March 23, 2016
Energy Efficient Windows
Buying an energy efficient home that will save you money in the long run is what many home buyers are looking for in the current economy. From furnaces, to insulation, and everything in between, buying a green rated home is more about what is put into it. Windows are one of the main areas that a home can lose heat. They are also one of the main parts of the home to make energy efficient/.
If you are buying a green home for sale, new build, understanding what information on the label can be a bit confusing. From U-Value to SHGC and VT the abbreviations tell a whole lot about your windows.
The U-Value or U-factor is a rating that falls between 0.20 and 1.20. The lower U-value means that it has a high resistance to heat flow and is better at insulating.
Another rating abbreviation you will find on the energy efficiency label is the SHGC, This stands for solar heat gain coefficient. It indicates the products ability to block heat from the sun. This rating is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower that number the less solar heat is transmitted.
VT or visible transmittance is another rating expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher that this number is, the more visible light is transmitted. Other ratings you may see on your energy efficiency label are AL for air leakage, and CR for condensation resistance.
Many new builds incorporate these energy efficient windows. Homes for sale that are not new builds may not have the energy efficiency labels on them, so knowing what type of window and its ratings are based on the home sellers word, unless they have kept the information from the installation.
If you buy a home that will need a window upgrade, shop around and do your homework on the various types of windows and regulations on the materials. You can ask for other additions to the installation including a vacuum-sealed argon fill where argon fill is permitted. This minor addition can increase the insulation of the window and help decrease heating costs due to air loss.
Looking for energy efficient homes? Call the Real Estate Girls! (403) 617-2979
March 22, 2016
Real Estate Scams
There are many types of real estate scams targeting home sellers and home buyers in Canada. The most recent is a particular scam that originates from an out-of-town phone call. The caller asks the homeowner about the lot or home that he or she is selling, then continues to tell the homeowner that they have a 'fully committed purchaser' lined up.
In the current buyers market that Calgary has been in for months, many homeowners who are desperate to sell may fall prey to this type of scam. It is advised that homeowners trying to sell their home use a reputable, professional, and licensed real estate agent to manage the sale of their home. This scam in general promises a purchase price that is far above the listed price, but the twist is that the caller requires the closing costs for the deal, by cheque, before any deal can be proceeded.
Other common scams target home buyers looking to purchase a great deal. A person claiming to be a home owner selling their home as a FSBO lures in unsuspecting home buyers. They agree to all the terms the buyers ask, and then ask for a “deposit” that is higher than a usual real estate deposit. They insist that everything is done over email and that their “lawyer” or another representative will meet them at the property to give the keys, or they say they will courier the keys to the buyer.
One should never enter into any sort of agreement over email, especially when it comes to a purchase of this nature. The above scam is also used to lure in renters as well. Scams target those who are in dire circumstances, or eager to sell their homes. They also swindle many who may not be as quick at noticing red flags, like seniors, or individuals facing financial stress. It is always good practice to speak to appropriate real estate professionals, like the Real Estate Girls; lawyers and mortgage brokers when considering a purchase or sale, even if you are going the FSBO route.
Scam artists like to pick their niches carefully. If they can convince you to give them your money, it is because they do their homework and fact check. They will use current economic situations to back up their lies and make the deal seem legitimate.
Remember, if you feel the deal is too good to be true, you are right. To find great deals that are true, contact the Real Estate Girls today!(403) 617-2979
March 16, 2016
Green Home Inspections
With the shift to green energy homes, and green building, many home buyers are interested in having 'green' home inspections conducted. Unfortunately, the reach of a general home inspector does not cover green inspections, commonly known as energy audits.
Home inspectors are licensed and trained to find deficiencies in the building envelope and inform you of any issues out of the normal for furnaces, hot water tanks other appliances. The type of inspections that look for green compliance in the home is called and energy audit, which is separate from home inspectors.
While the demand for energy audits are rising, some home inspectors are taking the time to become certified in energy audits as well. As it stands, a basic home inspector can investigate and get you verification of certain green material or installations, but they are unable to audit them. For instance, if the home seller is stating tat there are photo-voltaic panels (solar panels) installed, the home inspector can confirm they are installed adequately, but they cannot perform any other energy audits to check performance unless they are certified.
Finding green certified home inspectors who do energy audits in Canada can be difficult as there are very few with dual certification compared to the United States. The governing body InterNACHI (International Association of Home Inspectors) and the CAHPI (Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors) only certify inspectors to determine the building and property are compliant to regulation. To be a CEA (Certified Energy Auditor) or an REA (residential Energy Auditor) requires certification through the Association of Energy Engineers which requires strict credentials. However there is another type of Energy Auditor, the CEAIT (Certified Energy Auditor In Training) which allows those without the vast credentials, but knowledge to pass the CEA exam, to work as an energy auditor. This latter certification is most like the one that home inspectors would attain if they are dual certified.
If you are buying a home and you want the piece of mind that your potential new home meets both inspection standards and green energy standards, it is recommended that you hire a both a certified home inspector and an energy auditor.
To find green homes that fit your lifestyle, contact the Real Estate Girls today! (403) 617-2979
March 14, 2016
Multi-Family Building Recycling
The city of Calgary prides itself on being a “green” city with its waste and recycling programs. As of Feb. 1, 2016 all multi-family complexes are required to offer on-site recycling for residents. While many multi-family complexes already initiated the recycling program early on, this deadline means that the recycling program should be in full implementation.
The implementation deadline means all building owner's or manager's have an obligation to offer recycling storage, in addition to garbage storage; ensure there are enough containers to hold all the recycling at the complex; accept at least the same materials as blue carts; and arrange to have the materials removed for recycling in a manner of their choosing.
What does it mean for buyers looking at condos for sale? The program allows for building owners and managers to choose how they get rid of the waste and recycling and how they are going to charge residents of their buildings. This means rental increase or extra condo fees that will vary from one multi-family building complex to the next, depending on the building owner or manager's choice of disposal. The by-law states that building owners can choose a private recycling disposal company or dispose of the recycling themselves.
Condo buildings, with condo boards in charge of these types of decisions, have most likely had meetings with residents, or incorporated the best solution with the lowest impact on condo fees. When looking at the condos for sale, understanding the breakdown and increase of condo fees is essential to making your decision. While the city has mandated the implementation of the recycling bins, they cannot regulate the cost of the service due to the needs and flexibility required by many multi-family complexes.
As for food and yard waste, the city is developing a bylaw which will require multi-family buildings to divert food and yard waste from landfills through composting and/or other means. Council will look at this proposed by-law in October 2016, for approval.
Contact the Real Estate Girls today to view “green” condos! (403) 617-2979
March 11, 2016
Alberta's Eco Rebates
There are many reasons to buy homes that are eco-friendly or do renovations that are eco-friendly. One great reason, other than saving the environment, is the rebates, grants, refunds and savings available.
Eco-Friendly grants and rebates through both federal and provincial governments include up to $7000 through the Natural Resources Canada ecoEnergy Retrofit program which rewards homeowners for their energy efficient renovations. There is a $5000 grant for retrofit through the federal government and up to $5000 provincially.
Many Alberta homeowners are willing to do these energy saving renovations if they get refunded or can acquire the grants to do so. This shows the environmental awareness of Alberta citizens and the need for increased savings, not only to the environment but monetary as well.
These types of retrofit renovations include upgrading roofing, siding, insulation, windows, furnaces, hot water tanks and tankless hot water systems. Other more complex upgrades may include geothermal heating, wind turbines and solar power. The latter two are are eligible for buy backs from utility companies when there is extra power generated and given back to the grid.
Other benefits of eco-friendly homes are the year over year savings on utilities. Within the first year after renovation, homeowners will see up to 40% reductions in their utility bills. That can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings a year. Upgrading appliances can save homeowners even more. An energy star rated washer or dishwasher uses less water than older ones. Energy star rated dryers, fridges, and ranges pull less power to operate.
Lighting is another small change that can make a big change to the energy bills. LED bulbs use less power than the standard incandescent bulb with 85% more energy savings and can last 25x longer than traditional bulbs. CFL bulbs are another choice for energy savings and last 10x longer than incandescent. CFL bulbs need to be recycled and handled carefully, but many home improvement stores have bins set up for this purpose. Eco-Incandescent bulbs are a third option and can last longer than traditional bulbs.
While the goal for many is to reduce their carbon footprint, others find a bonus in the pocketbook as well with reduced bills, and acknowledgment of their eco-friendly decisions.
To view eco-friendly homes today, or to find ones to make eco-friendly, call the Real Estate Girls today! (403) 617-2979
March 7, 2016
Real Estate in NW Calgary
The current Calgary real estate market has seen an abundance of great homes for sale in NW Calgary with a wide range of listing types in most of the 55 NW Calgary communities. From bungalows and two story new builds, to apartment style condos and townhomes.
The NW quadrant of Calgary, situated west of Centre St N and North of the bow river contains many newer communities including Panorama Hills , Arbor Lake, Royal Oak, Kincora, and Evanston to name a few. Many of these neighborhoods, while already established still have new homes going up which was a percentage of the new build homes for sale in NW Calgary in the previous two years.
The community of Panorama Hills had a population of 23, 130 in 8063 dwellings in 2014. This included single family homes, apartment condos and townhouses. The community is located north of Country Hills Blvd, south of Stony Trail and west of Harvest Hills Blvd N. The amenities include Superstore, Vivo, formerly Cardel Place Recreation Center, and Landmark Theatre as well as various restaurants, and home renovation stores.
Panorama hills is a family oriented community. Home buyers looking at real estate in NW Calgary, will be welcomed with community play grounds, walking paths, and both catholic and public elementary schools. It is also home to the state of the art Notre Dame High School which is a catholic school that prides itself in its athletics, music, and technology programs.
Another notable facility is a private community center for registered members of the Northstar Community Association, the Genstar Community center. This facility is home to a water spray park, beach volleyball court, basketball courts, a picnic area, and a children's playground. In the winter members can enjoy the skating pond and a tobogganing run. The interior of the facility has state of the art audio visual systems, and two rooms available for rent to the association members which each have 50 person capacities.
The average single family home price in Panorama Hills is $564, 914 with an average of 45 days on market. The area also has many apartment and townhouse style condos for sale. Average prices on a apartment condo is $252, 885, while a townhouse averages $356, 207 with average days on market of 50+ days.
NW Calgary real estate is very popular in today's market. The range of styles and prices are suited to all home buyers. The communities reflect the various homes for sale in NW Calgary. They all have unique styles and hold their own individual charm and appeal.
To look at some of the great homes in the NW, contact the Real Estate Girls today! (403) 617-2979
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