The Green Advantage

Making eco-friendly improvements to your house is obviously good for the environment, but what’s in it for you? Here’s what you stand to gain by going green.


  • Saving your money. Beefing up your insulation; swapping single-pane windows for double-panes; replacing your outdated appliances with new ENERGY STAR.- rated models; swapping out old lighting for energyefficient lighbulbs and fixtures and installing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets will help lower both your energy and water bills – that means that over the long run, more money stays in your pocket each and every month. Plus, certain energy-efficient improvements may even qualify you for tax break, saving you even more money.
  • Making your house a healthier place to live. Traditional paints and carpets, for example, off-gas volatile organic compounds, contributing to indoor air pollution. By applying low-VOC paint and opting for eco-friendly flooring alternatives (such as bamboo, cork, linoleum, or low-VOC carpeting), you’ll improve your home’s air quality. The results? Sleep better; breathe easier; have fewer headaches; and experience less risk of any associated nausea, dizziness, and ear, nose, and throat irritations.
  • Boosting your home’s resale value. Homebuyers are increasingly seeing the value in a more eco-friendly house, precisely due to the lower utility bills and health benefits discussed above. Green improvements both big and small can increase your home’s attractiveness to potential buyers (who are themselves concerned with resale value), helping sell your house faster and for more money.

Factors that are Best Ignored

No property is perfect – each one you come across will have its flaws, but while some are justifiable grounds for crossing a home off your list, others aren’t. Below are four things that shouldn’t be deal breakers:


  • Unappealing décor. Outdated or ultra-modern: whatever the reason you’re turned off by a potential property’s d.cor, keep in mind that this is a cosmetic flaw – in other words, it’s a problem that’s easily solved. If you can’t look past the gaudy wallpaper, stained carpeting, and/or shabby cabinetry, you might just miss out on a property perfectly suited to your needs.
  • Minor repairs. A home in need of significant (read: costly) work is one you’d be justified in walking away from. But problems of a “leaks and squeaks” nature – faucets, cupboards, and drawers needing a little attention, for example – are minor, and relatively easy and inexpensive to repair; as such, they shouldn’t put you off an otherwise sound property.
  • Odors. Certain odors – the smell of mold for instance – are always cause for concern, and you wouldn’t want to live near a factory that produces a foul smell, of course. But odors from cooking, smoking, or pets, while unpleasant, can be dealt with; walls can be washed and repainted with odor-eliminating paint, and carpets can be steam cleaned, for example.
  • The listing. Sometimes, buyers write off a property before they even see it due to the listing itself – perhaps the photos are unflattering, the price seems too high or low, or it’s been on the market for a long time. Consider that if your real estate representative shows you such a listing, there must be a reason – give it a chance.

Finishing Touches

Furniture is a practical necessity, but it’s through our accessories that we really express our style and personality, make our living spaces utterly unique and “complete” our environments. Below are five home décor accessories that are essential for turning any house – or condo – into a home.

  • Art. But not just any old art: pieces you truly connect with, that you love to look at each and every day, be they fabric wall-hangings, travel photography from your globe-trekking adventures, or Dadaist prints. Just avoid the all-too-common décor faux pas of hanging your art too high. And consider highlighting (some of) your art with accent lighting (such as picture lights, which attach to picture frames; recessed lighting; or ceiling-mounted spotlights) to really make an impactful statement of your art.
  • Plants. Make your home come alive (literally!) with a living accessory. In addition to looking (and often smelling) good, plants are functional too. They can help camouflage flaws (block an unsightly view with a strategically placed plant); be used to create a focal point (a big Thatch palm or Dracaena tree makes a bold statement); and improve your indoor air quality (English ivy, Boston ferns, and rubber, spider, and snake plants are excellent choices for this purpose). Just do your homework before bringing any plant into your home – some species can be toxic to pets or people.
  • Rugs. It’s been said that a rug can really tie a room together. Available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, they’re a great way to add color, pattern, and texture to a room, and warmth and softness to cold, hardwood or stone floors. Rugs can serve to provide a room’s focal point (think bold colors and geometric patterns), or to define certain areas, or zones, in an open-concept floorplan – make sure the rug is big enough to go under the furniture pieces that define the zone.
  • Lamps. The overhead fixtures that come with most rooms may provide adequate general (or ambient) lighting, but left at that, a room looks rather stark. No décor is truly complete until it has the three light layers (ambient, task, and accent) needed to establish mood and provide functional lighting for the room’s uses. Floor and table lamps are key to providing ambient and task lighting, but they needn’t look utilitarian – with so many choices available, you can express your style through lamps just as easily as you can through artwork or rugs.
  • A collection. As so many of us have something we collect, and those collections reveal much about our personality and passions to anyone visiting our home, why not make them part of the décor? Whatever the nature of your collection – books, records, tea pots, or vintage cameras – you’d be surprised at the number of creative ways it can be incorporated into your décor. Displays of collections can be so ingeniously creative, in fact, as to qualify as that first thing on this list: art.

10 Ways to Get Your House in Tip Top Shape Prior to Selling It!

…and maximize the most income!

Many people want to know what the secret is to getting the most out of their real estate and to appeal to the consumers looking for real estate today. This report will guide you through doing many of those things that will help you get the most money when selling your property:

  1. Paint the interior: Most buyers appreciate a good fresh coat of paint and this will help enhance your properties value. It will also help brighten your house, giving it a new, clean appearance. Stay away from bold, dark and bright colours and focus more on the lighter and softer, earth tone, shades. This will also help make the rooms feel larger and appeal to a broader demographic.
  2. Paint the outside: Curb appeal is important! Of course, depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions. As noted above, stick to lighter neutral colours and stay away from bright colours that people might not like.
  3. Pick up any outside debris, trash or clutter: First impressions make a huge impact on potential buyers. Should your property have unwanted clutter at the initial greeting point, it will not help the marketing and selling of your home. A few hard hours of raking, cleaning and picking up odds-and-ends could add money to your pocket!
  4. Reduce extras and odds and ends from your home: Rooms with too much furniture or decorations can often detract from the showing of your home. Usually too much decor can make the rooms look smaller and may hurt your chances of selling your home. Store unneeded furniture or items that you can do without during the marketing stage of your property listing. Your goal is to make your property look spacious and comfortable. Buyers also want to see rooms that appear and look spacious to them.
  5. Be sure to open blinds and draperies: This is a great idea to help aid the salesperson to sell your home. When your property is in tip top shape and ready to show, having as much light as possible helps brighten your home and gives it a welcoming feel.
  6. Avoid playing music: Although you may like the music playing in the background, it can be a deterrent to the agent and buyers while looking at your home. Keep music off while your home is being shown.
  7. Price your property right from the beginning: Many buyers take the approach and attitude that they can always come down on price. This can be a bad thing to do. Many buyers feel if a home has been listed for a long time that there is something wrong with it. Most agents will tell you that the best activity occurs during the first two to three weeks of the listing begin date. After a few weeks the activity will begin to taper off and showings will decrease, If your home is priced incorrectly from the beginning it will not get a lot of showings and the longer your home is on the market, the more buyers will feel that it’s tainted. Price your home right at the beginning to help get the most activity and a quicker sale. Win-win.
  8. Have your carpets cleaned: It is a good idea to have your carpets cleaned or your hardwood floors polished/waxed. This is normally not too expensive and can usually add a lot of appeal to potential buyers.
  9. Hire a staging company: If possible, hire a staging company to help show you ways to maximize room appeal and value to your residence. Robyn Moser and Associates works with Designing First Impressions with all listings, at no cost to the client.
  10. Purchase new linens and towels for bathrooms: This can help aid in giving a new appearance to your home.

Legendary Luxury

Calgary’s million dollar market continues to shatter records


Just one month after setting the all-time record for luxury sales, Calgary’s million dollar homes market has once again set a new mark.

June saw 104 sales of homes priced at $1 million or more, topping the previous record of 94 million-dollar plus sales, set in May. Prior to that, the previous record was 83, set in May 2013.

“Million-plus home sales within city limits continue to rise representing a larger share of total sales activity,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “After the first half of the year, 462 sales were over $1 million, representing 3.32 per cent of all the sales in the city.

“While the market share in this sector has steadily improved over the past five years, 2014 represents the first time over this same time frame that the share of sales in the million-plus sector
are larger than those in the lower end of the market (under $200,000).”

The record for the most million dollar plus sales in a year came last year when 732 homes were sold in the city, easily surpassing the previous record of 544 set in 2012.

“Calgary has undergone a massive transformation in recent years,” said Ross McCredie, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International. “Top-tier real estate in the city and surrounding areas is in high demand not just from local homebuyers, but from those traveling and moving her from other parts of the country and around the world.”

Sotheby’s recently introduced private jet and helicopter services to aid affluent buyers and sellers in the area. The company also announced plans to double its presence in the city, taking on expanded office space as well as adding an increased number of agents – all aimed at dealing with the increased amount of high-end homes changing hands in and around the city.

“Our growth here reflects confidence in Calgary’s appeal locally and internationally,” said McCredie. Highlighting the opulence up for grabs in the Calgary is a sprawling estate currently listed on MLS for the tidy sum of $37.9 million. The 5,000-square-foot home sits on 98 hectares in the Municipal District of Foothills – land once owned by the Ford family.

Constructed within the last five years, the home features $6 million in finishings, a detached heated triple-car garage, a working vintage gas station and a barn and livestock area.

Further evidence of Calgary’s growing luxury sector also came recently with the announcement of a new downtown condo development called The Concord, which will feature units starting around $1 million and climbing to $13 million. The project, when complete, will consist of two towers of more than 200 units ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 square feet.

Developed by Concord Pacific – which also recently agreed to develop up to five residential towers at the North Hill Shopping Centre – The Concord will be, in the words of the developer, Calgary’s “most luxurious multi-family residential development.”

“In addition to its pinnacle location on the Bow River in the prestigious community of Eau Claire, The Concord will feature amenities and design elements never before seen in Calgary,” said the company. “They include extensive flood-mitigation measures, in-suite emergency power, kitchens worth as much as a two-bedroom condo home, skating rink, private elevators and garages big enough to fit all the toys.”

As Calgary continues to draw more residents, and as home prices continue to rise, the relevance of newer homes closer to the core has aided the upswing in the luxury sector, said Lurie.

“This is a segment of the market that is growing as prices continue to rise,” she said. “However, if we look at this segment of the market, a large number of these properties are located in communities in close proximity to the core. In addition, nearly 27 per cent of all million-plus sales are for properties that were built within the last three years.”

Originally Posted:

Cody Stuart – July 07, 2014