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  • Keller Williams Edge Realty, Brokerage
    105-3027 Harvester Road
    Burlington, ON  L7N 3G7
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How to beat the winter blahs

 Wednesday, February 26, 2020     unknown     Community News and Events

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The seasonal blues often strike this time of year, as the cold weather and dark days combine to make us feel bored or depressed. Feeling better involves making time to exercise, adopting a more positive mindset, trying light therapy and taking supplements.

Another way to beat the winter blues is by taking a vacation somewhere warm. Research shows that the benefits of such a trip extend weeks or even months before, as you have something exciting to look forward to in the future.

For those suffering from sun deprivation, a great country to check out is Greece, filled with history, architecture and beaches. Here are a few tips to make your Greek island-hopping dreams come true:

Soak in the ancient vibes. Start your adventure in Athens and visit the Acropolis. This will open your heart and mind to Greek history and culture and set the stage for your island trek.

Keep things simple. A flights, hotels and activities package makes your trip smooth and stress-free. Plus, island transfers can be tricky and it’s best to book with a trustworthy source since ferries often change schedules and are weather permitting. Booking with Air Canada Vacations guarantees that you will be informed of any associated changes and rebooked to keep up with your itinerary. 

Find the perfect mix. Each island offers something unique. You may want to mix a classic such as Santorini or Mykonos with an island that is less explored, like Paros or Crete. Another option is to go totally off the beaten path with Naxos, Folegandros or Milos.

Try a road trip. Driving in Greece could be described as hectic if you are not accustomed. But Crete on the other hand is another story. You can you drive around while discovering charming fishing villages, gaze at stunning mountain views, relax on the many beaches and enjoy delectable local food and wine.


Breaking into the housing market: Go get that first home

 Tuesday, January 28, 2020     unknown     House and Home Real Estate Market

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Today’s sky-high real estate market can make buying a first home seem like a distant dream. Don’t be discouraged. It might take a bit more planning, but you can do it. Good financial strategy and some real estate research can help you get into your first home sooner than you’d think.

Your first priority is to get your financial basics in order. Reach out to your bank or a financial planner to help you make a plan. A financial expert will be able to find a strategy that best suits your goals. You will also need to plan for your down payment. Many first-time buyers find this intimidating, but good old-fashioned saving is a great start.

Make sure your monthly budget allows you to put some money into savings, and work with your financial planner to help your savings grow as quickly as possible. Government programs are also available to help first-time buyers. You may be able to use savings from an RRSP or other resources — check with your bank for the programs and requirements in your region.

Reaching out to family can also be a win-win, but approach these arrangements with caution. Ensure any loan terms are realistic and clearly set out, and treat these arrangements with the same respect you would give a business agreement.

Once you have your finances in order, look for locations that will get you the best bang for your buck. Skip the high-priced, trendy spots where you’ll pay a premium without necessarily getting a better home. The best deals are often hiding under tacky décor: if you can look past the cosmetic hang-ups and make sure the house is structurally in good shape, you may have a great opportunity in the making.

The main thing is just getting started. Find a realistic strategy that will get you into a home, and then work your way up to that dream home. Think of real estate as a process. You may need to start small or look outside your ideal neighbourhood at first. But once you own a home, you’ll be building equity and value, which sets you on the path to your forever home. (NC)


What to consider when purchasing your next appliance

 Monday, January 20, 2020     unknown     House and Home

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These days there seem to be appliances that can do it all. From self-cleaning fridges to washing machines with Wi-Fi capabilities, the options seem endless. But with so many models and features, how do you know which one is right for your home?

Measure: The first step is to measure the size of your space. Figure out how wide and deep each appliance needs to be, and don’t forget about depth. The height and width of an appliance are easy to remember, but countertops are not always the same depth, so you’ll need to make sure your new selection will slide in just right. Once you know what fits, you can start to narrow down some options.

Explore: Even if you’ve updated your appliances in the last five years, you’ll be surprised by just how much the products have advanced. Some appliances are quieter and more energy efficient, others are smart appliances that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi signal. Take your time to explore the different options available and go to see some in person. Visiting your local Best Buy can be a great resource for unbiased, knowledgeable advice.

Read reviews: Appliances are often big purchases. Read reviews before you make your decision. Small design details can make a big impact on your everyday life. Sometimes other reviewers will notice something about a product that isn’t apparent in a fact sheet or in the product specifications.

Get smart: Making the leap to connected appliances can seem intimidating, but it’s a great way for you to monitor your home utility usage and even gain control of your appliances directly from your smartphone. (NC)


Why having a budget and sticking to it really does matter

 Wednesday, January 8, 2020     Laurence Mongeau     Financial Health

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A budget is the foundation of financial well-being. And with good reason. It’s a simple but highly effective way to make sure you live within your means, and it allows you to have control over your finances. 

Research backs this up. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has found that when people start using a budget, they make better financial decisions and improve their financial well-being. They are better at keeping up with their financial commitments and reducing their spending when money is tight.

Today, only about half of Canadians report having some type of a budget. Some use traditional methods, such as handwritten lists, or even savings jars and cash envelopes. Others use digital tools such as spreadsheets, mobile apps or financial software.

Whichever method you use, a good budget must clearly show your sources of income and monthly expenses. This will help you achieve your financial goals, including finding ways to get rid of your debt and saving more money for things that are important to you, such as retirement or your kids’ education.

A budget is especially important if you have trouble paying your bills and do not know where your money is going every month. 

If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of free online tools to help you get your finances under control, including a new budget planner from FCAC.

This interactive tool has many features to help you better identify your priorities, needs versus wants and how to save money. It also lets you compare your spending habits with other Canadians in similar life situations. You can save and update your budget online at anytime, or simply download an interactive spreadsheet.

Fair warning: this can be a sobering exercise, especially when you are face-to-face with how much you spend at the local coffee shop every week. But the time and effort that goes into making a budget is well worth it.

With a good budget in hand, you will not only find yourself doing a better job of taking charge of your finances, but you’ll also be closer to achieving your life goals and dreams. (NC)


January newsletter - Burlington events and real estate tips

 Wednesday, January 8, 2020     Laurence Mongeau     Community News and Events

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Inside my January newsletter you'll find events happening in Burlington and tips for homeowners, as well as a delicious recipe to help us start the new year off right!

Click here to view the full newsletter. It will open in a new window.


What Clients Say…

Laurence is an absolute joy to work with; she is extremely knowledgeable, pleasant, full of energy, and dedicated to getting the job done. She managed to make everything to do with selling our home seemed almost effortless. I can't imagine selling our home without her! — Shelley M.
Laurence worked diligently at following up with each person who viewed the property... always available to let me know what kind of feedback she was receiving. — Stephanie B.
You always were there, available, and kept in contact with us when needed. You were self-motivated with an unbelievable amount of drive. — John & Rose-Anne P.
You are at the top of your class. I don't know of anyone that works as diligently at selling a property as you do! You have such an admirable work ethic and I have seen first hand how dedicated you are to your clients. — Dianna D.
The process of selling our house and purchasing another was made painless and exciting by you. Your tactful negotiation skills were invaluable in purchasing our dream home. — Maria & Jean-Michel B.
You were prompt, energetic, thorough and always had our best interest in mind. Selling our home for full asking price in just 19 days and finding a new one in less than a week is a true testament to your relentless commitment to excellence. — Angelo M.
I still think about it, it went so fast, I have a challenging work schedule, I needed a place fast and you came through and I trusted you. — Joseph D.
We are still amazed that it all happened so quickly and smoothly. You are an excellent listener, honest, reliable and caring. — Pina F & James A.
Just want to say thank you for your hard work and dedication in getting my home sold. You were very organized, professional and honest. It was a pleasure to work with you. — Gail A.
The best part of working with Laurence, besides her great skill of staging, was the fact that she made us feel like we were her only client even though we knew she was extremely busy. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. — Greg & Lindsey W.
The staging job that Laurence did was fantastic! We barely recognized the house when it was done. Laurence was bursting with energy and enthusiasm and remained positive, reassuring and confident throughout the whole process. We listed our home Tuesday morning and by Tuesday night it was sold!!! — Shelley M.
Laurence, did an amazing job of representing us and selling our home. She is a hard-working, dedicated, knowledgeable, highly professional, and passionate - Real Estate Agent! We highly recommend Laurence as an agent, home stager, and negotiator to anyone considering buying or selling a home. Jim & Judy N. — Jim N.
Laurence did a phenomenal job representing us both for the sale of our property and the purchase of our new home. She took the time to work closely with us to make sure she understood all of our needs and wants for both the sale and purchase. We were also very impressed with her detail-oriented focus, knowledge of the market, and the effort she put into making sure things went smoothly. Right from the start Laurence took the reins and we knew that we were in good hands. Thanks for everything Laurence! — Ron and Leslie Quinsay
We worked with Laurence when it was clearly a Sellers Market. Laurence was persistent and helped us find a home in an area unknown to us. Thanks to Laurence's expertise and proactive approach we were able to avoid a bidding war and we got a great home for our family. We enjoyed working with Laurence, every step of the way. — Andrea B & Stephen M
Nous avons fait affaire avec Laurence alors que le marché était nettement favorable aux vendeurs. Laurence a été persistante et nous a aidés à trouver un domicile à notre goût dans un secteur qui ne nous était pas familier. Grâce à l’expertise et l’approche proactive de Laurence, nous avons pu éviter une guerre d’enchères et devenir propriétaires d’une maison exceptionnelle pour notre famille. Ce fut un plaisir de faire affaire avec Laurence du début à la fin du processus. — Andrea B & Stephen M
When my wife and I bought our first home together, Laurence was instrumental in finding the right home of us. Laurence will take the time to listen to your needs, and understand your situation. She works tirelessly to comb though your desired area, finding gems that best suit YOU, your budget, needs, and wishes. She is very professional, organized, and well connected within the community, all of which is very much to the client's benefit. Above all, she is a really easy person to get along with and will make the often stressful and overwhelming process of home buying, painless and exciting! I highly recommend Laurence Mongeau for your real estate needs! — Alex & Teresa H
Nous recherchions un courtier immobilier afin d’acheter une maison en Ontario. Une amie nous a donc recommandé de contacter Laurence Mongeau. Très rapidement, il y a eu un premier contact par courriel et ensuite par Skype. Nous avons vite constaté que Laurence possédait les qualités professionnelles que nous recherchions. En effet, Laurence : - Offre un excellent service à la clientèle; - Apprend à connaître ses clients et repère vite leur besoin réel; - Est parfaitement bien organisée; - Met un point d’honneur à obtenir le meilleur rapport qualité/prix pour ses clients; - Assure une totale transparence et donc priorise la communication avec ses clients; - Maîtrise bien le français et la culture francophone; - Offre une très large disponibilité pour ses clients; - Possède un réseau de contacts professionnels (inspecteurs, collaborateurs courtiers, etc) très compétents dans leur domaine; - Est très à l’aise avec les nouvelles technologies. C’est donc pour toutes ces raisons qu’à notre tour, nous vous recommandons très chaudement d’utiliser les services de Laurence Mongeau. Nous sommes certains que vous bénéficierez d’un service de haute qualité! Merci beaucoup Laurence pour l’excellent service que nous avons reçu! — Hélène P & Sébastien T
Laurence Mongeau treated us like family, guiding us to make this, the biggest purchase of our lives, the smartest move we ever made. We happened to be buying our first home during this crazy real estate boom, where list prices were only starting points in major bidding wars, and the inventory of homes available within our budget was limited. But Laurence handled these challenges with grace and professionalism, and kept us feeling positive throughout our search. We always felt we had options, and whatever house, whenever we asked, she got us a private showing. She accompanied us through every visit, and went in ALL the basements (even the scary ones!). She asked the tough questions, and got us the answers we needed. She warned us about potential problems, sharing her experience and knowledge with us, while pointing out the positives of each property without pressure. She always made us feel important, and that our search for the perfect home was her top priority. In the end, it was a very happy outcome. We purchased the perfect home for us, and we owe it all to Laurence. She was the one who found us our dream first home and it was her experience and strategy that helped us "win" it! And we truly feel like we did win, because we had the best agent in the biz on our side. Thanks, Laurence, you're number 1! Karina and Andrew J — Karina

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