There are a few good reasons why people are in the market to buy a home with a secondary suite – so much so that they’re even willing to jump through all the hurdles of approvals to build homes to include these additions. Renting out a second suite is a great opportunity for homeowner’s to subsidize their mortgage payments. These homes tend to be valued higher – so as a potential buyer you would be paying a premium – however in return you have the potential to earn rental income and increase property value compared to homes without a second suite.


These are all great perks - but what if you just happened to find your dream home and there happens to be a secondary suite in the basement – what do you do with it? You can of course still buy the home and go about your merry way, but if you are looking to utilize the space for some additional income there are a few things you need to be aware of.


Is the suite legal?


First things first – do your homework before you buy. All new and existing secondary suites are required to be safe in accordance with the Alberta Safety Codes Act. Find out if permits have already been issued for the secondary suite before you get ahead of yourself.


Below are some general requirements that must be met for a suite to be considered legal:


* The suite must be self-contained: separate bathroom, kitchen and living space

* Must meet a minimum ceiling clearance – these differ depending on municipal codes

* Have two forms of unobstructed escape: at least one direct exit via a door to the outside and one bedroom window to meet specific size and style requirements

* Have an accessible laundry area

* Meet a minimum ceiling height

* All legal and safe secondary suites require a parking space on the property

* Second suites must adhere to specific residential zoning and health and safety requirements, occupancy standards, property bylaws, and fire and electrical codes o Find out what municipality the property is located in – from there you will have a clearer picture of the exact codes for your given community.


If you decide to buy a home and the suite is not legal – then you should not rent it out. Rather, do what needs to be done to turn it into a legal suite. If the secondary suite was built prior to 1970 it’s known as legal but not conforming to code. If you were thinking of renovating the suite, as an owner you would be required to apply for a Development Permit and Building Permit. Legal suites that existed prior to December 31, 2006 must meet the requirements under the Alberta Fire Code.


 If you're ready to take the leap into secondary suite homeownership, connect with me to ensure your future investment is up to code.

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The holiday season is a busy time for most people. Between shopping, entertaining and jetting off to visit family, finding the time to sell your house during this season can seem a bit daunting. However, it does have its advantages. For example, the holiday buyers braving the snow and lower temperatures tend to be more serious. Not only that, less houses on the market means less competition; which could mean a quicker sale for you.


Here are five holiday-friendly tips to consider when trying to sell your home this season:


1. Deck your Halls with just a little bit of holly-day cheer


If you’re thinking of packing up all of your holiday décor into boxes – don’t. Keep some key decorations out to make a welcoming first impression for buyers. The key is not going overboard. Potential homebuyers want to be able to envision themselves living in the home. A few tasteful decorations like a simple garland along your staircase, lights outside, and an elegant – not overcrowded – tree can help paint that picture. It’s important you stay away from displaying anything too personal to your family – such as religious symbols or homemade ornaments. Stick to classic gold, greenery and white lights and your holiday style should make a great first impression.


Our team is equipped with skilled home stagers who will get you started with the essential steps that help your home show its best. When you list with me – this service is provided at no extra charge.


2. Make your home a cozy escape from the cold


Don’t let cold, dreary winter days put a damper on the home buying experience. Ensure your sidewalk and driveway are shovelled, curtains and blinds are open to offer in lots of natural light, and that you keep the house a nice, warm temperature to offer some recluse from the cold outdoors. Have some soft, festive music playing in the background and if you aren’t home beforehand get your realtor to turn on your fireplace before the buyers arrive. If you can find the time, bake up some delicious holiday treats. Nothing says “home” like the smell of homemade cookies.


Set the stage for a positive viewing experience and let the joy and love of the holiday season flow throughout your home.


3. Price to sell


If your home is priced fairly for market conditions this can help alleviate any back and forth price wars that could emerge from potential buyers unwilling to go above their budget. Listing your house priced to sell can help make the whole process go a lot smoother – and faster. No one wants to feel like a scrooge during the holidays.


4. Hire a {reliable} realtor


You want someone who is going to work hard for you no matter what time of year it is. Working with someone you can trust, is dependable and will go above and beyond for you will be key to your success. Don’t add any extra stress to your home selling experience. Let your realtor do all the legwork so there is more time for you to relax and enjoy the holiday cheer with those you love.



5. Understand the value of great photography


Your online listing is the first impression homebuyers will get of your home. How your listing stands out could make all the difference in how much foot traffic you get through your doors. Be sure to enlist the help of your realtor to get some professional, high-quality photos of your home. Avoid using your cellphone for these images– the professionals know how to enhance your space and work the angles to make for some flattering, and stunning, images. We have a full time professional photographer on our team who knows what equipment to use based on the time of day, the ever-changing Calgary weather, and the angle to ensure your home’s pictures raise eyebrows.


If you have images on hand of the exterior of your house in other seasons, include those as well so buyers can get a sense of what the house looks like without all the snow and bare trees. You can also look into shooting a video tour of the home (with professional help). As winter months may make for less foot traffic, house hunters who don’t have time to do the walk through can take advantage of this feature.



As you set out to list your home, just remember to go in with realistic expectations and know that you can lean on your realtor to help you through the process. Contact me today to get your home ready to sell this holiday season.

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Despite what the name may suggest, an energy audit isn’t just for “green” homebuyers. In fact, completing an energy audit before listing your home on the market can help answer any lingering questions a prospective buyer may have – especially around cost.


A prospective buyer wants to know how much this house is really going to cost them. The monthly mortgage payment is one thing, but how much will it cost me to maintain the home and make any repairs after signing on the dotted line?


Any doubt can lead a buyer to change their mind. An energy-efficient house is an attractive house.


So what is an energy audit, and how will it help make your home more attractive to buyers?


An energy audit is conducted by a professional to determine where, when, why and how energy is being used in the home. With this data, you now have the opportunity to improve your home’s efficiency and decrease energy costs. Lower utility bills can be a big bragging point – especially when you factor in Calgary’s long winters. The report will show you where to put those improvement dollars, boosting your home’s performance to make it more attractive on the market.


When listing your house, there’s nothing more painful than waiting, and waiting for it to sell. Let’s say there are a couple houses on your street up for sale – including yours. Price is in the same ballpark; all have the same selling features. Except your house has gone through an energy audit and as it checks out, you have an energy bill that are half the price of the other two homes listed on your block. As a prospective buyer – which one sounds more appealing?


For many Canadian consumers, energy efficiency plays a big factor in purchasing decisions. Energy efficient products help save consumers money, lower utility bills and reduce impacts on the environment.

If a full audit sounds too daunting, there are a few other ways you can improve your energy rating with a few household products. Look for appliances that have the ENERGY STAR and/or EnerGuide Label.


When selling your house, you are legally obligated to disclose any problems with it – known as “seller’s disclosure”. To avoid any phone calls – or worse – a lawsuit – from aggravated new home owners, it’s in your best interest to disclose any leaky roof or other issue that would cause discomfort and repair costs to new buyers. Conducting an energy audit before listing your house can help spot any issues before putting your house on the market.

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