Pretty nice garage eh? It's not mine. I'm not brave enough to actually post a picture of mine. My garage does have a 1974 AMC Matador Coupe that is in year 13 of it's 5 year restoration.
I am a self-admitted Car Guy. There are many support groups, but most don't help quash the habit. I do identify myself as a maker. In my free time I love making things either in my own garage, or down at Calgary's Makerspace. Some of them are useful, some are only useful as conversation pieces.
Some of my projects include clever names like:
"Winnecargo", our cargo trailer that matches our 1973 Winnebago Brave,
"Minnibago" which is a scratch build of an electric go-kart that is also styled in retro rv.
"The Mini" is our 73 Austin Mini MKII, that has been put on a Suzuki 4x4 chassis with 35" tires.
If you ever want to hear me talk for an hour about a true love/hate relationship, ask about "Rumbot" The rum and coke camping robot.
Last night I had to pickup a $2.00 washer from home depot, and left with a new Miluakee impact wrench. I know how you feel. I'm there with you. I have given up, I have finally outgrown my garage. I started looking through the MLS for a new home with a three car garage and decided that it also needed to be a dedicated search function on my real estate website.
So here you go my fellow gear heads, collectors, pack-rats and horders:
If you are looking at also making the move to a bigger garage with a house beside it, feel free to give me a call. I also have a private client search available that is specific to homes with a large lot size that is perfect for building your own custom "Garage-mahal". Give me a call if you would like to be added to this private search notification.
Open houses are the best way to showcase your home to potential buyers, so you want to make sure you leave a good impression. Here are ten tips to help you better prepare your home for an Open House:
1) Empty half your clothes from the closet
Closet space is important, so potential buyers are sure to peak. By removing half your clothing, and ensuring everything is neat and tidy, you make your closets look bigger and more spacious.
2) Let in lots of natural light
Natural light makes even the smallest apartment feel larger and more welcoming, so be sure you draw back the curtains and open the blinds in every room. Being able to see out the windows also makes rooms feel larger.
3) Hide evidence of Fido and Fluffy
Not all people are pet lovers. Pet hair, food and water dishes, and toys can make a home feel unkempt and cluttered. Be especially cognizant of pet related odors, since a dirty litter box or a wet dog smell can quickly put off potential buyers.
4) Make your home as neutral as possible
Potential buyers that attend your Open House are going to try to picture themselves living there. Remove personal items, like family photos, so that your potential buyers are better able to imagine their own life there. Also, while you don’t need to completely redecorate try and hide items that aren’t very neutral. You may think that singing bass your uncle bought you for your birthday is hilarious, but your potential buyers may disagree.
5) Make sure your home is clean
Things like dust, grime and fingerprints are off putting, and do not present your home in a positive light. Make sure you thoroughly clean the entire house before each Open House, and be sure to pay close attention to often overlooked places like the downstairs storage cupboard and the cupboards under sinks. Potential buyers who are seriously considering purchasing your home are going to thoroughly inspect your home, so you want to make sure everything is in order.
6) Don’t forget curb appeal
The exterior of your house offers potential buyers a first impression. Make sure any children’s toys are neatly stashed away, and that your grass is cut or your sidewalk shoveled based on the time of year. Consider adding some welcoming decorations, like placing potted flowers on the front step or hanging a festive wreath from the door in order to make your home feel warm and welcoming.
7) Go the extra mile
Ironing your duvet cover and tea towels may seem excessive, but little touches like that can really add polish to your home. Make sure jars and cans are neatly organized in your pantry, and do your best to tame the tupperware and junk drawers. If you own a lot of stuff you might even consider storing some of it at a friend or relative’s home temporarily in order to reduce the amount of clutter you need to deal with before each Open House.
8) Fix what is broken
Even small things like squeaky doors, leaky taps and loose knobs can leave a bad impression. Small, easily fixed problems that have not been dealt with may make potential buyers wonder what other, larger, problems may be lurking. Take a weekend and repair these small things before your first Open House. You may also consider adding a fresh coat of paint to both the interior and exterior of your home. Fresh paint makes any space look brighter, cleaner and more well maintained.
9) Consider rearranging
The key to making any space feel larger is reducing the amount of stuff in it. Consider removing large sectional chesterfields or other large, dominating pieces of furniture. Items like these make rooms feel smaller than they actually are, and can leave potential buyers feeling cramped. If you can afford it, consider hiring a professional stager and potentially renting furniture that will best show off your home’s assets.
10) Add the finishing touches
The day of the Open House purchase one or several bouquets of freshly cut flowers. A bouquet in the kitchen, and one in the living room make any home feel fresh and welcoming. Also, consider setting out food and drinks for potential buyers. A cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day, or some warm coffee or hot chocolate on a cold winter afternoon not only make potential buyers feel welcome and at home but also makes them more likely to stick around longer. You should also be sure to secure any valuables and prescription medications in a safe place before potential buyers arrive. And last, but not least, be sure to leave. It is much easier for your Realtor work their magic if you aren’t hovering around potential buyers pointing out all the positive qualities of your home. Realtors know when to intervene and chat with potential buyers and when to let them explore on their own.
At the end of the day you want to make sure your home feels neutral, clean, uncluttered and welcoming. Creating a pleasant space that potential buyers can easily seem themselves living happily in is what will seal the deal. Also, ask your Realtor for any advice he or she may have on staging your home for an Open House, and take advantage of their expertise.
Renting your first apartment, or purchasing your first condo, can be a daunting task. With so many things to worry about and keep track of the experience can seem overwhelming. Click here to visit our listing of available Apartments and Apartment Condos. To help you select a good apartment here are 4 things to remember:
1) Don’t go alone
Especially if you are inexperienced at apartment hunting it helps to bring a friend or relative along who has purchased their own place before. Hire a REALTOR® that has experience in buying and selling condos and the intricacies that go with it.
2) Talk to your potential neighbours if you can
If you are seriously considering an apartment or condo try and talk to some of your potential neighbours when viewing the property. Introduce yourself and explain why you are there, then ask them general questions about the building. Is the place in good repair? Do they have any complaints about their neighbours? What is the social scene like?
3) Go over the paperwork carefully
Your REALTOR will go over all of the details of your offer with you before you sign it. You will often have a condition of a condominium document review, which will allow the seller some time to obtain all of the documents related to the unit. You will then be able to examine the documents, and send them for a professional review if you choose. Some of the bylaws of the Condominium corporation will effect you directly. Can you have pets? What if you have, or decide you want to have, children. Will they be welcome in the building?
4) Research the neighbourhood
Make sure the neighbourhood is safe, and that you can easily access the services you need. How far away is the grocery store? If you have children, how far away is the nearest school? You should also check the crime rate in your neighbourhood. The Calgary Police Service offers an up to date Crime Map of the city, which shows how many of each crime occurred in each neighbourhood in the last year.
Purchasing your first condo, will be less stressful if you follow these tips. If something ever doesn’t feel right you shouldn’t risk it. The last thing you want to is get stuck with an unit that is not right for you.
It's that time of year again! The annual Calgary Real Estate Board Housing Forecast.
2020 was a year of surprises, with the slumpped oil prices and a world wide pandemic, many speculated that the Calgary housing market was poised to take a hit. While Calgary did not break any records, it did hold steady, and even posted a stronger than expected rebound the 2nd half of the year.
Going forward into 2021, it is expected that some of the momentum will continue. Driven by low interest rates, low inventory levels, and high buyer demand.
“It is expected some of the momentum recorded at the end of 2020 will continue into 2021, fueled by exceptionally low lending rates and pent-up demand,” “While sales are expected to rise by nearly five per cent on an annual basis in 2021, persistent economic challenges are expected to prevent stronger growth in our housing market.” said Ann-Marie Lurie, CREB® Chief Economist.
As 2021 continues, I would expect to see inventory levels start to rise again. As Canada continues with COVID-19 vaccinations and spread of the virus starts to ease, markets should begin to return to balance.
Growth in supply is expected to offset some of the gains in sales, pushing our market to the upper bounds of balanced conditions and slowing price recovery. However, the price gains that occurred at the end of 2020 are not expected to be eroded and 2021 annual prices are forecasted to improve by over one per cent.
Here is a link to the entire CREB® 2021 Forecast.
“This year has been filled with twists and turns all over the world. The Calgary housing market was no exception,” said Alan Tennant, CREB® President and CEO.
Now that you have found a wonderful new home you need to coordinate your move. Though it may be tempting to just stuff everything in boxes this strategy can make unpacking a nightmare. To help make your move go smoothly try these 5 helpful tips that will help you pack like a pro.
Pack an overnight bag
Packing an overnight bag helps ensure your first morning goes smoothly. Especially if you have to rush off to work the next day you don’t want to be frantically hunting for things. By being prepared you can reduce the amount of move related stress you experience and focus on unpacking and organizing your new home.
Pack the stuff you will need right away in a clear, or clearly marked bin
Chose a bin that will really stand out from all the other boxes so that you can easily find it in the post move chaos. This bin should contain the things you will need right away, such as toiletries, basic cooking items, medications, more clothes and a full set of bedding. This will help you get at least somewhat settled right away and let you focus on what needs to be done.
Label your boxes intelligently
Being confronted with twenty boxes labeled “kitchen” doesn’t make it easy to find the specific item you need. Try and group related items together and either label your boxes with their contents (ie: Kitchen - pots and pans) or assign each box a number and create a spreadsheet detailing the contents of all your boxes. Finding a specific item is much easier when you know exactly which box it is in, and saves you time because you don’t need to open every single box in order to find it. Numbering each box also helps you ensure that no boxes get lost or stolen while you are moving.
Use a colour coding system and clearly label bedrooms
If you hire movers to help you move colour coding boxes makes it much easier for them to figure out which boxes belong in each room. Brightly coloured duct tape makes colour coding easy, and gives you a convenient place to write the room designation for each box. If your new home has several bedrooms it is also helpful to label these as well. Use a piece of paper and a bit of sticky tack to clearly label the door of each room. That way your movers know which area is the “Office” or “Katie’s Bedroom”, saving you time and effort later.
Wrap breakable items in clothing and bedding
Bubble wrap and newspapers work well for transporting breakable items, but mean you end up wasting a lot of valuable space. Since your clothing and bedding need to come with you anyways you might as well put them to good use. Opt for heavier items like scarves, sweaters and blankets. You should also try and choose items that won't easily wrinkle in order to save yourself a ton of extra ironing.
Photo Credit: "I got it!" by Meathead Movers
Ever wonder why your REALTOR® is looking in the closet? When I'm showing a buyer a property that I have never been in, they always catch me opening closets to peek around. No, I'm not some fashionista, I'm checking for signs that the home may have been used for the illegal manufacture of marijanua.
Some of the warning signs that I am keeping an eye out for, are any fresh drywall patches that may be present heading towards the attic space, as this is often where they will run vents to help mask odours coming from the property. I will always take a look around the pipes coming into the water meter, to see if there's any evidence of tampering to bypass the meter. Take a peek at the venting around the hot water tank to see if it looks like it has ever been used to supply additional Co2. I'll also try and observe the foundation walls, especially around the breaker panel, and where the main power enters the property to see if it has ever been altered.
There are a few other key indicators that we are looking for when browsing a property. Active signs of aggression in the home can be a sign of methamphetamine contamination.
While these quick inspections are by no means a replacement for a proper home inspection by a licensed home inspector, they are a great way that I can help my buyers identify a stigmatized property long before writing an offer or paying for a home inspection.
The Calgary Tower is one of Calgary’s most iconic buildings, gracing the skyline since it opened in 1968 and offers breathtaking views of the city. The observation deck, located 191 meters above ground, offers a 360 degree view of the entire city. The observation deck also boasts a glass floor, giving you a bird’s eye view of the downtown core.
Feeling hungry? The Calgary tower is home to two spectacular restaurants. Enjoy stunning city views and delectable dishes at the Sky 360 restaurant, located 155 meters above the ground and offers rotating views. The entire restaurant makes one full rotation every 45 minutes during lunch and every 60 minutes during dinner. Ruth’s Steak House, located on the second floor of the tower, offers wonderful meals and cosy hospitality.
General admission (ages 13 to 64) is $18, with seniors (65+) and children (4-12) enjoying lower admission rates ($16 for seniors, $9 for children). All children aged 3 and under are free. From September to June the Calgary Tower is open from 9am to 9pm, and for July and August it is open from 9am to 10pm. Parking is available nearby in the Tower Centre Parkade and the Tower is also easily accessed via several downtown C Train stations.
The Calgary Tower Gift Shop offers a wide selection of Calgary and Canada themed memorabilia, collectables and apparel. You are sure to find the perfect gift or keepsake to help you commemorate your visit.
The Calgary Tower also features a stunning LED light show, which runs every morning from 5am to sunrise and every evening from sunset to midnight. The lighting system is capable of both static and dynamic displays, and is offers a unique way for Calgarians to celebrate national holidays (such as Remembrance Day and Canada Day), cheer for local sports teams, support local festivals and raise awareness of important causes. This unique lighting system supplements the Tower’s gas powered flame, allowing for the city to reduce the amount of natural gas needed and helping create a greener city. The new lighting system is also 60% more efficient than the previous lighting system, reducing the city’s energy consumption.
How big is your home? How about the one you are purchasing? While most people can eyeball how big a property is they aren’t always accurate, and that accuracy can come back to haunt potential buyers. Multiple buyers in both Calgary and Edmonton have recently discovered that their properties are actually smaller than they were told when they purchased them. One woman, Pam Whelan, found out she had been duped. When she purchased her home in 2007 the advertisement said the property was 2580 square feet, but when she recently went to list the property on the market she found out it was actually only 2094 square feet. This significant 756 square foot difference meant that her home was actually valued at significantly less than she paid for it. When she did sell it was for much less than she had paid for it, despite putting nearly $130,000 into renovating the property.
To help protect buyers from misrepresented square footage the Real Estate Council of Alberta recently announced new guidelines regarding home measurement in the province. This standard will help ensure that consumers and real estate professionals are working with accurate and consistent property measurements when buying or selling homes. This will help people compare different properties accurately so they can better determine which property better suits their real estate needs.
Previous measuring guidelines were broad and open to interpretation. This meant that realtors employed various approaches to measuring properties and sometimes included things like patios, balconies, decks and parking spaces. This meant that many property square footages were artificially inflated, making homes sound larger and driving up prices.
The new measurement standards require realtors to:
Identify if the square footage is listed in metric or imperial, and require them to apply their chosen unit of measurement consistently.
Measure the outside surface of the exterior walls in order to determine square footage for single, detached properties.
Measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level for all properties with common walls such as half-duplexes, townhouses and apartments. Any additional area representations may be made assuming the exterior measurements.
Include floor levels that are entirely above grade and exclude floor levels if any portion of that floor falls below grade. Below grade levels may be measured, but this area may not be included in the RMS (Residential Measurement Standard) area.
Include all additions to the main structure and conversions of above grade areas within the structure, so long as they are weatherproof and suitable for year round use.
Differentiate between rooms with minimum 2.13m (7ft) ceilings and rooms whose ceilings are lower than that. If the ceiling is sloped the area with a floor to ceiling height of at least 1.52m (5ft) can be included in the RMS area provided there is a ceiling height of 2.13m (7ft) somewhere in the room.
Include extensions from the main structure that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 1.5m (5ft), such as cantilevers, bay and bow windows and dormers.
Exclude open areas that have no floor such as vaulted areas.
Now that you have all of your stuff has been carefully packed you actually need to move it all. This task may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are _ things you can do to help your move go smoothly.
If you want to get rid of it, do it at least two to six weeks in advance
Items that you want to sell should be put up on Craigslist, Kijiji or Ebay at least six weeks before you move in order to give you enough time to hopefully sell them. If you are donating items to charity arrange for a pickup at least two weeks before you move. You don’t want to waste time and energy moving items you are only going to part with right away
Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving
This will help ensure you don’t have any mail that gets lost or left behind once you move. You don’t want to be missing bills or other important items..
Make your last grocery run two weeks before the move
Moving food presents all sorts of new potential problems including spills and spoilage. Try and avoid moving as little food as possible so you can avoid throwing anything out. Unwanted non perishable items can be donated to the food bank.
Hire a sitter for the dog and the kids for same city moves
Children and pets can get underfoot, and that is the last thing you need while moving. Children in particular get bored easily, and while you are moving you don’t have a lot of extra time to keep them occupied. Hiring a sitter, or dropping them off at their grandparent’s house for the day means the move will go easier for you, your kids and your pets.
Defrost your refrigerator and deep freeze and remove any liquid at least a day in advance
The last thing you want is melted ice leaking all over your possessions. Plus, if your refrigerator and deep freeze don’t get a chance to dry before you move them they can start to smell pretty badly.
If you can, clean your new kitchen and bathroom in advance
Depending on when the old owners move out you may be able to get your keys a few days before you actually move in. Take this time to give your new kitchen and bathroom a good cleaning. It is much easier to clean these rooms when they are empty, and it saves you time on moving day.
Pack toiletries right
When packing your shampoo, conditioner and other leak prone items take the top off, place a layer of cling wrap over the opening and then re-secure the lid. Cosmetics such as powder compacts and eye shadows can also break easily during moves. To help prevent this take a cotton ball or pad and place it on top of the powder or eyeshadow before closing the lid. This reduces the amount of room the makeup has to move around and will cushion it from any blows.
Pack plates vertically like records
Instead of placing your plates down flat inside the box try placing them with the edges down. This reduces the likelihood of them getting broken in transit. Also, wrap each plate individually in bubble wrap, old newspaper or a t shirt to help cushion them.
When you first arrive set up a sort of “home base”. Get your sleeping stuff organized for the night and stow your overnight bag. Try and unpack your “right away stuff” before you go to bed so that you can easily get ready the next morning. Once you have your essentials unpacked tackle each room one at a time. This not only makes it easier to get things organized (since you aren’t going back and shuffling things around) it also makes it easier to see real progress, which offers a good morale boost.
In 2016 Calgary’s city council approved an additional secondary suites in the city. Out of 26 applications 21 were approved and 5 were rejected. Though the current lengthy approval process requires city council to approve each application individually, a process Mayor Naheed Nenshi clearly detests. However, the process is unlikely to change soon.
Legal secondary suites can be a boon to cities facing housing shortages and can offer a lower cost alternative to students and low income individuals seeking housing. It also allows homeowners to earn some extra money, which can be used to pay of debts like mortgages.
A secondary suite refers to an additional separate dwelling on a property that would typically only accommodate one dwelling unit. Secondary suites can take a variety of forms including Granny Suites (which are located above a detached garage) or single floor dwellings in a multiple floor home. Some landlords, particularly those with families, choose to rent out the basement and live in the upstairs portion of the home. Other landlords, such as childless couples or single individuals, may choose to live in the basement portion and rent out the larger upstairs area in order to maximize their rental income.
All secondary suites in Calgary must be approved by city council. If you are considering moving into a secondary suite you should ask the landlord if the suite is legal. Registered secondary suites are issued a registration sticker. The individually issued sticker will correspond with the address of the suite and can be verified online. Verified secondary suites meet all the minimum safety requirements, including:
Having at least one window in each bedroom. The window must be able to be opened to the outside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge. The window also must be unobstructed. This ensures that occupants can escape safely in case of a fire or other emergency.
Smoke alarms and fire detectors. Each unit must have its own smoke alarm and fire detector, and the alarms and detectors of all units must be connected so that if one is triggered the others will sound as well. All smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be inspected, tested and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.
At least one exit. Each unit within the building should have at least one exit that leads directly outside and every exit door should be able to swing inwards.
If you are considering creating a secondary suite on your property you can begin your application for a permit here.
What is a Rental Scam?
A rental scam typically involves a scammer trying to steal money from a prospective tenant by for an apartment that the scammer is not in a legal position to rent.
Common Red Flags
There are several things that can tip you off to whether or not someone is trying to scam you. You should pay close attention to these red flags. A potential scammer may:
Ask you to send money without having met anyone or seen the apartment. One variation on this tactic may be a prospective renter claiming they are out of town and cannot show you the apartment, but insisting you pay a deposit and fees in order to “hold” the apartment for you. Never rent a property without seeing it for yourself.
Seem too eager to lease the apartment to you. A reputable renter will at the very least want to know your Credit Score (which can be obtained from Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada. You should get your score from both. Most renters will also request that you verify that you are employed, which you can do by presenting your latest pay stub. You may also be asked to submit to a Criminal Background Check. If a renter doesn’t ask for any of these but is still willing to rent a unit to you you should be suspicious.
Ask you to pay an unusually high security deposit or too many upfront fees. A typical deposit is one month’s rent, though many legitimate rental companies are offering reduced deposits, discounts on your first month’s rent or other incentives in order to try and entice renters during the downturn.
Try to pressure you. Before you sign any paperwork you should ask if you can take it home and review it thoroughly before making a final decision. If you feel like the renter is trying to pressure you into signing documents or paying fees and deposits before you have decided to rent the unit you should be wary.
Tell you that you don’t need a lease. Though some apartments are rented on a month to month basis most rental agreements typically include a lease, at least for the first six months to one year. After your lease is up your renter may allow you to switch to renting month per month or request that you sign another lease. If the renter is acting suspicious and avoiding discussing a lease it may be because they don’t have the right to lease the property. Remember, a lease is designed to protect both you and the renter, so having one is beneficial to both parties.
If you feel uneasy, or you spot any of the red flags listed above, do not hand over any money to the renter and do not sign any paperwork. If you do not speak English fluently you can also enlist the help of a translator or interpreter through non profit organizations such as Immigrant Services Calgary. Make sure you thoroughly understand the document you are signing before you commit to anything.
What to do if you do get scammed
If you have been scammed you should contact the police to report the scam. You may do this in person at any police station or using their non emergency phone line: 403.266.1234. Reporting scammers not only help police to catch them, but also help protect other potential renters. The police will help you press charges, but you will need to sue the fraudulent renter on your own in order to recover any money you have lost.