Spring Cleaning in Eight Easy Steps!

The green growth of spring brings on feelings of renewal, which makes it the perfect time to clean out all that winter clutter. Spring cleaning can sometimes feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are eight easy ways to get your spring cleaning done in no time!

 

1. Let In The Light

After a long winter, it can be very refreshing to open the blinds and let in the light. Better yet, open your windows and bring in the fresh breeze to freshen up your home. Washing your windows from the winter buildup is a great first step to brighten up your home.

 

2.  Skim Off the Junk

Go through your home and get rid of the items you don’t use or need anymore. An easy way to do this is move from room to room, taking away five things that aren’t relevant anymore. Your home will seem much more organized and lighter than before.

 

3. No Need to Deep Clean

You may think that spring cleaning requires a deep clean, but a surface cleaning will do wonders after the long winter. Vacuuming, dusting, polishing, as well as a quick neatening will refresh your home in no time. Doing one or two spring cleaning task every day (dusting the ceiling fan, for instance), will help you stay motivated instead of doing it all at once.

 

4. Pack Your Winter Gear Away 

Now that winter is near over (knock on wood!), we can begin to pack away all those heavy coats, sweaters, and boots! Be sure to wash all your winter clothing before it goes into plastic bins.

 

5. Break Out Your Spring Items

Bringing out your spring clothing, décor, and supplies will get you excited for the new season and liven up your home. This might be the right time to replace your bed and bath linens, as those can be overlooked and get grimy fairly quickly.

 

6. Organize Your Paperwork

Since it’s also tax season, this is a great time to organize your files and paperwork. Go through and archive everything you don’t need to reference, and toss any old papers that are of no use anymore. Creating an organized space

 

7. Clean Large Appliances

It’s definitely important to give your large appliances a good clean to keep them in good working order. After dusting the top and behind each appliance, give it a good wipe down. Be sure to wear gloves, as many cleaners used in these appliances can be quite harsh. When you’re done, head out to one of Edmonton’s amazing farmer’s market and bring home some great fresh produce!

 

8. Take It Easy

You’ve worked hard at refreshing your home, now it’s time to enjoy it!

 

Do you have any spring cleaning tips or tricks? Share them in the comments below – I’d love to hear them!

 

 

10 Ways to Banish the Winter Blues

 

It’s that time of the year  – we are finished all our holiday celebrations, we long for sunshine, warmth, and new spring growth – but still have to face the last months of seemingly never-ending winter. It can be hard to stay positive in this kind of weather, but there are some great ways to banish those seasonal blues and create some happiness in your life!

 

Brighten & Lighten

When the days get dark so early, it is important to find ways to get some sunshine into your life! Get some light in your space by opening up the blinds in your house, sitting near a window, and even adding in an artificial light source can help improve your mood.

 

Watch What You Eat

Sugar might cause you some immediate happiness, but in the long run wreaks havoc on your body and can even promote feelings like anxiety and depression. Focus on eating whole foods to keep you balanced at this time of the year.

 

Get a Dawn Simulator

People who have troubles waking up in the morning this time of the year, or who have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can benefit greatly from a dawn simulator. This is a light that slowly brightens up your room over a specified time period, which helps you get out of bed and can even be an anti-depressant for those dealing with SAD.

 

Work Out!

January has passed, which might mean some people have fallen behind on their resolutions to work out more, but don’t stop exercising! Breaking a sweat can help improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression. All it takes is three hours a week of exercising and you will see great improvements! Working out, especially under a bright, light helps with mental health, lessens symptoms of depression, more energy and improved social functions.

 

Play That Funky Music

Put on your favorite cheerful music and watch it improve your mood! This study done in 2013 shows that just by listening to happy music and actively trying to be happier, creates a mood boost in both the long and short term.

 

Go on a Winter Vacation

Head out to somewhere sunny for a week and soak up the rays! A winter vacation gives you something to look forward to and be excited about, and creates a break in between all the dreary snow and slush.

 

Spend Time Helping Others

Give your mental health and life satisfaction a boost by heading out to a local charity and helping out. Volunteering is a great way to be involved in community, meet new people, and of course, help others in need.

 

Head Outside

Spending time outside has some great effects on your life: it lowers stress, reduces depressive symptoms, and even brings clarity and focus into your life. Although it might not be high on your list of things to do when it gets so cold, but heading outside for a short walk can help immensely.

 

Bring Positivity with Plants

Getting some green into your life with houseplants can improve your outlook on life, brighten up your space, and even reduce stress. Recommendations for hardy plants include Devil’s Ivy, Spider Plant, and Snake Plant. Head over to one of our amazing Edmonton greenhouses for more suggestions on plants that are right for your space.

 

Upgrade Your Home

Spend some time doing quick and small renovations in your home. Fix a few of those little issues, put up some new art, create a feature wall, and changing up some of your decor will help create focus and get your creative juices flowing!

Edmonton Housing Forecast For 2017

“2016 turned out to be a stable year, and we aren’t forecasting anything dramatic for 2017”

 

Earlier this month, the Realtors Association of Edmonton hosted the 2017 Housing Forecast for our city. It was jam-packed with great information on what we can expect from the real estate market this year, and I am happy to give you the highlights of the presentation.

 

Of course, we can’t forecast the future without taking a look at 2016 first! 2016 and 2015 were quite similar: over all, the prices stayed strong, there was a lot of inventory, but there was a dip in sales. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the market looked like last year:

  • Single family home sales were down 5.4% from 2015
  • Condo unit sales were down 14% from 2015
  • Duplex/Row house sales went up 8.3% from 2015
  • All residential sales were down 6.7% from 2015

 

As we look at sales within Edmonton, a few “hotspot” neighbourhoods had the most sales in 2016. For single-family homes, Summerside, Windermere, and The Hamptons were the most popular in sales. The communities with the highest sales in condo units were Oliver, Downtown Edmonton, and Rutherford. When it comes to duplexes and row houses, the neighbourhoods with the most sales in 2016 are Walker, Chappelle Area, and The Hamptons.

 

Selling a home took a bit longer in 2016, as we saw an overall increase in days on market for all property categories. Single family homes averaged about 52 days on market in 2016, condominium units averaged 63 days on market, and duplex and row house properties averaged 62 days on the market. Although days on market have increased from 2015, the average has remained stable since 2008.

 

We also saw some great new inventory in 2016. The top three communities with the most single family listings last year were Summerside, Windermere, and The Hamptons, which does make sense since they had the highest single family sales in 2016. The top three communities with the most condo listings were Oliver, Downtown Edmonton, and Rutherford – again, the areas with the most condo sales in 2016. Lastly, the communities that listed the most duplex and row house properties were the Chappelle Area, Laurel, and Walker.

 

Now, looking onward to 2017!

 

The good news is that major banks are expecting GDP growth in Alberta, but it won’t take place right away. Because employment rates will take a bit to catch up, we will not see this change in the housing market until mid to late 2017. As well, lower rental rates and higher vacancy rates will keep buyers who are already on the fence at bay just a bit longer until growth takes place. The increase in mortgage rates are thought to be quite minimal, so impacts on the market in this way will be minor.

 

Looking at the sales forecast for 2017, the predictions are that overall residential sales will decrease 1.3% in 2017. For single-family homes, it is expected that there will be a decline of 1.7% in sales over 2017. With economical growth expected in the second half of the year, a dip in single-family sales is only predicted for the first half of the year. Last year there was strength in the price of $325,000 – $425,000 with multiple offer situations happening, and this expected to continue in 2017.

 

The number of condo sales this year are expected to increase 0.2%, as there was a rise in inventory in the condo market last year, and this will make condo prices more competitive for 2017. Because condos are generally more affordable, it is expected that more buyers will purchase condo properties instead of single-family homes in 2017. And although duplex and row house sales increased in 2016, we are looking at an expected decrease of 1% in sales for this year.

 

Looking at inventory for 2017, it is forecasted that single-family homes will see a small increase of 0.5% in their inventory. Condos are expected to also see an increase of 1.1%, and duplexes and row houses will see a 0.5% decrease of inventory in 2017.

 

Residential prices are also expected to drop in 2017, with an average overall price drop of 1.3%. Single-family homes are expected to drop 2.2% in average price, as it is predicted that less higher priced properties (over $500,000) will sell this year. Although there is so much great inventory in condo units, the prices are also expecting a decrease of 3.8% this year. Duplex and row house sales however, are expecting a price increase of 0.5% in 2017.

 

Now that you’ve worked through all of this information, here’s a quick summary of what the market is going to look like in 2017!

 

Have questions about buying or selling in today’s market? Click here to get in touch. Let’s chat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Going On Downtown Edmonton?

DSC_0172

Downtown Edmonton is going through a revitalization, which makes it a very exciting time to live in the city. With new developments, beautification, and many other projects on the go, we have gathered a list of what’s going on and how it might affect you.

Ice District

The Ice District is a whopping 25 acres of land located in the heart of downtown Edmonton. This new development is expected to house one of the best arenas in the world, new hotels, upscale residences, and bring in more entertainment. Features of the Ice District include:

  • Roger’s Place – a new arena with seating for over 18,000 people for events including musical entertainment and hockey games.
    • Cost: $480 million
    • Construction to be finished in the fall of 2016 – just in time for the next NHL season!
  • Wintergarden – this space, spanning over 24,000 square feet, is the primary entrance for Roger’s Place, but is also a space that will be used for different events throughout the year. It will be built atop a pedway, making it easy for people to access the Ice District and to catch the new LRT connection in the area.
    • Wintergarden Cost: $56.5 million
    • Medway Cost: $15 million
    • LRT Connection Cost: $7 million
  • Community Arena – A new community arena in the Ice District will be a space rented to community leagues for hockey games, used as a space for the MacEwan University Hockey Teams, and will be the ice the Oilers will practice on.
    • Cost: $23 million
  • Stantec Building – Stantec is designing and engineering the tallest building in Edmonton – around 250 metres tall. It is going to be Canada’s seventh tallest building, and will have space for retail and grocery shopping, a connecting pedway, and a rooftop garden. There will also be residential space – within the top 36 floors there will be about 450 condos.
    • Construction is to be completed in 2017.
    • Cost: Approximately $500 million
  • Edmonton Tower – Primarily an office space which will be about 27 storeys high, it will also hold common space, conference rooms, a café, and a bank. This tower will be built to meet a LEED gold standard – a step toward creating more sustainable developments.
    • Construction to be completed in 2016
  • Residences, Shopping, and More – Aside from the main attractions, there will be a new luxury hotel, over 1,300 residential units, office towers, and space for boutiques and restaurants.

Royal Alberta Museum – on the Northwest corner of 103A Ave and 97 Street

The new and improved Royal Alberta Museum will be a larger space (about twice the size of the original) to host even more artifacts and an exhibition hall which will house touring exhibitions from a variety of different museums. It will not only be a museum space, but a spot for community events, new programs, a café and a theatre. The new museum is being built on the former site of the downtown Canada Post building.

  • Cost of the new Royal Alberta Museum: $340.5 million
  • Construction to be completed some time in 2016

Blatchford Redevelopment Project
Close to downtown on the site of the old city airport, will be the community of Blatchford. It will house up to 30,000 people, with 20% being affordable housing, and will be a perfect space for transit.
Blatchford aims to stay “green” with urban agriculture plots and will use 100% renewable energy.
this development carries a $632-million price tag phased over 25 years and will house up to 30,000 people.

  • Housing will be medium-density residential, with high density residential being close to future LRT stations.
  • Included in the plan are schools, shops, and restaurants, as well as walking and bicycle routes connected to various trails within the city.

104th Avenue Corridor Plan
Between 111th Street and 123rd Street, 104th Ave will be developed into a more transit-oriented space with easy access to the Valley LRT line. Developing this space will encourage more people to take transit throughout Edmonton and reduce the number of motor of vehicles that pass through on a daily basis.

 

Mechanized River Valley Access

The new River Valley access is a new development which will allow easier connection from downtown to the River Valley. There are several main aspects to the new connection:

  • The Promontory – This is the top landing which contains a covered canopy, and is also the entrance or landing to the funicular, and as you wait for the funicular you can take in the incredible scenery near the Hotel MacDonald.
  • The Stairs – These stairs are designed for more than just walking, with wide lanes they are meant for strolling, leisurely stopping to take in the view, and socializing at one of the many stopping points on the route.
  • The Funicular – Creating a more convenient way to get downtown for people with bikes, wheelchairs, strollers, and trailers, the funicular is one of the most exciting parts of this renovation. Surrounded by glass, people who take the funicular will have an incredible view of the River Valley as they descend from the landing point into the valley.
  • The Promenade – The landing at the bottom of the steps and funicular will lead into a lush, green space made for enjoying the natural surroundings.
  • The Bridge and Lookout – There will be a bridge attaching the promenade to the lookout, and will also be a great way for passerby’s to pass over Grierson Hill Road. A lookout on the bridge will be created with grass railings in order to enjoy the scenery of both the river and the downtown horizon.
  • The Elevator – Creating a hassle-free connection to the river valley, the elevator will link the Mechanized River Valley Access to the current valley trails. It will also connect to the Low Level Bridge as well as the Rosedale/River Crossing space.

 

So that’s what’s happening in downtown Edmonton! With city enhancements and residential areas being developed, purchasing property near the area is a great idea! The value of property will only increase as the area is upgraded. Have questions about purchasing in a developing area? Let’s Chat!

Information sourced from:
http://icedistrict.com/
http://www.infrastructure.alberta.ca/3655.htm
http://www.wamdevelopment.com/projects/edmonton-tower/
http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/104_Ave_Corridor_ARP.pdf
http://transformingedmonton.ca/edmontons-newest-downtown-destination/

 

Investing In The Tiny House Trend

Rustic House

The “Tiny House Movement” is a relatively new trend in real estate making big waves in North America, and focuses on small living spaces – tiny homes. You might have heard them called something different – micro, compact, mini, or little homes, but they all mean one thing: houses ranging from under 100 square feet to a roomy 500 square foot of living space. This trend focuses on living a minimalist lifestyle and the idea that a homeowner should be able to afford their house and lifestyle.

Although this micro home movement began as a peculiar idea, it’s become so much more in the market. Now that a growing number of people are sharing how they live in their tiny homes, there have been more people, especially the Millennials, adopting this type of living situation. Documentaries, blogs, and websites surrounding tiny homes, and tiny home owners, have been growing as the trend expands.

Since house prices still remain high, and since 2015 had been a “seller’s market” in the States, the demand for tiny houses will continue to grow. But is a tiny home worth purchasing, and is it a good idea to invest in a compact house?

Owning a tiny house has its allure, with a low cost of building between $10,000 to $40,000, and the general price being just $23,000. With the cost being so little, the need for a mortgage diminishes, which is why 68 percent of people who own mini homes do not need one. The greatest potential for purchasing these homes lies in the Millennial market, as over half of this demographic rent. This is because the first payment of a traditional home is extremely expensive and unaffordable, as well as the fact many millennials don’t have children or live alone. Owning a tiny house has become an excellent option.

Another factor in making tiny home ownership even more affordable is to rent land instead of purchase it. It has become yet another new opportunity for landowners to make an extra income to rent land to multiple tiny homeowners.

Getting involved in the tiny house market gives two excellent opportunities for investing.

The first opportunity is to build, sell, or rent a tiny house. This is great if you are low on financial resources, and especially excellent if you work as a contractor, or work with one, since you can build a micro house for a smaller amount and have greater earning potential. An upside to tiny homes is that they require fewer permits and take a much shorter time to build than an average house. Lastly, tiny houses are easily made portable, which means the owner can move it to wherever they desire.

The second opportunity is to rent land to people with their own tiny homes, and is an easy way to earn extra income. If you do decide to purchase land for rent, be sure to invest in land that is large and even. Then you can divide the land into equal parts, or charge different prices for specific square footage. This is a good opportunity since compact houses are very economical and the utility needs are much lower than an average home. If you are looking for specific areas to invest in, look for areas where the trend is booming – particularly warmer areas in North America such as California, Florida, and Texas.

Although the tiny house trend is not for everyone, it is a completely different idea with a niche market that has a lot of potential. This would be an excellent and easy investment opportunity in a trend that keeps on growing.

Got questions? Let’s chat!

Sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marko-rubel/is-the-tiny-house-market-_b_6882688.html

Naming Our City!

Ever wonder how/where some of Edmonton’s Favourite communities got their names?! Ever wonder how/where your own community got its name?!

Let’s chats!

The following neighbourhoods were ranked at the top in the MLS® System sales for single family homes and condominiums in the past year in Edmonton.

 


 

Let’s dig a little deeper and explore the background of the people, the events, and the natural features of some of the specific areas and how that inspired their names!

 


 

Oliver

In 2014 not only was it Edmonton’s hottest spot to buy and sell but it the name Oliver is packed with tons of history! Frank Oliver (1853-1933) brought the first printing press to Edmonton and cofounded the Edmonton Bulletin shortly thereafter with telegraph operator Alex Taylor. Oliver went on to become Alberta’s first Member of Parliament in 1905 and sat in the House of Commons until 1917. If Frank Oliver hadn’t dropped his last name given at birth, Bowsfield, one of our most popular communities might just be called Bowsfeild!

 

Rutherford

This community came in second in the most sales for 2014 but Alexander Cameron Rutherford was second to none when he became Alberta’s first premier in 1905. In 1909 he won his second election but after a railway scandal he had to resign. Rutherford was a major part of making sure the University of Alberta was built in South Edmonton (now Strathcona) and became a member of the university’s senate in 1907. Without Mr. Rutherford our university may not lay were it does.

 

 The Hamptons

Perhaps the name is best known for the chic residential area on Long Island, New York but here in Edmonton this neighbourhood only began development in the early years of this century.

 

Summerside

Come on over and jump in to Summerside! Edmonton’s first neighbourhood with a man-made lake! Swimming with people, buying and selling all styles and homes, this nautical themed community named for a city in Prince Edward Island has a 28 foot deep lake that contains 680 million liters of water!

 

South Terwillegar

Dr. Norman Terwillegar lived in and around the Terwillegar subdivision for many years before passing away in 1948. Terwillegar was a doctor of medicine at the Royal Alexandria Hospital and was the president of the Edmonton Academy of Medicine.

 

Windermere

Developed in the 1960’s as part of Strathcona country then annexed to Edmonton in 1982 we don’t have much information about this particular name other than: “winder” is something that takes ones breath away. “Mere” has been defined as a boundary or landmark…

 

Strathcona

Named after Sir Donald Alexander Smith a Scottish man who apprenticed for the Hudson’s Bay Company for 50 years before becoming the governor of the company. The name comes from Sir Donald being the 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. There were high hopes for this area to be a major commercial centre in competition with the hub across the river, remember this was before there was a bridge binding the two parts of our wonderful city.

 

 Westmount

Much like today this community was marketed towards young professionals, especially in 1910 when the residents could easily travel to and from downtown on the electric streetcar that ran down Jasper Avenue to 110 Avenue via 124 Street. Being one of the most popular and oldest areas in Edmonton this community is still a hot spot for young adults working in our cities core.

 

Garneau

Laurent Garneau (1840-1921) was granted River Lot 7, on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River and his property quickly became known as “The Garneau”. Garneau was of Metis descent and was believed to be born in Michigan which is over 2,800 kms away from where he built his home that was later used to name one of Edmonton’s most beautiful and mature neighbourhoods.

 

SOURCE: NAMING EDMONTON FROM ADA TO ZOIE

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA PRESS

 

From Coffee to… Coffee!

I do love a good cup of coffee and fabulous atmosphere to take my clients to as well! I have been to some fantastic coffee shops within our city I thought I would share the list I have compiled of some of the best and some of my favourite coffee shops in Edmonton and area!

Iconoclast Koffiehuis
11807 105 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 0L9
This coffee shop is my absolute FAVOURITE in the city! I make the extra trip just to be able to have a coffee at this unique little shop. Located in downtown Edmonton in the community of Oliver, it can be tricky to locate at first. The open concept coffee roaster turned café has a really fresh and appealing feel to it, with the front opening wide and door less, to the picturesque green space across from it. Koffiehuis has a very relaxed and social feel which make you feel like you stumbled onto a little hidden gem. Doesn’t hurt there is a Ping-Pong table to play as well!

Second Cup
104-9238 Ellerslie Rd SW
Edmonton, AB T6X 0K6
I tried not to include the larger chain coffee shops in my list, but this particular Second Cup is like my second home. Located in South Edmonton in the community of Ellerslie, it is most definitely my second favourite coffee shop in Edmonton. I often enjoy a latte at this location or bring my clients there for a nice coffee. This Second Cup is decorated extremely well and produces a really warm and welcoming atmosphere which I really like for my clients. They also have exceptional service which is important to me when bringing clients to a location.
Take 5
11801 48 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5W 2Y4
Take 5 is a basic little coffee shop located in the community of Beacon Heights in Edmonton. This coffee shop has TO DIE FOR donuts! I highly recommend them to anyone! These donuts are made fresh every day. Even if coffee is not your thing, you must come and try these fantastic donuts! Best in the city! A half dozen donuts for only $4.99. Take 5 also happens to have really amazing plain black coffee. I don’t often drink my coffee black, but every time I am at Take 5 I always get myself a fresh donut and a black coffee! Who couldn’t resist the donuts!

Common Ground Community Café
50 Brentwood Boulevard
Sherwood Park, AB T8A 2H5
This café is located east of Edmonton in Sherwood Park. Regular visits to Common Ground are high on my ‘to-do’ list. This coffee shop is a not-for-profit shop. All of their staff volunteer their time and all of their product is donated specially for this project. This does not at all take away from the quality of their products. Common Ground has amazing products and is supplied by Fair Trade Coffee and Specialty Tea. There is just something about giving back to the community that really connects with me. Common Ground is in a category of business called ‘social enterprise’ or ‘for-benefit’ meaning businesses that have a primary goal of making their community a better place to live. I highly recommend giving this fantastic project a try. The dill pickle soup is FANTASTIC!

Bogani Café
2023 111 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
Bogani Café is quaint little coffee shop that is located in the Keheewin community and is on busy 111 Street in the southside of Edmonton. Being near a busy intersection and street is misleading, as when you enter this neat little coffee shop it feels as if you have been transported to another country. It is warm and inviting, with simple yet rustic decorations that allow you to relax and forget about your day at work. This is another location I enjoy bringing my clients to for a coffee and a chat. The coffee at Bogani is excellent and everyone always complements the atmosphere of this location when we enjoy a beverage together.

LEVA
11053 86 Ave
Edmonton, AB
LEVA is located in the heart of the Garneau community, one of Edmonton’s top neighbourhoods for socializing. It is within walking distance to the University of Alberta and many of the University’s residents and housing. This attracts a lot of students, especially during September to April when university is in. Although it is simple in decor, it makes up for that in food and coffee, specializing in traditional Italian style espresso beverages as well as organic gelato and sorbetto. Oh yes, not to mention some of the best pizza in Edmonton! Seriously, you should try this pizza! I really enjoy LEVA in the summertime; not only are there less students, they also have a fabulous patio at LEVA which is unique to this coffee shop! Sitting on the patio sipping a cappuccino – what could be better?

Transcend
8708 109 Street
Edmonton, AB
Transcend is another neat coffee shop that is right by the University campus. It is found in the community of Garneau (although there are two other locations in Edmonton, downtown and in Argyll) this location is by far my favourite Transcend location. I believe all the students studying with their textbooks and laptops out creates a different atmosphere than the others. It is a quieter location although it does sit on 109 St, right on the corner of 87 Ave which goes directly onto campus. Free Wi-Fi has been available at Transcend for a long time, which I very much like! It is nice to take my work to my favourite cafes and be able to sit and drink a great latte while working! I love the latte at Transcend! I typically always order this as it is just so good! Doesn’t hurt that Transcend roasts their own coffee beans in house!

Credo
10134 104 Street 10350 124 Street
Edmonton, AB Edmonton, AB
Credo has two locations in Edmonton. Both are relatively close to the downtown area, but I personally prefer 104 Street location. This is their older and first location in Edmonton and the one I prefer to visit when I am downtown myself or meeting clients in the downtown area. I very much enjoy their pastries, although I try to only eat ONE when I am there! Make sure you are aware of parking restrictions downtown as Credo does not have their own parking lot. There is a small outdoor patio for the summer time, but I prefer to sit inside. Due to Credo’s location in the city core, vehicle and pedestrian traffic volume is high. Credo is well known and most mornings there is a long line out the door to get yourself a coffee!