Now that you have found a wonderful new home you need to coordinate your move. Though it may be tempting to just stuff everything in boxes this strategy can make unpacking a nightmare. To help make your move go smoothly try these 5 helpful tips that will help you pack like a pro.


  1. Pack an overnight bag

Packing an overnight bag helps ensure your first morning goes smoothly. Especially if you have to rush off to work the next day you don’t want to be frantically hunting for things. By being prepared you can reduce the amount of move related stress you experience and focus on unpacking and organizing your new home.


  1. Pack the stuff you will need right away in a clear, or clearly marked bin

Chose a bin that will really stand out from all the other boxes so that you can easily find it in the post move chaos. This bin should contain the things you will need right away, such as toiletries, basic cooking items, medications, more clothes and a full set of bedding. This will help you get at least somewhat settled right away and let you focus on what needs to be done.


  1. Label your boxes intelligently

Being confronted with twenty boxes labeled “kitchen” doesn’t make it easy to find the specific item you need. Try and group related items together and either label your boxes with their contents (ie: Kitchen - pots and pans) or assign each box a number and create a spreadsheet detailing the contents of all your boxes. Finding a specific item is much easier when you know exactly which box it is in, and saves you time because you don’t need to open every single box in order to find it. Numbering each box also helps you ensure that no boxes get lost or stolen while you are moving. 


  1. Use a colour coding system and clearly label bedrooms

If you hire movers to help you move colour coding boxes makes it much easier for them to figure out which boxes belong in each room. Brightly coloured duct tape makes colour coding easy, and gives you a convenient place to write the room designation for each box. If your new home has several bedrooms it is also helpful to label these as well. Use a piece of paper and a bit of sticky tack to clearly label the door of each room. That way your movers know which area is the “Office” or “Katie’s Bedroom”, saving you time and effort later. 


  1. Wrap breakable items in clothing and bedding

Bubble wrap and newspapers work well for transporting breakable items, but mean you end up wasting a lot of valuable space. Since your clothing and bedding need to come with you anyways you might as well put them to good use. Opt for heavier items like scarves, sweaters and blankets. You should also try and choose items that won't easily wrinkle in order to save yourself a ton of extra ironing.


Photo Credit: "I got it!" by Meathead Movers

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Ever wonder why your REALTOR® is looking in the closet?  When I'm showing a buyer a property that I have never been in, they always catch me opening closets to peek around.  No, I'm not some fashionista,  I'm checking for signs that the home may have been used for the illegal manufacture of marijanua.  


Some of the warning signs that I am keeping an eye out for, are any fresh drywall patches that may be present heading towards the attic space, as this is often where they will run vents to help mask odours coming from the property.  I will always take a look around the pipes coming into the water meter, to see if there's any evidence of tampering to bypass the meter.  Take a peek at the venting around the hot water tank to see if it looks like it has ever been used to supply additional Co2.  I'll also try and observe the foundation walls, especially around the breaker panel, and where the main power enters the property to see if it has ever been altered.  


There are a few other key indicators that we are looking for when browsing a property.  Active signs of aggression in the home can be a sign of methamphetamine contamination.


While these quick inspections are by no means a replacement for a proper home inspection by a licensed home inspector, they are a great way that I can help my buyers identify a stigmatized property long before writing an offer or paying for a home inspection.


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Calgary's Centre For Newcomers

Welcome to Calgary! We are so glad you decided to move here to our wonderful city! To help you settle in, here is a list of newcomer resources located here in Calgary.

 
1) Immigrant Services Calgary offers a variety of resources including (but not limited to) Information and Orientation, Supportive Counselling, Referrals, Employment Support Services, Community Initiatives and Access Programs for Seniors and Civic Education/Citizen Classes. Services are offered in seventy different languages including Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Korean, Oromo, Mandarin, Pashto, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrigna, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian.
 
For more information, please visit http://www.immigrantservicescalgary.ca/how-can-we-help/newcomer-support or call 403.265.1120. Walk- ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred. All services are free and confidential.
 
2) Center for Newcomers
 
The Center for Newcomers offers comprehensive 3 year program called "Newcomer Settlement", which covers all of the basics of settling into Canadian culture. It aims to teach newcomers what services are available to them and their families in Canada, covering housing, schools, transportation, banking, employment and health care. It also helps newcomers learn the skill necessary for day-to-day life including dressing for the weather, English language classes, shopping for affordable goods, and getting to know your neighbours. It also covers the rights and responsibilities of new Canadians. A sister program, Children's Settlement, is similar, and geared at New Canadians with children under 12. For more information, please visit www.centerfornewcomers.ca. To book an appointment, please call 403.569.3325 and specify your preferred language for service. Walk ins are welcome, but must wait until individuals with appointments have been served. 
 
3) Calgary Newcomer's Club
 
The Calgary Newcomer's Club is a volunteer run social club for women. This club aims to help women learn more about the city, and make friends and professional contacts. Membership costs $40 annually. To apply, please visit http://calgarynewcomersclub.com/membership/ and fill out the online application form. Questions can be directed at info@calgrynewcomersclub.com.
 
4) Welcome Centre for New Immigrants
 
Located at 3820 - 32nd Street NE, the Welcome Centre for New Immigrants is a community centre geared at new immigrants. This not-for-profit organization is a branch of the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society, and helps immigrants develop English language skills, computer skills and job hunting skills.  For more information, please visit  http://www.welcomeimmigrants-calgary.ca/ or call 403.291.0002.
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Your new home has been purchased, the keys are in your hand and you have started to unpack. Now it is time to meet your neighbours and get involved in your community. Here are some handy tips to get you started.
 
1) Check out the community centre 
 
Especially if you want you and your family to get to know other families in the neighbourhood then check out the local community centre. If you have kids consider signing them up for a class or a sports team so they can meet the other kids in their neighbourhood and form new friendships.
 
2) Host a block party 
 
One thing that always brings people together is food! If space allows, set up the barbecue, buy some hot dogs/hamburgers/veggie burgers etc and print off some invitations. Slip these in your neighbours mailboxes. In order to cut down on your costs and ensure there is enough food for everyone who attends consider hosting your block party as a potluck.
 
3) Get involved!
 
Is the local soccer team looking for a new coach? Do you think kids in the neighbourhoods would benefit from an art class? Talk to the staff at the community centre and see about getting involved.
 
4) Take a class or join a club
 
Consider signing up for a class or joining a club that matches your interests. Especially if you are in a new city where you don't know anyone this is a great way to meet people and make new friends.
 
5) Attend a local fair or event
 
This is a great way to meet people who share your interests. Calgary has lots of events such as the Calgary Children's Festival, Folk Fest, the Sled Island Music Festival, the Calgary Stampede and Adult's Only Night at Telus Spark. For a list of local events and activities try websites like http://www.todocanada.ca/things-to-do-calgary-this-weekend/
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So you have decided to purchase a condo. Whether you are upgrading from a rented apartment or downsizing from a house there are w few things to consider before you sign the papers.

 
1) Do your research
 
Find out if there have been any special assesments in the last few years. If there is something that needs to be fixed or upgraded in the building that affects all the residents then the Condo board will issue a special assessment. This means the cost of repairs will be split between all the residents, and can be very costly. To find out if there have been any recent cash calls review the minutes from the meetings.  You’re real estate professional should be offering you guidance and recommending having a professional document review service going over your documents with you.
 
2) Inspect the entire facility
 
Don’t just look at the unit you are interested in. Check out the outside of the building and the common areas. Check for any damage (cracks, water damage, rust, mold etc) that could be indicators of larger problems. If these areas are neglected either the board doesn’t have the funds to fix them or they don’t care to. Either way, be wary.  Some home inspectors will now only inspect the physical unit and not the common areas.  Your real estate professional should be providing you contact information for inspectors that will inspect all of the areas.  Many of the common area infrastructure expenses can be estimated from reading the reserve fund study of the condominium corporation.
 
3) Be clear on all policies
 
Do you have pets? Or children? You want to make sure they are welcome in the building.  Many condos have restrictions. Some only allow residents who are over 18, and sometimes pets are banned or there is a maximum weight for your pet or a maximum number of pets you can have. You should also be clear about any other restrictions. You can review the rules in the condominium corporation bylaws.
 
4) Talk to your real estate professional.
 
Your real estate agent will be able to help you with any general condo questions, and will likely be able to answer questions specific to the building.
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