Travel Planning Information for the Budget Minded Travellers

Non-Traditional and Budget-Minded Travel Information & Links

Perhaps your desire to travel is great, but your budget to tackle your bucket list is minimal. That’s ok. If you are willing to be a little less conventional in your approach to travel, you can still save money while getting a more authentic experience.

Some of the best options for seniors include:

Hostels – No, they aren’t just for backpacking 20-somethings who have left home to “find” themselves. Many overseas hostels are immaculate, loaded with amenities, and offer private rooms with bathrooms. They are a “best kept secret” in travel circles. Learn more at Hostelworld.com.

House sitting  – Homeowners often look for older, more mature individuals to do house sitting—perhaps including care for the family pet(s)—and this can be one way for seniors to travel on the cheap. Resources to learn more include TrustedHousesitters.com, Housecarers.com, and HouseSitMatch.com.

Couch surfing – Yes, seriously. This increasingly popular mode of travel involves joining a social network of fellow travelers (Couchsurfing.org) who believe in fostering friendly cultural exchanges through local meet-ups and/or hosting travelers (who stay on their couch, an air mattress or in a spare bedroom). Visit the site to learn more and join in!

House swapping – For people who own their own home (or even live in an apartment, if the lease doesn’t prohibit it) and are willing to “swap” with someone in order to travel without incurring hotel and lodging fees, this may be a great option. Check out opportunities at Homexchange.com and HomeBaseHolidays (Homebase-hols.com).

Adventures – Enjoy a full immersion experience in another culture through a variety of travel styles (and costs) by booking through one of these sites geared to adventurous explorers: IntrepidTravel.com, Gadventures.com, Wildland.com, and MythsandMountains.com.

Volunteer – One way to travel for free (or at very low cost) is to volunteer in your area(s) of expertise. Visit Idealist.org for thousands of opportunities in exotic locations. (In particular, explore options with “housing available.”) Imagine helping out in a wildlife sanctuary in Brazil, at an orphanage in Tanzania, for a community development program in Uganda, or conservation programs in Costa Rica. All these and many more are listed on the site.

Regardless of your budget, there is a way to go forth and see the world – it’s all in the planning!

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

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Retirement Planning & You

Retirement Checklist It’s important to take a look at your financial picture to see where you are at at any age but, even more so if you are nearing retirement.

Make a list of steps you need to take to assure that your future actions align with your long-term financial goals.

A CBIC poll (cibc retirement savings), shows that last year people thought that $756,000 is the average amount that Canadians think they’ll need in order to fund the retirement lifestyle they’d like.

Yet, among those nearing retirement or on the cusp—those aged 45 to 64—of it, 32 percent haven’t saved anything for retirement.

Among those with retirement money stashed away, the average value of their fund is $345,000, though nearly half (49%) have saved less than $250,000.

Here’s some data on how Canadians are faring when it comes to taking the steps —like knowing what income retirement needs will be and making regular deposits into retirement accounts— needed to have a shot at a financially healthy retirement.

How Canadians who are not currently retired or semi-retired describe their retirement savings plan: All Men Women 18-34  35-54 55+
I have a formal and detailed plan that describes my desired retirement lifestyle, the income I will need and I save regularly to achieve that goal 10 % 13 % 8 % 8 % 11 % 14 %
I have a good idea what my income needs will be and make regular contributions, but I don’t know if I’m saving enough 16 % 19 % 14 % 13 % 16 % 24 %
I make regular deposits to my retirement savings account(s), but I don’t know what my income needs will be and I don’t know if I’m saving enough 21 % 21 % 21 % 23 % 21 % 14 %
I don’t know what my retirement income will be, but I try to put money aside towards retirement when I can 16 % 15 % 16 % 20 % 13 % 12 %
I know I need to save for retirement, but I’m not able to save 22 % 19 % 25 % 16 % 25 % 27 %
I haven’t thought about retirement and I have no savings dedicated to retirement 15 % 14 % 17 % 20 % 14 % 8 %

Prospective Buyers’ Motivators

CMHC talked to first-time buyers, previous owners, and current owners about things like their housing expectations, home purchase drivers, and concerns.

Here are three key findings.

  1. Key motivators. Improved accessibility (physical obstacles and barriers) and investment opportunity were top motivators among all three groups. The desire to stop renting was a top motivator for both first-time buyers (65%) and previous owners (60%).
  1. Move-in ready. First-time buyers (43%), previous owners (44%), and current owners (48%) all say an existing move-in-ready home is their top choice. But some are willing to buy a property that requires renovation. That option appeals to 14% of first-time buyers, 11% of previous owners, and 7% of current owners.

Some want brand new homes, including first-time buyers (19%), previous owners (21%), and current owners (32%).

  1. Home purchase prices. More than half of first-time buyers (54%) and previous owners (54%) plan to spend under $300,000 to buy a home, and about 25% intend to spend between $300,000 to just under $500,000.

But just 33% of current owners are planning to spend under $300,000, and 34 percent are looking for options over the half-million dollar range.

CIBC Retirement Checklist: checklist

CIBC Retirement Calculator: retirement calculator

If you are seeking an experienced Realtor® to go to work for you in Langley, Surrey and surrounding area’s in BC, give me a call! 
778-834-8021

https://homesinlangley.ca/mylistings.html

Senior Real Estate Specialist Banner

3 Ways to Talk so Your Family Will Listen

Buying and selling real estate can be stressful for the entire family. In times of family stress, communication often breaks down. However, there are several ways to improve communication to find consensus amid the chaos.

  1. Improve Confidence and Body Language Eye contact – Engage others by looking them in the eye while speaking and listening. Don’t squint (which looks mean). Looking over a person’s head says, “I’m superior;” looking down appears small and meek; looking to either side appears untrustworthy. Posture – Sit or stand up straight. Slumping gives the appearance of trying to disappear and melt away, visually indicating that you, and what you say, isn’t really that important. Don’t fidget – Rubbing your hands together repeatedly, tucking or twisting your hair, picking at your nails (or even looking at your hands) when you speak all indicate a lack of confidence.
  2. Improve the Quality of Your Speech Lower your timbre – Deeper, richer tones are preferable to high, tinny voices. Notice where your voice comes from—your sinus cavity (bad), your throat (ok), or deeper in your chest (best). Watch the tone – Snippy, hard-edged responses, even when unintentional, are cutting to those who listen. Keep your tone welcoming and friendly. Slow it down – Talking too quickly can make you appear nervous and out of control.
  3. Be More Pleasant Stay positive – No one wants to listen to constant negativity. Don’t gossip – Gossiping to someone makes them assume you will be gossiping about them next. Smile – This simple act is reassuring to listeners and helps them feel accepted—which in turn makes them more interested in what you have to say. Listen – Don’t mentally rehearse what you are going to say next while someone else is talking. Instead, stay focused on listening and asking for more information to demonstrate that you care about them, and what they have to say. Your role in the family may help or hurt your ability to be heard during important conversations. These tips, however, will help you to be heard regardless of your birth order or position in the family hierarchy.

4 Reasons to Work with an Exclusive Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

If you are over the age of 50 and considering buying or selling a home, there are many reasons to choose a senior real estate specialist like Rosemary Papp

You’ve probably heard the saying, “all real estate is local”. It’s a truism that refers to the unique qualities of neighbourhoods and properties—and the importance of working with a real estate professional who intimately understands a local market.

The same claim can be made for real estate clients. Everyone who buys or sells property has unique needs. This is especially true for later-in-life real estate transactions, which may include distinct challenges (floor plans that accommodate aging in place, estate planning considerations, special financing requirements, etc.).

If you’re a buyer or seller over the age of 50—or are assisting someone who is—there are several reasons to choose a senior real estate specialist who has a special focus and the experience to help you:

  1. THEY MADE THE CHOICE An agent who has earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation, and only works with seniors, made this choice because they enjoy working with mature adults and helping people “of a certain age” navigate life’s transitions. Many of them have either made similar transitions themselves, or have helped parents and relatives. There’s a reason they chose this focus for their business, and it’s all about helping people.

  2. THEY’LL OFFER OPTIONS Newly retired? Empty nester? Widow/widower? Any of these transitions can precipitate a huge change in lifestyle, with many adjustments and decisions—only one of which is where to live. A senior specialist will listen to your concerns and share potential solutions and resources to help make your decisions. By focusing only on seniors, they already understand which properties come closest to meeting your needs—and where to find many other valuable resources.

  3. THEY ARE EMPATHETIC An exclusive senior specialist understands that major life changes are never easy, but they don’t shy away from the difficult topics or the difficult emotions that often accompany these decisions. They know your priorities change when your life changes. They’ll help you find solutions to make a smoother transition.

  4. THEY ARE ENGAGED These agents don’t just talk about senior issues, they get involved, whether it’s volunteering or developing relationships with senior-centric agencies and individuals. They’re able to help people who are 50+ throughout their community—not just their clients. (And they’ll remain a resource long after your business relationship is over.) Helping people is their passion!

 

>> Learn More About Rosemary Papp

 

Estate Sales: Quick Way to Purge, Put Cash in Your Pocket

Purging your house of clutter and depersonalizing the space is one of the first recommendations a real estate professional makes before listing a property.

In addition to getting your house ready to shine, the process also helps you pare down the amount of stuff you need to pack, which makes your eventual move easier.

But when your house is loaded with decade’s worth of stuff, that purge can be a bit daunting.

And you can’t really count on kids to take your bone china or French provincial furniture off your hands. Younger generations, particularly Millennials, often don’t want hand-me-downs.

“No one wants to take anything. The next generation has full houses and different taste,” says Josh Horowitz, president Sell My Stuff Canada (http://bit.ly/2zXYnL2), a Toronto-based estate sale company. “Often they’ll take one or two items and ask us to sell the rest.”

Brad Ruby, owner of Ampersand Estate Sales (http://bit.ly/2z4fObm), Chicago, Ill., also has found an increasingly unsentimental audience among those selling off their parents’ estates. People frequently leave behind what some would consider extremely personal and sentimental items, including family bibles and photographs. And forget about collectibles. “No one wants things like Hummel or Lladró collections,” he observes.

Lifetime of Stuff Gone in a Weekend

Those are some reasons homeowners look to estate sales when they’re downsizing or it’s time for a purge after someone dies.

Estate sale companies can step in and sell off a household’s goods in a weekend.

The advantage people see is the ability to get rid of their things quickly, make some money, and not have to sift through and find new homes for every object. “That can be an ordeal,” comments Horowitz.

Top Dollar

Experienced estate sale companies also have appraisers they can tap who have expertise in areas like furniture, collectibles, jewelry, and so forth, so you’re not giving away valuables for a song.

Everyone has heard stories about someone who bought a painting for $6 at a garage sale only to discover that it’s worth $20,000. “We can call in technical support so you’re not selling grandma’s sapphire and gold ring for $1,” says Ruby.

Some of the other services estate sale companies bring, include:

  • Photographing and promoting the items they know will draw the most buyers.
  • Properly valuing your merchandise.
  • Advertising to their sphere of contacts. Horowitz, for example, says he has a customer base of 10,000 people in Toronto.
  • Connecting with antique dealers and collectors who are interested in unique pieces that may not appeal to a wide audience.
  • The ability to remain impartial and negotiate with buyers to cut a deal. That can be especially helpful when you have hard-to-sell items. “It’s better to get 30 cents on the dollar than to donate something or throw it away,” says Ruby.

 Before the Purge

Is your house a candidate for such a sale?

Volume is key and it’s often easier to draw crowds when a house is packed with stuff versus when it’s a minimalist property with a few hundred items. Why? “People still enjoy the hunt,” Horowitz says.

Ruby seeks opportunities for vertical marketing, meaning that he’s looking for homes with a wide mix of items—furniture, clothes, shoes, records, flatware, dishes, small kitchen appliances, knick-knacks, garden tools, and so forth.

And, recommends Rhonda Hunnicutt, don’t toss anything unless it’s truly garbage. You may consider a half-used bottle of Windex trash, but Hunnicutt, founder and owner of DFW Pre-Demolition and Estate Sales, Dallas, Texas (http://bit.ly/2zj6zbj), says that cleaning crews often come to sales to buy cleaning supplies cheaply.

“In an ideal world, we want to come in and see the house and goods before the purge,” says Ruby.

Choosing a Company

Here are some things to understand when you’re considering an estate sale and choosing a company to manage it:

  • Visit a company’s sales to see how well they’re run and check references.
  • Ask about a company’s experience and how many estate sales they do each year. “If someone is doing five sales a year, it’s a hobby,” says Ruby. “You want someone with experience who’s working in the business and seeing items on a daily basis.”
  • Ask about how they determine pricing, particularly on your valuable items. Be certain the company can tap appraisers to assess the value of unique items in your collection.
  • Ask about commissions. The most common commission charged by estate sale companies is 35%, according to a study (http://bit.ly/2zWyElP) by EstateSales.org. That figure can vary depending on things like your location, the other services a company offers – a full cleanout and trash removal at the conclusion of a sale, for example – and how much a sales grosses.
  • Be sure the company is insured
  • Be certain you’re comfortable with the person and you trust them. “If you feel that someone is even a bit slimy or they rub you the wrong way, find someone else,” says Horowitz. After all, you’re entrusting that person with your life’s treasures. In addition, there’s lots of cash being exchanged and you want to trust that the company will be honest about how much money has come in.
  • Stay away from the sale. It’s often too emotional to see people picking through your treasures and haggling on their price.
  • If you’re hiring a company to conduct a sale at a relative’s house, let the sales manager know if your parents or aunt may have hidden money. They can look for it. Ruby found $50,000 in cash in one house and unearthed $22,000 sitting in a file cabinet that was under a staircase among a bunch of junk.

And if you’re about to list your home for sale, an estate sale just may bring in a buyer. More than once, Horowitz found estate sale shoppers expressing interest in buying the house.

“On the first day of a sale, we often have 100 people lined up on the driveway waiting to get in,” says Horowitz. It’s something of a giant open house. “It’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone,” he adds.

Your Medicine Cabinet and Drug Safety

Expiration Date vs. Shelf Life

Shelf life usually refers to the time between a medication’s manufacture date and its expiration date. But a drug’s shelf life can be altered by storage conditions—temperature, humidity, light, and even whether or not the medication is stored in its original container.

While the expiration date indicates how long a manufacturer guarantees safety and full potency of a medication, some drugs are more stable than others. Ask your pharmacist before using any medicine past its listed expiration date. Some medications lose potency, while others can become dangerous or even toxic past the expiration date.

Good Safety Habits

Keep a list of all of your medications, along with potential side effects and drug interactions. (Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any side effects.) This should include any over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well as vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements.

Take this list with you on doctor visits and to your pharmacist so it can be reviewed any time you are prescribed any additional medications or supplements. Also be sure to ask about any potential food interactions with any new or existing medications.

Always check to be sure the medication the doctor ordered is the Rx you received. Use the alarm on your phone to remind you to take your medications on schedule, or use a pill box that organizes your medicines along with a time schedule taped to the back of the organizer.

Disposing Old Medications

It’s important to carefully and properly discard any old medications, both prescribed and OTC varieties. Never “flush” medications (unless specifically directed to do so) to prevent them from entering the general water supply.

Many communities offer a “take back” program, where you can safely drop off any unused medications. This is the best option. Call your local law enforcement agency and ask if they sponsor or can direct you to such a program. Your local waste management organization may also have this information.

If your only option is to dispose of medicines in regular household trash, you should add pills (left whole) to unseemly waste, such as kitchen slop, used cat litter, used coffee grounds, etc.

When disposing of empty medicine bottles, be sure to eliminate your personal information, as well as the type of medication, to prevent bottles from being used to obtain medication illegally.

Universal Design Principles Pay Off

Figuring out how to spend your limited home renovation dollars is always a challenge. Should I make just cosmetic changes? Should I try to make the house appeal to a certain generation? What will provide the best return on investment?

Look to the 2017 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report (http://bit.ly/2jGMXFy) for answers.

Remodeling magazine’s annual report estimates the cost of 29 home improvement projects and how much homeowners could anticipate recouping on a renovation when they sell.

This year, realizing that more homeowners are focused on aging and multi-generational households, the report added a new category and looked at the value of incorporating universal design features in a renovated bathroom.

The $15,730 project included:

  • Widening the doorway for wheelchair accessibility
  • Reinforcing walls to support grab bars
  • Installing a zero-threshold shower with a fold-down seat
  • Putting in a comfort-height toilet
  • Installing a sink with space to allow someone to sit at it

It’s a project that could help you both age more comfortably and stay longer in your house. You also can anticipate recouping $10,766–68.4 percent of the project cost–when you sell.

Walkability Drives Seniors’ Housing Decisions

Though a desire for walkable neighborhoods is most associated with the millennial generation, walkability and good public transit also are high on boomers’ and seniors’ wish-lists.

A recent survey (http://bit.ly/2x5H1K4) by A Place for Mom, illustrates just how important those neighborhood characteristics are to those looking at senior housing.

Though things like quality of care services, affordability, and a facility’s cleanliness topped people’s must-have lists, walkability and access to transit also were tremendously important to survey respondents.

Among consumers considering their housing options, walkability was described as mandatory or very important to those seeking senior apartments (53%), independent living (38%), and assisted living (26%). Public transit options were also crucial to these groups.

As you look at your retirement housing options, especially if you’re a boomer with no physical limitations today, consider the longer term—a time when you may have difficulty getting around and you may no longer have access to a car.

Roam around a prospective neighborhood to assess your options for getting around.

Some questions to consider:

  • What places are within a 10-minute walk of your prospective home? Could you reach all the necessities of daily life–the grocery store, parks, hair salons, banks, and so forth—on foot or by public transit?
  • Are sidewalks and paths accessible, safe, and well-lighted?
  • Could you maneuver those sidewalks with a walker or a wheelchair?
  • Are crosswalks well marked and do you have enough time to get across the street?
  • Are there places to sit and rest? Are there water fountains and public restrooms?

For more details on measuring a community’s walkability, see:

Fido Influences Home Purchases

If your house or condo is pet-friendly, be certain to play up such features when selling your property, especially if your buyers are millennials.

According to a recent Harris Poll survey done on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage, a home’s dog-friendliness can be an asset in attracting millennial buyers.

A third of millennial Americans (aged 18 to 36) who bought a first home said the desire to have a better space or a yard for a dog influenced their decision to buy a home. And among millennials who have never purchased a home, 42 percent said that their dog or the desire to have a dog would be a key factor in their decision to buy a home in the future.

So fenced yards, nearby dog-friendly beaches and parks, and walkability are all worth promoting.

And if your condo building is among those that have made dog-friendliness a priority by adding things like on-site dog parks, doggy daycare, pet spas, and bathing stations, be sure the real estate practitioner marketing your place is aware of them.