Preparing for Severe Weather, of any Kind

While we’ve lucked out on severe weather in Calgary and surrounding area (fingers-crossed), weather has been a trending problem in other parts of Canada lately.

I found an article in Acreage Life Magazine, that provided some useful tips at the right time, on preparing your home for extreme weather. In the wake of the extreme weather we’ve seen so far this summer in Calgary: flooding, hail storms, etc., this information can really help you.

Have a plan in place:

• Establish meeting places in the home and neighbourhood
• Discuss your communication details: phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
• Keep a copy of emergency plans from schools, community centres, city centres, etc.
• Keep a list of emergency contacts: family members, physicians, etc.

Keep supplies on-hand:

• Keep enough non-perishable food, water and pet food to feed your family for up to 3 days
• Extra cash and copies of personal documents
• Battery-powered radio
• Medications
• Supplies such as: plastic sheets, dust masks, duct tape, etc.
• Extra clothing and hygiene items

Interested in reading more on this topic? Read the full Acreage Life article here.

What amenities do you want to see at ‘Bingham Crossing’?

The Bingham Crossing development will be located just west of Calgary in Springbank, a retail and lifestyle centre development.

The development is a partnered initiative by Rencor Developments and United Communities, and the two groups are looking for feedback from Springbank residents as to what types of amenities they would like to see in the development.

Over the next couple of weeks, Springbank residents will be getting phone calls where they will be asked to share input on retail, services and other amenities for Bingham Crossing.

Those community members not included in the survey are invited to contact Ron (403-263-4449 or or Paul (403-265-6180 to pass on their thoughts.

You can find out more information about the Bingham Crossing development on their website here.

Bearspaw & Springbank: Why I Love These Communities

While there are many great communities in Calgary, I personally love Bearspaw and Springbank, which are situated just outside the city limits, in Rocky View County.

Bearspaw and Springbank are beautiful neighbourhoods with both urban and rural appeal, playing to the lifestyles of anyone. I myself have been a resident of Springbank for many years, and work in both areas.

There’s no shortage of exciting things to do in both communities, favouring both the urban and rural appeal. Lots of great businesses, parks and restaurants are in both areas, and of course the landscape is to die for.

Love the outdoors? Bearspaw and Springbank both boast an abundance of beautiful parks and parkland. Bordered by both the Bow and Elbow Rivers, and situated among Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, there’s no shortage of pathways and parks in the area.

Let’s talk about the curb appeal and resale value, which are two areas I know a lot about, being a REALTOR in the area. Home to several luxury properties, the neighbourhoods were voted among the richest neighbourhoods in Canada.

Also, of the over 7,200 new homes developed in the Rocky View County area in the past decade, 48% were in Springbank and Bearspaw.

Needless to say, I love Bearspaw and Springbank, and you can ask me anything about the areas, any time!

Flood Permit Grant Program Extended

The flood permit grant program was created following the June 2013 flood, to help Calgary   property owners who’s homes were damaged by the flooding. The program has now been extended until December 31, 2015.

The flood permit grant program was created by the City of Calgary and Canadian Red Cross, to help property owners pay for City permits associated with making repairs for flood damaged property.

The pilot program covers the fees associated with new permit(s) applications that are required to repair, restore or rebuilding a property.  Up to $7,000 in permit fees, per residential property, is available for those who qualify for the program.  The pilot program officially began on May 1, 2014, and will run until December 31, 2015. [City of Calgary]

For those who are still trying to rebuild and recover from the flood, the program is extended. Calgarians interested in applying for the permit program can contact the Red Cross at 1-866-696-6484 to discuss and assess their needs.

5 Home Upgrades That Make All The Difference

Renovations are all the fad right now, featured in many home magazines and blogs. One theme seems to be consistent everywhere: small changes can make the biggest difference. Here are five small home upgrades that will make your life easier:

Install a built-in soap dispenser: it’s a nice addition to your sink, and that’s also one less thing to clutter up your counter.

Soft-close drawers/cupboards: these are fairly cost-effective to install, and it will be the end of slamming drawers and cupboards in the kitchen.

Install dimmer switches: especially if you have bright lights, having the option to use different light settings has huge benefit.

Garage keypad: most new homes have these nowadays, but if yours doesn’t it is definitely a worthwhile add-on. Plus, you’ll never be locked out of your house again.

Motion-activated outdoor lights: these are great to have on your porch or deck. It’s a deterrent for criminals, but also will help guide you in the dark.

Springbank Land Donated to Rocky View County

A 31.66-acre private land donation has been made to Rocky View County, from the River Ridge Estates Corporation (valued at $1,685,000). The land includes three properties, located in Springbank (near Spring Gate Estates).

Future uses could include: a natural stormwater solution that may provide future local and regional stormwater solutions; preservation of the lands within the Elbow River valley; expansion of the open space and trail network system in the area; or community support for the protection of a natural landscape. [Rocky View Weekly]

The County says the first step is to acquire the land and the potential uses will be explored with the community and nearby landowners in the next few years. The donation was approved with a 6-2 vote at the last Rocky View County meeting.

More on this land donation can be found in this week’s edition of Rocky View Weekly here.

2014 Rocky View Property Tax Rate

A three per cent property tax rate increase has been approved by Rocky View County. This will mark the fourth year that the County has kept the increase at the three per cent mark.

For 2014, Rocky View County’s residential property tax rate is 0.24479 percent of a property’s assessed value.  The non-residential/ business rate is 0.73438 percent, and farmland is assessed at 0.55078 percent. – Rocky View County

Any property that has not changed in value over the last year will see the three per cent increase. Any property that has gone down in value will see a lower increase, and properties that have risen in value will see a bigger increase as well.

Based on 2013 statistics, Rocky View County’s residential property tax rates are 43 percent lower than the average rate for the 13 municipalities that border the County.

Looking for more information on the 2014 property tax rate? Check out the Rocky View County website.

CREB: Town and Country Sales are Up

According to CREB statistics, sales growth in Calgary’s surrounding communities is up double digits, for the third consecutive year. There were sales increases in all of the surrounding towns, with Airdrie posting the highest gains at a near 30% increase from last year.

So why are residents flocking to town and country living? A few factors come into play here: lifestyle preferences, lower price points for buyers and a more favourable supply available.

During the first quarter of the year, 44 per cent of new listings in surrounding areas were priced below $400,000. Within the city of Calgary, 23 per cent of single family homes were under this price point. New listings in surrounding areas totaled 1,110 units after the first quarter, a two per cent increase over the previous year. Meanwhile, sales totaled 1,104 units, accounting for a 28 per cent increase over the previous year. – CREB

The full statistics package from CREB is available for viewing online. If you have specific questions about the town and country market, feel free to contact me anytime. You can also find me on Twitter.

Royal LePage is forecasting a strong market in 2014

According to the annual Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Forecast, 2014 should be a strong market for real estate in Canada.

The survey shows that the average home price increased anywhere from 1.2% to 3.8% towards the end of last year. And at the start of this year, we’re already seeing house price growth in Calgary and surrounding areas outpacing the national average. That could be a result of the low inventory we’re seeing right now, which is certainly favouring sellers.

“We predict continued upward pressure on home prices as we move towards the all-important spring market. In addition to normal demand, housing prices in Canada this year will be influenced by buyers who put off purchase plans in the very soft spring of 2013,” continued Soper. “Talk of a ‘soft landing’ for Canada’s real estate market in the new year is misguided.  We expect no landing, no slowdown, and no correction in the near-term. Conditions are ripe for as strong a market as we saw in the post-recessionary rebound of the last decade.” – Royal LePage



Cyndi Collins – Top Real Estate Team for RLP

We are thrilled to share with everyone that we were named the top Royal LePage real estate team for November in Calgary!

It’s been a great few months, and all of that is due to the fantastic people we get to work with, so thank you to all of our clients, partners and colleagues.