Posted on April 7, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
Calgary is a city known for its luxury real estate listings. Every so often, these listings garner media attention. One such listing is the $30 Million Kestrel Ridge Farms located just 30 minutes from downtown Calgary in the SW.
This grand equestrian estate on 169 acres is an awe inspiring sight. From the 11, 828 sq ft luxury log home to the world class operational equestrian facility which hosts the International Clinicians for Dressage, every inch of this estate s like stepping into a dream
the main house has 6 bedrooms, 5 full baths, and one half bath. There is a two story library, a gourmet kitchen, royal dining room, and an indoor 15 x 30 salt water pool. The pool area is also a magnificent sight and includes a waterfall, a hot tub, fibre optic starlight ceiling, sound system, sauna, steam shower, guest change room with bath, and a wet bar.
The grounds of this magnificent home has a cookhouse and outdoor picnic area, basketball and tennis courts, compete with sound system, groomed riding trails, and a natural trout pond. There is even a 3700 sq ft guest house.
The views from the main house are as breathtaking as one would expect. The snow capped Rocky Mountains and rolling valleys of the foothills, the elbow river close by all surround this piece of paradise.
The home and grounds reflect the dedication of the owners that make this more than a home and turnkey business, but a dedication to the love of all things western and equestrian. From the moment you drive through iron gate you know you are home.
If you would like to experience this or any other luxury homes for sale, contact the Real Estate Girls today. (403) 617-2979
Posted on March 23, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
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
Posted on March 22, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
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
Posted on March 16, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
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
Posted on March 14, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
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
Posted on March 11, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
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
Posted on March 7, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
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
Posted on February 29, 2016 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
Calgary is an old city. Its roots date back to the late 1800's. Many of the buildings and homes in the city were made of sandstone or wood. The city which began with the building of fort Calgary and developed outward around the convergence of the Bow and Elbow rivers are the epitome of the city. It is no coincidence that this area, now known as the Rivers District, is the center of the city's main revitalization project.
The communities of the East Village, Victoria Park, Erlton, and the Beltline are all part of the revitalization projects in various forms, from building or remodeling apartment buildings and condos, to improving area parks, walking paths, and transit.
These efforts will update renew the areas vitality with all kinds of businesses and services, essentially breathing new life into an out of date area. Condos for sale in these areas will appeal to young professionals, seniors and families who want the convenience of the downtown amenities.
The amenities of the Rivers District revitalization will include businesses like restaurants, shopping, and services of all types. It will also make improvements to Fort Calgary – the beginning of this fine city; and the stampede grounds – the fame of the city. A new state of the art library will be a beacon of the future with a unique design that will be a literal cornerstone of knowledge in the city.
The Rivers District revitalization project has been in planning and development since early 2000's and has already proven to be a positive move in the right direction. The floods of 2013, while devastating, only made the need for the project more important. Three years later, the progress has been an amazing positive change.
Across the river, Bridgeland has been going through its own revitalization, with many new condos being built. These new buildings will have commercial space on the main floor, making convenience to amenities a priority.
With Calgary's age and population defining factors of the revitalization efforts, the new life of these areas is a breath of fresh air.
Find out more about the revitalization of Calgary, contact the Real Estate Girls today! (403) 617-2979
Posted on May 20, 2015 by Kim Avery, Calgary Real Estate
Do you have a renovation project in mind – and wonder how much value it will add to your home? Remodeling Magazine recently did a study of renovation projects, comparing costs to added value. Here are some of the results:
Replacing a main entry door has a return on investment of over 95%. After all, the entrance to a home is one of the first things a prospective buyer notices.
Adding a new deck also adds a lot of value. Depending on the materials used, you can expect to get back three-quarters of the money invested.
Another high-payback project is the garage door. This once again demonstrates the importance of a home’s “curb appeal.”
If you’re tackling a big project, such as a basement renovation, you’ll be glad to know that, according to the study, a project like this adds a lot of value.
Finally, minor improvements to bathrooms and kitchens – such as adding new countertops or cupboards, can also be good investments that mostly pay back when you sell your home.
Of course, these figures are averages and can vary widely depending on location, type of property, and other factors.
Need help determining how a particular home improvement might impact the selling price? Call today.
We all can remember Halloween as children, the orange and black paper cutouts, costumes and candies galore! But it is actually celebrated differently in other countries. For many nations around the world, this festive fun-filled day is a celebration of spirits, a time to honour the dead. We in America have turned it into a meaningless night of play, and for some, destruction.
Halloween is believed to date back to about 1745 of Christian origin when the Celtics had Harvest Festivals and Festivals of the Dead. Originally called Hallowmas, it was also known as Triduum of All Hallows, which derives as a religious observance lasting for three days. These three days of Hallowmas includes All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Day and All Soul's Day, which lasts from October 31 to November 2 every year. The dates of Hallowmas were established in the 8th Century AD.
The tradition of dressing up in costumes, going door to door dates back to the 1800s in Scotland at Halloween, where children and poor people would sing and say prayers for the dead in return for cakes, fruit and money.
By the 1930s, people turned the occasion into chaos with vandalism and a 'ritual begging' for treats. Even today, the phrase "Trick or Treat' suggests an odious threat.
According to Wikipedia, the earliest known use of the term "trick or treat" appeared in 1927, from Blackie, Alberta, in the following article:
"Hallowe’en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc., much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word “trick or treat” to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing." (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trick_or_treat writes "'Trick or Treat' Is Demand," Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), November 4, 1927, p. 5, dateline Blackie, Alberta, Nov. 3.)
The term 'Trick or Treat' did not start in North America until the early 1950s.
In Austria, people leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before bed.
In Belgium, it is customary to light candles in memory of relatives who have passed.
In Canada, the 1800s brought the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants along with their celebrations of Halloween which includes carving jack O'Lanterns, decorating homes with pumpkins and corn stalks, and trick or treating.
In China, Halloween is called Teng Chieh where food and water are placed in front of photographs of dead family members and bondfires and lanters are lit to light the paths for spirits to travel the earth on that night. Buddhist worshippers fold boats from paper which are burned in the late hours to remember the dead and to free the spirits that are stuck on earth and guide them to heaven. Monks chant sacred verses while offerings of fruit are presented.
In Czechoslovakia, one chair is placed for each living family member by the fireside and another chair for each family member's spirit.
In England, many years ago, children made "punkies" from large beetroots and carry them through the streets singing the "Punkie Night Song" and knocked on doors asking for money. In some areas, turnip lanters were placed at gates to protect homes from evil spirits. Other customs included tossing objects into a bonfire to frighten spirits away which was also believed to tell your fortune. In modern day England, the act of "trick or treating" has become a popular tradition among the children although many of the older generation does not understand why they are being asked for candy.
In France, they do not celebrate Halloween and is regarded as an "American" holiday.
In Germany, knives are put away to prevent any harm to the returning spirits.
In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, it is a night of celebration for all. Bonfires are lit as they were hundreds of years ago, children dressed up in costumes to go "trick or treating" in their neighbourhoods, playing tricks on their neighbours, and parties with games such as "snap-apple", treasure hunts, and card games. The traditional "barnbrack", a type of fruitcake, is also eaten on Halloween.
In Japan, the "Obon Festival" celebrates the spirits of ancestors with special foods and bright red lanters hung everywhere. Lanters lit with candles are placed in rivers and seas. A fire is lit every night of the festival to show ancestors the way back to their families. This festival takes place during July or August and not on October 31st.
In Korea, "Chusok" is when families thank their ancestors for their prosperities with offerings of rice and fruits at their tombs. This festival takes place in the month of August.
In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, Halloween is known as "El Dia de los Muertos" considered a happy and joyous holiday to remember friends and family who have passed. It is a three day celebration beginning October 31 to November 2 (All Souls' Day). On this day, the dead are believed to return to their homes, so many families build an altar in their home, decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, water, and the favourite foods and drinks of the deceased. They burn candles and incense to help the spirits find their way home. Relatives also take this time to tidy up the gravesites. Another celebration is to parade a coffin with a live person in it through the streets collecting fruits, flowers and candies. On November 2, the family gathers at the gravesite for a picnic.
In Sweden, "Alla Helgons Dag" is celebrated from October 31 to November 6 and the eve is also celebrated with a shortened working day. The Friday prior is a short day for universities but a day off for school-age children.
However you choose to celebrate Halloween, please make it a safe one!
Calgary Real Estate Board says communities outside city setting records
New figures released by the Calgary Real Estate Board show third quarter home sales in outlying areas around Calgary reached historic heights, mostly due to lack of affordable options in the city.
Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks all recorded the highest third-quarter sales activity on record, led by single-family home sales.
Calgary Real Estate Board officials say while there is no evidence to suggest people are leaving Calgary for surrounding areas in significant numbers yet, affordability is becoming a major concern for home buyers in the region. And outlying communities traditionally have lower taxes than Calgary.
“People are moving to the area … a lot of people are buying in Calgary, but some people who either can’t afford the prices in Calgary or who are looking for different type of lifestyle, are choosing to look at the surrounding towns,” said Calgary Real Estate Board spokesman Doug Firby.
Firby says tight Calgary rental markets combined with a declining supply of affordable single-family homes in the city contributed to the growth in the third quarter. Additional demand after the June flood further boosted growth in more affordable communities.
“Rental units in Calgary are at a virtual zero per cent,” Firby said. “It really is a question of affordability.”
Earlier in the mayoral campaign Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi laughed off suggestions by some economists that high property tax increases and issues of affordability for Calgary real estate could force people to move to more suburban areas around the city. On Wednesday, Nenshi said he wasn’t concerned with the new numbers that show record sales in outlying areas.
“They’re starting from a very small base,” Nenshi said. “Calgary still has greater than 90 per cent of the population of the region …”
As of September, a typical single-family home in surrounding towns reached $351,400, a year-over-year increase of five per cent, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. Meanwhile, Calgary single-family homes benchmark prices totaled $463,700 in September, a seven per cent increase over the previous year.
Numbers show weaker activity in High River following the floods did not outweigh the aggregate gains recorded in the surrounding towns. Sales in surrounding towns totaled to 1,288 units, 22 per cent higher than third-quarter sales in 2012.
But home sales figures in outlying areas is ultimately good for the entire region, said CREB’s chief economist.
“The entire region has benefited from the economic prosperity, as employment gains and stronger than expected net migration has supported housing demand,” said Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, price levels remain significantly lower than those in the city and are growing at a slower pace.”
Airdrie’s pricing for a single-family home reached $365,100, surpassing unadjusted highs recorded in 2007. Residential sales in Airdrie increased 14 per cent over the previous year, totaling 1,058 units. 80 per cent of sales activity was attributed to single-family home sales, of which more than 60 per cent were priced below $400,000.
Sales in Cochrane also increased seven per cent over 2012. However, Cochrane’s new home listings increased significantly, preventing erosion of inventory levels there compared to the other towns. New product sales accounted for 20 per cent of the transactions recorded in Cochrane, higher than Airdrie, Okotoks and Calgary. Pricing for a single family home in Cochrane averaged $405,933, a five per cent increase over the previous year.
Rise in new listings prevents further tightening in the resale market
City of Calgary residential sales totaled 1,923 units in September, 19 per cent higher than last year and 14 per cent higher than long-term averages for the month.
While sales activity over the past three months has been above long-term trends, it was less so in September than in July and August.
"The impact of the floods likely boosted sales throughout July and August, and it appears as though some of that additional demand is starting to ease," said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® chief economist. "Nonetheless, sales growth remains strong, in part because net migration has been stronger than anticipated and rental product is in short supply."
As Calgary’s market remains in seller’s territory, a notable shift is occurring with new listings. While monthly levels of new listings have been declining since 2011, over the past three months the levels of new listings have improved. The growth was not enough to cause any significant changes in inventory levels, but it has helped prevent further tightening in the market.
"The increase in new listings has given buyers more choice," said Becky Walters, CREB® President.
Activity varies by community, property type and price. Consumers searching for lower-priced single family homes often have to adjust expectations or consider alternative communities or property types. While many buyers think the seller’s market conditions should lead to a significant price premium for their property, consumers remain price sensitive.
"Selection is limited in the lower price ranges, but choice has improved for higher prices homes," said Walters.
Condominium apartment and townhouse sales totaled a respective 3,147 and 2,494 after the first three quarters of the year. Year-to-date sales growth is more than double the levels recorded in the single family sector.
"The condominium market offer affordable options for consumers in the city, and the growth reflect that," said Walters. "But keep in mind condominiums still represent less than one-third of residential sales within city limits."
Single family sales totaled 13,006 units after the first three quarters of the year, a 6.7 per cent increase over the previous year. Single family sales increased in the third quarter, while the first two quarters were on pace with activity in 2012.
"Tight market conditions have supported price growth in the Calgary market," said Lurie. "But the pace of unadjusted monthly growth has eased in September."
"While prices show strong year-over-year gains, if the level of new listings continues to improve relative to sales activity, prices should level off for the remainder of the year."
Condominium apartment prices totaled $272,900 in September, a 9.5 per cent increase over 2012 and 0.9 per cent higher than August figures.
Meanwhile, single family and condominium prices totaled a respective $463,700 and $299,100, similar to unadjusted levels recorded in August and more than seven per cent higher on a year-over-year basis.
A new condominium project located along Memorial Drive, just west of the Louise Bridge could mean the loss of 13 heritage homes between 1134 and 1160 Memorial Drive NW.
The Dobbin Group developers has applied for a rezoning of the strip of properties to make way for a development of a 70 unit Chicago-style brownstones condo project. The development proposes a three to four storey complex with a 96-stall underground parkade, a central courtyard, and rooftop patios.
Their development is intended to create a "strong historical inspiration and massing appropriate for the Kensington area". The 'Memorial Drive Brownstones' offers a unique opportunity to relocate the beautiful homes that were undamaged from the recent flood and moved elsewhere to replace damaged existing character homes. These homes, would otherwise, be levelled. Preserving these beautiful homes through relocation is an excellent solution to the area's high demand for housing and offers a green alternative to building new.
Residents in the area have some concerns with this project though. They are worried that the higher density would result in more traffic on an already congested street. Spokeswoman for the project, Jennifer Dobbin is proposing additional access points halfway through the complex off Memorial Drive to ease congestion.
Cynthia Klaassen, president of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society, said relocating these century-old homes would be a huge loss for the community.
“And if you get rid of them, the community becomes like any other." said Klaassen.
“It is heritage homes like this that make Hillhurst-Sunnyside such a fabulous place to visit, to enjoy and to live in. They make the neighbourhood what it is.”
Lorna Cordeiro, a community resident and member of the Hillhurst-Sunnyside heritage task force, added that the Edwardian-style homes bring an important diversity and unique flavour to the community’s architecture.
“It’s about respecting the people that founded our community. Many of them lived in these homes.”
Dobbin said the new brownstones will have plenty of character and better support the community's new transit-oriented redevelopment plan.
The residents however are unphased with the whole idea and continue to wonder if this redevelopment plan will maintain the rich history these heritage homes hold in this community.
For the first time since introducing the device that changed cellphones forever, Apple will offer two distinct versions of the latest iPhones — a cheaper one made of plastic and another that aims to be "the gold standard of smartphones" and reads your fingerprint.
Apple unveiled the latest iPhone models, available on Sept. 20 in Canada, during an event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The move comes as the company tries to fend off Samsung and other competitors that want to challenge Apple in the competitive smartphone market. The lower-cost iPhone 5C is expected to help boost sales in China and other areas where people don't have as much money to spend on new gadgets as they do in North America and Europe.
Research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that Apple had a 14.4 per cent share of the world's smartphone market in the second quarter of this year, No. 2 behind Samsung's 31.7 per cent.
The lower-cost iPhone 5C will be available in five colours — green, blue, yellow, pink and white. CEO Tim Cook calls it "more fun and colorful" than any other iPhone. The 5C has a 10-centimetre Retina display and is powered by Apple's A6 chip. It also has an 8-megapixel camera, live photo filters and a rear cover that lights up.
In the U.S., the iPhone 5C will cost $99 US for a 16 gigabyte model and $199 US for a 32 gigabyte model with a two-year wireless contract. Canadian pricing with a contract is not yet available but without a contract the phone starts at $599.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek called the phones "lovely," but said in a note to investors that the $99 minimum price for the 5C is "is higher than expected and still leaves Apple with a product gap in the low-end."
New A7 chip
The second phone, the 5S, is "the most forward-looking phone we have ever created," said Phil Schiller, senior vice-president of worldwide marketing at Apple. It will come in silver, gold and "space grey" and run a new chip, the A7 that is up to twice as fast as the A6.
For buyers entering a two-year contract with a wireless carrier in the U.S., the the 5S will cost $199 US for 16 gigabytes of memory, $299 US for 32 and $399 US for 64. Canadian prices with a contract have not been released but without a contract the phone starts at $719.
Schiller said the new phone can run more health and fitness applications. These apps have become increasingly popular as more people use them to track exercise routines, calorie intake and even sleep patterns.
The camera in the 5S received some major upgrades, including several automatic features designed to produce better photos. It has a larger pixels and a larger aperture, which helps capture more light. The phone also has a "true-tone" flash feature that is designed not to clash with the colours in the room or a person's skin colour — something Schiller said has not been done on a phone before.
The camera, called iSight, has "auto image stabilization," which helps avoid blurry pictures, and a slow-motion camera for video. A "burst mode" can take 10 frames per second as long as you hold your finger on the shutter, then find the best one in your camera roll.
The 5S also includes "Touch ID," which reads fingerprints at a "detailed level," Schiller said. He said it is "fun and easy" to teach the 5S about your fingerprint and once you do, you can just touch the home button to unlock the phone. The company said fingerprints will not be stored on its servers.
Tying the fingerprint scanner to payments could also open new revenue channels for Apple.
Both models will be on sale on Sept. 20 in the U.S., Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and U.K. Apple said this is the first time that a new phone has been available right away in China — a sign of the growing importance of that market to the company. People will be able to order the 5C in advance on Friday, but not the 5S.
Here's an article I found to be so interesting from the Financial Post. It compares real estate to investing in the stock market.
Here are some tips he offered based on both his recent real estate transaction and his stock market background:
1. It is very important to do your own research. Basically do not base all your facts on published articles. They are generalized for the market as a whole and not specifically focused on your location and the type of property you are trying to sell. Ask your realtor for help and conduct your own search for comparable properties.
2. Understand the bid and the ask. Comparing it to trading an illiquid stock, know the real value of the property you are buying or selling
3. Don’t try to time the market. Don't sit on the fence too long when trading stocks or real estate. You might miss the opportunity for a great investment.
4. Know the difference between momentum and value. Understand the long term value of the property you are buying or selling.
5. There is value in getting professional help. Look for professional hope when it comes to understanding all the challenges of dealing in the stock market or real estate. Interview several professionals and make sure you are comfortable with the one you hire. He or she should take the time to answer all of your questions.
Read Martin Pelletier's full article at http://business.financialpost.com/2013/09/09/5-similarities-between-real-estate-and-investing/
There really is no shortage of wealth in Canada and, by extension, Alberta.
The Great White North was ranked seventh in the world in an international list released in May of the countries with the most millionaires.
Not surprisingly, as the fledgeling economic engine of the country, Alberta has its share of wealth makers as well.
According to 2012 figures and rankings from Canadian Business magazine, Forbes, MSN Money, Wikipedia and WealthInsight, there are reportedly seven billionaires — with a 'b' — living in Wild Rose Country, and countless others who count their wealth in the hundreds of millions.
Though most of them have at least one finger in the oil and gas industry — that which blesses Alberta with its present fortunes — there are also those who have made their wealth in real estate, coffee, pharmacies, broadcasting, utilities.
What many of them do have in common is sports.
Oil and gas tycoon Clay Riddell, as well as energy giant Murray Edwards both own stakes in the Calgary Flames.
One of the wealthiest men in the province is also one of the most polarizing. Daryl Katz, of Rexall fortunes, is getting massive help from taxpayers to build a new arena for his Edmonton Oilers.
Ron Southern, patriarch of the ATCO group, is also the man behind Spruce Meadows, often cited as one of the top showjumping venues in the world.
With a reported worth estimated at $0.67 billion, Allan Markin barely makes the list of wealthiest Albertans. But he too is part owner of the Calgary Flames.
Of note is the fact most of those who made the list are self-made men, formerly plugging away as regular Joes, and eventually turning their efforts into millions. A good example is Ron Joyce, a former cop who ended up turning that ever-popular police pastime of doughnuts and coffee into a cash fountain, a most Canadian of Canadian icons known as Tim Hortons.
Others, well, they don't even get paid for their efforts.
Of Boardwalk REIT wealth and fame, Canadian Business said "Sam Kolias is a compensation committee's dream. He draws no salary, bonus or unit-based compensation. Yet since becoming chair and CEO in 1984 he has grown Boardwalk's market cap from $200,000 to more than $2 billion, and the value of his stake accordingly."
It's also worth noting that none of the top 11 wealthiest residents in Alberta are women. Equality, it seems, still has too high a price.
Availability in more affordable price bands drove stronger sales growth in Calgary’s resale condominium market in July, says the president of the Calgary Real Estate Board.
“Clients looking for affordable homes are considering community, product and price,” says Becky Walters in a news release. “While there are affordable single-family homes in some communities, some may prefer condominiums in the same price range so they can live in a preferred community or get a home that requires less renovation.”
Walters points to the fact that year-to-date, there have been more new listings priced under $400,000 in the condominium sector than in the single-family market.
In July, a total of 693 condominium apartments and townhouses sold in Calgary, a combined increase of 26 per cent over the previous year, and a year-to-date growth of 16 per cent.
The growing demand for resale condos and townhouses led to a tightening of supply in July.
That month’s active listings in the multi-family (apartment- and townhome-style condos) segment declined to 768 and 407 units, respectively. In July, the 398 condo sales were up 27.9 per cent year-over-year from 311 sales.
With this type of housing in a sellers’ market, sellers earned on average 97.3 per cent of their list price, up 0.56 per cent over last year. The average price in July for condos was $302,058, up 5.5 per cent from $286,231 during the same time last year.
In the townhouse segment, total sales were up 23.4 per cent this July, to 295 deals from 239 a year ago. The average price rose 7.9 per cent to $327,570 in July, compared to $303,380 last year, keeping the market firmly in sellers’ territory.
The Calgary community with the most condo sales (including apartment-style and townhouse) in July was Connaught, in the city’s southwest, with 50 sales averaging $358,862. The second highest seller was McKenzie Towne in the southeast, with 29 sales averaging $266,377. Country Hill Village, in the northeast, was third, with 20 sales averaging $276,625.
DID YOU KNOW?
In July, 693 resale condo apartments and townhouses in Calgary changed hands, Calgary Real Estate Board data show. Of these, Zone C, roughly the city’s southwest, saw the most transactions with 329 sales averaging $349,920. Zone A, roughly the northwest, had 218 sales averaging $301,663. Zone D in the southeast, had 99 sales averaging $270,871. And Zone B in the northeast had the fewest transactions, with 47 sales averaging $194,675.
In today's competitive market, a home that shows well is the difference between a few weeks on the market and six months.
It is not enough anymore to just put on a quick coat of paint and a good cleaning. There are other elements that buyers are looking for. These days, it could either be a warm feeling they get, or the look of space or comfort. Whatever it is, you need to inspire the buyer's imagination so they can picture themselves living there.
The three key rooms that you should focus on when staging to sale are the kitchen, master bedroom and family room.These three rooms have the highest expectations so they should have priority over the rest of the rooms.
The first top on the tour should have the most impact, whether it is the kitchen or the family room. Visitors should say "WOW!!!" as soon as they enter the house. This is your opportunity to capture their attention and curiousity to tour more of the house.
Here are some tips:
• Add a fireplace – this one element creates an inviting focal point with wow power. If you don't have an existing fireplace, electric is the way to go –and this change can be yours in a flash. Innovative companies like Dimplex, for example, offer a number of designer options for every décor style. The plug-and-play designs make installation a breeze.
• Paint – You've heard it before, a fresh coat of paint will give your rooms a clean, inviting look. White or neutral is a safe bet, but consider creating an accent wall surrounding your fireplace for real impact.
• Remnant rug – A new rug can warm up the room, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Check out carpet showrooms, as you will usually find remnants of carpet that have been bound. A neutral rug will help to ground the space.
• Accessories – Clean and modest is key. Simple groupings of pillows, candles and frames, and a throw will make the space appear polished, but lived in. Personal photos and half burnt candles are a no-no.
• Flowers – People love seeing live plants and flowers in the family room. It gives a sense of life and good energy.
Nothing is more delightful than finding something beautiful to do a functional job. The all-important locks on exterior doors are a prime example because finding just the right decorative door hardware is also going to keep you safe.
The first step before shopping is to plan out the entire task. Are you building a new home, moving to another house, or remodeling to improve the curb appeal – and the value? Outside and inside, this is the time to decide the most appealing combination of deadbolts, handlesets, knobs and levers.
Next step: tap the guidance of a good online resource. To readily find the style, colour, finish, security features – and even how they will look in various rooms – go to the Design Centre tab on the website of Schlage, a leading brand in this field. If Upgrading Your Home Security is the top priority, for example, here's a snapshot on how to do that:
Deadbolts = Maximum Defense
Install deadbolts on every entry door to the house. Choose models with the biggest, strongest bolt available, like those in the B60 series. Certified by ANSI, these deadbolts meet the Grade 1 performance standard which includes an increased latch bolt size for maximum kick-in resistance, as well as an anti-pick shield to protect the internal components from tampering. All models are sleek with contoured edges for added style – and for added beauty, homeowners can select from up to nine, attractive finishes.
Add the latest ultra-modern feature. With the fully loaded Touchscreen Deadbolt simply entering a code locks and unlocks letting you dispense with keys altogether. Other features include an anti-pick shield, an auto-lock option, a built-in alarm, warning alerts for low batteries – and you can also add capability for video surveillance, lights, heating, cooling and more. Beauty is served up in two distinct designs (Camelot and Century) both crafted to give a choice in colour and finish.
Now you can get the premium deadbolt with an audible alert. Take a look at the first-of-its-kind design called the Keyed Entry Lock With Built-In Alarm. Once programmed, you will instantly hear when someone goes in or out, tampers with your lock, or tries to force their way in. This ground-breaking innovation – in several eye-catching designs and finishes – is completely customizable from low to maximum security, at various sensitivity levels – and the alarm is right inside the lock offering a budget alternative to monthly security fees.
Be Smart Remotely
Use wireless technology to monitor your home security away from the premises. This is done by connecting your premium deadbolt to an Internet-based, monthly subscription service called Nexia Home Intelligence. From a mobile device, you will be able to see your property, lock and unlock doors, pre-schedule the monitoring for specific times every day, and receive text alerts when the alarm is triggered.
Additional information is available at consumer.schlage.com.
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.