Very excited and proud to be one of my brokerage's Top Ten Agents for July!
Top 10 Agents for RE/MAX iRealty Innovations
Lessons from a First Time Renovator
It has been two years since I started the renovations on my fixer upper. I am not particularly handy, but I had watched a lot of renovation shows, so figured: how hard could it be, right? And I can always Google how to do something!
I soon became the Dame of Demo: I demolished the kitchen cabinets then stripped the kitchen wall down to the studs and scraped off popcorn ceiling. Next came the bathrooms. I knocked out bathroom tiles and even removed a toilet! I hired professionals to put it all back together (always wise to know your limits!)
I learned some valuable lessons in my renovation that I wanted to share:
- A hammer is a more civilized way of taking down a wall, but it will take longer than say, a sledge hammer.
- Be prepared to be without appliances especially if refinishing hardwood floors, for a long time. Then add more time.
- Doing your dishes outside will feel like you are camping, but that feeling will wear thin when the devious squirrels start eyeing your clean dishes with pure, evil thoughts. A laundry tub in the basement is a suitable alternative.
- It is perfectly fine to drink and reno, but keep the drink nearby at all times. In the event of a copper water pipe exploding due to an incomplete solder job, you can still sip your chardonnay while you hold a loaf pan under the broken pipe to catch the water draining from the upstairs bathrooms.
- When your contractor wants you to come ‘see something’, it’s going to cost you money.
- Hire professionals to do the plumbing and electrical. Sometimes they will make a mistake (see point #4) remember they are liable for anything they have done wrong, and will make it right. I now have a beautiful tile floor in my powder room where soggy hardwood used to be.
- Drywall dust will get into everything, everywhere, in your home. If you are a neat freak, you may wish to stay in a hotel or you will lose your mind.
- The Cardinal Rule: Renovations take longer than you see on the DIY network. Unfortunately.
I encourage anyone to buy a fixer upper and try their hand at some demo and renovations themselves. It’s a great way to inject your personal taste to your home, and build equity!
After. And yes, there are no baseboards. Refer to point 8 above.
Home prices remained stable in May
Demand for detached housing continues to rise
Fueled by the detached sector, Calgary home prices trended up for the fourth consecutive month, but remain below 2014 highs.
"The economic climate is supporting detached housing market recovery," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
"Improved demand and easing supply has created more balanced conditions and ultimately some modest price gains. While it will still take some time for prices to recover, the transition in the detached segment is an important first step to stabilization across all segments of the housing market."
For the first time since June 2015, prices in the detached sector did not decline on a year-over-year basis. Unadjusted detached benchmark prices reached $509,000 in May, one per cent higher than last month and May 2016 levels.
Like the detached market, the attached product has moved towards more balanced conditions. This has supported some recent directional shifts in pricing. However, monthly price declines had fallen by 4.7 per cent over peak levels and year-to-date benchmark prices remain two per cent below last year's levels.
"We can really see a slow but sure recovery in the housing market," said CREB® president David P. Brown.
"Demand for detached product is driving a new sense of optimism for consumers as we move further into spring."
Against this backdrop, the number of new listings rose to 3,866 units in May, which is 17 per cent higher than last year's total for the month. Despite this rise, year-to-date new listings have declined by one per cent over last year.
"With the change in market dynamics, people no longer feel like they may need to settle for a second choice in a property," said Brown.
"There are lots of housing choices in every segment of the market and that made for a good situation in an already active spring market."
Market update provided by CREB
Home improvement rebates take effect
Energy Efficiency Alberta created the Home Improvement Rebates program to promote efficient energy consumption and reduce Alberta’s carbon footprint. The program is designed to support homeowners with the installation of energy-efficient appliances and products to reduce household emissions.
Rebates of up to $3,500 will be granted for eligible products including insulation, water heaters (ENERGY STAR® certified) and triple glaze (low-e, argon) windows.
To receive a rebate for the installation of an eligible home improvement product, homeowners must select an Alberta-based registered contractor from the list provided at efficiencyalberta.ca. The contractor will then guide homeowners through the application process and rebates will be sent directly to homeowners after the completion of each project.
Rebate program types:
The Home Improvement Rebate is just one of three rebate types offered by Energy Efficiency Alberta. Below are the different rebates available to Alberta’s homeowners through the Residential Retail Products
- Home Improvement Rebates: Rebates for home improvements will be granted to homeowners who buy eligible products installed by a certified Alberta-based contractor.
- Online rebates: Homeowners who buy qualifying refrigerators, smart thermostats and clothes washers can apply for rebates online.
- Instant rebates: Homeowners can receive instant rebates when purchasing eligible home efficiency products at participating retail locations in Alberta. Eligible products include LED lights, programmable thermostats, water-saving devices, smart power bars, and heavy-duty timers. This campaign runs from April 28 until June 11.
Originally Posted by CREB for more info: https://www.efficiencyalberta.ca/home-improvement/
One in Eight Calgary Homes Exceed Acceptable Radon Gas Levels
You may have seen this topic covered in the news recently. Radon is something that is naturally occurring and is a colourless, odourless, and radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rocks, and water. It's present in all homes, but high levels can present significant health risks. Newer homes tend to be larger and taller, which contributes to the problem.
But, there are solutions! You can have your home tested for Radon, and have a qualified professional remdiate the problem.
Home is Where the Heart Is
Home Is Where The Heart Is.
Buying a home is the largest financial transaction most of us will ever make in our lives. It can be very stressful and there are many factors to consider. ‘Home is where the heart is’ is a great Hollywood sentiment, but for many people, the love of a good partner only goes so far when they are stuck in traffic on the Deerfoot!
Location is an important factor in a home purchase for several reasons. First, location can impact the size and age of your home. A budget of $600,000 will go much further in a new subdivision where you can get a much larger home than something inner city and close to downtown. But, that comes at a cost: a longer commute that is potentially more expensive (gas, parking, wear and tear on the car). Living inner city could mean either walking or biking to work, but then you may be living in something smaller and potentially older. What will work better for your lifestyle? What style of commuting resonates better with you?
Type of ownership of your home is very important. Do you like puttering around outside, cutting the lawn and doing home maintenance? Then perhaps a detached home is for you. Is the thought of cutting your lawn making you break out in hives? Then maybe condo living is more your style! Again, this is a lifestyle decision based on how you like to spend your free time, and of course how handy you are (or aren’t!)!
The decision to purchase a home needs careful thought balancing the budget and quality of life. Your mortgage professional will tell you how much you can afford and what your monthly payments will look like. How different is that from what you are paying now? Can you afford the increase? A great way to get used to making higher payments is to start putting the extra costs in a savings account so you can adjust to the costs of living in a home (plus you’ll have some cash set aside for emergencies!)! Can you survive in this new financial reality? Do you need to adjust your budget for a home?
Using a licensed real estate professional can help you through the buying process and alleviate some of the stresses that come with buying a home.
This blog post was written for Sharon Wright of Sharnegetic,a nutritionist and wellness expert in Calgary.
The Untold Benefit of Winter Cycling
Cycling in Calgary is very popular in warmer months. Heck, even on rainy days there is still a good number of folks in rain gear peddling away, off to work or a meeting. The benefits are numerous and well documented: it is better for your health, you will save money on transit or parking, you will protect your mental health by not dealing with rush hour traffic, and of course it is better for the environment.
There is a solid contingent of cyclists who brave the frigid and slick conditions and bike in the winter as well. I, too, was one of those cyclists, donning layer upon layer upon layer of clothing, flexing my fingers to make sure they were still attached to my hands, and hoping my studded tires don’t slip on the frozen ground and cause me to crash. I, too, would arrive at work invigorated and red cheeked from the cold, amid shock and awe that I would bike in -21 degree weather and lived to tell about it.
But there is a major benefit that they don’t talk about that I am going to share with you today. You can combat fine lines and wrinkles by doing this. Biking in the freezing cold – even better: sleet! The freezing weather will stimulate blood flow to your face and will help rejuvenate the skin! Sure, you don’t want to give yourself frostbite, but if you can find that middle ground freezing cold and frostbite, you will have glowing skin. At least, that is what the internet tells me
Being able to commute on a bike is one of the greatest benefits to living in the inner city and the City of Calgary does a FANTASTIC job keeping the bike paths clear and safe for cyclists all winter long. I encourage everyone to get out there and go for a bike ride in the middle of winter!
Here's a pic of the 10th Street bridge leading into downtown. Obviously a detour was warranted here, not sure even a bike with studded tires would survive the overflow of the Bow River, but it was a fantastic day for a bike ride and the rest of the pathway was clear!
Certified Condo Specialist Designation - what does this mean?
Certified Condo Specialist (C.C.S.)
This designation means I have successfully completed additional training by the Calgary Real Estate Board specifically in condominiums. Condos are a different type of home ownership, where a group of people own their own unit, but also own common property within a building or complex – this forms a ‘condo corporation’ and each owner owns shares in that corporation. This can include hallways, walkways, HVAC or even recreational facilities. It also means the owners share in the responsibility to maintain these common areas. These costs are collected through monthly condo fees, which pay for the maintenance of the property and the structures on it. Because of the shared nature of a condo in terms of space and costs, additional training is provided through the C.C.S. designation program so that real estate agents better understand the complexities of a condo, so they can better help their clients.
I own two condos: an apartment style condo and a townhouse in a fairly large complex. I am also on the board of each of these corporations, so I am very familiar with the inner workings of a condo and I also have a very good understanding of the different requirements to maintain each type of property.
If you are looking to purchase or sell a condo, call me and let’s discuss how I can help you!