Do You Need A Contractor For Your Home Repairs?

We all know that owning a home can require a lot of maintenance, upkeep, and repairs. This can take a lot out of us mentally, physically and financially depending on how much of the work you can do on your own and how much you need to hire a contractor to do.

Some people like to get their hands dirty and do all of the work themselves. I fall into that category since I have bought and sold many homes where I have not hired a single contractor. Luckily, if you are like me and want to save a lot of money, there is a little website called YouTube. You can usually find several videos, if not hundreds of videos that teach you how to complete the task. However, you have to be very careful with these videos since many of the people on YouTube don’t have a clue what they are doing. So, you need to take some time and figure out who you can trust and filter out the people that don’t seem to be an authority. Here are some tips on finding a good video to follow and learn from:

  • Watch at least 10 videos from different people to get a feel for the basic techniques of the job
  • Read the comments below to see if people liked the video and agreed with the content
  • Check the number of views and how many thumbs up they got versus thumbs down. Their views should be in at least the thousands and the majority of the ratings should be a thumbs up.
  • Make sure you watch videos that show you how to do work in Canada and preferably in Alberta, since they will adhere to local building and construction standards that were written for our cold climate.
  • Talk to the designated experts at Lowes or Home Depot to get their take on how to do the job. Some of them are retired contractors, so they might have some great advice for you. Of course some won’t be helpful at all, but eventually you talk to one that has a lot of knowledge. Go at different times of the day or different stores so that you can talk to different employees until you get your answers.
  • Take your time and fully understand what you are going to do and how you are going to do it, before starting.

Once you have a plan of action, give yourself plenty of time to get the work done, since you will probably make some mistakes and get frustrated with the project at some point.

Here is a list of jobs that most people can comfortably tackle and get good results:

  • Painting is really easy and can save you a lot of money.
  • Drywall repairs can get messy but you can get good at it with some practice
  • Laminate and hardwood floors are not that hard
  • Electrical outlets and light fixtures are easy to change if you are comfortable with the danger factor – turn off the breaker.
  • Plumbing is not rocket science but seems to scare a lot of people.
  • Concrete work (minor)
  • Counter tops and cabinets are a little bit more challenging
  • Baseboards
  • Landscaping
  • Vinyl siding
I would not recommend that you take on large exterior projects like pouring a new concrete driveway, replacing your roof, or repairing badly damaged stucco. Those could turn into very expensive messes to fix if you do something wrong. For jobs like that, I have used these guys with great results http://50stucco.com/
The bottom line is don’t be afraid to try something new if you really want to save money. If you can afford to hire someone or don’t have the time, hire a professional to do the job. Just make sure you read their reviews on Google and other websites. If they have more bad reviews than good, you should stay far away from them.

C4101140 : Just Listed

This wonderful 3 bedroom townhouse is in Point McKay, situated next to the Bow River pathways/bikeways, Edworthy Park and just minutes from the Foothills Hospital, Children’s Hospital, University of Calgary, Market Mall and downtown Calgary. The main area of this stunning home showcases a beautiful white kitchen with new ceiling height cabinets, new quartz countertops, black appliances, and a large walk-in pantry. Just off the kitchen is the elegant dining room overlooking the warm and inviting living room, with its vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and corner fireplace. From there, patio doors lead out to a large south facing deck and a green space with an abundance of trees. The upper level features the master retreat, tiled ensuite with walk -in shower, 2 additional large bedrooms, and a 4piece main bath. Additional features of this home include: heated single attached garage, hardwood flooring throughout, conveniently located laundry adjacent to the kitchen, and additional lower level storage space. View Listing Details …

Things To Consider When You Buy An Investment Property

Although the Alberta economy is still stuck in recession after more than 2 years of low oil prices, there are still some bargains to be had when it comes to investment properties. Sure, prices have come down, so buying a home to live in right now probably makes sense when you consider that you can still get a 5 year fixed rate mortgage for around 2.6%.

However, for rentals, the vacancy rate is a lot higher than it used to be, so getting good qualified renters might be harder than you think. For apartment rentals the vacancy rate hit 7% at the end of 2016. That is the highest it has been for 25 years. I couldn’t find any reliable statistics for house rentals, but I am sure the rate is also higher than it has been for a long time. This is not surprise considering that Calgary actually lost people to other provinces instead of gaining migrants as is usually the case. A lot of people that have lost their jobs have packed up and moved back to their home province since their prospects for employment here are probably pretty grim.

Having said that, just like always, when it comes to rentals you have to look at the numbers. Assuming that you can get a good renter, will you be cash positive? When you are doing your calculations, you should be very realistic when you estimate what your costs will be. Remember that the cost of utilities like power and gas are only going to go up with the new carbon tax that started on Jan 1st. I know that we have had a pretty cold winter but it seems like my Enmax bill has gone up dramatically since the tax kicked in. You would usually expect to have your rental home sit vacant once in a while since things happen with tenants not being able to pay or just moving out. However, in this economy you might want to be ready for even more vacancies since a lot of people are having a tough time with unemployment and just might not be able to pay their rent.

As usual, good areas close to transit and work centres are still the best places to buy for investment purposes and for your self to live in as well. The fundamentals of investing in real estate have not changed, you just need to be more careful and do your due diligence even more than you did before. Prices in Calgary have probably bottomed out and with oil prices sitting in the $50 range, the economy seems to be improving slightly, so I believe the worst is behind us. There are however, red flags going up for Vancouver and Toronto where prices are getting ridiculous. Watch the video below for more on that and know that Calgary does not have a problem with overvaluation.

If you do find a great rental property that works for you after considering all the possibilities, make sure you talk to a good accountant to see how your rental income will affect the rest of your income and how much tax you will have to pay. We have used Padgett Calgary and have been very happy with their services. Padgett Edmonton is also very good if you are buying properties up there.

C4097186 : Just Listed

Fantastic 3 bedroom home located in the heart of Marlborough Park, conveniently just a block away from Memorial Drive and within walking distance of community schools. This well maintained home has a large living room with laminate flooring and a corner wood burning fireplace with a decorative stone wall surround. The kitchen is spacious with white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and a breakfast nook. Adjacent dining room has laminate flooring and a patio door that leads to the west facing backyard and oversized parking stall. The upper level has a great master bedroom with his/her closets , a 4 piece main bath, and 2 additional bedrooms. The basement is partially finished with a family room, laundry, and additional storage space. You’ll love that this is an end unit, flooded with natural light throughout. The exterior of this complex has had recent renos including windows, doors, and siding. View Listing Details …

C4095228 : Just Listed

Fabulously renovated 2 storey home on a quiet cul-de-sac in the heart of Canyon Meadows. The main floor is flooded with natural light and features gorgeous hardwood flooring in the living room and dining room. The kitchen has maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances. The patio doors off the breakfast nook lead to a secluded deck and backyard filled with beautiful trees and flowers. The upper level has hardwood flooring throughout the 3 large bedrooms and also features a full bath with walk in shower. The fully finished basement has a four piece tiled bathroom with jetted tub, large family room, and plenty of additional storage. The 10×20 single attached garage allows for convenience and storage. The numerous upgrades have been done in the past 5 years, including: paint, hardwood flooring, basement development, hot water tank, sinks, blinds, kitchen counters and appliances. This home is within walking distance of the LRT, Fish Creek Park, bus system and schools. Another great bonus no condo fees. View Listing Details …

C4082572 : Just Listed

Fabulous 4 bedroom bungalow located on a quiet street in Douglasdale estates. This home has an open spacious floor plan with vaulted ceilings throughout . The main floor features a large living room with gas fireplace, dining room, kitchen with stainless steel appliances, island, bay window, eating area, and pantry. Completing the main floor is the 2nd bedroom, 4 piece main bath, the large master bedroom, ensuite bath with separate shower, and Jacuzzi tub. The fully finished lower level has a great family room, office space, ample storage, 2 additional bedrooms and 3 piece bath. The private back yard has a large deck, garden area, and a new fence. Some of the other great features of this home are, insulated/dry walled double attached garage, fresh paint throughout, sky light, main floor laundry hook ups, and front porch. View Listing Details …

C4078240 : Just Listed

Fantastic fully finished 3 bedroom townhouse located in Martin Crossing Court, right across from Crossing Park School and within walking distance of the C-Train. The main floor of this well maintained home is very spacious and functional with a living room at the front and a family room at the back. The kitchen is open to the family room and dining area allowing for an open and bright concept. The upper level has a large master with ensuite and walk-in closet, 2 additional bedrooms and a 4 piece main bath. The basement is fully finished with a large rec room with gas fireplace, office area, laundry and work bench. Some of the other great features of this home are the cozy front porch, fenced back yard, laminate flooring, Jetted tub, 2 bay windows, pantry and 2 parking stalls. RMS=1276 View Listing Details …

C4075163 : Just Listed

Fantastic townhouse located in the desirable SW area of Patterson. The main floor is open with a ton of natural light flowing through every room. The Cozy living room with its beautiful center fireplace is a great space for entertaining with the adjacent dining room. The white kitchen is spacious with ample counter and cupboards for all your needs. Just off the kitchen is the wonderful 150 sqft deck which backs onto a green space with beautiful mature trees, giving you year round privacy. The 2 piece bath and laundry complete the main floor. The upper level has a huge master bedroom plus another large bedroom, loft, and a great main bath with Jacuzzi corner tub and separate shower. The walkout basement can add great additional space with its 9ft ceilings and roughed in plumbing. View Listing Details …

C4066793 : Just Listed

Great price, great home. This fully finished 2 storey home has 2 large master bedrooms, one with his/her closets and one with a cheater door to the 4 piece main bath. Main floor has a bright cozy kitchen with ample cupboard space and pantry. The spacious living room has lovely hardwood floors and patio doors that lead out to a large tiered deck with a built in seating area. The back yard is nicely landscaped with a new fence installed with-in the past year. The basement has a great family room for extra living space. View Listing Details …

C4066316 : Just Listed

Open house Sunday May 29th 1-3pm. Fantastic Fully Finished 2 storey home situated in Langdon, with convenient access to Calgary, but with the tranquil lifestyle of a small rural community. The main floor features hardwood floors, a spacious den, a large living room with gas fireplace, and numerous windows allowing for a flood of natural light. The kitchen is bright and open with ample cupboard space, corner pantry, and stainless steel/black appliances. The upper level has a spacious master bedroom featuring a lovely bay window, walk-in closet, and master ensuite. In addition to the master bedroom, the upper level has 2 more large bedrooms, a full bath and new carpet. The basement has a great family room, workout room, games area, 4th bedroom/den with extensive closet space, and a newly renovated bathroom with heated tiled floors and walk in shower. The beautifully landscaped quarter acre lot has a number of great outdoor living spaces. View Listing Details …