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Fat off the Land: a Blog About Calgary Real Estate, Parenting, and Food

Make the Most From Your  Calgary Home Viewing Experience

Guide to viewing Calgary homesWell, your mortgage approval is in, and your eyes are dry from hours of clicking through listings on Your hubby has placed an embargo on emailing anymore listings to him at work; it's finally time to get out there and see some places. Viewing homes is the one of the best parts of buying your Calgary home. Actually physically seeing the homes on your list sheds a ton of light on what you want, and what we’ll see next.

From time to time, I’ve heard it said among my colleagues that buyers are liars. This basically means that buyers don’t know what they want. They’ll phone you up and tell you that they want a 1911 character home in Inglewood and absolutely nothing else will do,

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Guess who loses in a market like this one? People who are downsizing. People who have a big huge expensive house and need to buy a smaller more cost-effective house. If you’re divorcing, well, I’m sorry, the news just got worse. Or, if you’re an elderly couple wanting to switch to a place with no stairs, you may want to hold off for a bit.

But everyone else? Everyone who trips over toddler shoes, steps on Legos, and dreams of a vegetable garden in the backyard, I have good news for you: it’s a fantastic time to buy a Calgary home, for a few reasons.

There's Value Out There

The first is that we’re not nose-diving on value right now. We’re just sitting in a time of uncertainty where there’s deals to be had when buying. Yah, you’re going to have to

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Part 1 of the Double Dinner Series from the Vanderveen Kitchen

Those who know me, know that I love me some Costco. Some ladies love the spa, I like strolling through the aisles of Costco. (But I mean, I like the spa too. I do have 10 toe nails and a beating heart!) Buying bulk for as long as I have, has made me hatch the idea of “double dinners,” or “triple dinners.” So I’m starting a series!

Double dinners can be described as buying one or main two items that stretch across 2 or 3 dinners. In today’s edition, we’ll be doing two amazing meals with stuff you can buy at Costco. Night one will begin with a traditional roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce. On night two, the leftovers will be transformed into

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How to avoid a bad location when buying a home.How to Avoid Buying a Great Home in a Bad Location

Most of us know the big offenders of bad location: backing or fronting onto a road, a gas station, a power station etc. But one of the most missed bad locations is the elevation of the back of your house. This is one of the first things I’ll point out when I see it. When it comes to a bad location, there are three major no-no’s in my opinion: townhouses, walk-outs, and grading.


While townhouses can be wonderful real estate choices, you don't want one in your back yard. Townhouses in the back or front of your house means there are that many more people staring into your back or front yard. Instead of 5 visible neighbours, you have 12. Instead of your neighbours all being on the same

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Get a home inspection before you buyBuying a home in Calgary is so much fun! You view a bunch, pick one you love, and make an offer. Once you’re all agreed, we need to take a deeper look at the house and decide if you still want to purchase the home for the price and terms that you originally agreed to.

That means that we’re looking for major flaws in the listing that may make you change your mind. We’re looking for cracks, mold, leaks, structural issues, or pestilence. These are items that would make you reconsider your purchase.

Keep in mind that all chattels need to be sold in full working order. This includes fridge, stove, dishwasher etc. So if these are not functioning in some way, they need to be fixed before the home changes hands.

However, what a home inspection is not, is

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Knowing what you can afford compared to what is available is a key part of making the decision of how much to spend on your next Calgary home or condo. A lot goes into making the choice of where and what to buy, but the biggest thing you’ll need to know is what your money can buy. Is it worth it to stretch your budget to get that garage attached in the front? Or is it a little too far out of reach? Find out this quarter’s edition of “How Much Home Can You Afford?”

The examples below apply mainly to Southeast and some Southwest Calgary:


Mobile Homes

C3654549 - $79,900, #77 9090 24 St Se, Calgary
C3654549 - $79,900,
#77 9090 24 St Se
C3640090 - $69,500, #101 6220 17 Av Se, Calgary
C3640090 - $69,500,
#101 6220 17 Av Se, Calgary

View all Calgary listings in the $0-$100,000 price range


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Induction cooktopIt was the hardest break up I’ve ever been through. I never thought I could be so in love, and when things finally came crumbling apart, I was in shock, and I still am in many ways. On the day that we moved out, I took one last look at my gas stove, and although we had so many wonderful meals together, and it was the first stove to make me feel like a real chef, we had just grown apart, and we wanted different things. I wanted a mess-free dinner experience, and my gas stove was still stuck on banana flambés, and doing white-wine cream sauce reductions. I felt like it wasn’t really supportive of me when I had to make KD every now and then. I couldn’t take the judgement anymore.

I’ll never forget the first time I locked eyes with my induction cooktop. It

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Housing sales are forecasted to ease by four per cent this year, due to market uncertainty and changes in economic climate, while prices are expected to remain relatively stable with a modest increase of 1.58 per cent on an annual basis, CREB® said today in its annual forecast.

Although sales levels are expected to ease, previously tight conditions throughout 2014 indicate that rising supply would push the market into more balanced conditions, supporting price stability in 2015. However, CREB® warns there are multiple risk factors attached to this forecast, which estimates a total of 24,503 homes will be sold in the city this year.

“The housing risks lie mainly with employment levels and net migration, both of which can be more severely impacted by

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California theme park reviewEveryone's opinions on the California Theme Parks will vary, but these were our overall impressions based on a family with young children. My notes on the parks are as follows:

Get the 5 Day Hopper Pass

Disney we could have easily used an extra day or two. There is just so much to do and see. It was mine and Clint’s favourite park, but all the kids preferred Legoland (which I totally don’t get). So buy the pass, and once you’re at Disney, just add on the extra day or days to make a 5 day park hopper. The park hopper feature is important, and if you don’t go with the SoCo passes (which have the hopper feature) I would not skip this aspect of the passes.

You Have to Have the Fast Pass

The SoCo passes also come with fast pass. Absolutely, you

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Disneyland photoWith the trip all completed, I wanted to do a final run down of how we saved all of our money and made this trip happen on a such a small budget.

1) The RV: I can’t stress enough how much money the RV saved us, and really, for a family our size, it was just plain easier. You know when you’re in a hotel, you’re just surviving without the comforts of home. But I have my motorhome stocked with all of our “stuff.” We rarely feel like we’re missing out on something that we need, that we don’t have.

But more on the money saving aspect. As I have said before, when you have a family our size, hotels want about $350 minimum per night to put you in a suite that they deem appropriate for your size of family. If we had to use a hotel for all 18 days that we

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