To Pre-Approve or to Not Pre-Approve

Why bother getting pre-approved before shopping for a home?
I brought this question up with my dear friend Luke Vandenberg, Mortgage Specialist and this is what he had to say.
Top 5 Reasons it's Important: 
1. KNOWLEDGE - Most people when planning a "big ticket" purchase like furniture or appliances will look at the budget, see what they can afford to spend, and shop with a plan. Shopping for a house should be no different! Why wouldn't you want to know exactly what you can afford before you hit the streets?
2. POWER - You know that old saying "knowledge is power"? Well, that's true for home shopping as well. When it comes time to put in your offer, especially in a multiple offer situation, knowing that you're pre-approved and ready to make that purchase makes your offer more attractive to the seller. It allows you to put a shorter timeline in place for the financing condition and puts you in a much better position than someone who is not pre-approved.
3. LOWER YOUR STRESS - When you find your dream home and the time comes to put in an offer, there's already a lot going on. Between putting in the offer, negotiating, inspections, and getting ready to make the move, you may feel stressed. Why add more stress by having to run around to find out if you can actually afford that home, when doing it upfront will remove a good portion of stress at a time when you've got more than enough to think about!
4. SAVE TIME - This is closely tied to number 3, but not only will it lower your stress level, it will save you time as well. Instead of running around to meetings and gathering paperwork, you can sit back and let the pros you picked handle it all because you did the heavy lifting up front! 
5. SAVE YOURSELF HEARTBREAK - What if you spent all your time looking at homes in a certain price point, fell in love with one, got excited and wrote an offer only to find out that, for reasons you weren't even aware of, you can't actually afford that level of home? Not only would you be heartbroken about losing that home, but there's a good chance that the homes you can afford will not measure up to that standard, making it much harder to find "the one". Shopping within your budget will save you that pain.
So do yourself and your Realtor a favour and talk to your mortgage professional BEFORE you start shopping, you'll be happy you did!

- Luke Vandenberg, Mortgage Specialist Castle Mortgage Group

A Local Brew for You, You + You

Has anyone else noticed just how vibrant and alive our city has become? The amount of breweries popping up throughout the city continues to grow and if you're a beer-lover, I've got the perfect list for you! Here are 5 local breweries that have Winnipeg written all over them and are the perfect place to expand your palate. 


One Great City Brewing Co.

Born out of love for the great city of Winnipeg, this brewery has everything. A 300sqft glass wall lets Winnipeggers in on the action in the brewery and can be seen from almost any seat in the house. Their beer includes tons of fan favourites with some surprising creative brews in the mix, while their full menu pairs the quality of fine dining with irresistible pub grub. If you aren't a beer lover, they've got you covered! A delicious wine and craft cocktail menu is available. Take the whole fam out for dinner at this fully licensed local spot, you won’t be disappointed.


Nonsuch Brewing Co.

I mean come on, does it get any more Winnipeg than this? This brewery is named after the Nonsuch, a famous 17th century ship that's known for starting the Hudson's Bay Company. They feature craft beers made with local spring water and a delicious snack menu. From dark ales to brews with fruity aromas and wine characteristics, there's truly something for everyone. They unfortunately don't offer a full menu but they make up for it by allowing visitors to order in from their fav restaurant or by using Skip the Dishes (another Peg City classic).


Half Pints Brewing

There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met. This brewery prides itself on its warm and welcoming atmosphere. Opening back in 2006, Half Pints was ahead of the local brewery curve and is still going strong today. They have since added a taproom for Winnipeggers to enjoy their brews and meet new friends. They offer sight tours every Saturday at 1pm and they've signed up for Skip the Dishes to deliver their beer, convenience at its finest.  


Little Brown Jug Brewing

Located in a re-purposed historical Winnipeg building near the exchange district is this one of a kind brewery. The owners had great respect for the building's originality and wanted to keep as much history as possible. They kept a lot of the original design and paired it with modern touches to create a beautiful space. The perfect spot to enjoy a pint of their 1919 beer is on their patio or you can head inside to check out the views into the brewhouse and watch the magic happen.


Torque Brewing 

The brew masters of this spot are driven to expand the palates of beer drinkers everywhere by constantly creating new and unique local brews. The taproom is a sight to see in itself, with an industrial design cozied up by reclaimed Winnipeg Elm tables and benches. They also have a nostalgic restored '57 Lincoln couch for you to test drive. If you're curious and want to learn about the brewing process, you can book a tour to see how the magic happens. They also offer their taproom for bookings so be sure to keep them in mind when choosing a venue for your next event!


From the multitude of festivals happening throughout the year to the growing local brewery scene, there's truly something for everyone in Winnipeg. Be sure to check out these breweries this patio season!

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays over and a new year ahead, many of us are focusing our energy on creating new habits, breaking old ones, and overall, changing our lives for the better. Now, what if that isn't the only way to accomplish something this year? What if you took a chance and put as much effort into setting goals for your home as you did for yourself, and it actually made a huge difference in your quality of life?

Here are 3 goals that you can make for your home this year that are bound to give you, and your wallet, some sense of achievement or, at least, happiness by 2019.

1. Vow to keep the clutter to a minimum while saving your future-self and your wallet...

Alright, let's talk about that lovely thing we all have but wish we didn’t…clutter. A little bit of it can be just a harmless nuisance, however, a lot of it can do some serious damage.

Here's how it works, the more stuff you have stacked up against the walls of your home, the less air flow is produced which, in turn, gives mold the environment it needs to thrive -- a humid, stagnant wasteland. If you don't know how much of a pain it is to remove mold, just take my advice…it's definitely not a party. So let's start this year off by nipping things in the bud and neglect our dear friend procrastination, so we can prevent mold build-up while saving you from stress and, save your wallet.

2. Vow to give one thing away every time you buy something new.

Buying new things for ourselves, or our homes, can be exciting and can freshen things up, but, if you don't get rid of anything in the process…let's just say you end up with a very "full" home.

Vowing to give something away every time you buy something new does two things; One, it makes you feel good, because your giving to someone in need and two, it lets you get rid of the clutter which fits right in with our first goal! I mean come on, who wouldn't want a closet that looks like that ^^, I definitely would! 

3. Vow to go old school.

I feel like many people can relate to childhood memories of parents nagging at us to turn off the lights when we left the room or to shut off the water as we brushed our teeth. Anyone? Yeah, I thought so. And maybe it's because we got sick of hearing them that we finally caved and started to listen or, perhaps, we shut them out and continued to waste energy like it was nobody's business. You rebel you… Whatever path you chose, we now know that they were right. The world we live in today is far from that of our parent's, and it's more important now, then it ever was, to go back to the old school ways so we can take care of the world we live in.

Here are a couple of things you can do to save energy, save your wallet, and save your future grand babies, because we all know how cute they're going to be!

First: Try to be diligent about getting everyone in your family to turn off the water when it's not in use or to wash dishes in a big sink full of water. This will save you tons on your water bill and it'll make you feel pretty good too!

Second: Be diligent about getting your family to shut off the lights when going from room to room. Again, huge energy and money saver. Think about all the tools or décor you could buy with that extra money, can I get an amen! 

Third: Keep those windows closed when the heat is on. Heating the outdoors doesn't work when you live in 

PRO TIP: Putting all of these "house rules" on a chalkboard in your kitchen or laundry room, can both act as an amazing décor piece AND help everyone stay on track. 

Now let's get to it! 


Bye for now, 

Heather <3