Love your Home!

Love (for your home) is all around. Or, well, it certainly should be!

Ok, Imma tell it to ya straight. At the risk of sounding to “yolo-y”: we only get one life to live, and you’re in your house every. single. day. You better love that place! Your residence is your fortress, your mansion, your den and your pad — all with your personalized touches. If you’re not feeling the vibes of your dwelling, don’t do nothing. Reorganize, redesign, renovate or – you guessed it – get yourself into a new home you love!

I work with clients of all budgets and needs, and it would be my pleasure to help you find your specific style of domestic paradise. Finding a place so “you” it verges on ridiculous comes with a life-changing, and empowering feeling of fulfilment. So, this February definitely show some love to your significant other, but don’t forget to spread the love all around your personal palace. Each mark in the floor should tell a story, each smell evoke a memory, each squeaky stair and settling clack resound in your ears as a comforting purr.

Love – Monique – xoxo

JUST LISTED : 306, 3650 Marda Link SW

Modern, luxurious living begins and ends in fashionable Marda Loop. Tired of cookie-cutter layouts and unimaginative design? This extraordinary penthouse suite of the coveted Courtyards at Garrison Woods speaks to a new class of contemporary Calgarians. Incredible double-height ceilings and a sunlit, open plan impress straight through the door, while a corner gas fireplace and oversized garden-facing windows make entertaining an effortless thrill. The peninsula kitchen features upgraded appliances, a tiled backsplash, a sizable pantry and slate flooring. Under the stairs is a built-in office nook, and around the corner a convenient powder/laundry room and a spacious balcony.

Last but certainly not least, atop the elegant staircase is the inspiring master retreat — a private loft that stretches the entirety of the suite and features an interior balconied view of the living-space below, and the courtyard beyond. A roomy mirrored closet and 4-piece, modern master-bath polish off this compelling upper floor.

This is a secure, upscale 18+ building with exceptional recreational features including a lap pool and change rooms with shower facilities. The exercise area includes stationary equipment. There is also a clubhouse with a fireplace, kitchen facilities and furnishings. Guest suites are available. Also note there is an assigned, secure underground parking stall, storage locker, air conditioning and integrated sprinkler system. Two blocks from everything you need from, restaurants, groceries and coffee shops to Village Ice Cream. Just a quick trip to Mount Royal University, Glenmore Athletic Park or Downtown.

For more details click here! Call 403-370-2620 to book a private showing!

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It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day, It’s a New Home??

If you are one of the excited few thinking about taking the leap into the house of your dreams this year, congratulations! Choosing and customizing your home should be among the most thrilling, fulfilling experiences out there. And, just in case you were wondering when this was going to start being about me, well here it is: when buying a new home, it’s a pretty excellent idea to have professional REALTOR® representation. Oh wait, I’m a REALTOR®! What a coincidence!

Let’s talk about show suites for a minute. If you’ve got your eyes on a new build, and feel like browsing around a show suite… HOLD IT! Did you know, that if you don’t have REALTOR® representation the first time you set foot on that site, you may not be allowed to include me as part of the process after that? Basically, if I don’t “introduce” you to the builder, you may lose the right to future REALTOR® representation completely. Yikes is right.

Now, if you’re working with a builder sales rep on a new construction, don’t get me wrong; they will give you quality information regarding development specifications, financing options, upgrades and sales. However, while REALTORS® are contractually obligated to represent the buyer (you), on site sales reps are hired by, and contractually obligated to represent the seller (not you). Think of it as showing up to court without a lawyer, and then asking your opponent’s lawyer for legal advice.…Ok, maybe it’s not that serious. But you know what I mean!

So, as shiny, manicured and tempting as they are, remember to give me a shout before succumbing to the enticing lure of the show home! Plus, then we can grab milkshakes afterwards and chat about it.

– Monique

The Why of Walkability

Experts tout prevalence in today’s homebuying decisions

Walkability has evolved from a buzzword to an influential part of home purchasing decisions in Calgary, say real estate experts.

And to meet growing demand for improved accessibility, developers and planners need to start now by designing communities of tomorrow through a more pedestrian-friendly lens.

“(Walkability) is important to our customers,” said Brookfield Residential development manager Tara Steell. “We’re hearing from them and using best practices to create communities with master-planned communities. We have the ability to influence that and try to get people out of their cars.”

Steell said Brookfield is making walkability a priority when developing South Seton, a residential community that is expected to start construction as early as this year off the south terminus of the future Green Line. The southeast Calgary community follows the Urban Land Institute’s 10 Principles for Building Healthy Places, which includes walkability.

“But it has to be useful,” said Steell. “What (do walkability connections) look like for the homeowner? The community needs to be active for all modes of transportation.”

City council recently acknowledged Calgary’s walkability woes by passing its first pedestrian strategy in early May. Dubbed Step Forward, it includes more than four dozen recommendations aimed at making communities more walkable, including installing more flashing lights at crosswalks and building mid-block crossings in busy areas.

In the report, the City notes the walking mode share for all-day, all-purpose trips citywide fell from 13.2 to 11.7 per cent. Step Forward is looking, in part, to increasing the city’s walking mode share to 15 per cent by 2025.

“Investments in pedestrian network development and maintenance makes our communities more walkable, which supports local business and strengthens the social fabric of our neighbourhoods,” said City of Calgary transportation general manager Mac Logan.

The initiative comes as sobering statistics come to light regarding pedestrian safety in the city. Between 2005 and 2014, the City recorded 3,834 pedestrian-involved collisions, resulting in 3,317 injuries and 95 fatalities. Figures from 2015 are not yet available.

According to Walk Score, a Seattle-based company that’s created a walkability index seen in most residential listings on the MLS® System today, Calgary currently scores just 48 out of 100, behind other urban centres such as Edmonton (51) and Banff (67).

While walkability is becoming increasingly prevalent, it is not a new idea, said Federation of Calgary Communities urban planner Carrie Yap.

“You look back at old neighbourhoods, the grid (system) is a walkable form, as opposed to all the curvilinear cul-de-sacs,” she said.

Yap defines walkability as “connectivity, through either a grid or through connectivity of elements.” That might include a more pedestrian-friendly environment such as wider sidewalks and wayfinding signage and landmarks, as well as direct connections via pathways and linear parks.

“It mainly comes down to accessibility,” said Yap, adding vehicles can be a barrier to getting to know the people on your street: “social capital, as opposed to social isolation.”

Such connections, “is one of the pillars (our) community was established on,” said Daniel Santiago, communications and recreation co-ordinator with McKenzie Towne council in the city’s southeast.

“The idea was you could phase your life in McKenzie Towne, whether you’re living in a single-unit condo, move on to a family home, retirement and long-term care facility,” he said. “You can bike and walk anywhere in McKenzie Towne and you don’t really need to drive very much.”

McKenzie Towne’s hub is High Street, a commercial area linked closely to the community hall, pathway system and future Green Line LRT station.

“High Street is basically a promenade that you can walk along with different shops and services, and some have storefronts and some have patios out front,” said Santiago. “It goes a long way to creating a bit of atmosphere and community aspect – you see people you know on the street.”

Santiago said the McKenzie Towne concept of mini-villages connected together “piques the interest of different people. And there is a lasting sense of community, too.”

Still, the concept of walkability doesn’t always match up with the realities of life in an urban centre such as Calgary, said “urban explorer” and blogger Richard White.

“I live in the inner city and I find people who could walk to the grocery store every day or take transit, but they don’t have the time,” he said.

“We have not created a walking culture. Kids from the day they are born are being driven to day care. People don’t realize how far they can walk in 15 to 20 minutes. It’s not top of mind to walk first.”

White said parents, at least, are more likely to consider the presence of a good school when choosing a neighbourhood over other factors like walkability.

“It’s probably more important than in my generation,” he said.

 

CREB NOW by  Alex Frazer-Harrison

The Next Step

Move-up homes driving construction activity, community development, say local housing officials

The head of Calgary’s new home industry believes move-up products have become the go-to sector within Calgary’s residential construction industry, and will be the backbone of new communities moving forward.

Allan Klassen, who is the newly minted chair of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Urban Development Institute Calgary Region, said buyers’ focus over the last several years has been increasingly focused on detached product priced over $500,000.

“It is the prominent driver in terms of overall growth of new construction,” said Klassen, who is also senior vice-president of Calgary housing for Brookfield Residential, which is behind the mixed-use Seton development in the southeast and the recently announced Livingston community in the city’s north.

He noted move-up homes provide the foundation behind many of Calgary’s newer communities, such as Auburn Bay, Cranston and expansions in Tuscany.

Klassen describes the typical move-up home buyer as young. He estimates nearly half of these buyers are between 25 and 34, while their average household income is around $125,000.

“WHEN A FAMILY IS GROWING, PARENTS ARE LOOKING FOR SCHOOLS, PARKS, KIDS PLAYING ON THE STREET. THEY’RE LOOKING FOR A SENSE OF BELONGING.”

Their reasons for moving up vary, but are primarily driven by lifestyle changes, such as a growing family. As such, the adage that real estate is about “location, location, location” still holds true when considering move-up buyers.

“When a family is growing, parents are looking for schools, parks, kids playing on the street. They’re looking for a sense of belonging,” said Klassen, adding that, once those locational needs are met, features such as increased square footage, more bedrooms and storage space come into play.

Stephanie Myers, who is Jayman BUILT’s vice-president of single-family housing operations in Calgary, estimates 55 per cent of the company’s sales year-to-date fall into the move-up category.

“This is a higher rate than we would see in a typical year,” she said, noting the price band for move-up homes has widened. She added move-up homes used to be $500,000 and up; now, however, they’re available for around $450,000.

Stephanie Myers, Jayman BUILT
Stephanie Myers, Jayman BUILT

“Given the incredible price points in the current market, and with interest rates running as low as they are, we have seen a number of buyers skipping the traditional starter homes and jumping right into the move-up segment,” said Myers. “The first-time buyer is more prominent in this group than ever before.”

Klassen agrees, saying Brookfield currently sees more than half of its move-up buyers coming directly out of rentals.

According to both Klassen and Myers, move-up buyers will typically settle into their homes for five to seven years before looking to move up again – often within the $600,000-$800,000 price range.

Don Barrineau, Mattamy Homes’ division president in Calgary, said his company is seeing similar demand within the move-up sector. Mattamy has currently released new floor plans within its master-planned communities in Calgary and Airdrie that offer larger square footage (up to 3,400 square feet) and larger lots (up to 43 square feet).

“We want to have a large variety of consumer segments and product types in our communities,” said Barrineau, noting that offering move-up homes allows buyers to go through the majority of their life cycle in one community, should they so choose.

Barrineau encourages move-up buyers do their homework and market research to determine, “what changes will happen within a person’s life that will instigate a move to a different product type, and what will they be looking for in that different product type.”

In Cityscape in northeast Calgary, for example, Barrineau said move-up buyers are seeking more bedrooms and an option to include a spice kitchen.

 

CREBNow By: Kathleen Renne

Home Inspection 101: What Is It And How Much Does It Cost?

You just walked through a brand new listing, and are now a firm believer in love at first sight. From the moment you walked through the front door, you knew it had to be yours. The walk-in closet, open concept plan, and luxurious backyard were exactly what you’ve been dreaming of and may have been enough to make you overlook the leaking faucet in the bathroom and strange smell coming from the basement.

Sometimes when viewing a home, it is easy to let staging get the best of us. We get so caught up in the pretty wrapping that we forget to look inside to see what makes the home tick.

It is a classic example of never judging a book by its cover, and can be easily solved with a home inspection. When buyers put in an offer, there is the option to insert a home inspection clause. When you hire a professional home inspector, you can save yourself time, stress, and avoid potential financial risk by proactively identifying any issues within the inner workings of the home. The home inspector will do a visual inspection of the structure and components of the home to ensure everything is performing correctly and is in safe working condition. The home inspector will pay special attention to the following areas of the home:

  • Roof
  • Ventilation
  • Fireplace
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Appliances
  • Exterior
  • HVAC
  • Structure

How Much Does an Inspection Cost?

The cost of a home inspection will vary depending on factors including the age, size, and location of the home. Always make sure you choose your home inspector carefully by doing your research and taking a close look at their qualifications and credentials. Choosing a reputable inspector could save you from running into unplanned and often costly issues in your new home.

Ask your me for a list of recommended Home Inspectors in your area.

 

 

*courtesy of Re/Max.ca

Housing Market Remains Unchanged in January

Slow sales activity and inventory gains place downward pressure on prices

Calgary’s housing market is starting 2016 firmly in buyers’ market territory, much the same as last year ended.

“The recent slide in energy prices has raised concerns about near-term recovery prospects for the city,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “Energy market uncertainty and a soft labour market are weighing on many aspects of our economy, including the housing sector.”

 

City wide, January sales totaled 763 units, 13 per cent below last year and 43 per cent below long-term averages. While new listings declined by 16 per cent compared to January 2015, the number of new listings far outpaced the sales, causing inventory gains. January’s city wide months of supply levels rose above six months.

“Selection for buyers in all product types and price ranges has improved,” said CREB® president Cliff Stevenson. “More choice and low interest rates have encouraged some potential buyers to start window shopping. So far, this hasn’t translated into sales activity as many are waiting for steeper price declines from motivated sellers.”

The aggregate benchmark price of $447,300 in January was 1.21 per cent lower than the previous month and 3.27 per cent below the January 2015 price of $462,400.

“As expected, the imbalance between housing supply and demand is continuing to place downward pressure on prices,” said Lurie. “However, the recent price retraction has not erased all the gains recorded in recent years, as the benchmark price remains 4.41 per cent above the January 2014 price of $428,400.”

While all property types have recorded price contractions from recent highs, the largest price declines have occurred in the apartment sector as this segment has had elevated months of supply since the second quarter of 2015.

The apartment benchmark price totaled $281,900 in January, a year-over-year decrease of 6.35 per cent and 2.12 per cent lower than the previous month’s price. In fact, apartment sector prices have once again fallen below the 2007 monthly high of $301,500.

The detached segment of the market continues to show variations depending on price range. The under $500,000 segment remains relatively balanced. However, recent trends are pointing to weaker sales-to-new-listings ratios in the $500,000 to $600,000 range of the market.

“Calgary’s housing market continues to face a wide range of challenges,” said Stevenson. “Sellers are reflecting on their expectations and considering all options available to them, given the dynamics of their specific market. In this environment, buyers have the opportunity to carefully consider their housing needs and make a decision based on their lifestyle and future goals.”

Possession Day

Months of searching, several offers that didn’t come together and it was all worth it when we found their dream home!  YAY 🙂

 

 

 

And what did they do right after getting the keys??  Shopping at IKEA during the Black Friday Sales!!

 

House Hunting Tips for Any Season

  1. Write down your most important requirements and top deal-breakers in a home,
  2. When you walk through a home, take notes. Once you’ve looked at several homes, they may begin to blend together. Jot down a few sentences about what you liked and didn’t like before you leave to help you differentiate between them.
  3. Look for damage or areas of improvement. Open the closets and cupboards, lift the rugs and check out each room from top to bottom to check for damage and to make sure there’s enough storage to fit your needs.
  4. Drive by the home at different times of day and pay attention to the vibe and noise level of the neighbourhood.
  5. Imagine the potential of the home. It may be difficult to see the potential of a home with hot pink walls; however, picture the walls with a fresh coat of neutral-toned paint and your personal stamp on them.

    If you’re in the market for a home, be sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will help to speed up the process when you find the home you want to live in.