Luxury Inner City Condos !

Wed, 15 Nov by Ken MacAulay
I have been searching the past week or so for Inner City Luxury Condos with some Out of Town Clients . I am amazed what value there is in the properties up to $1m , Great floor space , some over 2000 sq ft , with lots of amenities , great locations and when the latest new build ( The Concorde) building is finished the values will increase substantially.. As the Concorde is selling for over 1K / square ft .
Buildings like The Avenue in the West End , The Guardian in the East Village are both in my top 3 .

New Calgary Condo Buildings are “Very Impressive “

Thu, 09 Nov by Ken MacAulay

Recently , I have been working with clients who are re-locating to our Great City of Calgary ab .I have been quite impressed with the larger sq footage condos in the Calgary Inner City .. units that are over 1200 sq. feet in size are amazing .. Not only do I think the value is terrific for the Buyer .. also the spec is way above the average .. With more buildings on the way .. it is refreshing to see the developer have gone beyond the average.Such new building’s as The Concorde in Eau-Claire are in a class of their own .. amazing location along the Bow River with terrific Floor plans & amenities . The Guardian in Victoria Park is another , location , floor plans and such amenities as s a ate of the art Gym as well as a large lounge area , wood working shop are ticking all the boxes to the demo-graphic that are choosing to move there …  Developers ..Please Keep it up! i

Lakeview & Wildwood – “Two of my Favorite Communities in Calgary “

Fri, 03 Nov by Ken MacAulay

Just a few weeks ago I was looking for an Inner City Home for some you young clients of mine. Their criteria was an older home, large lot ( as they had 3 dogs) , close to the Core , a place where they could run, ride their bikes and walk their dogs .

As I was looking a new listing came to market ..it was priced in the $600-630,000 range with an large SW back yard with  a home although a rental for a number of years was in great shape with an oversized detached double garage .

I knew there was a home not far from this one that just went “Pending” that had a lot not quite 400 sq. ft larger  than this for almost $1m so I got my clients there ASAP.

As you may have figured there were a few showings the first day it was on market ( 10 I believe ) my clients ” liked the home ” but it was at the top of there comfort level . Despite this and the info I gave them they decided to write an offer … so did 3 other Realtors . We were in competing offers that same evening … the property  “Sold for almost $65k over list price with no conditions  “

Needless to say my clients did not get the property but they made a great effort to do so ..& we found them a home that was a bite under their budget a week later …

” I LOVE LAKE VIEW & WILDWOOD , I THINK THEY ARE SO UNDER VALUED IN THIS CITY IT IS NOT EVEN FUNNY..”WHY YOU MAY ASK ?

1- 50 Ft lot  frontage

2-RC-1 zoning , ( lots of room to build your dream home ) compared to other communities that are overcrowded & overpriced ..

3 Close to either the Glenmore Reservoir , The Weasel-Head or Edworthy Park

4- Short commute to the Core via either Crow-Child or Bow Trail

5- Quiet & kid friendly

6- Walking distance  to  to great schools .

7- I believe when the West Leg of  Stoney Trail  is finished Lakeview will be even more attractive to Buyers ,, so there is some appreciated value built -in the day it opens.

So if you are looking for a great place to live in Calgary ..these are your best bets in my opinion ..

 

 

Kens Take On – CREB’s YYC Stats for Sept-2017

Mon, 02 Oct by Ken MacAulay

The Big Picture – According to CREB’s Latest Stats – Sept-2017 

Inventory increases and sales drop in September, but overall sales for the year remain higher than last year.  ( Kens Comments ) 
Strong gains in the first-half of 2017 has put the Calgary year-to-date sales at seven per cent above last years’ levels and 11 per cent below long-term averages, but challenges remain with easing sales and rising new listings. ( pent up demand from 2016 ) 
Inventories rose across all property types to 6,861 units, while both apartment and attached-style properties saw the highest inventory on record for the month of September.
“The recent rise in inventories is preventing further price recovery as sales activity has moderated over recent months. This does not come as a surprise as sales activity is expected to remain modest by historical standards until moresubstantial economic improvements take hold,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.
“Some may consider this a setback, but it is important to note that recent movements are balancing out the higher than expected gains that occurred in the first-half of the year.”
“There are several factors influencing new listings. Given the falling prices over the past two years, some sellers were waiting for market conditions to improve prior to listing their homes. More stability in the market hasprompted many of those sellers to no longer delay their listing decision,” said CREB® president David P. Brown.
New listings in September totalled 3,266 units, a year-over-year gain of nearly 10 per cent.( Sellers are finally realizing after a 2 year drop the YYC RE Market is not bouncing back like they thought )
“In some segments, rising new home inventories are also impacting total housing supply. Ultimately, prices are affected. However, this inventory also opens up opportunity for buyers to step up into a home that was financially unattainable.” ( Especially first time or move-up Buyers ) 
As of September, unadjusted benchmark prices totaled $441,500. This is 0.2 per cent below last month, but nearly one per cent above last year. Downward price pressure this month occurred across most product types.However, year-to-date benchmark prices in the detached sector remain comparable to last year. ( This is the indicator CREB & I like to use on a monthly bases , which means the detached market is relatively flat)  
Prices in the detached sector remain relatively stable compared to last year.
Condominium apartment prices remain4% below2016 levels and twelve per cent below 2014 highs.This sector continues to struggle with price declines resulting from excess supply as months of supply pushed above eight months.
Prices in the detached sector remain relatively stable compared to last year.
Condominium apartment prices remain four per cent below 2016 levels and twelve per cent below 2014 highs. This sector continues to struggle with price declines resulting from excess supply as months of supply pushed above eight months. (According to the Aug 2017 stats from CMHC .. the new condo starts in YYC , 2745 units  in 2016 & 2520 units  in 2017 with another 1028 un-occupied, may make you believe there maybe a glut of condos on the Market soon … )

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The Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Amazing Real Estate Agent

Thu, 14 Sep by Ken MacAulay

When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s crucial to work with a qualified real estate agent. Not just a professional, but an amazing agent and a market expert. So how do you ensure you’re hiring an amazing real estate agent?

There are currently more than two million real estate professionals in North America.1,2 With so many options to choose from, how does a prospective home buyer or seller choose the right agent or broker? According to the National Association of Realtors®, trust and reputation are the top deciding factors consumers use when hiring an agent.3

But how do you measure trust and reputation … and what criteria can be used to help you make your decision?

In this guide, we’ve outlined the top attributes that amazing agents possess, as well as the questions you can ask to make sure you’re working with the right market expert to achieve your real estate goals.


5 ATTRIBUTES OF AN AMAZING AGENT

As we mentioned above, not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are oversaturated with agents.

To help you understand what makes top agents and market experts stand apart from the competition, following are five key attributes of an amazing agent:

1. A Pricing Specialist

If an agent has their real estate license, they know the basics of the transaction process. They know what goes into buying and selling a home. However, there’s a difference between knowing the process and navigating it for an ideal result. This ideal result often means buying or selling a home for the best price.

For buyers, amazing agents have a strong understanding of market trends, competition, and how to make your offer attractive to sellers. They can help you identify and secure a deal to ensure you get the home you want, within your desired budget.

If you’re selling a home, market experts have experience pricing homes optimally for the market, and creating pricing plans to minimize the time spent selling the home. This will help you sell for your desired price, and avoid costs like additional mortgage and utility payments.

Takeaway: Whether buying or selling a home, pricing can be tricky. Market experts can help navigate best-possible pricing strategies, and also secure the home you want within your budget.

2. An Effective Time Manager

It’s common to underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy or sell your home. The average real estate agent may not be utilizing the latest tools and technology to make the transaction easier and more cost effective for their clients. Market experts have tools and strategies at their disposal to minimize the amount of time you spend on the process.

For sellers, market experts can make sure you only deal with qualified buyers, not the “window shoppers” who can waste your time. We also utilize the latest marketing practices to advertise and price your home effectively, ensuring it gets sold quickly.

When looking to buy a home, inexperienced agents may waste your time by showing you homes that are not a good fit for you. A market expert knows how to prioritize your needs and wants to find you the ideal home within your budget. They also know how to spot “red flags” and can steer you away from homes that are likely to turn up major issues in a real estate inspection, saving you time and money.

In addition, well-networked Realtors can gain access to the hottest listings before many websites do. Their extensive professional networks can help identify “pre-list” homes before they’re officially on the market. This can be invaluable in a highly-competitive real estate market.

Takeaway: Even a well-intentioned agent may not have the skills, tools or technology to make the experience easy for you. There are lots of hidden activities that may take up unexpected time, and a market expert will save you time and energy.


3. A Market Insider

While most agents can pull market stats about a neighborhood, community or city, they may not understand important trends or developments that would affect your transaction. These can include the state of the school district, issues with a homeowner association, new businesses in the area, zoning rules or trends in home prices.

Market experts live and breathe local real estate and know the trigger points for buying and selling in this market. We also stay current on effective marketing and negotiation practices, resulting in our track record of success.

For sellers, we understand what features of your home and neighborhood are assets in the selling process. And for buyers, we share a deep understanding of market factors, including school and neighborhood quality, crime statistics, speed of sales and more.

Takeaway: Getting relevant and specific market knowledge can be difficult and time consuming, which is why many real estate agents don’t have it. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, an experienced real estate agent is often the best source of information about a city, neighborhood, or even street … we’re literally conducting market research every day.


4. A Strong Negotiator

Amazing agents truly set themselves apart in their ability to negotiate. Unfortunately, a large portion of agents don’t commit their full time to increasing this key skill.

Real estate negotiations can be challenging, even for seasoned professionals. It takes skill, experience and a knowledge of how to fight for your client’s best interests. While any agent can enter negotiations to buy or sell a home, they may not know the effective strategies to exit those negotiations with the result you want.

Experienced Realtors focus on negotiation as a key skill. We understand what to do before entering negotiations (establishing the upper hand to set up the best outcome), as well as during the process (when to offer or accept concessions).

Takeaway: Many agents can feel the stress of the negotiation process, and may agree to terms of the buyer/seller. Working with a market expert will help ensure you get the best deal, not just the fastest deal.

5. An Effective Closer

Closing a deal fast is often a good thing. For buyers, it means you found the home you wanted quickly. For sellers, it often means you can avoid the added expenses of mortgage and utility payments, and maximize the value of your home sale.

However, an agent solely focused on speed can make decisions that aren’t in your best interests. Top real estate professionals know how to not only achieve your real estate goals quickly, but in the right way to avoid potential pitfalls.

Just like negotiations, the paperwork and process of closing a real estate transaction are complicated. And they can be overwhelming for the average agent who hasn’t handled a lot of transactions. Sales contracts, property disclosures, occupancy agreements and even lead paint records need to be executed with precision. Your agent not only needs to be familiar with these, but also stay current on any changes in requirements or regulations.

Market experts have a strong understanding of real estate contracts, timelines, clauses and contingencies within the closing process. In fact, avoiding pitfalls during the closing process is where many sellers find an experienced Realtor is a huge asset.

Takeaway: Many agents don’t have a firm understanding of contracts. Because a real estate transaction often involves a significant investment, even a small mistake can mean serious trouble. With that in mind, it’s often best, and most responsible, to work with a true market expert.


5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT

So how do you know if you’re working with an amazing agent?

The first step would be to “shop around.” Many people work with the first agent they come across without a firm understanding of their level of experience. It’s always a good idea to interview a number of agents before selecting one. If you’ve gotten referrals from people you trust, then you may only need to interview 2-3 agents.

However, it can be tough to know what to ask in the interview process. Here are some questions that can help you qualify the best agent to help you achieve your  real estate goals:

1. Can you send me some information about yourself?

Look for professionalism and consistency. What are their professional accomplishments? Also, try to identify how they approach their work. Look for a business person who has a strategy and solid support system. If they’re a newer agent, ask about their team’s dynamic and accomplishments.

2. How long have you been in real estate?

The average Realtor has 10 years of experience4. But while longevity is important, even more telling are the number of transactions they have closed or been involved in. So feel free to also ask: “How many homes have you sold in this area?”

3. What will you do to keep me informed?

Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will the agent be able to meet these expectations? Determine how much communication you want, and then find an agent who will give you the attention and time you want and deserve.

4. Can you provide me with further resources I may need?
From market reports and pricing trends to school performance and crime statistics, top agents have resources at their disposal. In addition, market experts have built strong relationships with their extended team of professionals, and can often get expedient service or be able to “cash in a favor” for you should a need arise.

5. Seller only: Can you share with me your plan to market my property? Many agents will simply put your home in the MLS and wait for it to sell. An amazing agent should have a detailed plan of how to get your home exposure on social media, to their local networks, and more.


GET STARTED

Now that you’re armed with the 5 Attributes of Amazing Agents and the Top Questions to ensure you work with the best possible real estate agent, you’re ready to start interviewing agents.

We’d love an opportunity to win your business. Schedule a free consultation with us to find out how true market experts can help you achieve your real estate goals!

Sources:

  1. National Association of REALTORS – https://www.nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics
  2. Financial Post – http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/canada-housing-bubble-agents/wcm/b49d4e3a-bd8d-4d1c-9566-bd3d80c8e23a
  3. National Association of REALTORS –

https://www.nar.realtor/reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers

  1. National Association of REALTORS – https://www.nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics

Getting Market Ready After Over 35 Years In the Same Home !

Fri, 01 Sep by Ken MacAulay

I recently had the pleasure to help a friend get their elderly parents home ready for market. When they first contacted me they explained their parent’s were not able to manage living on their own they needed something smaller. When I first arrived at the home as I expected there was 35 years of “stuff” in every corner of the home.

Stage-1  My first call was to Ken L a key member of my team. Ken is my go to guy to get anything & everything done. He will come and take everything that is not needed for the next home (as it will be considerably smaller) and donate it to WIN (Women in Need), whatever is left will go to the landfill. It never ceases to amaze me when I see what people hold onto.

Stage-2  Since the time the sellers moved in, the standards for measuring Conventional Town-home condos has changed numerous times, so we have to get the exact RMS floor plan established square footage, so in came the certified measuring company to give us the exact measurements.

Stage-3  Cleaners, to wash the walls, cabinets, appliances etc, to give the home a good cleaning is key to get rid of un-wanted odours etc. As well as the professional carpet cleaners… I use Kilroy, they do a great job & are very punctual.

Stage-4  Time for my wizard of a interior decorator, Laura Le & her trusty side-kick Mary form Creative Enhancements will transform this townhome into a place that is warm & inviting not cold & empty. The single best move we could make was to bring this home up to date with just the right amount of furniture as well as tasteful Art Work and the necessary decorations that make this home pop.

Stage-5  Time for pictures, I use Calgary Photos, I have used Rob Moroto & his crew for many years now & they know exactly what pictures work best and they are amazing.

Stage-6  Ready to get started selling this home… I will do an Open House, drop a flyer off to the neighbourhood as well as Social Media Marketing, Web-site marketing, of course a lawn sign, let all the Realtors in the area know the home is on the market, Realtor Open House, and much more.

That is my 6 step approach to getting a much needed facelift to a home I know we will get top dollar for in a minimal amount of time. Nine times out of ten, the new owners will probably do much needed renos, but at least they will know what they have to work with.

So if you or anyone you know is in a similar situation, rest assured I will handle a situation like this with “Extra TLC”, as these fine folks lived in this home for many years & the emotion involved at their age is a lot of nervous tension, than a seller who moves every 5-7 years as many families in the Calgary area seem to do.

Top 12 Apps for Homeowners and Renters

Fri, 18 Aug by Ken MacAulay

More than 77 percent of people own a smartphone.1 The average person checks their smartphone 46 times a day, with people under the age of 24 checking it an average of 74 times a day.1 We check it while we’re waiting in line and during our leisure time, whether we’re scrolling through social media, reading emails or getting up-to-date on the latest news.

Smartphones are not only a useful tool for communication. With the following apps, you can get organized (whether you plan to buy or sell), save money, learn about the homes in your neighborhood and get inspired for your next renovation project. If you’re like 81 percent of people, you have your smartphone with you during most of your waking hours; let it help you stay organized and make your life easier.3

Apps For Homeowners: Get Renovation Inspiration
These apps not only offer ideas for your next remodel or home décor project, some of them even give you a preview of what your home may look like once it’s finished.

1.) Houzz
The Houzz app is the number one app for home design and it’s no wonder; the app gives you access to all the inspiration, blogs and design ideas from the Houzz site on your phone or tablet. The app features View in My Room 3D, which allows you to view products in your home before you buy. Just take a photo of the space and a 3D version of the product will appear. Browse products, save photos of designs you’d like to view later and connect with local professionals in your area. Whether you’re gathering ideas for your next renovation and décor project or you’re just browsing, the Houzz app will satisfy all your design needs.
(Android, iOS)

2.) iHandy Carpenter
Make sure the photos, shelves, mirrors and other artwork you hang are even and aligned with this helpful app. It’s an all-in-one tool kit that features a plumb bob, surface level, bubble level bar, ruler and protractor. No need to purchase these tools separately; just hold your smartphone up to the wall and the app will take care of the rest.
(iOS, Android)

3.) Handyman Calculator
When you need to do more than measure the size of a room, the Handyman Calculator will also calculate the cost of materials, amount of time spent on a project and more. Track your time, create a to-do list and save all of your calculations to the app’s notepad. You’ll store all of the information you need in one place—your smartphone.
(Android)

Bonus App for Homeowners:
BrightNest
From keeping things clean to making them colorful, Brightnest, developed by Angie’s List, is loaded with suggestions on how to make your home a better place to live. With categories of customized tips (money-saving, cleaning, eco-friendly, healthy, cooking, and creative) there are plenty of great ways to pull inspiration from the app. BrightNest will help you tackle important home tasks with easy-to-follow instructions, a personal schedule and helpful reminders. (iOS, Android, Web)

Apps For Sellers: List & Sell Your Home Quickly
Are you a homeowner who is thinking of selling? If you’re preparing to sell, you know there are a lot of tasks to complete before putting your home on the market. These apps help you manage your to-dos so you can list and sell your home more efficiently with fewer distractions.

4.) Docusign
Use the DocuSign app to complete approvals and agreements in hours—not days—from anywhere and on any device. Quickly and securely access and sign any documents. The benefit to using the app (over your desktop computer) is you will receive push notifications when a document is waiting for your signature and you can view and organize all your docs on-the-go. Using the easily downloadable app, receive and sign documents for free. You can receive and sign documents for free, but will need a paid account to send documents; pricing starts at $10 a month. (iOS, Android, Windows, Web).

5.) Wunderlist
Designed for use on the Web and mobile devices, Wunderlist is a well-designed to-do list and task management program that makes it easy to create a list and add tasks, due dates and reminders. Organize your ideas or focus into separate lists or create tasks within one list. You can also email them with whomever you collaborate, such as a spouse or your real estate agent. (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Web)

6.) Real Estate Dictionary
Not sure what all those industry specific terms mean? Search thousands of words and phrases from real estate, mortgage, and financial dictionaries for clear, in-depth definitions. This is a handy app for anyone who’s buying or selling and wants to learn more about the process. (iOS, Android)

Bonus App for Sellers:
Jiffy
If you need a handyman or plumber to fix a few things up before selling, or need help installing a dishwasher or washing machine, Jiffy can connect you with qualified tradespeople if you live in the Toronto or Ottawa areas. All tradespeople and services featured on the site have been rated 4 or more stars. Additionally, they have proof of insurance or a license where required. Click on service and the app shows both the standard and after-hours rates. You can also request an appointment or have someone come right away.
(iOS, Android)

Apps For Renters: Get Ready to Buy
Not ready to buy a home just yet? These apps will help you get into the perfect rental while you save money, build a budget and get on track for homeownership.

7.) Mint
Do you know where your money goes each month? Manage your bills, budget and credit score all in one place. Mint is a free app that helps you view your complete financial picture and track your spending. We recommend this app to anyone, but it’s especially useful for renters who need to crack down on their spending in order to save for a down payment. Use Mint to look for areas you can cut spending in order to save a little extra each month. (iOS, Android)

8.) Mylo
Mylo makes it easy to turn spare change into investments. Simply link your cards and the app will round up your purchase and put the loose change into your Mylo account, where it’ll be automatically invested. The app uses the same security measures that all major Canadian banks also use, so you can rest easy that your money is safe. Although it’s currently only available for iOS, the app is in development for Android devices.
(iOS)

9.) Credit Karma Canada
If you’re preparing to buy, boosting your credit score is likely a goal you’ve set. Credit Karma is a free app that allows you to safely monitor your score and receive updates on ways you can improve it over time. The company recently launched a beta version of its successful program in Canada. It provides financial calculators and educational articles to help you better understand what credit is all about. Check as often as you want, and it doesn’t hurt your score. (Web)

Bonus Apps & Tools for Renters:

Wally
Wally is a personal finance app that helps you compare your income to expenses, so you can understand where your money goes each month, and set and achieve goals. Wally lets you keep track of the details as you spend money: where, when, what, why, & how much. We love how simple it is to set a personalized savings target and scan receipts. (iOS, Android)

Carrot Rewards
Get rewarded and save money for living a healthy lifestyle with Carrot Rewards, an app created by the federal government to promote wellness. Collect SCENE points, Aeroplan Miles, Petro-Points, or More Rewards points by completing surveys, quizzes and learning about how to reduce your risk of chronic disease and increase healthy living. Currently only available for residents of ON, BC, NL, the app creators announced they’re working on making it available to all Canadians soon.­ (iOS, Android)

Apps for Buyers: Find the Perfect Home
When you’re ready to buy, there are several apps that can help you stay on top of the process. Whether you’re browsing online at different neighborhoods and homes and can’t seem to remember where all your saved data and information went or you want to save an important task or a neighborhood or listing clipped from the Web, these apps help you keep it all straight.

10.) AroundMe
Discover what’s located around the homes you’re interested in. The AroundMe app allows you to search for restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, banks and more near your location. Open the app when you’re viewing a home and see what’s nearby.
(iOS, Android, Windows Phone)

11.) Evernote (Free for the Basic version, $34.99 per year for Plus and $69.99 per year for Premium)
Collect ideas, notes and images in one place to access later on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Categorize your notes so you can find them quickly and easily and share them with others in a group notebook. Add the Web Clipper feature to your browser and clip and save articles, blogs and images from the Web. Whether you’re collecting research on a business idea or you’re looking for inspiration for a home renovation, Evernote can help you keep it all together. (Web, iOS, Android)

12.) Canadian Mortgage App
Although there are many free mortgage calculators available for download, this app from CMHC will help you assess the monthly payment, closing costs, the maximum loan and more of the homes you’re interested in. These numbers should be used as a guide, work with your agent and mortgage professional to learn exactly what type of loan you’ll qualify for. (iOS, Android, BlackBerry)

Bonus App for Buyers:

Google Maps
Google Maps is a must-have for anyone who’s house hunting. When you’re ready to visit a property or check out a neighborhood, you can use Google Maps to give you turn by turn directions to the house. You can use their satellite view to get a good idea how far important things like schools, parks, shopping, bus stops, and restaurants are to a home you are interested in and check out the other houses on the street. (Web, Android, iOS)

Ready to move beyond the app?
If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, or know someone who is, keep us in mind because we’re happy to help!

Source: 1. Pew Research Center, January 12, 2017 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/12/evolution-of-technology/
2. Deloitte, 2016 global mobile consumer survey: US edition https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/global-mobile-consumer-survey-us-edition.html
3. Gallup, July 9, 2015 http://www.gallup.com/poll/184046/smartphone-owners-check-phone-least-hourly.aspx

Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

Fri, 28 Jul by Ken MacAulay

Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighbourhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbours, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

 

  1. Make your home’s exterior look like new.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.

 

Paint. Paint is the best way to make your home appear newer. While you can paint your home yourself, if it’s large or more than one story, consider hiring a professional. Painting has a 55 percent return on investment.1

 

Maintain your siding. Over time, weather and the elements can make your home’s siding appear dull and dirty. Use a pressure washer to clean stains, spider webs and accumulated dirt and grime, or use a soft cloth and a household cleaner to get into those small nooks and spaces. Although the average life expectancy of siding ranges from 60 to 100 years, depending on the material, extreme weather may reduce this number. Replacing worn or damaged siding will boost curb appeal and may help your home sell for more.

 

Paint or replace garage doors. If your garage doors are in good condition, give them a new coat of paint. If they’re beginning to show their age, consider replacing them. Not only will new garage doors improve the look of your exterior, they’re also more energy efficient and better insulated than older models.

 

Maintain your fence. Replace rotted or worn posts and panels and freshen it up with a coat of paint. If you have a hedge that serves as your property’s border, keep it trimmed and in good shape.

 

  1. Pay attention to the small details.

The small details tie your home’s exterior together and help it stand out from others in the neighbourhood.

 

Paint front door, trim and shutters. This inexpensive improvement adds brightness to a home, whether you choose a bold colour, a neutral tone or classic white.

 

Install new door fixtures and be sure they match in style and finish and complement the style of your home.

 

Update your house numbers. Make sure potential buyers and guests can find your home. If the numbers have faded or need an update, replace them. If choosing a metallic finish, make sure it matches the finish of your exterior light fixtures.

 

  1. Tend to your driveway and lawn.

A well-designed and managed landscape may add up to 28 percent to the overall value of your home.2 Additionally, professionally done landscaping not only adds value, it may help your home sell faster as well.

 

Place a border along your driveway or walkway made of brick, stone, pavers or another hardscape element to add visual interest to a plain driveway.

 

Maintain your green space. If you have grass, a well-maintained, green lawn makes your home look inviting and picturesque. However, in many parts of the country, water conservation is becoming more important. Xeriscaped landscapes incorporate drought-tolerant, often native, vegetation with water-saving drip irrigation and mulch. Xeriscaping has a cost savings of 36 cents per square foot annually through reduced irrigation and maintenance costs.3 Additionally, these landscapes are virtually maintenance free, which makes it an attractive option for busy buyers.

 

Include trees and shrubs to create texture and add interest to your landscape. Planting a few types of trees and shrubs of varying heights, widths and flowering times boosts your home’s curb appeal year-round.

 

  1. Make it feel inviting.

It’s no secret that emotions play a role in a person’s decision to purchase a home. Stage the outside of your home to evoke warm feelings.

 

Stage your porch. If you have a front porch, make it feel more inviting by including seating, such as a chair or loveseat, an outdoor rug and a small table. If space is an issue, incorporate small decorative touches, such as a festive wreath or potted plant.

 

Hang flower boxes on your front porch railings and/or below your windows. If you don’t want to affix flower boxes to your home, purchase nice planters and containers and place them around your porch or on your front steps.

 

Choose flowers and plants that bloom at different times of the year for year-round appeal. For example, bulbs not only bloom all spring, they also multiply and come up every year. Perennials often flower for most of the year and will prevent you from having to replant them every year.

 

If you don’t have a green thumb, choose low maintenance plants and flowers. Flowers such as lavender, rosemary, and zinnias are a few low-maintenance and drought-tolerant options.

 

  1. Boost Your Online “Curb Appeal.”

For those interested in selling, it’s important to know the effect online curb appeal has on a home. The better impression your home gives online, the more likely buyers will want to see it in person. Here’s how to get your home ready for its listing debut.

 

Stage your home. Staging shows your home in its best light and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there.

 

Hire a professional to take photos. A photographer has the skills and equipment to shoot your home in the best light and make it look its best.

 

Include a short video tour of the home. Videos are becoming a popular way to give buyers a glimpse of the home before they step foot in it.

 

Before you start a home project, keep these four things in mind:

  1. Why are you renovating? In other words, is your intention to update your home and get it show-ready or do you want to sell it for more money? Don’t fall into the trap of undertaking major renovations that may not pay off when you sell. If your home is in good shape, a few inexpensive updates may be enough to make your home attractive to buyers.
  2. The style of the neighbourhood. Whenever you renovate your home, make sure the project fits with the style of the neighbourhood and rules of the homeowner association. For example, an HOA may limit the choice and number of trees you can plant on your property. Similarly, a tall hedge border may not fit in in a neighbourhood of low, picket fences.
  3. Permits. If you’re planning an extensive exterior renovation, you may need a permit from your municipality or other authority.
  4. Budget. A budget keeps your project’s costs and scope in check. Make a list of the improvements you’d like to make, set a realistic budget and stick to it. If you’d like advice on improvements you can make to boost your home’s curb appeal, give us a call.

 

Are you thinking of boosting your home’s curb appeal or renovating your home before you list? Do you want help making your home more appealing to potential buyers online and in-person? Give us a call and we’ll help you present your home in its best light.

 

Sources: 1. Certified Staging Professionals

  1. Ottawa Citizen, July 17, 2015
  2. REALTOR.com

Sun Peaks Resort – Kamloops BC – A Nice Mountain Get- Away

Thu, 20 Jul by Ken MacAulay

I had a great experience the past weekend to take a trip through the rockies to the Kamloops area and the Sun Peaks Resort . Not only is this the ski hill of the infamous Nancy Green , it is a great mountain to hike, bike etc .

I had a few meetings with a local Sotheby’s Realtor ( Mike Forester) there who ” to my surprise ” told me that there inventory was very low and if a property went on the market it was gone almost immediately . I had a look at a few homes as well as lots . The lots were priced anywhere from the low 200’s to the mid 500’s .A local builder by the name of Darcy Franklin of Meranti Homes told me that in the area a buyer would have to add on at least 40-50k for lot improvements ( digging out rock etc ) before you could do any foundation work .

The home values were starting at the low 200’s for a small condo on the hill ( great for a weekend getaway ) to 1.5m and higher for a chalet style estate home .

Something for everyone at this mountain hide-away resort that is just over an 1 hr flight from Calgary via West jet then a 45 min shuttle from the airport to the resort .

I know we will be back … hope to see you there !

Real Home Value Calculator: Assessed Value vs Market Value

Thu, 20 Jul by Ken MacAulay

Understanding a home’s true market value is about more than pictures, software assessments and price-per-square-foot. Whether you’re a current homeowner thinking of selling or are house-hunting, it’s crucial you understand what factors affect home valuation. By partnering with a local market expert, sellers will avoid pricing their house out of the market (the kiss of death in real estate) and buyers will ensure they get a good deal on their next home.

So, how do you accurately calculate a home’s value? After all, the value a home is assigned by its town or county and the one it’s given when it’s listed are often dramatically different from one another. Which one is accurate and what does it all mean? Read on to learn more.

Assessed Value vs Market Value: What’s the difference?
When it comes to home value, you’ll often hear two terms, assessed value and market value.

A home’s assessed value is often the lower number of the two, and is the value given by your municipality or county. Investopedia defines assessed value as “the dollar value assigned to a property to measure applicable taxes.”1 Although property tax laws vary, assessors commonly arrive at this number by taking into account the following:

● What comparable/similar homes are selling for in your area.
● The value of recent improvements.
● Income from renting out a room or space on the property.
● How much it would cost to rebuild on the property.

A home’s market value, or Fair Market Value, is the price a buyer is willing to pay or a seller is willing to accept for a property. A skilled real estate professional will arrive at the value using a variety of metrics, including:

● External characteristics, such as lot size, home style, the condition of the home and curb appeal.
● Internal characteristics, such as the number of rooms and their size, the type and condition of the heating or HVAC system, the quality and condition of construction, the flow of the home, etc.
● The sales price of comparable homes that have sold in your area.
● Supply and demand; that is, how many buyers and sellers are in the area.
● Location; that is, the quality and desirability of your neighborhood and other community amenities.

Why are these values often so different? An assessor usually estimates your property’s market value during a reassessment or if you make a physical change or improvement to it.2 As a result, a property may not be reassessed for many years. While your home’s market value may fluctuate with the market, your home’s assessed value is more likely to remain steady.3

What Determines a Home’s Value?
You’ve likely heard the motto of real estate: “Location, location, location.” This means a home’s value relies on its location. While the home and structures on the property will likely depreciate over time, the land beneath it tends to appreciate. Why? Land is in limited supply and a growing population puts increased demand on the housing supply. As a result, values increase.4

Other factors that affect your home’s value include the function and appearance of the property, how well the home and other structures are maintained and whether the home is a lifestyle property, such as a ranch style with mountain views or beach bungalow.

Ultimately, the best indication of a home’s value is the overall supply and demand of the market. This is why we recommend you partner with a real estate professional who takes all of these factors—the assessed value, local market conditions, home features and has physically walked through and experienced your home— into consideration to determine the most accurate market value.

How to determine if a property is comparable to yours.
Both assessed value and market value are partially determined by the sales price of similar, or comparable, homes in the area. To determine if a home is comparable to yours, look for the following characteristics:

● Lot size
● Square footage
● Home style or similar architecture
● Age
● Location

While you may not find a home with the same exact characteristics as yours, you’ll likely find a few that are close. To account for any disparity, adjust the sales prices of the comparable properties. Look at the differences between your property and the one in question and determine if the differences increased or decreased the sales price and by how much. For example, if your home has two bathrooms and a similar home only has three, estimate how much that extra bathroom increased the sale price of the similar home. The adjusted sale price is the estimation of what the property would sell for if the properties were exactly the same.2

Where can you find comparable sales?
Fortunately, you can find comparable home sales in a variety of places.2
● Your local assessor’s office is able to provide a list of recent sales you can browse and compare or a sales history of a particular house, home style or neighborhood.
● Your municipality. Many cities keep local sales information in their offices or post it online.
● Online databases, such as a real estate database
● Your local newspapers may offer some real estate information in the form of quarterly sales reports in the business or real estate sections of the newspaper.
● Our office. We regularly do Comparable Market Analysis of homes in our local area.

How to calculate your home’s value.
By answering a few questions about your home, property and the local market, you can begin to estimate your property’s value. We’ve also included a worksheet for you below…

Home Value Questions:
When was your home last assessed?
What was its CMA assessment value?
What is your area’s average sales price?
What is your area’s average price/square foot?

Structure:
● Is the architecture and exterior structure of the home consistent, superior or inferior to other homes in the area?
● Does the era or genre (Modern, Victorian, Ranch, Cottage, etc.) add a premium based on current design trends?
● How does the floor plan and room size proportions of the home compare to other homes on the market?
Interior Structure:
● How does the kitchen compare to others on the market?
○ Updated or outdated
○ Floor plan
○ Appliance packages
● How does the Master Suite compare to others on the market?
○ Size
○ First/second floor
○ Updated or outdated
○ Access to Master Bath
● How does the Master Bath compare to others on the market?
○ Updated or outdated
○ Shower and bath
○ Flooring
Outside Areas:
● Are there views, outdoor living areas or recreational areas?
○ Pools
○ Ponds
○ Patios
● How does the landscaping and hard-scaping compare to the market? (e.g., built elements such as walkways, patios, decks, etc.)
Overall Condition of Home
● What is the level of repair needed to compete with other homes?
● Does the home need to be staged? How does it show?
● What curb appeal projects are necessary to be consistent with others on the market?

Home Assessment Worksheet

If you want to accurately assess a home’s value, it’s crucial to know about the market activity of our local area. We can help! Give us a call to get the scoop on the local market.

Sources: 1. Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/assessedvalue.asp
2. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance https://www.tax.ny.gov/pubs_and_bulls/orpts/mv_estimates.htm
3. Realtor.com http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/assessed-value-vs-market-value-difference/
4. Investopedia, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/housing-appreciation.asp?lgl=myfinance-layout

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 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.