Aug. 8, 2018

3 Ways a School Division Can Influence Your Resale Value

Welcome to Awesome August!

When you purchased your home, you had a list of things you wanted. Maybe it was the backyard, perhaps the kitchen. For almost 90% of potential homebuyers, school divisions play a large role in their decision.

For those that have children, it goes without saying that you want a good school for them. But for those that don’t, the decision to buy in a good school division is often tied to the resale value. Often the quality of the school changes over the course of 10 to 15 years, and if you don’t have daily interaction with the school, you may not even realize the impact it could have on selling your home.

Here are three ways a school division can influence your resale value:

1: Increased Spending Habits

A good school division may be an indication of other positive things in the area, including the efficiency of local government and spending. The National Bureau of Economic Research discovered that “for every dollar spent on public schools, home values increased by $20.” Increased home values are beneficial for everyone in the area.

2: Positive School Ratings

A 2013 realtor.com survey of nearly 1,000 prospective home buyers showed that 91% said school boundaries were an important factor in their home search. Statistics also show that the more affluence there is in a community, the higher the test scores will be in that same community, thus making the location more desirable.

3: Bigger Homes

Interestingly, higher-scoring schools tend to be in areas with bigger houses. Homes in higher-scoring school zones tend to have about 1.5 more rooms than homes in nearby lower-scoring schools. While more rooms can certainly increase home values, 1 in 5 home buyers are willing to sacrifice space, bedrooms, and garages to buy a house in a good school division.

But before you get too caught up on test scores, school rankings, and bedrooms there are a few additional things to take into consideration when buying or selling a home:

• Overall, buyers are willing to pay more for a home in a good school division

• 1 in 5 said they would pay between 6 to 10% more for a home in a good division

• 1 in 10 said they’d pay up to 20% more for a home in their desired school division

Don’t get overwhelmed with all the numbers and statistics. Together, we can do some research to determine the appeal of your school division and how it may affect the sale of your home.

If you would like to learn how your school division affects your specific home value, and benefit you financially, call me at 403-919-2247 to schedule a time to talk. 

June 15, 2018

5 Projects to Do Yourself and Increase your Home's Value

Maybe it's the popularity of Pinterest, but the trend of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) projects is going strong. There are so many people trying new things both to personalize their homes and to save money while doing it.

The increase of the value of your home will vary by location and project, but you’ll see the most significant increase in the kitchen, bathrooms, and the outside.

Before a home can be sold there are usually some upgrades and small improvements to make to increase the value and the rate at which it sells. Here are five DIY projects you could easily tackle this year.

Beautify the Yard

The first thing potential buyers (and guests) are going to see is your yard. Consider the appeal of a beautifully manicured lawn and then strive for that. Maintain your yard, including pulling weeds, raking leaves, and making sure plants are thriving. Green is the colour you are aiming for. Consider some mulch beds with flowers that are low maintenance so they will maintain their appeal with little work.

You can quickly increase the value of your home by 2 to 5% by spending some time outside working on curb appeal.

Add Some Colour

The idea of painting may scare you, but it is a very doable DIY. A fresh coat of paint speaks volumes and can completely change the feel of a room. Neutral colours are a must here, and you may even look at some accent walls or stencils.

Painting doesn’t have to be expensive or time intensive and can increase your home value by up to 3%.

Update the Bathrooms

Bathrooms, like kitchens, can make or break a deal on selling a house. Just like kitchens, make sure that the faucets and fixtures are up-to-date and working well. Upgrade knobs, consider a tile backsplash and consider a fresh coat of paint.

A bathroom refresh can easily be done in a weekend and can increase your home's value in a short amount of time.

Declutter and Stage the House

One important thing when working to increase your home’s value is to make it feel like potential buyers can live there.

The first step to this is to declutter. Go room by room and get rid of things that you don’t need. This will also help you prepare for your move!

Rearrange some furniture, add curtains, flowers, or some pops of colour with accent rugs. Borrow from friends if you can, to save your budget.

Modernize the Kitchen

Updating and modernizing your kitchen is going to be the most significant undertaking, but the one with the most reward. Most kitchen upgrades will return 3 to 7% on your investment. More than half of real estate agents agree that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms to have in great shape before selling.

But not everyone is going to share the same taste in kitchen style, so focus on those minor repairs, making sure everything is working and looks good. Examples include leaking faucets, loose light fixtures, and countertops.

There are so many options to increase your home’s value, some of which you may want to do even if you aren’t looking to sell right now. By spacing out these projects, you’ll make them even more affordable and get to enjoy them yourself! Here are a few more ideas.

  • Add a simple island table to the kitchen

  • Instead of replacing cabinets, repaint them

  • Use peel and stick covering to make your appliances look like stainless steel

  • Put some floating shelves up

  • Paint the front door a bold colour

  • Add a fence to the backyard

  • Paint the garage floor to make it easier to keep clean

If you’re on a mission to increase the value of your house to sell it, let me know so we can prioritize your projects together. Give my office a call at 403-919-2247 and set up an appointment today!

May 25, 2018

No Time Like the Present to Buy a Home

 

Tired of renting? Would you like to own your own home? Now is a great time to make the move to homeownership. Low-interest rates, government incentive programs and a great supply of homes on the market are making the homeownership dream more possible.

Use Your RRSPs

Use the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan! You are allowed to use your RRSP contributions (maximum $20,000 per person, $40,000 per couple) to build or purchase a home. To qualify, you have to be a first-time buyer or for 4 straight years, you didn't own a principal residence. Income taxes are not deducted from this money if you repay it to your RRSP following the repayment schedule of the government.

Various Mortgages

There are many mortgage options available. With conventional mortgages, you can borrow up to 75% of the home's appraised value or purchase price (whichever is lower) to a maximum outlined by government rules. You have to provide the other 25%. Don't have the 25% down payment? A high-ratio mortgage might be an alternative if you are able to provide most of the money needed. High-ratio mortgages have to be insured at your expense. Ask your mortgage broker or lender if you qualify for this kind of mortgage. You can usually get a variable-rate mortgage for high-ratio and conventional mortgages. If interest rates increase, you pay more in interest monthly; if rates decrease, more money goes to your principal. Fixed-rate mortgages, on the contrary, have the same interest rate for the duration of the mortgage.

Evaluate Your Needs

Where do you want to live? What kind of house do you want? Start thinking about what you want today. Our REALTOR’s® are invaluable in helping you with the answers. They can access the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), a co-operative listing marketing system that gives great exposure to homes on the market. A quick computer search and our REALTOR® will narrow down the choices, based on location, price, number of bedrooms etc.

There are numerous housing choices in the Greater Calgary area, so defining your focus is critical. Your options will be resale homes, new houses, townhouses or condos. One of our REALTOR’s® will help you choose the option that is ideal for your current and future needs. Our REALTOR’s® will also go to viewings with you and give you all the relevant details so you can make an informed decision. Are you ready to buy a home? The conditions are great right now. Calgarians generally agree that owning a home is a great investment and it will give you some financial security in retirement.

May 8, 2018

3 Items You Need to Create Your Perfect Backyard Oasis

 

Even though we love to joke about how short summer is in Calgary, when the weather heats up and it does get really beautiful outside. For those few precious months out of the year when it’s gorgeous outside, you really need a place to enjoy the outdoors. With that in mind ...

Think back to your last vacation, the one on a tropical island, with a beautiful balcony full of gorgeous colours, comfortable furniture, and a fantastic view. Before you open your eyes to look out your back window, think about how you can bring that feeling of vacation to your backyard.

As the weather starts getting warmer, the desire to get outside and enjoy it grows. Now is the time to spend a little effort turning your outside area into an oasis.

Here are some great ideas that you can use to update your outside space without spending a lot of money.

Bring the inside, out.

The items that bring you comfort inside your house can do the same outside. Comfortable seating, warmth for chilly evenings, and colours can combine to bring your outside oasis to the level of your carefully crafted interior.

Throw pillows can bring any piece of furniture to life. By adding a splash of colour, they also make a space warm and inviting. Add a few to your outdoor seating and watch it instantly transform.

The same goes for an outdoor ottoman or food pouf. This trendy piece of furniture is very versatile, as it can be a table, footrest, or even an extra seat.

Tie it all together colorwise with an outdoor rug. Make sure it’s one made for outside use, so that cleaning it is easy, and that it is still comfortable enough to sit on. These three things can quickly transform the area into more of a living room feel than a back patio feel.

Think about seating.

Everyone will want to sit at some point when outside, so determining what kind of seating options you can create should be toward the top of the list.

Adirondack chairs are comfortable, long-lasting, and they don’t rust in the rain. You can get them in a variety of colours and materials. And you can dress them up with pillows or cushions. I also love that they come in kid sizes, which helps free up adult chairs for adults.

If you’re envisioning more of a private oasis than an entertaining area, consider a cute bistro table, with enough room for two. Or a small loveseat and a pair of chairs for a more intimate setting. A table is a must either way!

For those times you just want to be alone, consider a hammock. Imagine just grabbing a good book and escaping to the backyard for a few hours of quiet reading, or even a nap. You have your choice of colours here as well.

Set the stage with mood lighting.

As the sun sets over your backyard oasis, you’ll want to be able to keep the party going. Here’s where the strategic placement of lights come in. Again, there are many options to fit your theme and your budget.

Lanterns can be scattered around the seating area to create an inviting atmosphere. These can be lit with citronella candles or battery-operated ones. These lanterns don’t have to match, so keep an eye out for good deals when you're out shopping.

String lights are an easy way to add a bit of sophistication to the outside oasis. They’re lovely for a romantic evening and a fun party. You can leave them up year-round, and create a special glow, even in the winter.

A fire pit gives you both light and atmosphere. You’ll make many memories huddled around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows, listening to music, and enjoying your company. Keep your eyes out at yard sales for a great deal.

Creating your outside oasis may not take you all the way back to your favourite vacation home, but it’s a beautiful way to design your own space. If you’re looking to sell, an attractive backyard is a huge bonus for those looking to buy.

Give me a call at 403-919-2247 or reply to this email, and we can set up a time to explore your options regarding selling your house and finding your new dream home.

May 2, 2018

Soft sales continue in April

 

Prices steady, but struggles in Alberta economy weighs on housing

 

Changes to the lending industry and a challenging economic recovery are weighing on sales activity in Calgary's housing market.

Supply levels have not adjusted to the weaker demand environment, and that is preventing price recovery.

"Slower sales do not come as a surprise, given the economy has not yet improved enough to offset the impact of changes in the lending industry," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

"While the rising inventories are being monitored, prices have remained relatively flat as gains in some areas of the city have been offset by declines in other areas."

The easing sales trend persisted through April in Calgary's housing market. Calgary sales totalled 1,518 units in April, which is 20 percent below last year and 25 percent below long-term averages.

The detached sector has seen the largest decline, with year-to-date sales totalling 2,991 units, 27 percent below the 10-year average.

Inventory levels in April totalled 7,324 units. This is a 32 percent rise over last year, but well below the monthly high of 10,129 units recorded in 2008. Supply compared to demand has risen, but city-wide prices have remained relatively stable, totalling $436,500 in April, a monthly and annual gain of 0.21 percent.

"The reality is that there's selection heading into the active spring market," said CREB®president Tom Westcott.

"For many sellers, they have to decide what price they are willing to accept for a lifestyle change. At the same time, buyers need to understand the supply dynamics and price movements in the specific area, as they may not align with their expectations." 

So far this year, apartment and attached sales have eased to levels that are comparable to 2016. However, rising supply in both markets has pushed months of supply to the highest levels recovered over this four-month period, which is preventing any significant shifts in pricing trends.

Posted in Market Update
April 17, 2018

The Final Cost of Buying a Home in Calgary

Your new home's purchase price will be the biggest costs you'll see when buying a new home, but there also other costs involved. A REALTOR® can give you more details on the extra costs, which could include:

Application / Mortgage Broker Fee - It cost the lenders money to process your mortgage application. If income or credit problems might be an issue in the approval process, lender or the mortgage broker might charge a fee for the mortgage application.

Appraisal Fee: Your mortgage will be a percentage of the purchase price of the home or the appraised value, whichever is lower. The appraiser might be on the lender's staff or the lender may contract the appraisal of an independent company and you will probably pay the associated fees.

Land Survey Costs (Real Property Report): Knowing the boundaries of the property you are purchasing is important. This is to ensure that encroachments are not a problem, like a part of your neighbour’s garage or house isn't protruding onto your property. The lender will require such a survey and they will let you know the requirements they want. Typically this is provided by the seller, however, there may be some instances where this will come out of your pocket.

Insurance (CMHC): If you are applying for a mortgage that is going to cover more than 75% of the purchase price of your home or a high-ratio mortgage, mortgage insurance is mandatory to protect the lender if you don't make the required payments. Since your new home will be used as security for your mortgage, the lender will also require fire insurance and extended coverage.

**Be sure to look at how much mortgage life insurance will cost. If you or the co-borrower dies, this insurance guarantees that the mortgage will be paid off.

Legal Fees: Lawyer fees for the completion of the home-buying process. Disbursements are the fees needed to complete the process like doing a title search, preparing a title deed, preparing the mortgage and having it registered. Property Transfer Tax -  $50 base + $1 for every $5000 or portion thereof of the property value. There is no land transfer tax rebate in Alberta. $50 base +$1 for every $5000 or part thereof of the mortgage amount. Get details from your REALTOR®.

GST: Any new home purchase is taxed on its full purchase price, but you might be eligible for a partial GST rebate if the home will be your primary residence. Get details from your REALTOR®. A "used" rental house is usually exempt from paying GST. GST also applies to the REALTOR®'S commission as well as to the other transaction fees like appraisal and legal costs.

Additional Costs: Utility bills, yearly property taxes and maintenance costs should be included in your budget when buying a home. 

 

 

March 17, 2018

Buying or Selling a Calgary Condo Unit - Things You Should Know

Do you want to buy or sell a property covered under the Condominium Property Act like an apartment, townhouse, villa etc.? If that is the case, you will need to understand that the Condominium Corporations documentation has to be provided or that you need to get in order to make an informed decision. The Condominium Corporations must give you or maintain important documentation as per the Condominium Property Act. The listing REALTOR® will ask the Condominium Corporation for the documents listed below. Note there might be some additional documents that are not on this list.

Condominium Corporation Records

(1)    a statement setting out the amount of any contributions due and payable in respect of the unit

(2)    the particulars of:

i.                     any action commenced against the corporation and served on the corporation

ii.                   any unsatisfied judgment or order for which the corporation is liable

iii.                 any written demand made on the corporation for an amount in excess of $5,000 that, if not met, may result in an action being brought against the corporation

(3)    the particulars of, or a copy of, any subsisting management agreement

(4)    the particulars of, or a copy of, any subsisting recreational agreement

(5)    the particulars of any post tensioned cables located anywhere on or within the property that is included in the condominium plan

(6)    a copy of the budget of the corporation

(7)    a copy of the most recent financial statements, if any, of the corporation, including the most recent year-end and month-end statements

(8)    a copy of the bylaws of the corporation

(9)    a copy of the most recent approved and most recent draft minutes of the annual general meeting

(10) a copy of the minutes and draft minutes of meetings of the board of directors of the corporation for not less than the past 12 months

(11) a statement setting out the amount of the capital replacement reserve fund

(12) a copy of the reserve fund report

(13) a copy of the reserve fund plan

(14) a statement setting out the amount of the monthly contribution (commonly referred to as condominium fee) and the basis on which that amount was determined

(15) a statement setting out any structural deficiencies that the corporation has knowledge of, at the time of the request, in any of the buildings that are included in the condominium plan

(16) a copy of any lease agreement or exclusive use agreement with respect to the possession of a portion of the common property, including a parking stall or storage space

(17) a copy of the registered condominium plan

(18) a copy of the condominium additional plan sheet certificate (CADS)

(19) a copy of the insurance certificate Access to Records

The Condominium Corporation, according to the act, must make these, along with other records available when requested and provide the owner copies, or an owner-authorized (in writing) individual like a REALTOR®. It is in the sellers interest to have these copies readily available once showings have started to ensure a smooth transition for the buyer when an offer is accepted.

 

If you have any questions at all during the buying or selling process, get the answers from one of our REALTORS® who has the training, expertise and knowledge to deal with these situations.  

March 6, 2018

Keeping your home in shape this spring!

How to keep your house in great shape this spring

Spring is a great time for selling a house, as it is the busiest home-buying and selling period of the year. Warm weather, longer daylight hours, and the desire to be settled before the next school year starts are all encouraging factors for those looking to sell their home.

It’s also an excellent time for home improvement projects, but before you can consider doing either, you’ll need to do some spring cleaning. Just like the spring cleaning you do inside, you’ll want to spend some time outside as well. Here are some suggestions.

Clean your gutters

Make sure your gutters are ready for any spring rain, by ensuring they are securely attached and are draining properly. Clean them out, paying special attention to corners and downspouts. And be sure to seal all leaks.

Siding

Once it’s warm enough, use a power washer to clean the siding. This will help prevent mold from growing. Once it’s clean, you can check for weathering and paint failure, and touch up any areas that may need it.

Porches and decks

As the weather turns warmer you’ll want to spend more time outside, so take some time now to prepare your porch and/or deck. Check all stairs and railings for stability, clear off any debris from the winter, and double check the longevity of the wood treatment. Usually, wood fences and open decks need to be treated every 4-6 years.

Landscaping

It’s time to start cutting the grass again! Start off your spring lawn care routine on the right foot by taking the time to trim any overgrown bushes and tree limbs. Overgrown shrubs or limbs can damage the siding or paint as well as cause severe damage in storms. Cut and edge the grass as well.

Sprinklers

After you’ve prepared your lawn for spring, double check any sprinkler systems. Make sure nothing is leaking or exposed, and that the water is distributing evenly. Again, a little preventative maintenance can save time and money later on.

Windows and doors 

Hopefully, you repaired any cracks or problems in windows and doors throughout the winter if you found them, but take a few extra minutes and fill any cracks, repaint, or caulk the edges of window and door sills. You may also want to check screens in the windows and doors, as you will want to patch or replace any holes before the warm spring weather inspires you to open them up.

Roof

Spring is a great time to thoroughly clean your roof, especially since you’re cleaning your gutters. You don’t want all the debris to wash down to the gutters and clog them at the first rain. Check surface flashing, soffits, and eaves both on the roof and on any sidewalls.

Foundation

A quick, annual check of the foundation walls and floors is definitely in order. Check the concrete foundation as well as any masonry for signs of cracking or deterioration. A good rule of thumb is to repair any crack that you can slide a nickel into.

Additional things to check include making sure your heat pump, water heater, venting systems, and air conditioner are all working efficiently. Taking some time in the spring when these things aren’t running regularly will help you save money on utilities in the summer.

Spring cleaning and spring maintenance is a great way to renew your love for your home or start preparing your house to sell. When you’re ready to talk about your real estate options, give me a call at 403-919-2247.

Feb. 27, 2018

What to expect for 2018

It's been a wild ride these last few years! Check out our quick update video to see what you can expect this year!

 

Posted in Market Update
Feb. 15, 2018

Helpful Tips Newsletter - Feb 2018

 

Want a clutter-free house? Here are 20+ ways to do it one day at a time

You put the holiday décor away, you’ve been going strong on your New Year’s resolutions and now it’s time to tackle the clutter that keeps building up in your house. February is an ideal month to tackle excessive clutter. Let’s begin!

Why should you get rid of clutter?

Clutter in your home is often the window to clutter in your life. The average Canadian has about 52 random things attached to their refrigerator. If you see that cluttered fridge multiple times a day, you’re likely to accept it as a fact of life, which will begin to affect the rest of your life, usually resulting in buying things you can’t find, and spending money you don’t need to.

The two main ways to attack the clutter in your house without feeling overwhelmed are to do it one room at a time or one task at a time. Either way, you can tackle the whole house over the course of the month.

The Method Doesn’t Matter

You may have more than four rooms in your house, but you probably also have more than one person. So divvy up those checklists and get some help. Focus on the high traffic areas, as that is where clutter tends to build up. Just make sure you don’t move piles of things to the bedroom!

Or, pick one of these tasks each day for the month and do them in whatever order is easiest to accomplish the goal of getting uncluttered. Remember, the goal is to get rid of things you don’t need and to find a place for everything you do need.

Here are some tasks you could put on your list for the main rooms of the house.

Kitchen

  1. Clean out the fridge and clean off the outside of it, getting rid of any magnets you don’t want anymore

  2. Clean the freezer, getting rid of things that have been in there too long

  3. Purge that junk drawer

  4. Divide the cabinets into top and bottom and tackle one section one day

  5. Then the other half of the cabinets the next day

  6. Discard all expired food from the pantry

  7. Clean off all countertops

Living Room & Dining Room

  1. Clean out coat closet

  2. Purge DVDs and video games you don’t use anymore

  3. Clean off the coffee table and end tables

  4. Tidy up toys and books and find them a place and get rid of any books or toys that nobody uses anymore

  5. Clear off all flat spaces

  6. Find a place to put mail that won’t pile up

  7. Set the table for dinner to discourage people from putting things on the table

Bedrooms

  1. Purge the closet of clothes you don’t wear

  2. And shoes, purge the shoes

  3. And bags! And coats, and suitcases

  4. Purge your drawers, especially socks

  5. Clear off all dresser tops, finding a place for things or discarding them

  6. Clean out purses, bags, briefcases

  7. Purge the linen closet

Bathrooms

  1. Clean out under the sink

  2. Check the shower and tub for empty toiletry bottles

  3. Dispose of expired medicines (responsibly)

  4. Purge old towels

  5. Organize cleaning supplies, so they are easy to grab

  6. Discard old makeup or hair supplies

  7. Put all trial size toiletries in a cute container to leave for guests to use

Now that you’ve decluttered your house, you may be thinking it’s time to sell. Are you’re ready to talk about your real estate options? If so, give me a call at 403-919-2247.