For some time now I’ve been cautioning my clients on saying too much when viewing homes. In the past I’ve noticed the little red light on the open laptop or the nanny cam and my clients and I would nod at each other, stop talking and move along. However, these days recordings are becoming so common that it is changing the way we view properties for sale all together.


Ask a few different folks and you will hear different opinions on whether or not a seller can legally record a buyer in their home.


Can a seller record audio and video of showings? I don’t know. I still think technically you can’t, but we have to wait for someone to sue someone to find out for sure.


There is a distinction between audio and video and also a distinction between watching a live stream and a recording. I am not even going to attempt to get into the legalities of these, but sellers should really think consciously about whether or not they will watch or record audio and video of showings and if they will disclose that they are doing so.


In the meantime, know that you and I are most likely being recorded when viewing a home.


If we walk up to a home with a doorbell camera and I ring the bell I expect to be recorded. Yes, I do, but for a short period of time and only in that location. I also expect the home’s security system to capture which doors were opened and when.


I used to not expect a recording device that looks like a phone charger to capture audio and video of us discussing the kitchen design. Yet, I have seen them more and more now that I have learned to recognize them. Also, I know that I have been recorded at times I wasn’t aware that a recording device was in play. How? Well, the seller’s didn’t appreciate my commentary on the installation of their DIY floors it seems. 


From the seller’s perspective the logic makes sense. Recordings allow sellers to manage security of their home. Eavesdropping allows them to find out that folks really, really hate the blue shag carpet.


But what about when a buyer says something that would affect their negotiating power. What about something said in confidence to a spouse at a time they felt they were having a private conversation. What if the recording catches personal information that has nothing to do with the property sold, a phone call with another party, or a private conversation between parent and child?


What if the seller was to publish these videos?


So from this day forward we can’t chat about a house inside the house because we are being watched. It is such a downer. When folks realize they are being watched they shut down, they stop engaging and they withdraw. Those emotions are not good for a showing, for connecting with a property and falling in love with a new home. Yes, in the summer we take those conversations outside and the cameras will catch us chatting on the front driveway for a few minutes. In the winter, we will hop into our cars and head off to another house.


There are exceptions. I have a couple buyers that love the recording antics. They tell stories, make funny remarks and have fun with it. I don’t think it’s helping the sales process, but it sure does lighten the mood.

 

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After a short time off market, this beautiful condo is again available for sale. The Renaissance Towers are an exceptional and unique offering in Calgary with many looking a unit just in this building. For more information about the Renaissance Towers please do give me a call.

 

Spectacular downtown and city views. Renovated 2 bedroom, 2 bath SE facing apartment in the sought after Renaissance Towers on the 7th floor. Brand new master bath with 2 sinks, quartz counters and custom step-in, extra-large, glass-enclosed shower with bench. New high end laminate flooring throughout the entire unit. The open concept kitchen with new granite counters looks out over the living/dining and the panoramic view of downtown and the city beyond. The unit also offers an office/den, in-suite laundry and 1 titled underground parking spot. Building amenities include: central air conditioning, exercise room, 24 hour security/concierge, guest suites, theatre, billiard room, library, party room, visitor parking and rooftop private park. The Renaissance has interior access to North Hill Mall and is across the street from the Lions Park LRT Station. Showings by appointment only.


All property information and photos for 709 1718 14 Ave NW - Renaissance Towers, in Calgary.

 

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OPEN HOUSE Sat June 9: 2-4pm


First time on MLS. Lovingly cared for and renovated by long time owners, this beautiful bungalow in Varsity Estates is located on a corner lot and surrounded by fruit trees and a large yard. You can see the cul-de-sac playground from the kitchen windows. The custom Bow Valley kitchen is a chef’s dream and central to entertaining family and friends. Stunning new hardwood floors run throughout the main level as do the new baseboards and designer paint. 3 bedrooms are on the main level. The ensuite bath is fully redone with a new shower, tile floors, quartz counters and new fixtures. The theme extends to the renovated main bath. The basement offers 2 bedrooms, full bath, a rec room with bar and is refreshed with new paint, carpet and fixtures. The front detached double garage is large and spacious. Efficiency upgrades include new windows, upgraded wall insulation and new siding. Varsity is well known for exceptional schools and proximity to the City. Book your showing today.


Full property details and all photos for 1108 Varsity Estates Drive NW, Calgary.


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Beautifully maintained and move-in ready, this spacious Sundance home offers one of the larger kitchens in the area. You will notice the newly refinished hardwood floors. The front dining/flex room is open and filled with light. The living room, breakfast nook and kitchen offer an open concept design perfect for hosting family and friends. The central island is wrapped by the kitchen with amazing counter and storage space adding to the oversized pantry. Newer appliances are a great addition. The master bedroom has room for your entire bedroom set and offers a 4 piece bath with separate shower and tub. The secondary bedrooms are also a great size and joined with a walkthrough bathroom. The fully finished basement offers a rec room with bar and wine room as well the 4th bedroom and additional full bath. Laundry is on the main level. Step out to the private back deck and enjoy the hot tub, pond and fire pit surrounded by mature trees and landscaping. Double front heated attached garage. New gas heater in the garage installed in 2017.

 

Full property details and photos for 44 Sunlake Circle SE.

 

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Renovating? Do you have household furniture, appliances or building materials that you no longer need? Make a positive impact and donate these items with ease to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

 

Donating to a Habitat ReStore is an environmentally conscious decision that keeps useful household items out of landfills. And, with a free pick-up and tax receipt for items valued over $150, it’s never been easier or more convenient to donate.


Every donation helps Habitat homeowners build strength, stability and independence through affordable homeownership.


Accepted items:


• Furniture;
• Large appliances (less than 10 years old);
• Kitchen and bathroom cabinets;
• Unopened paint, primer or stain;
• Doors and windows;
• Unopened flooring;
• Home decor items;
• Sinks, faucets, bathtubs and showers;
• Lighting and electrical supplies;
• Hardware and tools; and
• Building materials, such as usable lumber, new drywall, insulation, etc.


Drop off locations:
South Calgary ReStore
7291 11 St SE
403-910-2561
southcalrestore@habitatsouthernab.ca


North Calgary ReStore
3465 Sunridge Way NE
403-291-6764
calgaryrestore@habitatsouthernab.ca


Request a pick-up online:
www.habitatsouthernab.ca/restore

 

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Well located on the upper hill of Montgomery, close to downtown, shopping, schools, the river pathways, the University of Calgary, and Foothills and Children’s hospitals, this beautiful home is filled with natural light allowed by the ample windows throughout. On entering the front door, the main level opens to the dining room, centre kitchen and living room beyond with hardwood floors running throughout. Well designed for flow and entertaining the chef’s kitchen with gas stainless steel stove is at the centre with a large island with granite counters. The upper levels offers three large bedrooms including the master with a 5 piece ensuite and upper level laundry room. The basement is fully finished with a 4th large bedroom, spacious family room and a built in wet bar. The back deck looks SW and enjoys great evening sun for a family BBQ and is fully fenced. Beyond is the detached double garage. Book your private showing today.


View all photos and property details for 2120 49 Street NW in Montgomery, Calgary.

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Spectacular downtown and city views. Renovated 2 bedroom, 2 bath SE facing apartment in the sought after Renaissance Towers on the 7th floor. Brand new master bath with 2 sinks, quartz counters and custom step-in, extra-large, glass-enclosed shower with bench. New high end laminate flooring throughout the entire unit. The open concept kitchen with new granite counters looks out over the living/dining and the panoramic view of downtown and the city beyond. The unit also offers an office/den, in-suite laundry and 1 titled underground parking spot. Building amenities include: central air conditioning, exercise room, 24 hour security/concierge, guest suites, theatre, billiard room, library, party room, visitor parking and rooftop private park. The Renaissance has interior access to North Hill Mall and is across the street from the Lions Park LRT Station. Showings by appointment only.

 

View all information and additional photos for 709 - 1718 14 Ave NW in the Renaissance Towers.

 

 

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For years the land at the end of Tuscany Summit Heath has been up for redevelopment. Proposals came and went and so did responses from the various community organizations to the City of Calgary. Much of the initial rezoning/development information was available in 2012. The initial applicant later sold the land to Rockford which is now the one developing the land. The Tuscany Community Association has been responding on these applications for years providing feedback about access, parking and other resident concerns.

 

Recent news indicates that construction will start this spring on 85 townhouses in the location developed by Rockford Tuscany.


This is the development application at the City of Calgary: Development Permit DP2016-5101


The Tuscany Community Association has been tracking this project for years and has the most public information I could personally find. These include:

Most recent update from the Tuscany Community Association on the Rockford Application

Information Package on Proposed Development - old 2012 plan as below.

 

This is the original Landscape Plan as posted on the TCA website. This was the 2012 plan which included the church. Not the one that is going forward today.

 

 

And this is the lot detail currently on the City planning app. Only the multifamily development is currently moving forward as far as I can see and the design is a little different by the lot configuration.

 

 

If you have more information to pass on please do let me know. Otherwise that is all that is available currently that I could find to share with you.

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Yesterday was a very big day at City of Calgary Council chambers.

 

 

Officially: Council voted 9-6 to take approvals for secondary suites out of council’s hands and make them a discretionary use in in R-1, R-C1 AND R-C1L districts across the city.


There is now a process in the hands of administration rather than Council.  

 

For details on the process, please visit the City of Calgary detailed information.

 

For all information on building requirements, permits, etc there is now detailed information posted on the City of Calgery website under Home building and Renovations.

 

Not all properties have the physical requirements to be suited. On top of the details related to permits and design, units must also provide an additional parking stall and private amenite space outdoors for tenants.

Details of design/permit requirements include:

Drawings required for permitting

Ceiling and Door Height requirements

Entry and exit point requirements

Bedroom egress windows

Acceptable window styles

Energy efficiency requirements

Smoke and fire protection

Exterior stairways

New exterior stairwells and engineering

Adding or increasing window size

Protection of secondary suite exits

Heating and ventilation

Plumbing

Electrical

Code and Safety Requirements for suites built before 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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As the snow starts to melt and the sunshine makes us dream of patio weather, please take a few moments to check your property.

 

Main steps:
1. Check that your sump pump is working if you have one.
2. Check downspouts are running water away from your foundation and shovel any snow blocking exhaust vents or window wells.
3. Do a basement walkthrough and check for any water at windows or venting access points.

 

I've been reviewing the February numbers and checking in on March numbers so far. Sales are down compared to last year in a substantial way. However, our median and average prices are higher than last year. As well, more million dollar plus listings are selling.

 

 

So why the change?


It is very easy to blame a lot of the adjustment on the new mortgage rules that came into effect in January. It is an easy mark as other major markets across the country have seen the same trend.
The other factor may be the weather. It is only committed buyers that make the effort to shop for homes with record snowfall and winter storms. Given other economic indicators are showing positive signs, it is going to be a time when it is important to understand the impact on your specific home and situation.

 

The market is adjusting across the city but not evenly. Apartments continue to be challenged by over supply in most areas. The west side and city centre are posting the strongest numbers for detached homes year to year and overall detached home absorption numbers show 3.74 months of supply. We will see what the balance adjusts to once the snow melts and the spring market begins.

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Hopewell is currently in the planning phase to develop the remaining lands along Arbour Lake Rd into a new residential area. An updated plan was recently submitted to the City of Calgary for consideration. The "Aurica Hawkwood' homestead is named after the long time previous resident of the land.

 

Curious about what is being built?

 

Fully built out the area is expected to provide approximately 890 units and be home to 2200 residents.

 

Information by the Developer - Hopewell's Arbour Lake Development

City of Calgary - Arbour Lake Engage Information

 

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As we move into 2018 and the spring market home owners looks to statistics and numbers to evaluate the value of their home. We look at various numbers such as list to sale ratios, absorption rates and comparable sales on MLS. These numbers are very valuable and provide insight into the activity and demand in a particular areas of the city.

 

However, we must also look to numbers outside of the MLS system.

 

Especially in new communities where resale homes are competing with new construction, we have to look beyond the MLS. New home sales data is generally not available to the public.

 

Last week the OWL, written by the ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team, published an article titled 'More Evidence of a Residential Construction Slowdown'.

 

 

In Relation to Calgary specifically the article stated:

 
That indicator is the number of completed, but unabsorbed houses in our province. In Calgary, 635 new homes sat vacant with no binding agreement made to buy or sell at the end of last year. As of December, vacant housing in Calgary was 19 per cent higher than during the same month a year earlier. In fact, December’s total reached the second highest level of vacant housing of 2017 since December 2011. What’s more is that inventory rose at an average rate of 22 per cent last year.

 

When buying and selling homes in areas that compete with new home construction, consider all competitive options in your review. A visit to the local showhomes never hurts to get a better understanding of the options buyers have in your price category.

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So the other day I was having quite the morning shovelling out my driveway. I came inside to warm up and saw a post from one of our Tuscany residents, Curtis Johnston, who posted the following EPIC photo for our community. Best laugh in days.  Thanks Curtis.

 

Curtis - Shout out to the new neighbours, who brought a vehicle that can make it through 12 mile/crowchild intersection.

 

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One of the most amazing things about Tuscany is the local wildlife. Located on 12 Mile Coulee at the outer edge of the city, Tuscany is home to a myriad of creatures including bobcat, lynx, coyotes, porcupines, deer and even a couple moose. The images here were captured by Tuscany resident, Jane Sarsfield, and shared here with her permission.

 

I have personally never seen the porcupine and I am totally ok with that. 

 

 

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A recent facebook post by one of Tuscany's residents in our community group reminded me this morning to take a walk to the side of my house.

 

 

Most of the newer homes in the area (and many other areas of Calgary) have high efficiency furnaces that vent to the side of the house. With the amount of snow that we are experiencing and the help of wind, shovelled snow and other obstacles, snow and ice can accumulate and block your exhuast pipes.

 

Please take the time to check your exhaust pipes to ensure they remain clear of snow.


If they are blocked your furnace may not run property and worse, you may have carbon monoxide enter your home rather than be vented out.

 

Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home (house, townhouse, apartment) can save your life. They are readily available at your local hardware store with installing for some being just plugging it into an outlet. 

 

 

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Most of us strive to be happy, go-lucky, energetic folks that enjoy what life has to offer.  Stuff happens, life changes. Resilience kicks in and off we go again.

 

But every once in a while things wear us down. It is death by a million cuts. I think that's how the quote goes.

 

One big influence on how a person copes and thrives in life is their resilience, the ability to recover quickly from difficulty.

 

In terms of real estate, I've encountered two types of resilience. One is the market and how it adjusts but that's not the topic here.

 

I'm talking about how your house, your home, either works for you and is set up to help you enjoy your day to day or annoys you and wears you down with the daily challenges. A home that doesn't work can wear down a person's overall resilience.

 

What do these look like?

 

Not going out to an event because it is too hard to get home.

 

Your home is located in the wrong location or area of the city for you and your family. The extra travel, school accommodations and daily grind can wear away at your nerves. Job changes, school plans, bus routes. They are all things out of our control.

 

The layout that doesn't work for a growing family and the frantic run to that crazy, annoying two steps your little one is determined to be at whenever you turn your back.

 

Sounds you can't shut off. 

 

The small entry where 3 of you plus 2 dogs are trying to get in.

 

Taking the time to figure out what you really need is one of the best steps in searching for a new house.  Tell me what you want and tell me what is not working. 

 

I love clients that can tell me want they want or need in a house or give me details such as it has to be within 10 min of a bus stop or within a school area or far away from these things. Tell me you want walking distance to both a middle school and elementary. Tell me you have to have a walkout with either stairs down from the upper deck or room for stairs. Tell me you hate bonus rooms or love bonus rooms. With details come realistic conversations about what the market allows within a budget and what is absolutely possible. I have clients that will only purchase a home with a specific lot orientation. That's awesome. I will narrow down the list, show you just the ones that make sense and make the best use of your time to find your new house.

 

With some clients we have previewed condo survey plans to decide where in the building they want to live. We watch, wait, map it out and pounce. Yes, we got that top floor penthouse within 6 hours on market before others noticed it was on market and got the offer accepted a couple hours before the next one came in. And they didn't know we were waiting so we got a good price. Yup.

 

Resilience. Life and the daily grind can be hard. Your home ideally is a place where you recharge and wake up feeling stronger than the night before.

 


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Calgary is a winter city. There's not denying that we get a bit of snow and chilly temperatures in the winter months.  When buying a home in August we sometimes forget about the daily challenges that arise when winter arrives.

 

When purchasing a home one of the things to consider is whether the property is on a snow route.

 

A snow route is a priority route, most often a bus route also, that is regularly plowed and sometimes requires owners to remove any street side parked cars after a snow storm for snowclearing during a Snow Route Parking Ban.

 

All residential streets are now plowed and cleared in Calgary so being on a snow route has it's advantages since the road is a priority for plowing and snow removal.  Alternatively, it can be pretty tough to get out of some residential areas not on a snow route and down a winding hill in the winter if you don't have an appropriate vehicle.  

 

To find out everything and anything about snow removal, snow route maps, maps of where the plows and sanders are and a whole lot more, the City of Calgary has everything posted on www.calgary.ca/snow

 

Want me to find the right location for you? Give me a call. I helped find a family a home that met their criteria and within 5 min walk to the bus stop. Life matters. 

 

Map Snapshot Feb 7, 2018

 

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The great thing about living on an official snow route is that your street gets plowed after a storm. The downside is that you have to move your vehicle from street side parking if a Snow Route Parking Ban is in effect.

 

To find out anything and everything about the snow removal program in Calgary visit www.calgary.ca/snow

 

The full map can be found here: https://maps.calgary.ca/SnowRouteParkingBans/

 

Snapshot as of Feb 2018

 

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You have decided to become a homeowner. Congratulations! Now what?

 

Although you really want to just start looking at homes there are a few tips to get you started before you get in the car.

 

1. Figure out your budget. Home ownership costs include the home, but also property taxes, condo fees (if applicable), maintenance and utilities. Have a good look at how much of your monthly income you WANT to spend.

 

2. Talk to a lender or mortgage broker and get pre-approved. Find out how much the banks will APPROVE you to borrow.

 

1 and 2 can sometimes be different and figuring out a number that makes sense for you is Priority 1. It is so easy to move up in price, but understanding your numbers before you head out keeps things in perspective.

 

3. Find a Realtor to work with to help explain the market and your options. Go through the process of talking about how long you plan on staying in this home. Most families move multiple times as needs change so it is good to talk it out. If you are buying a condo, learn about condos and how they are managed. 

 

4. Start looking at properties. Keep an open mind. Pink paint is easy to change and so is carpet. And those prices on HGTV for ripping down walls and rebuilding kitchens for $10,000 are not Calgary pricing. If you are considering renovations, lets get you some real local numbers. The best advice I can give is choose community/location first (within your budget) and go from there. The shiny of some items can wear off quickly if your home isn't located where you need to make your day to day more enjoyable.

 

5. Stay informed and ask questions throughout the process. In my experience, the more informed and prepared my clients are the more comfortable they are with asking questions and making decisions because they know what to expect. Utilize the experience of your Realtor, inspector, condo document review company and lawyer to help you close on your first home purchase.

 

As always, contact me anytime with your questions. Whether you are ready to start looking today or at step 1, I'm happy to assist to ensure you have everything you need to make buying your first home a great experience.

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We have 3 schools within Tuscany for elementary students.


St Basil registration is ongoing so please see the school if you are now getting ready to register your children for Kindergarten or school in other grades in September. Children may attend Kindergarten in September 2018 if he/she was born on or before March 1, 2014 in CBE schools. 

 

September enrollment for Eric Harvie and Tuscany Elementary begin on January 22 at 9 am. Each has its own designated catchment area. 

 

The school profile for Eric Harvie outlines catchment area and school info as well as the Tuscany School Profile. The division line is pretty much Tuscany Blvd NW. 

 

Tuscany School is hosting an informaton night for parents on Jan 11, 2018 from 5:30-6:30 pm.  This session is intended for parents.  

 

 

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