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Home Staging: Media Room

December 9th, 2016 by Ken Richter

This month we are going over some ways you can stage your media room. This is the room in your home that houses your books, games and T.V equipment. These rooms are really fun to decorate and stage because there is so much you can do with them. Here are some suggestions on how you can renovate, decorate and/or stage this room so that it makes the best impression possible:

A media room is where people go to escape their responsibilities. Make sure that this room caters to this by being cozy, welcoming and secluded. We recommend the walls be painted darker colours, such as navy blue, maroon, evergreen, grey, etc. These colours are relaxing and heavy, making people want to settle in and relax. Furniture should also be deep colours with lots of cushions and pillows for sinking into.

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Keeping everything in the room organized is key. Make sure that you have appropriate shelving for all the games, books, DVD’s, consoles, etc.. By keeping them off the floor and organized by colour, title, genre, etc. they will be easier to access and less overwhelming to deal with. Keep things simple and clean cut.

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Decorating in a media room can be minimal. People’s attention should be focused on their choice of media, not distracted by a bunch of decorations surrounding them. You can find some really unique ideas for ways to decorate a media room on websites such as Pinterest. A media room can also be a great way to display your favourite artwork. Just remember to keep it sleek and simple.

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If you want to get really creative, consider adding a little snack bar in the room. Only do this if you have extra space as you don’t want the space to be overwhelming and crowded. However, if you can fit in a popcorn maker or mini fridge for refreshments this will make the space the perfect getaway. You’ll never have to leave (which may or may not be a good thing).

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Have fun with it!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

November Statistics

December 6th, 2016 by Ken Richter

calgarywinterOctober was a strong month for the real estate market here in YYC. However, in November conditions turned back to previous trends. CREB® writes, “year- over-year monthly sales totalled 1,227 units, which is nearly three per cent lower than last year and 17 per cent below long-term averages.”

As we reported on back in November, major changes were made to Canada’s housing rules last month. The changes were aimed at helping Canadians keep from taking on larger mortgages than they could economically handle during a time when interest rates were incredibly low. For more information on this, check out an article on it HERE.

These changes may be helpful in the long run for people, but right now they are stopping many people from entering the market. This is one of the things that made November’s real estate market slow down again. CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie notes, “November was the first full month with CMHC’s new lending rules in effect. As suspected, the gains in last month’s sales were temporary. Stringent conditions for borrowers are converging with the current economic climate and weighing on demand.”

Supply had levelled out a little in October, but November caused supply levels to become high once more. Benchmark prices were at $498,300 for detached homes. CREB® notes that this is the first time that the benchmark monthly price has dipped below $500,000 since 2014.

CREB® president Cliff Stevenson writes, “again, it can’t be overstated how important it is for housing consumers to keep asking questions and drilling down on what’s happening in their specific area. This kind of exploration and learning is how good real estate decisions get made in any market.”

If this all seems overwhelming for you, please get in contact with us here at Team Ken Richter! We would love to walk you through things and help you make the decision that is right for you. We are huge advocates of how great YYC is, so we want to help you find a place to call home here.

Best of luck in this cold weather!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

December Events

December 3rd, 2016 by Ken Richter

5288262765_3da9bff149_bHave a holly, jolly Christmas, it’s the best time of the year… Does anyone else have Christmas carols stuck in their head? It is both a blessing and curse. December is our favourite month of the year so for today’s post we decided to share with you some of the events we are most looking forward to. We have events to cover every Christmas activity:

For shopping…

Spruce Meadows Christmas Market: This market is unique because it features shops from all over the world. If for nothing other than to get you in the Christmas spirit, this event is great. It also has a wide variety of products that make great, unique, memorable gifts. Don’t forget to check out Santa’s reindeer while you’re there! For more information visit their website HERE.

Market Collective: Market Collective brings together local makers from YYC to share their home-grown products with the city. If you want to support local businesses and shop small, this is a great event. The products offered are all high-quality artisan goods. For more information visit their website HERE.

For a show…

Cowtown Christmas: Enjoy an electric performance by the Calgary Cowtown Opera as they partner with a chamber orchestra and their audience. Yes, you read it correctly: audience participation is encouraged in this Christmas sing-along. If you love carolling, this is a great event for you. For more information visit their website HERE.

A Christmas Carol: This timeless Christmas classic is put on every single year by Arts Commons, but each year is different than the last. The interpretations of the classic story are both exciting and beautiful, making each year unique and special. If you love theatre, music, and the epitome of a Christmas story, this event is for you. For more information visit the Arts Commons website HERE. 

For Christmas lights…

Zoolights: Nothing beats the Zoolights extravaganza that the Calgary Zoo puts on every year. See your favourite animals and landscapes come to life with beautiful, sparkling Christmas lights! If the weather gets chilly, have no fear: hot chocolate stands and indoor exhibits are plentiful. For more information visit their website HERE.

Lions Festival Of Lights: Another Calgary staple, the lights at confederation park are an annual tradition. Bask in the glow of the beautiful scenes created that pay tribute to all the different countries that celebrate Christmas. Grab your mittens and head out with loved ones, it is a tradition passed down through each generation and is sure to be a magical evening. For more information visit their website HERE.

 

Lighting Tips

November 29th, 2016 by Ken Richter

home_14The days are getting darker here in YYC with the sun setting at around 4:00 P.M. With so little outdoor light people are forced to turn to alternative sources. Unfortunately, many indoor lighting options are not only expensive, but fail to properly fill your home with an appropriate, comfortable amount of light. Here are some of our best tips for tackling this problem:

Maximize all natural light potentials. Make sure your windows stay clean and clear of snow and dirt. This will allow the most natural light to come seeping in whenever possible. Open up your blinds and move things away from windows that will cast an obtrusive shadow.

Purchase quality, environmentally friendly lightbulbs for all indoor and outdoor lighting. Using an LED light not only gives you more brightness, but it will save you an incredible amount of money in the long run. Go to your local hardware store and assess your options. Remember that sometimes more money upfront will save you money.

Figure out what type of lighting best suits each area of your property. For example, not every room in the house will require bright, white light. Consider the mood you want to set and what lighting will best suit the overall ambiance. Softer lights are good for bedrooms, brighter lights for the kitchen, and bold lights for outdoors.

Consider making some of your lights sensor-activated. Many sensors allow you to decide how long the light stays on after being activated. This will save you a lot of money. These lights are particularly good for outdoors because they turn on so you can see your keys to unlock the door, but turn off once you are safely inside. Again, decide what is appropriate for each area of the home. Your TV room does not need a sensor unless you want the lights going out every five minutes while you watch Netflix.

Be strategic! It will make all the difference.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Christmas Decorating During Selling

November 26th, 2016 by Ken Richter

The Christmas season is upon us! With the end of November festivities, lights are being strung and trees are being put up. Lots of people like to go all out with their Christmas decorations. However, if you are trying to sell your home, there is a dilemma: on one hand decorating will make your home seem warm and cozy, on the other hand no one wants to set up all their decorations only to pack them up right away upon sale. Also, Christmas decorations can make spaces crowded and busy. So, what is the solution?

When you are trying to sell your home over the holidays, it is important to do some decorating. However, it needs to be minimal, simple and effective. Here are some ideas of decor options to get you started:

Front Door: Rather than putting a bunch of decorations on the lawn and fake snowmen, stay simple with a nice wreath on the door. A wreath is perfectly minimal and decorative. 021b72187ecbb7dd2beb6c66c89d5ee1

Living Room: Most people put up a big Christmas tree in their living room, but this makes the space crowded and trees are a hassle to put away. Instead, use some decorative pillows on the couch, hang a garland along the mantle, and purchase a fake little tree. Again: minimal and decorative.

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Kitchen: Instead of setting up the nativity, porcelain Santa’s and more, set out some Christmas tea-towels, a bowl of fresh Christmas oranges, a Christmas-y table runner, etc.. Turn your basics into Christmas decor instead of adding more stuff.

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Bathrooms: It never hurts to have a nice smelling hand soap that reminds people of the holidays.

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Rooms: You can purchase scented pinecones or do-it-yourself, either way a bowl of these in the bedroom will make it smell heavenly. Again, festive throw pillows are a great addition.

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Remember: keep things simple by replacing must-haves with Christmas themed ones instead of adding a bunch of decorations that will clutter the space.

Have fun with it!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor®  Ken Richter

New Builds: Your Next Home

November 22nd, 2016 by Ken Richter

There are many advantages to buying a brand new home.

First, it allows you space to be creative and hand-pick every aspect of your home. Not only can you choose which builder you want to work with, but as your home is being built you will get to partner with developers to design the property. This gives you the ability to create your dream home rather than compromising with something that has already been built. From where each door is to what colour the walls are, the freedom to choose is highly valuable.

Second, you will know exactly what you are getting. Not only will you know where every vent and step is, but you will know what materials were used to make your house. This includes knowing that the products used are top of the line, up to date on safety standards and that the outcome will be environmentally conscious. Another huge bonus is that all new homes come with a warranty to protect you from anything that ends up failing. This will give you piece of mind.

Finally, as cities strive to be more organized and convenient, new builds often come in areas with a strong development plan or, in the case of infills, an already established community. You can anticipate easy access to various services such as grocery stores, clinics and schools. Getting to be part of a great community is a cherished asset to any move. And remember what they say: when it comes to finding a new home, location is everything.

The one disadvantage of buying a new home is it can be difficult to figure out what is available, especially regarding infill locations. This is why we recommend partnering up with an industry professional who knows exactly what is going on around the city and what could be a good fit for you.

Here at Team Ken Richter we want to make the buying process as easy as possible for our clients. Contact us so we can sit down and discuss your needs, hopes and goals. We will partner with you to make the process smooth, fun and productive. Our motto is, “our experience is your advantage” and we mean every word.

Don’t do it alone. Let’s partner together and find your dream home!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Giving Back This Christmas

November 18th, 2016 by Ken Richter

naagcharityMany people cite Christmas as the best time of the year. They are surrounded by loved ones, get to eat delicious food and exchange gifts. However, Christmas is not like this for everyone. For many families Christmas is just another day of struggling to get by. It can be hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but please try. Can you imagine what Christmas would be like if you had to go without? This is a reality for people all over the world.

There is something really wonderful about having the privilege we do: we can use our privilege–our wealth, talents and connections–to help others. This Christmas we challenge you to find a way that you can give back. No matter how big or small you believe your contribution to be, giving back makes a difference. Don’t leave it up to someone else to do. Start a new Christmas tradition that includes giving back to the less fortunate in any way you can.

Here are some ways you can serve others this holiday season:

Volunteer Your Time: There are so many great organizations with hubs here in Calgary that aim to serve those in need both locally and globally. By providing education, shelter, food and material goods these organizations seek to give every person they work with respect and dignity. A simple way to serve the people of YYC is to drop off home-made Christmas cookies at any one of these locations. Remember, big or small, your contribution is significant.

Donate Your Gift: Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision work with people across the globe who live in struggling, third-world communities. With the former, you can donate toys, personal hygiene things, writing supplies, etc. and pack them in a shoebox, which then gets sent out to children in need. With World Vision, you can send a family something such as a bicycle, goat, chickens, education, etc. that empowers them and will serve them for years. World Vision will also send you a little envelope with the information of where your donation went that you can give to someone, thus donating in their name.

Reach Out: Find ways to encourage the people around you who you have noticed struggling. Do little things to cheer them up and help them out. Give back in any way you can, especially if you’re in a place where you have the resources to do so.

Here’s to the Christmas season! May it be one of kindness and love.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

November/December: Real Estate’s Hidden Gem

November 15th, 2016 by Ken Richter
Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House in the Snow.

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The summer is the busiest season in real estate. In the summertime more homes are sold than at any other time during the year. Most people like to buy and sell in the summer because the weather is nice for viewings and moving and summer is when people typically have the most vacation time. Summertime is an especially good time to move for families with children because the kids will be on school break.

However, November/December are two very important months for the real estate sector and can be a fantastic time to buy or sell your home. This is because with the year ending, there are a lot of bonuses available that people often forget. By knowing how to work the system you can get an incredible deal that everyone involved in the sale will benefit from.

Here are some reasons why you should buy a house before the end of the year:

1). Tax Savings: Realtor.com puts it this way, “if you close by December 31, you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, points on your loan and interest costs. These deductions are significant, especially in the early years of your loan when you’re paying off a lot of interest.” What’s not to love?

2). Motivated Builders & Sellers: Sellers and builders will want to close a deal before the end of the end of the year. For sellers, this is so that they too can take advantage of tax breaks on their home. For builders, they will want to close on as many properties as possible to make their year-end books look better. This means you can negotiate better deals and potentially close with added bonus’.

3). Available Resources: The summer is incredibly busy for movers, cleaners and renovators. This means that for people looking to use these resources in the summer, they may have to wait longer and book in advance or may not be able to book anything. The winter months are so much slower for companies, so it is a great time to book with them and have your pick of times and dates. They too may offer incentives to help them do more business in the slower months.

Winter break is also a good time for vacation days and kids have a mid-year break, making transferring locations fairly uncomplicated. If you’re looking to buy or sell but are worried you won’t be successful, please get in touch with us because contrary to popular opinion, the winter months can actually be very good for real estate.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

November Events

November 10th, 2016 by Ken Richter

Last night Donald Trump won the 2016 U.S.A election. While the race to presidency divided people world-wide, today is a new day filled, as they say, with endless possibilities.

Moving forward there is one thing of all us here in Calgary can agree on: November is in full swing and so are some incredible events happening around the city.

Here are a few of the events taking place this month that we are particularly looking forward to:

Lest We Forget: Lunchbox theatre has produced a show that follows the lives of different families and soldiers who were impacted by World War II. The show includes live music composed by a number of Canadian musicians. This event is happening through this weekend (November 9th-12) and tickets can be purchased at their website here.

Potted Potter: In one of the most highly anticipated shows that Calgary has seen in awhile, Potted Potter condenses all seven books of the Harry Potter series into one, 70 minute show. With only ten minutes to dedicate to each novel, this show is jam-packed, fast-paced and sure to thrill every book lover. Get your tickets here.

Paints & Pints: Do you love art? Do you love craft beer? If you said yes to either one of those, this event is for you. The Bowness Pub is hosting this event on November 21st. Visit their Facebook page for more details.

Lougheed House Christmas: The Lougheed house is one of Calgary’s oldest, most historic homes. While it is open for tours and events all year round, come Christmas time they deck the halls and put on spectacular Christmas-y programming. If you’re looking to get in the Christmas spirit and learn a thing or two, this event is for you. More information can be found at their website here.

Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market: This event is one of our favourite annual traditions. Not only is it a great way to get in the Christmas spirit and do some holiday shopping, but it highlights other cultures for you to learn about and appreciate more. Put on your mittens and explore the beautiful grounds! For dates and times, visit their website here.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

October Statistics

November 2nd, 2016 by Ken Richter

business-coaching-statisticsThis month the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) had some good news for us: “For the first time in two years, sales activity in October resembled normal levels. City-wide sales totaled 1,644 units, which is an increase of nearly 16 per cent over last year.”

This is fantastic information for all of us who have been carefully watching the market as it has navigated turbulent economic conditions. We have always believed in Calgary’s ability to fight hard times with strength and perseverance. As Calgary’s economic confidence has begun to recover, Calgarians are starting to make confident real estate moves that are positively influencing the market.

The detached sector saw major sales in October. Sales are what have been preventing the market from making any real strides, so this came as a relief to sellers.

“This year has been a challenge for many sellers,” reported CREB® president Cliff Stevenson. “So when we have a rise in sales, it means more buyers got into the market and more sellers got out, which is a positive for consumers on both sides of the transaction. Sales activity changed direction in October, but we need to see some consistency next month and the month after to call it a trend”

October kicked off what could be a great trend in the market. If sellers are able to sell faster and buyers are able to actually buy, the market will become more equal and will continue to benefit all consumers. These conditions can be rare, so if they become a trend Calgary will be in a great spot.

The city-wide unadjusted benchmark price for October was $438,900. This is 0.34 per cent below last month and four per cent below last year’s levels. This is a great benchmark price because it is not too low that sellers are walking away with nothing, but it is not so high that it is out of reach of buyers.

Overall, the real estate market is doing really well and we are hopefully that October is the start of a long trend of a thriving market. Have a great November!

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.