Get Your Home Organized With This Back-to-School Checklist

1. Set Up a Homework Zone

Minimize struggles over homework by setting up a homework zone stocked with all of the supplies your student will need, like notebook paper, glue and markers for special projects. A spacious desk is great for spreading out books, but if your child prefers to work at the kitchen counter, consider stocking a portable homework cart instead.

2. Give Bedrooms a Mini Makeover

If your child is making a big transition this year (say, from preschool to kindergarten, or elementary to middle school), it can be nice to mark the moment with a mini makeover, honoring how your child has grown. And it doesn’t need to be expensive to make a big impact: Put up a world map or new poster, do a DIY project like repainting a chest or swap out the bedding.

3. Record Important Dates on the Calendar

Between school holidays, birthdays and extracurricular activities, it can take some awe-inspiring mental gymnastics to keep everyone’s schedules straight. Whether you use a digital calendar or a big family wall calendar, take the time before the beginning of school to record all of the important dates for the year ahead — you’ll thank yourself later.

4. Make Some Meals Ahead

If you can find an hour or two to get ahead on meal planning and prep, you’ll appreciate it when life gets super busy. Make a few meals to store in the freezer, chop veggies for upcoming recipes and stash them in containers in the fridge, or gather lunch-making components in one central location. Even simply sitting down with a notebook (or your smartphone) and drawing up a meal plan for the next few weeks’ worth of dinners can be a huge help.

5. Create an After-School Snack Zone

When the troops come home tired and hungry, it’s a relief to be able to point the way to a self-serve healthy-snack station. Fill a few baskets at kid height with choices like seeds, dried fruit and whole-grain crackers. Tuck a special snack basket in the fridge too, with fresh options like precut veggies, fruit, yogurt and cheeses.

6. Stash Get-Out-the-Door Essentials Where You Use Them

After the hundredth time I found myself running upstairs to grab the hairbrush and sunscreen stick, I realized (duh) that it would be easier to keep these items near the front door instead. Think through your family’s morning routine and keep your own list of essentials (lunch money? a pen for signing permission slips?) in a drawer near the door.

7. Plan Ahead for Paper Chaos

It’s amazing how quickly the paper can swamp you, especially at the beginning of a new school year. To help tame the chaos, create new files for school papers, and pick up a portfolio for artwork and a keepsake box for storing mementos and 3-D projects. When school starts, you will have a few easy spots where you can sort and stash items, so you’re not tempted to let things pile up.

8. Take Stock of Wardrobes

Have kids try on clothes to see what still fits and make a list of what they need before you buy anything else. Keep hand-me-downs that don’t fit yet in another spot (like underbed bins) to make more space. Pick out a few outfits for the first week of school and put them together on hangers or in easy-to-grab baskets.

9. Decide on Guidelines for Screen Time

Minimize the inevitable battles over after-school screen time by setting some guidelines before the new school year begins. Take the time to consider what is most important to you as a parent. Do you want to be sure your child is getting outdoors and being active, getting homework done or helping out with chores around the house, or a combination of these? Make a chart of items your child can check off, clearly outlining what needs to happen before screen time is allowed.

10. Create a Dedicated Space for Each Child’s Daily Gear

If you have the room, providing a separate cubby, locker or shelf and hook for each family member is a smart way to stay organized. If your entry is combined with another space (like the kitchen or living room), choose storage with doors that close so you can hide the mess. Short on space? Hang a few wall hooks for holding backpacks and clipboards (good for keeping school papers neat and within reach), and place a basket on the floor to hold shoes.

11. Pick a Central Spot to Stash Library Books

Whether it’s a certain shelf or basket, or a bookbag on a hook, be sure everyone in the house knows where the spot for storing library books is, and get in the habit of using it. It also helps to keep a list posted (or access your record online) of all the books currently checked out, so you know which ones to track down before you head out to make returns.

12. Inspire Your Clan With a Family Photo Wall

If you’ve been procrastinating putting all of those treasured family pictures and vacation photos into frames and up on the wall, set a date to get it done before the rush of a new school year sweeps away your motivation. Walking by your family photo wall as you come and go each day is one of those simple pleasures that can really lift your spirit and remind you of the best parts of being a family.

13. Schedule Downtime

There’s no denying that the back-to-school period is exciting and demanding — but I think that’s all the more reason to schedule extra downtime. Keep the summer spirit alive a bit longer by keeping those first weekends free.

Canmore Real Estate NewsGram - August/September 2019

Year to Date Sale Numbers up 14%

We hope that you have been enjoying your summer.  After a tough start weather wise Canmore and Banff are enjoying long warm days, perfect for all your mountain adventures.  2019 has continued to be very strong with year to date number of sales being 14% higher than last year, and 9% higher than July 2017. 

Our listing inventory is rising which can be typical for this time of year, but we are seeing the majority of this increase in the Single Family Homes and Townhomes.  Residential Apartments and Hotel Condo inventory is low, and staying quite stable.

The reports are coming in for the Hotel Condo market and it looks like this summer is going to be very strong again.  While it is hard to view these properties through the summer it can be a good time to get your groundwork done so you can act when the time is right.

The local market is continuing to be very completive with some multiple offer situations occurring for the most coveted options.  Typically the local market picks up in Fall as many local Bow Valley Residents along with Albertans can take their eyes off of their work a little to make some plans before Winter.

Contact us to determine when properties are available to be viewed. Please let us know if you would like a valuation on your Bow Valley property, you might be surprised, as values have continued to rise.

The graph above shows the rolling one year average sales price for all Banff and Canmore property types (single family, duplex, townhouse, apartment, hotel condo & lots) from 2016 - 2019 (August 1 - July 31).

Click the link for the full NewsGram! August/September 2019 NewsGram

What are Closing Costs? An Insider’s Guide To Condo Purchases and Fees

Every so often, a story will appear in the news: “Condo buyers caught off guard by closing costs.” Someone purchases a condo or a house without doing their homework. As the sale goes through, they’re surprised to find that there are fees that they didn’t budget for.

It’s unfortunate that high closing costs surprise some people. But the truth is, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Buying property can be a challenging process, and it’s one of the most expensive. If you’re spending all that money, you should be doing your research!

Closing costs can be a bit mystifying at times. That’s why in today’s article, we’ll help clear up the confusion around closing costs. Here are some of the most expensive closing costs that investors should factor into their accounting.

What are Closing Costs: Deposit
The deposit should come as no surprise. You’ll need to pay a certain percentage of the price of the condo on signing, and throughout the building process. Make sure you know exactly what the payment structure is, and ask for this in writing up front. One advantage to new condo builds is that builders break up the deposit structure into smaller amounts. That way, you don’t have to pay the deposit all at once. You can space it out into three or four smaller payments over a few months to a few years. A 20% dump of cash can be a little intimidating! But, many developers accept four 5% payments over the course of the building process. This is much more manageable!

The deposit makes up a large part of the fees, but don’t get comfortable – the little stuff adds up!

What are Closing Costs: CMHC Insurance Premium 
Are you going to put less than 20% down on your condo? If so, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will charge you a premium on your mortgage insurance.

This varies from province to province, but is typically between 0.5% and 2.5% of the principal of the mortgage insurance.

Often, this fee can be factored into your mortgage and you don’t have to pay it up front. Most real estate investments require a minimum of 20%, so you likely won’t need to consider the CMHC fee.

What are Closing Costs: Legal Fees 
Legal fees are another standard closing cost. Depending on the lawyer you use, you’ll pay between $1,000 and $2,500 in legal fees.

It’s important to choose a competent lawyer to take care of your condo’s closing. Condos are a big purchase. You want to make sure you dot those i’s and cross those t’s!

What are Closing Costs: Other Fees the Builder May Pass to You 
A savvy investor knows how to ask the right questions when buying a property. There are some important questions you, too, should be asking. What other fees are the builder passing on? Will the builder cap closing costs?

Other fees you need to consider, but may not be necessary depending on your situation are:

Home inspection
GST, where applicable
Title insurance, and Utility service deposits
Builder and Educational levies

Generally speaking, closing costs usually add up to 1-4% of the purchase price. Although a 1% difference in closing cost may seem small, it could be thousands of dollars. The more homework you do, the better prepared you’ll be for your purchase. And the less likely fees will surprise you.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Note: This article has been revised for the Alberta market. Please click the link below for the original article:
Canadian Real Estate Wealth - What are closing costs? An insider's guide to condo purchases and fees