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Calgary Homes: Types of Windows to Buy

Calgary Homes: Types of Windows to Buy

Posted by on Aug 31, 2021 in Community Housing | 0 comments

Buying replacement windows for Calgary homes is a great opportunity for you and your family. By purchasing high quality replacement windows you can change the aesthetics of your home and save enormous amounts of money in energy heating costs during those cold Calgary winters.

You see, windows have a tremendous environmental influence on a house. They affect the amount of light entering a home as well as things like ventilation and home interior temperature. Windows also contribute to the aesthetic identity of your home and the ones you choose say a lot about your design eye.

If you’re shopping for windows in Alberta, Canada you should stop in at Boulevard Exteriors, Alberta’s foremost window and vinyl store and the premier windows and doors company in Calgary.

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10 Things You Should Know When Shopping for Car Insurance

Posted by on Aug 31, 2021 in News, Public Policy | 0 comments

Car insurance is one of things that you wish you didn’t have to pay for but are glad you have when you need it. With all the options out there, it can be overwhelming when you’re shopping for a policy. Here’s a list of ten things you should know about car insurance that could save you money, even if you already have a policy in place.

Always shop around for the best quote

Most people think that all insurance companies pretty much charge the same amount for their policies, and that any variation must come from either the driver’s record (see below for a tip on that) or from different features of the policy itself. This is not necessarily so.

The reason different insurance companies charge different rates for similar policies is because different insurance companies assess risk in different ways. Where you live, what kind of car you drive, your driving record and even your age all come into play. Because each company has had different experience with claims and losses from previous clients, the rates can vary widely.

Maintain a clean driving record

Your driving record is the primary factor that insurance companies use to determine your premium. Accidents and moving violations can stay on your record for years and both of them will cost you in a higher premium.

Increase your deductible

Generally speaking, a higher deductible means a lower premium – it means that much less money the company has to pay out in the event of a claim. The caveat here though is that you have to be prepared to pay that higher deductible should you get into an accident.

Analyze your policy and adjust if you can

Depending on the type of car you drive, you might be carrying more insurance than you actually need. Call your broker and have them go over your policy. See if there’s any areas where you can either reduce or remove unnecessary coverage.

Be aware of how insurance brokers work

The reason why you yourself should be the one shopping around for your policy is because your insurance broker literally can’t shop around at as many companies as you can. Insurance brokers typically only represent a handful of insurance companies and as such are only allowed to offer policies from those companies alone. Insurance agents are even more limited: they can only offer policies from the one company that they work for. To make sure you’re getting as wide a swath of quotes as you can, do the legwork yourself. These days, getting an insurance quote is as easy as going online. Companies like have excellent sites set up that make getting a car insurance quote easy.


Ask your agent for a discount

The worst thing that could happen is that they say “no”. A couple of ways you can angle for a discount is to (again) have a clean driving record or installing an anti-theft device.


Ask about accident forgiveness coverage

For some extra cash added to your monthly bill, some companies offer accident forgiveness coverage, which protects your premium from an increase in the event of a car accident that is your fault. Granted, no one makes plans to get into an accident, but if and when it happens, the extra monthly charge could save you thousands in an increased premium.

The bottom line is, there are many different options out there offered by many different companies. And not every company is the same. Take your time and do your homework when shopping for car insurance quotes and you can ensure that you get the best rate you can get for your particular situation.


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You’re Never Too Old to Hit the Open Road

You’re Never Too Old to Hit the Open Road

Posted by on Aug 31, 2021 in Disability | 0 comments

When most people think about motorcycle riders, they think of young guys zipping by on flashy sport bikes or rugged mean looking dudes on Harleys, looking like they just walked off the set of Sons of Anarchy. But in reality, the older rider, guys and gals in their 40s, 50s and 60s, are the largest sector of motorcycle riders today.

More and more people who fall into this age group are discovering that it’s a great time to start riding. For the past twenty years or so, they’ve worked towards a career, paid their mortgages, maybe raised some kids and put them through college, and now for the first time in a very long time they are finding themselves with some disposable income and a lot of time on their hands. Retirement is still a little ways away and they aren’t the type to just sit on the couch all day, so they are looking to try something new.

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A Shower Pan From Scratch

A Shower Pan From Scratch

Posted by on Aug 28, 2021 in Community Housing | 0 comments


So you want to learn how to build a shower pan with Dix Systems’? Well, let’s just go on and learn about how I made a marvelous one, cheap and easy! First things first, let’s make the curb. We’re going to need to create a wooden form. After that’s done, we’ve got to get some concrete to fill it with. Mine was 4” tall and 5” thick, so two 4” boards cut to length should be fine. Screw them into the floors and walls where necessary, and make absolutely sure there is a 4” space between the two boards. If you want some extra strength, take some large 4” screws into the floor instead, and use steel reinforcing wire along the length of the center, to create more crack resistance in its finished state. If you’re doing concrete over wood, then it’s probably best to use roofing paper to separate concrete from plywood, so all that moisture from the still-wet concrete won’t hurt anything.

The top of your drain should be about 2” from the floor (that’s the top, not the bottom). To make sure everything is even, use a ruler or those fancy levels, if you have one, to draw a straight line around the perimeter of the pan you’re creating. It should be just a bit short of 3” from the floor. It should be enough, perhaps a quarter or so, so it can allow water to flow down into the drain.

Remember to not use cement with gravel aggregate in it. Your cement should be fairly dry, and should actually be almost crumbly. Try to use some cement that’s also used for brick mortar. It should be pretty close to regular concrete in stores. About three bags will cover a 32 x 48 shower, so you can do the math and make adjustments yourself by measuring your shower and seeing how much bigger or smaller it is than the example. For example, one of my showers was 32 x 48, but the other was half that, or 16 x 24. Mine was pretty easy to figure out. Just divide three in half, and you get 1.5 bags. It might have taken a little more than half the second bag, but one bag wouldn’t have covered it. Mix the cement outside, preferably in something like a wheelbarrow or large trough.

Borrow one from your neighbor if you don’t have one, or their neighbor if they don’t. Do this one bag at a time, and carry it into the bathroom with a large bucket. Five gallons should be enough. Once there, just dump that cement into your shower.

Next, you just have to smooth it out. Make sure you don’t get any concrete in the drain, though! Use a wide selection of straight edges to scrape and smooth the concrete, and until you get a nice, smooth bowl, just keep adding more concrete. Once it looks smooth from the top, see if you can spot any bumps or waves from a side-view. If you can, smooth ‘em out. All that’s left now is the waterproofing!

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Buying a Condo in Toronto

Posted by on Aug 27, 2021 in Community Housing | 0 comments

If you’re looking to buy a home in Toronto you may have heard that there are price increases over the past few years. Real estate Toronto is becoming highly competitive. However, you can find a value and take major advantage of the market in purchasing a condominium. What are condominiums? Condos are multiple apartments in one building development. There are usually cheaper than townhouses or stand-alone homes in the same area.

Condos can usually be found in the multiple online portal for real estate. Condo developments are managed and maintained by associations that relieve you of the burden of the upkeep in the building. These associations also establish the rules for the building and are made up of the condo owners.

Buying a condo has many benefits. They offer a cheaper living space than single family houses and far less maintenance and upkeep. However, you have to understand issues to research before proceeding with purchasing a condo in Toronto or anywhere.

Type and Location

There are three general types of condos:

1. Traditional Condominium

a. The first is a traditional condo where you own everything from the walls in. In this type of condo you don’t own the land the condo is built upon.

2. Site Condominium

a. The second type is called a site condominium where you own your apartment and a share in the land the condo is built on.

3. Condominium Hotel

a. Another option is a condominium hotel, where you rent out your condo when you’re not using it.

Overall, the differences between a traditional and site condominium are negligible. But some people are hesitant to buy a condo on land that might one day revert to another ownership and thus another use.

Also decide where you ideally would like the condo to be situated, such as your preference for a particular city or neighborhood. Within the development itself, the condo’s location is also important. You might, for example, not want a condo facing a busy street. Perhaps you are looking for a condo that is near to the entrance of a building, or one that has a nice view.


The last thing you want to discover after buying a condo is that things don’t work properly, particularly if those things are what attracted you to the condo in the first place. There are, of course, the basic checks, such as making sure that the gas, water and electricity all work. Then there are the more fundamental things like whether the building is properly maintained by the condo association.

If, for example, the swimming pool is one of the things that you like best about the condo, make sure that it is cleaned regularly and open at the hours that you want access.

Condo Association

The associations that run condo developments set the rules for the rest of the owners to live by. You need to know what kind of building you are moving into, the atmosphere and values of the building, by reading the association rules.

There’s no point moving into a particular condo development if you find the association’s rules too difficult to live by. Loud music, the number and type of visitors you can have, use of the development’s facilities and parking are all possible things that an association may have strict rules about. Read up on these rules before buying the condo, and decide whether you will be prepared to abide by them.

Additionally, it is advisable to look at the condo association fees, and see whether you will be able to afford them. Look at the minutes of the condo association meetings to see if there are any outstanding maintenance issues that are likely to be expensive and will cause these fees to rise. Obtain a copy of the building’s certificate of insurance and see if any building development costs will be covered.

Condo Rentals

Sometimes circumstances change and you may want to rent out your condo space. This allows you to offset the amount of money you put towards your mortgage. To find out how much you’d save you can to calculate your mortgage rate and payments using an online mortgage calculator.

You should find out if renting is an option for you in the future, if you so wish. Check out the renter population in the building. If the renter population is more than 10%, there should be clear rental policies, either listed in the bylaws or tacked on as an amendment. Look for answers to these questions:

1. Does the management company find renters for you?

2. If so, do they get enough good renters?

3. What is the history of renters in the building? Do they obey the rental laws or does management ignore their issues? Renters may be less respectful of the association rules, and the state of the building and its facilities may suffer as a result.

Ask other tenants about their experiences.

In addition, ask to see the association’s rental lease, and have a real-estate lawyer look it over. Remember, though, that an association can change its bylaws to prohibit or restrict renting at any time. The more owners who rent out, the less of a chance that this will happen.

A condo can be a great lifestyle choice. Just make sure that you know what to look for before

choosing the condo community in which you are going to live.

Do Background Research On Potential Problems

The best way to find out about a buildings issues: financial, interpersonal, facilities, etc. is to look at the minutes of the condo association’s board meetings to see what owners have been complaining about.

If everyone is complaining about heating issues or so-so maintenance, you can infer that the complex is having management difficulties. Even if there aren’t complaints, reading the minutes will reveal the kinds of projects that are under way at the complex, including those that the seller may not have mentioned.


Another major part of the condo to examine are the financial records. You should find out the delinquency rates of present owners. People not paying their association dues on time can be a signal for internal discontent, a poor ability of the condo to screen out those with financial problems and might even show that the condominium might be underfunded.

Reserve Funds

Ask if the community has done a reserve-fund review recently. If the complex is less than 10 years old, the reserve fund should have 10% of the cost of replaceable items such as roofs, roads and amenities like gymnasiums and playrooms. For complexes between 10 and 20 years old, the repair fund should be at 25% to 30%. At 20 years, that amount should be 50% or more.

Be careful of maintenance that is too low. Those who don’t pay much in maintenance may be in a complex that has poor upkeep or that is living beyond its means.


If you look at nothing else, get a copy of the certificate of insurance, which is a summary of the association’s insurance policy. Take the insurance certificate to an agent whom you trust and who understands the laws. Check to see if the amount of money that the building will get is an accurate estimate of total rebuilding costs. If your condominium is severely damaged due to a storm or fire, it would be financially detrimental if the money received from the insurance wasn’t enough to cover the full costs of rebuilding.

Then ensure that the policy has a building-ordinance clause, which means that the insurance will cover the cost of bringing the building to code if rebuilding occurs. On older buildings, there may have been many code upgrades since construction. If they’re not covered than that responsibility will fall on the owner’s shoulders.

Self Management is a Big No-No

Finally, watch out for a condo whose owners manage the place themselves. Although many are operated efficiently, self-management can lead to more hassles for owners — especially those who live thousands of miles away.

Assuming the complex is professionally managed, check out the management company as thoroughly as you check out the association. Ask other owners and interview people in other buildings the agency manages. Find out if they’ve been taken to court and why. If you buy a condo with a bad manager, you’ll be in for bad times.

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