costly and disruptive to do later.

11. Tech Stuff

Anything that is wired in your walls is best done when the house is being built, along with your other electrical work. Think speakers, outlet placement, conduits for equipment wires, data ports, alarm systems or smart-home technologies. Again, punching holes in drywall all over your house to accommodate these items is more than an inconvenience, and it’s an expense you’ll want to dodge.

Holiday Fire Safety

Mon, 04 Dec by haidarealty

There is nothing like decorating your home for the holidays with fragrant candles, colorful lights, and festive bows and ribbons. But take steps to protect your family with some holiday fire safety.

This holiday season, when you are gathered around the fireplace with family and friends enjoying the smell of pine needles from your freshly cut tree, a little holiday fire safety can give you peace of mind.

Holiday Candles and Fire Prevention

Fragrant candles can add a festive flare to a room, but take precautions to avert a fire by making sure that your candle is placed on a heat resistant base and never leave your candle burning when you are not in the room. Keep your candles high up where children cannot reach, and do not under any circumstances leave your home without extinguishing your candles. One unattended candle can cause terrible damage and at the very least, ruin your holidays.

Lighting and Holiday Fire Safety

Holiday lights and lighted trees add a celebratory cheer to your home, but use these fire prevention tips to keep your family and you’re home safe. Check all electric plug-ins and extension cords. Make certain the plug-in has a place for a ground wire. Check the extension cord for splits in the wire.

  1. Never run extension cords under a rug.
  2. Do not overload extension cords.
  3. Equip your home with a fire extinguisher.
  4. If you plan on using your lights outdoors, make sure the lights you are using are rated for outdoors.

Fireplace Safety

Gathering with friends and family around the fireplace can keep you cozy and warm your heart. Be sure to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected every year to avoid disasters and keep your family safe. Do not dispose of Christmas wrapping by burning it in your fireplace.

If you have a live tree, water it often to preserve the pine needles — this is especially important if your tree is located close to the fireplace or wood stove. As beautiful as your tree may be, remember pine needles are very flammable. Many deadly fires have been caused by family Christmas trees with lights that are plugged into defective wiring or trees that are dried out.

Oven Fire Safety

Christmas cookies and other holiday treats are great this time of year, but watch out for burns and keep all plastic away from the oven heat — burning plastic is toxic.

Count Your Blessings

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the holidays and celebrate with family and friends worry free, and concentrate on what this time of year is all about, counting your blessings.

Can Hardwood Flooring Ever Be Used in a Basement?

Fri, 24 Nov by haidarealty

Recent innovations in building materials and installation have led many homeowners to think about installing hardwood flooring in finished basements. However, before selecting flooring, consider the moisture level in your basement and how you intend to use the added living space.

Will the finished basement be a children’s play area, a teenagers’ “Wii Central,” or a home gym? If any of the above, a highly durable flooring material should be preferred. If you plan to use the space to entertain friends and family, you may want a more formal look.

To accurately gauge potential issues, spend some time observing moisture patterns in your basement. An odor of mold or mildew is one clue to hidden dampness. Check your sump pump activity. Does it switch on frequently? If it does, can you pinpoint the reason why? Do you find puddles on the floor every time an inch of rain falls? To answer these questions reliably, you may need to live in your home for months or years.

Hardwood Flooring

Although hardwood flooring is a timeless choice, humidity levels below ground, even in dry basements, are too inconsistent for this material. According to flooring manufacturer Armstrong engineered hardwood may be an option in some basements due to its multi-ply structure. Constructed with perpendicular layers of wood, engineered wood is more resistant than traditional hardwood—which is typically one solid layer— to moisture damage and the warping caused by temperature shifts.

Laminate Flooring

In the past 10–15 years, laminate floors have gained popularity due to their ability to mimic the appearance of wood. A photographic image of wood grain is printed on compressed fiberboard and then covered with a clear finish. Well-made laminates closely resemble wood, are easy to clean, and resist scratches and scuff marks unlike real hardwood flooring. As for installation, laminate pieces generally snap and lock together and can be laid directly on top of a base floor of tile or concrete. In basements, an additional vapor layer made of a material such as plastic is recommended as a moisture barrier.


Carpet lends a warm, comfortable feel to a basement. However, the downside of this choice is that whereas carpet can withstand small leaks, the layer of padding below it will absorb water like a sponge and will need in time to be replaced. Carpet tiles are more expensive than rolled carpet, but if water intrusion is limited to a small area of your basement, the replacement of only a few tiles costs less than recarpeting the entire floor. If you like the look of carpet but want to limit spending, consider searching for an adequately sized remnant to cover your base flooring.

Home Gym Flooring

If you go the home gym route, rubber flooring can be directly installed instead of laminate or carpet, and gym mats can be placed on top. Rubber flooring provides the necessary support for home workouts and adds a professional gym look to your décor.

Vinyl and Tile

If you have a history of water issues, sheet vinyl and ceramic tile are two classic basement flooring options and are among the least likely to be damaged by moisture. Vinyl is sometimes installed over a wood subfloor because the concrete layer is not perfectly flat, but water can seep through cracks in the vinyl and damage the wood below. Ceramic tile, on the other hand, is impenetrable.

A DIY project for the cooler months ahead.

Tue, 14 Nov by haidarealty

Camouflage Electronics with This DIY Floating Entertainment Center

Clear Your Calendar! This DIY project will take some time but the end result is gorgeous.

Whether you’re staging your home to be sold or just settling into a new space, curating an inviting living room atmosphere is important. One of the biggest decorating challenges Americans face today is hiding the wires, accessory consoles and harsh silhouettes of electronics. But you can seamlessly integrate technology into your cozy living room by framing your system with the relaxed texture of shiplap to balance out that cold manufactured feeling and add interest to your space.

The blackness of a TV often looks stark against walls, so adding a dark background behind it helps to mask that. I chose to paint my DIY shiplap floating entertainment center a deep charcoal so the TV and its consoles would blend in with it. The texture of the shiplap and the extra space above the TV guides the eye to something other than the electronics to create a cozier space. Here’s how you can build your own floating entertainment center.

Determining Size

Decide where you want to install your wall-mounted unit and how big it will be. Hanging it near an outlet and your cable jack is a helpful way to keep everything connected without too much fuss. As for size, that will depend on your space. Leave some room around the shiplap itself, so it doesn’t overwhelm the wall. The final measurement of the piece I’ve created around our 29” TV is 4 feet wide by 52 ¾ inches tall. If your desired size differs from mine, you’ll probably need more or less wood.


  • Cordless power drill
  • Random orbital sander
  • Sliding miter saw
  • 1” x 8” x 8’ Premium Eastern White Pine Shiplap 3-piece box
  • 1” x 12” x 8’ pine board
  • 1”x 12” x 10’ pine board
  • 2 ½” cabinet screws
  • 2” wood screws
  • Small utility hinges
  • Magnetic cabinet catch
  • 1 ½” spade or a Forstner bit (the hole needs to be just bigger than the plugs you’re putting through it)
  • 1” spade or Forstner bit (for the finger hole on the door)
  • Countersink bit
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line (painter’s tape would work, too)
  • Stud finder
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Your choice of paint (knots may bleed through, so if you’re painting it a light color you’ll want to use a great primer to prevent this. I used a paint/primer combo for ours)
  • Paint roller
  • Small paint brush
  • Power strip
  • In-wall power cord and cable kit (optional)
  • Dust mask
  • Protective eyewear
  • Rag
  • Spacer for planks (optional; I used two stacked quarters)
  • Wood filler
  • Twist ties

Step 1: In a well-ventilated area, while wearing a dust mask and goggles, cut your shiplap to create six planks that are each four feet long. These will be the visible planks above the box shelf.

Step 2: Cut the pine planks into the following box shelf materials. Once constructed, this box will rest just under the shiplap panels:

  • (3) 4-foot pieces (for the top, bottom and back)
  • (4) 9-and-11/16-inch pieces (for the sides and dividers)
  • (1) 18-inch piece (for the door)

Step 3: Decide where your cord holes will go and drill them accordingly with the larger spade bit. If you plan to use an in-wall power cord and cable kit, which helps to route coaxial cables and power cords through the wall so they’re truly invisible, then you’ll only need one hole in your unit directly behind where the TV sits. We wove our cords through the unit to a power strip in the center shelf then through two dividers in the shelving so it would reach an outlet.

This meant we needed three spade bit holes: one in the top of the box just behind the TV, one in the divider that connects the middle section of the shelf to the right section and one from the right section out the side of the shelf. We then masked the few inches of visible power cord with a crate of extra blankets and throw pillows for aesthetic purposes.

Step 4: Use the smaller spade bit to drill a finger hole in the top center of the door.

Step 5: With a slightly damp cloth, wipe the rabbet (the tongue-like edging) to remove any dust from sawing and sanding. Give this a few minutes to dry, then paint the rabbet with your chosen paint color so you don’t have to try to paint in the grooves after the unit is hung. I didn’t paint the grooves ahead of time, but ended up wishing I had!

Step 6: Break out the sander and smooth those surfaces! This helps the paint stick and keeps the project looking polished.

Step 7: Use the stud finder to locate the studs in your wall and mark them with a chalk line or painter’s tape. Then, using the dimensions of the unit itself, decide and mark its exact placement. We spread our unit across three studs to distribute the weight.

Step 8 (Optional): If you want to install the in-wall power cord and cable kit, now’s the time to work on that. Follow the instructions on your kit to completely hide all coaxial and power cables for your TV, cable box and consoles. This seamlessly integrates your electronics into the entertainment unit, but because of the placement of our unit and outlets, we could skip this step.

Step 9: Mark and drill pilot holes for the screws in your shiplap where it will meet the studs. Make sure you lay your boards out in the appropriate direction when you do this because the screw holes will probably not be centered. Do the same in the pine plank that will serve as the back of the shelf. I used two screws per board per stud for the shiplap and four cabinet screws per stud to attach the pine box shelf. After the pilot holes are drilled, use a countersink bit with your drill so you can fill in the holes later with wood putty to produce a seamless, floating look on the shiplap.

Step 10: Build the box shelf! Use wood glue and a clamp to join one of your 4-foot pine planks with a 9-and-11/16-inch board at a 90-degree angle. Adjoin these with wood screws, then remove the clamp. Use this same technique to attach the other two sides of the box shelf, wiping away any excess glue with a rag.

Step 11: Measure and mark where your shelf dividers will go, then secure them in place in the same manner as before.

Step 12: Turn the shelf front-side-down and securely attach the backing.

Step 13: Grab a partner to hold the shelf in place on the wall and, with the help of a level, screw the shelf securely into the studs.

Step 14: From here, stack the shiplap one plank at a time directly above the shelf and screw through your pilot holes into the studs as you go. I wanted a little more groove visible than what was natural for this siding, so I used two stacked quarters as makeshift spacers in the grooves as I screwed the shiplap to the wall, but fence spacers would work, too. If you do the quarter trick, use four quarters (two toward each end) to ensure you’ve got a level groove.

Step 15: Follow the directions on your wood filler to repair the screw holes and any joints you don’t want visible (like the corners of the shelf portion). Once the wood filler has dried, sand it down.

Step 16: Attach the door to the middle portion of the shelf with two small utility hinges attached to the bottom of the unit and a magnetic cabinet catch on the top inside of the door.

Step 17: Wipe away dust from screwing and sanding with a clean, damp rag. When the wood has dried, use a roller to paint the shiplap and a brush to get inside the shelf. You may need several coats of paint to cover the surface evenly.

Once all the paint is dry, the fun part begins! Weave your coaxial wiring through the holes you’ve created so they’re invisible inside the center box and behind decor on the open shelves (twist ties can hold extra lengths in place), then style the shelves to your taste. Try hanging a boxwood wreath in the center of the shiplap or draping a banner between the top corners. This is a great place to easily swap out seasonal decor!

With all those distracting wires and devices corralled and a deep charcoal frame to camouflage your electronics, you’ll have more opportunity to add little touches of personality to your living area. Now pick a movie, pop some popcorn and prop those feet up to enjoy your brand new floating entertainment center!

Remembrance Day

Fri, 10 Nov by haidarealty

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

Our 5 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

Tue, 27 Jun by haidarealty

Our 5 Reasons Your Home Isn’t Selling

If your home has been sitting on the market, you could be doing one of these key selling points wrong.

When your home doesn’t attract the attention that you were hoping for, it can be difficult to feel optimistic. Many homeowners begin to panic, and end up doing things like lowering their asking price too soon or switching their real estate agent.

While these steps can help if timed properly and carefully considered, often they produce no more results than being patient would have.

5 Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling

So, how do you navigate the sale of your home when you are feeling time-crunched and doubtful? How can you be strategic and make the right moves at the right time?

The first step is to understand why your home isn’t selling. Without understanding why, it can be nearly impossible to determine the right course of action.

In this blog, we are focusing on the five main reasons homes sit on the market.

They are:

  1. The Price

Did you compare your home to similar homes in your area when deciding on your price? Did you consult a real estate agent and have a proper evaluation done? It’s natural to want to get as much money as possible out of the sale of your home, but if you’re too high out of the gate, you could be limiting the number of people who check out your property. Sometimes it is worthwhile to come down, just to open up your pool of potential buyers. If there has been little to no interest in your listing, it may be time to do a double-check on your asking price and adjust as needed.

  1. The Condition

It’s a tough call to make: renovating before a sale in hopes you’ll get your investment back, or sell as is and settle for a lower price. If you only did minor updates and repairs (or none at all), viewers could be taking notice. Homebuyers don’t want to think about all the things they’ll have to fix or improve when looking for their next home. It leaves a sour taste in their mouth. Things like stained carpets, chipped or cracked flooring tiles, out-of-date wallpaper, brass fixtures, closet doors that don’t open, or color schemes from the 70’s could be the difference between making a sale or not. Ask your realtor if they have heard any feedback on the condition of your home, or get a second opinion from an industry expert. Knowing what you’re working with is half the battle.

  1. The Atmosphere

Much like when dining at a restaurant, the atmosphere of the room can have just as much impact on a customer as the taste of the food itself. If viewers are coming to your home only to be greeted by the noise of construction next door, or the smell of pet odors, or surfaces covered in dirt and dust, they aren’t going to remember your property as fondly. Making your home inviting and welcoming is an essential part of the selling process. Fresh flowers, baked goods, a neat and tidy garden… all of these things add to the experience of viewing your space. Ask yourself, “what can I do to make viewings more enjoyable for potential buyers?”. If you aren’t sure, consult a professional. This could be the reason you aren’t getting any offers!

  1. The Personalization

You and your family may have thought removing a bedroom to make more space for bigger kitchen was a great idea. You probably loved the jungle-themed wallpaper for your child’s bedroom or the idea of leaving your collection of action figures on display for visitors to see. But for potential buyers who don’t share your appreciation for these things, they can be off-putting. It’s important to remember that your home isn’t meant to please you during the selling process, it’s meant to be a space that viewers can envision themselves in. Keeping things neutral, clean and de-cluttered is always the best idea!

  1. The Marketing

If all of the above suggestions are being implemented, the problem could be the real estate agent or team you have working for you, and their marketing efforts. Have they been holding open houses? Have they been promoting your listing online? Have they been checking in regularly with you regarding interest in your property? If not, your sale could be suffering for it. Your real estate agent should be making themselves available to both you and potential buyers, making sure your property is listed on real estate websites, and promoting your listing effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask what your agent’s strategy is, what they have done within the last week or so, and if they plan to adjust their approach. You have a right to know!

Interested in learning more about how you can improve your chances of selling your home? One of our dedicated real estate agents would be happy to help!

Call 780-986-4711 today!

Are You Ready?

Mon, 08 May by haidarealty

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?

Should I buy a home? Or should I rent? Read on to find out if you are ready for homeownership.

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge on your dream home. But are you really ready to own it, or should you consider renting? Home ownership is often touted as a popular facet of the American Dream. But buying a home is not something you do on a whim. Rather, it’s a deliberate process that involves assessing your life to determine if buying a house is a financially sound step for you. Here are some signals that you might be ready for homeownership.

You Are Debt Free

You know you’re ready to buy a home when you are debt-free. Not only would paying a monthly mortgage seem like a herculean task, but getting a mortgage lender to finance your home could be difficult as well.

Lenders often decide to lend based on the debt-to-income ratio. The debt-to-income ratio is related to your total monthly debt to gross monthly income. The higher this number, the more difficult it is to receive financing. If a large portion of your income is going to pay off your pre-existing loans, you have to ask yourself if you can really afford to pay off another huge loan. If you are still paying off your auto loans, student loans, and credit card debts, or have a debt-to-income ratio of more than 43%, now might not be a good time to buy a house.

You Can Afford a Down Payment

A down payment is a percentage of the total price of the home that you pay up-front. The number one hurdle that potential house-buyers face is this initial investment.

How much should you put down as down payment? The standard amount is 20% of the asking price of the house. This is the ideal percentage to keep your monthly mortgage check low and manageable. A 20% or higher down payment will also allow you to refinance your future home at a lower interest rate.

Being able to afford a healthy down payment shows your lenders that you are capable of saving, and that you are serious about your investment. This payment negates the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which gives your lender protection in an event where the buyer stops paying their mortgage.

03.10 are you ready to buy a home - laptop

The 5-Year Rule

If you’re planning to stay in one place for at least 5 years, that’s a great time to buy a home. The reason is that this long-term commitment helps build equity.

Equity is the difference between the appraised value of your house and the balance left to pay as mortgage. One thing to be aware of is mortgage amortization, which is how mortgage payments are calculated: how much goes toward paying off the principal amount, and how much goes toward paying the interest.

At the beginning, more of your payment goes towards paying interest than principal balance. But after making enough payments, as you get closer to paying off the remaining balance on your loan, more money will go to pay the principal amount rather than interest. Each month, equity on the house increases. Five years is a good benchmark to develop enough equity to sell your house for a profit, which may be used to make a bigger down payment on your next house.

You Have an Emergency Fund

Life is full of curve balls, and you should be prepared for those, especially financially. Another great indication that you’re ready to purchase a home is that you have an emergency fund reserved for unexpected events like lay-offs, car repairs, renovations, emergency medical expenses, etc. It’s a good idea to build a safety net before investing in a house. A good benchmark is to have 6 months’ worth of income saved up in a savings account. This gives you a healthy blanket of financial security to handle any financial setbacks that might come your way. Emergency funds should be kept separate from your down payment.

03.10 are you ready to buy a home - couple with key

You Can Afford the Associated Fees of Buying a Home

Buying a home requires more than just being able to afford the sticker price. There are several costs that may not be mentioned up-front that most new buyers don’t consider. Educating yourself about all these fees, which can add up to a substantial expense, will put you in a better position to tackle what many new buyers might consider as an unexpected blow to their home-buying plans.

Home inspections, closing costs (an umbrella term that includes several costs like lender fees, title fees, home appraisal, and Escrow fees, etc.), moving costs, property taxes, home insurance, higher monthly utility bills, homeowner’s association (HOA) fees, along with maintenance, furnishing, and renovation expenses are all costs that many potential home-buyers overlook. Make sure that you have enough savings stacked up to cover these expenses.

Now that you know what to look for, find out How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent to learn the 6 factors to keep in mind when seeking the best agent for your house hunting.

Easter Ideas

Tue, 11 Apr by haidarealty

20 Creative Easter Egg Ideas to DYE For

20 Egg-cellent Egg Dying Ideas for Easter

Easter is just a few days away which means it is almost time to dye eggs!

I have so many fond memories of dying eggs at home. My mom was always unbelievably patient with me…even when I tried dying our eggs before boiling them in water. (What a mess!) And I will also never forget finding an egg weeks later hidden behind our piano…another oops.

For those who celebrate, I am sure you can remember the good old days of buying the Paas egg kit that came with those little round tablets that you had to drop into vinegar. Somehow your hands always ended up getting stained an odd greenish brown color. I really wish I had known about this GENIUS idea. Today there are so many options! Eggs kits that have glitter, stickers, sparkles and pretty much anything you can think of.

For those who want to skip the kit and think “outside the carton” here are 20 unique ideas for making beautiful Easter eggs. Want to learn how to make these eggs? Simply click the link of the blog where there egg-cellent ideas came from for instructions. 

Monogram Eggs | Lil’ Luna

Monogram Easter Eggs

Natural Dye Colored Eggs | Big Sis Lil Sis

Rubber Band Rainbow Eggs | Inkspired Musings

Watercolor Eggs | Alisa Burke

Flower Pressed Egg | The Magic Onions

String Eggs | Craftberry Bush

Glitter Eggs | Sew and the City

Edible Eggs | Barefoot Witch in the Kitchen

Chalk Eggs | Shelterness

Rhinestone Eggs | Martha Stewart

Metallic Eggs | Think Crafts

Sequin Eggs | Craft Ideas

Sweet Note Eggs | Lil’ Luna

Black and White Easter Eggs | Obviously Sweet

Tissue Paper Eggs | Aunt Peaches 

Waxed Eggs | Magic Onions

Elegant Eggs | Country Living

Punched Eggs | Lolly Chops

3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me as a First Time Home Buyer

Tue, 28 Mar by haidarealty

Wondering if it may be time to buy your first home? Take a look at this before you get started.

As I approach my four year “homeaversary” I decided to take a moment to reflect on all that I had on my mind as my husband and I prepared to make the biggest purchase of our lives. Here are some of the things I wish I had known sooner that I hope will help you, or someone you, know on their journey toward home ownership.

You Don’t Pay The Agent’s Commission as the Buyer

So many first time buyers wonder, “do you have to pay a real estate agent if you are buying a home?” For some, the thought of having to shell out extra cash when they are already doing all they can to save for their down payment is enough to make them walk away from the entire process before they even get going. Many are surprised to find out that the answer is actually no. A home buyer does not pay their agent, rather the agent earns their commission from the seller side of the transaction.*

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Focus on Your Monthly Mortgage Payment, Not the Entire Thing

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is generally the first step you should take as a first time buyer. A common mistake that people often make is focusing on the total price of the home they can afford instead of the monthly payment they will be making. You may get approved for a $350,000 home, but this may not necessarily be what you can truly afford. Think of the amount your advisor suggests you can afford as a range. There is a high end and a low end and it is your job, not the mortgage advisor’s, to figure out what you are comfortable paying each month. It is crucial that you work with your advisor to understand how your down payment amount, credit, and the current mortgage rate affect your monthly payment.

Make the Jump!

To steal a line from Nike®…Just Do It™! From agonizing over the down payment to finding the “perfect” home there are a ton of moments in the first time buying process that are going to make you feel nervous. Know that it is natural and that similar to having a baby, there is never really a 100% perfect time. You are always going to wish you had more money in the bank, hope that the home had a backyard that was just a little bigger, or that you were just a little more sure what direction your life will be taking in the next 5-10 years. My advice: if you feel comfortable with the payment, love the location and “bones” of the house and will feel proud to make this house a home, then take the leap and don’t look back.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.