Archive for the ‘Home Renovations’ Category

Cool Hidden Spiral Wine Cellars & Six great deals on wine this month in Calgary.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Cool Hidden Spiral Wine Cellars

Spiral Cellars Ltd is a company that provides watertight, pre-cast concrete wine cellars that can be installed almost anywhere in your home.


Each cylindrical wine cellar relies on the surrounding earth for its insulation and combined with an ingenious air-flow system, it requires no power to maintain its constant temperature.

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Priced at $30,000+ these wine cellars are not for everyone; however, if you can afford one, it will definitely spice up your home and impress your friends.

For more information, visit [via]

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From top wine shops to the city’s best restaurants, there are a ton of great wine sales and wine deals going on around town this month.

A few to consider:

1. Kensington Wine Market will hold its annual sale Friday Jan. 22 through Sunday, Jan. 24. Show up for 10 to 15 per cent savings on all in-stock wines (and oh, it’s a wonderful store for wine-lovers), plus check out other in-store specials. Can’t make it into the store? You can also order online. No special orders or layaways, though, and no other promotional discounts (eg wine club discounts) can be used.

2. Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro is ofering Dom Perignon Champagne by the glass now through Feb. 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day) for $39 a glass. Think that sounds like a rip-off? Well, it’s a way to taste a legendary wine, a wine that goes for, oh, well over $200 a bottle.

3. Try a glass of $5 wine at Il Sogno during Casual Fridays; you can also get an appetizer for $5 — making a $10 Happy Hour not just a distant memory of the 1980s.

4.  CSN Wine & Spirits is also holding a major inventory sale Friday Jan. 22 to Sunday Jan. 24. Select wine, beer and spirits will all be on sale. A few to consider? All 2006 Bordeaux is 25 per cent off, all 2007 Bordeaux futures are on sale, all Sauternes are 20 per cent off, and all CSN-exclusive wines from Quintarelli and Domaine Clape have been reduce to clear. And there’s more: all vintage port is on sale, and all 375-mL, 1.5 L and 3 L bottles of wine are 20 per cent off. Email for more information.

5. Every Wednesday at Vero Bistro Moderne, buy a bottle of wine and get a dozen free oysters.

6. And last but not least, the Vintage Group of restaurants (Vintage Chophouse, Rise Bakery and CafeRush, Redwater Rustic Grille, Bookers BBQ Grill and Crab Shack) is offering special deals on Ehlers Estate wines throughout February, in honour of it being Heart Month. Ehlers is a not-for-profit organic winery in California’s Napa Valley; Ehlers gives 100 per cent of its proceeds to international heart research.

By Shelley Boettcher Wed, Jan 13 2010 COMMENTS(0) Uncorked in Calgary

Get the Best Bang for Your Buck!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional, interior painting, hardwood flooring and kitchen upgrades are among the renovations that yield the best return on investment.renovations

 Top ‘do it yourself’ renovations with the best return on investment

Renovation Project Approximate Cost (*) Approximate ROI (*)
Paint Interior $1,000 50 to 1000%
Replace carpeting with affordable laminate $2,000 for ( 1,000 sq.ft) 50 to 75%
Install new light fixtures $2,000 60 to 70%
Groom the exterior landscape $2,000 25 to 50%
Replace knobs and hardware $2,000 75 to 100%
Update the entryway $3,000 50 to 75%
Replace carpeting with laminate floors with hardwood $5,000 for (1,000 sq.ft) 50 to 75%
Build a fence/deck $5,000 50 to 75%
Renovation with best return on investment, some help may be required
Install an additional bathroom on main floor Under $5,000 80 to 100%
Renovate bathrooms $5,000 to $8,000 75 to 100%
Renovate kitchen $12,000 to $15,000 75 to 100%
(*) assumes mid-grade quality finishes, labour excluded

Foreclosure investing: what you should know!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Canada is experiencing significant increases in foreclosure. Many seasoned investors are spending much time and resources to identify “distressed” (read: foreclosed) properties, in an effort to acquire them at significantly below market value.

Upon acquisition, the investor can improve the property and sell at a higher price or simply keep it as a rental property.

What is a foreclosure?

Many have heard the term foreclosure in their life, but few understand what it means.

Practically speaking, foreclosure is the legal process of transferring property ownership from the borrower to the lender.

Why is a property foreclosed upon?

Normally, foreclosure is caused due to non-payment of a mortgage. This can happen for a number of reasons including loss of job, divorce, disability or other even death.

Other reasons causing foreclosure is one that is more common in today’s climate: lenders failing to renew mortgages. Yes, it is true.

For years many have treated a mortgage renewal as a simple signature on a renewal notice sent to you in the mail.

In the last 12 months however, some lenders are no longer renewing mortgages either because the lender is out of business or because they no longer offer the mortgage product, such as a revenue property mortgage.

As the borrower, you may have made all your payments on time, however upon renewal date, the lender has the right not to renew, despite your good payment history.

If you cannot find a replacement lender within a reasonable amount of time, (sometimes up to 90 days) the existing lender will initiate foreclosure.

Why do savvy investors seek foreclosures?

Experienced investors seek foreclosures because they know that the court system uses a valuation system for properties that are in foreclosure usually at a far lower amount than market value.

The value they use is called “forced sale, cash value.”

The general idea of “forced sale, cash value” is to determine what a person would pay for the property, if it were to be purchased using all cash, not bank financing.

Like in many things in life, a buyer usually gets a good deal if they pay for something with all cash, instead of credit.

You may normally experience this type of pricing in garage sales, flea markets or shopping bazaars.

It may be hard to believe, but this same concept applies in the foreclosure system.

During the foreclosure process, the courts order an appraisal on the subject property in order to determine both the market value and the forced sale, cash value.

In general terms, if the borrower’s mortgage is worth more than the forced sale, cash value then most likely the borrower will end up losing the house to the lender.

If the forced sale value is higher than the mortgage amount owing, then the borrower will be given time to either refinance or sell the house, before the lender is given a chance to take it over.

The savvy investors seek those properties where the mortgage amount owing is far less than the forced sale, cash value so they can negotiate a purchase from the current homeowner at a value that is both low enough to generate a high margin and that will be enough to pay out the lenders on title.

Why do people who are in foreclosure sell their houses to investors at a value far less than what the market will offer?

Many times homeowners who are in foreclosure simply do not want the stress.

In other cases, it may be cheaper to sell the house fast, rather than incur legal fees that can average over $7,000 just for the lender’s lawyers—#8212;not including the borrower’s lawyers, court costs, court appointed REALTOR® costs, bank late interest, fees, other charges and arrears payments.

Example of a foreclosure purchase:

For example, let’s say a property has a market value of $425,000, based upon comparable sales in a neighborhood.

The property is in foreclosure, so the court appointed appraisal firm determines a forced sale, cash value of $360,000.

Additionally, let’s say the owner of the property owes the lender a mortgage amount of $280,000.

In this example, we have “market equity” of $145,000 and “hard equity” of $80,000.

Despite the equity in the property, the homeowner may be happy just to have another person write them a check for $50,000 above the amount owed to the lender and walk away from the headache.

Of course, the investor does not get the instant $95,000 equity for free, they must also have enough money or financial strength to either payout the existing mortgages or bring the arrears payment up-to-date and convince the lender to let them take over the payments.

Now the new owner can fix the house up, or better yet, if the house is already in great shape, just clean it and list it for sale.

If the investor is not interest in making a fast dollar, but would like to make more profit, over the longer term, then they may simply keep it as a rental and sell it in years to come.


6 Ways to Spruce UP your home for under $1000!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Whether you;re getting ready to sell or just want a quick pick-me-up, these decorating ticks- which can be done for under $1,000 –  will turn your place from drab to fab!

1 – PAINT- It’s no wonder painting is on the top three paybacks for resale value. A fresh coat makes any room or home look new and pristine. Try warm grey for a contemporary update, lighten up with a classic beige, or paint once wall a crisp – bold color for an accent wall!

 2 – DEFINE YOUR COULOUR SCHEME – Choose a colour scheme and edit your things to work within it. Aim to have one or two main colours, or stick to a single colour family plus one accent colour to “pop”. No eye for colour? Study a couple of home decor magazines for inspiration

 3 – EDIT YOUR ACCESSORIES – Clear a room of everything except for the furniture, carpeting & curtains. After leaving it for a day or two, bring in accessories one at a time- either stuff you have of something new. Try throw cushions, a statement- making collection of vases( groups of three or five works best), or a piece of art. Don’t add too much, and store the rest to rotate in later.

 4 – REFRESH TIRED FURNISHINGS –  Shampoo upholstery and carpeting. Reupholster a worn couch, or invest in slip covers. If there’s a piece your really don’t like, give it away and replace with something you love. Treat solid hardwood with furniture oil/ polish.

 5 – REPLACE FIXTURES – FAUCETS & HANDLES – Updating kitchen and bathroom taps for a more contemporary design will make the whole room look better. Change cupboard  pulls to brushed chrome/nickel. Cover door knobs to lever-style handles. For the best results use a consistent style throughout your home.

 6 -LIGHT UP YOUR SURROUNDINGS – Throw a little light on the subject – your home – to instantly refresh it. You can illuminate dark corers for a warmer cheerier atmosphere. While recessed  lighting is attractive, its also costly. To economize, add track lighting  to hallways or bedrooms, scones in a vestibule, and new table and floor lamps in the living/dining room.

Time to act on home renovations!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

IF YOU’VE been planning a home renovation, but keep putting it off, this is the year to move forward. The home renovation tax credit announced last week offers a 15 per cent tax credit of up to $1,350 for eligible renovations to home or cottage.

In addition to major undertakings like a new kitchen or bathroom, the credit can also be applied to projects like a new furnace or water heater, or a resurfaced driveway. Items like new furniture, appliances or home electronics would not be covered.

The total cost has to be in excess of $1,000 and the credit tops out after $10,000 – the 15 per cent credit is applied to the amount between the $1,000 minimum and $10,000 ceiling, hence $1,350. It’s a non-refundable credit, which means it will reduce your taxes owing, but you don’t get the cash if you have a positive balance.

You can do the work yourself, or hire someone else. However, you can’t hire close friends or family members unless they have a GST number. Any member of the family can claim the tax credit, or it can be shared among family members. The materials and labour for the project must be purchased before Feb. 1, 2010.

Home Sweet Home Team


Julie Vesuwalla

Direct : 403-874-9021


Jeff LeBlanc

Direct : 403-542-6926


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