Archive for May, 2014

Nextfest 2014: Your Guide to Edmonton’s Next Generation Arts Festival June 5-15, 2014

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Nextfest 2014 Your Guide to Edmonton's Next Generation Arts Festival June 5-15, 2014 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAs a resident of Parkland County, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove or the Edmonton area, you surely have an exciting and nature-filled lifestyle full of plenty of opportunities to enjoy your surroundings. With beautiful areas like Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages just waiting to be explored, the opportunities are endless, and with NextFest Art Festival just around the corner, this assertion couldn’t be more true! Here’s your guide to Edmonton’s Next Generation 2014 Arts Festival, happening from June 5 to 15 this year.

What Is NextFest?

From June 5 to 15 this year, ramp up for one of the most fun and exciting arts festival you’ve ever seen. Over 11 days, you can visit the creative works of over 500 artists and over 50 art-related events. With daring and engaging artwork from the realms of visual art, dance, film, music, and theatre, you’ll get the chance to meet and interact with emerging local artists while enjoying the entertainment their artwork provides.

Where Is NextFest?

NextFest will take Edmonton by storm during its 11-day run in a variety of different locations and venues. With the confirmed schedule still pending, some of the venues you can expect to visit during NextFest to get a first glance of the visual art, music, dance, and theatre performances include Atomic Zombie Art Gallery, The Roxy Theatre, The Artery, and Garneau Theatre in Edmonton.  Visit the NextFest website for the most current information.

Who Are the NextFest Artists?

If you’re wondering what type of talent and emerging artists you can expect to come across at NextFest, you’ll be surprised at the range of artists you’ll find. From graduates and current students of the University of Alberta to professionals in their specific field of art, you’ll find a range of expertise and talent at NextFest. While the majority of the artists are local to Edmonton (born and raised), some of the talent group hails from the West coast and other parts of Canada.

What Are the Events at NextFest?

The art-world events are nearly limitless at NextFest, with opportunities for everyone to enjoy, both the artistically inclined as well as the art enthusiasts. NextFest NiteClubs, a series of events at The Artery, are just a few of the options, offering multi-disciplinary performance parties in the themes of a political revolution, fright night, and risqué cabaret evening. Poetry readings, award ceremonies, and theatre performances are a few more of the exciting opportunities at NextFest this year.

Regardless of which area of Edmonton you live in, from Edmonton acreages to Parkland County acreages and surrounding cities and towns, you shouldn’t miss NextFest this year. As a perfect way to kick start your summer and inspire your inner art enthusiast, NextFest brings with it all of the artistically inclined opportunities you’ve been waiting for.

For more information and specific questions about Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, or Parkland County real estate, feel free to call me! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

“How much money should I plan to spend on home maintenance?”

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

“How much money should I plan to spend on home maintenance?” | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhether you own your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home for months or decades, there will come a time when you will need to sell it. Wise home owners know that the value in their property, and their enjoyment of their home, can slide in a hurry if maintenance and repairs are neglected. What’s more, failing to deal with problems as they occur may result in much bigger, more expensive and more urgent repairs later on. That little patch of damp showing up on the ceiling today could lead to a major and expensive whole roof re-do in a few months.

Home maintenance and repair falls into two categories:

Minor ongoing repairs: Basic everyday upkeep includes replacing burnt-out light bulbs, oiling squeaky hinges on doors, tightening loose cabinet handles, repairing leaky faucets or slow drains, changing the furnace filter, patching the driveway, and a long list of things that need to be done to keep your property in show home condition. These pesky things are easy to ignore, but potential buyers will be unlikely to offer top dollar for a property with many small but visible faults.

Major once in a while repairs: The second kind of repair is needed when essential systems break down or wear out, sometimes without warning and at inconvenient times: the furnace quits, the sewer backs up, the hot water tank leaks, roof shingles wear out and no longer keep water from entering the house, wooden window frames rot out, the springs in your automatic garage door give out, and so on. If you live in your home long enough, you will probably experience all of these situations and others, and these items are often expensive to fix.

So, how do you go about budgeting for everything that will eventually need to be repaired or replaced in, on or around your home?

There are several methods to do this, but all involve setting aside a certain amount of money every year.

1. The 1% Rule. Reserve each year one per cent of the purchase price of your home (or the appraised value of your home as per your annual property tax assessment). Home valued at $350,000? Budget for maintenance costs of $3,500 annually. Maybe you won’t need to spend that much every year, but you’ll be glad you saved the excess year over year when the big catastrophic expenses hit.

2. The Square Foot Rule. Every year set aside $1 per square foot of finished space in your home. 1,200 square foot bungalow with finished basement? Budget for about $2,000 to $2,500 per year. You may also want to take into account the square footage of a garage, garden shed and the like.

3. The Systems Approach. More complicated but possibly more accurate than the previous two suggestions, this method is based on the 7 systems found in each home: outside structure, roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical, heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC), drainage/landscaping. Consider all the minor maintenance and major repairs that could be done on each system and calculate an annualized amount for each. Luckily, this work has already been done by Romana King in her article “The Ultimate Home Maintenance Guide”, published in the magazine Money Sense. Her conclusion is that, depending on the size and age of your home, you should plan to budget $900 to $2,500 per year for basic maintenance, and an additional $3,500 to $7,300 for big items. This means annual cost of upkeep could range from $4,500 to $10,000 per year.

No matter how you calculate it, looking after your home can be costly. If you take care of minor repairs as they’re needed and plan ahead for the inevitable replacement of systems, costs will be spread out throughout the time you own your home. You’ll be able to enjoy your lovely home without worrying that the roof will, literally, fall in, and when it comes time to sell, your well-maintained home will return a good price.

Whether you’re looking to buy a pristine new home with nothing to do but move in, or you’re a handyman looking for a fixer-upper, I can help! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for Your First Home in Stony Plain

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Budgeting Tips to Help You Save for Your First Home in Stony Plain | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamNow is the perfect time to be looking for property in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region! Particularly in Spruce Grove real estate and Stony Plain real estate, the housing market is looking positive and there is a lot of inventory for first time homebuyers looking to get that perfect home in a small city. If you really want to take advantage of the Stony Plain real estate market right now and get the keys to your very first home, there are a few quick budgeting adjustments you can make that will get you into a house that you own. Here are a few great money-saving tips to help you save up that down payment.

Make Your Own Lunches

Many people don’t realize this, but you could free up a lot of your money by making your own lunches and at-work snacks at home rather than buying them during the workday. A ten dollar lunch and a five dollar a day coffee habit add up to $300 over the course of a month. Train yourself to make your lunch at home the night before and keep it in the fridge. You can also consider bringing leftovers to work for lunch. Bring lots of snacks for the morning and late afternoon so that you don’t feel the need to go out and buy more food. Once you get into the habit of making your own food, you’ll love how your savings steadily increase.

Make Small Trips Instead of Big, Expensive Ones

Travel is a big expense and one that people who are saving for a house usually cut. People are often slow to cut down on travel because they somehow get the idea that there is nowhere amazing to go near Stony Plain or Parkland County real estate. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Use this time to explore smaller places near Parkland County acreages that are off the beaten trail. Athabasca and Wabamun are both within an hour from Stony Plain, and are great places to go camping if you’re the outdoor type. If you want something a bit more adventurous, try heading to Jasper for a night, or road tripping to Kelowna, where you can easily find a low-cost hostel for a few nights.

Track Your Expenses: There’s an App for That

One of the best ways to watch your budget is to track your expenses with a money management app. Mint is a great budget app and website that will let you manage all of your accounts and credit cards in one place. Mint is one of the web’s most popular personal finance tools, and it has many great features that you can use to stick to your budget. The app will send you weekly reminders of your goals and the progress you are making. Financial goals are always easier to meet when you pay close attention to them, and this website can help you do just that.

Now is a great time to buy a place in Stony Plain. Even if you think you’re not quite ready to buy a home, if you begin to budget you may notice that you’re actually not that far away. Starting a few healthy habits and tracking your progress is critical in meeting your financial goals.

For more great home buying advice, or for information on Edmonton real estate or Edmonton acreages, feel free to call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Summer Fun from the Spruce Grove Ag Society

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Summer Fun from the Spruce Grove Ag Society | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamOur short summers in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area make for a couple of very busy months for most of us, as we cram in all the fun that we can!

Even if you already have a long list of things to do this summer, you’ll want to take part in these three events sponsored by the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society.

  • Flapjacks at the Tracks – Pancake Breakfast:  Saturday, July 19, 8-11 AM.  Come out to the Grain Elevator and be served a delicious breakfast by local dignitaries.
  • Farm and Heritage Carnival:  Saturday, August 16, noon – 4 PM.  Bring the kids for corn on the cob, hotdogs and hamburgers, together with a ton of old-fashioned fun in various contests and competitions.
  • Harvest Fair:  Saturday, September 20, 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM.  Celebrate important aspects of our local agricultural industry at the Grain Elevator site which will be transformed into a farm and old-fashioned playground.

These events not only add to the culture and entertainment in our city, but they raise funds for the Ag Society’s projects.  These projects include maintenance of the Grain Elevator and the restored Water Tower, allowing the Society to keep alive our local history and agricultural heritage.  Future projects include constructing a building which resembles a period train station that will house the Spruce Grove Archives, the Museum, a café, a gift shop and a conference room.

Hosting friends and relatives this summer in our local area?  In 2013 over 4000 visitors from around the world visited the Grain Elevator Museum and Archives.  Show off some of what our city has to offer by bringing your guests to participate in the Ag Society’s events!

If you’d like to learn more about the many things happening all year round in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County, call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Edmonton Real Estate 101: the Most Common FAQ’s About Secondary Suites

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Edmonton Real Estate 101- the Most Common FAQs About Secondary Suites | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn the hunt for a new home so far you’ve covered Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages. That’s quite a bit of land to cover, but for good reason. There’s one feature in particular you’re looking for in your new home: a secondary suite.

What Is a Secondary Suite?

A secondary suite is a section of a single detached house that contains all of the features of an apartment, like a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom and a living space that remains separated from the main house. Basement apartments are a common example of this type of living space.

What Size Should It Be?

According to Edmonton bylaws, a secondary suite should be at least 30 m² (about 325 square feet) and no more than 70 m² (about 750 square feet). In total, the main house and the secondary suite should be at least 360 m² (3875 square feet).

What Are the Advantages to Owning a Home With a Secondary Suite?

The biggest advantage of purchasing a home with a secondary suite is being able to rent out the unit. Depending on how the space has been divided, most suites can accommodate one or two people. The rent collected on the suite can serve as additional income for homeowners, which is a fantastic way to supplement mortgage payments. Adding a secondary suite can also be beneficial when it comes time to sell your home. Houses with secondary suites usually have a higher property value compared to other houses of a similar size. With a secondary suite, you’ll earn more on the sale.

Are There Any Restrictions to Be Aware Of?

As with most major renovations, zoning restrictions and certain bylaws act as guidelines for building and maintaining a legally sound secondary suite. Check zoning policies for your location to determine how they will impact your situation. In general, there are a few standard rules with which a secondary suite should comply. First, only single detached homes may contain a secondary suite. Second, the suite must fulfill all fire code regulations upon inspection.

Does Owning a Secondary Suite Impact My Taxes?

The short answer is, yes, it does. If you chose to rent out the suite and take on tenants, the rent money collected must be documented with the CRA as earned income when it comes time to file your income taxes for the year.

Is City Funding Available for Suite Renovations?

There are certain grants and funding options available for homeowners seeking to either add a secondary suite to their home or renovate an existing suite. Upon receiving approval and funding, renovated suites will be subject to inspection by city officials to confirm that fire code and building code regulations are met.

Secondary suites are the next wave in creating affordable housing solutions for homeowners and renters.

Have more questions about secondary suites that need answering? Bring them to me! I would be more than happy to discuss any issues related to home ownership and Alberta real estate. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Citizen Canine: Off-Leash Dog Parks in Spruce Grove

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Citizen Canine- Off-Leash Dog Parks in Spruce Grove | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamDo you own Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, or one of the many Parkland County acreages or Edmonton acreages, or other real estate in the Edmonton area? Are you looking for a great place to let your dog off-leash in one of those areas? Well, below is a summary of Spruce Grove’s off-leash dog parks to get you started. The Spruce Grove off-leash parks are easily accessible from all of the above areas. Your little four- legged friend will surely thank you for the wide opens space to run around!

Experience Cpl. Jim Galloway Memorial Off Leash Area

If you’ve been around Spruce Grove for a while you might remember this park by its former name “Century Off-Leash Park.” You can find this park at 51 Century Close. One of the special things about this park is the creative layout that includes a specific area of the park for smaller dogs, so you don’t have to worry about your little puppy being intimidated by all the big pooches! The facility features a double-gated entryway perfect for leashing and unleashing your dog. The off-leash area is about 8.6 acres big, with 1 km of gravel trails for you and your furry friend to take advantage of. Dotted throughout the park are benches and other seating areas, and the park is totally fenced.

For an Unfenced Park Try Marlboro

South of Marlboro Drive, near Heritage Grove Park, lies this nice little unfenced park where you can take your canine friend for some activity and fun. The park is accessible via the Heritage Grove trail system or via a pathway off Marlboro drive. Remember that the area is unfenced, so make sure your dog is appropriately trained before you try this park.

Observe Park Etiquette

When you go, remember to observe some basic off-leash park etiquette tips. Pick up after your dog (there are receptacles around the park where you can dispose of waste), and keep your dog leashed until you arrive at the specific off-leash area. Also important to remember is not to bring your dog if he or she is sick, to be in control of your dog at all times (if they need some more training before they are ready for the off-leash park then do that before bringing them out), and remember not to get too busy visiting with all the friends you will surely meet and make at the park that you forget to keep an eye on your dog and what he may be up to! Sometimes with so many canines in one place they can interact in unusual ways that need to be monitored.

Off-leash parks are a great way to enjoy the city and get out and about. They give you the opportunity to exercise, enjoy nature, spend time with your dog, and meet new people. Get out and enjoy one or both of Spruce Grove’s off-leash parks this summer.

If you’d like more information about Spruce Grove real estate, whether you’re looking to buy or sell, call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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