Welcome to "Shah Ahmed - Remax Saskatoon - Selling Saskatoon - Saskatoonhomes " Sign in | Help

Saskatoon Homes - Shah - Ahmed- selling saskatoon homes - Sasktoon Realestate - houses - homes

SellingSaskatoon.net, mysaskagent.com, buysaskhomes.com, sasksellingagent.com, topsaskrealtor.com,saskbuyeragent.com, shahhomes.ca rosewoodsaskatoon.com, evergreensaskatoon.com, housesinsaskatoon.com, listingsinsaskatoon.com
Understanding Your Down Payment Options

v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}

Understanding Your
Down Payment Options

Many people mistakenly believe that home ownership isn’t an option for them but the fact is that there are multiple ways to acquire a down payment. Pair that with record low interest rates and it would be foolish not to buy in 2012.

Right now the minimum down payment required in Canada is just 5% of the homes purchase price. However, as a general rule, you should put as much money down as possible. That amount will determine which home you purchase, the size of your mortgage payments along with just how much insurance you have to pay.

Here are some ways in which you can obtain a down payment:

Purchaser’s Savings
January 1st, 2012 introduced the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit. It will provide a provincial non-refundable income tax credit of up to $1,100 for eligible taxpayers. While the details of the program are still being developed it is known that the personal income tax credit applies to qualifying homes purchased after December 31st, 2011.

Interim Financing
Interim financing (bridge financing) is used when a buyer needs to sell their current home in order to purchase another but the sale of the first home can’t be completed before the purchase of the second. Even though this situation would have the buyer paying more interest, it’s usually nominal and only for a short time.

When you rent-to-own a portion of the rent you’re paying actually becomes your equity once you purchase that property. In order for this to work though the purchase agreement:

  • Must acknowledge that a portion of the rent includes a pre-payment of equity on a monthly basis.
  • Must show that the monthly rent payment is an amount in excess of the current market rent for the property.
  • Must contain at least a partial refund in the event that the purchaser doesn’t exercise their right to buy the property.

In the chance that the property’s value decreases the surplus rent may not be accepted as equity when eventually applying for a mortgage.

Gift from an Immediate Relative
In the instance where a home buyer is unable to come up with a down payment they can seek assistance from an immediate family member if the funds are clear of any repayment obligation. You simply need a mortgage gift letter from them stating that this is the case. Also note that gift money must be in the buyer’s possession at least 15 days prior to closing.

Borrowed Against a Proven Asset
The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) permits down payments that have been borrowed against proven assets so long as those assets are “financial in nature, unencumbered by debt, and readily convertible to cash.”

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)
First-time home buyers are able to withdraw up to $25,000 from Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) like the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) to be used toward a home purchase, tax-free. Just be sure that your RRSP contributions sit for at least 90 days prior to being withdrawn in order to be deductible. They also need to be repaid within 15 years.

Affinity Equity Building Program
The Affinity Equity Building Program is a partnership between the city of Saskatoon and Affinity Credit Union. In order to be eligible for the program the applicant must:

  • Purchase property that they will reside in within the corporate boundaries of Saskatoon therefore causing a rental unit within the city to become available.
  • Have a household income that ranges between $44,500 to $70,000.
  • Repay the funds over a five year period.

Now that we have reviewed down payment options you can contact me to get pre-approved for your mortgage and begin looking for your new home right away!

Summer Moving Tips
Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}

Summer Moving Tips

School’s out, the weather’s nice, and home buying season is in full swing. No wonder summer is the hottest time for millions of Americans to make their move. By preparing ahead of time, you can help make this adventure as stress-free as possible.

Plan ahead - If you plan to use a mover, shop around to get the best rates—check their credentials and policies, and make sure they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau. Fill out a change of address form and notify banks, creditors, and utility companies of your move.

Organize and purge - Take inventory and get rid of any items you haven’t used in the past year. Plan a garage sale or donate these to charity. You’ll reduce the total weight and the cost of your move.

Get plenty of supplies - Order boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, and specialty containers including dish barrels and wardrobe boxes. Chances are you’ll need more than you anticipate and you can eliminate a last-minute trip to the store on moving day. Also, many places will allow you to return unused supplies.

Pack carefully - Pack one room at a time and label or color-code each box. Because of the summer heat and moisture, reinforce the bottoms of all the boxes you pack by doubling up on the tape. Wrap up electronics with bubble wrap or cloth. If you’re moving freezers or refrigerators, be sure to defrost them. Secure drawers from opening during transit. Label boxes with fragile items and place them on top.

Keep valuables close - Keep your jewelry, medications, passports, and important papers close by to ensure they don’t get lost. If possible, these items should travel in your car during the move.

Make a final walk-through - After you’ve packed, do a final walk-through and get another family member to double check to make sure you don’t forget anything. Also, lock all the doors and windows, and turn off the lights.

Remember, moving days can be long and tiring. Make sure you stock a cooler with snacks, bottled water, and refreshments to keep you energized and help beat the heat!
Facts Tell “Pictures Sell” - Stunning Photography Sells Homes
Facts Tell “Pictures Sell” - Stunning Photography Sells Homes Small Pic

Since many buyers are turning to the internet to shop before they take a drive around neighbourhoods, photography can make the difference in selling your home quickly.
A picture says a thousand words, and with the right listing pictures, you can attract more people to your property by showing your home’s highlights. Below are tips on how you can take the best quality pictures of your property to showcase it properly. 
Clean the entire house before taking photos.
Never take photographs of a dirty home. Remove all trash cans from all rooms being photographed. Tidy up any clutter and remove personal photos and drawings from refrigerators and bulletin boards.
Think about the picture before you take it.
What are you trying to show in the photo?  Do you want to move or remove anything before you take it?
Highlight the best features of your home.
Do your rooms have spectacular views? You can take pictures of your rooms to show off their views. Let the potential purchaser imagine themselves standing in the room with the view. They will appreciate the picture more knowing where they will be able to enjoy the view when they purchase the home.
A general photography rule of thumb is the closer the subject, the better the photo.  However it may be useful to take a few steps back or use a wide-angle lens to give the viewer more context and makes your home seem more spacious.
Take a shot of every part of the house including living room, kitchen, dining room, and other key areas of your home.
Pay attention to lighting.
Lighting is the key to good photography,  and you must choose the optimum time of the day for the shot typically when the sun is behind you. If the front of the house faces east, the morning is the best time.  If the front faces west you want to take your pictures in the late afternoon.
A good general time of the day is around noon or early afternoon on a sunny day for most exterior pictures since the sun is overhead and there are few shadows.  If it is overcast you can set your camera to a lower shutter speed to absorb more light and create a brighter image.

The light source also affects colour. When the sun is lower in the sky, either in the morning or in the late afternoon, you get more intense colour. This time of day makes the sky pop blue and the house shows off its best colour. High noon overhead sunlight tends to wash out colour.

Cloudy and overcast days can often provide surprisingly wonderful diffused light that can bring out great colour, although shots like this lack the bright blue sky in the background.

For dramatic evening photography, turn on all the house lights, and take the picture after sunset but before it is totally dark.  You will see light coming out of the windows, however there will be enough exterior light to capture the details of the house. 

For interior room photography avoid mid day, since on sunny days the light coming in the windows will be too bright.  The best times are after daybreak and just before sunset.  Use a powerful flash or turn on all the lights.

Take many shots.
If you are using a digital camera, you can take multiple shots of the same room and then pick which one looks best. You can try different angles and pick the winning view of the room.

You can touch up your pictures on your computer software including brightening up a darker picture. After you have a look at your pictures, you will have a better idea of how to improve them. Some indoor pictures can look too warm due to the lighting. You can always reduce certain colours with your photo editing software to make it look more natural.

Consider hiring a professional real estate photographer. 
Many real estate agents and homeowners simply do not have the time, equipment, or skills necessary to take good photographs of a home or building they are listing for sale. Professional photography is provided by many brokerages as an optional service and the price is extremely reasonable.

Photos of your home are the first introduction of your new listing to the world. This is the visual element that captures the imagination of buyers and sends them running to contact you for a first look.


7 Factors That Affect Your Home's Value
7 Factors That Affect Your Home's Value Small Pic

There are many factors that can affect the market value of your property, ranging from home improvements to the mood of the seller. All of this is a lot to internalize, but you can make an informed decision while pricing your home if you tackle these issues one at a time.

1. Location
Your home’s proximity to public transportation, train stations, shopping facilities, schools, etc., plays an import factor in determining your property’s market value. Every area has a high end and a low end. The market value of your property is affected by that reality. People that purchase homes in “lower end” areas expect to pay less than they would if they bought the same home in a “higher end” neighbourhood.

2. Features
One of the key factors in your home’s value is the features it provides. For example, some house styles are more popular with buyers than others. The age and size of your home compared to other available properties also plays a part in affecting your home’s value.

3. Condition
Potential buyers will take into account the condition of your home in deciding if they want to buy it and how much they are willing to pay for it. A home in immaculate condition has a much higher potential for a top dollar sale than one that is lacking the most basic routine maintenance.

Experienced buyers look for important conditions like paints, floor coverings, walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows. Buyers may also pay close attention to the plumbing, electricity work, repairs, bathrooms, kitchen, and so on.

4. Home Improvements
Most people think that home improvements are a sure way to increase the value of a home. Major home improvements are unquestionably important factors that affect the property value. Improvements like room additions, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and other items like floor tiles, swimming pools, etc., can increase the value of your home. However, it only matters what those improvements are worth to the buyer.

5. Market Conditions
When the market is flooded with similar properties for sale and real estate buyers are scarce, you can expect to sell your home for less than you would if there was a shortage of supply and lots of eager potential homebuyers.

6. Seller Motivation
Seller motivation is also a major factor which affects the offer price made by the buyer. For example, if you bought a home in a new area you may be willing to accept a lower price to quickly complete the sale of your current home.

7. Marketing 
The marketing plan that your agent executes on your behalf will determine the amount of interest that is shown in your property. Your agent’s level of skill and expertise in the negotiating process will affect the amount of money you’ll be able to get for your home. Many people put more thought into what they’ll have for dinner tonight than who they will trust to market their most valuable asset. Don’t make the same mistake.   

Healthier Home Healthier You Tips For a Healthier Home Environment
Healthier Home Healthier You
Tips For a Healthier Home Environment
Small Pic

The choices we make every day have a huge impact on living a healthy lifestyle. With just a little forethought and initiative, we can make our homes healthier and happier for all family members. The following recommendations can be implemented immediately and won't cost you anything.

1. Keep Pollutants Outside
Make it a habit to take your shoes off as soon as you walk in the door of your home. Place a chair or bench near the door and place a shoe basket or shelf near it to make it easier for your family and visitors to take off their shoes. This will cut down the amount of dirt and allergens brought into your home.

2. Use Natural Cleansers 
Commercial cleansers may make cleaning easier, but they may also contain carcinogenic ingredients, respiratory irritants and even pesticides. Try safer cleansers such as a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean tubs and toilets, salt to scrub kitchen sinks and borax for laundry.

Once you try cleaning with non-toxic cleaners you'll find it hard to believe you ever used harsh chemicals. Not only do they work just as well, they smell better, don't make you dizzy and don't pose a health risk.

3. Clean Smarter and More Often 
Dust mites, mould and pet dander are major triggers of allergies and asthma attacks. Keep dust to a minimum, dust every few days with a slightly damp cloth, to prevent the dust from returning to the air. Avoid furnishings that trap dust, such as drapes, carpeting, throw pillows and stuffed animals. Wash curtains and slip covers regularly in hot water.

Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter, and use it twice a week. If you are building a new home consider a central vacuum system that vents outside. This will help remove dust and debris from settling back into your home.

4. Breath Fresh Air
Fresh air saturated with oxygen is essential for healthy indoor living. A properly ventilated home will also help release humidity that may build up, condense and cause bacteria, dust mites and mould.

Whenever possible, open the windows to allow old air out and fresh air in. In colder or humid months, use a mechanical ventilation system to help keep indoor air fresh, dry and comfortable.

5. Stop Smoking
Don't smoke in your home or let visitors do so. Small children are most vulnerable to the health risks of second-hand smoke such as allergies and respiratory disease. If you must smoke, go outside. Moving to another room or opening a window is not enough to protect your children.

6. Drink Clean Water
Clean water is essential for good health. The glass of water you take from the tap has had a long eventful journey but it is clean enough to drink. However, it could be cleaner and better for you if you use a good in-house water filtering system.  To keep your water filter functioning effectively, it is important to change the filter cartridges on a regular basis.

If your water comes from a municipal supply it is tested regularly by the water authority. If you have a private drinking water well, test it periodically.

7. Inspire Healthy Eating Habits
Fresh fruit is best for you and your kids. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit and vegetables on your kitchen counter to encourage healthy eating and cut down on bad snacking habits. Choose different colours to give you the widest variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body needs. Choose whole fruit over fruit juice. Often juice has lots of added sugar and preserving chemicals. Whole fruit has more fibre and will leave you feeling more satisfied.

8. Give Your House a Mood Boost
A naturally lit home helps ease the blues, insomnia and may even boost concentration. Whenever possible open the curtains and allow sunlight in. Equip your home with broad-spectrum light bulbs that closely resemble daylight.

Keep a bright bunch of flowers in the living room. A vase of vibrant flowers along with green plants help generate a positive mood around the house and helps reduce stress, fatigue and illness. Indoor green plants also help reduce carbon monoxide.

Cut down on heavy and loud music. Play soft, classical or country background music to create an easy atmosphere to help you unwind.

9. Encourage Family Activities
Reduce the use of TV in your home and encourage family activities. Excessive TV watching has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Place a Chess or board game in your living room. Playing board games familiarizes young children with letters and numbers, builds hand-eye coordination and encourages kids of all ages to interact with others. Board games can be a steppingstone for discussion about almost anything. Strategy games like Chess or Monopoly provide opportunities to talk about not only the game itself, but how it applies to the real world, real problems, etc. and most importantly helps build family bonds.

How to Build and Maintain Good Credit Shah Ahmed Remax Saskatoon.
How to Build and Maintain Good Credit Small Pic

In today’s society, credit is our gateway to purchasing big tickets items like a home, cars, electronics and many other daily needs. When you buy something on credit you are responsible to repay it under the contract with the lender. If you do not pay the debt according to the terms and agreement your credit score will be affected. When you have bad credit you will be denied financing up to 90% of the time because the lender looks at you as a serious risk, which is not good.
So how do you build and maintain a good credit?
Establish chequing and savings bank accounts
This is the basic step necessary to build credit. Lenders see bank accounts as signs of stability. Opening a chequing and savings accounts is one of the few things young people can do to start building a financial history. While you can't get a credit card in your own name until you're 18, many banks have no problem letting you open an account.
Always pay your bills on time
This is one of the major factors that keeps people from increasing their credit score. When you make a late payment, the lender will mark your credit and this will substantially affect your credit score. Some people do not listen to this and charge more than they can afford. They get caught in a trap that they can never get themselves out of because they can barely afford to pay the payments.
Check your credit report regularly
Your credit report is available to you at little or no charge from major credit reporting agencies like TransUnion or Equifax.
Your credit report contains all your financial obligations and accounts associated with you. This is what banks, mortgage, credit card and auto loan companies use when reviewing your application. Every transaction or purchase that you have made shows on your credit report.
Check your credit report for inconsistencies, incorrect information or accounts that you do not know about. If there are any corrections that need to be made, follow up with the credit bureaus.
Do not spend more than your credit limit 
A limit is set for you so you do not go over it. A creditor looks at you and thinks that you spend beyond your means and instead of you trying to improve your score you are hurting it.
The best way to avoid going into serious debt or financial trouble is to avoid using credit at all, use cash or your bank account instead. If you are in a situation where it is an emergency use credit and then pay it off immediately. The problem with today’s society is that we spend way more than we make and this is what gets us all in trouble.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Home Windows? By Shah Ahmed Remax Saskatoon
Should You Repair or Replace Your Home Windows? Small Pic

Over the years, there have been many changes in style, technology, and function of windows. When deciding whether to repair or replace your existing windows, begin by considering their age and condition. As well, poorly designed, constructed and placed windows can cost money through heat or cooling loss.

If your home is more than 30 years old and still has the original windows, chances are your windows are not keeping you as warm or as cool as well-placed and installed newer models. But, there are measures you can take to increase the efficiency of your older windows:

  • Tighten the seal around the windows with weather-stripping. There are many different types of weather-stripping available for use on wood, metal, aluminum and vinyl. One of the easiest to apply is caulking cord which comes in a roll. You simply press the cord into place to make a tight seal.
  • Every window not made of insulated glass should have a storm window. If your home has storm windows, ensure they are in good condition and install them properly before the cold season begins. When those icy winter winds start blowing, both you and your pocketbook will notice if your windows offer good protection.
  • If your home doesn't have storm windows, or they are in poor condition, you can get as good or better protection using heavy-gauge clear plastic sheeting. Seal it tightly over your existing windows and you will have an inexpensive and effective alternative to storm windows.

Five signs that it's time to replace your windows:

  1. If a window develops ice or a frosty glaze inside a window pane, poor ventilation or insufficient insulation may be to blame.
  2. If you feel a cold draft in the winter or a warm draft during the summer when sitting near your window, it is a clear sign of poor insulation. This problem can significantly increase your energy bill.
  3. If you stand inside your house with a candle lit near a window's edge and the flame flickers or goes out, your weather stripping may need to be replaced.
  4. If your window no longer remains open on its own, requiring you to prop it open, it is no longer in good condition.
  5. If your windows become fogged with condensation there may be a seal failure. Seal failures are usually fixed by replacing either the glazing or the entire window.

Replacing windows
Modern windows not only beautify the appearance of a home, they bring sunlight in during winter, while preventing the warmth created from escaping outdoors. Windows also insulate a home from heat during the summer and keep cooled air from escaping. Today windows combine science and technologies that increase energy efficiency and actually reduce heating and air conditioning costs.

Replacing existing windows with more energy efficient models doesn't have to be done all at once. Begin by replacing the ones causing the most heat loss, such as the large picture windows in your living and dining rooms. Replacing windows in stages over a period of years costs less up front and still increases energy efficiency.

Common window types include: double-hung, casement, stationary, awning and horizontal sliding. They may be made of wood, aluminum or vinyl or a combination of these materials. Almost all feature insulated glass and easy-to-clean designs that provide tight seals and eliminate heat loss.

Whether you plan to install new windows yourself or have them installed professionally, be sure to visit a number of suppliers and study the various products and options on the market. You want to select windows that complement the appearance of your home, increase energy efficiency and give you the most value for your money.

Quality installed replacement windows will give your home protection from the outside elements and provide a great overall aesthetic look from the curb while meeting the energy related requirements required for rebates and tax credit programs.

Condo Living - A one Bedroom Condominium Opens Doors to Creativity By Shah Ahmed Remax Saskatoon.
Condo Living - A one Bedroom Condominium Opens Doors to Creativity Small Pic

In her new one-bedroom loft in the lakeshore neighbourhood, Sarah enjoys a stunning city view. By focusing on what she was creating in her new space instead of what she was giving up, she was not only able to simplify her lifestyle but found new ways to use some of her most prized possessions.

Less square footage doesn't necessarily equate to less living. Sarah said while entertaining a small group of friends in here stunning city view location within walking distance of her workplace and health club in downtown neighbourhood.

Sarah's new space fits her tastes and lifestyle, having lived with her husband Jim and there two children for over 22 years, she realized that she was a slave to her house. "My two kids had moved out, and the idea of using only two rooms (the bedroom and kitchen) out of six, didn’t make any sense. So with some anxiety, we decided to downsize. I joked with my husband that we would have to give up a lot if we moved into a condominium. What we gave up was flights of stairs, shovelling snow, putting out the garbage, raking leaves, cleaning out the eaves troughs, maintaining the furnace, and landscaping to name a few!" Sarah Said.

"Downsizing is about committing to change as much as it is about deciding where to put the furniture. Instead of dwelling on the negative and what you're leaving behind, think about what the positives are; a smaller space often takes less maintenance, leaving more time for hobbies" she adds.

While moving to her new place, Sarah had to give up many of her possessions, yet by focusing on what she was creating instead of what she was giving up, she was not only able to simplify her lifestyle but found new ways to use some of her most prized possessions.

Condos life has many advantages, because the space is smaller, you may be able to spend more on the quality of live and details. For example, you may be able to afford Italian marble for your kitchen counters because there's less counter space.

As a busy downtown Realtor, Sarah says most of her downsizing clients have decent equity in their existing homes and are moving into the city because they want a lifestyle change. Although they are willing to give up square footage, they still want amenities such as fitness facilities, kitchens with granite counters as well as stainless appliances and spacious master suites.

Condos offer more opportunities to socialize; you will meet neighbours in the halls, the lobby and the laundry room. You will also have the opportunity to meet (and argue!) with them at your association's monthly board meetings. Condo living is a good choice for low-key, sociable types who enjoy getting to know other residents. When buying a condo, keep in mind that happy neighbours are a sign of a responsive, well managed building.

Most condos are equipped with security doors and intercom systems. Many also offer alarms, security cameras, and 24 hour doormen and lots of neighbours. Security conscious buyers and extensive travelers can rest assured that their homes will be watched and maintained while they are away.

A private, waterfront lot with magnificent views is way out of reach for most buyers; Condos ownership makes this attainable for most buyers. With access to luxury, high-end locations such as city center, waterfront, or art-district, is one of biggest perks that condos offer over single family homes.

“Now that I’m a happy condo owner I’ve discovered that my downsized lifestyle offers many upsides. My husband and I are having the time of our lives. We have adopted an active lifestyle, with long walks on nature trails and short hops to local attractions by public transport. We now take in live theatre, music, and ballet. We try out new restaurants and get “recharged” by the breathtaking beauty of the waterfront” Sarah Said.

On average, condos are much more affordable than houses, making them an excellent fit for individuals who want to lower or limit their housing costs. Clearly condos are the economical choice for retirees hoping to downsize, or first time homebuyers trying to enter high-end markets.

Mortgage Talk - Which Mortgage Should I Choose?
Mortgage Talk - Which Mortgage Should I Choose? Small Pic

Choosing the right mortgage is as important a decision as choosing the right home. Getting the best deal on a mortgage loan can minimize your monthly payments and maximize the value of the investment you have made in your home. There are many different types of mortgage loans available to home buyers today, and it is important to understand the differences, advantages and disadvantages of each type of mortgage loan.

There are several elements of a loan that should be analyzed. While one of these elements may suggest one type of loan, another may call for a different type. You must weigh each ingredient separately and collectively. You will find that your answers to the questions below will ultimately determine the type of mortgage that best fits your needs.

How long do you plan to stay in this home?
Five years? Ten years? Thirty years? The length of time you will be in the home will certainly play a part in determining which loan to apply for. If you only plan to be in the home for 5–7 years or less, you should seriously consider an adjustable rate loan. If you intend on staying 20–30 years, a fixed rate mortgage may be right for you.

How much risk are you willing to accept?
If you are the type of buyer that needs to know exactly what you will be paying each month for the term of the mortgage, a fixed rate mortgage will fulfill this need. The fixed rate loan, however, will also net a higher interest rate. If you are willing to take some risk of fluctuations in the interest rate, you may be able to receive a lower interest rate.

How much can you afford?
Most lenders set lending ratios that ensure mortgage payments never exceeds more than a third of a person’s income. However, this may still be too much of a stretch for you, especially if your have other expenses, potential future income changes or simply a lifestyle to uphold. Once you find a home you love, start crunching numbers. Can you really afford the mortgage payments, and are you willing to cut your expenses and save every month? Make sure you select a mortgage plan with a monthly payment that is within your means.

How much cash do you have available for upfront costs?
If you have the resources, you may want to make a larger down payment to lower your monthly payment. By keeping a higher monthly payment however, you might be able to shorten the term of the loan to a 15-year loan in order to pay it off quicker.

Keep in mind that you’ll have closing costs and fees to pay in addition to your down payment. If you don’t have much cash saved for your upfront costs, don’t despair. You may need to accept a higher monthly payment or even lower your monthly obligation by choosing an adjustable rate mortgage.

In addition to choosing a type of loan, you must also consider which lender to use. Once again, several factors will influence your decision.

Annual Percentage Rate
This is most likely the best way to make an "apples-to-apples" comparison of lenders. The Annual Percentage Rate reflects the cost of credit on a yearly rate and includes any points and fees in addition to the interest rate.

Interest Rate
Find out the rate the lender will commit and how long the lender will guarantee it. Get any commitments in writing. As with any transaction, if it isn’t in writing it doesn’t exist.

Points and Fees
These factors will vary greatly. Look out for hidden fees. Make sure the lenders disclose all fees; ask what they charge and what is included and what is not.

Loan Approval
Both approval and funding time should be considered. You don’t want to lose a prospective home because your lender takes weeks to fund your loan. A lender should be able to fund the loan within ten days.

Lender Reputation
Don’t rely solely on someone else’s recommendation. You, not your friend, must feel comfortable with your lender. If you do feel good about your lender and trust him, it will be much easier to trust his advice on what kind of mortgage will best suit your needs.

Protecting Your Privacy While Your Home is on the Market BY SHAH AHMED REMAX Saskatoon
Protecting Your Privacy While Your Home is on the Market Small Pic

Numerous people are likely going to spend a considerable amount of time browsing through your home while it is on the market. If you are living in the home while it is for sale, your personal things will be on show too and potential buyers might look through drawers and other items that are inside your home. Your privacy and security may become an issue when showing your home, so it is important to consider all your options before you welcome someone into your home.

For many individuals, it is very important for them to protect their privacy, while others are simply concerned that buyers will make assumptions about them and judge them instead of simply judging their home. However, the importance of protecting your privacy is all the same and that goes for anything personal from financial information, such as cheque books to bank statements and personal letters.

Protect your documents
Keep in mind that a potential buyer may open cabinets or drawers—this is not considered snooping. Buyers can innocently tug on a drawer to inspect its construction or depth and find important documents that you might not intend for anyone to see.

Don't leave mail where anybody can find it
Many sellers make the mistake of leaving piles of opened mail neatly stacked on the kitchen counter or somewhere else in the home. By leaving your correspondence out on the table, a potential buyer can find out about your credit card debt, whether you have filed for bankruptcy and other private information that you probably don't want the seller to be aware of. Not only is this an invasion of your privacy, it can also change the offers that you receive from buyers. If you have a stack of mail from a collection agency, the buyer will know you are desperate to make a sale and will likely propose far under the list price.

Remove personal effects from your walls
From diplomas and religious artifacts to wedding certificates and personal photos, don't provide buyers with any personal information about yourself or your family. De-personalizing is also an important move to make when staging your home for sale anyway, so you can actually accomplish two things by removing the personal effects from your home.

Don't leave your computer up and running during showings
Gaining personal information from your computer takes only minutes for a professional hacker or thief, so be proactive and turn your computer off before potential buyers arrive.

Before you put your home on the market, empty out drawers, stage closets and pack up anything personal including medications. Disassociate yourself with your home—remind yourself that it is a house—a product to be sold on an open market that is bound to see plenty of new faces throughout the term of the selling process.

Consider renting a locker at your local bank and store away your jewelry and other valuable items. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Shah Ahmed 306 3412739 www.skagent.ca


Very interesting Irish Luck Story. Please read and spread. SHAH AHMED RE/MAX SASKATOON

Irish Luck - Remember to send it back! 

I want this back. It DOES work.
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools

and ran to the bog.

There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.

'I want to repay you,' said the nobleman. 'You saved my son's life.'

'No, I can't accept payment for what I did,' the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel.

'Is that your son?' the nobleman asked.

'Yes,' the farmer replied proudly.

I'll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy If the lad is anything like his father, he'll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.' And that he did.

Farmer Fleming's son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman's son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son's name?
Sir Winston Churchill.
Someone once said: What goes around comes around.
Work like you don't need the money.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.

Sing like nobody's listening.

Live like it's Heaven on Earth.

It's National Friendship Week. Send this to everyone you consider A FRIEND.

Pass this on, and brighten some one's day.

AN IRISH FRIENDSHIP WISH: You had better send this back!! Good Luck!

I hope it works...

May there always be work for your hands to do;

May your purse always hold a coin or two;

May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

and may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows your'e dead.

OK, this is what you have to do... Send this to all of your friends.

But - you HAVE to send this within 1 hour from when you open it!

Now.....Make A wish!! I hope you made your wish!


















How to Help Your Child Cope with Moving Anxiety By Shah Ahmed Remax Saskatoon.
How to Help Your Child Cope with Moving Anxiety
Small Pic

Moving can be stressful for every member of the family-children included. Depending on the age of children, their fears about a move vary from child to child, but most children approach the idea of moving with some hesitation.

One out of five Canadian families move into a new home each year. Some families experience a stressful time two weeks before and two weeks after a move. For many families, the actual move is a time when everyone pitches in and works together. Reality starts to sink in about a month later. People then begin to realize how much they miss friends and places they left behind. Confusion, frustration, and anger are common emotions at this time. Even if you are upgrading to a bigger house in a nicer neighbourhood, adjusting can be very difficult.

If the move is coupled with financial problems, a death or divorce, this can makes the problem worse, stretching children's coping skills to the limit. Short-term counseling may help children through this challenging time.  It often takes as long as two years before children begin to feel comfortable in their new home.

No matter what the reason for a move, coping is especially tough for kids. Small children thrive on predictability and their sense of security is closely tied to familiar faces, places and activities. Older children will feel the social impact of a move the most. They miss old friends and worry about making new ones. For pre-teens and teens, fitting in is of the utmost importance and having to re-establish themselves in a new and possibly very different social environment is a scary prospect.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make the move easier on your kids.

1. Share the news
As soon as a decision has been made to move, share it with your children. Encourage your child to discuss the future transition by asking questions such as, "What have you been thinking about the new place?" Make a list of your child's concerns and together try to find answers to the questions. When speaking about the move, be enthusiastic and upbeat so that your children will view moving as an exciting adventure.

2. Encourage your child to participate in the moving decisions and preparations
Consult with your child about the décor of his or her new room. Let your child pick the paint colour, the fabric for curtains and bedspread, and choose posters for the walls. Younger children typically resist change of any kind. If this is the case with your child, it may help to replicate the décor and furniture arrangement of his or her old room as closely as possible.
3. Move during the right time of year
Sometimes, holding off your move can be difficult, especially when it comes to job situations.  The start of the school year is often the ideal time to schedule a move since it will offer your children the most exposure to neighbourhood kids. Chances are that there will be more than one "new kid" in school. If your child does not want any added attention, this will help him or her blend in with the rest of the student body. It is also best to avoid switching in the middle of the year, as this can have a huge affect on your child's grades.

4. Allow your children ample time to say goodbye to their friends before your move
Although the days leading up to the move will certainly be a bit hectic, a going away party can really help your child cope with moving. One of the main objectives to coping with any type of situation is finding closure. Saying goodbye to friends is very important if you want to help your child to better cope with moving.  Encourage children to exchange addresses and telephone numbers so that they can keep in touch after the move. Remember, your children's friends will feel a loss after the move too.

5. Make meeting new friends easier for your child
The best way to help your child cope with moving is to make meeting new friends easier. Allowing and even encouraging your child to invite friends over to the house is a great way help your child make new friends. If you move during the summer, you may want to help your child find new friends. Whether your child meets other children from the new neighbourhood, the park, the public swimming pool or anywhere else, you will be able to feel comfort knowing that your child has made some new friends-which is a major step in coping with a move.

6. Let your child know it is natural to feel apprehensive
He or she may be fearful of not being accepted by peers. Share childhood memories of times when you were worried about a new situation. Relate the good things that happened like how you met your best friend or that your new teacher was one of your favourites. Keep the days leading up to the transition as positive as possible.

7. Encourage your child to participate in after school activities
It is believed that children who participate in after school activities feel as though they fit in better, mainly because they feel as though they "belong". Encouraging your child to join a group, club or organization of his or her choice is a great idea. It just may be one of the best ways for your child to find new friends or experience some sense of belonging. After school activities may be one of the main keys for a child to cope with a move.

8. Invite your child to express his or her emotions                                                              
Even when a concern seems minor to you, be respectful and know that it can be a major crisis to your child. Try to put yourself in his or her place and understand the feelings expressed. Ask open ended questions like, "How's it going?" or make comments like, "You seem sad". Then listen carefully and avoid giving advice unless your child asks for it.

9. Help your child explore ways to cope with concerns                                                         
Try to always be available for further discussion. Be ready to problem-solve with him or her. You may want to role play a situation that is causing anxiety.

10. Allow your child to call or visit old friends
Allowing your child to visit, or converse with, old friends is a very important step to coping with the move. Whether it is during the weekend or during a week in the summer, if you move far away, visits with old friends may be necessary. There are going to be some instances in which your child may want someone to confide in about the move. It is also important to keep in mind that your child's new friends will never replace his or her old friends. Overall, it is definitely safe to say that allowing visits with old friends can be a very important step in coping with moving.

11. Monitor your child's progress
It is important to keep in mind that there is only so much that you can do in order to encourage your child to cope with moving. Monitoring your child's progress of coping can be very important. If you notice that your child experiences behavioural changes, does not seem to make friends after you have been settled for awhile, is unwilling to participate in after school activities and seems a bit depressed, then there just may be cause for alarm. If your child does not seem to be coping well with moving, visiting a therapist may be a good idea.

In general, younger children will adjust more quickly to a move than older children. Babies and toddlers may feel a bit out of sorts in a new environment, but they will adapt very quickly. Preschoolers have established comfortable routines and usually have a few favourite places, such as the park or the local zoo. If they express worries about missing these places, assure them that there will be plenty of fun things to do near the new house too. School aged children often have very specific concerns about living in a new place and may have questions such as, "Where will I keep my toys?" and "Will my new teacher be nice?" Remind them about times that they have had similar worries in the past, such as when they first started school and how everything turned out just fine. Saying things like, "Remember when you were scared that you wouldn't like your teacher this year? Now you love Mrs. Brown. I'm sure that you will do just fine at your new school too."

Teenagers often have the most difficulty in adjusting, especially if the move means that they will be too far away to see their current friends. A teenager's world revolves largely around their friendships, and breaking those bonds can be traumatic. Most teens are able to make the adjustment, but expect the transition to take a while-six months to a year is typical.

Moving is stressful for everyone. But it is particularly stressful for children because they don't know as many ways to cope with a new situation. Trying some of these tried-and-true methods, may ease up your child's apprehension and help him/her cope better with the stress of the new move.

A One-Weekend Garage Makeover by Shah Ahmed - Re/max Saskatoon

A One-Weekend Garage Makeover


Small PicGarages are the most hardworking spaces in your home. Investing a few hundred dollars in garage organization tools during one weekend will pay off in savings of both time and money.

A clean and organized garage saves you time by keeping essentials in clear view, so you can find what you need without tripping over items or causing an avalanche whenever you pull something from the bottom of a pile.

You'll also save money because your sporting goods and tools will last longer when they’re stored safe from moisture, heavy weights and dust. Even your car will be protected from falling skis.

Step 1: Aim for spotless clean and clutter free
Start by cleaning out the junk. Release the clutter of your garage by selling or throwing away the things you never use. Getting rid of unneeded possessions makes more space for the ones you do need and use. Once that clutter is dwindled down to the necessities, organize it by category: athletic supplies, lawn and garden tools, carpentry tools, etc.

Step 2: Use suitable storage units
Take a look at what’s left and decide what storage elements would work best for you.

The essentials include:

  • Closed storage: Make sure to include at least one closed-door, lockable unit. It's essential for keeping poisons like antifreeze, plant food or pest control products and sharp tools behind a locked door.
  • Open shelving: Shelves are best for frequently used items which you need readily available and within reach. Vented metal styles, wood slats, or vented plastic minimize the volume of dust that can collect.
  •  Hooks, clamps, and holders: These allow you to make use of vertical space, getting big items like bikes, trikes and paddles, rakes and brooms off the ground and out of your way. • Bags: Most wall-mounted garage organization systems include clamp-on mesh bags that make it easy to store soccer balls, basketballs, tennis balls, etc.
  • Boxes and bins: Group irregular items and place them in big bins so you can put them under a shelving unit or work table. Group them accordingly so items are easy to find: bags of soil, grass seeds, etc. Boxes and baskets can also hold smaller items neatly on shelves.

Step 3: Paint and stain.

The floor can be transformed with acid stain for concrete or a heavy-duty floor paint. If you plan to park your car on your newly painted floor, lay a sheet of cardboard down to catch drips of oil. The garage walls can be painted as well, especially if they still look like they're part of a construction site. Don't feel like you have to limit yourself to the traditional white walls. Get creative!

Step 4: Make it your second home

Another major decision to be made prior to purchase is what kind of work areas you will need, and what kind of counter tops are appropriate for those areas. For instance, if you want to use garage space as a hobby area, you might want a sink area or solid surface counters. If you enjoy woodworking, you might need a wooden counter top. Figure out where these areas will be located and roughly sketch out how the area should look. Imagine yourself standing at the work area and think about placement of things you will use. Thinking through this process will certainly make the space more user-friendly.

Ready to get your garage in order? Following those tips will help you find a place for everything and allow you to transform that dusty garage into something spotless in a short time.

Tax-Deductible Moving Expenses SHAH AHMED - REMAX SASKATOON.
Tax-Deductible Moving Expenses
Small PicHave you recently moved to a new location? Do you know that you can deduct certain moving expenses on your next tax return, including transportation, packing and storage costs.

Many people never realize these tax benefits because they don't know what can be deducted. If you are preparing to move, it's best to be informed beforehand so you know which receipts to keep. You may find it worthwhile during a move to pay for various services that are tax-deductible rather than doing them yourself. A typical move involves a number of costs including hiring a company to transport personal effects and furniture, hotel stays and meals (if the move involves driving a long distance to a new home), and service fees to disconnect and reconnect utilities. In addition, renters who leave on short notice may have to pay the cost of breaking a lease.

Homeowners will incur closing costs and commissions on the sale of their home as well as legal and other fees on the purchase of their new home. This article provides information regarding tax deductible moving expenses.

To claim moving expenses on your taxes, your move has to meet the following conditions:

  • You moved to your new home or new apartment to start a job or a business, or to attend full-time post-secondary courses at a university, college or other educational institution
  • Your new place of residence is at least 40 km closer to your workplace or school than your previous home.
  • You moved from one place in Canada to another place in Canada.

Two groups are eligible to deduct a portion of their moving expenses: students moving away from home to attend school and people moving to a new area for a job or relocation by their employer. There has been a challenge to the rules regarding eligibility for the self-employed as you'll read later in this article.


Students must fulfill two main qualifications: the distance between your home and school must be at least 40 km (by the shortest public route) and you must be a full-time student. A full-time student is defined as someone who regularly attends a college, university, or other educational institution in a program at a post-secondary school level (whether in Canada or not) and is taking at least 60% of the usual course load during each semester.

As a student, you can only deduct eligible moving expenses from award income (scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, prizes, and research grants) that you report on your return. Your moving expenses must be greater than your award in order to deduct any moving expenses. As Revenue Canada's website reads, "If your moving expenses are more than the award income you report for the year, you can deduct the unused portion of those expenses from the award."

Although many students will not earn award income and will therefore not be able to deduct moving expenses, tuition fees themselves are a tax deduction. If a student has a part-time job, tuition can reduce taxes paid on those earnings. Students who meet the qualifications and have received award income can deduct the costs of travel, shipping and transportation of belongings, as well as items listed below under 'Expenses you can deduct'.


If you are moving for work (e.g. a company relocation or new job), are employed and establish a home at least 40 km closer to a new job than your old home, then you qualify to deduct moving expenses. Similarly, if you are self-employed, and you establish a home at least 40 km closer to your new operational business than your old home, you also qualify to deduct moving expenses.

According to Revenue Canada, you must establish your new home as the place where you and members of your household ordinarily reside. For example, you have established a new home if you have sold or rented (or advertised for sale or rent) your old home.

Employed and Working from Home: an Exception to the Rule

Until recently, employees who work from home and move have faced some restrictions regarding moving expenses. In the court decision Gary Adamson v. the Queen, Mr. Adamson had incurred moving expenses as an employee who was required to provide his own office in his home.

Expenses you can Deduct:

  1. transportation and storage costs (such as packing, hauling, in-transit storage, and insurance) for household effects, including items such as boats and trailers;
  2. traveling expenses, including vehicle expenses, meals, and accommodation, to move you and members of your household to your new residence (you can choose to claim vehicle and meal expenses using the simplified method);
  3. costs for up to 15 days for meals and temporary accommodation near either residence for you and the members of your household (you can choose to claim meal expenses using the simplified method); and
  4. the cost of canceling a lease for your old residence, except any rental payment for the period during which you occupied the residence.

When your old residence is sold as a result of your move, eligible moving expenses also include:

  • legal or notaries fees for the purchase of the new residence, as well as any taxes paid (other than GST/HST or property taxes) for the transfer or registration of title to the new residence, if you or your spouse or common-law partner sold the old residence, and
  • the cost of selling your old residence, including advertising, notarial or legal fees, real estate commission, and mortgage penalty when the mortgage is paid off before maturity.

Expenses that are not Deductible:

  • expenses for work done to make your home more saleable;
  • any loss from the sale of your home;
  • expenses for house-hunting trips before you move;
  • the value of items movers refused to take, such as plants, frozen food, ammunition, paint, and cleaning products;
  • expenses for job hunting in another city (such as traveling expenses);
  • expenses to clean or repair a rented residence to meet the landlord's standards;
  • expenses to replace personal-use items such as tool sheds, firewood, drapes, and carpets;
  • mail-forwarding costs (such as with Canada Post);
  • costs of transformers or adaptors for household appliances; and
  • costs incurred in the sale of your old home if you delayed selling for investment purposes or until the real estate market improved.

Remember to keep receipts and documents supporting your claims, you do not have to include these documents in you tax claim but Canada Revenue Agency may want to see them at a later date.

Keep in mind that this article is for information only. The tax laws are frequently modified. We recommend that you visit the Canada Revenue Agency's website for specific details about which moving expenses you can claim or consult a professional accountant to maximize your tax return.

How Will the New Mortgage Rules Affect the Canadian Market?
How Will the New Mortgage Rules Affect the Canadian Market?


Small Pic

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty recently unveiled new mortgage rules aimed at stopping housing speculators and ensuring homebuyers can adequately handle their debts when interest rates inevitably rise. Mr. Flaherty stressed that Canada's real estate market is healthy, and that the new rules, which take effect April 19th, would stop “negative trends” from development.

"There's no clear evidence of a housing bubble, but we're taking proactive, prudent and cautious steps today to help prevent one. Our government is acting to help prevent Canadian households from getting overextended, and acting to help prevent some lenders from facilitating it," commented Minister Flaherty.

"The underlying message is that Canadians should be prudent in the obligations they take on because we can all expect that mortgage interest rates will rise over time," Flaherty added.

Here is a quick look at the changes which apply to government-backed insured mortgages:

1. Borrowers must now qualify based on a five-year fixed rate even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term. The government’s rationale for this change is that it will help borrowers prepare for higher rates, although it may squeeze the purchasing power of home buyers. It remains unclear whether borrowers must qualify at the five-year posted rate or the five-year discounted rate.

2. The maximum amount Canadians can withdraw in refinancing their mortgages will be reduced to 90% of the value of their homes, instead of 95%. This change will help ensure home ownership is a more effective way to save. The impact of this change is expected to be minimal as relatively few homeowners withdraw equity from their homes to this extent.

3. A minimum down payment of 20% will be needed for government-backed mortgage insurance on non-owner-occupied properties “purchased for speculation,” which realistically means rental properties. While this measure is intended to hamper the speculative buying of properties by reducing the leverage of buyers, it will also impact those buying real estate for general investment purposes.

How will these changes affect the Canadian real estate market?

For most consumers, the changes are unlikely to make it harder to get a mortgage but it could reduce the size of the mortgage an individual consumer can negotiate with a lender. And they might have to look at buying slightly less expensive properties.

People buying real estate for investment purposes including those looking for rental properties may find it harder to get into the market as they have to shell out more money form their own savings.

Undoubtedly there will be a rush of mortgage applications to beat the April 19th deadline. However it is expected some lenders will start to implement these guidelines before April 19th.

Some volatility is expected in the housing market in the short term as home buyers rush to beat the April 19th date. After that, the activity will likely fade because so many buyers moved up their purchases. This could end up softening the sharp year-over-year price increases that have been characteristic in many cities recently.

The economic implications of this rule change are unlikely to be severe, and we expect the housing market to slow its ascent without crashing down.

More Posts Next page »