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.
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.
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.
“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.
Welcome to this classic, original owner home in the desirable community of Edgemont. This home has been loved and is simply perfect for raising your own family. Perched on a quiet crescent, facing a green space with sweeping unobstructed views of Nose Hill Park, this home is located on a prime lot and provides the ultimate privacy. There are many fine details in this well built, fully developed estate home. As you enter the generous foyer, you are greeted by soaring vaulted ceilings and a grand staircase. The main floor features a formal living & dining room, a bright white kitchen and a large eating nook. The family room has an elegant marble fireplace as its focal point. On the second floor, there is a large open loft with built in office cabinetry and 3 great-sized bedrooms. The oversized master retreat includes a walk-in closet and ensuite bath with a relaxing jetted tub, double vanities and a separate shower. Delight in your beautiful backyard with its sun bathed deck and yard! Other features include a large attached garage, finished basement + much more!
Pest infestations not only cause damage, they can also take a chunk out of a homeowner’s wallet. Here are a few ways to prevent critters from calling your house “home.”
Ants follow the trails left by scout ants. If you find a trail of ants in your kitchen, clean the area with soapy water, household cleaner or a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. To avoid an infestation:
• Keep sweets and food in tightly closed containers.
• Plant spearmint around your house.
• Place strips of cucumber, citrus peels or borax near any openings where you’ve seen ants.
The easiest way to prevent roaches is to keep your kitchen spotless—clean up crumbs, wipe down the sink and sweep the floor. But, if you’ve already seen them in your kitchen, here are other options:
• Sprinkle catnip or bay leaves in areas where roaches
lurk, such as behind the refrigerator, under the oven and under your sinks.
• If you see a roach, spray it with soapy water. The soap will slowly suffocate it.
• Set traps with baking soda and sugar. Roaches love sugar; however, the baking soda will dehydrate them.
While no home is safe from termites, it is possible to reduce the chances of an infestation.
• Termites thrive on moisture. Survey your home’s foundation, and look for water leaks.
• Schedule a pest inspection. Termites are crafty critters that only make their presence known through the damage they cause. Schedule a pest inspection every couple of years to catch an infestation early and help you avoid making costly repairs.
Rodents can wreak havoc on your home. While traps are effective once the rodents are in the home, here’s how to keep them out in the first place:
• Keep your kitchen clean. Wipe down the counters and sweep the floor before you go to bed.
• Ants aren’t the only vermin that hate mint. Mint keeps rodents at bay as well.
• Place steel wool in holes on the exterior of your home.
• Put trays of used cat litter outside near where you think they could get in. Rodents will smell the cat and scurry in the other direction.
Pets can give us a lot of things—love, attention and fleas. Although chemical pet treatments can get rid of the fleas on your pets, they often don’t get rid of them in the house. For that, try these suggestions:
• Sprinkle salt, borax or baking soda on the carpet and upholstery. Let it sit for a few hours, and vacuum afterwards.
• Get a dehumidifier. Fleas love humidity. If you keep the humidity in the room under 50%, you may be able to get rid of adults fleas and their larvae.
• Clean your bedding and your pet’s bedding regularly.
• Comb your pet’s coat with a special flea comb, and clean it in a glass of soapy water.
Remember, for large infestations, always call a professional!
Nearly 43% of people consider themselves disorganized.* Whether you’re naturally organized or you’re part of the 43%, here are some tips to help you get and stay organized.
1. Sort by type and colour. Whether you’re organizing your books, clothing or other items, putting items of similar function and colour family together creates a clean and orderly appearance.
2. Invest in the right tools. If you want your items to last, make sure you store them right. For example, to help ensure that your business or special occasion clothing stays in wearable condition, buy nice hangers. Wood and fabric-covered hangers drape your clothes well, and help your clothing maintain their shape. Us wooden hangers to hang your suits, jackets or business clothes and padded fabric hangers for delicate dresses and blouses.
3. Store your seasonal clothing on a metal rolling rack, and keep it in your attic, basement or garage. Cover it to help ensure that your clothing stays dust-free until you need them again.
4. Commit to organization. It’s easy to fall back into old habits from time to time. However, to ensure that your storage spaces remain organized, commit to keeping them that way. When you put away your laundry, make sure everything goes in its designated location. And, to keep down the clutter, when you buy a new item, get rid of something you don’t
5. Display collectibles, such as designer handbags, in storage cubes or on shelves. That way you can enjoy looking at them every tim you open your closet.
Perhaps inspired by the closets seen on popular home design television shows and websites, homeowners are beginning to look at their closets in a new light. Whether your closets are the size of a small bedroom or the size of a locker, here are a few tips to help you get the storage spaces you’ve always wanted.
Clear everything out of the closet, and organize it into three piles: keep, donate or toss. By clearing the clutter and getting rid of items that are broken or underused, you’ll have more room for items that you use and love.
Assess the space you have, and decide how you want to organize and store your items. Discount department stores and specialty shops have a variety of baskets, shelves, hanging rods, drawer units, etc. to store your stuff.
Install lighting. Great lighting will help you see everything that you have, from clothing to craft supplies. However, it’s important to have a licensed electrician install your lighting so that you can be sure that it’s up to code.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold colour and patterns. Since your items will fill most of the space, pops of bright colour or bold patterns will give the space some character. If your closet has a door, spruce it up with paint or change the hardware.
Take off the doors, and put up curtains. Closets in older homes tend to be smaller than ones in newer homes. However, you can create the illusion of space by removing the door and putting up a curtain. Tie back the curtain when you want to see your items at once or close it when you don’t. This idea is perfect for bedrooms, hobby rooms and playrooms.
Install built-in custom cabinets. Cabinets aren’t just for kitchens anymore. In homes with small closets, floor-to-ceiling cabinets may give you the space you need, and they come in sizes that are perfect for the items you intend to store.
Turn a wall into a closet. Who says a closet has to be built into a room? Line up a dresser, hutch, cabinet, shelving, bookcase, etc. along a wall of the room. Mix and match the furniture to fit your needs. Paint it all the same colour to create the look of uniformity.
Look for furniture with storage space, such as an ottoman or bedframe with drawers under the bed, to keep the closet clutter in check
I am a big fan of my new Ford Focus with keyless entry and push start. My hands are always filled with a huge Samsung phone, my bottomless purse and tons of paperwork, all of which makes finding my keys a daunting task to say the least 😉 So this new technology for home security seems awesome for me!
The Kevo turns any Bluetooth 4.0-enabled device into a key that recognizes you are in proximity and unlocks your deadbolt at the touch of your finger. Another cool feature is you can send temporary or permanent eKeys to family, friends and neighbors.
You can buy them at many retailers… one example is Home Depot for $249.99. Here is what they say:
With Kevo, your Smartphone is now your key. No more fumbling for your keys. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse and just touch the lock to open. No Smartphone? No Problem. Enjoy the same touch to open convenience with the fob. You can send an electronic key (eKey) to family, friends, or visitors who have a compatible Smartphone so they can use their phone as a key too. Receive notifications of lock activity and manage the lock and eKeys with the Kevo Mobile App. In addition to the convenience, Kevo is incredibly secure. You can add, delete or disable eKeys from the mobile app or utilize the Lost Phone Reset should the unthinkable happen. The SmartKey® deadbolt cylinder provides peace of mind for a backup traditional key and offers superior security against lock picking and bumping.
Your Smartphone is now your key!
– Touch to open convenience
– Share eKeys via your Smartphone
– Kevo fob included for touch to open convenience without a SmartPhone
– Receive notifications and manage lock & eKeys through Kevo Mobile App