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Tips for Buying a New Home

Buying a new home can be a large undertaking with many moving parts. Before signing on the dotted line, consider the following when purchasing a home:

  • Your lifestyle needs—Finding a home that fits your specific lifestyle needs is a large part of the homebuying process. Do you want to live close to downtown, or would you prefer to live outside the city? Do you want space to maintain a yard or garden? Where would you like your children to attend school? All of these questions can bring you closer to narrowing down what type of home will work for you.
  • Your budget—After you’ve determined which type of house will best fit your lifestyle, it’s important to decide on a budget that will allow for a comfortable monthly mortgage payment. In addition, be sure to take insurance costs, taxes, monthly maintenance fees, repair costs and more into consideration when determining a budget. Legal and administrative fees during closing typically range from 1 to 4 per cent of the selling price, and should be kept in mind during budget discussions. Meet with a financial representative to help determine what you can afford.
  • Your real estate agent—The right real estate agent will work to meet your needs and guide you through negotiations and the closing process. Interview a few different agents and request references.
  • Your builder—As you begin looking into the homebuying process, building may end up being the best option for you. Ask for references from friends and family and see if they were satisfied with their builder.
  • Your pre-delivery inspection (PDI)—Should you choose to build, this inspection is likely the first time you’ll visit your new home. You’ll learn how to operate and maintain the home, and ensure that everything has been built in accordance with your purchase agreement.

For more homebuying tips, contact The Hull Group today.


Tips for Driving in the Winter

Snow and ice are very common during wintertime in Canada and can make driving conditions dangerous for even the most seasoned of drivers. A new survey conducted by belairdirect found that 44 per cent of Canadians admit to feeling nervous or anxious about winter driving, and most respondents indicated that they are not fully prepared for winter driving conditions.

Stay in control when it’s slippery—Never slam on the brakes when the roads are slick. Pumping the brakes will help you come to a stop safely. Don’t brake hard or accelerate when turning a corner.While staying home during stormy winter weather is ideal, it’s not always realistic. When driving is unavoidable, keep the following tips in mind to make your journey as safe as possible:

  • Clear snow and ice off your vehicle—Clearing the snow off your car helps ensure that there’s visibility from the driver’s seat. Brush off windows, taillights, headlights and the hood of your car. Snow on the roof of your car can become dislodged when you decelerate and can cover the windshield, which is a fineable offence in some provinces.
  • Keep a safe distance—Drive slowly during snowstorms, and be sure to leave distance between your car and other vehicles on the road. Even if you are comfortable driving in the snow, there are other less experienced drivers on the road who can be hazardous in snowy conditions.
  • Stay on main roads—Snow plows and salt trucks will most likely maintain main routes first before getting to the back roads and side streets. Keep this in mind when planning your trip.
  • See and be seen—Make sure you’re visible to all pedestrians and motorists by keeping your headlights clear of snow and turned on. Focus on the road, and don’t drive distracted. It can be difficult to see other vehicles in your blind spot, so drive slowly and focused.

Being prepared to drive in Canadian winter conditions can help keep you and other drivers safe on the road.


hydro problem

How to Save Money on Your Hydro Bill During Winter

Freezing temperatures can take their toll on Canadians’ wallets during the wintertime, but staying warm doesn’t need to break the bank. Save on hydro with these tips:

  1. Dial down the thermostat—Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can save about 3 per cent off of your heating bill. While you might be reluctant, there are plenty of other ways to stay warm. Bundle up in a sweater, slippers and blanket, and utilize a space heater to warm up the room you’re using.
  2. Turn off and switch out lights—Turning off lights when you leave a room can save a lot of money off your electricity bill. Energy-efficient LED and CFL lights can also be used in your house to save some money.
  3. Unplug appliances—Televisions, microwaves, toasters, laptops and other appliances drain energy even when they’re turned off. Unplug them when they’re not in use to lower your electricity bill.

Save energy and stay warm this winter by integrating the above tips into your household routine.