Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

Fall Furnace Tune-Up Time

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Home care

Despite the mid- to high-twenty degree temperatures, fall is upon us, and with the change in seasons comes a little preventative maintenance for your home before winter hits. Among the most important ways you can winterize your home is the annual furnace tune-up.

If you’re like me, your furnace has been rather dormant since June. When the cold weather hits and you are depending on it to work, though, the last thing you want is a blinking service light. Just like your vehicle, moving parts in your furnace need regular adjustment and/or replacement, while anything involved with a combustion system will need to be cleaned out from time to time to keep things humming along. An unserviced furnace is a furnace that’s going to break down, it’s just a matter of when; Murphy’s Law suggests it’ll probably be in the middle of the night, when the temperature dips below -30, and you’ll be paying steep emergency call fees to your trusted repair person.

So how do you go about booking a tune-up? The best place to start is by asking friends and relatives if they have any HVAC professionals with whom they have a good relationship. Word of mouth is the best way to ensure a good experience when it comes to hiring trades. Once you have a company in mind, give them a call and book an appointment. Prices for fall tune-ups are usually between $75 and $150, depending on what’s included.

You’ll need to be present while the work’s being done, mostly to approve any additional expenses that could come up: burners and belts wear out, chimneys become clogged with soot, and it’s better to fix these things before they cause major problems.  The whole thing should take about an hour. Furnace tune-ups usually involve cleaning and adjusting the furnace itself, as well as the hot water tank, which is another appliance that can break down without warning and cause serious headaches.

Furnaces and hot water tanks are big ticket items, so if the recommendation is to replace either of these, take the time to do some research and find the best product for the best price. Technology for both of these appliances has come a long way in the past fifteen years, so you may decide to pay a little extra to improve your home’s efficiency, and save money on utility bills down the road.

Getting your home ready for winter is a necessary inconvenience that can prevent some real hassles down the road, so don’t let it fall to the bottom of your to-do list. I have some vendors that I know and trust, so to chat about it, just Contact me!
The annual Home + Design Show is quickly upon us, running from September 22-25, and I have a promo code for 2-for-1 tickets to pass along. Simply purchase online here, and use the code TODD. The code expires September 20, so don’t wait!

New Regulations Measure Up

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Measure House

Most home buyers would agree that one of the first details they look for in an MLS listing is the square footage of a property. This information alone can lead a buyer to read on or move along to a more appropriately sized home. This is self evident, and so it may come as a surprise to learn that, until recently, no real estate regulator in Canada has had a Residential Measurement Standard (RMS). That changed this past May, when the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) approved an RMS in our province.

Following extensive consultations, RECA developed an RMS that, in the words of Council Chair Krista Bolton, will allow consumers to, “be confident in the measurements stated within residential real estate listings, and they can use those measurements to compare different properties to determine if they suit their needs.”

In addition to Realtors and their clients, RECA notes that the RMS benefits appraisers, mortgage brokers, financial institutions, and insurers.

RECA has published on its website a quite comprehensive Guide to the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta, but the basics are that single detached properties are to be measured on the outside surface of the exterior walls at floor level, while duplexes, townhouses, condominiums, and apartments should be measured ‘paint-to-paint’ at floor level. Only floors that are entirely above grade are measurable as part of the RMS; partially below ground levels, such as those in a split, may be measured and noted in the listing but not as part of the RMS number.

Proper measurement is vital, and inaccurate work can cause some serious hardships, so long before this new standard was even being discussed, I started using the services of a professional measurement company for all my listings. It costs me money to provide this service for each listing, but the peace of mind and unquestionable accuracy are well worth it to me.

If you have any questions about the new RMS, please contact me!

On a separate note, the Calgary Home + Design Show is only three months away, and I have a special Father’s’ Day promo code to pass along. Click here and use the promo code DAD to get two-for-one tickets! (Offer expires June 24th at 11:59pm)

Make Every Day Neighbour Day

Monday, June 13th, 2016


With technology as ubiquitous as it is, it has never been easier to stay in touch with friends and family, no matter how far apart they are spread. Indeed, a little time on Facebook can catch you up on the adventures of 50 or more acquaintances in a matter of minutes, and lets you share pictures and commentary on your life’s highlights just as easily. Of course, there’s still a great deal of value in face-to-face interaction, which requires a whole different skill set than does navigating the online world. One area where we all could probably put this into practice a little more is in our relations with our neighbours.

Despite shrinking lot sizes forcing suburban homeowners together, most of us make only passing acknowledgement of our neighbours; sure, we’ll say hi if we’re both on our decks at the same time, but usually that’s as far as the relationship goes.

Nothing wrong with that, and, indeed, it’s human nature for most of us to want to stick to our own business. However, fostering a healthy relationship with those living on either side of us can have a multitude of benefits. We might strike up a long-lasting friendship after discovering a neighbour with similar interests, or our kids might more often have playmates on short notice. A familiar neighbour will watch out for your house when you’re on vacation, maybe even cutting the lawn and watering your flowers. They might be able to watch your children in the event of an emergency. If nothing else, a neighbour is someone you can chat with on the front porch over a six-pack.

But how do you develop such a neighbourly relationship? If you’re not a naturally extroverted people person, it’s going to take some effort, but the benefits can be worth it. A good day to start would be Saturday, June 18 – officially decreed as Neighbour Day by the City of Calgary. Began in 2014 to celebrate Calgary’s unprecedented community spirit after the floods touched so many communities, Neighbour Day has become an annual tradition. The City lists some ideas for celebrating Neighbour Day, including block parties and neighbourhood clean-ups, right here. They even waive permit fees for hosting those block parties.

But really, any day can be Neighbour Day with just a bit of effort. If you’re grilling up some burgers on a sunny afternoon, and you notice a neighbour is home, why not invite them over for an easy supper on the deck? If you have a big ladder, offer to help the guy across the street who’s struggling with his Christmas lights. Put the sprinkler on the front lawn and have your girls go knock on the door of the neighbour with kids around the same age. Bake some cookies and deliver them to the family who just moved in last week. These are all small, easy gestures that can go a long way to developing lasting bonds that benefit everyone. Go ahead, be a good neighbour.

Looking to move somewhere you can practice these skills? Contact me today!

Put Radon on your Radar

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016


Have you ever checked your home for radon gas? If you’re like most Calgary homeowners, the answer is probably ‘no’ – but you should.

Radon is a colourless, odorless (i.e. undetectable by humans) gas that is produced by decaying uranium in rocks and soil, and seeps into homes through foundation cracks and vents. While there are pockets of radon across Canada, Alberta and southern Saskatchewan have the highest concentrations in the country. And it is serious business.

Radon is the second-most common cause of lung cancer in Canada, and can be linked to about 1900 deaths every year.

Fortunately, testing for radon in your home is easy and inexpensive. Testing kits (both short term, which measure for a couple of days, and long term, which detect for months) are available at local home improvement stores for about $30, and require only that you open the package and place the radon detector in an appropriate place (away from drafts and out of your furnace room). After the set period of time, you send the detector to a lab in the enclosed envelope, and a couple weeks later you get your report.

If no radon is detected in your home, you can rest easy. If it is, contact a radon mitigation company to assess and remediate the problem. There are several such companies in southern Alberta, who also do more involved testing than the kits homeowners can purchase themselves.

No one likes to think about unseen dangers that could be lurking in their homes, but if your home hasn’t been cleared for radon, it’s really something you should act on sooner rather than later. Feel free to give me a call to discuss this further.

On a side note, we’re only two weeks away from the Calgary Home + Garden Show, and they’ve given us a romantic coupon code to get 2-for-1 tickets! Simply use the code LOVE before February 22 to get your tickets.

Free Spruce Meadows Tickets

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Spruce Meadows

Follow the easy steps below to print your own complimentary E-ticket to attend the ‘National’ tournament at Spruce Meadows June 3-7:

  • Go to
  • Click on ‘Event Tickets’
  • Select ‘Rush Seating Tickets’
  • At the checkout section, please enter the following coupon code:
  • Print off your tickets, and bring them with you to Spruce Meadows


The 2015 Home + Garden Show is Upon Us!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Home improvement

I love the annual Home + Garden Show that takes place at the BMO Centre and Corral each winter. Not only do the exhibits and demonstrations help me keep on top of the latest trends in landscaping and home improvement, it also offers plenty of ideas that I can use to improve my own home. It’s always a fun weekend, well worth both the the perilous journey through the snow and the price of admission.

That price can be even lower for you! By using the promo code SHOWTIME and buying your tickets online, you can get them at a 2-for-1 discount. Click here to buy before February 27!

Want to discuss how to spruce up your home before putting it on the market? Just contact me!

Sticking With the Starter Home

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Rising house prices

A short article in the latest edition of CREBNow points out that, with house prices continuing to increase each month (Calgary’s growing faster than anyone), it’s becoming more difficult for young families to follow the traditional middle-class progression of graduation-marriage-first home-family-bigger home. Starter homes are selling for far beyond what a dream home might have cost in our parents’ day and, especially when interest rates inevitably increase, it can be difficult to ‘move up’ without a big boost in salary.

So what to do about this? How about picking the right starter home so that it can grow with your family over several years rather than seeming poorly suited for your family situation after just a year or two. With the right planning and a little vision, you can find that ideal property and plan to develop it as your family grows.

When shopping for that first home, look for a solid, well built and well-kept property with potential. Can an unfinished basement be finished to add a third bedroom and play area? Is there space to build a garage with a loft for storage? How about knocking out a wall to increase the size of the kitchen, or adding a sunroom-style mudroom to the back entrance to hold winter coats and boots. These types of upgrades, while far from free, can be a lot more cost-effective than shopping for a new home with comparable amenities. And by smartly investing in your current property, you’re boosting the resale value and socking away equity for when you really are in a position to move.

Beyond the property itself, carefully consider your neighbourhood – and consult with a professional familiar with the demographics of the area. If you are starting a family, is the home you’re considering located in a family-friendly area, with respected day homes and preschools nearby, plenty of park space, and kids riding their bikes in the evenings? How about grocery stores and restaurants? Is the commute to work reasonable, with transit options? Is this a place you could see yourself calling home ten years from now?

The days of buying a home with the intention of moving up in a couple of years are, for many people, coming to a close. But with the right advice and some careful thought, stretching that first home’s usefulness can really put you ahead in the long run.


This coming weekend is the Calgary Home + Design show; if you plan on attending and would like 50 percent off your ticket price (who wouldn’t?), use this link and enter promo code SHOWWEEK on checkout. Enjoy the show!


Protect Yourself from Real Estate Scams

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Protect your home

In the news a few days ago was the story of Derek Johnson, a man who allegedly posed as a Realtor, under an assumed name, to illegally obtain the title of a home in foreclosure. It reportedly cost the victim several thousand dollars, over the course of more than half a year, to reclaim his home’s title. Johnson has been fined by the Real Estate Council of Alberta $50,000 for posing as a Realtor; this is not the first time Johnson has been in trouble with the Council.

This story serves as a reminder to anyone seeking to engage in a real estate transaction that the licence status of any real estate professional or brokerage may be easily verified through the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s website. Using the public search, you can instantly confirm that the professional with whom you intend to do business is indeed in good standing with the RECA.

Realtors need to be licenced by RECA, and to uphold the organization’s standards of conduct to maintain that licence.

There’s a plethora of other useful information on the site as well, so I encourage you to take a few minutes to surf through it if you are considering entering the market as either a buyer or seller.

On a side note, the Calgary Home + Design Show is coming September 18-21, and I have a promo code that’ll save $5 off your tickets if you buy before August 26: click here, and enter the code SAVEFIVE.

For the Kids

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

2014 Caring for Kids Radiothon

As the father of two rad sons (unbiased opinion), who has used its services in the past, the Alberta Children’s Hospital obviously holds a place in my heart. From the off-kilter, brightly coloured design to the unbelievably kind staff, it’s a special place that can take a bit of the edge off being the parent of a sick child.

Every year, Country 105 runs a three-day radiothon to raise money for this essential hospital, airing interviews with kids and parents who have been or are in the hospital, sharing stories that would make Vigo the Carpathian well up (Ghostbusters 2 reference, anyone?). This awesome event raises millions of dollars for equipment to help kids get better faster, and I can’t think of a better cause to support.

I strongly encourage you to visit to donate, or set up your own fundraising team, then tune in for those three days of heartwarming and tearjerking takes from the hospital.

Upgrades on the Brain

Thursday, December 12th, 2013


The frigid temperatures and ridiculous amount of snowfall has forced many of us to spend a lot more time ensconced indoors than usual. Looking around your house, you might start to daydream about  things you’d like to change: the flooring, light fixtures, paint, maybe even knock down a wall. It’s no coincidence that the Calgary Home and Garden Show is scheduled in February each year, after we’ve spent a couple months fantasizing about home improvements. By the time the Show rolls around, many people are ready to make decisions and get started; no dummies, those organizers.

While pretty much any upgrade will contribute to your and your family’s greater personal enjoyment of your home, which ones also add value when it’s time to sell?

The obvious starting points are the kitchen and the bathrooms. Everyone likes a bright, spacious kitchen with plenty of counter and cupboard space, modern fixtures, and a logical layout, so renovations that make your kitchen more welcoming are always going to have an immediate impact on people viewing your property. Bathrooms, too, are an area where buyers place a premium on cleanliness and modernization. That said, going overboard on the highest-end fixtures and rarest countertops may be counterproductive if these upgrades are out of place in your home or neighbourhood.

Other smart ways to upgrade are adding a deck, tasteful landscaping to improve curb appeal, finishing the basement, and building a garage.

On the flip side, the Globe and Mail published a good article recently listing six renovations that don’t add value, citing swimming pools, elaborate landscaping projects, and wall-to-wall carpeting as upgrades that won’t really pay off when it comes time to sell. Click through to read the article, it’s worth your time.

So, as I mentioned, the Calgary Home and Garden Show is just a couple of months away, and I’m sharing a coupon code that’ll give you 2-for-1 tickets. Just click here to buy your tickets with the discount (valid until Dec 24th). I go every year to stay current with the newest and best trends, and I hope to see you there too!

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.