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Over the years, we’ve developed a good understanding of how buildings perform. Construction techniques for new homes have changed rapidly. Most of these improved techniques also apply to renovations.
If you plan carefully, you can renovate your home to make it look better, work better, last longer and be more comfortable. Before renovating, it’s important to assess the condition of your home to determine if there are any significant underlying problems that must be addressed before or during your planned renovation project.
In Canada, we need affordable houses to provide shelter from the elements. We also want our homes to be pleasant, comfortable and attractive.
Homeowners have higher expectations than in the past, particularly about comfort and interior design. Renovations are an opportunity to address some of these expectations.
Some of the reasons people decide to renovate are to:
Renovating is an ideal time to make your house healthier for you, the community and the environment. When assessing your renovation project, be sure to consider the five essentials of Healthy Housing™.
House as a System
A house is much more than just four walls and a roof — it’s an interactive system made up of many components including the basic structure, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, the external environment and the occupants. Each component influences the performance of the entire system. A renovation provides an opportunity to improve how your house performs.
As you assess your renovation project, ask yourself how changing particular components will affect the performance of the whole house. For example, as part of a bathroom renovation you may want to add a hot tub that will generate large amounts of humidity during operation.Your existing ventilation may be inadequate to handle the increased moisture levels. It will be important to provide proper ventilation to avoid mold growth, indoor air quality (IAQ) problems and damage to the structure or finishes. You may need to consult with a qualified home inspector or a professional renovator.
A systematic and thorough inspection will help you to assess the condition of your home. Look for any signs of deterioration and the possible causes. Start your inspection in the basement. Many problems in other parts of the house originate there. Depending upon the size of your project, you may want to ask a qualified home inspector or a professional renovator to help you assess your building and develop a plan. Here are some of the likely questions that you’ll want to think about.
Use the House Assessment Worksheet to record the present condition, any problems in your home and to help set priorities for your renovation.
Costing Your Project
The cost of your assessment will depend almost entirely on how many professionals you need. They might include an engineer, architect, electrician, plumber, carpenter or professional home inspector.
Developed by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the ecoENERGY initiative provides a residential energy assessment service delivered by local organizations across Canada for a fee. Retrofits may be eligible for grants. To find a local service organization or grant information, visit www.ecoaction.gc.ca or call 1-800-387-2000.
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A little more than $40,000 could be up for grabs when you purchase your recreational home in BC!
Good news for sure for real estate investors in the recreational market. Naturally there is a lot of new "unsold" recreational inventory around at the moment and this move by the BC government, while a little hard to understand is a welcome break for a sluggish real estate sector.
No rules in regards to the grant are available which actually refers to grants for second home purchases. The rules and regulations are expected to be published this month.
We do know it will be eligible for purchases of second homes up to $850,000 and is to be administered by the Province rather than CRA in relation to HST/GST rebates.
While it is a welcome break, it is curious in my mind why this would be administered as a grant/bonus. Years ago as the federal Conservatives toppled the long reigning Liberal government, there was talk of tax breaks/deferrals on capital gains for real estate investors. To me, this would appear to be a better long term strategy to assist with what is a very significant industry in our province.
For now however, we are dealing with a temporary grant program that will run from March this year to April next year with details coming as to what defines a second property and who is eligible for the rebate from the Province. We await with baited breath!
Ask me about how to start your search for investment properties in BC!
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With all the Grow Ops being busted these days, I thought I should bring to your attention the ones that were not busted but instead moved. In this case, how can you tell if a house was a former marijuana grow op if the police did not catch it first? Here are some signs that you can look for.
IDENTIFYING A FORMER GROW OP
Never assume the location is too bizarre or inconvenient to be a grow op. Police
have found grow operations in new housing developments, in large and small
homes, in basements and attics, in high-rise apartments and warehouses, and
in outbuildings. Marijuana grow operations have even been discovered in
vehicles like tractor-trailers, campers, motor homes and railroad cars.
In one Montreal raid, a grower used his own basement but tapped the
electricity from the adjacent garage of his neighbor. In another, police
discovered that every second new house on a street in a new subdivision
had been converted into grow ops — six houses in all. Police have noted an
increasing sophistication in illegal operations.
Grow ops often require extensive cleanup and repair. It is possible that these
repairs were never made and the real damage is hidden. Noticeable signs that
you may be dealing with a former grow op include:
• Mould in corners where the walls and ceilings meet.
• Signs of roof vents.
• Painted concrete floors in the basement, with circular marks of where
pots once were.
• Evidence of tampering with the electric meter (damaged or broken
seals) or the ground around it.
• Unusual or modified wiring on the exterior of the house.
• Brownish stains around the soffit that bleeds down along the siding.
• Concrete masonry patches, or alterations on the inside of the garage.
• Patterns of screw holes on the walls.
• Alteration of fire places.
• Denting on front doors (from police ramming the door).
It is our responsibility as both Listing and Buying Agents to do our due dilligence for our Clients to fully disclose any grow op activity in properties. However, in some cases, we are not aware of this if the house has no record. It is always BEST and advised that you request a full home inspection by a reputable and certified inspector. By doing a thorough examination of the vents and electrical, the inspector may be able to spot a former grow op.
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In the past several weeks, I've received many questions from people about the new projects that are happening in the Southeast. So I thought I'd send out a quick FAQ email.
As you all may be aware, southeast Calgary has had a bad rap, but all that is going to change. There are many commercial and residential projects in the works to revitalize the mostly undeveloped and underestimated quadrant. Projects like a new hospital, the extension of the ring road and a new mega mall. Yes, you've heard about these projects in the news, but do you know how it will affect the areas in and surrounding the developments?
SOUTH HEALTH CAMPUS
Located at 196th Avenue and Deerfoot Trail S.E., expected to start offering urgent care and ambulatory clinics in 2012, with other services to follow the year after.
When it is fully operational, the hospital will accommodate over 2,400 staff members. A large percentage of these staff members will be from out of town and most probably will want to relocate close to their place of occupation. This will mean that sales of homes around the area will go up, prices will rise due to deman and rentals will increase as well.
To accomodate the potential new residents, home builders and new commercial developments will be busy building in the area.
SETON URBAN DISTRICT
The Seton Urban District is proposed to be the new "Downtown". Plans include residential condo and new housing projects, restaurants, trendy retail shops, spas and fitness, schools, and 24/7 night-life, this is to replica Kensington. Located in between Stoney Trail and Deerfoot Trail, it is the perfect location for visitors coming from the East, West and primarily South. With the major box store chains located at Deerfoot Meadows to the west, there is talk of more US retailers to be occupying more of this Southeast section to create rows and rows of major shopping centres to line the highway. Look for stores like Macy's, J Crew, Marshalls, and others...
SOUTH EAST STONEY TRAIL
The project consists of the construction and maintenance of 25 kilometres of six-lane roadway, 9 interchanges, 1 road flyover, 2 rail flyovers and 27 bridge structures, as well as 12 kilometres of Deerfoot Trail between Stoney Trail SE (currently Highway 22X) and the Highway 2A junction. Encompassing the city, the completion of this span of highway will bring more residents and retailers to the outskirts of the city. The convenience will attract many home owners, renters and developers.
For more information on each of these projects and more, visit the project's site below. Please feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions. Thank you!
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Calgary’s own CIR REALTY has just been reported the number one leader in residential home sales in all of Calgary as well as the number one independent brokerage for sales for all of Canada in the new REAL Trends Report released this week.
With 4,317 transactions closed in 2010, locally owned and independent CIR REALTY beat out all other city brokerages.
Other competing Calgary brokerages that made the list of REAL Trends top 200 that followed close behind include Re/Max Central, Royal LePage Foothills, Re/Max House and Re/Max House Mountainview.
Ray Stader, Co-Owner and Manager of IT and Finance at CIR REALTY attribute the brokerage’s commitment to technological innovation, 24 hour REALTOR® support and an unsurpassed professional development program to this accomplishment.
"CIR REALTY has positioned itself as a high-tech, high-touch company that prides itself on developing highly educated REALTORS® and giving them the support they need to do their business from wherever it is they are located. Client’s appreciate the efficiency in which our REALTORS® are able to move through the different stages in the estate transaction process, giving them ease of mind and a great experience."
Stader was fortunate to attend the REAL Trends Conference in Denver last month and is thrilled that as an industry leader, REAL Trends continues to provide the most trusted and accurate residential brokerage research in the business.
"The information that REAL Trends is able to provide regarding the residential real estate industry across North America is crucial to the continual growth and improvement of CIR REALTY and other brokerages," Stader says.
CIR REALTY has over 700 REALTORS®, staff and management spread over four Calgary offices and 11 satellite offices outside of the City. The brokerage has been family owned and operated since 1983.
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