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A Stroll Along Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Sun, 09 Jul by Bryon Howard

A visit to Victoria is incomplete if it does not include time spent enjoying the city’s majestic Inner Harbour. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and you will discover the magical mixture of scenery, activity, architecture and ecosystems that keep tourists and locals alike coming back whenever they can to breathe in the fresh ocean air and take in the views.  Look one way and you will see Victoria’s iconic Parliamentary buildings and the historic Empress Hotel.  Look the other way toward the sea to behold a colorful flotilla of yachts and boats against a backdrop of azure blue sky and water.

Situated fully within the city of Victoria, the Inner Harbour, also known as James Bay, bisects the downtown area to the front of the Empress Hotel and extends northeast to the Johnson Street Bridge. Home to dozens of restaurants, breweries, whale watching tours and ecotourism activities, the Inner Harbour serves as a port of entry to Victoria and Vancouver Island.  Ferries and small cruise ships shuttle tourists who, in only a few steps, can embark into the heart of the city.  The Harbour is a whirlwind of activity during the day and well into the evening – in good weather and bad.  As dusk settles, the lights come on, the local buskers start playing and people-watching kicks into full gear.

Throughout the warm weather months, the Inner Harbour plays host to a series of music festivals, art fairs, boat shows and sailing events.  There is always something going on.  You can enjoy a local craft beer and watch the sunset, take an ecotour to the regions of the Outer and Middle Harbours, or just sit on a bench surrounded by overflowing flower baskets and watch the rest of the world go by.  Amateur photographers are everywhere –  waiting for the perfect light.  The iconic architecture of British Columbia’s capitol city combines with the vibrant flower arrangements and natural beauty to create one of the most-photographed locations in Canada.

If it is your first visit to Victoria, you are bound to end up at the Inner Harbour.  Hop a ferry, stroll the promenade, and enjoy some fine street musicians and a good meal.  If you are fortunate enough to visit again, we will know where to find you because everyone falls in love with Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

 

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 403-465-0210 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

 

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Why Victoria is a Great Place to Live

Sun, 25 Jun by Bryon Howard

Natural beauty, good weather and a highly-coveted lifestyle are just a few of the reasons Victoria is a great place to live. The city manages to combine old world charm and ambience with ultra-modern amenities in a seductive island setting. A 2016 Conde Nest Traveler reader’s poll chose Vancouver Island, where Victoria is situated, as “the Top Island” in the continental U.S.A. and Canada, as well as one of the “Best Islands in the World.” In 2015, Travel & Leisure named Victoria one of the “Top 10” cities in North America. The Conde Nest readers understand what Victoria residents and repeat visitors have known all along – Victoria is hard to beat!

The city offers four seasons of fun and outdoor activity. Due to the sub-Mediterranean climate, gardens bloom in early Spring and last long into Autumn. The views in and around the outskirts of town are magnificent. Golf, hiking and cycling are year-round activities here. A rich British lineage is apparent not only it the city’s name, but in its impressive Victorian and Edwardian architecture, stately homes and gardens, tea rooms and horse-drawn carriages.

With a vibrant downtown center surrounded by huge areas of undeveloped wilderness and azure blue harbour waters, Victoria is home to more than 80,000 residents enjoying an enviable quality of life. The technology industry has a strong foothold in the city and employs upwards of 15,000 people. Tourism is another major business, contributing more than a billion dollars per year to an already healthy economy.

Anyone thinking of relocating to Victoria or just coming for a visit should think about timing their trip to coincide with one of the city’s music and cultural festivals that dot the calendar. Theatre lovers will enjoy the late summer Fringe Festival which hosts 50 different productions spread over 17 venues. There are music, dance and art festivals along with beer fests, Celtic festivals and Scottish Highland games.

The real estate market in Victoria is HOT and is expected to remain so throughout 2017. Homebuyers have a variety of housing options to choose from, including many newer single-family homes with income-producing secondary suites.

Victoria is a city where you can play golf in the morning, ski in the afternoon and still be home before dark. Come for the weather, come for one of our festivals, or just come to enjoy a taste of our unique brand of island life. History, culture and opportunities for adventure await your arrival!

 

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 403-465-0210 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

 

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Tips for Avoiding Nightmare Tenants

Tue, 02 May by Bryon Howard

Success in real estate investment is totally dependent on the property owner’s ability to find and lease space to qualified, dependable tenants.  Good tenants are building blocks for a solid investment.  Each turnover in tenancy involves costs – in lost rent and the cost to prepare space for a new occupancy.  There can also be substantial legal costs involved in removing problem tenants.  While a certain amount of turnover is both inevitable and manageable, the goal must be to keep turnover to a minimum.  Turnover is a landlord’s greatest enemy.

Here are a few valuable tips for pulling in quality tenants and avoiding every landlord’s worst nightmare – the deadbeat tenant from hell who does not pay rent and destroys your property.

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to tenant screening. – Order background and credit checks on every tenant applicant you consider and have them provide proof of income, such as a current pay stub.  Also, ask for landlord references and make every effort to contact those references.  It is also fair game to check out the social media pages of prospective tenants.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are home to treasure troves of information when you are trying to find out more about a person.  Just because one report or reference comes back looking good, don’t neglect to follow-up with the other checks.

Try a little patience! – Yes, we have established that turnover costs money, but do not lease to the first tenant who comes knocking just to avoid a short-term vacancy.  The costs associated with evicting a tenant will far exceed the costs of a brief vacancy.  Develop patience and wait, if necessary, for the right tenant to come along.

Look for obvious red flags that may signal a problem tenant. – There are signs that alert landlords to tenants that are best avoided.  Anyone who is in a big hurry to move in immediately should cause you to slow down and ask a few questions.  What is the big hurry?  Were they evicted by another landlord or thrown out by their parents?  Also, beware when throngs of friends and family show up to look at a simple one-bedroom apartment.  An excessive number of people living under one roof will result in increased wear & tear and higher utility costs and may even violate the rules of your condo or homeowner’s association.  Finally, watch out for applicants who have multiple addresses over a short period.  This means they move all the time.  Before you know it, they will be moving from your property and you will be back at the drawing board in search of a steady, long-term tenant.

Consider employing a professional property manager. – If your budget has some wiggle room, you may want to opt for the services of a professional property manager.  They have websites designed to attract tenants and are already set up to screen prospective tenants in assembly line fashion.  Best of all, many investors report that property management pros can negotiate better rents than they were getting on their own.

Another way to avoid bad tenants is to be a good landlord.  Honor your own obligations under your rental agreement, respect your tenant’s privacy and your good tenants will be more inclined to renew the lease.  You may even persuade them to accept a little bump in rent to sweeten the deal!

 

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

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

The Big Decision for First-Time Buyers

Sun, 02 Oct by Bryon Howard

The Big Decision for First-Time Buyers

First-time homebuyers face a myriad of choices when it comes to narrowing the search for their first home.  How much money to spend?  Which neighbourhood?  Downtown or suburbs?  These are all tough choices, and for some first-time buyers, another difficult decision is whether to put money down on a condominium or single-family home.  Some buyers know exactly what they want, while others need to do some serious soul searching and weighing of pros and cons to determine the best choice for their first home.

The Howard Team has worked with hundreds of first-time buyers over the years and we know how to ask the right questions to guide undecided buyers toward the choice that suits their budget and complements their long and short-term goals. We can educate them on the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and the intricacies of condo associations, maintenance fees and home maintenance.  Most importantly, we help them make the choice that is the best fit for their preferred lifestyle.  Here are a few of the questions we start with.

How long do you plan to stay in the home?

If you do not plan on owning your first property for more than 5 years, long-term goals are of less importance and can take a back seat to short-term considerations.  In this case, the best choice may well be the property that offers the best chance for rapid appreciation in the local market.  Based on statistical analysis and current trends, we can advise clients which neighbourhoods and type of housing are most likely to hold their value or appreciate.

What is your total budget for home ownership?

In many instances, condos are the more economical alternative and an excellent choice for first-time buyers looking to get the most house they can within the confines of their budget. Especially in Calgary, condos are a logical choice for many young, first-time buyers.   Nevertheless, it is critical that as a buyer you understand how to estimate the total cost of home ownership for condos vs. single-family homes so there are no surprises post-closing.

Do you have children or do you plan on starting a family?

Nowadays, when it comes to growing a family, it is not so much a question of how many kids you plan to have, but rather, how you plan to raise them.  The migration back to cities and downtown living is populated with many families choosing urban over suburban lifestyle.  Others still yearn for the extra square footage and freedom afforded by a single-family home with a backyard.  Fortunately, the Calgary market offers a wide range of options to suit almost everyone.

 What are your favourite leisure time activities?

This is probably the most important question and the tipping point for many buyers on the fence as to condo vs. single-family home.  Is your idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon tending to your large garden or visiting a museum? Would you rather be renovating your kitchen or snowboarding in your spare time?  How far are you willing to commute to work? Do weekend visits to a big box home improvement store leave you giddy with anticipation or bored silly?  These are lifestyle questions to help you determine if you are a condo or house person?   If you find yourself uncertain and leaning in both directions, it might be prudent to start your real estate venture with a condo, see how that feels and then move on to a single-family home down the road if it feels right.

Buying a first home is a life-changing event that merits careful thought and consideration.  Before launching your search for your starter home, sit down with an experienced Realtor to make sure you are heading in the right direction for you and your family.

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

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Is Your Home Ready to List?

Sun, 17 Jul by Bryon Howard

Is Your Home Ready to List?

When it comes to preparing a home to list for sale, successful Realtors and sellers understand that it is all about the details. There is more to selling a home for top dollar than simply staking a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Paying attention to seemingly minor details will help separate your property from others in the MLS and instill in buyers the confidence that they are purchasing a home that has been cared for.

Rather than just issuing blanket instructions to sellers that they get their homes in shape to sell, we like to take an individualized approach and make specific recommendations to sellers based on their needs and circumstances. The goal is always to help ensure the property shows as well as possible. Many clients find that a small investment of time and money prior to listing a property for sale more than pays for itself at closing.

Of course every home is different and the extent of preparation work will vary according to the age and condition of the property and the size of the seller’s budget. While we always sit down with our clients and craft a personalized strategy, we find that attention to any of the following basic items will help sell any home:

Declutter and Depersonalize – Remove as much clutter and extra furniture as possible. Traffic in the home should flow smoothly from one room to another. It is also helpful to remove personal photos, memorabilia and knickknacks to help buyers begin to envision the home as their own.

Deep Cleaning – Arrange for a deep cleaning of the home – inside and out. Power wash the exterior, and clean all walls, surfaces, windows and fixtures until they shine. Steam-cleaned carpets will look and smell like new.

Landscaping – Trim trees, bushes and any landscaping that is overgrown or obscuring the home. Make sure the lawn is cut on a regular basis.

Minor Repairs – If feasible, now is the time to take care of all those little repair items that accumulate over time. Repair or replace cracked floor, wall and counter tiles. Patch holes and cracks in the walls. Fix leaking pipes and faucets. Repair any broken doors, windows and cabinetry. Clean chimneys and replace HVAC filters.

Fresh Paint – Consider painting the interior of the home in neutral tones to appeal to the most buyers. Don’t worry! You can paint your next home in your favourite shades of pink and orange.

Finishing Touches – Replace burnt out light bulbs and worn, discolored switch plates. Pull back curtains and blinds to allow natural light to flow in. Consider replacing any worn out window treatments, bedspreads and comforters.

Some of these items may seem minor and insignificant, but experience tells us that lack of attention to these little details can make your home seem frumpy and neglected. Once you have prepared your home for listing, we can help you in the next steps – setting the appropriate asking price based on a market evaluation and determining if staging the home will assist in the sale. At first glance, it may seem like a lot of work. Just remember that once we place a “Sold” sticker on your “For Sale” sign, you will know that the time, money and labor invested in preparing your home for sale was well worth the effort.

 

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

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Creating the Right Strategy for a Quick Sale

Sun, 05 Apr by Bryon Howard

Creating the Right Strategy for a Quick Sale

What do buyers really want? Achieving a quick and stress-free sale requires a unique strategy for each home. The Calgary real estate market is in a much different place than it was last spring, but that doesn’t mean you should put your real estate goals on hold. These four smart tips will help your property stand out and appeal to the right kind of buyers:

Know how your property compares to the competition. It’s important to understand what buyers are looking for. Check out some of the listings nearby, and work with your Realtor for an honest evaluation on how your home stacks up. Does your home have certain features such as a larger yard or updated finishes that others might be lacking? Be sure to showcase the details that make your property stand out from the rest.

Take the time to make a great impression. Getting your home prepared for the market is hard work, but it will be well worth the effort. Whether it’s a professional staging or deep cleaning, give your place the TLC it needs to look its best. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of competent people just a phone call away.

Price it right. Price is the number one driving factor for a quick sale. Particularly in a challenging market, it’s important to fine-tune your strategy. Buyers are highly educated, so they won’t be willing to pay more than the market value in today’s economy. Take a look at recent sales in the area, and determine an asking price that will motivate buyers to check out your listing as soon as it hits the market.

Anticipate deal breakers before they happen. Ordering a home inspection ahead of time is a great way to avoid potential problems during the sale process. This will give you the opportunity to fix any problems with the home or detect some of the bigger issues that might scare buyers away. Some buyers try to use the details of a home inspection as a bargaining tool, which is why the home should be presented with no surprises. This will help you finalize the negotiations on the spot.

 

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

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon 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.