As your real estate agent, my job is to make sure we sell your house within a reasonable time frame and for the best price possible. I put together a marketing plan that considers the best way for us to do this.
We will look at having great photos taken, putting your house on MLS (the multiple listing service), and we will also look at an array of other marketing tools best suited for your particular home and location.
One responsibility you will have is making sure your home is in tip-top shape. This might look like de-cluttering, putting away certain ‘personal items’, or possibly beautifying your home in other ways. As part of this process, I sometimes recommend clients seek out the help of a professional home stager. Of course it’s only a recommendation but there is often a huge benefit to enlisting the help of one.
One of the biggest misconceptions about home stagers is that they are interior decorators when, in fact, their roles are very different. Ellen Mann, of Chrysalis Creative Home Staging, puts it really well:
“A decorator’s job is to ask the client questions to determine their particular taste, and then to cater to that. They create a space that fits the owner’s vision and personality in terms of color, décor and furnishings. In other words, they work hard to reflect the owner in the space.
A stager’s job is to create a warm and welcoming space that’s generic enough to appeal to the widest possible group of people. In other words, my job is to take the individual owner, OUT of the space. Sometimes we stage in a style the owner doesn’t like, but we aren’t decorating for them, we’re decorating for the next owner.”
As your agent, I will help you determine when, and if, the services of a home stager would benefit you. Here are some examples of scenarios where I might suggest a client consider using one:
Your home is showing more personal items than we should show…or maybe even too many items all together.
Too much ‘stuff’ in a house can be a huge distraction for potential purchasers (as can too many personal belongings, such as photographs). Clearing out the right items can open up a space and keep people focused on the other great features that your home might offer.
Your home has great furniture and/or décor already but, with a little bit of re-arranging, can showcase your space the BEST way possible.
Some examples of this could be changing a furniture layout to open up a room or better define a space. It could also look like moving around some décor pieces to highlight particular home features.
Your home could use a little ‘warming up’.
A minimalist approach when re-selling is great but, we also want prospects to feel ‘warmth’ when they enter a home. Sometimes a home can benefit from a few extra accessories or a piece (or two) of furniture. Small changes, like these, can really add warmth to a space.
In an extremely competitive market, we may need to put our absolute BEST foot forward.
During slower times, or when there is a surplus of competition, we need your home to look absolutely pristine. The help of a home stager can give us the extra touches we need to make your house look absolutely amazing! This can be the difference we need to keep prospective buyers focused on your house (and not the competition’s).
Your house is vacant.
Empty homes just don’t show the same way and, generally, tend to fetch a lower price that a furnished house. An empty home can actually look smaller than it is and also, sometimes gives prospective buyers the idea that you might ‘need’ to sell your house quickly. This can trigger ‘low-ball’ bids.
Every home is different. The recommendations that a home stager might make are going to vary based on your home, needs, timeframe, and budget. Having said that, there are some common themes that home stagers see often, here are some that Ellen Mann has shared with me:
Here is a home that was staged showing some examples of making a home neutral, beautiful, and desirable (staging by Chrysalis Creative Home Staging).
The cost of a home stager really depends on what services (or items) you and I might like to provide for your home. Do we just need some furniture moved around to create the best layout possible? Do we need a paint colour recommendation? Do we need to rent furniture, or art, for several rooms in your home? Depending on what our needs are, the costs can vary from a couple of hundred dollars and up.
The good news is there are no surprises. We can get quotes ahead of time and I can easily help you choose the best professional home stager to suit your personal needs. Remember though, spending a little bit of money up front can save you time, and money, in the long term.
Even if you’re not considering moving, sometimes giving a home stager some time with your own things, in your own space, can really freshen up a space! This is called, ‘staging for living’ and I highly recommend it. I have used it in my own home and love the fresh feel it has brought!
Lucky for us, Ellen has offered up some little tidbits can be used for home staging – either for sale or, for living…
There can be a cost for staging but that cost often translates to value! The touches a home stager adds really can save you time and money. I have seen this first hand!
I work with several home stagers, in the Calgary area, and would be happy to make a recommendation to you based on your home, needs, and budget. Please reach out to me with any questions you might have about finding the right home stager. Of course, I would also love to hear from you if you have any questions, at all, about buying or selling your home– I’m here to help!
Research tells us that ‘community’ is one of the most important considerations people have when shopping for a home. If you have a family, there are a variety of neighbourhood ‘qualities’ that you might want to look for – things such as amenities, schools, and proximity to hobbies could (and should) be on your house-shopping wish list.
Here is a list of 6 neighbourhoods I think are worth considering if you are searching for the perfect home, and community, for your family.
Auburn Bay is a family-oriented, four-season lake community in the southeast suburbs of Calgary. It is quite popular with families, who often search out homes specifically in this neighbourhood. I have many friends who have lived in Auburn Bay and have remained there as their families grew.
In addition to the beautiful lake, and all of the wonderful activities that come living in a lake community (think stand up paddle boarding in the summer and hockey in the winter), the Auburn Bay Residents Association is very active. They can be counted on to provide a regular line up of fun, family-oriented community events and programs. There is always something to do in Auburn Bay whether you’re an indoor, fair-weather person or an active lover of the great outdoors.
Schools are always an important consideration, when choosing a community for your family. Auburn Bay offers both a public and catholic option for elementary students. Auburn Bay School is public (kindergarten to grade 4) and Prince of Peace School is catholic (kindergarten to grade 9).
Directly to the south of Auburn Bay is the much anticipated SETON Urban District. This development offers everything you could want to fulfill your shopping, dining and entertainment needs. It has been affectionately referred to as ‘the downtown of the southeast’ and has a great line of up of shops and services already established.
If you’re a family, with a family dog, you will also love the close proximity to the Auburn Bay Off Leash Park!
Although this community is a little further into the southeast quadrant of the city, it borders both Deerfoot Trail, as well as the Stoney Trail Ring Road, giving you easy and quick access to other parts of the city.
The upside of considering a newer community, such as Auburn Bay, for your family is that the homes are relatively new so there is less time (and money) spent on maintenance and more time spent with family.
If you’re looking for an inner-city neighbourhood, that is also family-friendly, you’ll want to consider Bridgeland-Riverside. This community offers a variety of older homes, newly developed infills, and condominiums in a wide variety of price ranges.
Many Calgary families call this area ‘home’, not only because of it’s close proximity to downtown, but also because of its proximity to some other great family-oriented spots such as the Calgary Zoo, Telus Spark (science centre), St. Patrick’s Island, and of course the beautiful Bow River.
Culture is important to many of us! One thing that attracts folks to Bridgeland is the fact that it is a very ‘hip’ and pedestrian-friendly community. You will find a variety of restaurants, boutiques, shops, and café’s that can be easily explored just by taking a neighbourhood stroll.
Another great quality about this neighbourhood is there is a strong presence from the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association. There are several events organized for community members each month, so there is plenty to keep a family busy here!
There are several schools in the area, including Langevin School (a K-9 science school which is an alternative program offered by the Calgary Board of Education), St. Angela Workplace School (a Catholic kindergarten to grade 6 ‘workplace school’ supporting families with parents who work downtown – a great family perk is it offers before and after school programs). Delta West Academy, a private school for children from junior kindergarten to grade 12, is also located in Bridgeland.
The South Calgary Community is not only located close to the downtown core, it also has a thriving shopping/dining district (with over 130 shop, boutiques and restaurants), an off-leash park (with river and city views), a public library, museums, a golf course, several indoor & outdoor skating rinks, indoor & outdoor swimming pools, and even access to a beach volleyball court. There is plenty here to keep everyone in the family busy and entertained!
The Marda Loop Communities Association is very active offering programs, events, and other community-minded meetings.
There are several schools in this area including: Altadore School (kindergarten to grade 6), Central Memorial High School (grades 10-12), and Lycée Louis Pasteur (a private French school for students from preschool-age to grade 12)
Tuscany community is located in the rolling hills of the city’s northwest quadrant. It is a suburban community with beautiful mountain views and it’s situated within close proximity to shopping, restaurants, and two different YMCA’s.
It is also located near beautiful ravines, which are perfect for walking and exploring – check out the 12 Mile Coulee that hosts hiking trails and two different off-leash parks (perfect for your fur-family members). I love that it’s a very short drive west to leave the city and to be en route to the majestic Rocky Mountains (one of my favourite places to visit)!
This community has an extremely active residents association, known as the Tuscany Club. Some of the family-friendly amenities you’ll find there include a splash park, a skateboard park, a gymnasium, tennis courts, an outdoor rink, and more!
In addition to wonderful amenities, the community hosts a wide variety of events, programs, clubs and sports leagues (for the both children and adults!). There is even a community garden – the Tuscany Community Garden!
In Tuscany you will find a wide variety of home types, and price points, making it a diverse neighbourhood. This allows families to grow, or make changes, yet stay within their community and easily find a home that is suitable to their needs.
Despite it’s deep northwest location, it is easy to transport to and from this area because of its close proximity to the Tuscany-Rocky Ridge LRT Station (which is a Park & Ride location), Crowchild Trail, and the Stoney Trail Ring Road.
Varsity is a beautiful, and mature, centrally located community. The fact that is has so many schools within it, AND is walking distance to the University of Calgary, makes it a great fit for families with kids of all ages. You can start your family here and easily stay into your ‘empty nest’ years.
The central location makes it an easy drive for those downtown commuters. It has a beautiful, tree-lined pathway system that easily takes you to Market Mall or the Brentwood LRT station (which is also a Park & Ride station).
There are are great number of schools in Varsity including: Varsity Acres School (kindergarten to grade 6), Marion Carson School (kindergarten to grade 6 plus a Chinese Bilingual program – Mandarin), Christine Meikle School (a special needs junior/senior high school), F.E. Osborne School (grades 7 to 9), and St. Vincent De Paul School (Catholic kindergarten to grade 9).
Cranston is a diverse, master-planned community in the city’s southeast quadrant. It has a wide variety of home types available, from condominiums to starter homes to glorious estate homes overlooking the beautiful Bow River.
At the ‘centre’ of the community you will find Century Hall, a gated facility for residents (and their guests). The building has a full gymnasium where a wide variety of programs and events are held for community members. Tennis courts, a waterpark for children, basketball courts and a playground all also amenities found within the facility’s boundaries.
Cranston Market, the neighbourhood shopping area, has a variety of shops, restaurants, and services established (including a grocery store). In addition to this, the anticipated SETON Urban District is only one community over. If you’re wanting, or needing, to be near a hospital you will appreciated that the South Health Campus is also quite close by.
Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the many pathways running through the community – especially those taking you to Fish Creek Park! I often head to Cranston, with my bike, when I need to practice my hill training for the Road to Conquer Cancer ride that I have been participating in annually. There is a killer hill coming up from Riverstone (the section of Cranston situated along the Bow River)…it is almost 1 km up hill!
Cranston has several community schools including Cranston School (kindergarten to grade 3), Dr. George Stanley School (grades 4 to 9), Christ The King School (Catholic kindergarten to grade 9), and Our Lady of the Rosary School (kindergarten to grade 6).
Quick access to, and from, Cranston is available via Deerfoot Trail or the newly built Stoney Trail Ring Road. Getting to even the far north can be done with relative ease.
Although there are many wonderful communities in our great city, these are some of my favourites for families to consider. If you would like more information on homes in any of these areas, or others for that matter, please feel free to reach out to me here!
Recently enjoying a stroll through beautiful Cranston!
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘busyness’ of life and forget about some of our home’s maintenance needs. Really, it’s not usually a matter of spending a tonne of time doing them; it’s more about remembering those ‘once in a while’ jobs.
I have come up with a basic list of home care tips for you. Now that spring is approaching, it’s the perfect time to check some of these off our to-do lists.
It’s a really good idea to clean out your gutters, and downspouts, each spring. Once your gutters have been cleared of debris, use a garden hose to spray out your downspouts to remove any remaining particles.
Finally, check thoroughly for leaks and make sure everything is securely attached to your home.
*While you’re outside, take a quick moment to check the vents for your clothes Dryer. The build up from the lint collected by the dryer is a major fire hazard and also can lead to the early demise of your appliance.
Changing the direction of the ceiling fans in your home can help you feel more comfortable and can also help you enjoy potential energy savings.
In the spring and summer, set your ceiling fan to rotate counter clockwise to push cool air to the floor.
In the fall and winter, change the direction that your paddles are rotating in order to spin clockwise. This will help to pull the cool air up and circulate the warm air down
Spring is a good time to check your home’s foundation, since the snow is melting and the areas around the founding will be clearing up. Walk the perimeter of your house and mark any cracks with tape. Check them every three-months to monitor for an increase in sizing (contact a professional if any cracks become large enough to fit a coin inside of them). The same process can be done from inside of your home, if your basement is unfinished
*While you are outside, check your air conditioner to make sure it is clear of yard debris and plant growth. You’ll want to make sure you do this before starting up your A/C for the first time. While you’re thinking about your A/C unit, you might also shut down your humidifier for the summertime…it should be turned ‘off’ while your air conditioning is ‘on’.
Decks, railings, and fences should all be checked annually, preferably in the springtime. Look for deterioration and/or water damage and make repairs promptly to extend the life and maintain the integrity of your wood.
It’s a good idea to consider re-staining, or re-sealing, anything that is wood every one to two-years. In addition to extending its life, you will help maintain your home’s curb appeal.
The vinyl siding, on your home, should be checked periodically to make sure there aren’t any missing or broken pieces. If it’s looking dusty, or dirty, it can easily be washed with mild detergent, and a garden hose, to remove the dust and keep it looking vibrant!
The asphalt shingles, on your roof, should be checked periodically for loose, broken or missing shingles. If you notice anything that doesn’t look right, contact a professional right away. Damage on your roof should be re-paired immediately to prevent water from leaking into your home (Ack!).
Furnace filters need to be changed regularly, in order to keep your air quality at its best and also, to prevent hardship on your furnace’s mechanics.
If you’re not sure what kind of filter you have (or how often it should be changed/cleaned), check the manufacturer’s directions but, generally, most filters are intended for approximately 90-days of use (that’s how often I change mine…especially given how dusty it is living in our newer suburban community).
Having said that, it’s best to have a quick check for dust & debris monthly. Keeping a supply of filters on hand can help keep you on schedule and avoid delaying this important home maintenance task.
Your smoke detectors, and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, should be tested monthly and the batteries should be replaced annually (rechargeable batteries are not recommended).
You can test either of these devices by pressing ‘test’ button. You can also do a ‘real’ test with your smoke detector by lighting a match, or some incense, and placing it directly below the unit (if it doesn’t go off, replace the batteries and then repeat the test).
Did you know that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms expire?
To determine if your smoke detector is expired, remove it from the wall or ceiling, look at the back for the date of manufacture. If it was made more than ten-years ago, or if a date cannot be located, replace it with a new one.
To determine if your carbon monoxide alarm is expired, refer to the packaging it came in. If you no longer have it, you can do a simple search online.
Your exhaust fans should be vacuumed with a brush attachment regularly. You can also wash the vent fan cover in hot, soapy water as needed.
You should also do a simple ‘tissue test’, annually, to ensure your fans are working properly and efficiently (the fan should be able to hold tissue to it, while it’s turned ‘on’). If your fan fails the ‘tissue test’, it’s time to contact a professional – it’s important that bathroom humidity can be drawn out of your home!
Garage doors are often forgotten when homeowners consider their home maintenance projects. Door hinges should be lubricated every three years and the perimeter weather stripping should be checked once per year, before the wintertime
I get that life can get busy! Trust me…as a full-time, working wife, and mom…I totally get it! Having said that, properly maintaining our homes can save us a lot of money in costly repairs later, so it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
If the thought of trying to remember ‘all things home maintenance’ is a little overwhelming for you, consider adding some recurring reminders to your calendar (or favourite ‘reminders’ app). Keeping a calendar is a great way to help stay organized!
Also, if you think you might need help, from a professional, with any of these jobs – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’m more than happy to help put you in touch with local, reputable, Calgary-based service providers.
Many of us Calgarians have beloved, furry members in our family – our pups! My family is no exception – we love our dog, Molly, very much and consider her in many of our life decisions! Where will we stay on vacation? Is the hotel we are considering dog friendly? What kind of a vehicle would suit our animal-loving lifestyle?
When it comes to choosing a community to live in, many of us have similar type questions surrounding how accommodating it might be to our dog-loving lifestyle. I have compiled a list of the top five most dog-friendly communities in Calgary, to hopefully eliminate some of the guesswork for you!
Maple Ridge is a beautiful and established community. It has quick access to many major roadways including Deerfoot Trail, Macleod Trail, Southland Drive, and Anderson Drive. It is also close to many shopping and recreation-based amenities.
This community is well treed, so it is quite nice to just enjoy a stroll right from your front door and through the neighbourhood with your pup. It does get even better, though, since many of the homes in this community are walking distance to the largest fenced-in off-leash park in Calgary – Sue Higgins Park.
Not only is this dog park large and close, it also runs along the Bow River. This gives you a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air…and your pup a chance to cool off and splash around.
Maple Ridge is a great opportunity to have both value and location. There are many cool floor plans in this area and the pricing is very reasonable for a community that offers as much as it does.
Auburn Bay is a four-season lake community offering access to an exceptional amount of amenities. It is close to shopping, schools, a hospital, restaurants as well as the exciting new Seton district. In the very near future, there will also be a recreation facility, a premium movie theatre, and public library built near-by.
Within the community, Auburn Bay hosts a very active and popular off-leash park. Many of the homes in this community are walking distance to the park but for those that aren’t; on-site parking is available as well.
In addition to this off-leash park being fenced, there are benches found throughout as well as a Doggie Fountain near the entrance/exit.
Bonus: It is reasonably priced for a south suburban lake community.
Mahogany is another wonderful, dog-friendly community in Calgary’s deep south. It neighbours with Auburn Bay and offers access and proximity to all of the same, wonderful amenities (see community #2 above).
As a dog-owner, who personally lives in Mahogany, I can attest to the welcoming nature of this community towards dogs of all sizes. In addition to being a stone’s-throw away from the near by Auburn Bay Off-Leash Park, this community is also host to 22 kilometers of paved walking paths. It also is the home of a pet store and a veterinary clinic.
Altadore is culture-rich and vibrant inner-city community. It is very pedestrian-friendly and hosts many different festivals throughout the year where people, and dogs alike, are often seen strolling about.
In addition to having many hip and cool coffee shops (and pub patios!) to walk to, this community also borders the River Park Off-Leash Area. This particular dog park could be argued to be one of the most scenic, in the city, as it over-looks the Elbow River and boasts a clear view of the downtown horizon.
There are a wide variety of home-styles available here, however, the area has been known in recent years to be especially popular with high-end/luxury developers. Having said that, prices have come off slightly since the downturn so there is some good opportunity to purchase here.
Haysboro is a community that many would consider to be bordering inner city. It has easy access to many main thoroughfares and is a quick drive to downtown (in fact, you can get there in under twenty minutes).
Having said that, if driving isn’t your thing, not to worry because this community is within close proximity to multiple LRT stations.
This is a mature area that tends to have more of a bungalow selection, which is great for baby boomers. Many of the homes in this area have been renovated and the lots are typically larger than what you will find in the suburbs, which is great for both parents of children as well as dog owners.
Bonus: This community has not just one, but two off-leash parks AND is a stone’s throw away from the scenic Glenmore Reservoir, which contains endless miles of paved walking paths and public washrooms.
If you have questions about any of these communities, or would help some help figuring out which community is best for you and your (fur) family, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
My daughter, Morgan, and our family pup – Molly!
Buying or selling a home is a lot of work! It takes time and effort…some people might even find it a little bit stressful.
I understand that and I want you to be as successful, as possible in your journey. So, today, let’s talk about when the best time of year is to buy and sell your home in YYC. Timing your home sale &/or your home purchase can have a big impact on how much time, and energy, you spend on the process.
My experience is that the market has a surge in activity between mid-February to April. Many people call this the ‘spring market’ and it’s a busy time for Calgary’s real estate scene.
If You’re a Home-Seller in the Spring Market
If you’re able to list your home on the market during this time, you will have a selling advantage!
Many home shoppers (and their realtors) understand this is a time when activity in the market increases. That means there are often more active, and serious, buyers shopping. This can translate to a higher volume of showings in a shorter amount of time.
Having an increase in demand (having more active buyers shopping) can also improve your chances of getting a better selling price. Which…let’s face it…is what us, as sellers, want!
If You’re a Home-Buyer in the Spring Market
Because the spring market is known to be a busier time in the market place, many sellers tend to try to list during this time. Potentially having more inventory to choose from, gives us a better chance of finding you the perfect home!
Searching for a home, during the springtime, also increases your chances of being able to move into your home during Calgary’s warmer months and before the school year begins.
In the fall, once school has started and everyone is settling into their fall schedules, there is usually a second surge of activity in Calgary’s real estate market. I generally notice it between October to November.
If You’re a Home-Seller in the Fall Market
This is a good time to be listing your home. Much like the spring market, activity tends to increase. That means there are more active, and serious, buyers shopping during this time (which can translate to having your home listed for sale for a shorter time – yay!). It can also improve your chances of getting a better price!
Listing during this time also means you can, potentially, have your home sold before the Christmas season! Fa-la-la-la-la…!
If You’re a Home-Buyer in the Fall Market
If the timing doesn’t work for you to be shopping in the spring, not to worry…the fall market is another great time to be shopping! Many sellers are still listing their homes at this time and there is plenty of time to find a home, and get moved in, before Christmas!
If you have questions about buying, or selling, your home in Calgary…let’s chat! Reach me here.