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My Best Tips For Staging A Home

Mon, 31 Mar by Bryon Howard

Living room with staging

Purchasing a new home is a sentimental and emotional experience for many buyers. This makes it especially important to stage your home in a way that people can imagine themselves living there. Although an empty home may appear larger, buyers have to really tap into their imagination to envision the empty space functioning as their home. Typically a showing may last from 10 to 40 minutes, so it is important that your home makes a great first impression during this short time.

Highlight your home’s strengths. Think about what you first noticed when you purchased your home. A beautiful fireplace, large windows, or an updated kitchen are all things that could set your home apart from the other listings on the market. Ask your friends what they like best about your home and then make sure those features are showcased.

Clearing up clutter is the most important task. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with clutter, especially if you have a busy family. We have a rule in my house that whenever we bring something new into the house, we get rid of something else. This is a great way to manage toys, clothing and other stuff that starts to accumulate over time. When the time comes to list your house, get rid of extra unwanted items by donating them to charity or have a yard sale.

Make a great first impression. The front door, mailbox and house numbers should look clean and new. Add some potted plants to your entrance way, and make sure that the yard is well-kept and free of debris.

Bring in the professionals. A professional stager can make your home look like the perfect 10. Last year I listed a home for a client at slightly above market value. The home sat on the market for several weeks with no activity. We made the decision to take the home off the market and bring in a professional stager to overhaul the home. We put the house back on the market, and it sold for 99.5% of the asking price. Even though the market hadn’t changed, professional staging helped to increase the perceived value of this home to potential buyers.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

 is a top-producing real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He and his team sell an average of two homes a week–mostly single-family homes, luxury homes, condos and commercial properties. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. Bryon is above the pack because he aims not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell their dream home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is well-equipped to do this with his sterling education, capped by an MBA degree from Athabasca University and degrees from Acadia University, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universite de Bourgoyne in France.

My Best Dog Care Tips

Tue, 25 Mar by Bryon Howard

My best dog care tips

Our dog Max is an Australian Shepherd/Collie mix. He is 11 years old and has always loved tagging along with our family when we went hiking or kayaking.  Although a dog is supposed to be a man’s best friend, Max seems to prefer my wife over me.

I used to bring him running with me when he was a puppy.  He had plenty of energy and had no problem keeping up.  Now that he is 11, he has no interest in hitting the pavement.  If I put my shoes on and ask him if he wants to go for a run, he avoids eye contact and hides behind my wife.

Although he’s not much a runner, Max loves to go for walks.  We walk him twice a day, using a nylon leash.  This helps to keep him off other people’s lawns and helps us to maintain control if he gets excited from seeing another dog.

If you are like us and you like to bring your dog on hiking adventures outside the city, the public health office is warning that deer ticks continue to be a problem.  Although the percentage of deer ticks that are testing positive for Lyme disease is still relatively low in Alberta, it’s a good idea to check your dog’s coat after spending time in a forest or around long grass.

As a dog owner, it is also important to know that spring is considered to be flea season.  There are many things that you can do to help your dog prevent fleas naturally.  A balanced diet strengthens their immune system and will help them resist pests on their own.  Give your dog a bath every six weeks with a gentle shampoo that won’t dry out their skin.  If your dog has a bed, it’s also a good idea to wash it or replace it on a regular basis.

Calgary has 150 leash free parks within the city.  The Altadore Park provides an excellent leash free area that stretches between 38th  Avenue and 50 th  Avenue where you can bring your dog to let off some energy and get to know the other dogs (and humans) in your neighbourhood.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

 is a top-producing real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He and his team sell an average of two homes a week–mostly single-family homes, luxury homes, condos and commercial properties. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. Bryon is above the pack because he aims not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell their dream home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is well-equipped to do this with his sterling education, capped by an MBA degree from Athabasca University and degrees from Acadia University, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universite de Bourgoyne in France.

Make Your Home Allergy-Proof This Spring

Sun, 16 Mar by Bryon Howard

man with cleaning fluid. cleaning the apartment. hausmannbei apa

Spring is a great time to clean up your home and get rid of unwanted clutter.  Most people think of spring cleaning as getting rid the obvious debris around your home, but it is also important to think of the less visible clutter.  Allergens build up over the course of the year and although you usually can’t see them, many people will notice pet dander, dust and mites when they start to have an allergic reaction.  Here are five tips to keep in mind when you clean up your home this spring:

Replace your furnace filter.

Your furnace filter should be cleaned or replaced several times a year, but this chore is often over looked.  Keeping the filter clean will improve the air quality in your home, eliminate dust, and allow your furnace to stay in good working order.  This is an inexpensive replacement that can save you money in long run on furnace repairs.

Clean up after your pets.

Dogs and cats are just like family, but they can bring out the worst in people with a sensitivity to pet hair and dander.  Make sure to give your dog a bath at least once every 8 weeks.  A fine tooth brush works great on both dogs and cats to remove excess fur and eliminate shedding around the house.

Keep an eye out for mold and mildew in your home.

Mold grows in areas that are subject to moisture.  Sometimes it can be hard to detect, but mold in your home can cause respiratory problems with long term exposure.  If you find mold in your house, talk to an expert about having it removed.  Always remember to keep bathroom fans running while using the bath or shower to eliminate excess moisture in your home.

Professionally clean carpets and furniture.

Dust mites are a common cause of asthma and allergic reactions.  They inhabit mattresses, carpets and furniture.  Having your furniture and carpets professionally cleaned will help to eliminate dust mites and leave your home smelling fresh and clean.

Keep windows and doors closed during the spring when pollen is at its worst.
Allergy season starts in Calgary around May and usually lasts until the end of July.  Try to limit the amount of pollen and other allergens that come into your home by keeping your windows and doors closed.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

 is a top-producing real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He and his team sell an average of two homes a week–mostly single-family homes, luxury homes, condos and commercial properties. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. Bryon is above the pack because he aims not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell their dream home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is well-equipped to do this with his sterling education, capped by an MBA degree from Athabasca University and degrees from Acadia University, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universite de Bourgoyne in France.

Why I love Altadore!

Tue, 11 Mar by Bryon Howard

It has been almost 10 years since my family of four move to Altadore. We quickly fell in love with the community and became avid Altadorians. My son has loved it since the day we walked to the My Favourite Ice Cream shop and he saw the crazy number of ice cream choices.

Altadore has evolved significantly since we moved in. The old Safeway has moved west to the Garrison Woods site and Marda Loop has evolved into a more upscale restaurant and shopping district. Shirley loves that she can now walk to Phil & Sebastian’s her favourite place to meet up with friends. Yes we have Starbucks and Second Cup. In addition, we have neighbourhood pubs, yoga studios (even a Bikram Studio which Shirley loves), Chinook Music Studio, and two diners – who could ask for anything more?

Sure we miss the Farmers’ Market when it was in Currie Barracks just across Crowchild Trail, but we are looking forward to the new high street with its shops that will open there in a few years. Being on the east side of Crowchild has it benefits as you have lots of options getting downtown for work and play.

Great Schools

The main reason we live in Calgary is the incredible choice we have in education for our kids. Our children, as well as our niece and nephews who also live in Altadore have had great school experiences at Mountain View Academy, Altadore Elementary, Calgary Science School, Bishop Carroll High School, Saint James Elementary and Junior High School and Masters Academy. Calgary Academy is the school where our daughter found great success with her learning.

Shirley has been teaching at Central Memorial High School since 2004, she is currently the director of the String Orchestra program. This CBE high school boasts a great Performing and Visual Arts program, the National Sport Academy and one of the top teams of academic teachers in the city.

Just south of Central Memorial is the campus of the Career and Technology Centre at Lord Shaughnessy High School. This school has state of the art facilities where students can explore specific applied career pathways like being a chef, pharmacy technician, mechanic or a cosmetologist.

Hidden Gem

We are also close to The Military Museums of Calgary, which is a hidden gem. When family and friends visit for the first time we will often take them there where the history and artifacts are definately interesting. Calgary is often criticized for its lack of history, yet with the Glenbow, Fort Calgary, Heritage Park, Stephen Avenue, Inglewood and the Military Museums this city has much to offer. And they are all just minutes from Altadore.

Altadore is for the dogs

Max our dog loves joining Shirley on errands in the neighborhood. He is a local celebrity as everyone says “Hi Max!” He can count on treats at our RBC branch, the Post Office and especially from Kathy at Marda Loop Tailoring. RBC recently offered him a job as a greeter for 5-dog biscuits an hour, he really did want to take the job and was not happy to come home with Shirley.
Anywhere

Altadore boasts perhaps the best off-leash dog park in the city – River Park. It is a linear open space with lots of different tree plantings and rolling hills at the top of the Elbow River’s west escarpment (above Sandy Beach). As a dog owner we appreciate the benefits of being able to walk out the door and in minutes Max is running to play with other dogs and we can stroll on our own or chat with our neighbours and those visiting from other communities. River Park is the meeting place for the community – it is our town square. Even in the middle of winter, thousands of people will use the park for a leisurely stroll, tobogganning, or as part of a run.

Cycling Paradise

As avid cyclists, we can all cycle easily to 17th Ave and Downtown for some urban fun, or we can head to the Glenmore Reservoir for a more recreational and nature 20 km loop around the reservoir. Frequently I will ride ten minutes to North Glenmore Park, then do interval loops in the park for an awesome 60 to 90 min workout. Beginning in May, I leave can leave home on my road bike at 5:30 am and ride to Springbank and get home by 7 am to start my workday invigorated – with 45km’s in my legs.

Shirley loves to cycle downtown in the summer, ten minutes and you are there, no parking hassles, no tickets and it is all downhill so you are not sweaty when you get there! Exploring the city cycle paths gives a new perspective on the city, different from walking or driving. Shirley loves seeing all the horses in the parks along the bow river during Stampede week.

Great bike ride close to Altadore and Marda Loop.

Great bike ride close to Altadore and Marda Loop.

The Arts

We are also looking forward to the opening of the King Edward School as an art space as we will be able to walk there for concerts and exhibitions, maybe take a class or two. We are also old fashion and love to walk to the Alexander Calhoun Library to just relax and read a few magazines or check out their recommended reading bookshelf. I told you Altadore is like a small town, you can walk to everything.

Great Investment

Altadore has been a great investment for our family, not only in the quality of life that it offers, but also in the capital appreciation of our home. Buying or first home in 2004 – was a bit like winning the lottery. Altadore homes have appreciated over 200% since 2005. The greatest appreciation of any community in Calgary.

While some people question, how can people afford a home in Calgary’s inner city communities today, I say how can you not afford one. The best investment we made was stretching ourselves to move to Altadore 10 years ago. I don’t know of anyone who has regretting moving to an inner city home in Calgary.

One of my neighbours recently said, “I feel like I went to bed in Altadore, and woke up in Elbow Park.” She said this as a result of the numerous million-dollar homes now in our community, with several recent sales exceeding two million.
Last word

While Calgary boasts many wonderful communities, there is something special about Altadore and its small town east coast charm.

Altadore Real Estate: Highest Price Hike In Calgary Since 2005

Mon, 10 Mar by Bryon Howard

Altadore real estate: Highest price hike in Calgary since 2005

In a city that is experiencing tremendous growth, the Altadore-River Park area is establishing itself as a highly desirable neighbourhood for home buyers. The Altadore neighbourhood is an older community in Calgary that is going through an exciting revitalization.  Altadore has been named one of Calgary’s best neighbourhoods for the last few years in a row.  Trendy young professionals and growing families are attracted to this neighbourhood because of new luxury homes and its convenient proximity to parks and the Marda Loop shopping district.

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the average sale price in the Altadore-River Park community was approximately $826,000 for a single family home in 2012.  The year-end data for 2013 reported that the average sale price had increased to $912,000.  That is an increase of 10% in just one year.  Compared to the Calgary-wide increase of 4%, Altadore is establishing itself as an excellent place for home buyers to invest.

If you are thinking of selling your home in this community, this is a great time to list your property.  The area is in high demand, and many of listings sell with competing offers.  This is the perfect time to capitalize on the equity in your home.  The number of available listings in this area has decreased, and buyers are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to become part of this vibrant community.

If you are looking to buy a beautiful home in an up-and-coming neighbourhood, Altadore has everything that you are looking for.  This neighbourhood needs to be seen to be appreciated.  Many of the developers in this area have built homes with unique, yet classic designs.  Most of the homes feature modern finishes, vaulted ceilings, and open concept living areas.  As prices continue to rise, buyers can purchase a home in this community with confidence knowing that their investment is secure in a home that will continue to increase in value.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

 is a top-producing real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He and his team sell an average of two homes a week–mostly single-family homes, luxury homes, condos and commercial properties. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. Bryon is above the pack because he aims not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell their dream home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is well-equipped to do this with his sterling education, capped by an MBA degree from Athabasca University and degrees from Acadia University, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universite de Bourgoyne in France.

It is all about community choices! Altadore … Springbank or Bearspaw

Thu, 06 Mar by Bryon Howard

By Bryon Howard, March 3, 2014

One of the great things about living in Calgary is the diversity of communities (life styles) all within 50 kilometers of downtown. You can live in an urban village penthouse with a million dollar view of the city’s spectacular and every changing skyline. Or you can choose an acreage with a million dollar view of the Rockies in your own park-like setting. You can live near one of the 100+ off-lease City dog parks or you can have few acres of open pasture for your horses.

Since moving to Calgary from the East Coast in 2003 I have come to appreciate the quality of life this city offers. While I live in Altadore and love it, I could easily live in Springbank, Bearspaw or Bragg Creek. Coming from a small town, I love how Calgary is divided up into small communities of about 5,000 people. Even outside the city, the acreages are divided up into communities each with their own name to give the people living there a common sense of identity.

Not everyone works downtown, in fact most people don’t – only about 25% of Calgarians work in or near downtown. Many of the new jobs being created today are at the edges of the city in new business parks and so it is perhaps not surprising that Calgary’s edge cities are growing faster than the city itself – Okotoks, Airdrie and Cochrane especially.

In addition, many business owners and senior managers don’t have to go to the office everyday. Working from home one or more days a week is becoming more and more common. One of the new trends I am seeing in acreage home design is the CEO-like office. No longer is a home office just a desk plunked into a bedroom or maybe a shelf for the computer just off the kitchen. We are talking a custom designed office with space to host small meetings, all the electronics you could dream of, and yes separate bathroom and small kitchen; this adds a whole new dimension to “walking to work.”

 

What has really impressed me is the amazing diversity of the acreage architecture just outside of Calgary. As an avid touring cyclist, I love to go for rides in the foothills west of Calgary where I am always impressed by the new architectural gems I find.

While there are lots of traditional prairie ranch houses, what I really enjoy is the unique uber contemporary designs that you would expect to see outside Las Angeles or San Francisco. Homes with weird angles and shapes, some with strange colours that look more like a modern art gallery than a home. I love the sense of surprise these homes offer.

SpringbankTriangle

Over the past few years, I have worked with many acreage owners and buyers in the Springbank area. Here are the top ten reasons I have heard for wanting to live in the Springbank:

1. Quality of living, especially the sense of privacy
2. Incredible views
3. Park-like setting with lots of trees, maybe a creek or pond
4. Beautiful cycling and running trails right out your front door
5. Easy access to city amenities
6. Access to good schools
7. Springbank Park For All Seasons (arena, curling, playing fields etc)
8. Good recreation programs
9. Access to best golf courses
10. Great snow removal

Unlike most North American cities, acreage living in Calgary is not just for retired empty nesters or weekend/summer homes for the rich and famous. Acreage living is a viable option for families with children of all ages. It is just another reason why Calgary is such an attractive place to live, work and play.

Pics below are one of my Springbank Listings at 43 Westbluff Place.  MLS #C3598194  http://tinyurl.com/l3ofznk

Great temporary home on 2 acres just a couple kilometers from the city limits.

IMG_2167_8_9GG IMG_2230_1_2 Westbluff Brochure--18

What I Appreciate Most About Women

Sun, 02 Mar by Bryon Howard

 

What I Appreciate Most About Women

March 8th  is International Women’s Day.  This special day commemorates the many obstacles that women have overcome in their struggle for fair wages, equality and human rights.  There is no doubt that women have made incredible progress throughout history. They have demonstrated the amazing ability to rise to the occasion and excel in their personal and professional lives, often simultaneously.

Without the women in our lives, many of us wouldn’t be where we are today.  My wife often offers her perspective when I am dealing with challenges.  She helps me to evaluate how I should respond and reason carefully.  I look back at these situations and appreciate that I have her input when I am deciding the best course of action.  I won’t say that she is always right, because I don’t want her to hold it against me later!

Woman view the world with empathy.  As mothers, their perspective helps to raise children to be thoughtful and considerate of others.  It helps to foster a sense of community and makes our kids grow up to be understanding and non-judgmental adults.

Women excel at being patient, understanding and thoughtful.  They are able to bring a positive energy to just about any situation.  They are organized and methodical and can multitask their way around the most hectic schedules.  In the real estate industry specifically, women do a great job at putting their clients at ease and building great relationships.  They are strong negotiators and have a good understanding of the emotional side of the home buying and selling experience.

There are many women throughout history who have raised the bar personally and professionally.  Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, and Harriet Beecher Stow made their mark in history and are still regarded as role models today.  As professionals, women are dominating every industry in Canada.  They make exceptional leaders and bring a fresh perspective to their industries.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

 is a top-producing real estate agent with RE/MAX House of Real Estate in Calgary, Alberta. He and his team sell an average of two homes a week–mostly single-family homes, luxury homes, condos and commercial properties. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. Bryon is above the pack because he aims not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell their dream home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is well-equipped to do this with his sterling education, capped by an MBA degree from Athabasca University and degrees from Acadia University, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Universite de Bourgoyne in France.

Bryon is as driven to help his clients sell or buy a home in Calgary as he is to finish well in the toughest bike races or triathlon competitions. When not enjoying the outdoors running, biking, swimming or skiing, he enjoys walking his dog in the many beautiful parks where he lives in Altadore, and hanging out with his family at home or the many nearby restaurants in Marda Loop. He married his high school sweetheart (and still is thanking his lucky stars), who teaches performing arts at Central Memorial High School and plays cello in her own ensemble and also with the Calgary Civic Orchestra. He’s a devoted Dad, and will stop at nothing to assist his late teenage kids along in their education and interests. Bryon and his family originate from Canada’s East Coast and  moved to Calgary in 2003. Learn more about him and his real estate tips at TheHowardTeam.net.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 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.