Blog

In The Neighbourhood Know

One of the most powerful pieces you can have in your seller’s arsenal is extensive knowledge of your neighbourhood’s amenities. Think of it as setting up your property for a blind date: you want to highlight desirable aspects about your community. That’s where your REALTOR® comes in – to help guide the process to identify common interests with interested buyers and pique their curiosity.

In Calgary, transportation is always an important issue so be sure to cover multiple options. What’s the best route to major arteries like Deerfoot, Crowchild or Glenmore? How many minutes to downtown? Or, if you enjoy a weekend drive, what’s the perfect passage to the Rockies or the Foothills? Beyond cars, be sure to mention what you can reach by bike. Calgary’s network of bike pathways is extensive, and cycling enthusiasts of all-ages can enjoy a little pedal power at Prince’s Island Park, Glenmore Reservoir, Eau Claire along the Bow River pathways! Finally, what best-kept secrets are within walking distance? Paths can be a great for a leisurely evening walk or a brisk morning run.

Our city also features a top-notch culinary scene, so being able to give pointers on the local, independent cafes, restaurants and bars is a definite plus! Knowing where to get a good cup of coffee, a comforting meal, or properly poured pint are all part of living locally. In addition to grocery stores does your neighbourhood feature farmer’s markets in the spring and summer, or possibly year-round? Perhaps a notable bakery with freshly baked bread or pies that are must-eats for the local foodie? Or, is one of Calgary’s 30 craft microbreweries accessible by foot or bike?
For families, nearby schools are very important, as are aspects like bus routes and school parking. As well, recreational facilities such as community centres, gyms, swimming pools, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts, skateboard parks and even local yoga or martial arts studios offer healthy options for children when school’s not in session. If your child benefitted from pursuing a sport or class nearby, be sure to let other parents know!

Finally, what additional amenities are available in your community? Is there a branch of the Calgary Public Library nearby? Do you know a good doctor’s office, dental clinic, daycare or bank that makes living locally that much better? Are there great places to shop that support area artists and designers? If so, what do they specialize in?

Of course, there may be even more available amenities in your neighbourhood than what’s mentioned above. So when getting ready to sell your home, ensure you have a local list ready you can share with your REALTOR, in order to put both your property’s and your neighbourhood’s best feet forward.

Looking for more tips on how to live locally? Check out my blog post for more inspiration.

Connect with me today, about your real estate needs for tomorrow. 

Five Luxury Home Trends with the Wow Factor!

Whether you’re thinking of relocating or renovating, I recommend my clients keep an eye on these five luxury home trends to impress potential buyers, guests or themselves!

1. Smart Home Technology


 

From lighting, heating, to security and even appliances, not only does Smart Home Technology make your home smarter, it can also make your life easier! 

Thermostats and lighting will adapt to your preferences. Being able to access your home’s status from a phone or tablet will give you peace-of-mind while on vacation.

2. Gourmet Kitchens

 

The focal point of every family’s home – the kitchen – is a key element in the home buying experience! Larger kitchens accommodate both family and guests for easy, central entertaining on weekends or during holiday gatherings.
Kitchen islands have increased in size and now feature outlets, charging stations and even additional sinks or pot-fillers. Choices for countertops include marble, quartz, or wood in a wide variety of colours such as blues, greens, greys and even black.
Add a personal touch with handmade tiles for your backsplash which are available in a wide range of glazes, surfaces, shapes and colours. Finally, indulge your creative side with metal accents throughout the kitchen! Accent bands, tile inlays, and even cabinetry hardware can add a timeless element while easily matching designs and appliances.

3. Farmhouse Décor 

 

While this warm, simple style has been around for ages, it’s blooming again thanks to TV shows like Fixer Upper and is especially a great fit for fans of Alberta’s Western spirit. 

Look for materials and accessories that have been “upcycled” like rustic signage and vintage lighting. Farmhouse or trough sinks – in porcelain, stainless steel, and copper – are a great alternative to replace the traditional white sink.

4. Bold Colours

 

Embrace vivid colours to add an accent to a wall or add some panache to an entire room! Make a statement with yellows, greens, or blues – or make things pop with shades of rose or lavender. If you’re not quite ready to change the wall colour, you can always swap out rugs, pillows and accessories to highlight the new colour scheme in your home!

5. Wide-Plank Flooring

 

Rustic elements bring not only more authenticity, but also a greater degree of comfort and coziness. Wide-plank flooring made from materials like recycled wood in natural or light colours are gaining in popularity and make for a warm welcome for prospective home buyers on a tour!

Which luxury home trends are at the top of your must-have list?

Connect with me today, about your real estate needs for tomorrow. 

 

 

Moving to North Glenmore Park?

A small community with so much to offer! Close to the river trails, parks, Tennis Club and Glenmore track. Easy access to major corridors such as Glenmore and Crowchild and walk to Marda Loop at a fraction of the cost!

Showcasing style, elegance and modern luxury, this fully renovated home will take your breath away! The home was taken down to the studs 4 years ago, roof was removed to increase ceiling height and an addition was built at the rear of the home. The main level presents a bright open floor plan with engineered white birch flooring, a living room with fireplace, spacious dining area and gorgeous chef’s kitchen finished with a large Brazilian Angus granite island/eating bar, an abundance of storage and counter space and stainless steel appliances. There are also 3 bedrooms and 4 piece bath on the main level. The master bedroom includes a 3 piece ensuite. A new, beautifully transitioned access leads to the lower level featuring a large living room with fireplace, dining area, kitchen with enough space for a breakfast nook, a very spacious bedroom and 3 piece bath. Further highlights of this home include new interior casings and baseboards, all new doors and windows (exteriors trimmed with cedar), fully fenced yard with unique concrete brick pillar/cast iron fencing, rear patio, new cedar back deck and fence, beautifully landscaped gardens and double detached garage with a loft area for extra storage. This must see home is located just steps to the Glenmore Athletic Park and is close to 2 golf courses, North Glenmore Park, schools, shopping and public transit.

The History of Bowness

This community is situated minutes from downtown along the banks of the Bow river.  The village of Bowness was originally established in 1948.  We are so excited to share the storey of Bowness and our incredible listing at 6724 Bow Crescent NW.

This exquisite custom built home situated on the banks of the Bow River will impress the most discerning buyer offering over 9,600 sq ft of living space, 4+1 bedrooms, pristinely manicured grounds and a front elevation that could dawn the cover of Architectural Digest. The home showcases distinct spaces that are artfully combined with sophistication and practicality. The main floor presents 10’ ceilings, African oak hardwood floors, a large inviting foyer, den with barn doors, formal dining room, living room with wet bar and glass walk-in wine storage. The kitchen will evoke nostalgia from its sundrenched presence to the double islands, granite counters, custom glass cabinetry, walk-in pantry, high-end appliances and breakfast nook. The quiet study off the kitchen has become the owner’s favorite room. A main floor master retreat includes a custom walk-in closet and spa-inspired 5 piece ensuite with custom tub and separate glass steam shower.

There is also access to the private gym and outdoor hot tub area through the master retreat or the main house. The second level offers a large media room with vaulted ceiling, built-in beverage centre and TV and stereo surround system with rear speaker as well as 3 ample sized bedrooms and 2 baths. The “girl’s” bedroom features a walk-in closet and ensuite with heated floors, make-up vanity, free standing tub and separate shower. Bedrooms 3 and 4 both have window seats and walk-in closets and share a Jack and Jill bath. The basement invites you to entertain in the bar/theatre room with 80” TV and custom bar. Additional highlights include a dance/exercise room, cold wine storage, fifth bedroom and bathroom. The tranquil and private back garden overlooks the Bow River and has been thoughtfully designed for outdoor entertaining including a patio, patterned concrete deck, gas fireplace, 10 person hot tub, 65’x35’ sport court/hockey rink, basketball court and firepit. There is also an underground sprinkler system and invisible fence system.

Thinking of Buying in Nolan Hill?

Welcome to our community tour of Nolan Hill, situated in the NW part of Calgary.  This new community has much to offer, please tune in to my CTV video community report to find out more! Also featured is our listing at 43 Nolancliff Place NW.

Not your typical Nolan Hill home…superb attention to detail, accented with modern touches. This 3 bedroom custom built home with over 2,500 sq ft of developed living space siding onto a park with playground in the family oriented community of Nolan Hill is spectacular! The main floor presents 7” engineered hardwood floors throughout, a large, bright foyer with built-in bench, den with built-ins and living room with fireplace and built-ins next to the well-equipped chef’s kitchen finished with quartz counter tops, island/eating bar, an abundance of storage space, upgraded industrial Kitchen Aid stainless steel appliances, dining area and convenient butler’s pantry with wine fridge. A mudroom and 2 piece powder room complete the main level. An open staircase with glass rail leads to the second level showcasing a large bonus room with vaulted ceilings, laundry room, 3 bedrooms and 4 piece bath. The master retreat boasts vaulted ceilings, a custom walk-in closet and spa-like 5 piece ensuite with custom walnut cabinets, dual sinks, freestanding soaker tub and large shower. Further highlights of this home include upgraded lighting, carpet and underlay, built-ins in all closets, custom oversized front door, 9’ ceilings in the basement, oversized double attached garage and sunny southwest back yard with deck. This home is a must-see!

Living Locally

Living locally speaks to my heart. I love my city, my community, and I am passionate about supporting local businesses.

The great thing about living locally is the opportunities to connect with your neighbours, expand your network and enjoy your community. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Read the local papers, especially the papers for your community.
  • Check bulletin boards in community centers or laundromats for events.
  • Join the chamber of commerce. This is a great way to make business connections.
  • Create or join Facebook groups.
  • Join Meetup.com This site encourages local meetings and building community. One man used it to build a group of hundreds of members in his neighbourhood.
  • Go to local festivals.
  • Eat at small cafés.
  • Get out for a walk and enjoy the many paths around the city.
  • Did you know that most communities have garden plots that you can rent for 35-60 dollars per season? My mother-in-law rents one every year and we plant and harvest the vegetables with our children. It’s a family event and tasty!
  • Every neighbourhood has a community association with a small fee yearly to be a part of it. Marda Loop has a yearly festival call Mardi Gras that I support.
  • The Indulge fundraiser in South Calgary has grown every year. It’s a lot of fun. and I always run into many people, even outside the community. Local businesses support the event by offering food, wine, beer and door prizes.
  • During elections, people line up outside or schools or community associations. Some run in and out so fast they don’t appreciate what may be around them.
  • I love to shop! From Purr and Purr Petite for kids, to Robert Sweep for home accessories and linens. Kala and Lime in Aspen is a fabulous gift store which supports many local artists. For sportswear, in Britannia Plaza I love Hemm Active Fashion.
  • Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to eat (thank goodness I don’t drink, I would be a house). Some of my favorite local eateries in Calgary are Aida’s, Seed & Salt, Native Tongues and the Lady Bug Cafe.

My husband often tells me that the reason we know so many people is because I take the time to get to know those around me. We have block parties, watch each other’s homes and enjoy each other company.

If you take the time to talk to people and ask a few questions, you could develop and nurture many friendships in your community. Living locally speaks to my heart and warms my soul. Interacting with local businesses and spending time in the parks gives me a lot of happiness.

How do you live locally?

8 Real Estate Trends for 2018

1. Say goodbye to closed offices. The shared (and trendy) workspace is in. Expect high ceilings, open brickwork, stylish coffee machines, and comfy couches. Agents want to share, learn, and talk about market trends and political environments.

2. Retail below and condos above. This concept has been around for a while, though some builders are ramping it up. With this style of living, your latte, dog sitting, and banks will all be within walking distance.

3. More Condos: These are popular due to low price, convenience, and life in the city center. Condo location can reduce the walk to different amenities and, if driving is involved shorter distances. Condos are popular with college students and seniors alike.

4. AirBnb: This is a great way to save money for short-term rentals and if you travel a lot. Prices can be lower than renting, in some cases. There are no deposits, or extra charges for utilities and the renter can move around as necessary. Also, the renter can arrange for a lower price if they intend to stay in the area for many months.

Home owners can use websites such as VRBO for short-term rentals and reap the benefits.

5. Moving momma. As baby boomers age, many are downsizing. In some cases, the reason is declining funds and they need to find more affordable places to live. Real estate agents need to have more options to meet their needs.

6. More Technology: New condos and houses need to offer more gadgets and Internet. Preinstalled automation is important. Consider including security, smart gadgets, computerized fridges, stoves, light, and HVAC systems.

7. Micro Units: Faced with a shortage of housing some apartments could be as small as 200 square feet. Apartment dwellers must get creative when it comes to space. It’s necessary to use murphy beds, overhead storage, micro kitchens, etc.

8. Interest rates and the financial stress test. The government states for every dollar a Canadian makes we spend $1.69. Since we cannot manage our debt they want to manage it for us. This means you must qualify at a higher interest rate (known as a stress test). The stress test ensures you can afford your mortgage if the rates go up.

The government wants to make sure that what happened in 2008 in the United States does not happen in Canada. We have already seen interest rate hikes occur this year. They may be rising again, due to the stronger Canadian economy.

Interested in buying in Elboya?

Only 10 minutes south of downtown, this inner city community has everything to offer: the Elbow River Valley, Britannia Plaza amenities with the new Ghitter Block building, golf, schools, parks and skating rink. Elboya’s vibrant history exhibits homes dating back to the early 1950’s all the way to brand new luxury construction.

620 Crescent Boulevard SW. A fully and professionally renovated like-new raised bungalow with front walk-out and impressive curb appeal, located on a quiet and mature street in sought after Upper Elboya. Classic style boasting over 3,100 sq ft of living space, 2+1 bedrooms, 3 full baths and modern flair with quality finishing and nothing left untouched! The elegant main floor showcases a spacious living room with stylish gas fireplace, formal dining room and an impeccably-equipped fully renovated kitchen finished with stainless steel appliances, glass backsplash, lustrous quartz countertops and extended cabinetry featuring wine fridge in the back entrance. The master bedroom includes a generous walk-in closet and stunning 4 piece ensuite. A second bedroom, 4 piece bath and laundry room complete the main floor. The basement is drenched with natural light from large egress windows and features a family/media room, den area complete with built-ins and barn doors, third bedroom, a 3 piece bath, ample storage and access to the garage and front exterior of the home. Further features that cannot help but dazzle include modern lighting, glass railing, wallpaper accents, painted ceilings, central air conditioning, beautifully refinished vintage hardwood flooring, paneled walls, heated floors, new doors, casings, baseboards and the list goes on. Additional renovations include an entirely new exterior, windows, stucco, eaves, soffits, roof and all new insulation. The double attached heated oversized garage includes full built-ins and epoxy flooring. Also enjoy the large, beautifully manicured backyard that’s perfect for summer gatherings and offers complete privacy and an underground sprinkler system. Sophistication and style embody every part of this home.

Welcome to Elbow Valley Estates

Showcases the idyllic community of Elbow Valley Estates and its features and amenities, as well as our listing at 164 Elbow Ridge Bluffs.

Quiet cul-de-sac & serene setting overlooking the reserve & the sound of absolutely nothing. Welcome to this 2-storey WALKOUT gem with over 5600 sq ft of developed living space, 6 bedrooms, five & a half bathrooms & enough storage to stay a lifetime. A large foyer with den off to the side greets you as you enter this one owner home. Traditional touches escort you into the formal dining room, perfect for large family dinners & formal living room with gas fireplace & ample windows for maximum sunlight. The spacious chef’s kitchen creates an inviting setting. Appreciate beautiful views overlooking this peaceful property as you enjoy breakfast in the bright nook. The vast second floor wrap around deck with pristine view of the backyard creates a perfect outdoor living & entertaining space. Custom touches throughout include a walk in pantry hidden from the kitchen through cabinetry as well as a large mudroom with built-ins & access to the triple garage. A relaxed second floor area has five bedrooms & four bathrooms, two bedrooms with private ensuites. The very spacious master retreat includes an upgraded walk-in closet, custom built-ins & luxurious 5 piece ensuite. There’s also a gym/bonus room off the master accessed from the hallway. The fully finished walkout level features a media room & enormous rec/family room with fireplace, wet bar, built-ins & French doors to the lower exterior patio. Also on the walkout level are the sixth bedroom & another full bathroom. This location is extremely rare to find & pride of ownership will leave you feeling like you want to come back….& stay forever.

Helping Mom or Dad Transition into Assisted Living

This week I heard Jann Arden give an interview on T.V.  that wasn’t one of her usual comical debuts. She was serious and contemplative as she disclosed her experience with her dad passing two years ago and then her mom being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

In her new book “Feeding My Mother” Jann shares tasteful and sometimes humorous reflections on how this has changed her – for the better! Learning just to appreciate her mom when she is cognitive and allowing her to tell the same stories over and over without being embarrassed was cathartic. However, performing all over the country involves the inevitable travel and Jann can’t be taking care of her mom consistently. That takes help from professionals – which prompted this blog.

I have had occasion, where clients come to me needing help when the time comes to relocate mom or dad into assisted care. I thought I would offer my two cents on some things to know here in Calgary when it is time to make alternative living arrangements for your parents or loved ones.

For some, the option of buying a home with a ‘mother-in-law’ suite is the ideal answer. What may have been used as Nanny quarters when children were young, can usually be easily converted into a suite for aging parents so that they are close-by while maintaining some independence.

Some communities in Calgary offer properties with ‘Carriage Homes’ which is the development of a small bachelor suite above a detached garage. If zoning allows, this can be another option if parents do not require medical support.

There are two options for professional care; either publicly funded or private. If your parents are on a low income and/or having serious medical challenges, their Doctor will be involved with instigating the alternative care process with family. In the public sector there can be wait times up to two years, and although there is government assistance, the senior still must pay for their level of service, either with their pension or savings. On the Canadian Government website, the average cost of a bachelor unit that includes one meal a day is $2,210.00/month.

When the privately-owned facility, Maison Senior Living, was being built on Elbow drive I stopped in during construction and was told that the average age adults move into residence is 88 years, however, they have seniors in their 70’s moving in! This private facility has occasional wait lists but the waits so far, have not been too long. With private care there can be all sorts of variables such as professional chefs, customized activities, group outings, movie nights, even beauty salons. However, for a private care facility you will be responsible for the total costs which begin at double the cost of public care centres.

I know from personal experiences that some facilities (public or private) cannot care for seniors should they become in serious need of increased medical services, where others may offer palliative & hospice care in-house which means not having to inconvenience an already suffering adult.

As with all changes and challenges in life, knowledge is key. Unfortunately, we are so often busy and consumed with family and work, we don’t think to research our options until forced to because of an untimely health diagnoses or accident.

Please have the difficult conversations with your parents to learn what their wishes would be and what options are available, so that if the time comes to transition it has been thought out and planned to the best of everyone’s ability. You will be thankful that you did!

If you would like more information connect with me anytime~