call or text anytime:  403-604-0038                    grantsmith@remax.net

As the majority of businesses and schools have taken steps to ensure the safety of our friends and family members in this trying time to minimize the spread of COVID-19, people have been spending more time than ever at home. This experience has many homebuyers reconsidering the features they want in their next home.


We’ve definitely noticed that our homebuyers have made changes to their dream-home wish list since the quarantine.  Having to work at home, study at home and play at home has been a challenge, but it’s also helped us find different, and innovative ways of doing things.


Here are four home features that have become increasingly more important to home buyers.



MORE SPACE FOR A HOME OFFICE

As we have all adapted to these uncertain circumstances and changed our living spaces to suit the challenges we collectively face, space for a home office has become more desirable than ever.  


A designated room, preferably on the main floor, has been added as a necessity for many home buyers.  Buyers are looking for a more spacious area where they can set up for work or study without distraction from the rest of the home.


A HOME WITH A SUITE 

For many, staying home has meant staying apart, inspiring some to consider homes that could bring the family under one roof. That may mean a suite in the basement with a full kitchen, bedroom, bath and sitting area. It could also mean a home with 2 masters with ensuites to provide space for an extra family member to move in.


Either way, many home buyers are considering how they can make space in their home for extended family to live together under one roof.


UPGRADED ENTERTAINMENT AREAS

With the shutdown of parks, theatres, restaurants and gyms, people have found new ways to entertain themselves at home.  Old hobbies have been resurrected, DIYers have been busier than ever and people have found ways to work out at home.  


This has resulted in current home buyers putting more emphasis on a backyard they can work on and enjoy, a designated area in the house for yoga/fitness and a bigger space where they can set up a home theatre.


A MOVE AWAY FROM THE CITY

Homebuyers are putting more value in wide open spaces.  Inner city communities where there’s a greater density of people, more condos and apartments, and less space have become less desirable. With a trend towards people working from home, there's less concern about commute time. People value space around them and are willing to pay a little more to find that space.


What about you? Have you changed what you want in your next home? Please let us know in the comments, and share this post if it was interesting to you!



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As Canada starts to experience a flattening of the COVID-19 curve, we’ve already seen businesses start to reopen their doors and life resume to some semblance of normalcy. Retail outlets offering curb-side pick-up, hardware stores, garden centres and provincial parks are among the newest places given the green light to open alongside those that have already been classified as essential businesses, such as real estate services, which have continued to operate under strict guidelines throughout the pandemic. Here are some insights on what Canadian real estate might look like in the coming weeks and months.

Canadian real estate after COVID-19

There’s a cautious optimism in the air, with social distancing rules still in effect and Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warning that a vaccine is still in the early stages of development. According to this weekly survey by Leger, 57 per cent of Canadians are stressed about leaving home and being in public. With social distancing measures likely to continue for some time, what will Canadian real estate look like once lockdowns are lifted?

Canadian real estate trends to watch

Virtual Real Estate

Virtual real estate tools were already commonly used to enable overseas transactions. During this pandemic, even local buyers have become “long-distance buyers” due to social distancing measures, and this trend has officially gone mainstream. While it’s here out of necessity, it is the convenience of it that will make virtual deals part of the “new normal” in real estate.  

RE/MAX brokers and agents report that consumers have been receptive to technology that makes buying and selling a home possible during the pandemic. In fact, whether they realize it or not, most homebuyers are already leveraging technology, with online listings as their first and most-basic foray into prop tech. From there, high-quality photographs and videos, virtual real estate tours with real-time messaging, and e-documents taking virtual deals to a whole new level. In-person viewings are reserved only for the front-runners, and with strict guidelines in effect. Out of convenience and in the interest of saving time, we expect this trend to continue.


Personal Protective Equipment

Real estate has traditionally been a face-to-face industry, as much about making connections and building relationships as market insights and negotiating skills. Handshakes may have gone by the wayside for the time being, but when in-person meetings are required, the widespread use of personal protective equipment by realtors and their clients is expected to continue.

The World Health Organization recommends the use of masks to slow the transmission of the virus, particularly by those who may not know that they are infected. In order to enhance the safety of our agents as they continue to serve their clients through COVID-19, RE/MAX offices in Ontario and Atlantic Canada are being provided with reusable, RE/MAX-branded face masks for each agent. Additional RE/MASKS are available for order by agents who’d like to distribute them to their clients as well.

Since real estate offices were deemed an essential service, RE/MAX offices have already employed many precautionary measures that are likely to continue, including:

  • Limiting contact with the general public and using alternate means of communication such as text, phone, email and video conference
  • Postponing all open houses until a future date that is deemed safe
  • Any agents that feel unwell are instructed to self-isolate and not interact with the public
  • Information around hand washing and sanitizing has been circulated with our agents and we are strongly encouraging them to follow all guidelines as outlined by public health officials to help keep themselves and their clients protected
  • Reduced hours at RE/MAX offices, and using alternative technologies to connect with clients, and host virtual home tours, digital presentations and offer presentations

Canadian Real Estate Price Trends

Many Canadian real estate markets kicked off 2020 in a seller’s market, primed for a busy spring season characterized by high demand and low housing inventory. Canadian real estate prices were on rise. Even as late as mid-March, Canada’s biggest housing markets were still seeing a flurry of activity. 

Then, social distancing measures kicked in and activity dropped off, as many homebuyers and sellers put pause to their plans. Economic uncertainty and a dramatic change in how a transaction could even be completed during this unprecedented time put a big question mark on the Canadian real estate market.

The industry as a whole has been very resilient, with Realtors adopting new technologies and creative ways to transact safely. The big question now is, what will happen to Canadian real estate prices in the coming weeks and months? Real estate market conditions are local, and will be impacted differently depending on a number of unknowns, including:

  • How long will job losses and the ripple effects continue?
  • How long will it take for consumers to start spending again?
  • When will there be a vaccine for COVID-19?

Unemployment:
Statistics Canada reported the latest unemployment numbers, which soared to 13 per cent in April. While some of these layoffs are temporary, many businesses face permanent closures that will impact consumer activity and the housing market.

Financial Aid:
The federal and provincial governments have implemented a number of measures to help Canadians who have taken a financial hit. Mortgage deferrals are also being offered to existing homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments. For those who are still looking to enter the market, the Bank of Canada has dropped its interest rate to a record-low 0.25 per cent, making this a good time for those who have job security and cash on hand for a down payment.

The actual impacts of COVID-19 on Canadian real estate remains to be seen. Until some of these questions are answered, many will continue to take a wait-and-see approach in they don’t have to buy or sell a home at this time.

A Return to the “New Normal”

Those who have been waiting for concrete dates will be disappointed, as there are still a lot of unknowns factoring into the Canadian real estate market. However, here’s a loose time frame of what a return to “the new normal” might look in the coming months:

The next 30 days will be a planning phase. Realtors and consumers alike are becoming more comfortable buying and selling homes, with some regions already reporting an upswing in activity week-over-week.

The first quarter of 2020 showed great promise, and it’s encouraging to see activity continue as we move into the second quarter.

The next 60 days will see the fine-tuning the new process of buying and selling. As transactions begin to pick up again, real estate offices continue to comply with social distancing measures. RE/MAX agents have been leveraging technology when possible, and using personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and other measures to remain compliant with government-mandated safety measures. The industry will continue to see this process refined.

The next 90 days could see business resume to 70 per cent activity, but in a different way. Real estate offices will have worked through the logistics of the new procedures and tools that evolved during the previous 60 days. Come September, we hope that businesses will have regained some sense of normalcy seen before the virus, but the transaction process will have changed with continued integration of virtual deals.


Source: Re/Max Canada

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The mortgage deferral is among a number of recently announced relief measures geared to assist Canadians who are feeling the financial impact of COVID-19. With many industries and businesses suffering a serious slow-down, if not a complete dead stop, Canada’s big banks released an announcement two weeks ago offering mortgage payment deferrals of up to six months, to help carry homeowners through this difficult time. The program has certainly appealed to many Canadians.

What are the banks are saying?

“Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case‑by‑case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID‑19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID‑19,” the Canadian Bankers’ Association said in a release two weeks ago.


Since that time, the CBA has reported almost 500,000 mortgage payment deferrals or “skip-a-payment” passes have already been approved or are in the process of approval. Furthermore, the six big banks have seen deferrals on more than 10 per cent of the mortgages in their portfolio.


Despite the popularity of the program, there are still many questions swirling around about what it is, if there are any loop holes, and how it may affect your credit rating. RE/MAX Canada has connected with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to share some insight on.

What is a mortgage deferral?

A mortgage deferral is intended to help people experiencing financial hardship, such as unemployment or the current COVID-19 crisis. Since the mortgage agreement is between you and your lender, so too are the terms of the mortgage deferral. CMHC says that typically, the agreement states that you and your mortgage lender have agreed to pause your payments for a specified amount of time. Once the mortgage deferral period ends, your payments return to normal and the missed payments — including principal and accumulated interest – repaid.

What happens to your missed mortgage payments?

CMHC says points out that a mortgage deferral does not “erase” or reduce your mortgage amount. At the end of the mortgage deferral period, you will have to resume payment according to your regular payment schedule. “The interest that hasn’t been paid during the deferral period continues to be added to the outstanding principal of your mortgage. This can affect the total amount you owe in accordance with the original payment schedule,” CMHC says.

Am I eligible?

Connect with your bank or mortgage professional to discuss the options available to you. CMHC says the COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Deferral program will be ongoing, and homeowners can apply at any time during the crisis.

How are the deferred funds repaid?

The details of your repayment depend on the lender and your specific situation. CMHC says the interest on your mortgage that hasn’t been paid during the deferral period will continue to accrue. When your payments resume, the amount could be based on the total amount owing at that time, in accordance with the original payment schedule.

If you think you won’t be able to make your regular mortgage payment, contact your lender immediately before you miss a payment.


Source: CMHC, COVID-19: Understanding Mortgage Payment Deferralremax.ca

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Buying or selling a house is a big undertaking under normal circumstances, let alone in the midst of a pandemic. With economic impacts and the uncertainty that accompanies day-to-day life, Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal governments and companies have implemented a number of COVID-19 relief measures to help soften the financial blow.


We’ve compiled a list of some pre-existing and newly announced programs and incentives intended to assist current homeowners, buyers and sellers, along with some links to further inform anyone seeking some COVID-19 relief.


The situation is changing hourly, so REMAX.ca will continue to update this list as things develop.

COVID-19 Relief Measures

Federal Government Pledges Up To $52 Billion in Direct Support to Canadian Workers and Businesses

On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses during this challenging time. On March 25, an emergency federal bill received royal assent to increase that amount to $52 billion, including support for workers unable to do their job due to Coronavirus. For more information, click here.

Mortgage Payment Deferral Programs

Many homeowners who’s employment and income have been interrupted due to COVID-19 are struggling to make their mortgage payments. In response to this, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other mortgage insurers offer tools that can assist homeowners experiencing financial hardship at this time.


In addition to this, a number of Canadian’s large banks will be allowing mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months as part of their measures to help customers who may be struggling with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Tweet from the president of the Canadian Bankers Association, RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC and National Bank are the banks that are offering these deferrals. We encourage you to talk to your bank if you are under any sort of financial strain.


Bank of Canada Lowering Rates

The Bank of Canada’s benchmark interest rate has been on a downward trend recently. In its latest scheduled interest rate announcement on March 4, the Bank cut its rate from 1.75 to 1.25 per cent. The Bank followed up with an unscheduled announcement on March 16, announcing a further reduction in its key interest rate by a further 50 basis points to 0.75 per cent. On March 27, the Bank again cut its rate by another 50 basis points, to 0.25 per cent, with a goal of bolstering economic activity and keeping inflation low and stable. For more information on what the Bank of Canada is doing, click here.


First Time Home Buyer Incentives

The First Time Home Buyer Incentive was implemented in September 2019 to help qualified first-time homebuyers reduce their monthly mortgage payments without adding to their financial burdens. The incentive is a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada and offers a number of different options for first-time homebuyers. You can read more about the First Time Home Buyer Incentive here.


Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP)

The Government of Canada implemented measures intended to bolster the financial system through the launch of its Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). The government is prepared to purchase up to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools through CMHC, increased from the original $50 billion announced on March 16 as part of the Emergency Response Act. This will allow stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders that will help ensure lending to continue to Canadian consumers and businesses. For more information on the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, click here.


Property Tax Deferrals

Some Canadian cities are allowing property tax deferrals, such as TorontoOttawaGrand Prairie and more, while other cities are considering similar action. These decisions are being made at the municipal level and things are changing daily. We recommend visiting your municipality online to determine if your upcoming payment can be put on hold without repercussion.


Internet Usage Rules Relaxed by Major Telecommunication Companies

Some major telecommunication companies, such as Telus and Shaw, are changing their phone and internet plans and adapting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Shaw website notes that they do not have data caps on their internet plans, allowing you to keep kids entertained and work from home without having to worry about data caps on your internet.

CRA Sets New Deadline to File your 2019 Income Taxes

The CRA has announced that there are new tax filing and payment due dates. The new due date for filing individual tax returns has been extended to June 1st, 2020. Taxpayers will have until September 1st, 2020 to pay any 2019 income tax amounts owed. For more information regarding the new dates for filing taxes, click here.


Source: Re/Max Canada.

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For many homeowners, the one of the biggest questions is "How can I pay off my mortgage as fast as possible?"


It's natural to look forward to the day when you have made your very last mortgage payment and own your home outright.

Owning your home provides you with greater financial freedom, flexibility and the ability to focus on other financial goals like retirement or saving for your child's education.


It doesn't even have to be that hard - you'll be amazed how small changes in your mortgage terms and payments can make a big difference.


Here are 5 tips to help you become mortgage-free faster.


Make your regular payments more frequent: 

Save interest and become mortgage-free sooner by choosing bi-weekly or weekly payments rather than monthly payments. The result is an extra monthly payment every year, without you even noticing it!


Increase your payment amount when you can: Whenever your household income rises (e.g. salary increase, new job, etc.), consider increasing your mortgage payment at the same time. If you've had a mortgage for a while, you're likely used to the routine of making regular payments. Now might be a good time to consider an increase to your mortgage payment.


Match-a-Payment: 

To help you pay off your mortgage sooner, you may be able to double your current mortgage payment of principal and interest on any regular payment date. Please call us to learn more about this option.


Make a lump sum payment: 

Take advantage of the prepayment options on your mortgage to make an annual lump sum payment against your mortgage. Depending on the options you select for your mortgage, you can choose to repay up to 10%, 15% or 20% of the original principal amount of your mortgage at any time during each year of the term. Remember, even small amounts can make a big difference in the long run.


Restructure your mortgage: Consider mortgage options that can provide savings and flexibility. 


Thanks to ScotiaBank for these 5 great tips.

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The average person will spend a total of 3,680 hours, or 153 days of their life, searching for misplaced items.  Typically, the only time many of us think about decluttering our homes or spaces is when we’re getting ready to move.  


Whether you’re moving or just want to save time and space, this easy, five-bin approach is a great way to start simplifying your living environment.


The 5-bin approach

Decluttering the home can be overwhelming. However, applying the five-bin approach to reorganizing and discarding items may help you feel less anxious and more in control of the process.


Bin 1: Items that need to be put away.  

Place items that belong somewhere else in the home in this bin.  Eventually, you’ll put them away. The intention is to put them somewhere while you’re clearing the room.


Bin 2:  Items to be fixed.

Place items that you plan to fix or that need to be washed or cleaned in this bin, such as toys, dirty clothes or scuffed shoes.


Bin 3:  Items to donate.

Items in this bin are in good condition, but you no longer need or use them.  They can be given to friends or family, sold online or donated to a local charity.


Bin 4:  Items to be recycled.

This is where you’ll place items made of paper, plastic or glass that you don’t want to keep.  Add all the empty drink bottles, food containers, and magazines or newspapers.


Bin 5:  Items to discard.

Place expendable items in this bin that you can’t recycle or donate.


What about sentimental items?

Many of us have items we can’t bear to part with because there’s a memory or other sentimental feeling attached.  

Here are a few tips for handling sentimental items that may start to create clutter.


Decide if it’s worth keeping.

If you use or enjoy the item, hang on to it.  However, you may not need to retain every piece of artwork your children created.  It can be helpful to ask a relative or friend when deciding which to keep.


Choose a few items that remind you of a loved one.

If you’ve inherited many heirlooms, see if other members of your family would like some, too.  Donate the rest.


Keep in mind, you can get rid of an item without getting rid of the memory.

Take a photo of the item to place in a journal or scrapbook and write why it means so much to you.


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If you’ve set a goal to pay down your debt this year, or are planning to buy a new home in Calgary, you are not alone.

According to a recent study, more than half of Canadians have set a goal to pay off debt in 2018.

Strategically reducing or paying off debt, benefits your finances tremendously, but can positively impact other areas of your life as well.


1. Reduce stress.

Finances are a top source of stress for many Canadians. When you make the commitment to pay off your debt, you’re also making a commitment to your overall health and well-being by minimizing a large cause of your stress.


2. Improve your credit score.

Although credit cards and lines of credit may help establish your score, maintaining low balances positively impacts it over all.

Additionally, if you plan to finance a large purchase, such as a car or a home, keep in your outstanding balance is low may classify you as a lower credit risk and qualify you for a reduced interest rates.


3. Easily pay an unexpected bill.

If your debts are low you’ll be able to save more in an emergency fund to handle financial surprises, such as an unexpected home repair bill.


4. Increase your expendable income.

Many Canadians live paycheck-to-paycheck. Their hard earned money is already earmarked to pay off debts and bills before it’s even deposited in the bank account. However, the less debt you are in, the more expendable income you will have available to enjoy now or save for later.


5. Boost your retirement income.

If you want to maintain your lifestyle long after retirement, the time to save is now.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest impediments to building a retirement nest egg is existing debt.

The good news is, when you pay down or pay off your debt, you can choose to contribute additional funds to existing retirement accounts for enjoyment in your golden years.


6. Model good financial habits for others.

If you want others to cultivate good financial habits, be the example they can follow.

People, especially children, mimic the behaviors they see.

Explain how to cultivate good financial habits and why it is important to do so.

Additionally, provide reasons why it is best to avoid any necessary debt.


7. Become more generous.

The less debt we have, the more generous we may feel with our money.

Whether it’s tithing more, donating to local school or sports programs or giving money to a cause dear to us, we may feel like we can give more.



Looking for ways to earn more money?

Whether you want to pay down debt, build emergency savings or invest, consider these options.


1. Get a side hustle.

Do you have a hobby or skill that could net more money on the side?

Whether it’s photography, web design or crafting, consider sharing your skills to earn extra cash.


2. Rent out a room.

If you have extra room in your home or an in-law apartment, consider renting it through Airbnb. Be sure to check the regulations in your area to in sure you’re in compliance with municipal codes or homeowners association rules.


3. Clear the clutter.

Sort through your stuff and set aside items that you don’t use, are in good condition and others would enjoy. Consider selling them online at a consignment shop or in a garage sale.


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Many Calgary homeowners weigh their options before beginning a home project, often considering it’s size and scope, their budget and their own technical abilities.

However, there’s one other thing to consider, your time.


Hiring a professional will allow you to spend time doing other things on your to do list.

  1. Do you have the skills and tools to do the work well? If you don’t have the tools or the technical and mechanical aptitude, it’s best to leave your project to the pros.

  2. Do you have the time to work on it? If you work full-time, you may only have time to do the work at night and on weekends. Working on the project sporadically will increase the amount of time the entire project will take. While time may not be an issue for smaller projects, the longer it takes to finish large projects, the more of an inconvenience they may become.

  3. How extensive is the project? Major projects, particularly those that alter the footprint of the room or until working with electricity or plumbing, should be handled by a professional.

  4. What is the risk involved? Extensive projects often carry bigger risks. For example, if your bathroom renovation involves major plumbing tasks, you may increase the risk of severe water damage if the pieces aren’t properly tightened and installed. Similarly, if your project requires installing electrical wiring, you may increase the risk of fire if it’s not installed correctly. An experienced professional is able to mitigate the risk and ensure everything conforms with the current building codes. 

  5. Does the project require a permit? Depending on where you live, if a project requires a permit, you may have to hire a professional to complete the work. Contact your local building inspector to learn more about the regulations and permits that may apply to your project.


If you’d like to hire a pro for your next renovation project, big or small, give me a call and I’ll connect you with a reputable professionals in my network.

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Moving up to your “forever home” is exciting. When you bought your first place, chances are you were young, strapped for cash and prepared – if not warned – to make some concessions. The move-up buyer typically has some savings and home equity to work with, making this next move feel less like a compromise and more a thoughtful selection.

But move-up buyers face their own set of challenges that call for a carefully considered strategy. Here are three options for the smart move-up buyer with a plan!


Strategy #1 SELL FIRST

The “Sell First” strategy is ideal for the move-up buyer who can’t afford to pay two mortgages simultaneously. Selling your property first eliminates the risk of having to carry two mortgages if you don’t sell your existing home in time. It also reduces the chances of having to reduce your asking price in the interest of speeding up the sale. This is a good option for move-up buyers who are banking on the proceeds of their sale to fund their new (and likely more expensive) property. By selling first, you’ll know exactly how much money you have to purchase your next home.


Strategy #2  BUY FIRST

If homes in your area of choice are selling faster than the ‘For Sale’ signs can hit the front lawn, the “buy first” strategy might be the way to go. By buying your new home before selling your old one, you won’t feel rushed into settling for a sub-par property, or having to seek alternative temporary housing options while you shop the market. This move-up buyer still lives in his or her existing home, allowing them time to shop around, and continue looking until they find that perfect place. This move-up buyer typically requires a bridge mortgage.


Strategy #3  TIME + ALIGN

When all is said and done, this move-up buyer approach is the most ideal, but getting there is another story. Aligning your purchase and sale closing dates can be tricky. Remember that there are three dancers in this tango – you, the person you’re buying from, and the person you’re selling to. You’ll also have to move out and move in on the same day. In this scenario, time is your best friend and flexibility your saviour. This means you’ve planned ahead – you’re researched neighbourhoods, gotten pre-approved for a mortgage, and you’ve started the organizing and de-cluttering process before the big move.

The right move-up buyer strategy depends on a number of factors, such as your financial situation, current housing market conditions, your personal comfort level and your personality. Consider all these when making your decision. Plan ahead and work with a pro to ensure a smooth transaction on both sides of the bargaining table.


You can find more great articles like this at Re/Max.ca

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You’ve finally got all of your belongings into your new home, but don’t lose steam now!

You’re in the final stretch of your new home checklist and there’s just a couple more essentials to get through. It’s a good idea to set a daily (or weekly) goal for yourself when it comes to these final steps. Be realistic, stick to your schedule, and you’ll be settled in before you know it.

1. Recruit family and friends to unpack
The more hands on deck the better. Those first few days of unpacking can be made a whole lot easier if you recruit (or rather, entice with food and drink) a couple of close friends for the first big haul.

To make the process run smoother, set deadlines and figure out the most logical order of unpacking. Before you know it, your new home will actually start looking like, well, a home.

2. Change your locks
Who knows what the previous owners did with their keys?

Whether you hire a locksmith or reinstall the locks on your own, it’s a simple task and it will give you peace of mind. You’re always better off safe than sorry.

3. Locate shut-off valves
In the event that there is an emergency leak or you’re doing repairs and you need to shut off your water, it’s necessary to locate your shut-off valves. Many houses and apartment buildings have a number of cut-off points to stop the water at its source.

From your own shut-off valve, to your water company’s shut off valve, to the water meter, there many locations to get familiar with both inside and potentially outside your home.


4. Locate the circuit-breaker
Although uncommon, every once in a while you may need to replace a fuse or reset a circuit breaker. If there’s a power outage, you don’t want to be searching through the dark to find it.

Common locations for circuit breakers are outdoors, in basements, in storage closets, or in hallways. Also be sure you know the difference between a circuit-breaker and a fuse box, in the event you need to restore power.

5. Decide on a lock-out solution
You will get locked out of your house every once in a blue moon, it happens! What’s important is that you have a backup plan for when the time comes.

Some common ideas are to hide a key under your doormat or to install a garage code (that is if you have a garage), but you can be as creative as you’d like. Maybe you have a buddy down the street who holds on to an extra set, or you’ve slid it under a planter. Whatever the case, be prepared!

6. Test your smoke detectors
Installing a smoke detector is an easy and inexpensive way to protect you and your loved ones in the event of a fire. However, smoke detectors can fail you when you need them most if you don’t address their malfunctions.

This is why testing your new home’s smoke detectors is so important. Light a match or spray a smoke test aerosol in front of its sensor every month to ensure it’s working.

7. Check out your HVAC system
Your HVAC system, (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) is a necessity, and an expensive one at that. For the sake of heat, cooling, and big bucks, it’s important that yourself, a property manager, or a technician checks out your HVAC system in the weeks following your move.

Inspect your heating and cooling units, insulation, and ducts, for warning signs that something’s off. If it looks like repairs or replacements are needed, get on top of them as soon as you can. Although it’s a pain, it’s a worthwhile investment!


8. Create a home maintenance checklist
It’s a good idea to perform seasonal maintenance checks to ensure your new home is in good shape. Some of these maintenance checks you may not have had to do at your previous home.

Things like cleaning the gutters, landscaping, unclogging bathroom drains, or checking up on snow plow services may be relevant to you now, so you should gather the contact info from local services for when the time comes.

9. Find a spot for a safe
Remember those important documents we mentioned before? They’ll need a new home too. If you don’t already have a trusty safe or filing cabinet, it’s a good idea to invest in one. Even more so, it’s important to find a spot for them.

Some common areas for safes are in closets, attics, basements, but there’s room for creativity here also. Hardcover books, freezers, brick walls – whatever sneaky spot will keep your private information on lock.

Even if you live in an apartment and don’t have room for a massive safe, it doesn’t mean your valuables should be left unsecured. Use your imagination and protect your possessions.

10. Start a take-out menu file or drawer
We guarantee that you will be ordering a lot of take-out within the first few weeks of your move-in. Any free time you have will solely consist of unpacking and redecorating, not cooking.

Treat yourself and get a taste of local eats take-out style. Save menus and bookmark your favorites in a take-out file for you to reference later on.

Or just throw all the menus in a drawer. That works too.

11. Throw a housewarming party
Last but not least on our new home checklist, the infamous housewarming party! Once you’re done unpacking, save any energy you have left for this shindig.

Setting a date for a housewarming party also sets a great unpacking deadline for you to follow. So many new homeowners beat themselves up over tiny improvements and repairs instead of celebrating their hard work. Don’t make that mistake.

Trust us, you’re going to have plenty of time in your new home to put in more work. Instead, invite your closest family and friends over for a great time. Start making memories!


This awesome check list was created by Updater, a technology company that helps people move.
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You've decided to sell your Calgary home.

Your agent has priced it, and you're ready to expose it to the market!


Here are a few things you need to know about what the process of showing your home is like.


Interested buyers will make an appointment to see your home in person.

It’s standard to leave your home while potential buyers are there.

Doing so, makes them feel more comfortable talking about the home and encourages them to take their time.


Identify and remove potential hazards ahead of time.

During showings, keep your walkways clear, take your dogs to the park and, if you have a pool, make sure the gate is closed. If a potential buyer gets hurt while viewing your home, they may try to sue.


Open the curtains and blinds to let light in and turn on all the lights in your home.

Also, turn the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.


Keep your home in show-ready condition.

Keep the clutter under control and home maintained, inside and out.


HANDLING OFFERS

When you get an offer, we’ll present it to you and negotiate on your behalf. The offer may include the amount the buyer is proposing to pay, how much they plan to mortgage, their ideal closing date, any contingencies, and personal property they want included or excluded.


Once you’ve accepted an offer, we’ll outline contingency dates and start the paperwork process. During this time, it’s important to make sure all contingencies, including inspections and repairs, are made by the deadlines. On closing day, the buyer will do a final walkthrough to check the condition of the home and ensure the required repairs were made.


CLOSING

During the closing process, you and the buyer will sign the final paperwork. Additionally, the title will be transferred to the buyer and they’ll receive the house keys. Most importantly, you’ll receive payment for the home, minus the payoff of the existing mortgage and transaction costs. If you’re thinking of selling your home, give us a call! We’d love to help you through the home selling process.



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Choosing the perfect school can have a huge impact on your child’s future success. 

It's one of the most common factors my buyers consider when looking for a new home in Calgary.

Taking the time to do your research and asking the right questions will pay off in the long run.

Here are the things you need to consider in your quest to find a good school near you.


1.  Stop By and Say Hi:

One of the big lessons your children will learn is not to judge a book by it’s cover, and neither should you! No matter what your first impression is, stop by and ask if you can go on a quick tour of the schools in your neighbourhood. It is the perfect way to help you find a good school near you.

2.  Ask Questions:

Once your list has been narrowed down, make a list of questions you would like to ask. Whether it is the principle, or a teacher from the school, see if you can set up some time to go through your questions with them.

3.  Talk to Parents:

The best advice you can get is from other people in your situation. Talk to some of the other parents in your neighbourhood and ask them why they chose the school they did, how they like the school, and more importantly how their children like the school.

4.  Attend a Meeting or Event:

Is the school hosting a meeting for parents or an event prior to the school year starting? If so, this is a great way for you to get to know some of the teachers and parents a little better. Not only that, but it will make it much easier once the first day of school arrives!

5.  Trust Your Gut:

If you really want to find a good school near you, the best thing to do is make sure you trust yourself! After conducting all of the research above, you will be well informed enough to make a decision while keeping your children’s best interest in mind.


If you're actively looking for a new home in Calgary, click this link to take a look at homes for sale.

If you'd like to move and would like an idea of what your home is worth, click here.


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Selling a home in Calgary may be a stressful experience, especially for first-time sellers. One of the best ways to ease anxiety and reduce stress is to know what to expect. Here’s a general overview of the selling process. While everyone’s experience may be different, these steps tend to be universal. Of course, once you’ve decided to sell your home, give us a call and we’ll help you every step of the way


GETTING YOUR CALGARY HOME READY TO SELL

Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for its market debut.


Start packing valuables and items you don’t plan to use until after you’ve moved, including any personal photos displayed in the home. Removing clutter will make your home appear more spacious. While deciding what to pack, think about which appliances to take with you. For example, are the washing machine and dryer included or do you want to take them?


Get your home move-in ready. Most buyers want a home in move-in condition when they buy. For example, painting the interiors a neutral shade or white is a simple way to make a home appear brighter and allows potential buyers to easily incorporate their style into the space. Also, be sure to complete regular maintenance on your home’s cooling and heating and other systems to keep them in good working order for the next owner.


Have a home inspection. In many cases, a buyer will hire a home inspector to inspect the property. However, hiring one beforehand will help you assess what may need to be fixed before you sell. If the inspector finds major issues with appliances or your home’s plumbing/septic, heating or electrical systems, you may be required to make the repairs. Don’t worry; this is a normal part of the process–one we’re happy to guide you through.


Boost curb appeal. The exterior is often a potential buyer’s first impression of your home. If it’s well-kept outside, many buyers also assume it’ll be well-kept inside. Paint or clean your exterior, trim hedges and shrubs and mow the lawn. These small activities have a big impact on attracting the right buyers to your home.


Clean. Hire a professional cleaner to thoroughly clean your home for potential buyers.


Stage. Make your home look its best by staging high-traffic rooms, such as the living room and kitchen. Staging helps buyers picture themselves in the home. While many sellers hire a professional, especially in competitive markets, you may also be able to do it yourself.


MARKETING IT RIGHT

Once your home is ready to sell, it’s time to think about marketing. Marketing helps find the right qualified buyer to purchase your home. It all begins with pricing. Homes that are priced right are often picked up by buyers in a short amount of time. To price your home, we’ll review comparable homes in your area that are currently on the market or have sold in the last few months. We’ll also take into account your home’s location, square footage, amenities and condition, as well as local market conditions.


If you'd like to browse homes currently for sale in Calgary right now, CLICK HERE.

Want to find out how much your Calgary home is worth!  CLICK HERE
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Take a look at the breakdown of detached houses sold in Sundance last month.

It definitely was a slower-than-normal June in Sundance.


In fact, 10 is the fewest number of detached houses sold, in Sundance, in June, since 2009!


The average number of days on market for the month of June was 27 days.

That's well below the average number of days it usually takes a house to sell in Sundance.

So, although the number of homes sold is lower than usual, the homes that are for sale, are selling quickly.


Take a peek at the latest house that was listed in Sundance.


sundance house for sale


This is 376 Sun Valley Drive

It was listed on July 4 for $469,900.

This home is vacant and ready for new owners ASAP!


It has

4 bedrooms,

3 bathrooms and

2010 square feet of living space with an unfinished lower level.


There hasn't been a lot of updating to this home, and that can be a really great opportunity!

If home design and renovation is your thing, you can modernize this home and make it exactly what you like!

Or flip it for a profit.


If you'd like to see all the home curently for sale in Sundance, just click here

If you'd like to get an idea of what your current home is worth, click here..

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Pre-Move Essentials
Here are 10 things you need to complete before you’re ready to move into your new Calgary house.


1. Take a few days off work
The first few days of your move are busy!  You’ll be unpacking boxes, moving furniture, and waiting on deliveries, repairs, and installations. It’s a good idea to let your employer know that you’ll be moving.  Then you’ll have ample time to coordinate these appointments before you head back into the office. The 48 hours post-move is crucial to getting (somewhat) settled, so make sure you plan and schedule accordingly.


2. Connect TV and internet
You’re going to want your WiFi ASAP! Make sure you’re up and running before move-in day by setting up services ahead of time. Do your homework in order to know where you stand in order to compare pricing and figure out what service providers will best suit your needs. Schedule installation at least 2-3 weeks in advance to ensure that your services are activated in a timely manner and to also get the appointment slot that is most convenient for you.


3. Transfer utilities
Before you can move into your new home and get comfortable, you need to set up your utilities: water, gas, and electricity. Depending on where your new home is located, you may or may not have some say in which company you work with. Although utility companies are usually timely about activation, the sooner you notify them of your move-in date, the better. This is especially true if they’re in the midst of moving season when they’re working with a ton of accounts.


4. Schedule a cleaning
Before you move your furniture, it’s a good idea to clean all the nooks and crannies of your new home. Chances are, the previous owner didn’t take the time to thoroughly clean it for your arrival (at least not to your standards), so schedule a cleaning service to come in and do a thorough once-over. With all the effort that you’re putting into your new home, you deserve a spotless canvas!

5. Update your address
Your address is connected to so many aspects of your life that you may not even realize. From forwarding your mail, to maintaining subscriptions and loyalty programs, to banks and credit cards, to insurance, to checkbooks, to car registration and driver’s licenses... We think you get the point. When you update your address, you update your life! Not sure how to go about doing this? No worries, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about updating your address.


6. Gather important documents
You know those super important documents that sit and collect dust in your filing cabinet? They have to come along for the ride too. We’re talking birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, insurance policies, and anything else of that nature. Now’s the time to purge what you don’t need and label and organize everything that you do. Grab your shredder and some banker’s boxes and get to work! Important documents are items that cannot be overlooked on your new home checklist.

7. Take photos of valuable items
Moving your valuables is nerve-racking, but if you take proper precautions you’ll be more than fine. A good method of damage control is creating a valuables inventory and taking photos of each item. This could be anything from your grandmother’s antique mirror to your TV and computer monitor. By taking photos of these items, you have proof of their original condition in the event that they are damaged during the move. No matter how careful or responsible your moving company is, accidents can happen so moving insurance is worth looking into.

8. Research local businesses
When you move to a different town or state, it’s good to get the lay of the land of local businesses. Chances are you won’t be frequenting the businesses you usually do anymore, so you’ll want to explore your new options. From a new doctor, to a new hairdresser, to new landscapers, you’ll have to do quite a bit of research. Apps like Yelp can show you reviews, recommendations, and photos of local businesses to help you make educated decisions.


9. Schedule home improvements
Repairs and home improvements are an inevitable part of moving into a new home (whether an apartment or a house). There are some repairs that require more attention than others (i.e. leaky plumbing, windows that don’t lock, etc). It’s necessary that these are taken care of beforehand by either the previous owner or your property management company. If they aren’t, get on that ASAP! But maybe you just want to paint an accent wall or install built-in bookcases, these are the kind of home improvements you’re in charge of. You should schedule these improvements ahead of time so you’re not worrying about them come move-in day. Get the messy stuff out of the way first, it’ll make your life way easier.

10. Prepare to pack
As you inch closer to move-in day, start to throw out or donate things you don’t need and take note of what needs to be replaced. Keep the layout and measurements of your new home in mind as this could mean more or less space for your belongings. Save money by collecting free moving boxes from local businesses and retailers or use laundry bins, suitcases, and large bags to transport items. It’s also a good idea to label or color coordinate all boxes according to what room they go in to expedite the process for your moving company. Lastly, an open-first box is a must! You should include in this box everything you need to survive the first 24 hours in your new home. Think air mattress, a fresh outfit, a toothbrush, some snacks, water, and extra cash. You will thank yourself when the time comes. Trust us, it’s a not-to-be-missed item on your new home checklist!



Thanks to Updater for this thorough list.

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Kitchens are often called the heart of the home.

They are definitely the room where we spend the most of our time and do the most of our work!

 

Kitchens are important.

They need to be functional and organized.

 

This is a great breakdown about how to organize the 3 Kitchen Zones

1. Refrigerator Zone

2. Sink Zone

3. Range Zone

 

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When looking for a place to call home, it’s easy to get sidetracked by thinking with your heart rather than your head. Although it takes less than seven seconds to make a first impression, a quick decision could lead to an unavoidable case of buyer’s remorse. In order to avoid this, we have listed a checklist for the top ten house hunting tips you need to know before you attend a viewing.

1. Location:   There are many things that can be changed, upgraded, or improved after you have purchased a home, but the location isn’t one of them. You need to think about the proximity to work, schools, and other attractions you frequently visit and also research any new developments or upcoming changes to the area in the future.

2. Smells:  While air fresheners and open windows can clear out certain scents, it’s important to pay attention in order to sniff out other potential issues. For example, if you notice a damp smell, it could mean the home has poor ventilation or issues with mold.

3. Even Floors: Noticing a slanted floor is one of the major hints that there could be a large structural issue with the home. If you do notice something, you can ask your Agent to inquire with the owners or make note of it for the home inspection if you decide to go that far in the purchase process.

4. Lighting: Natural lighting is something that is often overlooked in your house hunt, especially if you are viewing a home at night, or in the middle of winter. Think about how important natural lighting is to you, and plan your viewing times around when the lighting will be optimal.

5. Shape & Size of Rooms: It is important to take a good look at the layout to make sure not only you but also your furniture can fit comfortably in the space.

6. Parking: Is there enough space for everyone in your household to park or will this become an added expense? Additionally, if there is parking available, will your vehicle fit?

7. Laundry: If there is laundry in the home, you need to make sure it is in an accessible location. If there is no laundry, is it in a convenient location you can easily get to with or without a car?

8. Storage Space: Depending on how creative you can get with your storage, you will want to make sure that there is enough room to store your belongings without things becoming cluttered or unliveable.

9. It looks perfect, but are you missing something? Professional staging can sometimes fool buyers into thinking a property is perfect while diverting their eyes away from potential issues. Don’t let the professional décor and scent of fresh baked cookies take your attention away from the things that matter.

10. Assess the Kitchen and Bathrooms: The kitchen and bathroom are two of the most costly rooms in a home. Make sure you pay special attention to these rooms to avoid getting stuck with unwanted repairs or updates after purchasing the home.

While a home inspection will help advise you of any potential issues, it is still a good idea to pay attention to these things in the initial stages of your home search. This will also help ensure you don’t waste money on unnecessary home inspections. 


Take a look at some just listed homes in South Calgary right here.

If you'd like to find out the value of your house in the current market, click here.


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Freestanding bathtubs are a very hot trend right now!
You'll find them in many newly built homes.
We're also noticing more and more free standing tubs in renovated houses!
 
It's a big decision.
Do you increase the size of your shower?
Upgrade to a steam shower?
Or, get rid of the shower all together and put in a trendy new free standing tub.
 
Here are some renos to inspire you.
 
 
 
 
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Take a look at this immaculate, original-owner home that’s just been listed in Somerset!

It’s located on a quiet cul-de-sac both siding and backing onto a big park! The playground is just a few steps away.


This home has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and is fully finished on all 3 levels.

The main floor is wide open, with a really great flow AND it’s full of windows!  

This house has the most amazing light ever!


The kitchen is well laid out, with a large center island and raised eating bar, big corner pantry and fantastic upgraded appliances.

The eating area looks out over a large deck and the park!


The upper floor has a huge bonus room that gets tons of natural light.  

The master suite is a nice and spacious with a large en suite, complete with full walk in closet.

The second and third bedrooms upstairs are a great size with lots of closet space.


In the lower level you’ll find a large, 2nd family room with hobby area and games/TV space as well.

There are lots of custom built ins and a super convenient Murphy bed.

The bathroom has been beautifully updated with custom shower.


No updating is needed for this fantastic home!

It already has a new roof and  hot water tank, upgraded carpet with memory foam underlay and a gas line for BBQ.


Wow,this is a nice one! 

You can see all the pictures and details here.


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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.