Saturday, April 6, 2013
Sunday, August 5, 2012
For anyone that wants to keep up with Matt and Team Nova Scotia at the National archery championships the team captain is writing a blog of sorts here: http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/tall/HTML/MentorsBlog2012.htm It is a website that gives a little bit of team info, etc. The only drawback is that you can not leave comments, which sucks. I'll have to talk to the team captain about starting a blog on Wordpress.
Anyway, as well as that website, you might find some info on these ones as well: http://www.victoriabowmen.com/2012Canadian/enindex.html http://www.archerycanada.ca/ Right now, Matt is shooting better than he ever has. However travelling across the country has a way of throwing everything out of whack so we'll see how it goes. He has some serious competition in his category this year. Best of luck to him and the rest of the team.
Our summer has been kind of slow paced so far. Our family visitors from Ontario left a couple of days ago. We did the usual touristy things, Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg to see the Bluenose, Talls Ships, and afternoon at the beach, Museum of Natural History, lobster supper, etc. Lots of stuff I wanted to do but time, money, work & weather plotted against us. Oh well, that's what repeat trips are for.
Peggy's Cove lighthouse. I never get tired of it.
Peggy's Cove, standing by lighthouse looking back towards the village.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
On Sunday everyone went down to the Halifax waterfront to take in some of the Tall Ships festival. Most everyone seemed to enjoy looking around on the ships, except Don, who I didn't realize gets queasy even standing on the deck of a ship until after I bought him a boarding bracelet! Ah well, he was a good sport waiting for the rest of us while we poked around the ships. He did make it aboard the Eagle (the largest ship there, belonging to the US Coast Guard) and got to look around on that one and he did great crossing the Harbour from Dartmouth to Halifax and vice versa on the passenger ferry without tossing his cookies. All in all a good day.
Theodore Tugboat was giving $2 rides across the harbour! We steered clear and went over on the larger Metro ferries because we figured Donnie would turn a lovely shade of green and then lose his lunch over the side. Not a good sight for all Theodore loving kiddos.
Theodore Tugboat. Photo credit Becki Wilson
Becki had picked up a few touristy type brochures at the visitor info center at the Nova Scotia border. One of the brochures was for the Nova Scotian Crystal store/gallery. Since we happened to be over there for the Tall Ships we thought we'd poke our heads in and see if they were blowing any of the crystal. We got to see one of the workers loading up the kiln (?) but then he left shortly after, closing the observation doors. So we didn't get to see anything. We did poke around the gallery/store. Don fell in love with some crystal beer glasses but at $99 each they can keep them. I mean...really?? Too rich for us.
Here is Drew (Andrew) posing for his mom on the deck of one of the ships. I am not sure which one this was however I think it was on the Eagle. He's a great kid.
This is Matt & Ben (my boys) taking turns at the gun on board the HMCS Sackville, Canada's last Navy Corvette from WWII.
Just some more pictures. I love the masts and sails.
Last but not least...the giant pumpkin gun! No, I didn't see it fire.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
So, the boy cleans up well. And the pictures do not do the young lady justice, my jaw dropped when I first saw her that night. Beautiful.
Anyway, back to lots going on. Busy summer so far. Besides our individual work lives, Hubby and I are also preparing for a visit from Hubby's brother Donnie and his girlfriend and her 13 year old son. This will be the first time ever in all of 21 years of married life that Donnie will be visiting us. Sometimes living away from family is a blessing (ha!) but at other times...like in the case of being able to visit each other... it sure sucks.
So, Donnie & Becki arrive in a little over a week and are staying for two weeks. Of course, we're looking forward to that however I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't cause it's own little stresses planning for it all, possibilities of where to take them, what to feed them, etc.
If it was just Donnie & Becki it would be easier as they are both adults and can entertain themselves, however Andrew is only 13 and he deserves to have a good time on vacation! I see trips to the Tall Ships, Discovery Center, Natural History Museum, Beaches in our near future. Complicating things is that neither Hubby or I can get the whole time off work together. Oh well, it will all work out.
It's also getting to be crunch time for Matt and Team Nova Scotia for archery. In a little over 3 weeks we all head out to Vancouver Island for the Canadian Outdoor Target & Field Archery Championships. Matt is entered in both events. Up until now he hasn't practiced much which has been a bit of a sore spot with us. But now that we are getting down to crunch time, he's been getting out a bit more shooting and the team has been organizing more team practices. Of course, we're just getting going with that and Donnie will arrive right in the middle of all these planned archery team practices, which Matt can't miss. Perhaps Andrew will want to tag along and pick up a bow and give it a try. Channel his "inner Gale".
Monday, June 25, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Lots of news in the real estate world this week concerning upcoming changes to Canada's mortgage rules and the announcement that one of Canada's major mortgage lenders is shutting down (more on that at the end).
Here is a summary of the new, tighter restrictions on new mortgages as of July 9, 2012:
- The maximum amortization period will now be 25 years instead of 30 (this only applies to government backed insured mortgages). If you have more that 20% down this does not apply.
- The refinancing limit was lowered to 80% instead of 85%
- Maximum qualifying Gross Debt Ratio (GDSR) is 39%
- Maximum qualifying Total Debt Ratio (TDSR) 44%
- You can't get CMHC insurance if your home is over $1 million
I have to admit, for the most part I like the changes. I've seen too many recent foreclosure situations involving first time buyers who haven bitten off more than they can chew financially with their home purchase. Just because you can qualify for a $500,000 mortgage doesn't mean you need to buy that high and leave yourself house poor. What some buyers don't realize is that carrying a house is so much different than renting. Being able to afford $1,300 (or whatever) in rent does not mean that you can plunk that same amount down on a mortgage and Bob's your Uncle. They forget utilities, property taxes, house maintenance, little unexpected emergencies that require financial attention, rising gas/grocery prices, etc.
What I don't like is that it has now gotten even more difficult for first time buyers to get into the housing market. Like it wasn't tough enough in some markets (Toronto, Vancouver). Thankfully, the government did not tinker with the minimum down payment. You can still buy a house for 5% down. However, first time buyers will need to make more money per month to qualify for the same amount of money. On the flip side, going with a 25 year amortization (over the 30 year) will save significant $$$ in interest over that time. Of course, this only applies to government backed insured mortgages. If you can afford 20% down or more you can avoid CMHC insurance and you can get whatever amortization term you want that is offered by your lender.
So if you are currently involved in either buying or selling a home what does all this mean to you?
Selling - You've just lost a pool of potential buyers who can no longer afford your home. As well, if your home is overpriced and you are "waiting for the market to catch up" to what you are asking, this is the time to shake your head. Fewer buyers means less demand. What happens when you have more of a supply than demand? Prices correct themselves, aka...fall. Expect that over time house prices will gradually lower. Jury is out on if this will happen, and if so how fast and by how much. This is where your major and micro markets come into play. Some areas may be hit significantly while others not at all. If you are serious about selling, have a serious look at market stats and price your home accordingly. The market isn't going to "catch up" to you. And any REALTOR(R) worth their commission will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. And you need to hear this. If you don't have a REALTOR(R), you may want to consider investing in one. Selling your home, especially on your own, might just get a bit tougher.
Buyers with less than 20% down - For the short term, you've just lost a bit of variety in homes available to you. You may need to lower your expectations and realize that you might not get a palace as your first home. You might have to be willing to take on some homes that have a few "projects" to be done. You will now be paying more per month for 5 less years. You will no longer qualify for as much of a mortgage. If you have a pre-qualification in place you will need to close on your house by July 9, 2012. If you have not offered on a house yet and can not close before July 9th, 2012, you need to contact your bank to see what your new maximum mortgage will be before you put in an offer and get emotionally invested in a property and then lose it because you no longer qualify for financing. The seller, the real estate agent and your bank will thank you for making sure this detail is taken care of. The Good news is that if you do get into a home with payments you can afford under the new rules, you will save a bucket load of interest over the years of your mortgage and your mortgage will be paid off sooner. Also, if you can afford to wait a little while before you buy, you will save more money for a down payment and might be able to avoid CMHC. The jury is out on the final say on prices but many are expecting that home prices will start to go down a bit, giving you more variety in homes available in your price range. Sellers may be more willing to negotiate.
Here is what the difference that lower amortization will mean to you in terms of monthly payment:
The basic rule of thumb is you will pay $50.00 per month per $100,000.00 of mortgage, but you will be paid off 5 years sooner.
|Amount||Old Monthly Payment||New Monthly Payment||Difference Per Month|
While I understand that business is business, anything that takes away flexibility, financial options and choice from the consumer is not a good thing.
Lastly, I'm not a mortgage guru. I love houses...mortgages, not so much, although I acknowledge they go hand in hand. Therefore, I urge you to call your preferred mortgage professional (either through a big bank or a mortgage broker) and find out what your options really are. If you need help finding a mortgage professional, let me know. I've worked with a couple that I would recommend over and over.