587-433-7653 Mark Ross

Creating a Pantry, when You Don’t Have One!

Tue, 06 Sep by Mark Ross and Associates

A pantry is the ideal nook for storing extra food and other items ordinarily crammed into the kitchen. It’s also a nice design feature, as it harkens back to the days of country kitchens with spacious pantries.
You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but our home doesn’t have a pantry.”
That’s okay. These days, there are many ways to create a pantry in your home – even if it doesn’t have one! Here are just a few suggestions:
• Add shelves to the laundry room. If you have the space, this is the ideal place to create a mini-pantry.
• Purchase a portable pantry. There are many available on the market. Some are even disguised as cabinets you’d expect to see in living and dining rooms.
• Purchase a movable pantry. These units are on wheels and can slide in and out of the kitchen with ease. Some are short enough to slide conveniently under a kitchen table.
• Make use of an unused closet. These are rare in most homes, but if you have a closet that isn’t being used, it can easily be converted into a pantry.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available. You don’t necessarily need to build an extra room!

Not-So-Obvious Reasons to Meet with a REALTOR®

Tue, 09 Aug by Mark Ross and Associates

When is the best time to meet with a REALTOR® like me? Chances are, you would say, “When I’m thinking of buying or selling a home.” You’d be right, of course!

However, there are many other good reasons to meet with me. Here are just a few:

• You want a professional opinion as to the current value of your property, so you know what it would likely sell for in today’s market.

• You notice a home listed for sale in a desirable neighbourhood, and you’re interested in learning more — even if you’re unsure you want to make a move.

• You’re thinking of moving within the next couple of years, and you want to find a REALTOR® like me, that you can get to know and trust.

• You want some recommendations for preparing your home for sale and especially determining what repairs and other work needs to be done.

• You want an honest assessment as to the state of the local market, and the best time for you to buy or sell.

• You have real estate-related questions and you want to talk to an expert who knows the local market well and can provide you with answers.

As you can see, there’s a lot of value you can get from talking to me as your REALTOR®. Call today.

Should you own a fire extinguisher??

Thu, 04 Aug by Mark Ross and Associates

You’ve seen fire extinguishers in commercial environments, such as schools, stores and workplaces. Does it make sense to have one in your home?
According to the experts, yes. In fact, a fire extinguisher can quickly put out a blaze that would otherwise quickly grow out of control.
There are several types of fire extinguishers that are made especially for residential use. That means they put out the most common fires that occur in the home (Class A, B & K fires), and they are easy to handle and use.
Since most residential fires happen in the kitchen, that’s the best place to keep your extinguisher. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is and how to use it.
Keep in mind that a home fire extinguisher is meant for small fires that are easy to put out, such as a pan of vegetable oil igniting on the stove. If you find you can’t control the blaze within a few seconds with the extinguisher, get everyone out of the home and call the fire department.
Also, never attempt to fight a major fire yourself. Leave that to the professionals.

How much time should you spend viewing homes?

Fri, 29 Jul by Mark Ross and Associates

Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”
The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!
Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.
There are basically three stages to viewing a property:

1. Macro
2. Micro
3. Professional

When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.
Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.
If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.
The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.
Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.
As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today.

Finding the list price-tipping points.

Mon, 25 Jul by Mark Ross and Associates

Setting the right list price for a home is a mystery for many sellers. How do you begin to determine what buyers are likely to pay for your property? After all, no two homes are exactly alike.

Yet, setting the right price is crucial. You need to avoid the two price “tipping points” that, if crossed, can cause you a lot of problems.

The first tipping point is a price that’s low enough for buyers to begin thinking something is wrong. They wonder, “Why is your price so low? What are you not telling us about your property?”

But that’s not even the worst problem with this tipping point. If you do get offers at that low price, you’ll have a bigger issue – leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

The other tipping point is setting your price so high it discourages buyers from giving your listing a second look. When your price is that high, you’ll get few enquiries and even fewer people coming to see your property.

Of course, you can lower your price later, if necessary. But experience shows that reduced prices make potential buyers skeptical. Most sellers who price high in the hopes of getting a windfall actually end up selling for much less than they would have if they had priced their properties correctly in the first place.

So what’s the right price to list your property? The answer is somewhere in-between those two tipping points.

Call today for help determining the right price for your property.

Keeping Houseplants Alive when You’re Away

Mon, 04 Jan by Mark Ross and Associates

When you’re out-of-town, there are plenty of kennels and other facilities that will mind your dog or cat. In fact, the pet-care business is booming! However, the same options aren’t available for your houseplants. So what do you do?

First, keep in mind that plants can go for several days or even a couple of weeks without water. This frequently happens in their natural habitats. So if you’re gone for just a few days, your flora will probably be fine.

Flowering plants tend to need the most water. Give them an extra dose just before you leave. Also, make sure they are in indirect, rather than direct sunlight. That will help them conserve water.

If you’re going to be away for a week or more, consider one of the several products on the market that water plants automatically. Many of these allow you to adjust how much water each plant gets — and when.

You’ll find plenty of do-it-yourself instructions for making your own automatic waterer on the internet, from plastic cups with tiny holes in the bottom to upside-down bottles with wicks. These might work, but you’ll want to test them first.

Of course, your best option might be to have a friend or trusted neighbour take care of the plants for you. Just be sure to give them clear instructions.

Your houseplants will thank you.

Love Him or Hate Him, He Gets It Done!

Mon, 20 Apr by Mark Ross and Associates

In 2015, Kayne West is labeled as the most influential person by Time magazine. This makes me wonder, why? What has Kayne done that makes people want to listen to him?

The moment you become an influential person, you become a mentor, someone people look up to. If people look up to you, they will seek you out and this results in more leads and sales.

How to become Kayne West (or at least, gain a little influence)…

Kayne’s approach to business seems a little unorthodox, but he has some great lessons we can take from his rise to stardom and apply them to our own real estate business.

Exude Confidence. Kayne is always confident. He exudes the type of confidence that is on the cusp of arrogance and always has throughout his career. Being a rapper and superstar, this has developed his personal brand.
“I am Warhol. I am the No. 1 most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh.” – Kayne West

Use this lesson to become a confident leader. Stand tall. Have a firm handshake. As a REALTOR, take his confident approach and use it in every meeting.

Be Driven. Kayne never gave up on his dreams and has become an international phenomenon. He took each opportunity in his life to grow his career and business.
“Nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go.” – Kayne West

Dream big. Push yourself. Start marketing yourself in places you might be unfamiliar with.

Keep pursuing your dreams and be diligent. Kayne worked towards being the voice of a generation. it wasn’t enough to be a rapper, he worked to expand his empire and brand. He kept learning and pushing himself.
“Our work is never over” – Kayne West

Learn. Knowledge is power and knowledge of your industry can be your best tool. Learn how to market yourself and develop your brand. If you aren’t sure where to start, there are some amazing resources I have found linked below to get you started.

“I will go down as the voice of this generation, of this decade, I will be the loudest voice.” – Kayne West

Take these few lessons Kayne has given, and create a brand using your own strengths and unique style. If anything, Kayne has taught us to accept and push ourselves to achieve greatness.

Sounds Like it’s Going to be OK After all

Wed, 01 Apr by Mark Ross and Associates

Inventory gains influence housing prices
First quarter activity reflects economic uncertainty

Elevated inventory levels and low sales for three consecutive months caused unadjusted benchmark prices to ease by 0.44 per cent in March, relative to the previous month, for a total of $454,300. Based on first quarter statistics, conditions are consistent with buyers’ market conditions.

Typical home prices have declined by 0.59 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. The sales to new listings ratio also dropped to 41 per cent and months of supply averaged 4.03 for the quarter. This is a significant change from one year ago when the market was facing inventory shortages and price gains.

“Based on current sales activity and rising supply levels, the change in pricing does not come as a surprise,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, the recent price adjustments have not eroded all the higher than expected price gains recorded last year. While conditions have likely tempered growth in new listings, further near term price adjustments will be dependent on changes to inventory levels.” said Lurie.

Sales activity fell by nearly 30 per cent in March, compared to this time last year, and remains well below 10-year averages. City of Calgary sales totaled 3,843 units at the end of the first quarter.

“In this market, buyers and sellers should be thinking about their short term and long term objectives,” said CREB® president Corinne Lyall. “This is a challenging economic time and people need to know their long game, so they can make the right real estate choices for today and tomorrow.”

While Calgary’s housing market has demonstrated buyer market conditions for the first quarter, the recent pullback in new listings in March has helped ease the growth in inventory levels, resulting in better absorption rates.

The apartment sector has the highest months of inventory in Calgary. This has resulted in higher quarterly price declines in this sector, when compared to the detached and attached sectors. By the end of March, the apartment quarterly benchmark price declined by 1.46 per cent, against the previous quarter. This compares to the 0.4 per cent declines in the detached and attached sector over the same time frame.

“Market influence is always wide-ranging and everyone has different reasons for making a move,” said Lyall. “Consideration must be given to the amount of inventory that’s available for a similar property based on the specific features of that home. The amount of competition for a property is often what influences the price that buyers and sellers will agree on.”

When considering the inventory that is available in the City of Calgary, there are 878 units priced under $300,000, of which 99 per cent are either apartment or attached product. The majority of inventory falls in the range of $300,000 to $600,000, of which 56 per cent of the product is detached. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there are 1,933 units in inventory at a price over $600,000, of which more than 72 per cent are detached homes.

“Concerns in the energy sector continue to persist, and employment figures are starting to support those concerns,” said Lurie. “In February, employment figures pointed towards job losses related to the energy sector. While monthly employment gains offset the losses, most of the gains were in the traditionally lower paying industries such as the personal services sector. If this trend continues, it may influence the composition of housing demand,” said Lurie.


January has been just a little bit crazy!

Thu, 29 Jan by Mark Ross and Associates

This has been a very interesting month, this January of 2015. We’ve gone from cold, to really cold, with a little bit of really really cold and now 15 days of chinook with temperatures well above 0 degrees. We’ll pay for it in March/April, you watch.
The other interesting part has been watching the Canadian economy bounce around. The value of our dollar, the Loonie, now dubbed the Swoonie has been taking a beating for the last couple of months. It’s dropped over 20% in value year over year and it looks like it hasn’t hit bottom yet. Economist doubt though that our Swoonie will reach the all-time low of $.62 USD from 2002. Most analysts are suggesting a 75 cent dollar is probable. The silver lining in all this is that at 75 cents, manufacturing exports will soar. Canada being made up of different economic regions, this is better for some areas than others. As most manufacturing business’ are in Ontario and Quebec, these are heady times for those two provinces. Well, it would be if manufacturing was the catalyst that drives the Canadian economy.
As we’ve learned all too well over the past years, the Canadian economy goes as the oil business goes. I saw an interesting report this morning that clearly pegs the value of the Canadian Dollar with oil prices. As oil prices drop, so does the value of the dollar, as oil prices rise, so does the value of the dollar. We relate the value of the Canadian dollar to that of the US Dollar and we all know that the US Dollar is surging upwards. The US economy is about to hit high gear which will further put pressure on the Swoonie. The fact is though, our dollar is doing great against other currencies. Especially the Euro, .71 which is about a 10% increase in value of the last 2 years. The Swoonie is at 1.34 British Pound Sterling which again is a significant value increase from 2 years ago. But because we measure everything against the US Dollar it appears we’re doing poorly. Really, the major things that will affect us is the cost of a vacation to the States and the price increase of fresh produce coming out of California. Those are typically the greatest factors for Western Canadians. Eastern Canadians who live much closer to the border and cross border shop a great deal more than Westerners will feel the pain there too. It will probably be cheaper just to buy it in Canada in the short term.
The Secretary General of OPEC was telling a news conference on Monday that he feels that oil will probably find its bottom price fairly close to where we are now but that OPEC would not be reducing production to stabilize prices. In fact OPEC would consider increasing production if shale oil producers didn’t understand the message they were being given. It remains to be seen if his words are prophetic or ramblings. One other statement that he is attributed with is that oil could reach $200 per barrel before this year is out. That prediction is greatly different than the standard “wisdom” which generally accepts that oil pricing will probably be between $60 and $80 a barrel for the rest of this year.
As for house prices in Calgary and area? Everybody seems to be sitting still. We’ve noticed a significant increase in properties available and also that prices seem to be starting to trend downwards slightly. Part of the reason for the increased properties for sale could be a direct result of corporate lay-offs. We’ve seen several contract positions eliminated over the past few months, and if homeowners needed 2 incomes to qualify for their mortgage, it could be that they can no longer afford their house. As confidence in the Alberta economy wanes, so likely will house prices. Those people who have the constitution to sit through this downturn will probably be winners in the end. Those who panic or are forced to make a move, will probably be at the mercy of the market place. There are buyers out there, but they are being picky and negotiating hard to get the best price they can.
If you’re a seller today, remember this, that buyer chose to make an offer on your property, there were dozens more out there that they could have chosen.
For information on listings and to look for properties that might interest you, go to www.yycnorth.com

Everything seems to be dropping!

Wed, 21 Jan by Mark Ross and Associates

Like I said earlier, these are interesting times. Today, the Bank of Canada announced that it was cutting the over night interest rate by .25 wish is the first move they’ve made since 2010. While this looks like a good thing on the surface, what is that really saying?
I think it means the Bank of Canada thinks we’re in for a bit of a rough ride at least over the short term. My agents are constantly asking what is going to happen to the market. 6 months ago they were concerned that things were moving so fast that buyers wouldn’t be able to keep up and be priced right out of the housing market. Today they want to know how low house prices are going to go.
My answer is … Who Knows!
It appears that over the next little while that people who really have to sell will be at the mercy of buyers. Many buyers are also taking a cautious wait and see attitude, trying to wait out the plunge hoping to save as much money as they can. Some buyers are also fearing for the security of their jobs. Some of the oil companies have announced layoffs already but again most are taking a cautious, wait and see attitude. Employers know that once an employee is laid off, they quite often are snapped up by another company and replacing and retraining is very expensive. If this is a short term pricing dip then most people’s jobs will be safe for the time being.
I wish I had a crystal ball.
If you want to stay abreast of the market and all it’s happenings, you can request more information on our websites: www.yycnorth.com or www.airdriewest.com

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.