Working with a Real Estate Agent

Don’t go it alone when buying a home. It helps to have a real estate agent when buying a property in a city like Toronto.

You’ve probably heard the term “house hunting,” but have you heard of “real estate agent hunting”? It’s a term I use to describe the process of finding the right agent. Home buying can be competitive. Choosing the right agent can mean the difference between buying your dream home and being left on the sidelines.

What makes a good agent? A good agent gives you the knowledge and tools you need to make informed decisions.  A good real estate agent will have extensive social contacts in their local markets.  Good agents also understand which types of properties are a good fit for their clients – especially those who are first time home buyers.

Finding the right agent can take time. I was with three agents before finding the right one. My first agent was friendly and helpful, but when it came time to make an offer, she didn’t provide me with comparable properties (even after I asked for them), so I had no idea how much to offer and ended up losing out on a nice home. My second agent had the tenacity of a pit bull, but then she just seemed to lose interest. The third time was the charm. My third agent was the perfect fit. He was hands-on, which was great, since I was a first-time homebuyer. He showed me a ton of properties. It took me only a couple of months to find and buy my home.

With so many agents out there, choosing one can feel overwhelming. You might choose the first agent you meet. And you may find the right agent this way, but there’s no guarantee. Similar to house hunting, you won’t know for sure unless you see what else is out there.

Finding an Agent

Looking for an agent? Here are good places to start:

  • Word of mouth: Ask for recommendations from family, friends and colleagues who have recently bought a home.
  • Lawn signs: Look for an agent with lots of lawn signs in the neighbourhood you’d like to buy in. Visit their website to read testimonials.
  • Open houses: Open houses aren’t just for nosy neighbours. They’re also a great way to meet agents. The agent should already be familiar with your desired neighbourhood.
  • Brokerages: If there’s a real estate brokerage nearby, stop in and mention you’re looking for an agent. The brokerage can match you with an agent suited for your home-buying needs.
  • Multiple Listing Service: Visit the MLS website and search for agents selling homes in your area.

Post brought to you by Sean Cooper.

Two Modern Ways to Establish a Retirement Fund


Most people these days are working hard not just because of their families, but to save up for something. For example, if you want a car or some other luxury item, they tend to work crazy house just to get it. Some people are so lucky that they can do that while hardly working. For the common American though, they need to do a whole lot more. According to this page, this is one of the reasons why most people these days have multiple jobs just to support themselves. Life might be tough, but we are here to survive all of that. Continue reading

How to Transition to Green Technology and Save Money

Green technology is nothing new, but many homeowners are kept in the dark about the value it brings in terms of cutting energy costs. Many more are reluctant to make the transition toward clean energy because of the upfront costs. Still, there’s no denying that green technology can save homeowners a fortune in the long-term, starting with the tax credits they can earn by adding sustainable energy features to their home.

People have the impression that it’s easier and cheaper to construct a home already outfitted with green features then to add these features to a pre-existing or newly purchased property. In actuality, making the switch to green technology on an existing property can be less costly as long as the right approaches are applied.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you switch to clean energy.

  1. Know how much energy you consume

The first thing you will have to do is to get an idea of your current energy consumption. This will help you set the proper benchmarks or targets you should be aiming for to gradually decrease your energy spending. You may want to request that the Environmental Protection Agency provide you with a report of how much power you consume based on your home’s location.

  1. Pick the right strategy

Once you have already mapped out your energy consumption rate and set a workable monthly goal, you now have to choose which green technology will best fit your current needs. There’s always the option of installing a solar system, but there are various other choices you can explore, such as wind turbines and hydro-power facilities. The best way to look at your options is to ask an accredited green energy contractor to help you make the right decision.

  1. Find a good service provider in your area

When it comes to switching to green power, it’s always best to look for a contractor that already has a proven track record in helping homes lower their energy costs through eco-friendly alternatives. For this, opt for service providers in your community who can hook you up with a green energy program you can work with. There are a lot of electricity providers in Texas or any other state that specialize in green technology at the best possible rates, so start looking for one.

  1. Get suggestions from your community

If you are living in a neighborhood that’s committed to green living, make sure to ask for suggestions on the types of products you might want to use. You might also need to know if the community itself has specific policies when it comes to green technology, so don’t be hesitant to ask around. That way, you can make the transition less complicated for yourself and, more importantly, avoid possible ordinance violations and legal risks.

  1. Adopt a green lifestyle

Often, transitioning to green technology is a matter of choice. Certain habits can influence the amount of energy you consume, so be sure to adopt only those that can help you attain a green lifestyle. Keeping your home well ventilated and using energy-efficient appliances and programmable thermostats can make as much of an impact as installing solar panels – at a lower cost, of course.

As you can see, switching to green technology for your home isn’t so hard. You just have to have the right mindset.

The Process of Filing a Complaint Against Your Employer

Filing a complaint against your employer is never a good feeling, and you aren’t always in the position to “just quit”. From having issues with your wage payments, to disagreements about state laws regarding breaks, sometimes these problems cannot be resolved through conversation. Luckily, there are a few methods of filing a complaint against a particularly stubborn employer through government resources.

Continue reading

Best Real Estate Opportunities in 2020

The year 2020 approaches fast and with it many potential real estate investment opportunities. Since there are many places in the world where the potential for growth is real, we’ve assembled a shortlist of destinations for investors looking for new estate ventures. Together we’ll look at them as well as at what real estate investors believe about the real estate potential in certain areas.


A big country with plenty of potential, especially when it comes to coastal areas like Fortaleza. Because it’s a top destination for both Brazilian and foreign tourists, rentals targeting the local holiday market had been earning an average 8% net yield. Brazil carries the advantage of having weak currency (approximately 3.8 reals for 1 US dollars) and in combination with good yields, this country might be an appropriate destination for real estate investors.


Even though Thailand is well-known primarily for agriculture, its economy is perceived as strong and the tourism industry continues to expand along with it. Bangkok was the most visited city in the world in 2018 when it received more visitors than popular cities like Paris or London. There is one downside, though, because of restrictions placed on how foreigners can buy property.

Because of that, foreigners had been focusing on the condo market, given that there are allowed to own not more than 49% of the total area of the condo building. This type of construction is easy and cheap to manage as a rental than an individual property.

South Africa

We suspect the most developed African nation will continue to trend higher in 2020. Although the economic activity had been sluggish, interest rates had decreased, which supports first-time homebuyers to take a mortgage.

“South Africa will continue to be a major destination for both local and foreign real estate investors because of its strong regulation and potential for growth. With developed tourism and increased demand for small and medium houses, investors will be able to find plenty of new opportunities in 2020”,thinks Ofir Eyal Bar, a popular real estate investor.

Since we’re talking about the most important country in Africa, risk-averse investors will continue to search for opportunities and ignore the northern region, where countries are less developed, real estate liquidity is low and volatility very high.


The residential real estate market in Portugal could be in the center of attention during 2020 for one particular reason: this is one of the few European countries where non-residents are allowed to get a mortgage. Because of that, property markets in the country had been moving up since 2015, placing Portugal among the best-performing markets in Europe.

According to Kathleen Peddicord, “some neighborhoods in Lisbon, for example, are now priced beyond what I believe makes sense for property investment. Other areas of this city, however, continue to offer good value and opportunity, especially if you’re up for a renovation project.”

She also recommends investors should focus on the lesser-visited areas along the Algarve coast and the region around Porto for the year ahead.


The uncertainty around Brexit had been favoring France, especially Paris since the city overcome London as one of the most popular destinations for big real estate investors. In addition, “we’re talking about another country where foreigners are eligible for in-country financing and interest rates for mortgages are less than 2% per year”, as Ofir Bar highlights, given the ultra-low monetary policy conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Some could argue that economic activity is weak and the prospects for growth are limited, but another factor that could weigh heavily is the exchange rate between the Euro and the US dollar. The weakness of the Euro creates great opportunities for investors in the United States and that could act as a tailwind for the real estate sector in 2020.


The conclusion is that real estate investors around the world will be able to find plenty of new opportunities around the world. You should keep into account that the countries we’ve talked about are only a few of the options. Also, each investor should conduct his own research in order to assess all the potential factors that might have an influence on the real estate sector.

Legitimate Ways To Make Money Online

Yes, you read that right. While your reasons for wanting to leave the 9-to-5 life may vary, one of the things that people venturing out on their own have in common is the fact that they all want to be able to find a sustainable and legal way to make money online. After all, who doesn’t want to have complete control over their time at the convenience of their home?

But, earning money online is not as easy as it sounds. The primary danger here lies in the fact that there isn’t a guarantee that you’re going to earn money on a regular basis. The real danger here is in giving up a stable source of income for one that may not even support your needs.

But, despite the inherent risk involved with trying to make a living online, those who are able to make it work get to enjoy freedom from the tedious corporate environment. This freedom is what makes establishing a source of income online worth it. There are many options to choose from and knowing what these options are will help you to plan out your strategy.


Blogging gives you online exposure and it is the foundation of any online business. It is also a great way to provide a platform through which you can engage with your would-be clients or customers. You can work with affiliates through your blog. A well-built website is also going to get a lot of traffic.

Online Surveys

Despite the skepticism surrounding online surveys, there are a few that do actually pay. Paid surveys are not only an easy way to earn money online, they are a good way for brands to get the opinion of their customers to learn how they can further improve their products.


If you have a set of skills and knowledge that you can use to help other people with their work, then signing up on a freelancing platform such as Upwork or Fiverr is going to help you get in touch with these prospective clients. If you’re skilled in your craft, then you can find a stable source of income with the right clients.

Stock Photography

You might be surprised that the demand for high quality stock photography is high. Because of this, there’s a very good chance that your photos are going to be bought, especially if they’re of the highest quality. The best part about it is that you don’t necessarily need the most expensive equipment to snap really good pictures. Most flagship smartphones take really good photos.

eBook Publishing

 Those who have a flair for writing as well as expert knowledge in a particular field of study are going to find a good source of passive income if they are able to write a good quality eBook. This work is best paired with a blog to help maximize the exposure of your eBook.

While there are indeed many more ways to make a living online, these are by far the most reliable ones. As a general rule, you have to make sure to minimize risk. That means that you should secure your source of online income first before leaving your day job. It’s also important to be able to save money when you can. It’s going to be difficult working both jobs, but it’s also the safest way.