According to a 2019 study by Angus Reid, Canadians owe $1.78 to creditors for every $1.00 of disposable income. With stats like this, it's more important than ever to make sure your credit health is on track, especially for first-time buyers planning to buy a home. Here are a few tips to get on the right track 

  • No credit history can be as detrimental as bad credit, so be sure to establish credit.
  • Don't max out your credit cards, make sure to leave room on them.
  • Avoid having too many credit cards, even if you don't use them.
  • Pay off your credit card balance every month.
  • Save up as much as possible for your down payment.



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Your home's energy efficiency is a key factor in your heat & utility bills. From windows to heating systems or appliances to light bulbs, there are so many elements at play.

Energy Nova Scotia offers many programs and services. You can schedule a consultation to find out how to improve your home's efficiency levels, get discounts on energy efficient products, and even receive some free energy efficient products such as light bulbs and drying racks. 


Visit their website for full details:

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Discount brokerages often claim to offer the same services as their full-service counterparts, at a lower price. But are the services really the equivalent ? We take a deeper look to dispel some common misconceptions.



This tends to be the main selling point that discount brokerages use to convince sellers. While the packages differ depending on the company, they typically offer a one-time fee that you need to pay up front. It may be less than the standard commission rate that a full-service brokerage would charge, but in this case you have to pay in advance just to get your property listed, even if it never sells. So the company is really only inclined in getting you to sign up, but has no vested interest in getting your house sold. Whereas with a regular brokerage, you only pay the commission once you get the results you want, when your house has sold. Which means your real estate agent is highly motivated to sell your property, because otherwise they don’t get paid for their time and effort.


Pricing & Strategy

When it comes to discount brokerages, sellers are typically treated as For Sale By Owners, and often left to their own devices in terms of deciding the list price and providing photos. Without access to the proper tools and data, sellers that determine their own list price tend to either sell for less than actual market value, or price their house so high that it doesn’t show up in buyers’ searches for comparable properties. By listing with a full-service brokerage, sellers work with their dedicated agent, who will present a market analysis with comparable properties that sold in their area to establish the best list price, and who may hire a professional photographer to showcase their place at its very best.


Inquiries & Showings

When listed with most discount brokerages, sellers have to answer questions from buyers themselves, whether they be serious or simply curious, which can be quite time-consuming. Whereas when listed with a full-service brokerage, their dedicated agent will be fielding all inquiries on the property – plus, sellers won’t have to worry about letting strangers into their home, as they will always be accompanied by a bonded real estate agent.



Sellers that list with discount brokerages typically need to negotiate any offers themselves, whereas those who are listed with a full-service brokerage are sure to have their dedicated agent represent their interests in all negotiations and provide their insight and expertise to get the best deal.


At the end of the day, when it comes to working with a discount brokerage instead of a full-service brokerage, you get what you pay for. So it’s buyer, or in this case seller, beware.

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Good news for first-time home buyers ! As of this month, the Down Payment Assistance Program's (DPAP) budget will be doubled. That means there will be $2.2 million available for eligible buyers. The provincial program was created in partnership with REALTORS® to assist home buyers with modest incomes to secure a loan for the down payment of their first home. Below is the criteria for eligibility; you can find out the full information about the program by visiting the DPAP website.

  • The purchase price of the home may not exceed $280,000 in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and $150,000 in the rest of the province.
  • Participants must have good credit and be pre-approved for an insured mortgage by a recognized financial institution.
  • For an applicant to be eligible for the assistance, the following criteria must be met:
  • The property is in Nova Scotia
  • The applicant is a first-time home buyer
  • The applicant does not have the financial ability to pay 5% of the purchase price of the property without assistance of the program.
  • The applicant is pre-approved for an insured mortgage by a recognized financial institution
  • The applicant has a satisfactory credit rating
  • The applicant has reviewed the educational material for first-time home buyers provided by Housing Nova Scotia (see below)
  • The applicant’s total household income is less than $75,000
  • The applicant is a Canadian citizen or has permanent resident status
  • The applicant has resided in Nova Scotia for at least 12 months
  • The purchased property must be the applicant’s principal residence; rental properties, seasonal and recreational properties are not eligible.
  • Mobile homes are eligible ONLY if they are permanently affixed to a property owned by the applicant.
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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country and into our province, many buyers and sellers are wondering how this will affect the real estate market. The good news is, so much of the listing and sale process can be done remotely, even while many of us are social distancing or self-isolating. For sellers, Robert Realty Team offers the option to add virtual tours to listings, which allows buyers to get a 360° view of the property. For buyers, we offer video tours if they are unable to view the property in person. Buyers also have the option to make an offer that is conditional upon viewing the property in person at a later date, an option recommended by the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS® to help mitigate the current situation. Plus, all paperwork for listings and sales can be signed electronically.

Inventory in HRM is low, and buyers are actively searching for properties, so it's still a great time to list your place. And with the recent mortgage rate reductions, it's a great time for buyers to purchase and lock in a low rate. That being said, everyone is encouraged to follow all guidelines from Provincial and Federal Health Authorities and proceed as they feel comfortable.

Whether you're looking to buy or sell, now or down the line, feel free to reach out to discuss all your options !

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