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Start looking for that contractor NOW if you want your project done by summer’s end.

Whew. The holidays are done. The new year has rung in.

That’s when smart homeowners know it’s time to do these five things that’ll save time, money, and hassles all year long:

#1 Organize Your Seasonal Storage Space

Wrapping Paper Stored on Closet Ceiling| Storage Solutions
Image: Frank Farm / frankfarm.org

Packing away holiday decor presents a big opportunity. It’s the best time to sort, declutter, and reorganize that space where you store your seasonal stuff.

So before simply stuffing your holiday things back in there somewhere, take inventory, then sort, filter, donate, trash, and re-home as many of your things as possible.

It’ll help keep you more organized all year long, and make it easier to find all your holiday stuff next year.

#2 Deep-Clean the Kitchen

A gas stovetop with food crumbs, green teapot
Image: Jamie Bonilla

Purge your pantry and frisk your fridge, passing what you can on to local food banks. Scrub the walls and kick-boards, and even pull those appliances right out from the walls for a thorough vacuuming to prevent gunk (and stinks!) from accumulating.

#3 Plan Summertime Projects Now (Especially if You Need a Pro)

An outdoor space with patio furniture and a dog
Image: Photo by ADZA

 

1. If you’re DIYing, you’ll be ready to roll at the first hint of nice weather.

2. If you’re hiring a contractor or other professional, getting your bids and contracts in place now will save you from competing with the spring rush (wait too long, and you may not be able to book anyone!).

#4 Create a Schedule to Clean ALL Your Home’s Filters

Two home air filters

It’s not just your HVAC. The filters in your fridge, your vacuum cleaner, your dryer, your air filter, and other household items need to be changed or cleaned at least once a year to be effective, usually more often — especially your dehumidifier. Yucky mold grows easily there.

Check manufacturer instructions for all the filters in your home, and create a master schedule, then add them to your calendar app to remind you.

#5 Save Some Green at White Sales

A bed with white sheets and a white bedspread by window
Image: @hawkes_landing

Linens and towels go on sale in January. It’s a long-standing retail tradition that started back when linens only came in white (hence the name), and still has a solid rep as a money-saver — only in more colors today.

Cut your threadbare bath towels into rags and restock your supply, plus fill in any gaps in your bed linens you may have noticed if you had a house full of holiday guests.

CREB®Now connected with some of Calgary’s housing industry experts and leaders for their opinions on 2018. Here’s what they had to say. . .

Alan Tennant, CREB® CEO: “(Coming into 2018) there is lots of colour, but it is not vivid and bold, but rather nuanced and in gradual shades. The colours themselves represent the predictable hues of strength, vitality and prosperity, but none are striking or dominant. There is shading as our economic situation provincially starts to come into focus. Some of the blurriness will be caused by government regulation and market forces beyond our control.”

 

David P. Brown, CREB® 2017 president: “The housing market in 2017 has shown signs of a gradual recovery from 2016, and it will take time to trim the inventory of homes for sale moving into 2018. The price of oil continues to increase, which has led to more consumer confidence in the market, and the unemployment rate is dropping.”

 

 

Gary MacLean, RE/MAX Central Real Estate: “There is no reason to expect any pickup in the market in 2018, unless oil prices make a strong gain and can hold that gain over a long period of time. Price gains and sales are not only dependent on a stronger oil price, but on healthier full-time job creation and immigration, and on a declining inventory.”

 

 

Richard Cho, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. principal market analysis for Calgary: “While economic and demographic fundamentals are expected to strengthen, total housing starts are anticipated to moderate in 2018 due to elevated inventories, before making gains in 2019.”

 

 

Todd Hirsch, ATB Financial chief economist: “Home buyers will continue to gain confidence in Calgary’s economy and housing market in 2018, which should support prices in the resale market. However, there is still an enormous amount of supply, especially in condominiums, and the mortgage lending rules will tighten in January. Both of those factors will put some limits on price increases.”

 

 

Allan Klassen, Brookfield Residential senior vice-president of Calgary housing: “I feel the industry is slowly rebounding from a two-and-a-half-year recession. I guess the new home market in 2017 was as active as I expected. The only surprise to me was that the MLS® market was not flooded earlier in the year. However, I relate this again to the fact it took so much time for consumer confidence to come back into the market.”

 

Charron Ungar, Avi Urban president: “I see 2018 as a positive year with a high probability of stability, and a chance the market may grow later in the year. The general attitude is that the worst is behind us, and with indicators like employment and real estate values trending higher, my hope is that we move towards a more balanced market.”

 

 

Jay Westman, Jayman Built chair and CEO: “I see 2018 being defined by supply, demand and innovation. Supply and demand is a major factor when it comes to real estate, no matter what the market entails. (And) Jayman builds quality real estate in all of Calgary’s finest communities – it’s all about location, location, location.”

 

 

Guy Huntingford, BILD Calgary Region CEO: “Our economic committee looks at a number of issues in developing a future direction of the housing market. The consensus is that 2018 will be very similar to 2017, with only a few builders feeling bullish enough to predict a slight increase in sales. Consumers will enjoy a robust supply of homes to choose from, but prices will continue to be subject to market conditions and further regulations from all levels of government.”

 

Don Barrineau, Mattamy Homes Calgary region president: “We see little change coming. We are thinking a continuation of this gradual improvement – no explosive growth or decline, but a gradual warming trend.”

 

 

 

 

by Jamie Wiebe

New homeowners may have heard that winterization is important, but in the hubbub of your first year living in a home you own (finally!), it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead. After all, it’s just not something renters deal with; prepping pipes for winter is often the landlord’s job.

Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.

Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting:

#1 Turn On Your Faucets

If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

 

#2 Open Cabinet Doors

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

#3 Wrap Your Pipes

If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer

A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)

Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.

 

We have used Deven’s services twice now to buy a home. He is honest, professional, and knows the real estate market well. Deven sold our previous home in just 2 days at the price we wanted. What more could you ask for?

-Brett & Paula Kapcsos

Deven is the most professional Realtor I’ve had the pleasure of working with on either the buyer or seller side. He is the only Realtor that I’ve used where I honestly trust them to provide an unbiased opinion. 

-Brandon Bailey

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