“honey lets go see an acreage…it’ll be fun”

Calgary, Red Deer & Edmonton…these are all beautiful cities to make home-base, don’t get me wrong.  But I grew up in small-town Alberta and spent a ton of time on acreages as a result of having most of my friends live out there.  I spent my summers THERE…rural Alberta in all its scorching glory &  winters in all its Alberta blizzard chaos:  Those memories I would not trade for the world.  Yeah, we did teen stuff, gossip, painting nails, talking about boys, even out in the middle of nowhere…but summers out in the country giggling & riding horses & up to no good are a LOT different than being up to no-good in the city.  But up to no good in rural Alberta kept me out of trouble city-life would have… that is guaranteed.  I enjoyed the lazy hot days of summer jumping on friends’ trampolines, riding bikes on gravel roads, sleepovers in tents & hay-bales (which isn’t a good idea bye the way).  Something about being surrounded by golden wheat fields or bright yellow canola fields or being able to get through the troubled teen years with no means of transportation to the city (pre-licence age), are memories that are amongst my most treasured.  Winters spent snow-mobiling, skating on acreage ponds & just plain learning to be comfortable in my own skin when I got bored (pre-texting/cell phone/Internet age, well… it just IS a different way of life.  There is no better time than now to raise children out in the country, away from the temptations & stress of city-life.  Oh sure…a teen will find trouble anywhere…but it takes more creativity to GET to the trouble & a lot more embarrassment afterwards to get OUT of it too (every neighbour between your place & the Rockies knows too).  There is also a natural progression of respect for the land, the animals, the food, the work; values I argue we are so quickly losing in our culture of technology & fast-paced 9-5 jobs.

There are so many acreages between Calgary, Didsbury, Red Deer & Leduc as we travel North along Highway 2 from Calgary.  If you’re looking for an escape from the rat race…there is something for everyone and any budget.  Our equestrian community is strong and once you get a taste of country-life (or even a small 2 acre acreage), living in the confines of a city…is just claustrophobic & downright crazy.  In a recent opinion poll I took of people’s life on acreages, here were the results.

WHY MOVE TO THE COUNTRY OPINION POLL (thanks to Kijiji!! And the many responses from this question posted)

“Raising kids to respect nature, responsibility & self sufficiency …that’s what we have all learned since moving to our Cochrane acreage.  There’s a rule that all phones/ipods/ipads/iwhatevers need to be turned into a bin by 9pm nightly.  This keeps my teen boys from straying to Internet sites they need avoid (boys will be boys) & keeps me realizing, that our move to the acreage was worth the conveniences of Calgary.  Their friends are even asking to come here to hang out here instead of in town (they go to school in Cochrane).  Fine by me, so long as all the chores are done & there’s no swearing”                 Jim & Darlene Smithwyck, Cochrane, AB

“ I moved because I was stressed out with my lifestyle where I worked in downtown Calgary, got off at 5, meandered my way towards the Deerfoot just to creep along at a snails pace to my home I couldn’t afford in the suburbs an hour (if I was lucky) later, just to make dinner go to bed, wake up drop kids off at the day home, and do it all over again.  I asked my boss if there was a way to work from home. He said yes.  I phoned my realtor & put my house on the market.  I did the most irrational & irresponsible thing and bought a 4 acre property outside Beiseker & have never regretted it.  It was 50,000 cheaper than my home & we decided to cut things we don’t need for a year to see if we could catch up on debt. We paid off all credit cards/no cable/started growing our veggies in the summer, and now after things are financially fine…my son said he doesn’t miss the tv channels anyhow.  HOW COOL IS THAT?!”            Sandy P, Beiseker, AB

“My daughter was invited to a 4H club event with a friend from school (i was newly divorced).  Then came riding lessons. Then came having to meet the other parents at 4H (I am a born & raised city-girl) and newly divorced, they opened their hearts to us, like I had never experienced & very much needed at that difficult time. They were a different kind of people, and I felt cared for & made life-long friends at 4H. Country families are more generous with their time & hearts and within 2 years I sold our Edgemont home in NW Calgary & moved to a High River acreage where we spent so much time anyhow.  Wish I had done it sooner.” – Cindy F., High River, AB

“I am born & raised a farm-girl, but married a city boy.  He wouldn’t move to the farm & I had no interest in taking over my Dad’s ranch, so we compromised with a small acreage in Didsbury (well about 10 mins outside of town). I have 2 little girls that have never eaten store-bought vegetables or fruit and we teach them to respect the resources that we can save or recycle or grow.  We grow it all.  They respect animals & the work it takes as part of the enjoyment of them. My city-boy loves our acreage too and we aren’t too far from Calgary that we can’t go into enjoy the bigger amenities of it”       S. Holdt, Didsbury, AB

My son was being bullied in our Calgary area school & he found comfort in his weekly riding lesson out in Airdrie, just being with the horse.  This was the only time he seemed to truly love his life without being conscientious about being teased.  We are a middle-class family & thought that moving to an acreage would be costly, however we budgeted the things that were important and were able to sell our home in Cranston and move to a small acreage in Balzac.  My son turned 16 last January & got a job at an Airdrie grocery store and bought his own horse last month with his savings.  We have agreed to pay for the boarding costs if he bought his own horse(as this is his only activity) & he is thriving and home-schooled.  Rural living does not have to mean farm living…my husband still works downtown Calgary & is able to catch up on his favorite pod-casts on the 30 min drive home.  PS…thanks for this opinion poll…!!.”     A & K Lovas, Balzac, AB

This featured rural property is a small acreage outside of Didsbury (about 15 mins east), it is a nicely renovated 2 storey home situated on 7.81 acres of land complete with paddocks & shelters.  Perfect place for the family wanting to buy a few horses & escape the city.  The buyer can enjoy not only the use of their own land for riding, but that of the remainder quarter section of land that is owned by a central Alberta-based cattle rancher, who does not use the land much of the year.  For more details, please go here: http://ronaelepound.com/listing/starter-acreage/


FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS -BEST TIME TO BUY A HOME – the recession has lowered the exaggerated real estate prices brought on from the boom.  First time home buyers…here’s your chance to invest in a home, wait…and sell later for a profit.  Remember…real estate is cyclical.  Do not be discouraged by a recession.  It is a great opportunity to leverage yourself personally & financially.  If you need mortgage approval or advice to get in on the current market, I have wonderfully honest mortgage brokers that will bend over backwards to help you realize home-ownership. email me anytime to get in touch with a broker: ronaele@fancyshacks.ca

START THAT NEW BUSINESS: buckle down, prioritize & start that new business – FINALLY.  Nothing more luring to an entrepreneur than low(er) start up costs.  Force the intangible dream to become a reality…but don’t quit that day job just yet.  Just get the ball rolling & take advantage of lower start-up costs.

UNEMPLOYED?  GO BACK TO SCHOOL! Student loans, grants & scholarships are plentiful here in Alberta.  Researching through the thousands of them does take time, but they are there for the taking – SO TAKE THEM.  College, university or starting a new business pays dividends. Stop whining about the recession, and DO SOMETHING PROACTIVE with your life.

PURCHASE AN OLD FARM – Aging farmers need out & prices are low.  Gone are the days when children of farmers automatically took over the family farm.  Generation X is opting to head to University instead of take over Dad/Grand dad’s farm.  This is sad on so many levels, however, Southern Alberta has some of the countries prime land.  The disappearance of the family farm coupled with a recession is the time to seriously think about making your move to buy land now, when the price is low.Then be patient  & sit on it, maybe apply for rezoning for subdivision & sell later.  Balzac, Airdrie, Bearspaw, Cochrane, Chestermere have some great raw parcels of land at low pricing.

Click HERE to see the current featured Alberta investment opportunities.

BUY REITSReal Estate Investment Trusts sell like a stock on all the exchanges .  In essence it is a real estate mutual fund;  it purchases real estate & mortgages exclusively.  Because Real Estate is cyclical, investing in these (there are low AND high risk REITS you can choose from), over time, turns a profit that is proportionate to it’s risk however typically give investors high(er) yields.  You can stick with low risk REITS, venture out into higher risk REITS for higher yields, or do a hybrid combination of both.  REITS are a way of purchasing shares into real estate, yet not be bogged down by property that won’t sell.  REITS are highly liquid & a way of getting into real estate investing without deep pockets.

LIVING WITHIN YOUR MEANS – the futility of keeping up with the Jones’ really puts a perspective on our human nature & how greed can put people in terrible situations.  Skyrocketing foreclosures purchased during the boom (thanks in part to the accessibility of loans & mortgages most had no business getting), has flooded the real estate industry with listings, many of which are simply that…just listings.  Many homeowners are being forced to cut their losses & learn a harsh lesson in eating humble pie.  The big house, boats, motorhomes, BMW’s, designer clothes…easy to get sucked into, but deadly on the bank account.  The recession has given people perspective that all the STUFF, is not necessary.  Buy real estate, just don’t go over-the-top to fill it with STUFF.  Buy low, sell high.

TRIMMING THE FAT – a recession has this extraordinary ability to gobble up the greedy & less than honest businesses that are born of the Alberta economic boom.  What we have now, is the real deal business that have what it takes to squeak through the hard times.

CHEAPER TO BORROW – Just don’t go out & get a bunch of stuff…buy real estate – it is, for now, a buyers market & most likely will pay dividends later on down the road.  Leverage your finances & personal situation & buy land.  Click HERE for current opportunities or call me direct at 403-919-3394.  Many of these properties, the sellers are willing to stay on and rent the home on long-term leases: THIS = LEVERAGE. Borrow now, buy land low (have tenants to live in the home & care for the land – many farmers are willing to accomodate this-bye the way, then reap your rewards & sell it later). CLICK HERE for investment opportunities with possible rental tenants to leverage your investment at full potential.

CHEAPER TO BUY EVERYTHING ELSE – all of the factors that have forced real estate prices down, also have that same effect on gas, retail, vacation costs etc.  Just don’t go nuts.  Treat yourself occasionally & enjoy lower pricing on all the necessities, like food.  If you are an investor, trades are cheaper…so get that investment approved for municipal rezoning for subdivision.  If you already have it…now is the time to build while supplies & trades are cheaper.  There is a massive market for high-end country residential 1, 2 & 4 acre lots.

ENJOY YOUR FAMILY –  the best reason to love a good old dose of recession blues…reconnect with your kids, board games, bike rides, date nights…and…wait for it:  Eating dinner together as a family!  Can you imagine making your meals at home with all the chairs full with the people we love??  Cease the day…these days are gone before you know it.

So there we have it…a recession through rose-coloured glasses.  Go out there and be smart with your money.  It is a real estate smorgasbord out there, so buy a piece of Alberta instead of the shiny new car & if you can…buy locally & not through the big box stores.  Supporting small business is the best way to help see ourselves out of a global recession.  When you scratch the backs of local businesses, they tend to do the same in return.  INVEST IN LAND, INVEST IN PERSONAL & FINANCIAL GROWTH, INVEST IN YOUR FAMILY.  Everything else will find its place.

Click HERE for all current featured Alberta Investment Opportunities

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