Category: Coldwell News

22 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers

Everyone is talking about the connected home. Smart home technology is becoming the new norm and now more than 500 Coldwell Banker sale associates are taking off in real estate as well. Nearly 60 percent of sales associates surveyed said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago, and one in three sales associates noted that properties with smart home features and technologies sell faster than homes without them.

The relevance of the smart home was also apparent at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this year. Members of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate marketing team attended CES. The team couldn’t walk more than a few feet without encountering a new piece of smart home technology. From security systems with advanced motion sensors to innovative systems that allow for lighting control from mobile devices, the connected home was ubiquitous.

Inspired by CES, Coldwell Banker compiled a list of the top 25 smart home products and technologies that matter most to buyers, based on the Coldwell Banker survey and CES favorites. The list is grouped into seven categories: security, temperature, safety, lighting, entertainment, appliances and overall connectivity.


Smart Security

1. Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock – With Kevo the smartphone is now the key. Home sellers can allow their realtors, or anyone else such as a neighbor or a housecleaner, to have access to specified doors for a designated time. Eventually when the new buyer moves in all they have to do is download the app and they’re ready to go.

2. iSmartAlarm –Meet one of the DIY smart home security leaders, with no monthly fees and no contracts. This easy-to-install wireless DIY system is great for apartments or small homes. The iSmartAlarm system is almost infinitely expandable via door and window motion sensors, smart switches, and iCamera and iCamera KEEP models with streaming video and video storage. Packages start at $199.

3. Oplink Connected– Oplink Connected is great for a slightly larger home, and provides a premier service for a low monthly fee. The DIY alarm package includes door and window sensors as well as video cameras which are controlled through its mobile app.

4. SAGE Security & Home Automation– Coming soon — SAGE allows for management of the entire connected home through mobile devices and televisions. The television-centric SAGE system enables consumers to check on children in another room via a video feed, see who rang the doorbell or lower the room temperature — all from the comfort of the TV room couch.


Smart Temperature 

5. Nest Learning Thermostat – Tell a buyer that the home has a Nest thermostat and their ears will perk-up. The Nest Learning Thermostat absorbs its owner’s daily routine and adjusts the temperature accordingly. The Nest thermostat can be controlled through a phone, its built-in sensors detect an empty home allowing Nest to set itself to an energy-efficient temperature. Oh, and it also saves customers about 10 – 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills per year — a huge win.

6. Honeywell Lyric Thermostat – Honeywell is known for temperature control and their new smart thermostat, the Lyric, is a solid entry into the smart home market. The most talked about advantages of Lyric are its geofencing feature and humidity sensor for more accurate comfort, control and savings. All of these qualities are definitely pluses for families.

7. Canary – This sleek-looking product is mostly about security, but it made this smart temperature list for its ability to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. It’s cool enough to make an impression with potential buyers, at only $249. The Canary system is available in white, black or silver.

8. Big Ass Fans’ Haiku with SenseME – The world’s most advanced ceiling fan knows exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. Not to mention, it is a gorgeous and luxurious addition to any room. Starting at $1,045 it’s a better fit for luxury homes, but it will certainly set any listing apart.


Smart Safety

9. Iris Safe & Secure Kit – With Iris, Lowe’s is making it simple for just about anyone to make their home smarter. Feel more confident that families, homes and pets are safe and secure with the DIY, self-monitored home security system. Receive notifications directly to a smartphone, tablet or computer whenever an alarm event is triggered.

10. First Alert Onelink – This suite of smart home safety products is fresh to the market. Included in this offering (and available for presale on Amazon.com) are a Wi-Fi combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm as well as a watch, both of which send phone notifications if something is amiss. The First Alert Onlink safety products, including the already available Wi-Fi thermostat, will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

11. Nest Protect – This smart home device is a smoke and carbon monoxide smart alarm that speaks in a human voice, telling the user if there’s smoke or CO, which room it’s in, and if there is immediate danger. Definitely comforting for families!

12. Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight – This genius little nightlight keeps track of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and home climate. If something’s not right, it sends immediate phone notifications.


Smart Lighting

13. Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb – This combination light and speaker had everyone buzzing at CES 2015. Simply twist the bulb into an existing light socket, download the app and connect to the Pulse bulbs. The Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb can stream music and control lighting at the same time.

14. Lutron Caséta Wireless – This connected home solution allows for lights, battery-powered shades and temperature to be controlled from a mobile device. An easy DIY solution that’s affordable, these products are less than $150. For example, hit “morning,” lights will turn onto a certain level, shades will rise and room temperature is adjusted to the desired level.

15. Philips Hue – Philips Hue delivers more than 16 million colors and all shades of white light to personalize lighting to suit any occasion, mood or moment. With more than 230 apps, Philips Hue can sync lights to music, or even simulate a sunrise effect. Bulbs and lamps are now all controllable via the Hue app or MyHue portal.

16. Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set – With this simple starter set, turn lights off-and-on from anywhere, create schedules and dim to create the perfect ambiance. The set includes the WeMo link, which allows users to connect up to 50 WeMo Smart bulbs. Can’t get enough of Belkin WeMo products? Get tricked out with completeBelkin home automation.


Smart Appliances

17.LG Studio Collection – LG Studio, LG’s premium line of kitchen appliances, seamlessly blends best-in-class innovation with an uncompromising approach to design. Its full suite of appliances — including refrigerators, cooktops, ranges, ovens and microwaves — delivers integrated and timeless styling, embodying LG’s finest expression of aesthetics and performance.

18. Whirlpool Smart Duet Washer and Dryer – Whirlpool has made it easy to control every load at anytime from anywhere. The Smart Front Washer and Dryer now work with the Nest Learning Technology, helping to keep clothes fresh if the cycle ends while the user is away.

19. LG Mega-Capacity French-Door Refrigerator – LG’s Mega Capacity Refrigerator boasts incredibly impressive size. As the largest in its class, families have room for even the biggest shopping expeditions with space to spare! It also includes the Slim Spaceplus Ice System and the Smart Cooling Plus System, which help keep food fresher, longer. The LG Mega-Capacity Refrigerator includes a 10-year limited warranty.

20. GE ChillHub This first-of-its-kind smart refrigerator has two USB hubs, WiFi and an open-source IOS-compatible app that integrates with the refrigerator by allowing access to sensor data and control of fridge components. The first ChillHub accessory, Milky Weigh, will even tell you how much milk you have left!


Smart Entertainment

21. N’FINITY PRO HDX Dual Zone Wine Cellars – The N’FINITY PRO is the most advanced wine cellar on the market. Equipped with an energy saving cooling system, telescopic shelving and dual zone cooling, these smart wine cellars will take care of all wine storage needs in the most cost efficient way!

22. Vizio 60″ P-Series Smart TV –This Ultra HD TV is crystal clear and lets users stream popular apps and favorite shows in UHD quality and use UHD playback from next generation cable and satellite receivers, Blu-ray players and more.

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Central Alberta REALTORS® Association Annual Toy Drive 2015

Coldwell Banker has taken part in this Annual Toy Drive for 3 years now. Toys were collected by Coldwell Banker volunteers and are distributed to a variety of different charities such as women’s and children’s shelters.

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Steps to Obtaining a Mortgage

Steps to obtaining a mortgage

1) Speak to a Mortgage Broker about obtaining a pre-approval. Remember a pre-approval only gives you a general idea of the price range you should be shopping in. It can also hold an interest for you while you search for your home.
2) Once your Mortgage Broker has given you your pre-approval you can now contact your realtor about starting the search for your home.
3) When you have found a house you want to purchase and an offer is in place you can contact your Mortgage Broker to begin the formal approval process.
4) Your Mortgage Broker will then provide the property information to the chosen lender. The lender will then review the information. They will ask for documentation to support the information that has been provided. Your Mortgage Broker will walk you through what you need to supply. These items may include but are not limited to,
– A current pay stub – A job letter – Tax related documentation
– Verification of your down payment
5) When all documentation has been supplied to your Mortgage Broker and reviewed by the lender, the lender will advise if the financing condition can be removed from your offer.
6) Your Mortgage Broker will make arrangements for you to sign any documents with them and the lender. They will also require the information for your Lawyer. Your Lawyer will be sent any necessary information and you will need to sign the paperwork they have.
7) When all these steps have been completed your mortgage will be ready to go for move in day!

Mortgage Alliance Advance Mortgage has the experience that can make the difference in your home buying experience. Contact us at 403-347-0774 to get your pre-approval!

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What are negative interest rates and how do they work?


What do they mean for banks?

If banks have to pay to park their money with the Bank of Canada, this could eat away at their profits. According to a Bank of Canada discussion paper, banks with a larger retail business would be hit harder than those focused on corporate banking, as it may be easier to “pass negative rates through to corporate clients than to retail clients.”

“Banks could mitigate a decline in profitability by increasing charges on accounts, raising fee-based revenue or reducing deposits, but these efforts may not be fully offsetting,” the discussion paper said.

What do they mean for the economy?

Think of it as an added incentive to get banks to do something with their money – that is, to lend or invest. Negative interest rates punish banks for parking their excess funds at the Bank of Canada by making it more expensive for banks to hoard cash. The deposit costs are supposed to encourage the banks to lend or invest.

Assuming banks will have no appetite to lend during an economic crisis and consumers will be unwilling to borrow, the negative interest rate is supposed to encourage lending and borrowing.

“It effectively means the whole structure of interest rates will go lower than where we are,” said Doug Porter, chief economist with the Bank of Montreal.

So, if the Bank of Canada slashes rates to minus 0.5 per cent, that would theoretically mean that the banks would lower their prime lending rates to between 1 and 1.15 per cent. However, Mr. Porter said, this would be an act of desperation. “When we get down to these levels, each additional cut tends to have less and less impact.”

What does this mean for consumers?

So, the bank isn’t going to pay you to borrow funds, but you will essentially get to borrow money for free.

The cost of borrowing will be close to 0 per cent. “If you have a job and you are secure and you are doing great in this kind of crisis, you are laughing because you can borrow at zero,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC.

At the same time, banks may decide to pass on the extra costs to their customers and charge them to safeguard their cash.

So what is a depositor supposed to do? You can take your money out of the bank and invest it in an asset, such as a bond, or you can bring it home and store your cash in your mattress.

“You definitely have to invest in a good alarm company. Are you going to be comfortable every time you leave the house if you have thousands of dollars there?” Mr. Tal said.

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Top 10 Tips for Staging a Home for Photos

Okay we lied there are 12 tips…
By Justin Riordan, Spade and Archer Design Agency

Ah, yes the beloved Top 12 list. If only life were that simple and any skill you ever wanted to learn could be perfected with just 12 easy to learn, neatly packaged tips. I can see it now… “The top 12 tips for removing your own brain tumor” or “The top 10 tips for raising the dead.” Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t think that having your house photographed is as complicated as brain surgery or necromancy but it is often best left to the professionals. However, if you find yourself without a professional and needing to prepare your house for photographs either for a vacation rental, to sell it, or to just show off your new digs to friends and family, here are Spade and Archer’s top 12 tips on how to best get’r done.

1. Design for the camera, not for the end user
When putting together a space, we always think of the camera first. Will this angle look right, will it show off the best feature of the house? Will the light hit these items correctly? The good news is you have a camera in your pocket as you read this. When we stage a house for market, we are constantly taking photographs of it and looking at it through the camera lens. It helps us to see errors in symmetry, lighting, cleanliness, etc.
2. No more wrinkles
In real life, wrinkly sheets don’t make a lick of difference. You will still sleep the same and wake up refreshed, whether you iron the sheets or not. The camera, however, hates wrinkles and makes them look 100 times worse than they really are. Our best advice on this one is to use a professional steamer. The hot steam will take those wrinkles right out and makes the sheets, pillows, shower curtains, etc. all look perfect in the picture.
3. Light it up.
Light can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you don’t know how to control it, you are destined to fail. The time of day and weather conditions can make a huge difference on how well your space photographs. If the afternoon sun is blazing into your room throwing harsh shadows all over, the shot is destined to look “blown out” with areas as dark as night and as bright as a nuclear holocaust. To help combat this problem, look for the best time for indirect sunlight outside and inside your space. Cloudy days are perfect for this. It is also a great idea to turn on your interior lights and lamps, this will help to even out the lighting in the space.
4. Fluff the carpet.
Sorry, fellas, this is not a euphemism for dining out. So often we see houses photographed with harsh vacuum lines or matted carpet that looks old and tired. The best way to fluff up your tired wall to wall is to use a broom. Running the broom over the top of the carpet in random directions will bring new life to a sagging floor textile.
5. Look beyond the window.
It’s true enough you are photographing the interiors of your space but the outside of your windows will be seen in the photos. If there are piles of trash covered with blue tarps right outside your window, they are going to come through in the photos. Clean up the areas outside the window and make it visually quiet so it does not draw attention to itself. If the area can’t be cleaned up, consider a frosted film on the window.
6. Limit the color scheme.
There are neutrals and there are colors. The neutrals are black, white, grey, brown, beige, cream, silver, and sometimes gold. You can put as many different neutrals in a room as you want. They can form a great base for your color. The colors are the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Colors must be used with great restraint. We endeavor to have only one “color story” per room. A color story might be blues or reds or colors of the peacock, or teal and yellow. If you have more than one color story per room, the photographs will start to look chaotic and visually noisy.
7. Rely on symmetry, repetition, rhythm.
Symmetry, repetition, and rhythm can be found throughout nature and humans find them to be aesthetically pleasing. Symmetry can be found in most animals and insects. Repetition is why we find flowers so pleasing. Rhythm can be found in the ripples of a sand dune. A quick and easy way to make a space more aesthetically pleasing is to use these simple principles of good design.
8. Look at the problem from a different angle, then design for the best one.
So often when I am first training a designer, they worry about every angle that a room will be seen from. I find them paralyzed by viable arguments, both good and bad, derived from seeing a space from two vantage points. I always tell them the same thing. What is the first impression going to be? Design for that view and the rest will fall into place. Figure out where the camera will most likely be and make every decision for the room based on that. Chances are, it will turn out great.
9. Hire a professional.
It always makes me so sad when clients pay me lots of money to make their house beautiful then they run through with an iPhone and snap 16 horrible pictures of our beautiful space. I always wonder why they choose to spend thousands of dollars on staging and then value engineer (that is a euphemism for cheeping out) a photographer to save a couple hundred dollars. My best advice is if you want great photographs, hire a great photographer.
10. Put down the toilet seat.
The fact that this is even on the list is nuts … yet, I still see a picture of the bathroom with the toilet seat up at least once a month. Why not just hang up a sign that says, “I suck, so don’t buy my house. Seriously, I’m super lame.” It would be just as effective.
11. Get out of the mirror.
There is really only one thing douchier than the toilet seat left up. It’s you holding an iPhone in the mirror. If you are still confused how to best correct this error, refer to No. 10: Hire a professional.
12. Furnish the house, but don’t over decorate the cake.
Empty houses are hard to see. Furniture provides scale, shows use, and adds light to spaces. Without it, the space is just walls, windows, floors, and ceilings. It is important to show how the space is used and how big the space is. Once you have taken care of these items, then stop decorating. There is a point when the decoration is no longer about the house but more so about the decoration. Stop before you get there.

So I see I have more than 10 tips for getting good photographs for your house. Honestly, I have about 4,000 more. I wish I could teach them all to you but then again, I would be teaching myself out of a job. Good luck out there, kiddos!

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The ULTIMATE Man Cave!

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 Men, have you ever just wished you had a place where you could run away and do “guy things”… I have a feeling you have! Well I know of something that is right up your alley. They are called Garage Condominiums and there are 3 different projects in the Red Deer area. One is called “Wheelhouse Garage” which you will find in the McKenzie Industrial Business Park, you can also find “Garage World” just outside of Blackfalds and “My Space Garage” in Sylvan Lake. Typically you will find units ranging from 820 sq ft up t0 3600 sq ft with prices from $120,000 to over $400,000! They can be as simple as a place to park your RV or you can customize them as your ultimate man cave with lifts for your sports cars, TV’s, and games rooms or just a place to tinker on your special project. Is this something that you think will catch on in the Real Estate market? Jill Reynolds – Business Development Manager

Coldwell News - The Ultimate Man cave

Coldwell News - The Ultimate Man cave

Coldwell News - The Ultimate Man cave

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Consumer Alert from RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Real Estate Council of Alberta
Consumer Alert: Derek Johnson, aka John Davis, Predatory Real Estate and Mortgage Practices – Unlicensed Activity For immediate release November 13, 2014

Derek Johnson is breaking the law. He needs a licence under the Real Estate Act to trade in real estate on behalf of others and deal in mortgages. He does not have these licences and has never had them.

Derek Johnson says he is helping people. He is not. He preys on home owners who are in a vulnerable financial position and facing foreclosure.

Johnson used to operate Free List Calgary and is currently involved in www.joerhealestate.com (Joe Rheal Estate). He has also been involved in Partners in Success Mortgage Inc. and New Age Financing. None of these are licensed to trade in real estate or deal in mortgages in Alberta.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta has issued a direction to Johnson to cease unlicensed practice. Johnson has ignored this direction to stop. The Council is taking further action.

If someone offers to represent you in a real estate transaction or to deal in a mortgage for you, ensure that individual is licensed by RECA. RECA is the licensing and governing body for real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal professionals in Alberta. Consumers can find out if an individual is licensed through RECA’s website, www.reca.ca. Use the “Searching for an Industry Professional” tool.

Licensed individuals must meet and maintain licensing requirements. Among them, individuals must provide a Certified Criminal Record Check prior to licensing, complete comprehensive pre-licensing education and ongoing re-licensing education, and maintain errors and omissions insurance. In the event of a licensee’s fraud, breach of trust or failure to account or disburse money in accordance with the terms of trust, a consumer may be eligible for compensation from RECA’s consumer compensation fund.

If you have concerns as a result of dealings with Derek Johnson, Free List Calgary, Joe Rheal Estate, Partners in Success Mortgage Inc. or New Age Financing, please contact the Real Estate Council of Alberta toll-free at 1-888-425-2754.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is an independent, non-government agency, responsible for governing real estate, mortgage broker, and real estate appraisal industry professionals under the Real Estate Act of Alberta. RECA is mandated to protect consumers and to provide services that enhance and improve the industry and the business of industry professionals.

The authority for a positive real estate experience

For more information: Communications, Real Estate Council of Alberta T: (403) 228-2954 1-(888)-425-2754 E: *protected email*

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Liberty Landing residential development…coming soon to Gasoline Alley Red Deer!

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Did you read that right? Yes there is a new residential development being built in Gasoline Alley! It will be located on a 113 acre site west of Laura Ave and North of McKenzie Rd and groundwork is already underway. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2015 with about 450 single family homes and also some additional duplexes, townhouses and apartments. This new development is a project by Lamont Land Inc. which is the same developer as the popular Ryders Ridge subdivision in Sylvan Lake. There will be municipal water & sewer as well as 2 water features, green area and pathway system and you can’t ask for easier access to highway 2, Costco and all the new restaurants we are seeing pop up on Gasoline Alley. What do you think, is this a neighborhood that you can see fitting with your family?


Jill Reynolds – Business Development Manager Coldwell Banker Ontrack Realty

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Red Deer’s Winter Wonderland!

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Well the holidays are over and the sad realization that there is still at least a couple months of winter left has hit! Do you need something fun to do that will get you through? Experience the “Winter Night Lights” at Heritage Ranch, Red Deer’s hidden gem. Cozy up on a sleigh ride through the gorgeous trails lit with over 20,000 lights complete with hot chocolate and a blanket to keep you toasty! If want something a little more heart pumping you can grab your cross country ski’s at hit the trails that way. There is something for everyone and year round activities, check out their webpage



Jill Reynolds ~ Business Development Manager Coldwell Banker Ontrack Realty

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The Stats Are In…..

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

GREAT NEWS! The Stats are in and December was a near record month for Central Alberta Home Sales!
Home sales numbered 249 units in December, an increase of 29.7 per cent from the same month in 2013. This was the second best December sales figure, standing just three sales behind the record for the month set in 2006.
The total value of all property sales amounted to $86.7 million in December, that’s up 42.0 per cent on a year-over-year basis!

Jill Reynolds – Business Development Manager

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