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Home Staging: Entryway Edition

September 23rd, 2016 by Ken Richter

foyerWhen people are staging their homes one commonly overlooked area is the entryway. It is just for shoes and coats, right? Wrong! Your entryway sets the tone for the entire interior of your home. Do not let it go neglected. Here are some home staging tips to help you get your entryway ready for your next showing:

First things first, de-clutter. Entryways are a common place for old shoes, winter jackets, gym bags, sports equipment, pet toys and more to build up. Start your staging by going through everything in the entryway and deciding whether it is essential to have there or not. Create three piles of things: keep, pack, donate.

Invest in some organization tools. Purchase new coat hangers, a shoe rack, little crates for scarves and mittens, etc. Also purchase some sort of storage for the items you don’t need. For example, now that is fall you don’t need your flip-flops and beach gear in the closet, so pack it away in a well-labeled storage bin. Remember: you can take all of this to your new home, so it will not be money wasted.

If you have a closet, great! If not, we recommend putting the shoe rack or storage out of the way for your showing. Keeping the entryway clear will open everything up and make the space seem bigger than it is.

Finally, have some fun with decorations! Keep it simple and bulk-free. A nice painting, potted plant, or fun wallpaper can be great styling choices. Remember to put away any personal photos or items. People want to be able to picture themselves in your home. They want to feel like they own it already, not like they’re intruding on your space.

Home staging is so important in successfully marketing and selling your home. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional home stager to give you some pointers or do the work for you. We also recommend you look back in our archive where we have blogs about how to stage every part of your home.

Have fun with it, we wish you all the best.

Top 3 Places to Check Out In Bowness

September 21st, 2016 by Ken Richter

imageHere at Team Ken Richter we love working in the City of Calgary. One community that is especially close to our heart is Bowness. Few neighborhoods have as much resilience, passion, history and community spirit as Bowness. We are so excited about what is going on in the community of Bowness, so for today’s blog we are going to share some of these things with you.

The Re-Opening of Marty’s Corner Store: Back in 2013 the Calgary flooding drowned Marty’s Corner store, which had been a Bowness staple for almost 70 years. The corner store “[offered] residents a community gathering place where children spent their allowance on sweets, parents purchased bread, milk and other groceries, and seniors gathered for morning coffee” (The Calgary Herald). Newly reopened, the Cheung family is ready to bring Marty’s Corner store back into its original glory.

The Coal Shed Smokehouse and White Rose: Dwayne and Alberta Ennest have opened over 20 restaurants over the years, ever since meeting at River Café. They did not plan on starting any new ventures, but when they stumbled upon a vintage gas station in Bowness they fell in love and created the The Coal Shed Smokehouse and White Rose. “On the one hand, there’s White Rose (named after a White Rose gas station that operated on the spot in the early part of the 20th century), which opened in July and focuses entirely on vegetarian dishes. On the other, there’s The Coal Shed Smokehouse, a self-contained and much meatier eatery directly in front of the White Rose” (The Calgary Herald). Don’t worry—you’ll only find olive oil in your food, not motor oil.

Bowness Train: The old miniature Bowness train is up and running, prepared to bring joy to a whole new generation of Calgarians. When the 2013 flooding hit, the train was completely buried in silt and had to undergo a major restoration. After three years of waiting, it is finally up and running again. Mayor Nenshi kicked off the grand re-opening of the train and highly recommends it.

We hope this post helped you to fall in love with the Bowness community just as much as we have. Is there anything we missed or any hidden gems in the Bowness community that you love? Let us know in the comments section below.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

The Psychology of Smells

September 17th, 2016 by Ken Richter

make-your-own-reed-diffuserA quick drive through any neighbourhood reveals that there is lots on the market right now. If you are one of those people with a sign on your lawn hoping to sell your home, we are here to help you. Although it can be difficult to sell a home in this market, there are lots of little things you can do to give your property an advantage.

One of the things that is most neglected when people stage their homes and prepare to show it to potential buyers is how the home smells. People get so used to the smell of their homes that it never occurs to them to amp it up in preparation for the viewing. But, did you know there is a psychology to smells? That’s right: smells can trigger emotions, memories and leave a lasting impression.

Do you want your home to wow potential buyers with its amazing smell? Read on!

First thing you need to know is that there is a balance. You do not want your home to smell like a wet gym bag, you do not want your home to be smell-less and you do not want your home to smell like someone has just walked into a candle shop. So where is the balance? It’s picking specific scents for specific spaces. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1). The EntryWay: People overook their entryway, but it actually is typically the smelliest part of the home. This is because all your shoes and coats will be there, which carry your personal oder and the oder of smelly feet. The entry is also where the particular scent of your home first hits people. We recommend something non-invasive, such as vanilla. Vanilla is a subtle scent that can mask any bad smells but is not too overwhelming.

2). The Kitchen: Kitchens are where great food and cleanliness come together (in an ideal world, anyways). Kitchens are a great place for you to experiment with something more sweet. Something such as sugar cookie, berry pie or pumpkin spice can be a great option.

3). The Bathroom: People want their potential bathroom to be clean. This is why citrus smells are great (note: not the fake citrus smell of chemicals). We recommend something such as lemon or orange, and again, be subtle.

4). Everywhere Else: Chances are if you have scents in the above specific areas, they will also fill the rest of the home. Make sure the smells mix nicely in these in-between spaces–that nothing clashes.

Good luck!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Renegotiating Your Lease

September 15th, 2016 by Ken Richter

signing-rental-apartementMany leases on suites across the city end this month, prompting listings to rise for rental units. This is a great time for this to be happening because Calgary is currently in a buyer’s market. This means that buyers (or renters, in this case) can be more selective since there is a lot on the market but not a lot of demand.

In this buyer’s market, renters have the upper hand. If you are renting and your lease ends soon, it is time to take a look at your lease and evaluate if you are happy with it remaining unchanged for another length of time. For those of you unhappy with the current agreement, now is your time to negotiate.

The first thing to consider before attempting a negotiation is that even though the market favours renters right now, there is still a level of risk in attempting to get more bang for your buck. While the wise landlord will take your request into consideration given the high vacancy rate, some may choose to cease renting to you.

Do your research. Go to showings and see what else is on the market for a similar price to what you are renting. Are the places much nicer and larger? You may be able to negotiate your rent down. Are the places smaller and dingier? You are likely already getting a good deal. Take into consideration the location, size, room number, quality of appliances, other tenants, etc. All these things affect why some similar places are priced differently.

If you come into your negotiation informed on the market conditions and what else is available it will be easier to make informed points. We would recommend you look through the Calgary Real Estate Board’s site (www.creb.com) for specific statistics and market trends. All this information can back you up and help you get a better deal!

Be reasonable. It does not matter what the situation is, you can’t go into your negotiation expecting something ridiculous. You also can’t go into it with arrogance or making any assumptions. Come at the meeting level-headed and informed. Chances are if you are kind about the situation, your landlord will at least consider giving you a better deal.

If all else fails, you don’t have to renew a lease! There is a lot on the market to choose from right now. Best of luck!

Planning with Planners

September 10th, 2016 by Ken Richter

bullet-journal-15School is officially in session which means there are a whirlwind of things to keep track of: assignments, extra curriculars, due dates, etc.. Trying to squeeze things in, prevent over-booking and make sure you remember a date before it’s too late can cause a lot of anxiety. Whether you are a student or a parent, keeping track off all these important dates and times can be extremely overwhelming.

The best way you can combat this anxiety is by being prepared and organized. This can seem like a large, daunting task, but we promise you it will be worth it. Here are some clever ways you can organize based on your needs:

1). For The Single Busy Body: Start a bullet journal. Bullet Journals are the latest fad in personal organization for one great reason: they works. With a bullet journal you buy any journal you like, then YOU design the layout. You can make to do lists, a daily schedule, keep track of habits, write down things you don’t want to forget, do personal journaling… A bullet journal enables you to have it all! They are simple and worthwhile.

2). For the Power Couple: Whether you are living with a roommate or a spouse, having a fridge calendar is perfect for two. There is not a lot of room for details, so we recommend maintaining your own journal alongside a fridge calendar. The object of the fridge calendar is simply to write down big events your partner needs to be aware of: class times, work schedules and events. This will allow you to know where your partner is and coordinate things like dinner and rides. It is simple to maintain and you can get creative with colour coding and layouts.

3). The Bustling Family: This form of tracking is ideal for big groups of people. This type of day planner is incredibly detailed. It enables each member of the family to have a section for their events and important dates, all stacked on top of each other in order to make seeing potential conflicts easy. This allows everyone to keep track of everyone else. This kind of organizer is more difficult to maintain, but if everyone is dedicated to filling in their info each month it can be a total life saver.

Stay organized this back to school season and don’t get too overwhelmed! Everything always works out.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

August Statistics

September 3rd, 2016 by Ken Richter

Every month the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) publishes a monthly housing summary. These summaries go over what happened in the real estate market, how trends shifted, what to expect moving forward, benchmark prices, information behind changes in the market, etc.. This is a fantastic resource that we highly recommend! The most successful kind of buyers and sellers are the kind of buyers and sellers that are informed.

Most recently CREB® divided their report into two parts: the Calgary statistics and the Calgary region statistics. In our monthly summaries of the CREB® report, we focus specifically on the Calgary statistics. However, if you are interested in knowing about Calgary and its neighbouring areas, check out the full Calgary region statistics at this link.

As for August, there were some interesting shifts in the market…

1567 units were sold in August. The attached sector of the market stayed on trend with inventory and purchases dropping in an equalizing but not particularly great way.

CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie says, “While overall sales have eased for detached homes, so too has the amount of new listings on the market preventing inventories from reaching previous highs and limiting the downward pressure on pricing. This is not the case in both the attached and apartment sectors which have recorded inventory levels near August highs.”

These inventory gains in the apartment sectors are an important reminder to not make blanket assumptions about the market. Things vary between sectors which affects the decision you’ll make.

“It is very important for both buyers and sellers to pay close attention to the data in their particular area, segment, and price point,” says CREB® president Cliff Stevenson. “We are clearly seeing a significant difference in the performance between our detached, and our attached and apartment segments of the market, making it very difficult to use city-wide housing data for decision making purposes in today’s market.”

Overall, if you’re in the market for an apartment you are going to have lots of options!

We’ll keep you updated on trends. Check back here at the start of every month for our summaries.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

Block Party Essentials

August 31st, 2016 by Ken Richter

block-party-heroCan you believe it is already the last week of August? Summer flew by, as it always does. However, here at Team Ken Richter we are committed to helping you get the most out of the remainder of the summer. One way to take advantage of the long summer days is to host a block party.

Block parties are a great way to meet more people, eat good food and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Whether your neighbourhood has done one before or not, we encourage anyone who is interested in having one to go for it. Here are some block party essentials:

1). Team Up: If you are already friends with people in the neighbourhood, team up with them to host the block party. Having other people to help organize all the details can be a huge help. Have one person in charge of marketing, someone in charge of food organization, someone in charge of decorations, etc.. Spread the love.

2). Spread the word: There are a number of ways you can do this. Post on Facebook and have people in the area share the information. Create an event and do a countdown to get people excited. Another good way to spread the word is to go door to door and speak with families face-to-face. Bring a poster they can put on their fridge with all the information on it. Tape the same poster to lampposts and mailboxes.

3). Plan Activities: Obviously the first activity is eating. We recommend having it potluck style where each family brings a dish! If you can control it so you don’t end up with fifteen casseroles that’s great, if not don’t sweat it. Other activities could include chalk, four square, water fights, corn hole, volleyball, etc. Get in touch with your inner child and play all the easy to set up games you did as a kid.

4). Brush up on the Rules: Certain cities and neighbourhoods may require you to have permits for setting up on the road, hosting a party on city property, etc. Futhermore, noise curfew is a thing that you need to pay close attention to. Be kind and aware of the people around you. Do your due diligence to make sure you don’t accidentally break a rule!

Have so much fun! We would love to hear what your best tips are for block parties, so leave a note in the comment section below.

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Productive Work Spaces

August 29th, 2016 by Ken Richter

548a04d3dff97_-_rby-desk-01-makeover-after-s2The new school semester is right around the corner. Many schools are starting on September 1st without skipping a beat. Furthermore, the beginning of September often marks the beginning of new jobs as people switch gears from summer vacation to the working year. Whether you’re going back to work or back to school this fall, we are here to give you some of our fool-proof tips to creating productive work spaces.

First, make sure your work space is clean and organized. The start of a new season of life is a great time to throw out old and unneeded receipts, paperwork and assignments. Things that you do want to keep should be filed away in an easy to understand system. If you have not already invested in some filing system, do so now. Make sure you have compartments in your work space for supplies, too!

Second, stock up on all the supplies you will need. Studies show that people who have everything they need to get the job done right off the bat are far more productive than those who don’t. This can mean going out and buying new supplies, or go around your house and collect what you have already scattered everywhere. Sharpen your pencils, stock up on blank and lined paper and get ready to get down to business.

Third, consider the design of your space. We recommend painting the walls blue or having artwork that is blue. This is because blue stimulates energy and attention. If you pay attention you will notice many social media sites, such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, all have blue backgrounds because they understand the psychology behind the colour. Another key decorating choice is to do whatever inspires you! For some this is cleanly written quotes, for others it is a messy collage of images. Do whatever works best for YOU.

As you can see, making your work space productive is extremely easy. With the right attitude, a little money and elbow grease, you can transform your simple area into a creative space. Best of luck!

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

Rio Roundup

August 24th, 2016 by Ken Richter

The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics have ended and our talented Canadian athletes are returning home victorious. This Olympic season was one of amazing feats, bravery and kindness as athletes across the globe came together to celebrate sport and find out who is the best of the best. Through all the viral moments, our Canadian athletes remained steady and strong, the epitome of what it means to be Canadian.

Here are some of our homegrown athletes and the medals they brought home:

penny-smiling Penny Oleksiak: Penny is a sixteen year old swimmer from Toronto. She was Canada’s breakout star this year, holding the title of one of our youngest athletes and also our most decorated from the Rio Olympics. Penny won gold in the 100m Women’s Freestyle, silver in the 100m Women’s Butterfly, and bronze in both the 4x100m and 4x200m Women’s Relay.  Penny notes, “It’s pretty great to be home. It was pretty unreal for me. I didn’t expect [to do so well] at all. You know Canada has your back.”

 

rosie-maclennan-gold-medal-rio-2016Rosie MacLennan: Rosie MacLennan is a twenty-seven year old trampolinist from King City, Ontario. She has been training since she was seven years old and Rio was not her first Olympic games. Rosie brought home the gold medal in the women’s individual trampoline event. “There’s three components — difficulty, height, and form,” she explains. “The girl who came second from Great Britain, her routine was a little cleaner. But because I was higher and mine had a little more difficulty, I had a better score.” Rosie will continue to compete and we see many medals in her future…

drouin-derek-150830-620Derek Drouin: Derek Drouin is the Rio 2016 Mens High Jump gold champion. He came to the Olympics already the reigning world champion, and showcased his skill by not missing a single jump on his way to the gold medal. At just twenty-six years old, Drouin, from Corunna, Ontario, hopes to win three world championships before his career is over. He says, “We’ve had a pretty good tradition in high jump, so myself and my teammates are just trying to keep re-writing it.”

 

Here at Team Ken Richter we enjoyed watching our Canadian athletes preform! Here’s to the next Olympics…

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

“The Olympics have come to a close and my hope is that the spirit and the energy of the Games will live on. The Olympics are an incredible celebration of humanity where 207 countries gather in one place, living as one community, share meals under the same roof and have one shared vision and idea: the pursuit of excellence. ” – Rosie MacLennan

Preparing for Fall: Backyard Edition

August 20th, 2016 by Ken Richter

blogg-23This beautiful summer is slowly turning into a crisp fall, complete with frosty mornings and golden leaves. Stores are already rolling out Halloween decor and pumpkin inspired treats. While you pack away your summer dresses to make room for sweaters, also start thinking of how you can prepare your backyard for autumn.

There are a number of things you should be doing before the snow hits in order to prepare your backyard for autumn and winter. What’s the light at the end of the tunnel as far as cleaning and preparing is concerned? After doing the following things your backyard will be ready for one final barbecue!

First off, take care of outside structures such as children’s play places, tree houses, tables, sheds, decks, fences, etc.. Fix up any loose, unsafe ends to prepare it to endure a long winter. This will also make spring cleaning much easier because you won’t have to do so much work! We recommend looking into weather-proof coatings for everything. These coatings prevent water from seeping into the material and weakening it. If you want your outdoor structures to last the winter, an all-weather coating is important (and also fairly inexpensive when you compare it with the price of having to replace everything).

Take care of the garden! Harvest flowers you want to preserve before it gets cold and they start dying. Collect any and all fruit and vegetables you want to keep before they get frost-bitten, too! We recommend canning the fruit you won’t use immediately. This is a great way to preserve it! If you have too many vegetables to use yourself, consider donating them to your local homeless shelter or to families in need. Fresh greens are always a great charitable gift!

Finally, if you had plans this summer to do some landscaping, get it done now! Trust us. It will be so worth it come snowfall.

Now you’re all ready for the fall and for your barbecue! We recommend trying out Drunk Chicken. The ingredients are simple and the outcome is sweet, tender meat that falls of the bone and melts in your mouth. For a recipe, check out the following: Drunk Chicken Recipe

Your Calgary, Bowness & Montgomery Realtor® Ken Richter

 

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