Healthy Indoor Living

From the paint on your walls to the choices you make within your walls, you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure the most wholesome environment for you and your family. Here are some things to consider in your quest for a healthier home.

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  • Green Your Clean: “Green” cleaners can do just as good a job as chemical-laden ones, to the benefit of your lungs and the health of your entire family. Research combinations of vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and other common household items for healthier cleaning solutions. When considering store-bought cleaners, choose ones that say “petroleum free”, “biodegradable” or “phosphate-free”.
  • Toss the Teflon: Reduce the use of your -Teflon-coated cookware to lower the risk of the harmful chemicals used to make these nonstick coatings accumulating in your body. Consider switching to stainless steel, anodized aluminum, copper-coated pans, cast iron or enamel-coated iron pans. If you can’t get away from the Teflon, then at least  keep the temperature low when cooking so as to reduce the release of harmful toxins.
  • Say OK to Organic: We’re exposed to many harmful chemicals on a daily basis, so the switch to organic food is a sensible goal. While organic foods are healthier for our bodies, they may not be as healthy for our wallets, so cut the cost by researching foods that are worth the extra expense of buying organic. For example, you may choose to stick with non-organic bananas and melons as they have a protective layer of skin to protect the edible portions of the fruits from pesticides, while organic berries and peaches can be worth splurging on, as they are more vulnerable to chemicals.
  • Banish the Bunnies: Breathe easier by controlling dust bunnies with regular cleaning, and consider replacing wall-to-wall carpeting, a top collector of dust and allergens, with wood, tile, bamboo, linoleum or other flooring options. If that’s not practical then maintain a rigorous vacuuming schedule and deep clean carpets and rugs on a regular basis.
  • Go for Glass: Replace plastic bottles and containers with glass ones, and never microwave food in plastic containers.
  • Get the Lead Out: If you have an older home, check with your local health department about how to test  your home for lead paint. Chips or dust from crumbling lead-based paint is known to cause health risks.
  • Bug Off, Naturally: Don’t pollute your home and endanger human and pet health by tackling indoor bugs with harmful pesticides. The same goes for pest and weed control for your outdoor green space. Aim for non-chemical methods to create a healthier, greener environment both inside and outside your home.
  • Breathe Clean with Real Green: Real plants inside your home look great while helping to create better air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen. During this process, they also absorb indoor toxins that you would otherwise be breathing in. Consult with your local nursery for the plants most likely to thrive in your indoor light conditions.

Renovating for Resale

Renovating your home for your own enjoyment is very different than renovating it to sell. Keep these tips in mind when giving your property a makeover intended for the market.


  1. Kitchens & bathrooms are tops. These areas, more than any others in your home, have the ability to “make or break” it, for prospective buyers, so you’d be wise to concentrate your renovating efforts and budget on these rooms – the kitchen, in particular – before upgrading other rooms
  2. It’s the little things. Don’t go overboard with your renovations. Numerous studies have shown its the simple, low-cost projects that offer home sellers the greatest return on investment. So, think small: a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, and new hardware in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  3. Appearance is everything. Get more bang for your renovation buck by focusing on upgrades with high visibility, like those made to flooring, walls, counters & cabinetry. These are more enticing to buyers than the kinds of functional improvements that aren’t obvious in photos or at first sight.
  4. Don’t replace what you can renew. Why install new hardwood floors if a simple (and much cheaper) refinishing will make them look good as new? Are your cabinets structurally sound? A refinishing or refacing may be all the upgrading they need. Where possible, work with what you already have.
  5. Tailor to your target market. When you’re renovating to sell, the changes you make need to appeal more to the general market, not necessarily to your specific tastes.

January 2016 Absorption Rate Graphs

Please contact us at 403-818-3907/403-975-0287 or / if you have questions regarding the following graphs – we’d love to help you understand them and/or answer any questions you may have!

January 2016 - Absorption Rate GraphJanuary 2016 - Detailed Absorption Rate Graph

2016 Economic Outlook & Regional Housing Market Forecast

Creb Forecast


Click Here for the: 2016_CREB_Forecast_Report

December 2015 Absorption Rate Graphs

Please contact us at 403-818-3907/403-975-0287 or or if you have questions regarding the following graphs – we’d love to help you understand them and/or answer any questions you may have!

December 2015 - Absorption Rate Graph

December 2015 - Detailed Absorption Rate Graph

Pantry Perfection


Your pantry, your cupboards – whatever you call that part of your kitchen where you keep your food – it’s a fixture of your daily domestic life. Make it work better for you by getting it organized – and keeping it that way.

First, let’s get you motivated by looking at how an organized pantry pays off. You’ll save money by reducing food waste and more easily identifying what you do – and don’t – need to buy. You’ll save time, finding what you’re looking for and making grocery lists quicker. An organized pantry can also help you better understand or change your eating habits and meal planning. You might even find those meals tasting better because you’re working with fresher ingredients.

Start your pantry makeover by taking everything out of it (the perfect opportunity to wipe down your shelves). Of each items, check if it’s still good. If not, toss it. Be wary of dates on packaging though – they’re not necessarily expiration dates, and expiration dates aren’t always gospel. Don’t waste money throwing out perfectly good food. On the other hand, some foodstuffs, like spices & seasoning, don’t ever spoil but do lose their potency, at which time they should be tosses as they won’t do your meals any favours. Next, check if the remaining items will be used. If you haven’t used it in the last year, the answer’s likely no. Donate the unopened items to your local food bank.

What’s left is ready to be restocked in your pantry. But how and where you put everything back is key to realizing those benefits we talked about. Grouping similar items together (ie: Condiments, baking ingredients, canned goods, and grains) help you find what you need faster, and to see how much of an item you have available. Placing your most frequently used foodstuffs in prime pantry real estate (at eye level) saves time. Strategically placing certain items, like snack foods, where they can’t be seen or reached can help you with your eating habits. Ordering items by expiration date (the first to expire should be the last put away) helps reduce waste.

Having purged your pantry, you might find you now have all the room you need. But if it’s still cramped and you’re having trouble accessing or even seeing everything, take advantage of the many kitchen-organizing products available, from under-shelf storage to Lazy Susans to door-mounted racks. Take food out of the original packaging and put it in stackable square or rectangular storage containers to maximize space. If those containers are also clear and air tight, you’ll be able to see at a glance how much product you have left and your food will stay fresher loner, saving money and making your meals taste better.

Keep your new-and-improved pantry organized by going through it on a weekly, monthly, or seasonal basis – whatever works given its size and your household’s food consumption habits – taking out what you won’t or can not longer use, and regrouping contents. Now you’re cooking!

Holiday Sale

Thinking about pulling your home off the market during the holidays or waiting until they’re over to sell? Hold that thought while you consider these reasons why the holidays can be a great time to sell.

  • Buyers who are out home hunting during this busy time of the year tend to be serious, motivated buyers. January is a popular time to start a new job, for example, so maybe they’re under a deadline to move; there are a number of reasons buyers may need to close on a new home before the end of the year.
  • Because most people do wait until after the holiday season to put their homes on the market, you’ll have less competition from other sellers if you sell during the holidays. What happens when there’s less available inventory for buyers – serious buyers – to choose from? Prices go up, which is good news for those looking to sell.
  • The emotional quotient. Dressed up in the sights and smells of the season – twinkling lights, greenery, and freshly bakes goodies – your home may never look and feel quite so appealing as it does at this special time of year, allowing you to capitalize on buyers’ emotions at a time when they’re already running high.
  • Depending on the local market activity, selling your home now could mean being much better positioned as a buyer come spring. Your offer will be more attractive to sellers as it won’t be conditional on selling your home first, and you can close quicker – crucial advantages for a buyer when the market picks up steam in the spring.

Contact us today to discuss whether putting your property on the market this holiday season is the right move for you and your family!

Christmas Tree At Home

A Question of Etiquette

Viewing prospective properties can be a minefield of unwritten rules. Answered here are buyers’ most frequently asked questions about open house and private showing etiquette.


  • Can I bring my kid(s)? Of course! But should you? Unless you’re serious about a property, consider leaving them behind. You’ll get more out of viewing since you won’t be distracted, and you won’t risk your child(ren) possibly doing damage to the seller’s property or hurting themselves.
  • Can I open closets, cupboards and drawers? Closets? Yes, absolutely! Cupboards and drawers? That depends. Are they permanently affixed to the property (ie: Kitchen cabinetry) Then yes! Are they attached to belongings the seller will take with them? (ie: Dressers & armoires) Then no. Rummaging through their contents? Never!
  • What if I have to use the bathroom? If you can hold it, do. But if you just can’t wait, ask permission first – the seller may have designated a specific bathroom they’d prefer guests to use. And if you do go, make it quick and leave everything exactly as found.
  • Is it OK to take pictures and/or record video? Unit it’s sold, that property that you’re wandering around is still someones private residence. So, the rule here is the same as for the bathroom: ask permission first. Understandably, some sellers have security concerns and may prefer you didn’t take images.
  • Do I have to take my shoes off? If asked to do so, whether by a sign, a seller, or a salesperson, it’s just good manners to comply. Always be prepared for this request by wearing good socks or stockings under shoes you can easily slip off and on.

Top 10 reasons to use a REALTOR®


  1. REALTORS® are licensed and trained professionals
  2. REALTORS® are legally bound by a strict Code of Ethics and high Standards of Business Practice
  3. REALTORS® have an Agency obligation to represent your best interests.
  4. REALTORS® assist you with the various issues involved with your transaction including financing, legal, appraisals, real property reports, title insurance and more.
  5. Only REALTORS® can provide instant notification to all buyers and sellers on market conditions and all new listings through CREB®’s auto-notification system.
  6. Only REALTORS® can list your home on – the number one real estate internet marketing site in Canada
  7. REALTORS® assist in determining the fair market value in buying or selling your home.
  8. REALTORS® can identify issues today so you can avoid surprises tomorrow.
  9. REALTORS® ensure that you understand every step of the transaction
  10. REALTORS® take the stress out of buying and selling your home.




Oil Prices VS YYC RE

Can you time the bottom of the real estate market in Calgary?

Everyone always wants to buy real estate at the bottom of the market and sell at the top.  The question everyone wants to know right now is – When are we at the bottom and how do we know?

Most people rely on gut instincts.  They listen to the media or wait to hear their friends and coworkers assuring them that things have gotten better.  Sadly, if you wait for that moment, you are already too late to reap the rewards of low real estate prices.

Let’s make sure we understand the fundamentals of real estate pricing in Calgary, consider the following.  Then we will move on to the BIG question.

How is value determined in real estate?

Real estate markets are fueled by supply and demand.  Specifically, the supply of homes and the demand for them, are what informed buyers and informed sellers agree to buy/sell a property for.  Do we sometimes get uninformed sellers selling homes for far less than what informed sellers would?  Yes.  Do we sometimes get uninformed buyers paying far more than what an informed buyer would?  Yes.  That being said, it is not the one offs that determine price, the consistent actions of informed buyers and sellers do that.


In Calgary, it is believed that the price of oil affects the demand for homes.  This manifests through people’s willingness to buy homes or what value informed buyers feel is fair.  In the past 30 years we have seen oil prices drop significantly five times.

February 1986 – December 1986 (10 months)                  49% drop in oil prices.
August 1991 – January 1992 (5 months)                           29% drop in oil prices.
September 1997 – February 1999 (17 months)                 27% drop in oil prices.
June 2001 – March 2002 (9 months)                                 27% drop in oil prices.
November 2008 – September 2009 (10 months)               50% drop in oil prices.
December 2014 – current (4 months so far)                      50% drop in oil prices.

So what did this mean for the price and demand for homes.

1986               49% oil drop             8% increase in real estate prices
1991               29% oil drop             2% decrease in real estate prices
1997               27% oil drop            7% increase in real estate prices
2001               24% oil drop             7% increase in real estate prices
2008               50% oil drop            7% decrease in real estate prices
2015               50% oil drop             7% decrease in real estate prices

(Please note all increases or decreases are based on averages.  Each community, style of home, type of home, etc. will have it’s own influencing factors).

As you can see, to simply say that every times oil drops, home prices or demand drops, is inaccurate.  Oil certainly can affect our markets but so do exchange rates, employment levels and interest rates.  A 2005 study by Mercedes A. Padilla, Master of Entrepreneurship from MIT shows that these four factors explain 98% of the ups and downs of Calgary home prices.


The supply side of real estate is also complex.  When it comes to new homes, Calgary developers are wary of overdeveloping new stock, if it’s not demand driven.  Developers tend to build when prices have already gone up, not in anticipation of it.  This greatly minimizes the risk of Calgary seeing an oversupplied market and keeps a steady increase of stock throughout the years.

That being said, Calgary has been in a supply shortage since the end of 2012.  This is partially due to the city’s need to upgrade the NW sewer lines and NE water treatment plants.  This infrastructure deficit has caused the developers to ration lots and the City to be extra cautious in approving new home permits in developing suburban communities.  (The NW sewer line upgrade is not anticipated to be complete until 2016-2017).

At the time of writing this, the Calgary is sitting at an inventory level of approximately 6080 homes for sale.  This is the similar inventory levels Calgary had in 2005.  Considering the City has increased by roughly 400,000 people since that time (even more if you account for growth in the bedroom communities around Calgary) you can clearly see that our inventory levels are not keeping up with our population increases.

Additional Factors

In 2008, when we saw the last decrease in Calgary real estate prices, we had a multitude of different factors at play that we don’t this time.  We were in the midst of a global economic downturn, credit was significantly cut off, the United States was in horrible economic shape and Calgary was already in a downward spiral from bubble type condition from the housing market of 2007.

Seeing the “correction” of the market this time was not unexpected.  In fact market corrections occur all the time.  Calgary had seen above average inflation since the beginning of 2013.  This inflation had placed home prices about 4.5% over our trend lines.  This above average inflation also explained why Calgary was one of the top three cities in Canada to watch for in real estate investment.  The only thing that came unexpectedly was the massive dip in oil prices.  Before that, the school of thought was that once the sewer line upgrades were complete, more new homes would hit the market and even out our supply.

Another factor to consider is the current municipal political climate.  Given the direction being taken by City Council, there is still uncertainty that even with the completion of the sewer line upgrade whether new lot permits will be made available.  If municipal administrators continue to restrictively release new home permits, this will continue the shortage of inventory and home prices would continue to increase at great rates of return.

So is this the bottom of the Calgary real estate market?

I think it is as close as you are going to get to the bottom of the U pattern real estate markets travel in.

Right now we are really in a “We’re not sure what’s happening so we are just going to hold off” period.  We do have a supply issue.  And the low oil prices have caused some short-lived uncertainty causing a temporary demand problem.  But when you look at the numbers, as we do week by week, you see the following.  At the beginning of 2015, Calgary’s average home price was $500,000. The lowest point came in March when we saw average prices lower to $459,000. Since then we have seen the average price slowly climb to $466,000.

Oil prices slid from $75 a barrel in November 2014 to the lowest point of $47 in March 2015. Currently oil is sitting at $55. If this continues, this will elevate the feeling of uncertainty and demand will most likely return, leaving us only with the supply shortage we had before the oil price downturn started.

To say anyone can predict the economic future of our city, province or country with 100% accuracy is irresponsible.  All investments come with risk, and the best you can do is make informed decisions.  The nice thing with real estate is there is never a bad time to buy, just a bad time to sell sometimes.

Don’t worry it’s not all doom and gloom.  Calgary was fortunate to have a soft landing this time due to the improving economic US market, low interest rates, an improving dollar against the US green back and an employment shortage of skilled labour.  Although we are sensitive to economic shocks, we are resilient and will feel confidence and demand return very shortly to the Calgary real estate market.