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Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre reopens for Mooseheads’ season opener

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The home of the Halifax Mooseheads will reopen next month to host the team’s season home opener, although the experience will be different as a result of COVID-19.

The Scotiabank Centre will reopen on Oct. 3, after its reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments, the company operating the centre and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team announced on Tuesday.

“We’re thrilled to be reopening and welcoming our fans back to Scotiabank Centre,” said Carrie Cussons, the president and CEO of Scotiabank Centre.

The centre will be following all standard health and safety guidelines related to the wearing of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing, the company said.

But there will be additional protections put in place as well in order to limit any possible spread of the novel coronavirus.

Scotiabank Centre will be divided into separate zones of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points for each zone.

The organization also announced that tickets will be sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble, respecting the province’s guidelines on gatherings.

Fans and attendees will be required to wear a non-medical mask at all times, except when they are consuming food or beverages, the Scotiabank Centre said.

Tickets will also be mobile-only in order to minimize close contact between individuals.

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Top 3 home renovation scams – and how to avoid them

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(NC) Home makeovers and repairs are on the rise, as we try to make our spaces more livable and functional. But even if you prefer to DIY most projects, some inevitably require the help of a professional. Finding a reliable contractor is where you can run into trouble, as there are many contractor scams in the industry.  

“While on the ground supporting our customers, some have told us that they have been approached by contractors going door-to-door to offer repair services with deals that seem too good to be true,” explains Bryant Vernon, Chief Claims Officer at Aviva Canada. “It’s important for everyone to protect themselves against contractors who may be taking advantage of homeowners especially after a severe weather event.” 

Here are some of the most common scams to beware of, and some tips on what you can do about them: 

The storm chaser. 

These nomad roofers go across the country chasing hailstorms and other natural disasters. They are quick to show up on your doorstep after a severe weather event. Familiar with how insurance companies work, these contractors charge a hefty amount using inferior quality products and promise to help you close your file quickly with the insurance company. But they are nowhere to be found should you find yourself with a leaky roof a few years later. 

The unbelievably low bid.

This roofing contractor will offer a bid that is far lower than any other construction companies in the areaBut once the job starts, unexpected costs and unforeseen problems may suddenly appear. Some contractors may even resort to removing the old roof or threaten to leave the roof bare if additional payments aren’t made. 

The door-to-door free roof inspection. 

Similar to the storm chaser, this door-to-door salesperson will come knocking offering a free roof inspection. They will go up on your roof and possibly fabricate damage to mimic storm damage or show you a photo with roof damage from a different home and claim it came from your roof. 

What you can do 

Always do your research and get a couple of quotes from reputable companies to compare before deciding on the one to hire. Be cautious of those asking for upfront deposits and make sure the payment structure is clear from the beginning. Ask about all the steps of the project, completion times and liability insurance. While not required by law, a company that does not have liability insurance means any damage to property resulting from the renovation may not be covered by them. 

Find more information at aviva.ca/en/tools/approved-vendor-and-contractors-program.  

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Tips For Buying During A Pandemic

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A lot has been changing in our lives due to COVID-19. From wearing masks indoors and self-isolating to layoffs and reduced work hours, the pandemic has turned many facets of our livelihood upside-down. With predictions of a second wave coming has the weather gets colder, we may have to adjust to this new reality for the foreseeable future.

Throughout this pandemic, there are many things we can look at and feel despair due to how much has changed before. However, even in such abnormal times, there are possible benefits you could enjoy.

Buying a home during this pandemic may be much easier for you now than ever before.

Here’s why.

House Prices During The Pandemic

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), new housing starts are expected to decline by 51 to 75 percent. While fewer new houses often mean higher prices, the organization forecasts housing prices will drop by 9 to 18 percent from reduced economic activity as well as a reduction in home sales.

The CMHC say that they expect housing prices to start to recover around mid 2021, meaning that you could get a home at a much cheaper price between now and this time next year. A nearly 20 percent reduction in price is a rare occurrence in Ontario’s housing market and there may not be another time that they could drop this low.

Remember you do not need a 20 percent down payment to afford a home. Banks and other A-tier lenders can approve a mortgage with less than 20% down payment provided you meet the criteria for mortgage insurance. With overall interest rates so low from the pandemic, buying a home with a smaller down payment is now more sustainable for borrowers than in the past.

Interest Rates

With the many lockdowns, restrictions and rules that have become apart of everyday life during COVID-19, fewer people are working and spending money than ever before in recent memory. This has lead to a significant drop in interest rates.

In June of this year many banks and mortgage brokers started offering 5-year fixed mortgages with interest rates under 2 percent. By comparison, pre-pandemic interest rates on a mortgage ranged from 3 to 4 percent.

With such low interest rates being offered by all kinds of lenders in the housing market, monthly mortgage payments are much cheaper than in years past and some analysts are saying we could see them drop even lower as the economy suffers from the pandemic.

Mortgage Defaults

With lots of people experiencing less work due to the pandemic, more homeowners are struggling to maintain payments than in previous years. This means there are likely to be more defaults in the housing market and more chances for finding homes at lower prices.

When a homeowner defaults, their property is put under foreclosure or power of sale by the lender.

During foreclosure or power of sale, the lender will sell the home to recuperate their investment as fast as possible. They will not be looking to make lots of extra money on the sale, they want to get their money back. With more homeowners at risk of defaulting, you have better chances of finding a home for a price much lower than in a non-pandemic year.

If you want to speak with a lender directly or learn more about how foreclosure and power of sale work, then click here .

Free Time

With many people working reduced hours or entirely from home, you have more free time on your hands. If you are thinking about buying a new home, use your extra time to evaluate your finances and plan how you could manage payments on a new home. Preparation is vital for ensuring any purchase you make is sustainable.

Try to map out your current monthly income and expenses.

With this knowledge, you can search for houses for sale and see if you can manage the required mortgage payments. You may need to look outside of urban areas to find good deals, but they are out there.

Speak with a lender and see what kind of homes you can get preapproved for a mortgage on. You may need to look at a wide range of homes to find those that can fit your budget.

It is also prudent to speak with different lenders to compare what they offer and how much they will charge you. Some lenders like banks may have high requirements for credit score and income, others, like private lenders have significantly less requirements but at higher interest rates and fees.

Being aware of what different lenders can offer you and what stipulations come with a mortgage from them is key to making an informed decision. The only way to know for sure is to see what they can offer and compare their payment plans to see with is the most sustainable for the near future.

Buying A Home During The Pandemic

With historically low interest rates and a forecasted decline in housing prices across the country, the cost of buying a home is approaching it’s cheapest in recent years.  If you have the capital to get a mortgage during this pandemic, your best bet may be to use it. You can learn more about how the pandemic has affected the housing market and how you take advantage of it at the Mortgage Broker Store. Here you can get advice and a quote for free and speak with local lenders directly. Find out if can take advantage of the unique scenario that the pandemic has presented.

It may not be a pleasant time to be buying a home, but the pandemic’s negative effects on the housing market may work in your favour and help you get the home you need at an affordable price.

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Candidate slate set for Halifax election as mayoral race grows to three candidates

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The slate of candidates for the Halifax Regional Municipality’s upcoming election has been finalized and it’s now officially a three-horse race for the municipality’s mayoral seat.

Incumbent mayor Mike Savage will face off against Coun. Matt Whitman, the current representative for the Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets, and political newcomer Max Taylor.

Whitman and Savage have previously announced their plans to run but Taylor’s inclusion in the race was a last minute surprise.

On his campaign’s Facebook page, the 22-year-old says his platform is “simple”

“Get out and vote. I don’t care who you vote for, I care that you vote,” he writes.

One of the more notable aspects of Taylor’s presence in the race is his status on social media platform Tik Tok.

He’s built a following of more than 600,000 people on the platform and his videos have generated more than 20.6 million likes.

What that will do for his candidacy is up in the air, but he’s sure to bring a youthful energy to the process.

 

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