Monday, 5 December 2011

Military Home Closing Centers Nova Scotia

News update our new Military Home Closing Centers in Nova Scotia. Please feel free to surf our new website to help our military and rcmp relocation clients buying or selling in Nova Scotia. Cheers

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Military Home Hunting Checklist

ASK YOUR MILITARY HOME CLOSING CENTER  (MHC )Member to tentatively book a Home Inspector after you set your arrival date. Confirm there is no penalty to cancel or re-schedule the home inspection.
Bring your cheque book along. You may need to pay for a home inspection and put a deposit on your new home. 
Bring a video or still camera to take pictures of the home you wish to see. Remember, we will need the owners' permission! Our (MHC) will also have a Buy Sheet so you can keep track of the homes you wish to see.
Bring slip-on shoes to get in and out of homes quicker.
If you are bringing younger children along, ask your (MHC) member   to arrange for child care to facilitate evening showings and when reviewing and signing important documentation.
Get your (MHC) member to arrange a meeting with a mortgage specialist or provide a list to you before you get here. They will give you the details before you head this way. It is important to get pre-approval so you know what range of homes are available for your family.
Your (MHC) member is partnered with DND-IRP lawyers. Please visit their website for the closest office for your conveience.
Bring medical referral letters to arrange for new medical practitioners when you have some free time. The sooner you get on wait lists, the better!
When we have an accepted offer, but are still waiting to remove our conditions i.e., home inspection, etc., you may wish to take advantage of the time to complete other tasks, such as those noted below, if you are from out of town. Make sure you bring along all required documentation to:
investigate schools
drop off resumes at potential employers
open bank accounts
complete change of address cards
research a babysitter
set-up utilities/phone/cable

Friday, 11 November 2011

Military House Hunting Made Easy

10 Things You Must Know When Finding a Home

Once you've decided to buy a home, there's a number of issues that need to be considered.  Buying a home will be one of the biggest purchases you make in your life. These 10 Things You Must Know When Finding a Home" can make House Hunting trip easier.
In this report, we outline 10 Questions and Answers to help you make informed choices when purchasing a home. Military Home Closing Centers are available throughout Nova Scotia to help guide you through this process. There are some several Military Home Closing Centers Members close to where you wish to buy that can be reached in advance of your House Hunting trip.  For further information or for the closest Military Home Closing Center member near to where you wish to buy your dream home please feel free to email us at or call 1 877 343 9897.

1. What Should I Look For When Deciding On A Community?
It is important to communicate  your wish list to one of our Military Home Closing Center Member real estate firms approved and listed on our website Such things as schools, arenas, location to your employment, museums, restaruants, threatre, art, and entertainment are all critical in the House Hunting selection process. Your Miliatry Home Closing Center Member can help you with this decision. They are trained and experienced professionals, ready, willing and able to serve the military family make a good decision. 

2. How Can I Find Out About Local Schools?
Your trusted Military Home Closing Center member will have at your disposal all the relevant information as to schools and communities they can provide to you on request. There will be no need to go find this information.  

3. How Can I Find Out About Community Resources?
Again, Your Military Home Closing Center member will have a list of all community information already available for you to review .Ask any questions important to you and/or your family.

4. How Can I Find Out How Much Homes Are Selling For In Certain Communities and Neighborhoods?
Your Militay Home Closing Center members are all DND- IRP Approved real estate agents/lawyers  and  can give you a ballpark figures by showing you comparable listings.

5. How Can I Find Information On The Property Tax Liability?
The total amount of the previous year's property taxes is usually included in the listing information. If it's not, ask the seller for a tax receipt or contact the local assessor's office. Tax rates can change from year to year, so these figures maybe approximate.

6. What Other Tax Issues Should I Take Into Consideration?
All Military Home Closing Centers can make available complete tax information on any homes of interest.

7. Is An Older Home A Better Value Than A New One?
There isn't a definitive answer to this question. You should look at each home for its individual characteristics. Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods, offer more ambiance, and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however, shouldn't mind maintaining their home and making some repairs. Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems, are usually easier to maintain, and may be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don't want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs. Military Home Closing Centers also have the ability to offer new home construction advice to the military families looking to build their dream home. 

8. What Should I Look For When Walking Through A Home?
In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, consider the following:
  • Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
  • Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions)
  • Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items?
  • Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year 'round?
Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your Military Home Closing Center real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.

9. What Questions Should I Ask When Looking At Homes?
Many of your questions should focus on potential problems and maintenance issues. Does anything need to be replaced? What things require ongoing maintenance (e.g., paint, roof,  appliances, carpet)? Also ask about the house and neighborhood, focusing on quality of life issues. Be sure the seller's or real estate agent's answers are clear and complete. Ask questions until you understand all of the information they've given. Making a list of questions ahead of time will help you organize your thoughts and arrange all of the information you receive.

10. How Can I Keep Track Of All The Homes I See?
If possible, take photographs of each house: the outside, the major rooms, the yard, and extra features that you like or ones you see as potential problems. And don't hesitate to return for a second look. You may also wish to find out if the home is available online. Photos of the property may already be up on a website for you to review.

Monday, 7 November 2011


Before Disaster Strikes

Fires . . . hurricanes. . . floods . . . earthquakes . . . tornadoes.... Natural or other disasters can strike suddenly, at any time, and anywhere. Your first priority, of course, would be to protect your family and your property.  But it's also important to protect against the financial consequences of a disaster.  A disaster can damage or destroy your property, force you to temporarily live somewhere else, cut the flow of wages and other income, or ruin valuable financial records.
Listed here are some simple, common sense steps you can take now.  Before you take any actions, however, you should be sure you have involved your family or friends whenever possible in decision making and planning.  You also may want the assistance of an advisor, such as a Certified Financial Planner, insurance agent, or similar financial professional.
The important thing is to begin planning now, before the unexpected becomes a harsh reality.
Protect your property
One of the first things to do is find out what disasters could strike where you live----fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, or tornado, for example.  The following steps can help you avoid or reduce substantially the potential physical destruction to your property if you were to be hit with a disaster.  These steps can reduce your insurance costs, too.  For example, you could:
  • Install smoke detectors to warn of an apartment or home fire.
  • Elevate utilities to upper floor or attic.
  • Clear surrounding bush to protect your home against wildfires.
  • Anchor your house to the foundation, and anchor the roof to the main frame.
  • Secure objects that could fall and cause damage in an earthquake, such as a bookcase or hot water heater.
  • Install hurricane shutters on windows, and prepare plywood covers for glass doors.
  • Cover windows, turn off utilities, or move possessions to a safer location if you have adequate warning of something like a hurricane or flood.
  • If your home is in a high risk flood area, on a fault line, or threatened by coastal erosion, consider relocating.
  • Have your house inspected by a building inspector or architect to find out what structural improvements could prevent or reduce major damage from disasters.
  • If you haven't yet bought a house, you might take construction type into account. Frame houses tend to withstand some disasters, while brick homes hold up better in others.
If you're not sure where to start, you could contact your local fire department.  Fire departments will often make house calls to evaluate your property and make suggestions on how to improve safety.  In earthquake-prone areas, the local utility can be called upon to come to your location and show you how and where to shut off gas lines or how to elevate utilities to get them above a possible flood.
Conduct a household inventory
Inventory your household possessions by making a list of everything you own. If disaster strikes, this list could:
  • Help you prove the value of what you owned if those possessions are damaged or destroyed.
  • Make it more likely you'll receive a fast, fair payment from your insurance company for your losses.
  • Provide documentation for tax deductions you claim for your losses.
To conduct a thorough home inventory:
  • Record the location of the originals of all important financial and family documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, wills, deeds, tax returns, insurance policies, and stock and bond certificates.  Keep the originals in a safe place and store copies elsewhere.  You'll need accessible records for tax and insurance purposes.
  • Make a visual or written record of your possessions.  If you don't own a camera or videotaping equipment (and can't borrow or rent it), buy an inventory booklet and fill it out, or make a simple list on notebook paper.  Ask your insurance agent if he or she can provide one.
  • Go from room to room.  Describe each item, when you bought it, and how much it cost.  If you're photographing or videotaping, have someone open closet doors and hold up items.
  • Record model and serial numbers.
  • Include less expensive items, such as bath towels and clothes.  Their costs add up if you have to replace them.
  • Be sure you include items in your attic, basement, and garage.
  • Note the quality of building materials, particularly for such furnishings as oak doors or expensive plumbing fixtures.
  • Photograph the exterior of your home.  Include the landscaping---that big tree in the front yard may not be insurable, but it does increase the value of your property for tax purposes.  Make special note of any improvements, such as a patio, fencing, or outbuildings.
  • Photograph cars, boats, and recreational vehicles.
  • Make copies of receipts and cancelled checks for more valuable items.
  • Get professional appraisals of jewelry, collectibles, artwork, or other items that are difficult to value.  Update the appraisals every two to three years.
  • Update your inventory list annually.
Sound like too much work? Computer software programs designed for such purposes can make the task much easier.  These programs are readily available in local computer stores.
Most important, once you have completed your inventory, leave a copy with relatives or friends, or in a safe deposit box.  Don't leave your only copy at home, where it might be destroyed.
Buy insurance
Even with adequate time to prepare for a disaster, you still may suffer significant, unavoidable damage to your property. That's when insurance for renters or homeowners can be a big help.  Yet, many people affected by recent disasters have been underinsured-or worse-not insured at all.  Homeowners insurance doesn't cover floods and some other major disasters.  Make sure you buy the insurance you need to protect against the perils you face.
If you own a home:
  • Buy, at a minimum, full replacement or replacement cost coverage.  This means the structure can be replaced up to the limits specified in the policy.
  • Investigate buying a guaranteed replacement cost policy.  When and where available, these policies can pay to rebuild your house, including improvements, at today's prices, regardless of the limits of the policy.
  • Have your home periodically reappraised to be sure the policy reflects the real replacement cost.
  • Update the policy to include any home improvements, such as basement refinishing.  Annual automatic increases may not be enough to cover these.
  • Buy a policy that covers the replacement cost of your possessions.  Standard coverage only pays for the actual cash value (replacement cost discounted for age or use).
  • Be very clear about what the policy will and will not cover, and how the deductibles work (the part you pay before the policy pays).
  • Check government operated insurance pools if you find it difficult to obtain private coverage because of a recent disaster.  Premiums often run higher than market rates, but this is better than no coverage.
  • Use your home inventory list to check that your policy's coverage matches the value of your possessions.
If you rent:
  • If you are renting, consider locating outside a high risk flood area or away from a fault line.
  • Buy renter's insurance, which pays for damaged, destroyed, or stolen personal property.  Your landlord's insurance won't cover damage to or loss of your possessions.  Also, consider special coverage like flood insurance for your belongings.
  • Be clear about what a policy will cover.  Some policies cover more than others.  For example, will the policy pay for living expenses if you have to live somewhere else temporarily, or for damage from sewer backup?
  • Comparison shop for the best coverage at the best price.  Other than government flood insurance, policies vary from company to company.  Policies in most areas are very affordable.  Start with the company that insures your car.  Discounts are often available if you carry more than one policy with a company.
If you are moving:
  • Select a home in an area not on a fault line, in a flood area, or at risk from coastal erosion.
Consider special coverage
Insurance for renters and homeowners won't cover certain types of losses.  Ask your insurance agent or financial planner about special or additional coverage for the following:
  • Floods- Homeowner policies don't cover damage from flooding.  Call your current insurance company or agent first about getting coverage.
  • Earthquakes- Premiums typically are high, and deductibles may range from 5% to 20% of the policy's coverage.  Still, such coverage may be better than no coverage. (Earthquake coverage for the contents of a home usually is separate.)
  • Home offices- Some policies automatically extend coverage to computer equipment and a few other items of business property. Talk to your agent to determine what items would or would not be covered.  If necessary, you could buy additional business coverage at a modest cost.  Or it may be better to buy a separate small business policy, which would also provide more coverage.
  • Building codes- Ask your agent about additional insurance to cover the costs of meeting new, stricter building codes.  Frequently, after a disaster people get shocked with rebuilding costs that are much higher because building codes have changed.  All current codes must be met when rebuilding.  Consider additional structural improvements that provide more protection.
  • Other potential problems- This would include problems such as underground mines (located beneath your property) sewer backup, or mudslides.
  • Big-ticket items- Purchase additional coverage for specific jewelry, collectibles, artwork, furs, or other big-ticket items.
Where to keep cash
After a disaster, you may need cash for the first few days, or even several weeks.  Income may stop if you can't work.  To help stay solvent, consider the following:
  • Keep a small amount of cash or traveler's checks at home in a place where you can get at it quickly in case of a sudden evacuation.  A disaster can shut down local ATMs and banks.  The money should be in small denominations for easier use.
  • Set aside money in an emergency fund.  That can be tough to do on a tight budget, but it can be well worth the effort.  The fund can be very helpful, not only in a disaster, but in other financial crises, such as during unemployment or when unexpected expenses like legal fees arise.
  • Keep your emergency funds in a safe, easily accessible account, such as a passbook savings account or a money market account.
  • Keep some funds outside the local area, since the disaster that affects you could also affect your local financial institutions.  A mutual fund money market account in another city is one option to consider.
  • Keep your credit cards paid off. You may have to draw on them to tide you over.
Use an evacuation box
Buy a lockable, durable "evacuation box" to grab in the event of an emergency.  Even a cardboard box would do.  Put important papers into the box in sealed, waterproof plastic bags.  Store the box in your home where you can get to it easily.  Keep this box with you at all times, don't leave it in your unattended car.
The box should be large enough to carry:
  • A small amount of traveler's checks or cash and a few rolls of quarters.
  • Negatives for irreplaceable personal photographs, protected in plastic sleeves.
  • A list of emergency contacts that includes doctors, financial advisors, clergy, reputable repair contractors, and family members who live outside your area.
  • Copies of important prescriptions for medicines and eyeglasses, and copies of children's immunization records.
  • Health, dental, or prescription insurance cards or information.
  • Copies of your auto, flood, renter's, or homeowners insurance policies (or at least policy numbers) and a list of insurance company telephone numbers.
  • Copies of other important financial and family records (or at least a list of their locations).  These would include deeds, titles, wills, a letter of instructions, birth and marriage certificates, passports, relevant employee benefits documents, the first two pages of the previous year's income tax returns, etc.  Originals, other than wills, should be kept in a safe deposit box or at another location.
  • Backups of computerized financial records.
  • A list of bank account, loan, credit card, driver's license, investment account (brokerage and mutual funds), and Social Security numbers.
  • Safe deposit box key.
Rent a safe deposit box
Safe deposit boxes are invaluable for protecting originals of important papers. If you don't have a safe deposit box, keep copies in your evacuation box or with family or friends.  Original documents to store in a safe deposit box include:
  • Deeds, titles, and other ownership records for your home, autos, RVs, boats, etc.
  • Birth certificates and naturalization papers.
  • Marriage license/divorce papers and child custody papers.
  • Passports and military/veteran papers.
  • Appraisals of expensive jewelry and heirlooms.
  • Certificates for stocks, bonds, and other investments.
  • Trust agreements.
  • Living wills, powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney.
  • Insurance policies (copies are sufficient).
  • Home improvement records.
  • Household inventory documentation.
Generally, originals of wills should not be kept in a safe deposit box since the box may be sealed temporarily after death.  Keep originals of wills with your local registrar of wills or your attorney.
Deciding on a safe and convenient location is an issue.  You may want to consider renting a safe deposit box in a bank far enough away from your home so it is not likely to be affected by the same disaster that strikes your home (for instance, bank vaults have been flooded). Keep the key to the safe deposit box in your evacuation box.
Home safes and fire boxes
Safes and fire boxes can be convenient places to store important papers.  However, some disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes, could destroy your home.  Usually, it's better to store original papers in a safe deposit box or at another location well away from your home.
If you have time...
Some disasters, such as tornadoes or earthquakes, strike with little or no warning.  Others, such as floods or hurricanes, may allow some time to prepare.  If there is enough time, you could take the following actions:
  • Decide what household items you would put on a very short priority list.  For example, imagine you could take only one suitcase or pack a single carload.  What would you take?  Involve the whole family in this discussion.  Take jewelry and other small valuables.
  • Take irreplaceable heirlooms, mementos, and photos.
  • Don't bother with replaceable items such as televisions, furniture, computers, and clothing (except what you need to wear for a few days).
  • Be sure, however, to take a battery-powered radio and spare batteries so you can stay informed.
  • Take important papers and computer disks if you have a home business.
Whew! These are a lot of ideas.  You may not be able to do everything that is suggested---that's OK.  Do what you can.  Taking even limited action now will go a long way toward preparing you financially before a disaster strikes.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Halifax & Region Family Resource Concert

Join the 36 Canadian Brigade Group Band at the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre (Halifax site) for a wartime memories concert Thursday, November 10. Come and listen to the likes of Glen Miller and Bob Hope, enjoy music from the "Bandrew Sisters" and 1NSH Pipes and Drums. The evening will be filled with music, entertainment and refreshments. The concert begins at 7:30pm at the Piers Military Community Centre in Windsor Park and admission is a goodwill offering with all proceeds going to the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre, a registered charity. For more information call 427-7208.Military Reocation Home Closing Centers

Monday, 31 October 2011

Military Home Closing Centers/ Divsion of Atlantica Law Group

Contact Us

Bedford 1.902.835.6647
Windsor 1.902.798.5734
Kentville 1.902.679.0110
Greenwood 1.902.765.3382
Bridgewater 1.877.343.9894

VIP Client Advantage Plus

Click here for more info on the program
IRP Approved Lawyers as administered by
Brookfield Relocation Program

Atlantica Law Group (ALG) is a registered regional law firm with coverage throughout Atlantic Canada. ALG Law Group is a full service law firm with focus on real estate transactions, corporate law, and debt recovery.
Clients of Atlantica Law Group enjoy benefits, advantages, and discounts by simply registering with the firm under its VIP Client Advantage Plus programs. All VIP Clients have the exclusive privilege of direct contact with any lawyer in the firm via phone, email, or in person if requested.
Whatever your legal needs may be, please feel free to give us a call for a free consultation.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Providing service to our clients throughout Atlantic Canada with coverage in
Halifax, Bedford, Sackville, Dartmouth, Windsor, Kentville, Greenwood, and Bridgwater.
Call toll free 1-877-343-9894 for more information.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Buying Real Estate

Why do I need a real estate lawyer? For the majority of home buyers, the purchase of a home will be the single largest purchase and investment in their lifetime. The legal process can be overwhelming for some, and simply put, you want to ensure that the transaction is smooth and comfortable. The importance of working with experienced real estate lawyers cannot be overstated.
Experience On Your Side
At Atantica LawGroup ,  our lawyers are seasoned and professional real estate practitioners. Many have practiced real estate law in Canada for over twenty years. At ALG, our lawyers practice designated law. That means that their preferred areas of practice include real estate and related transactions. Our experience includes legal negotiation, arbitration, conflict resolution, and if necessary, real estate litigation.

We are Approved DND ( Byron Balcom and Bernie Conway) lawyers and have represented several hundred members of the military relocate to Nova Scotia.  see We offer our clients and military families many discounts, advantages and benefits through our website. Plus visit our Military Gift Program.

Unique Experience
Our mission is to provide outstanding service at competitive rates while ensuring our clients are fully protected and have a happy and successful experience using our law firm. If you need a real estate lawyer in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, or even across Canada, email us

Military Relocation Centers

Welcome to ALG's Military Relocation Site
We've helped many service personnel in their relocation needs over the years, and now stand ready to help you.
Atlantica Law Group is registered with the Federal Government's Integrated Relocation Program as administered by the Brookfield Global Relocation Services for Province of Nova Scotia.

Visit the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program
Rewards For a Job Well Done
Our firm with five (5) law offices throughout Province of Nova Scotia is a dedicated and experienced Relocation real estate law firm.
Reolcation clients of Atlantica Law Group enjoy benefits, advantages, and discounts by simply registering with the firm under it's Vip Client Advantage Plus programs. Each Relocation client will receive a Vip Client Advantage card they can use to receive their benefit, advantage, and or discount.
The Canadian Military in Nova Scotia both through the Halifax, Shearwater, and Greenwood bases have proven their value and worth both nationally and internationally. ALG Law Group wishes to salute our Military both home and abroad and say thank you so much for all you do for us in Canada.
Visit ALG's Canadian Military Gift Program.
For further information feel free to email us at