What Your Guidance Councillor Isn’t Telling You: 7 Questions to Consider Before You Accept a University Offer of Admission

Accepting or rejecting an offer from a university could be one of the defining moments in your life. What city and school you end up in has long lasting implications: your personal and professional network, your field of work, and what part of the country you settle down in are all heavily informed by your choice of post-secondary school and program. The choice you make under pressure from parents and guidance counselors could be what leads you to meeting your spouse, finding your true calling, being buried in mountains of debt, or falling in love with a new city.

Unappealing as it may be to consider, how much a program will cost (and how much your living expenses will put you into the hole) should be thought out carefully. Can you afford over $1000 every month to rent a studio apartment in Vancouver or Toronto? Will your chosen field (if that is the field you end up in) pay you enough at entry level to pay off the debt amassed from living in one of the most expensive cities in Canada? With Canadian debt levels at an all-time high, and interest rates at a historic low, carrying a large amount of debt may seem normal and unavoidable – and it may be in some cases, but if you can plan for your college or university days not to amass student debts, your future self will thank you.

What Your Guidance Councillor Isn't Telling You

  • Will you be able to find part time work? Will you want to, or need to? Consider the job market in the area, as well as the availability of campus jobs. Will you qualify for a campus job? Some schools have requirements that you be receiving assistance to be eligible to work on campus. If you are considering a school in Quebec, is your French strong enough to be considered employable in the area?
  • What is the cost of an apartment there? What does residence cost? Do you know how much you need to budget on accommodations? Will you be able to sublet your apartment over summer? Research apartment listings near the schools you are considering to get a sense of how much you will be spending monthly. Compare apartment prices with residence costs across the country with this interactive infographic.
  • Do you have the option of commuting to a good school from a family home? If you can walk, drive, bus, or bike to one of your options, consider what you would save by staying with your family versus living on your own. Maybe you will decide it is not worth the savings, but go into the decision fully informed, after carefully weighing the option and running the numbers.
  • Do you expect to travel home for every school break or holiday? Do you know what the average cost is to go from the location of your school to your family home? Is the distance small enough that you can get sale bus tickets, or would you need to fly or take the train? Can you afford it? If not, will family members help you cover the costs, or are you willing to go into debt to travel home?
  • Are you taking out a student loan? Will you be borrowing from family? What will the repayment terms be? What is your interest rate? How much will you be paying off after school is finished, and how much of that will be interest? Use an interest rate calculator and get a sense of what your finances will look like after graduation.
  • Will the program you are considering actually help you find a job? Will the school you attend impress employers in your field? Will the school and program be a good investment in your future? How much are you likely to make if you are fortunate enough to find entry level work in your chosen field? If you have no idea how much money you might be making, check out sites like Glassdoor or job listings in your area.
  • Are internships required by the program? Will they be paid? If not, can you afford to spend a large portion of your summer doing unpaid work? Will an internship be worth it for your long term career? If not, is there an option for a program that does not require unpaid internships?
  • Do you actually want to go there? Are you being influenced by parents, friends, a partner, or a teacher? Think seriously about whether you would be considering the option seriously if others in your life were not vocally in support of it, and whether these people have your best interests (or their own) at heart. You are the one that will have to live with your choice, and the people who influence you now may not be someone who will continue to be a large part of your life, even if you heed their advice.
  • With so many programs to choose from, and so much pressure to decide quickly, making the choice can be overwhelming. Almost no one has their entire life plan figured out in their senior year of high school, and those that do will likely revise it heavily in the future. If you have yet to figure out your path, don’t fret, but be sure to go into your choice with your eyes wide open.

    Coming Out Ahead When Selling Property

    Getting Started

    Whether you are upgrading, downgrading, or moving laterally when you embark on selling property, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you come out ahead in the sale. Though it may seem simple enough at the outset, selling property is a complex process that may require several difficult decisions along the way. By keeping a few things in mind, you can increase your chances of making a great sale.

    Prepare to Invest in Selling Your House

    It may seem contradictory – after all, you’re looking to make money, not spend it – but investing money in a home you are planning to sell can help you come out ahead in the long run.

    Cleaning up scuff marks, making minor repairs, and even upgrading some items or areas before potential buyers come to view the property will help make the best impression, and it can also increase your selling price or leverage. Likewise, outfitting areas such as the kitchen and bathroom with higher-end appliances can boost a home’s appeal.

    Be judicious in how much you invest, however. Keep in mind that buyers will want to make the home their own, so now is not the time for major renovations, such as a kitchen redesign or tearing down a wall to make space.

    Curb appeal is a major determining factor for buyers, so pay as much attention to the exterior of the property, especially the front, you do to the interior. Some simple landscaping and a little paint can do wonders to entice potential buyers.

    Research Comparable Home Sales

    If you want to come out ahead as a seller, you need in-depth knowledge of the real estate market, both overall and in your particular neighbourhood. An important and highly informative step in gaining that knowledge is looking at comparable homes for sale.

    To determine whether a home is truly comparable to your own, consider the size of the home, its condition and amenities, and its location. Ideally, you should seek out recently sold homes within the same neighbourhood, since they would provide the most accurate comparisons, but if that isn’t possible seek out neighbourhoods that are similar in terms of the quality of the schools and general demographics. For each property you compare, take note of both the listing price and the price they ultimately sold at.

    Come Out Ahead When Selling Property

    Be Prepared to Negotiate to Sell the Property

    In an ideal world, your home would sell immediately for the exact price you have chosen; however, the market usually doesn’t work that easily. Selling a home is a lengthy procedure, and negotiation is part of that process.

    It can take time to work with potential buyers to come up with a deal that satisfies everyone involved. Be prepared to make certain concessions – for example, repairing certain things before the new owner moves in as a part of the sale – but also be firm about what you will not concede on.

    When negotiating price and other factors in selling your home, it is very important to keep an objective perspective and not take things personally. This is a business transaction, and regardless of how much the home means to you, its actual value may not be as high as you initially expect. Conducting a thorough home inspection – done by a professional home inspector, if possible – prior to putting your house on the market can keep you from overpricing or underpricing it as it goes up for sale.

    Conclusion

    With proper preparation, research, and dedication to the selling process, you can come out well ahead when selling your property. And lastly, be patient. Sometimes getting the best deal requires a little time to find the right buyer.

    Come Out Ahead When Buying Property

    Getting Started Buying Property

    Buying a new home can be a daunting prospect. All potential homebuyers want to ensure they come out ahead with their purchase, naturally. After all, buying a home is about far more than finding a place to live, it’s also a major investment – one that could potentially impact your life for many years to come.

    Come Out Ahead Buying Property

    How Much House Do You Need When You Buy Property?

    One of the first and most important steps to ensure you come out ahead when you purchase a home is to know exactly how much house you reasonably can afford. You may find a home that is a great value for what it offers, but it won’t be a great value to you if it’s more than you need and costs more than you can sensibly pay.

    Consider a number of factors when deciding how much house you actually need. Start with determining the number of rooms you will need, both for existing family members and any potential future family members.

    Next, consider what amenities are ‘needs’ versus ‘wants’. That spacious garage or swimming pool may be enticing, but if it doesn’t realistically offer your family anything of value, consider it a luxury.

    Make a list of “must haves,” such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and central HVAC. Then make a list of “would like to haves,” such as a patio, a contemporary kitchen, or updated bathrooms. Last, round off your list with what you consider luxuries – things that you opt for only if they don’t push you over your house-buying budget.

    Assess the Neighbourhood of the Property

    The house you are interested in may offer you a great value today, but will it offer that same value tomorrow? Because you are looking at your home purchase as an investment, you want to ensure that the home will appreciate in value over time. Finding a home in a great neighbourhood can be an important step in ensuring that long-term value.

    The quality of the schools is one of the most important determining factors in maintaining high home values within a specific neighbourhood. Whether you have children of school age or not, be sure to seek out homes in areas with commendable, well-regarded schools.

    Other value-maintaining factors to look for include whether or not new businesses are being built in and around the area and the general demographics (such as median income) of an area.

    Inspect the Details of the House and Property

    Inspecting the home you are interested in is critical to coming out ahead financially. A house that looks like a great deal on the outside can turn out to be a dud if you find major issues such as electrical system damage or unexpected plumbing leaks after you move in.

    A thorough home inspection by a professional inspector is crucial before you agree to any home purchase, regardless of the deal that is offered.

    Conclusion

    Coming out ahead financially when purchasing property is all about two things – determining what you need and the true value of the home compared to its cost. However, you also should consider that ultimately the most important factor in your home-buying decision is whether the home is something you will love owning or living in for years. Getting to know the property and the neighbourhood, and refusing to settle – even for something that looks like a great deal on the surface – can help ensure that you end up with a new home that you and your family will really love.

    At Home DIY Tricks to Remove Rust and Corrosion From Metals

    Everything looks great when it’s shiny and new, but as time takes its toll, unwanted buildup begins to collect and rust can start to take over surface areas that were once gleaming and sparkling. Whether you have bought some awesome copper pots and pans that need to be cleaned up, or you want to get your atomic chrome items looking their best to get top dollar when you sell, there are lots of simple tricks to get the most out of vintage metal items. Here are a few methods to effectively remove rust from various metals.

    Copper

    Removing rust from copper can be done relatively easily. Three DIY methods that can be done with common household ingredients include:

  • Table salt and vinegar: Combine vinegar with salt and then scrub with a soft brush or firm cloth followed by a quick rinse and dry.
  • Lemon or lime and salt: Cut 2 lemons or 2 limes in half and use them as a scrubber. For added potency, sprinkle salt onto the surface of the lemon/lime first and then finish the process off with a rinse and dry.
  • Ketchup: Coat the rusted surface with a layer of ketchup and let it sink in for a few minutes. After, rinse and scrub with a soft brush.
  • Cast Iron

    Usually, cast iron in the home comes in the form of skillets and pans. Cleaning the rust off is a 2 part task. First, you have to clean off the rust and then you’ll have to “season” it in order to ensure it’s going to stay rust-free for a longer period of time.

    For the cleaning step, you’ll need to first use fine steel wool to scrub the areas with rust. Next, use warm water and gentle dish soap while scrubbing the cast iron again.

    After the washing and drying are done, it’s time for the “seasoning” which is really just a funny term that involves coating the now clean cast iron with a small portion of oil (any cooking oil works). Once it’s covered with a thin layer of the oil, simply put the cast iron upside down into the oven and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. (It is definitely a good idea to place a sheet of foil at the bottom to catch any drippings.) After the hour is up, turn the heat off and wait for the cast iron to cool down.

    Chrome

    With chrome, it’s often safest to use specialized chrome cleaner first and then apply chrome polish after to the rusted area(s). Rub extra polish with steel wool and be sure that when you’re rubbing the rusted area, you consistently make sure the area does not get dry. (The steel wool will scratch the surface if there isn’t some moisture there.) Avoid any instinctual urge to scrub the area too aggressively- this will damage the chrome surface. Once you’re finished, rinse the chrome with clean water and you should be good to go!

    If you’re feeling adventurous, Coke has also been known to be effective against rust on chrome. Depending on the surface, either soak the chrome in coke for 15 minutes and then rinse and dry off, or if it’s a large surface, wet a piece of aluminum foil with coke and rub the rusted area with the foil. (Again, like with the steel wool, always keep whatever you’re rubbing with moistened or you will get scratches.)

    Aluminum

    Cleaning off rust from aluminum can be done a few different ways. For a more natural approach, try either lemon and vinegar or boiing tomatoes in a pot and then using the liquid to scrub the aluminum. For both these methods, the key is the acidity from the liquids. Once the aluminum is scrubbed down with the solutions, the discoloured aluminum should brighten up instantly.

    If the rust is of the persistent nature, you may need to try commercial cleaners that are targeted specifically for rust. Steel wool plus the cleaner will usually do the trick!

    10 Years of Kijiji = 10 Months of Giveaways!

    We have had such a great 10 years, we decided that for our birthday celebration, we will give gifts to our fans and users who have helped grow Kijiji to what it is today! Every month for the next 10 months, we will be giving away an item from our awesome prize list. The type of item will inform where you have to post your ad, so for example, in April we are giving away a video baby monitor, and our contest category for the month is baby items. Post an ad in baby items and submit it in the entry form at kijijity.kijiji.ca to enter.
    Things to know:

  • This contest is open to ALL residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority.
  • Your ad must be a legitimate ad in accordance with all of our rules and posting policies. People found to be spamming, posting fake ads, or violating the rules of Kijiji will have their entries disqualified.
  • Your ad must remain live until the draw date to win.
  • No editing ads that have been submitted as an entry, with the one exception of adding “NO LONGER AVAILABLE” if your item is sold during the month.
  • Your ad must state that “This ad is a contestant in a Kijiji Contest. See more details at kijijity.kijiji.ca”.
  • Each month you can enter up to 10 times if you are able to post up to 10 legitimate ads.
  • You can only use one email address/Kijiji account to enter.
  • We have some amazing prizes to give away, so don’t be shy. Post your ads, get rid of stuff, make some cash – and as if getting paid to get rid of your old things isn’t reward enough, now it might lead to winning a great prize. Good luck and happy posting!

    10 years of Kijiji = 10 months of great prizes!