Calgary News, Events & Local Insights about Calgary - Blog Archive: March, 2014

Welcome to's blog, featuring news and insights on Calgary. Brought to you by Justin Havre & Associates - RE/MAX First.

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Getting a home inspection on a previously-owned property is a necessity and should not be viewed as only an option. Approximately 40% of the listings on the market have a defect that could be serious. In some cases these defects can be easily rectified and at other times a substantial investment will be required to fix them up.

Just think of what you would do if you were going to buy a used car from somebody on Kijiji. You would get a mechanic to check it out thoroughly before handing over any money. If not, any problems that come up will be yours to deal with. The same goes for a house.

A home inspection puts you in the driver's seat so that you have control over your purchase. You'll know exactly what you're getting into from the get-go. An…

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Foreign investors continue to keep their eyes on Canada and are willing to pour their money into lucrative investments. Last year, foreign investment in the Canadian hotel sector was the highest seen since 2007 according to a new report by Colliers International.

One of the biggest transactions of its kind occurred last year when the Westin Canadian portfolio was purchased. Investors from the Middle East backed the winning bid that was received from a Starwood Capital Group affiliate.

Hotel purchases last year

Due to the overall size of the hotel real estate transaction, this affected the metrics and pricing in this sector for the year. The sale represented 89% of the Canadian hotel purchases last year. In total, $2.02 billion worth of activity…

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Whether you're planning a romantic date or need a place for a business meeting, the right restaurant atmosphere makes a difference. Some spots are just too loud to carry on a conversation, while others cram you in so close everybody else can hear what you're saying. However, some restaurants in Calgary are perfect for a conversation. Here are the top choices.

The Belvedere - 107 8 Avenue SW

This soft and warm restaurant is one of the best choices for a romantic date. Start with a martini in the beautiful lounge as you enjoy the custom-made furniture. Then, head into the dining room to enjoy delicious cuisine, one of the best wine lists in the world and the perfect atmosphere for great conversation.

The Belvedere also provides a great spot for a…

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VolunteersVolunteering doesn't have to be all about serving food at a soup kitchen. There are many great choices for volunteer activities in Calgary and many of the fit with specific passions. From art assistants to animal foster homes, there are plenty of great opportunities to volunteer throughout the city. Here are some of the best choices.

Dog Adoption Program at Animal Rescue Foundation of Alberta (ARF) - Telephone Interviewer

You can volunteer to call applicants looking to adopt a dog through ARF and spend a half-hour providing a telephone interview. You will be part of the process of ensuring dogs end up in good homes. Find more information about this opportunity at

Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) - Mentor

If you're…

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If you're renting a building, you are not required to take out tenants insurance. All you technically need is good credit and an income that can support the rental payments. It's a good idea to get rental insurance, however, to make sure that you are covered should a disaster strike.

A lot of people believe that they are automatically covered by the insurance that the landlord holds. The landlord’s insurance, however, doesn't cover the contents of the tenant’s rental unit. It only provides coverage for the building structure should an environmental catastrophe take place.

As a renter, your belongings won't be covered and replaced should a fire or other disaster occur. This is where tenant insurance comes in handy and the policy payments are…

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3628 9 St Sw, CalgaryWhen it's time to buy a new home, whether your first time or your fifth, a few tips can help you find the right home for you. Sometimes you just need a reminded of how the process works, while other times, it's necessary to understand the changing market. Here are a few things to consider whenever searching for a Calgary home for sale.

Pre-Approval Matters

If you want true buying power, get a pre-approved mortgage amount before you start looking. This should be one of the first things you do and it will make a huge difference when you submit your offer. Sometimes sellers will actually take a lower offer because of a pre-approval.

Create a Need/Want List

There's a big difference between something you need for your family and something you want. For…

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When it's time to buy your new house, there are 2 different types of mortgages to take a look at: adjustable rate and a fixed-rate mortgages. If it's your first time buying a home, you'll want to know the difference between the 2 kinds of mortgages so that you can have a general understanding of what they are before the mortgage broker attempts to explain them to you.

Adjustable rate mortgages

This often seems like the most attractive mortgage due to its lower interest rate. At the beginning of the mortgage term you'll be offered an interest rate that is lower than the one you'd find with a fixed-rate mortgage. The problem is that the rate of interest won’t be locked in and later on the monthly payments can go up if the interest rate rises. In some…

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While it is always important to find the home of your dreams, you need to make sure that it is also in the neighbourhood of your dreams. So many people overlook this simple fact by concentrating on the type of house they want without giving a lot of thought to the community that they'd like to live in. If you only spend your time looking for the right home without taking a look at the different neighborhoods, you may end up regretting it later.

Before deciding on a new community, here are some of the most important things to consider:

1. Do you need to be close to a school?

If you have children that attend school, you'll want to have one nearby that has received good ratings. The best place to check out any schools in the neighbourhood is through…

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Sometimes you just stumble upon a great restaurant that you never knew existed. You might have passed it a million times on your way to work, but never stopped in. Calgary is home to many hidden gems of this nature. Here are the top restaurants to discover for 2014.

Korean Village Restaurant - 1324 10 Avenue SW

The service may not be the best in the city, but the Korean Village Restaurant provides some very unique and tasty dishes. You can enjoy the barbecued mackerel, the LA galbi ribs and many other great options here.

Apna Desi Meat Masala - 734, 5075 Falconridge Boulevard NE

The spices and the grilling are taken serious here and it shows. You can enjoy all kinds of meats, such as goat, lamb, fish or chicken. The recipes are secret, but you…

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ContractorThe spring season is right around the corner and many home improvement projects will get started soon. This means, you may be shopping for a contractor very soon. If you've never done this before, a few tips will make it a little bit easier.

Research First

Understanding who your potential contractor is and a bit about his/her business will make a big difference. Some of the questions you need to answer first include:

  • What types of jobs do you handle on a regular basis?
  • Do you have any specialty licenses, such as plumbing or electrical?
  • How long have you been in business as a contractor?
  • Do you have your own crew or do you subcontract to other workers?

These questions are very important and can help you weed out any contractors that are…

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