Fort McMurray Real Estate Blog

Trends in Sustainable Residential Construction Technology

How Green Technology Is Changing the Future of HomebuildingThe green movement has been a major trend in construction technology, if only because green energy translates to major savings on a utility bill. And while environmentalists may wish more progress was being made, Canada has been comparatively proactive when it comes to implementing sustainable solutions. Anyone interested in the residential real estate market should take note of how homes are being affected by the movement, and what it will likely mean for the average buyer in the coming decades.

Heating and Cooling

In a country that sees its fair share of clouds, developers are exploring how geothermal heating and cooling can be a sustainable answer. This system uses pumps and a water solution to draw heat from about 30 meters below the surface of the Earth. (The temperature below is always 15° C, no matter how hot or cold it is above.)

With the help of a water solution and some electricity, homeowners can power their air treatment without decimating oil or gas reserves. The energy used for geothermal heating and cooling is minimal compared to that of traditional systems and the utility savings can offset the high costs of installation.

Geothermal heating may have grabbed a few headlines as of late, but this isn't to say that solar panels have been dismissed. The improvements made to solar panels over the years have been drastic, allowing homeowners to extract more energy from less sunlight. Plus, ...

Your Guide to Home Insulation

How to Choose Insulation for the HomeHome insulation has a lot to do with how much a homeowner pays each month for their energy, yet it's a big enough job that many homeowners ignore it until their utility bills double in cost - or when they begin to consider placing the home on the market. For those still on the fence, consider the fact that new insulation is one of the better renovation projects for those who want to increase their resale value (going as high as 107.7% ROI). Learn more about what it takes to choose insulation without endangering the home.

Push and Pull

There are two key considerations when it comes to picking out insulation for the home. Owners have to consider how the insulation will function in extreme temperatures, but they also need to be aware of how insulation will impact the overall ventilation of the home. If air can't flow, it can pose a fire hazard for the entire structure.

Start with an Audit

An energy audit serves a few purposes for homeowners looking to upgrade insulation. It shows the homeowner exactly where they're losing air, and why the airflow may have changed over the years. It's common for homeowners of relatively modern homes to assume that their insulation is sufficient, but this isn't always the case. New, flipped, and renovated homes are all susceptible to poor insulation, and an energy audit can show a homeowner exactly how to slash their bills in half.

Grades of Insulation

All insulation in Canada is ...

How to Remediate Pests from Your Home

Pest Remediation Information for Home OwnersPest infestations can make life difficult and unpleasant. Some pests can even make your home an unhealthy environment for you and your children. And one should never think of selling their home with a pest problem. As a homeowner, you can protect your family and your investment by watching for pests and taking steps to eliminate or prevent them. Here's what you need to know about pest remediation.

Do You Have Pests? Know the Signs

It's very rare for a pest to live on a property without leaving behind some evidence of its presence. Here's what to watch out for:

  • Scratching sounds in the walls or ceiling.
  • Chew holes in the walls or in cardboard boxes.
  • Pest sightings.
  • Chewing noises at night.
  • Pest feces on the floor or under sinks.

The warning signs of a pest infestation vary depending on what type of pest has moved into the house. Mice tend to make noises, while insects tend to be seen and not heard. Larger animals that move into the attic may leave more significant damage, like holes in the walls or attic vents.

How to Eliminate Pests

Pest elimination depends on the type of pest being eliminated. Work with a pest control company to ensure that it's done properly. Many pest companies will use poison to eliminate smaller pests like mice and insects....

4 Security Options For Every Home

Which Home Security Option Is Best For You?Every homeowner wants their home to be safe, and there are many solutions that can be turned from easy DIY strategies to professional surveillance. When it comes to things like alarms, home tech and home sensors that many homeowners want in their home security plan, there are four options to pick from. Each one is a bit different and fits different lifestyles differently, so homeowners should be familiar with each of them when picking one for their home. Here are each of the home security options and what they mean for a home.

Option 1: Local Alarms

Local alarms are the most simple and inexpensive of the options. This category encompasses things like motion sensors and alarms that can’t be monitored through an app or service like other more high-tech alarms can. They can be purchased in sets or individually and can be placed on doors and windows. If one of these alarms senses that what it’s attached to has moved, it makes a loud noise to alert the homeowner and needs to be turned off manually. Local alarms are basic by design, but for a homeowner who just wants a little extra security in one specific area, they can be a great addition to a home.

Option 2: Wired Alarm Systems

The next step up from local alarms is a wired alarm system. These systems include motion detectors, sensors, and alarms that are all connected via wires to a central control panel where they can be armed or disarmed. A wired alarm system can...

How Credit Scores Affect the Homebuying Process

What to Know About Credit Score and HomebuyingWhen homebuyers apply for a mortgage, lenders immediately want to know their credit score but it is not just for qualification purposes. These scores play an important role in many different aspects of the homebuying process from setting interest rates to determining insurance premiums. Learning about the role of credit scores can help homebuyers confidently compare mortgage terms—and this guide is here to help.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Minimum Credit Scores Apply

Lenders have many mortgage types for homebuyers to consider and each has their own minimum credit score limits. To acquire a conventional loan, homebuyers need to have a credit score of 620 or above to even begin the qualification process. USDA loans have an even stricter requirement of 640 and above, while FHA loans are open to those with credit scores as low as 580. Lenders can help loan applicants find mortgage programs that work with their credit scores or provide advice on how to raise those scores before applying.

Higher Scores Equal Lower Interest Rates

When applying for a loan, the credit score of each applicant factors into the interest rate offered by the lender. With a low credit score, interest rates could increase by...

Tips for Better Home Lighting

What Type of Lighting Is Right for Each Room?The function of lighting is often dismissed by homeowners who have already adapted to poor lighting. However, a home's lighting has a lot to do with how people feel on a day-to-day basis, even if it isn't always apparent when poor lighting is affecting one's quality of life. And great lighting can help sell a home as well. Before a homeowner settles for the lighting the property came with, it may be time to consider how visibility impacts everything from mood to safety.

Family Rooms

Dens, living rooms, family rooms: these rooms are truly multi-purpose on any given day. One person may want to read by the window, another may want to do their homeowner or invite their friends over for a movie night. It's why experts recommend layering the lighting so everyone can be comfortable. If the room has a focal point, such as a painting or fireplace, accent lighting is highly recommended to cast a dramatic pool of light on the object. Finally, concealed cove or valance lighting both create an even distribution of light while simultaneously drawing the eye upward.


Because accidents are more likely to occur in slippery spots, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Accidents: The last thing a resident or visitor needs is to squint while they're chopping vegetables. Instead, consider getting undercabinet or recessed lighting to give everyone the illumination they need to prepare dinner, wash dishes, and put heavy glass pans away.
  • ...

Tips for Preventing and Removing Mold

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your HomeWhen an area of a Stone Creek home is exposed to too much moisture, it can lead to mildew or mold. Mildew is a relatively minor problem for a home to have, and once spotted, can be cleaned with general cleaners. But mold is the proverbial horse of a different color. Homeowners need to take action to both prevent and treat mold—especially if they live in an area with high humidity.

The Basics of Mold

Most people know that some molds are actually good for them—it can stimulate the immune system and make certain foods tastier. But other species of mold can make people ill and even cause fatal diseases if the infestation goes undetected for too long. Mold can form anytime, anywhere, and invisible inactive spores in the air can make it difficult to truly rid the home of the fungus. If a homeowner has mold, they are highly encouraged to take residents to the doctor, especially if they have a long-standing cough or unexplained allergy-like symptoms.

The Origin of Mold

Mold can come from anywhere in the home where there's water. This includes leaky pipes and appliances, condensation from the shower, and pooling water from faulty drainage. Mold can hide under floorboards, inside walls, and in dark corners in the basement or attic. Homeowners can use a DIY testing kit to understand more about the type of mold they have, though it should be noted...

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent For You

How To Find The Right Real Estate AgentWhen buying a home, it’s absolutely essential to hire a real estate agent. Not only do agents help find homes to buy and arrange appointments to go to showings, but they also negotiate deals, arrange paperwork, and ensure that the entire process runs as smoothly as it can. While there’s many different agents out there, finding an agent is very different from finding the right agent. Here are some of the different things to look out for when researching agents and what kind of traits they signify.

Check How Many Years They’ve Been Working

Like with any job, the longer someone has been working as an agent, the more experience they have, and the more experience they have, the more confidence their clients have while working with them. Buying a home is a big decision that can change someone’s life, and it would be unfortunate to have the process complicated or dragged to a halt by a rookie mistake on behalf of an agent. However, this isn’t to say that only agents who have a decade or more of experience are the only ones worth working with. Just ensure that the agent has been working for at least a couple years and isn’t completely new to the business.

Know If They Have Preferences or Specializations

Not every real estate agent works with every type of home or property. Some only work with single family homes while other prefer to deal only with condominiums, and some agents don’t mind what type of home it is...

Buying a Home? Understand Your Closing Costs

Guide to Closing CostsNew homeowners need to plan for more than making a down payment on a home. Canadian homeowners need to realize that closing costs can add another 4 per cent of a home's selling price to their expenses. While buyers may finance a home purchase with a mortgage loan, it benefits them to set aside additional funds to cover necessary fees and expenses often required before getting ownership of the property. Learn more about closing costs and why potential buyers need to account for it as part of their budget today.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

The Closing Costs Deposit and Offer to Purchase

A closing cost deposit is done before a final down payment. The costs can vary and are also related to the size of down payment a buyer offers. With an Offer to Purchase, a minimum of 5 per cent can be required and would be considered to be part of the expected closing costs of a home. This deposit is rolled into a final down payment with the finalization of the sale. Homeowners can generally expect a refund in the case that they do not close on the home.

A home inspection can be thought of one of the legal and administrative closing costs. Generally tied to the Offer to Purchase, potential buyers have it performed...

3 Strategies For Selling a Home With Pets

How To Sell a Home With PetsHere in Canada, many households have a furry, scaly, or feathery critter living as part of the family. In fact, 38% of homes have at least one cat, while 35% have at least one dog. While Canada clearly loves its pets, many real estate advice blogs say that selling a home with pets is extremely difficult, and some even go as far as to say that homeowners need to get rid of their pets entirely if they want any chance at selling a home. However, this is just untrue. While selling a home with pets can be a bit more difficult, it definitely isn’t impossible. Here are some of the different strategies homeowners can use when selling their home that don’t resort to taking Fluffy to the pound.

1. Repair Damage Caused By Pets

It’s nearly impossible to own a pet that hasn’t left some sort of mark on its home. Whether it’s a stain on the carpet from an accident or scratch marks on the door, homeowners should take note of things buyers may be turned off by. Other things to look for include:

  • Scratch marks on wood floors
  • Drool and nose marks on windows
  • Dirt marks on walls and corners
  • Dead grass outside
  • Food stains near bowls
  • Fur on carpets and furniture

While some of these might not seem like a big deal, many little things add up, and buyers don’t want to buy a home only to have to fix all these problems immediately. Taking care of these problems before selling can be a great way to give buyers confidence in...

Your Guide to Buying Home Insurance

Buying Home Insurance BasicsMany new home buyers know little about home insurance and may be disappointed with their home insurance policy. Those who are not paying for a home in cash and are financing their home with a lender are generally obligated to take out home insurance. Learn more about home insurance for properties in Canada.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a certified insurance expert before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is the Purpose of Home Insurance

Making necessary repairs happens to come with owning a home. Fire, vandalism and storm damage can make for unexpected damages that can be a financial burden on a new Stone Creek homeowner. In order to protect equity and maintain the value of a home, a homeowner can buy home insurance. Even though it is not a legal requirement, it is useful for those who want to work with a lender to finance the purchase of a home. It is important to know more about types of coverage and premiums, as it can be frustrating to buy home insurance that offers minimal coverage when an emergency hits.

What to Know About Coverage

Home insurance generally applies to the dwelling, providing liability to the one holding the policy and their family, and...

Constructing An Outdoor Living Space: Tips for Homeowners

How to Construct an Outdoor Living SpaceOutdoor living rooms have become very popular in recent years. People love spending time outside, and they especially love spending time outside in a comfortable living room setting. If you're thinking about installing an outdoor living room in your backyard, these tips can help you get started with the task.

Make a List of Goals

As with any home DIY improvement project, it helps to begin with a list of goals. Making a list of goals will help the homeowner choose the layout and features of the outdoor living space. Having a list of goals can also help the homeowner talk to contractors when the time comes to hire a professional. Common goals and features for an outdoor living space include:

  • Space for entertaining friends
  • Ability to cook and serve food outside
  • Shelter from hot sun or rain

As the homeowner makes their list, they must think about what they want for their outdoor space, and how that can be achieved.

Pick a Colour Scheme and Decor

Installing decor can help make the living space a more enjoyable place to spend time. There are many ways to make outdoor living space more attractive.

Homeowners can start by choosing a colour scheme to tie together furniture and any other decorations. Once a colour scheme has been selected, homeowners can buy furniture to match the colour scheme. Plants can help bring the space to life. If the area is sheltered, homeowners might even consider installing...

What to Consider Before Installing Residential Solar Panels

Are Residential Solar Panels Worth the Cost of Investment?Homeowners know that the real cost of a home is so much more than its original price. No matter how expensive or stable a home is, homeowners need to perform maintenance and repairs on a regular basis to retain the value of the property. And increasing the value of ones home can help sell the home faster and for more money. However, the cost of solar panels is why they may put off installing green energy technology in favor of more pressing matters.

But before homeowners dismiss solar panels, it helps to understand how they work and what homeowners can expect from their installation. From utility costs to resale value, keep the following facts in mind before deciding to make the investment.

Standard Facts

There are a few start-up facts to face before calling for estimates:

  • Average cost of solar panels is $22,500 (costs vary widely based on province)
  • Tax incentives also vary by province
  • Recouping the full value of solar panels takes between 7 – 20 years
  • Areas with frequent cloud coverage may not be suitable for solar panels

There are ways for homeowners to make solar panels work, depending on their location and vendor they choose. However, they should start with realistic expectations before they take the next steps.

Solar Panel Advancements

Solar panels have become extremely efficient in the past few years, and they're only getting better at extracting energy. Some provinces,...

Everything You Need To Know About Mortgage Default Insurance

Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Default Insurance, or CMHC InsuranceBuying a home in Canada with a mortgage, especially after renting, can be confusing. One item of a mortgage that borrowers often have questions on is mortgage insurance. Mortgage default insurance is also known as CMHC insurance. This is a mandatory insurance that home buyers must pay if they are making a down payment of less than 20%. Knowing about CMHC insurance and what you can do to minimize your CMHC insurance premium can help you save money when the time comes to buy a home. Here's what you need to know.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

How Does Mortgage Default Insurance Work?

Mortgage default insurance is a type of insurance that minimizes risk for mortgage lenders. Mortgage default insurance pays for the balance on the mortgage if the borrower defaults on their loan. It is this insurance that enables lenders to make loans to higher-risk buyers who are unable to pay the 20% down payment.

How Can You Calculate Mortgage Default Insurance?

Mortgage default insurance is calculated as a percentage of the mortgage, depending on how big the down payment is. It is then added to the total mortgage balance. The table below shows the buyer how much they can expect...

How to Sell a Home in a Buyer's Market

How to to Get the Best Offer During a Buyer's MarketNo matter when a seller decides to sell their home, they're subject to market forces that are more or less outside their control. Selling a home in a buyer's market can feel like poor timing, but there are ways to maximize the offers when sellers understand the buyer's mentality. Here are a few tips for everyone to make the most of the situation, so they don't have to wonder what might have been.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Do the Research

Understanding the market is the first step to selling in a buyer's market. It can help the seller set realistic expectations before they even list the home. Homes on a buyer's market may take longer to close, but once a seller understands the dynamics, they can mentally prepare for the next several months.

No matter what the economic climate is like though, sellers should start identifying ways to make a strong first impression on buyers. They don't necessarily have to hire a designer to stage their home, but they may want to repaint the siding or start planting a few bulbs in their garden. Buyers notice the finer details on a property, even if they can't define the exact qualities...

Remediating Unpermitted Work? What You Need to Know

Unpermitted Work RemediationWhen a potential homebuyer decides to stop renting and begins searching for a new home to buy, they may find that some homes may have additions or improvements that have been made in the past. Most of these improvements will need a building permit. Building permits enable local authorities to oversee home improvements and ensure that those home improvements are performed to code. When a permit is pulled, this initiates a process that can't be completed until a building inspector has signed off on the work being done in the home. If the permit is not pulled, the work proceeds unmonitored. Often, unpermitted work is not performed to code.

Why You Should Remediate Unpermitted Work

Unpermitted work can be dangerous. Permits enable local building inspectors to ensure quality of work, follow the building codes, regulations and standards. They also may require contractors to make repairs if the work done on a home is not correct. Living in a home with unpermitted work could result in problems like fires, leaks, mold and structural damage. Remediating unpermitted work prevents poor workmanship from damaging the home.

What's Involved

To get the work permitted on an old home improvement or addition, the contractor will likely need to open the walls or tear out some work that was previously done. This is necessary so the building...

Top Home Safety Hazards Homeowners Should Beware Of

3 Home Safety HazardsYoung children and the elderly may be particularly prone to experiencing accidental physical injuries in a home. Measures often need to be taken to address potential home safety hazards and reduce the risk of injury to occupants, especially after buying a new home and not being familiar with the home.. Know more about home safety hazards found in Canadian homes today.

Risk of Falls and Injury

1 in 5 older adults that fall may incur broken bones or head injuries. Injuries from falls has become a common household hazard. Homeowners may want to take measures to:

  • Remove clutter around front steps and walkways;
  • Improve lighting around entrances and paths;
  • Secure existing railings; and
  • Provide better traction on slippery stairs.

Grayling Terrace homeowners would do well to avoid the use of throw rugs and scatter mats, as well as keep high-traffic areas free of toys or clutter.

Injury and Loss of Life from Smoke and Fire Hazards

The use of working smoke alarms can do much to prevent home fires, injuries and more. Monthly testing, and replacement of batteries every six months can help ensure smoke alarms are working when needed. Multiple smoke alarms are recommended in larger homes and should be installed at every level. Lives have been saved from having working smoke alarms in a home. In the case of a home fire, occupants have to...

Buying a Home In a Sellers Market? Tips for Success

All About Buying in a Seller's MarketIt's hard to be a new home buyer in a seller's market. Under these market conditions, many buyers must make several offers before one is finally accepted. Being prepared and making a competitive offer can help. If you've never bought a home before and are unfamiliar with the home buying process, here's what you need to know.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What Is a Seller's Market?

A seller's market is what happens when buyers are abundant and not many homes are listed for sale. Usually, those homes that are listed for sale are priced high. Most buyers in a seller's market usually have financial resources and are able to make big offers. Buyers who are on a tight budget are often shut out of the market and find it difficult or impossible to buy a home.

What Can Buyers Do to Be Prepared?

Buyers who want to purchase a home must position themselves to make the most competitive offer they can.

Keep the Price Range Realistic

In order to make a competitive offer on a home, buyers must ensure that they're looking in a price range they can afford. Sometimes this means that the buyer must purchase a "fixer upper," or a small starter house. This is especially true of first-time home buyers who have...

Think You Have Foundation Trouble? What You Should Know

All About Foundation TroubleFoundation problems are a homeowner's worst nightmare. Often, foundation troubles are expensive to repair, and sometimes they can be dangerous for people living in the home.

A home that is experiencing foundation problems cannot be renovated or improved until the foundation itself is stable and strong once again. As a homeowner, it's important for you to be able to identify the signs of foundation trouble, especially before trying to sell your home. When you see that your home is having a foundation problem, taking quick action can help prevent the problem from getting bigger and more expensive to repair. Here's what you need to know.

Identify the Foundation Trouble

Knowing the signs of foundation trouble can help you take the first steps toward repair. Often, the first signs of foundation problems include cracks in the foundation. These cracks may be found outside the home, or in the basement.

Horizontal cracks more than about 6 millimetres in width are a serious sign of trouble. Cracks that take a stair-step shape between the cement blocks are another sign of a problem. Sometimes, the homeowner will see the wall of the basement bowing inward, or the exterior wall of the home bowing outward. This could be a sign of serious instability, and should be addressed right away.

In addition to the cracks in the foundation, other signs of foundation trouble include:

  • Cracks formed over doorways and windows...

Want a Greener Home? Try One of These Eco Friendly Flooring Options

5 Green Flooring Options For Your HomeNowadays, it’s more important than ever for everyone to do their part to help take care of the environment. Whether that means using reusable bags at the grocery store, driving an electric car or using residential solar panels, there’s many different ways for people can take steps to become more environmentally conscious. Even the flooring used in a home can have an impact on the environment. Here are some of the different flooring options on the market for homeowners who want to help make their home a bit greener.

Wool Carpeting

Carpeting is easily one of the most popular flooring choices to use in homes. It’s soft and stylish, but traditional carpeting is made of synthetic material will end up filling landfills because it doesn’t degrade. Homeowners who like carpet can instead purchase carpet made of wool. Because wool is 100% natural, there isn’t a risk of it lasting hundreds of years, and it has additional benefits as well. Wool is a renewable material that can be gotten from many different animals without hurting them, and it naturally resists dirt and is fire retardant. 


Homeowners love the look of hardwood floors, but traditional hardwood is both expensive and can encourage deforestation if it isn’t harvested responsibly. A greener alternative to traditional hardwood floors is ...