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Spring Cleaning

May 20th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Happy May Long Weekend!

We hope you use the extra day this weekend to spend time doing something you love with the people you love. One popular activity during the may long weekend is to do some spring cleaning. This may not be something you love, but it is important to keep your home in tip-top condition!

We have written many articles in the past about spring cleaning, so we are confident that by now you are well-versed in it. However, one aspect of spring cleaning that often gets overlooked or is handled without care is the waste side of it. Once you have your pile of throw away (you remember the three piles to make while spring cleaning: keep, donate, throw away), it can be tempting to throw it all in the landfill and be done with it. However, this is not good for the environment.

The City of Calgary has gone above and beyond to make recycling your waste easy. They understand that asking you to recycle is asking you to take time out of your busy life; recycling can be inconvenient and complicated. This is why they strive to make it as simple as possible for all of us. Here are two resources available to you when the time comes to deal with your throw away pile after spring cleaning:

1). The Blue Bins: Each household in Calgary is equipped with a blue bin that you can put the majority of your recycling in. The blue bin is easy to use. If you are recycling plastic bags, they need to be bundled all together in a larger plastic bag. Everything else can be thrown in, easy peasy. This includes paper and cardboard (including paper cups), plastic jugs, bottles and food containers, metal food cans and foil and most beverage containers (glass and plastic). Remember that you can also take beverage containers to a bottle depot and get a refund for being such a good, recycling citizen! More information HERE.

2). Shredding: Do not throw ALL paper into your blue bin willy-nilly. Some paper, such as bank statements, government documents, bills, etc. include important, classified information that you do not want someone to get their hands on. It is these types of documents that can be used for identity theft. While not all of us own a paper shredder, AMA hosts events where you can dump your documents in an industrial-sized shredder and be done with them. The next shredding event in Calgary is on May 27th in the NW. More information HERE.

Be conscious of what you throw away! We want to easy the stress on our landfills and work towards being more green-friendly. It takes a little extra effort to recycle, but it is well worth it.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

Entering The Market In The Spring

May 16th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Spring has arrived in Calgary! The grass is green and the flowers are in bloom. People are beginning to venture outside and play again as Calgary warms up for the summertime. Another thing that is warming up is the housing market.

Spring is always the most popular time in real estate. While other times of the year experience peaks in the market, spring is consistently active in the selling, buying, investing and renting sectors. There are a number of reasons why spring is the most popular time to enter the market.

Read on to find out why and how you can reap the rewards of such an active time in real estate.

First and foremost, the timing is ideal. Spring is a time of change and transition. University students are moving for the summer or graduating and entering the housing market, families are nearing the end of the work term and people everywhere are looking for a fresh start. Nothing puts people in the mood to consider a big move quite like springtime.

The weather also makes spring an ideal time to enter the housing market. The weather is nice, making it easier for homes to create curb appeal. After all, they won’t be buried in snow. The weather makes open houses easier to host and attend, along with making the moving process much easier. Overall, the nice weather is fantastic at ushering people out of their homes and into the market.

This spring is set to be a particularly active time for the market now that the economy here in Calgary is beginning to recover. More jobs are being created, which means more people are coming to Calgary, which means there is more of a demand for housing, which means more constructive crews needed, which means more jobs are being created (and so on and so forth). The market in Calgary is also experiencing a time of great balance; the market right now is good for buyers and sellers.

Take advantage of these great springtime conditions and enter the market today! We would love to partner with you on this journey so call our office so we can set up a time to meet with you.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

May 12th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Mother’s Day is this sunday!

What a great opportunity to honour the hard work and love of mother’s everywhere.  Here at Team Ken Richter we are very thankful for for the women who have shaped us into the people we are. One of the ways you can show the mother’s in your life some love is by blessing them with a gift.

Here are some gift ideas for those of you who have left your shopping to the last minute:

1). Dinner & Movie: This one is a classic, but a great way to treat your mom to a night out and spend quality time with her. Often times different restaurant’s have deals or special menu items to celebrate Mother’s Day. There are also often movies that centre around a relationship with a mother that come out. Check showtimes and pick your mom’s favourite restaurant!

2). A Spa Day: Nothing beats a relaxing day at the spa–especially when you’re not the one paying for it. Gift your mom a spa treatment so she can spend the day relaxing and getting pampered. Better yet, book yourself in, too! Spending that time with your mom would be so appreciated. You can also set up a DIY, at home spa day with bath bombs, scented candles, face masks and sweets.

3). Weekend Getaway: Book a cabin or hotel in the mountains and enjoy the fresh air with your mom! Take lots of pictures, bring all her favourite treats and spend your time exploring. This is guaranteed to be refreshing for both of you and to provide new memories. Show your mom that you value quality time with her by turning off your electronics and focusing in on some bonding time.

For those of you who do not have much money to spend, remember that there are gifts you can give your mom that cost nothing! You could pick her a bouquet of wildflowers, clean the entire house for, make dinner for the two of you, offer to run and do all her errands for the day, etc.. Be creative. It’s the thought that counts.

Again, happy Mother’s Day to all the great mom’s out there!

May Events

May 5th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

This celebratory day is a great way to kick off the beautiful weather we have been having here in Calgary. While many believe Cinco De Mayo to be Mexico’s Independence Day, it actually marks “the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations” (read more about it HERE).

Cinco De Mayo starts May’s celebrations, but here are some more events happening around YYC you definitely will want to check out:

Montgomery and Bowness Spring Clean Up || May 6th and 28th, respectively || Every year The City of Calgary “[teams] up with local community associations to help residents get rid of unwanted household items and property waste. Last year, a record of one million kg of waste and nearly 200,000 kg of organics was collected.” This is a great opportunity to join your community for a day of spring cleaning and connection! More information HERE.

Brushmasters + Brewmasters Pop Up Art Show and Sale || May 12th – 13th || Enjoy new up-and-comer brewery, Common Crown. They have teamed up with local artists to bring you beautiful artwork and tasty beer. This is a great chance to try Common Crown and enjoy some amazing local talent. More information HERE.

CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale || May 12th – 14th || This is the perfect event for all of you book-lovers out there! Avenue Calgary notes, “last year, more than 100,000 gently used books were sorted and sold as part of the annual CBC Calgary Reads Book Sale. With the help of generous Calgarians and hard-working volunteers, the CBC Calgary Big Book Sale is looking to top that number for this year’s sale.” Check it out! More information HERE.

Calgary Stampeders Fanfest || May 13th || Help the Calgary Stampeder’s kick off another great season by joining players and staff at this free event. There will be games, a pancake breakfast and lots of meet and greets. It is happening rain or shine so check it out! More information HERE.

Have fun this month!

 

April Housing Statistics

May 2nd, 2017 by Ken Richter

April was another great month for Calgary real estate! We have continued to see stability in the market, leading to better prices and inventory levels. The success of the real estate market relies heavily on the economy, so as long as our economy continues to get stronger, so will market conditions.

CREB® president David P. Brown had good news to report this month: “More jobs [in Calgary] means less uncertainty for people who are sitting on the fence [about entering the real estate market]. There also tends to be fewer people who need to sell when employment improves, and that can prevent inventory gains and further price reductions in the market.”

CREB® president David P. Brown adds, “it’s a good scenario for sellers who are entering a spring market that’s in better shape than anything we’ve seen in recent years.”This is also a great place for buyers to be in. With a healthy amount of inventory to choose from, prices will not be blown way up, making it more affordable to buy a home.

This is the kind of housing market equilibrium that Calgary has been patiently waiting for and working hard to get to. This is not only thanks to the economy, but thanks to consumers such as yourself who have held tight and made informed decisions. It is market conditions like these where your diligence will pay off.

What can we expect this spring? Chief CREB® economist Ann-Marie Lurie notes, “the relationship between sales and inventory will be a key driver for pricing in the months ahead. Total transactions improved to 1,917 units in April, while inventories totaled 5,495 units, pushing months of supply below three for the second consecutive month.”

Although these conditions are great news, do not get lazy. Keep doing your research, keep a close eye on conditions, and keep asking questions. Remember that we are always here if you are looking for answers. We would love to partner with you and make our experience your advantage. For more information on what April looked like for the Calgary Housing Market, check out the full summary HERE.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

The Art of Minimalism

April 28th, 2017 by Ken Richter

For those of you who like to stay on trend, you will know that minimalism is in style. The art of the minimalism does not refer to one aspect of life. Rather, it is a way of living that seeks to indulge in material things minimally so that you can indulge in life more fully. Minimalism is a great way to refocus on what is most important to you, especially in a world like ours that is so focused on consumerism.

Minimalism has entered people’s wardrobes, their spending habits, their weekly schedules, and now their homes. Having a minimalist home does mean that you have to live in a renovated tool shed or shipping container (although there are some really cute and functional options out there for people who want to go that route). A minimalist home can be any shape or size; it is what is on the inside that counts.

Minimalist homes focus on having less inside them, but what is inside of them is high quality and thoughtfully chosen. For example, a minimalist home will not have every single square inch of wall space covered in artwork. Instead, key feature walls will have poignant statement pieces. Minimalism is not about having nothing, it is about having things that are important.

With your home, you can achieve a minimalist aesthetic by keeping the property simple and clean cut. This means you are not decorating your backyard with ornate fountains and complex pathways. Keep things simple. Make what you have really count. A minimalist decor style takes some serious thought and time. Find pieces that are exactly what you want. Spend the extra money to get longevity out of them.

There are many benefits to living in a minimalist space. Minimalism has been scientifically proven to help those struggling with anxiety and stress. With less around them physically to occupy the mind, there is more space for them to process internal information. A minimalist home is much easier to clean and maintain. Minimalist homes also allow homeowners the financial space to spend money on the infrastructure of the home, rather than the contents of the home.

If this interests you, do some research on minimalist home designs to inspire you. Have fun!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Putting Together An Emergency Binder

April 25th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Calgary is a great city for many reasons, one of the main ones being location. Nestled right between the prairies and the mountains, Calgary is ideal if you like beautiful views and all four seasons. Another great aspect of Calgary’s location is that it is safe from most natural disasters.

Calgary is too close to the mountains to get tornadoes and too far from the sea to get hurricanes. Calgary is not affected by earthquakes and is not in a hot bed for forest fires. Albeit a little too much snow some winters, Calgary really is quite safe from natural disasters. However, as we learned back in 2013, it is not completely safe.

In 2013 Calgary was flooded after heavy rainfall all June. As soon as the Bow and Elbow rivers broke, most of the downtown core and the surrounding communities were flooded. Two neighbourhoods that we work closely with, Bowness and Montgomery, were significantly affected by the 2013 flood. The flood caught Calgarians off guard, many having just hours to flee their homes.

Cases like these may be rare, but you still need to be prepared. Whether it is a flood or a house fire, disasters are unavoidable and can cause irreparable damage. One way you can protect yourself and your assets is by having an emergency kit. Include imperishable food items, clean clothes, personal hygiene products, water bottles, etc.. Something else you should have is an emergency binder.

An emergency binder is a hub for all of your important documents. It is as simple as getting some transparent paper protectors and a binder from the dollar store. Here are some documents to have copies of in this binder:

  • Important personal records, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, social security cards, passports, custody papers, visas, etc.. Having these will make sure that you don’t lose essential documentation you need.
  • Any homeowner information, such as insurance policies, rental agreements, property records, a list of property assets, etc.. If you are forced to flee your home or if your home gets damaged in any way, you need this information.
  • All financial documents, such as wills, trusts, funeral instructions, banking information, etc.. The more details you can have, the better.

Make sure that you and your family have an emergency plan. If something disastrous ever were to happen, it could be incredibly hard to get into contact with your family. Have a safe space you agree to meet at incase of an emergency. Have contact numbers, emergency codes and procedures, etc.. Protecting yourself and your loved ones is the most important thing!

Finally, store all of this information along with original copies of the information in a fire and water proof lock box. This way you will always know where the information is and it will be safe.

Be prepared and stay safe!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Home Staging: Guest Room Edition

April 22nd, 2017 by Ken Richter

Having a guest room is a great luxury that you should not take for granted. Often guest rooms end up being the catch-all room in the house; they become a storage room, a fitness room, a home office, etc.. These rooms magically transform into guest rooms five minutes before your cousins arrive, which is a fun challenge, perhaps, but not exactly effecient.

While having a catch-all room is nice, it is not the best way to utilize space in your home. If you have so much stuff that you are shoving it into a spare room, chances are you could de-clutter your home significantly. That, or use the closet space in the spare room as an organized storage space with the help of IKEA.

For a guest room to genuinely be a guest room, you need to be committed to it. Decide that space will be for guests and do not deviate. Guest rooms must have some essential elements: a comfy place to sleep, adequate counter space for phones, clothes, etc., available linens and room to relax. You want your guests to feel comfortable and at-home. Do your best to make sure they have everything they need for a great stay.

In guest rooms we recommend a neutral coloured design palette; something calming and familiar. Creams, smokey blues, rosy pastels, etc., are all great colours to work with. Some simple art on the wall can be an excellent touch, along with the wifi information. Have pillows that differ in softness and size and spare blankets incase guests get cold. Make sure towels and facecloths are laid out and that everything has recently been cleaned.

A great addition to a guest room is preparing a little welcome basket! This extra touch will make a stay at your home more memorable than any hotel experience. We recommend putting mini shampoo’s, conditioners and body wash. An extra toothbrush and toothpaste is also great (note: these are all things that your guests may have forgotten at home). Include some water bottles, any information about your home or town that they may need to know, and some of their favourite treats. Putting together a little welcome basket is inexpensive and is a great addition to your guest room.

Enjoy your guests and make them feel at home!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Spring/Summer Bylaws To Be Aware Of

April 18th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Spring is well underway, and summertime is quickly approaching. With the warm weather and new seasons come new activities, such as gardening, spring cleaning, backyard BBQ’s, etc.. Many of the things that we do on our property’s during the warm months have specific bylaws attached to them. Here are some to be aware of:

Property Care: The spring is a great time to do outdoor renovations. Not only is this good to do for the sake of your property’s value and maintenance, but it is also illegal to neglect outdoor areas of your property in need of renovation. The City of Calgary notes, “all balconies, decks, fences, porches and stairs must be kept in ‘good repair.’ Fines for violations range between $100 and $300.”

Spring Cleaning: With spring cleaning comes spring purging, where we make piles of items to keep, donate and throw away. Sometimes after a long day of purging, it can be tempting to leave your undesired belongings outside of your newly cleaned home. However, you need to make sure you take care of these things promptly, because “loose garbage, yard waste, bottles, cans, boxes, household furniture, packaging materials, parts of machinery, equipment, appliances and automobile parts must be stored so that they are not visible from outside of the property.  Fines for violations range between $200 and $300.”

Composting: Composting is quickly becoming the newest craze among Calgary’s environmentally-concious citizens. Composting is a great way to help turn waste into eco-friendly material. However, be careful! You “must ensure composting piles or composting containers are maintained so they do not create offensive odours or attract pests. Fines for violations range between $50 and $100.”

Bonfires: No outdoor, backyard BBQ is complete without a fire to keep people warm once the sun goes down. Fire pits are a great addition to your property, adding value and usefulness. Make sure to do your research BEFORE installing or building your new fire pit, because “fire pits cannot be within two meters of the property line, building or fence, or beneath any trees or branches (or other combustible materials). Fines for violations range between $500 and $5000. Repeat offenses of these regulations may result in a fire ban for the premises.”

Lawns: People seem to either love mowing the lawn (thanks to the smell of freshly-cut grass), or hate mowing the lawn (thanks to the sweat). Whether you love it or hate it, you legally have to do it. The City of Calgary notes, “private property owners must ensure that grasses and herbaceous plants do not exceed 15 cm (six inches) in height. Fines for violations range between $100 and $300.”

Be safe, know your bylaws, and have a fantastic spring! For more information, visit the full bylaw list HERE.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Why Your Listing May Not Be Selling

April 12th, 2017 by Ken Richter

Congratulations! You have made the huge decision to put your property on the market. This is a very exciting time and a momentous occasion in someone’s life. Right now is a great time to be entering the real estate market. As reported in our summary of the CREB March statistics, the detached sector of the market has reached really balanced conditions. This means that you and your potential buyer are in a great place to benefit from the market.

While spirits are high, sometimes listings just do not sell. This can be incredibly frustrating as a homeowner, especially if you are planning to move soon and need your old home sold ASAP. There are a number of reasons why your home may not be selling as quickly as it could. Typically the solution is simple, so here are some things to evaluate.

The Price || Sometimes the asking price for your home is not appropriate given the location or market conditions. Right now the benchmark price for a home is around $502,000. If your home is priced significantly higher or lower, make sure that there is a reason why. Having a recent CMA (comparative market analysis) done on your home is important for this reason. A CMA will tell you what homes similar to yours in location, size, amenities, etc. are selling for. Remember to be flexible!

Staging || Even if you have TLC Network-worthy home decorating, your home may not be staged in the most effective way. Remember that people do not want to see your life in the home, they want space to imagine what their lives could look like in the home. The outside of the home is just as important: a nice front door entryway goes a long way. Consider hiring a professional home stager. Your realtor can also give you good advice on this! Even though people warn against it, most people judge a book (or a home) by its cover. Your home must be staged in an enticing way. This includes online listing photos: make sure they are high quality, professionally taken and make your home look great.

Realtor || As difficult as it can be when you are knee-deep in the listing process, sometimes finding a new realtor is important. Realtor’s are great people to have on your team, and just because your home is not selling quickly does not mean your realtor is a failure. However, it is important to evaluate them. Are they equipped to sell a property like yours? What marketing are they doing? Are they giving your property the time and care it needs to be successful on the market? Make sure you do your research. Client references are also a great way to make sure a realtor is right for you.

Here at Team Ken Richter we are very proud to have worked with many clients who would highly recommend us. We have always sought to make you a priority and to do everything we can to get your home sold. We want the experience of selling a home to be as stress-free as possible. We constantly evaluate the listings we are working with to make sure that they are meeting their maximum selling potential. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Good luck!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

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.