Calgary Dream Homes

Direct: 403-850-0669 |

  1. It is always hard to cut back on spending but when times are tight you may have to. It doesn’t mean however that you have to cut out the things you enjoy, and make you happy. Here are some ways to trim things a little.
  2. Take good long look at your Utilities, which ones can you cut back on that don’t change your quality of life. Look at a downgrade to your cable network and try to still get just the main channels you like most. Search out the best deals on Telus or Rogers etc. Tell either one that you are thinking of leaving - that should stir things up!
  3. Spend a couple of hours on the weekend cooking a lot of food and buy a sealer machine to freeze the leftovers in individual bags. Now you have homemade, ready-to-go meals to save you money and feed the family any night of the week!.
  4. Dine out a bit less, find an inexpensive restaurant that you and the family can save money eating at. Maybe you can even make the same meal, or even a better one, at home and save about half of the cost!
  5. What about selling some things you don’t need on Craigs List? Check out the classifieds site, you will be surprised how much you make on unwanted items.
  6. Try a spot of window shopping until things pick up. For now simply walk through stores, browsing to see what’s new and what you will buy later!
  7. When you feel like sprucing up a room, go shopping through the items you already have. Maybe move the furniture around to change the place up!
  8. Don’t cut down things like insurance coverage, but maybe see if you can get a better deal. But remember - You will not do yourself any favors by cutting back on items that keep you safe and a bad decision may come back to haunt you.
  9. Take a long hard look at each of the necessary bills you pay and consider ways to reduce them. Save on groceries, clothing, and transportation by shopping around.
  10. Consider your employment. Often, the only reasonable option you, your spouse, or your partner has is to increase income by working extra hours,but in Covid times this is more difficult.

When outgoing cash flow exceeds your income you get a clear picture of what you’re spending money on (you’ll be surprised how much you waste) by keeping a log of every dollar you spend. Write down everything, coffee, gas, going to the movies. It is no fun, but if you track your outgoings, the big picture becomes clearer.

Stay Safe!

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Big City living in Calgary isn’t for everyone, some people like to look up at stars instead of the city lights. So moving out of a City or suburbs to a rural area might be next on your bucket list. If it is, here are a quick glance at what you need to look at, but we always advise to talk to a lender who understands rural sales, we can suggest a few. 
  • How many acres are we talking? 5-10 acres is usually easier for a buyer because the mortgage generally qualifies parallel to a regular city home.   The minimum down payment will normally be 5% of the purchase price if the property is under $1 Million.  Over a million and a minimum down payment will be 20%. Remember that an appraisal will be required in most instances, and a lender will generally only give value for up to 10 acres, the house and garage.  "Outbuildings" such as shops, barns, and Quonsets are almost always not included in the value of an appraisal.   
  • Zoning of the property must comply if we are treating it as a regular residential mortgage vs. agricultural land. "Country Residential" is commonly the zoning for these types of properties.  Rural is a larger acreage frequently 40, 80, or 160 acres (160 acres =1/4 section). Agricultural land is for farming use and cannot be financed by normal mortgage companies or banks.
  • Septic tanks and wells are typically found on acreages, which means a water potability test must be completed and a septic certificate is required from the municipality to confirm best practice. The lender needs to know that the water is safe. (Your realtor will help you with this.)
  • Potability reports are needed for all well water and flow rate, this will be required either upfront with the lender approval or at the lawyers before closing. We don’t suggest leaving it that late, it should be done before waiver day, before the conditions are lifted. No suprises!
  • Note. The income generated from a Calgary area acreage will not be included to help you qualify for a mortgage. Remember, if a lot of the income is being generated by the owner from  things like mineral rights, or leasing to a farmer, this may raise a red flag to lenders who could consider this more like a farm or business loan instead, which is a completely different process. 
There are lots to consider before you purchase the land to build your Calgary Dream Home, and the lending rules do change. So take your time and speak to your lender, make sure they have a rural loan expert on hand, then call us.
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1)     What is today’s Real Estate Market Like?

One of the big questions we get asked and indicators that show the state of the Calgary market is the average days a property has been on the market. Another example which we show to the seller is the number of closed transactions year-over-year for any given month, average list prices, and the average sale prices.

2)     What steps do I need to prepare my home for selling?

It is all about the first impression and always giving your home its best shot. Curb appeal before they reach the door is important, so make sure there is no outside mess, and in summer the grass is cut and shrubs pruned. Inside, remove all clutter, put what you don’t need away, and fix any small paint jobs.

3)     What is my home worth?

With market comparables, actives and solds in your area we present a CMA price range where the price of your home sits. Adjusted by upgrades, we arrive at the competitive price your home should be listed at.

4)     Is the assessed value an indication of market price?

Not really, there are many Calgary homes that are sold for more than assessed value and many sold for less. The assessed value is used to determine your yearly tax rate. However, there are many home buyers who believe that if a home is listed over assessed value, it is overpriced.

5)     What do you use in a CMA (comparative market analysis)?

We look at the “comparable” solds in your area within the past 6-12 months and current “comparable” actives to see what your listing competition is and answer this question. Comparables would be (but not limited to) comparable square footage, number of bedrooms & bathrooms, developed or not basement, walkout vs. basement, roof age, lot features, kitchen upgrades, style of home, windows condition, and flooring type.

6)     When is the best time to sell my home?

Every real estate market in a Calgary community is different, and a well priced home in good condition will always sell quickly in most markets. Seasons are important, it may take longer to sell in the snowy winter months. Selling in the fall is sometimes good, before winter comes along. But also February or March can be good if it is mild weather, before most sellers wait for the grass to green to list in the spring, and you can have a lot less competition to sell against.

Call today to book a market consultation, we will be happy to go over everything in detail, including our Marketing Strategy to get your home Sold!

E:  Direct: 403-850-0669

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Buying a home in Calgary:

1:  The Pre Approval

Arrange a meeting with your Mortgage person and get things moving by filling out your application. Be prepared and take with you income verification, an employment letter and confirmation of your down payment.  Be sure ask exactly what the lender will need ahead of time and once approved, ask for a Pre Approval Letter of confirmation.

2: View Homes & Condos

Work on which are your preferred areas and what is your maximum budget and we will email you the active listings within those areas and parameters. At a time/date that works for both of us we will set up a tour of all the properties that fit your criteria and you want to see.

3: Selecting Your New Home

Most people go with their “gut feeling” when they enter the home they really like. Once they are inside then we start to tick the boxes. The location will of been decided beforehand and logistics for work, schools etc already decided. Once we we the short list we can second view and be “objective” does it REALLY work and shall we make an offer.

4:  Putting In The Offer

Our offer will be based on relevant comparable sold’s in the area, time on the market and upgrades to the property. We will have a “Starting Point” this can’t be too low because you want the seller not to dismiss your offer, but to work with you so that both sides are happy. Our goal is to achieve the best terms and  price for our clients, based on our combined 24 years experience.

5:  Offer Accepted

The offer is firstly accepted on price, we add to that our conditions and possession date. The most common conditions are usually Financing, Home Inspection and (or) Condo Document Review, and sometimes review of Bye-Laws if applicable. In a Rural Property Purchase we could add to this Septic Inspection, Well Inspection & Water Analysis (or Co-op Water Analysis if applicable). Usually our length of condition period would be 10-14 business days before we remove our conditions after we are satisfied.  After all is accepted we are in the condition period and need to set up all inspections and reviews.

6:  Removing Conditions

All our conditions have been met, if a few smaller things pop up during the Home Inspection we will amend the contract to have the seller put them right before our “Walkthrough” prior to possession. (usually 48 hours)

7:  All documents To the Lawyers Office

We will see that all documents are sent to your lawyer’s office as soon as possible. You will then arrange to meet with your lawyer, usually 7-10 days before possession to sign all the required paperwork. Make sure you bring a check or your credit card as the lawyer will be making adjustments for down payments and work done as previously agreed with them.

8:  Keys are Releasable

We will make arrangements to meet you at your new home for the “Walkthrough” and we also meet you there when Keys are released by the Sellers Lawyer on possession day. The only thing we suggest is not to book your Telus /Shaw or removal company until the next day, in case there are any hold ups, it doesn’t often happen, but it can.

Then you can just enjoy your new home!!

Call us to discuss your options 403.850.0669

Stewart J Lowe

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Now that we are startting to get out more and maybe you’re hiking in the Rockies. You are on the home turf of the resident grizzly and black bears. Parks Canada recommends taking the following steps to minimize the chance of an encounter:


Clap, sing and talk loudly. Don’t rely on bear bells alone to make your presence known.


Hike in a group of four or more and don’t let kids wander off.


Or better yet, leave the pooch at home. Dogs provoke defensive behaviour in bears.

For more information on bear safety visit

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Whether you’re thinking about selling your home or buying a home, it’s important that you understand the difference between a bank appraisal and a home inspection.  In fact, one of the most common real estate misconceptions is that a bank appraisal and a home inspection are one in the same.

There are many reasons why a bank appraisal and a home inspection are different.  Buyers and sellers who believe they are the same or similar end up being surprised when they are informed they are not.

What Is A Bank Appraisal?

An appraisal is an unbiased, professional opinion of a homes value that is completed by a professional appraiser.  Appraisals are performed in real estate transactions when a buyer is taking advantage of financing through a lender and  sometimes when a homeowner is attempting to refinance their mortgage amount.

The primary purpose of a bank appraisal is to ensure that the sale price that a buyer and seller agree upon is not more than the current market value of the home.  A bank appraiser ensures the contract price is appropriate given a homes condition, features, and location.  In the event a buyer defaults on their mortgage the bank completes the appraisal to ensure they can recoup the money they lent to the borrower.

*Whether buying or selling a home, it’s important to understand that there are some problems can arise.  Being aware of a common issue, when a home can appraise for less than the agreed sale price.

What Is A Home Inspection?

 When a buyer is purchasing a home they have the right to complete a variety of different types of inspections and there could be many specifics you need checked.  The most common inspection that is performed by a buyer is a “general inspection” of the home by a licensed home inspector.  A general inspection of a home is a detailed investigation into a homes plumbing, electric, Hvac systems, roof (if no snow) and other aspects of the home.

A general inspection is the most common, but it is not the only inspection that a buyer has the option to include in the offer to purchase. If you are buying a Rural Property then you will need a Well & Water Test (unless it’s Co-op water, then you may just need a water analysis) and a Septic Tank & Field test (unless it’s municipal) And your inspection may not be limited to just those

When They Are Both Completed

One of the biggest differences between an appraisal and a home inspection is when they are done.  The buyer and seller agree to terms of a real estate contract, a buyer has a specified number of days from acceptance to complete the various inspections they make an offer contingent on (the condition period).  The amount of days can vary, depending on the number of inspections the buyer needs.

Once a buyer is satisfied with the inspection results, a bank appraisal will go in and complete his part.  An offer can fall through for various reasons and the inspection is one of the most common. This might not always result in getting more money off the home unless they are big items (and then it is the buyers decision). If there are small things that need done, the seller will usually agree (via an addendum agreed by both parties) to fix them before possession.




Most home inspections take 2-3 hours depending on the size of the home. The appraisal visit should take between 30 minutes to an hour.  It is in your best interests whether you’re buying or selling a home that you take time to understand the differences, so that there are no surprises.

The major takeaway is that an appraisal is completed to protect the lenders interest and home inspections are completed to protect the buyers interests.

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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.