Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Battle of Alberta: Edmonton vs Calgary

The Canadian province of Alberta boasts two highly urbanized areas in Edmonton and Calgary. Outside these two and other small-to-midsized cities across the province, however, the majority of land in Alberta is sparsely populated. This is a good thing for city dwellers who love the outdoors. The Badlands to the north, the eastern oil sands, and the Canadian Rockies on its western border all tend to serve as great weekend getaways.
For many Canadians, the Battle of Alberta refers to the storied rivalry between the sporting teams of Edmonton and Calgary, both at collegiate and professional levels in hockey, football, and recently in lacrosse. In reality, the rivalry between Edmonton, Alberta's capital city and Calgary, its largest city, goes beyond sports. It can be traced back to the expansion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, where initial plans of passing through Edmonton were scrapped in favor of a route via Calgary in the 1880s.
By the time of Alberta's inception and its admission to the Canadian Confederation in 1905, both cities were already prosperous and vying for the position of provincial capital. At present, Edmonton and Calgary are both thriving cultural and economic centers. They continue to attract natives and foreigners alike, making real estate in either of the two cities a much-sought after investment.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

CHC: Building Communities, One House at a Time

Although it is one of Canada’s major cities, not everyone who lives in Calgary can afford to live in a decent home. In other countries, housing assistance for the elderly, the disabled, and low-income individuals is offered in the form of vouchers; the Calgary Housing Company (CHC), on the other hand, provides actual housing units. These properties are funded and supported by the local government to help out the less privileged.

The CHC operates and manages about 10,000 housing units for rent, which are primarily intended for low-income families. Unlike some residential properties for sale in the city's real estate market, CHC housing units are guaranteed to be built according to high standards and come complete with basic amenities that some houses lack. The CHC strives not only to provide affordable housing but also to create solid and happy communities.

These things are made possible through the city's support services, especially those related to healthcare and home security. The CHC also encourages tenants to be more proactive by participating in community activities like agency resource fairs, community BBQs, clean-up activities, and seminars. Aside from fostering a sense of community, these activities also aim to educate low-income households about parenting, community engagement, social development, and the like – things that any community should have.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Condo Ownership: A Step Towards Independence

Nothing screams financial independence like owning property. For young professionals, this property will likely come in the form of a condo unit. Most condo units are spacious and comfortable for young, single professionals, giving them a place to call their own. With more and more young people looking to purchase their first condo, here are a few tips you must know before buying a condo unit with your hard-earned money:

As with any real estate property, a condo's location is very important. Is the condo you're considering near that mall you like to frequent? How far is it from your office? These are only a few questions you need to ask yourself when considering a unit. In addition to this, visit the neighborhood of the condo building during different times of the day, both on weekdays and weekends, to get a better feel of the neighborhood you might move in to.

Aside from the price of the condo itself, ask your potential neighbors if there are any homeowner's association dues that need to be paid and how much these dues are (if any). This prevents any surprise expenses when you move in.

Lastly, consider the resale value of the condo. Eventually, you may want to move out of this initial purchase. Try to find out the resale value of the condo or how much money would constitute a fair amount of rent.