BuyingHomeownership January 20, 2023

Townhouses: Pros and Cons


The choice between a townhouse or a detached home can be confusing. Here are a few pros and cons of purchasing a townhouse and if it’s the right choice for you!

What is a Townhouse?

A townhouse is when one or more walls are shared with your neighbour but are independently owned dwellings. The units are well known for ease of living, featuring shared outside maintenance costs such as lawn care and snow removal.

What’s Better: Buying a Townhouse or a Detached Home?

Compared to detached homes, townhouses can offer a more modern look for a better price, and outside maintenance costs are pooled together with other residents, keeping the homes well maintained. Townhouses are typically built in higher-density populations, making them closer to more valuable amenities.

Whereas, in a single-family home, all the maintenance falls on the owner—which can be daunting. The detached house’s location has more impact on the cost, even if it is an older home that needs many renovations.

It is up to you which option you choose and what is best for you and your family. Ensure you also review the rules and regulations of the townhouse complex/corporation. You might discover extra condo fees, a cap on the number of inhabitants in one townhouse or pet restrictions.

How Are Townhouses Set up?

A townhouse can come in three set-ups. 

1) A land trustee: only land around the unit is common ground with other owners in the complex. The owner is responsible for the unit.

2) Independent ownership: there are commonly shared property elements between the owners, like walls and backyards.


3) Registered condominium corporation: The property and the building are shared responsibilities of every owner and usually come with extra condo fees. 

What Features Should You Look for in a Townhouse?

The biggest perk of purchasing a townhouse is “maintenance-free living.” Ask about the townhouse agreement and any rules and regulations that it has to make sure it fits your needs as a buyer. Also, consider if the townhouse is within your budget and in your desired neighbourhood. Even if the townhouse is a brand new build, always consider getting a home inspector to verify it’s safe to purchase.

Is Buying a Townhouse a Good Investment?

Commonly, yes! Buying a townhouse is a good investment based on resale value. They hold up better value than their apartment condo counterparts. They could also be rented out reasonably quickly for extra income, with no yard maintenance required on your part. Real estate is a considerable investment, and hiring an experienced agent is essential in purchasing a property.

Tips for Purchasing a Townhouse.

Here are a few additional tips that don’t fit in with the above categories:

  • Look at many options of townhouses in the areas you desire. Ask your real estate professional about the differences between the ones you view and if a townhouse or detached home is right for you and your lifestyle.
  • If you are buying into a condo corporation, ensure that the reserve fund is sufficient for long-term planning. Ask for a copy of the most recent meeting minutes to gain insight into the current property maintenance, plus any additional information.

Should I Buy a Townhouse?

It depends! Buying any property is a lifelong investment, so choosing the right one can be difficult. Weigh the pros and cons of each unit you see and decide if it’s the right choice for you! Work with a trusted real estate agent to provide you with personalized advice.


Lifestyle December 2, 2022

9 Tips to Keep Houseplants in Winter


Plants are excellent stress relief, and the leafy greenery will brighten anyone’s mood. Winter is a time for staying inside, being cozy and hibernating. Plants also enjoy hibernating and resting in these months. Here are a few tips to take care of house plants over winter to not shock their system.


Cut Back on Watering


Consider watering less frequently depending on your home’s climate and sunlight conditions. However, plants might need the same amount of water if your plants are near heating vents or your home is warmer in winter than summer. 

Instead of following a weekly watering schedule, poke the first inch of soil with your finger to check if it is dry or wet, and then proceed with watering. Always plan to under water plants even in winter. You can’t take back water once it is soaked in.


Pay Attention to Sunlight


The seasons change, as does the amount of sunlight plants receive. Think about moving plants to different locations in your home for the best dose of sunlight. If that is impossible, get a grow light from your local garden store! Also, make sure plants on window sills aren’t getting cold drafts. Consider moving them to a different location if they are. To ensure plants grow evenly, quarter-turn them once weekly for a well-balanced plant. I admit I never do that, and my plants are growing lopsided.


Don’t Worry About a Few Dropped Leaves


Winter often brings about cold drafts, and turning the furnace on can change your home’s conditions. Sometimes, the more demanding plants will drop leaves—try not to worry about it too much, as new leaves will grow in their place or above it! Leaves falling just means a plant is preparing for lower light levels.


Avoid Temperature Extremes


Average household temperatures are usually perfect for most plants. Outside air from doors opening and closing can affect plants, so ensure your plants are far away from doors. Also, keep plants away from heating vents and radiators. Sudden changes in heat can negatively affect them too.


Cut Back on Fertilizer


Fertilizing is still great to use in winter. Instead of using it weekly, switch to bi-weekly or even monthly. Another great alternative to fertilizer is Marphyl organic fertilizer. It’s more about providing nutrients to the soil and less about enhancing plant growth. You may stop fertilizing altogether if you think your plants aren’t getting as much sun.


Keep an Eye Out for Pests


Pests will start to spring up in winter, and most enjoy warm, dry soil conditions. Check plants’ leaves, and underneath the leaves every time you water for signs of pests. Some common pests are gnats, scales, and spider mites. Gnats are easy to get rid of with high-quality cinnamon sprinkled on top of the soil. Scale is more challenging to get rid of, and you will want to alcohol swab each brown spot to remove them. The best defence against spider mites is to buy predatory spical mites, microscopic bugs that eat the spider mites and will not harm your plants. Insecticides can also treat pests, but from experience, using them multiple times can damage the plant.


Up the Humidity


Most house plants are of the tropical variety, and the tropics often have high humidity. Consider purchasing a humidifier for the colder months to offset the dryness of your home. Not only will you breathe better, but your plants will too! The second way to keep the humidity up is to cluster plants together. The third way is to put water-filled pebble trays under your plants that require it and/or mist your plants. Before misting them, research to see if they do well with wet leaves. For example, philodendrons, some hoya and calathea (prayer plants) don’t mind if their leaves are wet.


Dust Your Plants


The leaves on a plant use the sun for photosynthesis and air circulation. If the leaves are coated in dust and debris, it makes the plant work a lot harder to live. Use a dry microfiber cloth to dust them gently, top and bottom. A wet cloth works too, but it might re-attract dust. 


Resist the Urge to Re-Pot


In winter, plants go dormant and rest. It is best not to disturb them by re-potting them. The shock of re-potting can lead to stunted growth or loss of foliage—wait to re-pot during growth spurts like in spring and summer.


I hope you found these few tips helpful to keep your plants healthy and happy over winter. When in doubt, under water, fertilize less and ensure your plants get as much sun as possible, naturally or through a grow light.

Are you looking for a home this winter? Contact your local REALTOR® today!

Buying November 25, 2022

7 Signs It’s Time to Upsize



Have you ever thought about upsizing your home and being unsure when to go for it? 

Upsizing your home can be intimidating, but there are a few telltale signs it’s time to do so.


Your Family is Growing


Your family is growing quickly, and your current home is overflowing with stuff! That two-bedroom home may work for children who are okay sharing rooms, but they may want their own space once they grow up. Not only do children (and pets) take up space in our homes, the garage and backyard can quickly become full of stuff too. 


Even if you aren’t busting out the seams of your house, but you plan for kids or many pets, it could be time to upscale before you run out of room.


Being Able to Afford It 


One day you will be in a better financial position, and buying a house might be a significant next step. After all, as they say, a home is an investment. Perhaps you finally got a better-paying job or that promotion you have been working towards—if you have weighed the pros and cons, and feel you can afford a new home, now is the time to go for it!


Needing More Space


Even if your family doesn’t grow with kids or pets, there is still that basic human instinct of accumulating stuff—whether you have started a new hobby or just existing daily, things seem to pile up continually. Upsizing would allow you to spread out more throughout your home and possibly have better storage solutions.


More space in your home can also provide more room to get that trampoline you have always wanted or a hot tub—inside, perhaps you want more luxuries, such as furniture or appliances.


Bigger and Better Furniture and Appliances


Lifestyles changing is one thing, but what about just wanting everyday luxuries, like a larger couch or dishwasher? I would love a dishwasher in my kitchen. A finished basement is also on my list to entertain guests easier in a separate space with a wet bar and projector screen.


Making Room for Pets


If there is a reason to up-size one’s house, it is to allow for additional pets or provide a great space to take care of them—whether that be room to have their bed and food in or even an indoor pet bath and foyer. 


Entertaining Guests


One of the reasons I want to have a larger house is to entertain guests easily and have bigger groups come over. The responsibility of gatherings usually falls on a few people in the group—but being able to host from time to time sounds excellent too.


Having a bigger home will finally allow you to comfortably invite over all those people you couldn’t have over before in your smaller accommodations.




Relocating to a new area or another town will allow you to get more bang for your buck. We all have relocated at least once, which can open up an excellent opportunity to upsize your home.


Some homeowners might want to stay in the same home because of the memories made there, but sometimes running out of space might be a more significant reason to change houses. If you notice these signs, it might be time to upscale your home. Make sure all your finances are in place, and make a list of needs and wants before searching for the perfect house.


Your Local Realtor® can help you discover the best-upsized home for you!


Lifestyle November 18, 2022

How to Build the Perfect Snowman

Making a snow person was my favourite pastime when I was a kid. I used to create families of snow people, including pets, and a home for them to live in. There is a bit of science behind the snow consistency and the success rate of building the perfect snowman.


The Right Snow

Proper snow consistency is key to making a snowman. Look for dense, wet snow that falls or is already on the ground on a warmer day. Stay away from cold days or blizzards like snow falls for snow person building—nobody wants to be out there anyways.

Location, Location, Location

Make sure you find a perfect location for your snowman to show it off. When I was a kid, I used to build my snow person in front of our living room window, so I could gaze upon it and say hello! The best spot to build a snowman for longevity is in a shaded part of your yard and/or in the center area where you roll your snowballs.

Best Structure

Build your snow person like a “pyramid” with a large ball at the bottom. Medium-sized for the tummy and a smaller one for the head! The smaller the snowman, the more structure it will have. As you increase the size, it becomes less stable. Once in a while I would make a 6ft snowman with the help of my dad or grandpa to add the finishing touches.

Rolling it Up

Start by making a larger-than-average snow ball (you know, the kind you throw at someone)…then start rolling it around in the snow and watch it magically become larger. Roll it around until you can’t physically push it anymore or until you are happy with the size. Once the main snowball is ready, pack snow around the base to make it extra secure to the ground. 

Flatten Each Ball

While rolling each ball, make sure you stop from time to time to pack it down and ensure it’s a solid ball. Remember to do this for building the actual snow person—pat down a flat area between each ball to strengthen the structure.

The Perfect Accessories

My mom always had an old box of too-small hats and gloves for us to use for our snow person. That way, if they blew away or someone needed it, we wouldn’t be sad to let them go. We also had a gravel driveway that provided many rocks for the snowman’s eyes, nose, and buttons—and a garden for a carrot for the nose. Deer would often come into the yard and eat the nose! 

If you are going for a certain aesthetic, try matching the snow person to the scheme of your home or outside decor. Try an ugly sweater on it or an old jacket for an extra bit of whimsy. Don’t forget to add branches for the arms!

Building a snow person or a snow family is a lot of fun for the whole family or alone. Plus, being outside is a great way to boost your mood and get active.

Contact your Local REALTOR® today to find the perfect home and yard to build a snow person in.


Lifestyle November 11, 2022

Surviving Winter Blues


Here in Saskatchewan, winter is a drag, the snow, the ice, and the overall coldness. It is hard to leave your house, and being cozy is the ultimate goal. However, here is a helpful list of fighting off winter blues that can boost your mood and improve your mental health.


What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?


Often referred to as seasonal depression, it’s a type of depression related to the change of seasons—mainly in the colder, darker months, like winter. Some symptoms include:


  • Depression
  • Low Energy Levels
  • Mood Changes and Social Problems
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns
  • Changes in Appetite or Weight


If you already experience depression year-round, these symptoms tend to worsen in winter.


What can you do?


There are a few key things you can do to help curb seasonal depression and improve your mental health during the long winter months. Even if seasonal depression doesn’t affect you, the suggestions below will boost anyone’s mood.


Get a Light Therapy Lamp


Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, can be a great way to stave off winter blues. If you are working at a desk or need a few minutes of stress relief, try buying a bright light lamp that imitates natural sunlight. 


There is a proper combination of light therapy based on timing, light intensity, and duration. Consult a doctor or the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure you don’t hurt your eyes and have the best results. It is most effective early in the morning for at least 30 minutes—keep a light schedule to have the most impact.




Exercise releases endorphins and is an excellent way to boost energy. Even moving your body 20-30 minutes daily can have tremendous benefits.


Taking up a winter hobby might be nice to get outdoors and get a little fresh air. This season I bought a complete winter gear kit to do winter walks and try snowboarding. If you want to try snowboarding, I recommend Optimist Hill, right in Saskatoon! Walking down the Meewasin trail amongst all the birds and trees is a surefire way to enjoy the outdoors. Having a friend to do these activities with is also a great way to get a chat in and boost your mood. 


Pick one winter activity that you love or at least can tolerate, and try to do it a few times or more this winter season! If you feel like -20C is too cold, prioritize activities on good weather days. Sometimes it can be hard to take advantage of these if you work full-time, but if they fall on a weekend, there’s no better time to get outside!


Prioritize Social Activities


Staying inside all winter sounds like the best course of action but remember to prioritize socialization. The roads might be bad sometimes, but plan fun activities with friends and family when it’s safe. Having a close social group and having connections with various people will enrich your life in ways you can’t imagine. My favourite winter activities with friends are going to a cozy cafe, going to the art gallery, walking outside, and skating at a rink near my house.


Remember to Get Enough Vitamin D


We have already touched on the Light Therapy lamp. Still, real vitamin D is also required to regulate the amount of calcium, Magnesium and phosphate in your body, which is vital for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. The research on vitamin D and your health is limited, but it can’t hurt to try to get more in regularly.


Low sunshine throughout the winter months means less vitamin D from the sun, and luckily there are supplemental vitamins. Food can also be a great source of vitamin D, such as juices, milk alternatives, oily fish, red meat and eggs.


If you can, taking a vacation to a warm climate can be a nice break from winter blues and an excellent way to gain more vitamin D!


Be sure not to let winter halt your life entirely, and try something new this year to keep yourself active and healthy. These tips will hopefully get you out of that slump and encourage you to get out there.


Contact your local REALTOR® to find a wonderful home for those shopping endorphins this winter!