Archive for the ‘Home Tips’ Category

Maximizing Your Homes Curb Appeal in the Fall

Friday, August 30th, 2013

139 Grand Oaks 3

It seems like just yesterday summer was beginning with all the fun activities that come along with it such as having barbeques in your backyards with friends and family, camping, swimming and more. Now in what seems like a blink of an eye,  fall is here. As fall marks a transition from summer to winter, you will notice a change in the outdoor appearance of your home.

Curb appeal is one of the most important factors that potential home buyers look for when purchasing. Here are some landscaping and style tips to increase the curb appeal of your home; the attractiveness of the exterior of your home.

  • Planting Fall Flowers: Now that summer is over it doesn’t mean you have to give up gardening for the year. Enhance your garden with fall blooming flowers such as chrysanthemums, colchiums, and asters.
  • Highlight Your Front Door: A colorful painted door and an ornament such as a wreath can make your home a lot more inviting.
  • Maintaining a Tidy Exterior: Increase the attractiveness of your home by making sure the exterior of your home is in immaculate condition. Complete maintenance tasks such as touching up older paint, siding and shingles.
  • Getting Rid of Those Pesky Leaves: If you have trees near or on your property you know how tedious of a job this is. However, cleaning the leaves out of your gutter and raking them off your yard makes it look that much more appealing.
  • Outdoor Lighting: Brightening up your home with simple but thoughtful lighting fixtures will make it more welcoming.
  • Complimentary Decorations: Use benches, chairs, flower pots and other decorations that complement the exterior of your home.

For many more home tips, Calgary real estate market information and our featured Calgary listings please Click Here and visit our Home Sweet Home Team website. If you are interested in purchasing or selling a Calgary property please Contact Us today!


Thursday, August 15th, 2013


Victorian or Colonial revival? Modern or contemporary?

Even if you’re just curious, knowing the style of a home can be helpful for buying, selling, remodeling or decorating.

Deborah Burns, executive director of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, said many homes have easily identifiable styles — a Colonial has a symmetrical facade, a small portico and a center hall, and a bungalow has a central roof dormer and a foundation made with patterned concrete blocks. But she also cautions that not all resources offer the correct information, and not all homes have a set style. It’s hardest to pin down suburban homes, she said.

“If you get into suburban home developments, I’m just not sure style was paramount in the design,” Burns said.

Burns said some real estate agents will incorrectly assign a home style based on one particular element, such as the window style or roof. This is because many homes now are built in a way that mixes elements of varying styles and cannot be clearly defined.

“The homes don’t necessarily conform to any single style,” Burns said. “That’s not to say they all don’t, but most don’t. A brick split-level home isn’t necessarily a Colonial style. I think builders felt free to borrow elements from styles they liked.”

If you’re curious about your home’s style, Burns suggests checking town or county resources first. Residents of the Ashton Heights neighborhood in Arlington, Va., for example, have a design guide provided by the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. The guide identifies the historical neighborhood’s common styles: Colonial revival, Tudor revival, American foursquare and bungalow. The guide offers breakdowns of each type, along with tips on renovations such as windows and walkways.

Burns also said her go-to style reference is “What Style Is It: A Guide to American Architecture,” by John C. Poppeliers, S. Allen Chambers Jr. and Nancy Schwartz, calling it “the single most referred-to book for American architecture.”

Having a bungalow or Victorian-style home can guide interior design decisions, including window treatments and furniture. Lisa Adams of Adams Design in Washington said a home’s exterior often is a good indicator of a homeowner’s taste.

“If they are design-conscious, there is a reason they’ve selected a house,” Adams said. “Usually people are relatively consistent in their preferences. If you live in a Colonial with antique furniture, that’s your style.”

“Modern is all about positive and negative,” Adams added. “The windows are sort of piercing through the exterior. The walls and cabinetry are very minimalistic. It is very geometric, and you have to pay attention to the geometry. Color is a factor, but you don’t want it to overwhelm.”

Adams, who worked for an architectural firm before becoming an interior designer, said she enjoys working with all of the common styles.

Some of her favorites?

“I love the Cape Cod, and I lived in a Georgian house,” she said. “Even Gothic revival is charming. And who wouldn’t love to live in a Victorian?”


Lisa Adams of Adams Design in Washington and architect/designer Charles Almonte of Silver Spring, Md., offer their take on some of the styles found across the United States.

Smaller windows, a pitched roof and a front porch are characteristic of this early 20th-century style, Adams said.

“The interior of the space tends to be more first floor, very little second, and tends to be dark because you have a front porch covering the windows. For the design, you have to take that into account. It’s very pretty.”

Near a beach? Bungalow-style homes are commonly found by the water, Adams said. “Everyone has a front porch so they can be outside, and you want it to be dark inside if you’ve had too much sun.”

If that’s the case, Adams said, homeowners might need extra lighting — floor lamps, recessed lighting and desk lamps.










Contemporary homes are “all ceiling and glass, like homes in Los Angeles,” Adams said. Contemporary homes built with large glass windows often are meant to take advantage of a good view, she said, so it’s best to choose furniture in a sleek, minimalist style, as opposed to bulky pieces that might block those views.

“You have to make sure the furniture has very clean lines,” Adams said. “You are not usually putting a lot of patterns on top of patterns.”


Willowside Drive







A contemporary home, Adams said, is not to be confused with modern. Common in the mid- to late 20th century, modern homes are geometric, symmetrical and lack ornamentation.

“Modern architecture has a crisp, clean and tailored feel,” Almonte said. “My personal preference, though, is more towards a simple modern style. … There is a fine line between classic modern and trendy modern.”

Colonial revival

Calling it “a nod to Americana,” Almonte said this nationalistic design movement began in the late 1800s, when Americans celebrating the centennial felt nostalgic and patriotic. The style, he said, is formal but not stately or imposing. Colonial revival homes usually are rectangular and symmetrical, with double-hung windows and a pediment over the door or a small portico with columns.

Cape Cod

Traditional Cape Cod homes, originating from England in the 17th century, are square, one or 11/2 stories, with steep, gabled roofs. “Cape Cod houses were not so fancy,” Adams said.

The kitchen is the focus of many Cape Cod homes, Adams said, where families would congregate around the fire to keep warm in the cold New England winters. These homes also commonly have bedrooms on the first floor. Adams said variations now often have additions that make them asymmetrical.


This style, with its origins in 18th-century Britain, is very formal and stately, Almonte said. Brick is the primary exterior material, with moldings for embellishment.

“Some might say it’s ‘oppressive’ because of its connection to the British monarchy,” he said. “The style gives off a feeling of security and protection.”

Gothic revival

Born from a revival of medieval-era style in the 18th century, Gothic revival homes have “a lot of elements that give it more of a gingerbread frill,” Adams said. “It’s pretty. I would expect wood paneling and exposed beams. It would be relatively dark. You might expect a huge fireplace in the entrance hall, with benches around it, and a banister made of iron.”

Gothic revival homes lend themselves to heavy and ornately carved furniture and dark fabrics. To lighten this style of home, Adams said, it’s common to paint paneling white or modify the windows and lighting to help brighten and illuminate the space.


Federal homes are intentionally extravagant, Adams said. The late 18th-century style typically features a center hall, a Palladian window, an arched and columned door, and a high ceiling.

Federal homes were built by those who wanted to show off their wealth, Adams said, but borrowed the basic structure of a Georgian home.

“They are spending their money, and they want to show it,” she said. “They are just grand. It’s supposed to be imposing.”


Almonte had a simple definition for these single-story homes with rectangular shape and low rooflines: “nondescript.”

“They have no particular character or defining features,” he said. “The style is inspired by the Prairie style, but unfortunately this is the stripped-down version of the Prairie. It has no embellishments.”

Adams said ranch homes, first built in the 20th century, are practical for aging adults and families with young children.












The style is defined by the ornamentation of the prosperous Victorian era (mid- to late 19th century), including curved towers and spindled porches.

Victorians are decorated “pattern on pattern, texture on texture,” Adams said.

To furnish the interior of a Victorian home, Adams said, she would pull from elements of the time period, but it is not a style on which to base a whole room. “Most people couldn’t live that way, and that’s true with all of these styles.”

SOURCE: By MARGARET ELY — The Washington Post

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Calgary Property Tax Deadline Extended 2 Weeks

Thursday, June 27th, 2013


Due to the large amount of Calgary homeowners affected by the Calgary flood, the Calgary property tax deadline has been extended two more weeks until July 12, 2013!

Our mayor Naheed Nenshi decided this was an appropriate response as many Calgary  citizens have suffered damage and have  a lot more important things to focus on at this moment than their property taxes.

This 2 week grace period will allow those Calgarian homeowners who are paying their property taxes after this Friday to not be penalized 7% on the remaining unpaid balance on their taxes. On July 12, 2013 after this 2 week grace period, this penalty will again be enforced.

For more information on Calgary property taxes and where you can pay them while Calgary is recovering from the flood damage, please Click Here to see the information on

If you would like any information on anything regarding Calgary Real Estate, the Home Sweet Home team is here for you. Please Contact US

Tips To Prevent Your Home From Flooding

Thursday, June 20th, 2013


 With this heavy rain we have been experiencing so far in Calgary this Spring, especially in the past day with flood emergency warnings in areas such as Canmore, High River, Black Diamond and more, we thought it would be an ideal time to provide our readers with tips to protect your home from being severely damaged by floods.

If your home is close to rivers and creeks, you will have to take preventative measures to try to mitigate the effects that potential flooding could have on your home. A good thing to know is the official flood level of your home. This is a measure of how high floodwaters can rise in the area where you live. You should be able to receive this information from your home insurance agent.

Here are 5 tips for preventing damage if it is flooding in your area in Canmore, Calgary, High River, Black Diamond and all other areas effected by the current severe weather in Alberta.

Protect Your In-home Electrical and Temperature Systems

Make sure your furnace, water heater and any other heavy indoor equipment are anchored or elevated so that they are above your home’s flood level. Raise all switches, circuit breakers, sockets and wiring so that they are not damaged by the flood.

Raise and Anchor Outdoor Equipment

Any outdoor machines of importance should be elevated and anchored above the flood waters outside if they already are not. This includes fuel tanks, air conditioning units, and generators. Anything with an electric power unit should never lay on the ground in the first place, this can be even more dangerous with a potential flood on its way.

Modify Water Valves

Ensure that you have interior or exterior backflow or better yet, a gate valve installed on all pipes that enter the house. Installing these valves will prevent a flooded sewer system from backing up sewage in to your home… Needless to say, you don’t want this to happen.

Figure Out How Water Flows Around Your Home

It is important to determine how water flows around your home. This will give you a good idea of how a flood might effect your home if one was to occur. By watching how water accumulates during a typical rainstorm, you will be able to tell whether or not your home is built so the water drains away from it. Ideally, you will not have a lot of standing water and it will indeed drain away.

Perform Last Minute Preventative Measures If Water Levels Rise

If you notice water levels rising around your home there a few preventative measures that are very important to carry out. Clean your gutters, downspots and drains to prevent them from being clogged and backing up with water. If you notice signs of water coming in to your basement and a potential flood starting, quickly move all furniture, electronics, and any other important belongings to an upper floor. If you are turning off the electricity, do so with a the electricity breaker panel.

Stay Safe

Most importantly we hope that everyone effected by the severe weather and floods in Calgary, Canmore, High River, Black diamond and all the other effected Albertan areas stay safe. We hope that everyone stays safe and their homes stay protected from the flooding. If you can, stay away from rivers, creeks and if you find yourself in an emergency, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.

We are the Home Sweet Home Team, a team of Calgary real estate associates dedicated to providing you with a stress-free home buying or selling experience. We know its not just a home, its your future and we are here for you every step of the way. If you are interested in buying or selling properties in the Calgary area please Contact Us.


Smoking In Your Home Hurts Your Properties Value

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to many of you but smoking in your home can significantly affect your properties value. A recent Canadian survey completed by a biopharmaceutical company, concluded that over 85% of real estate professionals agreed that smoking in the home negatively affects its resale value, making the home harder to sell.

The amount that the homes value will decrease depends on the extent of damage the smoking has caused. Other factors such as the length of time the house has been occupied by smokers, whether any updates have been completed on areas affected by the smoke damage, all play a part in how much the homes re-sale price is affected. Smoking can lower the price of the property anywhere from 20 % to over 30 % of the homes value. The average resale price of a Calgary home is currently $455, 760, so a 25% price decrease on that Calgary home would be $113, 940, which would be devastating to most Calgary homeowners!

Many prospective home buyers will remove your home from consideration after finding out that it is a smoking home. Over 50 % of buyers are unwilling to buy a home that has been regularly smoked in. The biggest reasons behind buyers not wanting a smoking home are the smell, their personal health and the effect that 2nd and 3rd hand smoke has on their health and their families.

If you own a home and are currently renting it out to tenants, you must make sure you do your due diligence and have it clearly stated in your rental contract that there is no smoking to be allowed in the home. Make sure your tenants are aware that breaking this agreement, and smoking in the home will result in a termination of the contract and potential eviction from the home.

To save yourself a lot of grief down the road, limit your smoking to outside of your house!

We hope you find this information helpful. For more information on home tips, or if you are interested in selling or buying Calgary properties, please Contact Us. We are the Home Sweet Home Team and we are your Calgary Real Estate Connection.



Tips For Reducing Your Summer Energy Bill

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

June 21st is quickly approaching and you all know what that means….Summer will officially commence!

Along with patio season, summer barbeques, hiking, soccer, baseball, golf and all the other activities that we all love participating in being in full swing, there is one benefit of summertime that many of us forget about, and that is the best season to conserve your homes energy. Not to mention some much needed savings on those energy bills you dread receiving once a month. Although you might need to crank up the AC a few days, the Home Sweet Home Team has a few tips to cut your summer energy usage while enjoying our great Calgary summer, which never lasts long enough!











1. Barbecuing– Get outside and enjoy the few perfect months a year we are graced with for barbeque season. Avoid heating up the kitchen and save on your electricity and AC costs.

2. Take Advantage of the Outdoors– The more time you spend outdoors playing those summer sports we all love, or going for a walk or the occasional picnic, the less time you will be spending inside using your lights etc.!

3. Become a Fan of the Fan– Using your ceiling fan, if you have one, combined with a few open windows, will maximize the air circulation in your home and minimize the amount of money you spend on air conditioning.

4. Smart Gardening– For one, planting an abundance of trees and shrubs will increase the curb appeal of your home. Not only do luscious trees and shrubs look good, they will help shade against the heat in the summer. Your energy savings will grow just as your shade trees do.

5. Tune up Your Central Air Conditioning System- Don’t forget to start off the summer season by tuning up your AC system to ensure everything is working as effective and efficient as possible. For those with a window AC system, make sure you change the filter at least once a summer season if not more to ensure optimal air conditioning.

6. In With the New– If you have an archaic air conditioning system, it is probably a good time to upgrade to a newer system. Over the years, air conditioning systems have became much more energy efficient. Look for one with a high energy star rating.

7. Line Drying Your Clothes– If you are as worried about shrinking your clothes as I am, you probably already do this. If you don’t, line drying your clothes outdoor is a great way to eliminate some of your energy costs and be more GREEN!

8. Outdoor Security Lights- Ensure that your outdoor security lights are on the motion detector setting so they are only using energy when they absolutely need to be.

We hope this helps put a couple extra dollars in your pocket and hey, it never hurts to improve your global footprint and strive to be a little more green!

For many more home tips, Calgary market information, specific Calgary property information or if you are interested in selling or buying a Calgary home, please Contact Us today! We are the Home Sweet Home Team and we are your Calgary Real Estate Connection.

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The Importance of a Garage in Adding Value to Your Home

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Nowadays most homeowners see having a garage as an absolute necessity. For some it’s actually used as they are intended – for parking your vehicles, others turn it in to a make shift storage room and there’s some guys who turn it in to a work shop, or better yet a “man cave”. What many people don’t realize is how much not having a garage can effect the value of your home. Having a standard garage is one of the best returns on investment you can make on your home.

Here are 2 main reasons why you should consider having a garage if you currently do not have one.

Potential Return on Investment

If you are just concerned about parking your car, having a parking spot will be sufficient for having somewhere to leave your car. But if at some point in your future you are considering selling your home and hoping for a return on your home, a garage is a near must. Living in a suburban location it is almost a given that you should have a garage. There are many prospective buyers that won’t even consider your home if it does not have an attached or detached garage. The days of a garage being considered an additional feature are long gone. For many buyers it is a required feature. The silver living for anyone who doesn’t have a garage is that in terms of return on investment it is a fairly inexpensive renovation. The standard cost to build a basic garage in Calgary can cost you somewhere in the range of $10,000 – $15,000 depending on if you do some of the work yourself or contract the entire project out. Adding a garage to your home can typically increase your property value by double of that, depending on the type and condition of the garage.


Whether you live in a urban location or not, having a garage will always be an addition that can earn you money. In locations like inner-city Calgary where parking is a premium, having a garage can make you even bigger profits. It gives the prospective buyers a covered parking spot, an opportunity for extra storage space, and for those interested even a workshop. Even if you are looking to rent your property, this will increase the demand of your home and increase the amount you can expect to charge.

To summarize, having  a garage will always increase the value of your home. Even if you aren’t currently looking to sell, it’s a great investment for the future.

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If you are interested in knowing the market value of your home, please Contact Us today for a Free Market Evaluation of your Calgary Home. We are a top producing team of Calgary Real Estate Agents that can help you with any of your Calgary Real Estate buying or selling needs.


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