What is Staging?

Staging is the process of preparing a property for sale!

Homes that are staged sell faster and for more money.  This is achieved by creating immediate buyer interested in your property.

When a property is placed on the market it has features and benefits that are both good and bad. The job of a staging professional is to enhance the positive aspects of the property, show off the architectural details and make your home stand out from the competition.  This is extremely important for the photographs needed for online postings. Most buyers are looking at photos before venturing out from property to property.

Most staging professionals have access to furniture on a monthly rental basis. The fees are minimal when compares to the length of time and empty/unfurnished property is on the market. Most buyers cannot envision their possession in the home because often an unfurnished property looks smaller than it actually is. It was been proven that most buyers place their sofas in the exact spot the sellers sofa was, thus proving that buyers need to see the property furnished.

It is also beneficial to bring in a professional stager to offer advice in an occupied property. This process often involves removing excess furniture and de-cluttering. By removing clutter, the rooms suddenly seem to become larger, allowing the homeowner to start the packing process and the emotional separation from the home to begin as well. Encourage the children to help in the de-cluttering process so they feel like they are part of the decision.

One the editing has been completed, the best features of the property are highlighted so that the less appealing aspects, if any exist, become minimal. The home must become de-cluttered and de-personalized. Cleaning is also an important step, the property must be spotless. A fresh coast of neutral paint is never a bad idea an the return of investment is very good, especially since most homeowners can paint themselves or offer friends and family the bonding experience that comes with helping out. (Okay, the pizza and beer that comes with helping out).

Try looking at your property through the buyers eyes, as though you’ve never seen it before. Ask a friend to be completely honest with you an critique your home. It is also a great idea to photograph each room yourself and look at it through the “lens”. This can really let you see what others may see. The home must be clean, organized, de-cluttered and de-personalized. If this has been done it should result in both more money for you, as well as sell faster than the competition.

Laura Le (Creative Enhancement Inc)

Laura Le has owned Creative Enhancement for about sever years. Laura complete courses with Accredited Staging Professionals, Canadian Staging Professionals and Canadian ReDesign Association.  Creative Enhancement has been a member of the BBB since 2005, phone: 403-807-8591 www.creativeenhancements.ca

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What’s NEXT?

Soil contamination a major hurdle for any West Village development

The Calgary Flames’ season may be over, but that doesn’t mean hockey talk in the city has come to a close.

In addition to fans’ usual examination of how things could have gone differently, the question of where the team is going to play its home games in the not-too-distant future remains.

Part of that answer will come to light April 25 when Calgary Municipal Land Corp. (CMLC) reports findings to city council from its six-month environmental assessment of land in West Village where Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (owner of the Flames, Calgary Stampeders and Calgary Roughnecks) is proposing to build the much-debated CalgaryNEXT project.

The report by CMLC – a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary that is currently behind the East Village revival and would oversee development of the West Village site – analyzed the scale of creosote contamination and options to remediate the land.

Noting a similar, albeit smaller-scale, clean-up having taken place in the East Village, CMLC senior vice-president of strategy and business development Susan Veres said the work needed to move the West Village forward will require a lot more work than many are expecting.

“Let’s not be naïve. The contamination issue in the West Village is far, far greater than East Village and would require a lot of support from a lot of groups,” she said in advance of the report’s release.

“Aside from market assessment and whether the market is there or not, I think you have to have a really long view for West Village because the work that would need to be done to get the land to a state where it could accommodate anything is an enormous undertaking.”


Last August, Calgary Sports and Entertainment unveiled its plans for CalgaryNEXT in West Village that would include the construction of a 19,000-seat “arena events centre” along with a 30,000-seat “Multisport Fieldhouse Stadium” with a covered roof and retractable seats to accommodate a 400-metre track.

The proposal also includes plans for residential housing in the form of condominiums, as well as hotels and commercial space – similar to the sort of development that has transformed the East Village from a blighted community to a master-planned neighbourhood.

Currently home to an assortment of car dealerships, the Greyhound bus station and a handful of empty lots, the 56-hectare West Village is bordered on the north by Bow Trail westbound and the Bow River, on the east by 11th Street S.W. and sits alongside the recently opened Sunalta LRT.

It was once home to Canada Creosote (later known as Domtar), which ceased operation in 1962. Creosote is a compound of about 200 organic chemicals that was used to preserve wood products such as railway ties and power poles. Made up of a variety of chemical compounds that mostly do not dissolve in water, a small portion of the compounds is lighter than water and sits on top of the water table. A larger portion of the compounds is denser than water and settles and moves along the bedrock by gravity.

Health risks range from respiratory irritation from breathing in the vapour, skin damage from long-term skin or air contact and long-term exposure resulting in some cancers. In the early 1990s, environmental monitoring determined that contaminants from the site had migrated under the Bow River and into the community of West Hillhurst.

Starting last November, Worley Parsons initiated a site/assessment and field program of West Village around the site. This program will form part of the CMLC’s report being produced City Hall.

With more information on the clean-up likely to be revealed in CMLC’s report, early estimates have pegged costs between $50 and $300 million – numbers Veres said could be equally accurate depending on development intentions for the land.

“It depends to what extent you’re mitigating and for what purpose are you mitigating? Are you mitigating the land so that it can house people or so it can house a park? Living on it and visiting it are two different things, so I can see why there is a broad spectrum in the number,” she said.

The clean-up process is also a bit more complicated than simply trucking out the old contaminated soil, noted Jan Quinlan, soil and contaminated sites specialist for Alberta Environment and Parks.

“Cleaning up a creosote contaminated site is a major undertaking and is very complex because of mixture of contaminants that make up creosote,” said Quinlan.

“It isn’t as simple as just digging everything up, as the contamination can travel into areas where it is hard to access. Usually a multi-faceted approach is required to address soil, water/groundwater and potentially bedrock.”

Since such a clean-up will likely be required long before any infrastructure improvements, Veres said those looking for any major development take place in West Village could have long wait in front of them.

“It took years of pre-planning to get East Village to a position where it could be marketed; where the infrastructure could be delivered; where the financing mechanisms were in place – it took years before we started,” she said. “So I would suggest a similar scenario would have to unfold in West Village. If it is going to be a redevelopment site, there’s a lot of work ahead.”

For now, Veres sees CMLC’s involvement, at least at this point, as a natural fit given the corporation’s similar experience developing East Village.

“If the future of West Village is for a mixed-use community, sort of a brownfield redevelopment, then yes, that would be our specialty and we demonstrated that skill set in East Village,” she said.

“But I think it’s not yet espoused the complete and holistic vision for West Village, and I think that’s why we were asked to do some work and that’s why the City is doing some work.”

Apr 15, 2016  by: Cody Stuart CREBNow

Luxury Home Sales Rebound

Segment rallies as overall market continues to face challenges

Once considered out for the count, Calgary’s luxury housing sector has seemingly rallied, posting a double-digit sales increase so far in 2016, according to new statistics.

Home sales in the city valued at more than $1 million totalled 118 over the first three months of the year – up more than 20 per cent from 98 during the same period last year. In March, $1-million-plus sales totalled 54, up from 49 in 2015.

This comes as CREB® released its most recent monthly housing summary, showing overall sales in the city this year have declined so far this year by nearly 10 per cent.

“While the $1-million-plus segment accounts for a small share of the activity, there has certainly been some improvement in sales over last year,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

City Centre recorded 60 million-plus sales during the first quarter, a 13 per cent increase compared to 2015. The North West district also posted positive numbers, a 100 per cent increase to 10 sales, while the South East gained 11 sales, up 450 per cent from two during the same time the previous year.

CREB® president Cliff Stevenson theorizes the more robust activity was due to sellers in this sector readjusting pricing in response to market conditions.

“Price reductions in the $1-million plus segment of the market are often higher because the home is worth more money, so even a small percentage drop is going represent a larger sum compared to the mid-range of the market,” he said. “These kinds of price declines can pique a buyer’s interest when considering the idea of moving up into that next home and price point.”

Calgary’s luxury new home sector is also showing positive signs. Brookfield Residential senior vice-president of housing Allan Klassen said he’s seen a noticeable bump in activity within the last month when compared to previous periods.

“It was certainly slow up until March for the previous four to five months …, but it has really started to turn the corner over the last 30 days,” said the industry veteran, who also oversees the luxury Albi Homes division, recently named a finalist in 11 categories of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s (CHBA) 2016 National Awards for Housing Excellence.

Klassen noted in the last 30 days, Albi has posted its best numbers in eight months, with six sales valued at more than $1 million in March alone, and four more in April.

“The foot traffic to our show homes has been down, but the quality of traffic has gone up significantly,” he said. “I don’t want to start holding a parade, but there certainly seems to be some activity out there.”

As for the rest of the market, overall sales so far this year have fallen to 3,483 units, a nearly 10 per cent drop from 3,861 last year. In March sales dipped by 11 per cent to 1,588 units from 1,777 recorded during the same time last year.

“With no improvement in the labour market, it’s no surprise that we continue to face downward pressure on housing sales activity and prices,” said Lurie, noting provincial unemployment rates are at the highest level recorded since the early 1990s.


New listings, meanwhile increased over the same period by more than three per cent to 3,227 units. Weak absorption caused months of supply to increase by more than 19 per cent to 3.8 months, as the city’s benchmark price decreased by 0.49 per cent from February and 3.51 per from levels recorded last year to $442,800.

Months of supply represents the amount of time it would take to sell current inventory. Since the start of the year, it has averaged around five months.

The attached sector saw the steepest decline in March, with sales falling by nearly 18 per cent to 326 units. This in contrast to a nearly seven per cent year-over-year increase reported in February.

New listings in the sector increased year-over-year by six per cent, causing inventory to edge up and months of supply to jump by more than 40 per cent to 4.5 months. As a result, the benchmark price fell by 3.3 per cent to $336,500.

Apartments also continued to struggle, with prices dropping by nearly five per cent from last month, and nearly one per cent from the same time last year, to $281,300.

The price decline was due to rising inventory in the sector, jumping by eight per cent to 1,534 units as sales fell by nearly 15 per cent last month to 257 units and listings gaining 1.5 per cent to 682 units.

Months of supply in the sector has now increased to nearly six months.

The detached sector, which represents more than half of all sales in the city, saw similar declines in March. The benchmark price fell by 0.4 per cent from February and 3.3 per cent from March 2015, as sales fell by nearly seven per cent to 1,005 units and listings increased by nearly three per cent to 1,821 units.

Inventory edged up slightly on a year-over-year basis to 1.7 per cent, while months of supply jumped more than nine per cent to just over three months.

“Homebuyers continue to wait and see if there are going to be further declines in home prices before making an offer,” said Stevenson. “Timing the bottom of the market is proving to be quite a challenge in the housing market we are faced with now.”

Luxury home sales rebound


Apr 9, 2016 by: Jamie Zachary CREBNow


Housing prices trend down in March

Unemployment impacting housing activity

Home prices declined further in March as economic conditions weigh on Calgary’s housing market.

Calgary’s benchmark price totaled $442,800 in March, a 0.49 per cent decline over February and 3.51 per cent lower than levels recorded last year.

“With no improvement in the labour market, it’s no surprise that we continue to face downward pressure on housing sales activity and prices,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Provincial unemployment rates are at the highest level recorded since the early ‘90s,” said Lurie, adding that Calgary’s unemployment rate in February rose to 8.4 per cent, which is higher than the provincial average of 7.9 per cent.

March home sales in Calgary totaled 1,588 units, 11 per cent below the same time last year and 28 per cent lower than long-term averages for the month.

Calgary also saw housing supply gains in most price ranges. Inventory levels rose by seven per cent to 6,084 units in March. Overall, months of supply has averaged five months in the first quarter of 2016.

“As we move into spring, we are starting to see more foot traffic at open houses and showings from potential buyers,” said CREB® president Cliff Stevenson. “For now, this activity hasn’t translated into improved sales in most segments of the market.”

The apartment sector has been the hardest hit by the recent downturn. After the first quarter of the year, apartment sales totaled 554 units, a 17 per cent decline over the same period last year.

Apartment benchmark prices have been trending down since late 2014. In March, benchmark apartment prices totaled $281,300, seven per cent lower than levels recorded prior to the slide and 4.93 per cent lower than levels recorded last year.

The detached and attached sector has also felt the brunt of Calgary’s weakening economy. Detached and attached home prices have dropped by four per cent from the recent peak.

“Homebuyers continue to wait and see if there are going to be further declines in home prices before making an offer,” said Stevenson. “Timing the bottom of the market is proving to be quite a challenge in the housing market we are faced with now.”