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Win-Win Negotiation

What do you think is the ultimate goal when negotiating a property purchase? Is it that the buyer does everything in his or her power to get the lowest possible price? Or, is it that the seller gives his or her maximum effort to get the highest possible price? Or, is it none of these answers?

One day, a retired multimillionaire businessman told us what he missed the most about negotiating. His greatest satisfaction was to conclude an agreement where both parties were content. That is exactly what property buyers and sellers should aim for: closing a win-win negotiation.

It is useless for buyers to push sellers against the wall and force them to give up their property for an unsuitable price. This attitude rarely leads to good results. Conscientious buyers not only think about their own interests, but they also think about the sellers’ satisfaction. Continue reading

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Thinking About Buying a Condo: Think Twice!

It seems that everyone is buying a condo these days. This way of living has never been so popular. Perhaps you are thinking about buying one? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you start your research.

Be as honest as possible with yourself and know the specific reason why you are considering to buy a condo. Are you looking for fewer responsibilities? Are you feeling a little lonely living in a single home and would rather live a collective life in a condo? Are you growing a little weaker as the years go by? Have you reached a moment in your life where you would prefer facing the unexpected in a team rather than alone or as a couple? Is it more cost-effective for you to sell your home and buy a condo instead? As a tenant, would you rather own a financial asset as quickly as possible? The more precise and candid the answers to these questions are, the more fruitful and short-lived your research will be. That is if ever you actually decide to make the move. Continue reading

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Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?

Brown is such a rich, deep, warm colour that it calms the mind, creates a welcoming environment and promotes togetherness. At the same time, it stimulates hunger for life. Like hot cocoa. Which shade do you prefer? Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

More often than not, brown is frowned upon or even made fun of. Some say it is bland, dull and perhaps a little sad. However, you can find a velvety brown as you would find a velvety red. You can also find a stylish brown as you would find a stylish blue. Take the time to explore all the different shades of brown.

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Brown and neutral tones blend beautifully well together. Take, for example, chocolate brown, caramel brown, coffee brown, hazel brown, chestnut brown, dark brown, Sienna, mahogany, amber, terracotta, sepia, cream, ivory beige, and ochre. Otherwise, if applied according to the glazing technique, you could create a nice faux leather brown. Continue reading

Heating and lighting: Can you bring down the cost?

In Canada, winter is synonymous with snowy landscapes, cold-weather sports… And soaring electricity bills. What if you could make changes to your house, or plan the construction of your next home to reduce the amount of energy you consume? From little fixes to major work, here’s how you can make your house more eco-friendly, increase your comfort level and save on heating and lighting.

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Adopt eco-friendly habits

“If you want to reduce your energy bill, your priorities should be ensuring that the house is well insulated and replacing energy-sucking appliances,” explains Martin Lambert, Founding President of Ecosolaris. “It always costs less to invest in conserving energy rather than producing it.” Guilty parties include incandescent light bulbs, which could be replaced by LED lighting, and old appliances that you’d be better to replace with Energy Star-certified appliances. Products that carry this certification are required to meet strict technical specifications related to energy efficiency and are tested extensively before being certified.

“Control systems can also be a good way to save,” adds Brian Wilkinson, President of Energie Matrix Inc. “A smart thermostat that can be controlled remotely could save you up to 20% of your electricity bill.” Continue reading

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3 things to consider before renewing your mortgage

Everyone wants to get the best mortgage financing offer. Does that mean getting the lowest rate, the longest term or the smallest payment? The best strategy for one person isn’t necessarily right for another.

Mortgage renewal is the perfect time to reorganize your finances based on your life goals. Your plan will be different, depending on whether you want to pay the lowest interest possible, reduce your monthly payment, save for a special project or optimize your debt repayment.

Here are 3 things to consider before settling on a mortgage agreement that’s right for you.

  1. Your financial commitments 

To find out how much flexibility you have with your budget, calculate the monthly payments for your:

  • Vehicle
  • Credit cards and lines of credit (monthly minimums)
  • Personal loans (e.g., student loan)
  • Other payments, like child support

Note: no more than 40% of your gross household income should go to all of your financial commitments, including your mortgage payment and other home-related expenses (e.g., property taxes, school taxes, energy costs).

Continue reading