Now Is the Time to Test for Dangerous Radon Gas

Did you know that 1 in 6 homes tested in Western Canada has dangerously high levels of Radon Gas?1 Radon is radioactive gas that occurs when radium in soil and rock breaks down – it is invisible, odorless and tasteless but can accumulate to unnaturally high and dangerous levels in our homes. Radon gas emits radiation that damages your DNA and can damage your lungs with long-term exposure. It is a leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers with chronic exposure. Children and babies are more sensitive than adults as they breathe 2-3 times faster than adults.2 Recent public awareness campaigns have been urging homeowners to test radon levels in their homes.

October through May is the best time to accurately test for radon. During spring and summer months, windows are opened more and increased air flow in your homes prevents accurate readings. During fall and winter when homes are more sealed, radon gas can accumulate to much higher levels than in the outdoors, potentially posing a health hazard to you and your loved ones. A simple and inexpensive test with a small “alpha track” device conducted over a period of 90+ days and then sent for a lab analysis can accurately reveal if radon gas levels are within acceptable levels in your home. If elevated levels above 200 Bq/m3 (Becquerels per cubic meter) are detected, Health Canada recommends mitigation.

Effective mitigation systems can lower radon in your home to safe levels and usually involves piping and a fan unit to remove gas coming from the ground through the foundation. Work can usually be completed in 1-2 days with a cost at around $3,500 (about the cost of a small furnace or A/C unit) — well worth the peace of mind, so you and your family can breathe easy.

If you haven’t already tested your home for radon, you can purchase a test kit and learn more by visiting

1, 2 Source:

~Anita Lamarche, REALTOR®, CIR Realty 403.818.9623

First-time Home Buyer Incentive Program to Boost Affordability of Home Ownership

Starting September 2nd, first-time buyers (and previous homeowners impacted by marital breakdowns) can apply for a new government incentive. The aim of the program is to help make home ownership more affordable by reducing monthly mortgage costs.

Here are a few highlights of the incentive program:

Down payment:

•Buyers must have a minimum of 5% down (from their own resources, including borrowing from their RRSPs)
•Government will top up down payment another 5% (for resale homes) or 10% (for new construction) as shared equity mortgage (can be paid back at any time as a lump sum or must be paid back within 25 years). Although no interest is charged, the amount to be repaid will appreciate (or depreciate) with the total value of your home. An appraisal may be required at time of payout to establish value.

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Tips If You’re Thinking of Selling

Whether you’re dreaming about moving up, downsizing or retiring in another city or abroad, selling your home takes preparation in order to get top dollar for your property.  Here are a few tips to get an edge over other sellers:

  • Consider a Pre-Inspection – this will highlight any major or minor findings and give you an opportunity to proactively do some repairs or minor maintenance.  Plus you can have this ready for buyers along with receipts for things like a new water tank.  And don’t forget to replace your furnace air filters too!
  • Ensure your Real Property Report is current and reflects all property  improvements such as decks, fences, garages, window wells, any sheds over 10 square meters, etc.  If there are any encroachments, you will have an opportunity to contract with the City and avoid delays at closing that could potentially cause a sale to collapse
  • Have permits for major work such as basement finishing, suites, furnace or Air conditioning installations  – when in doubt, contact City Planning & Development.  A lack of permits must be disclosed and may be a red flag for many buyers.
  • Clean, clean, clean! A clean home always appears better maintained and is more appealing
  • Landscaping: ensure your yard is tidy and well kept, trees/shrubs are pruned and entry is attractive – curb appeal really does matter and you want the first impression to lead to a viewing of your property
  • Lighting: ensure rooms are well lit, all bulbs are working and fixtures  are clean.  Consider replacing old/dated fixtures.
  • Consider a Staging Consultation – this is a service I offer as part of my marketing package to help sellers strategically declutter and open up spaces while adding pops of colour/interest to make your rooms and the online presence of your property (photos and videos) draw in buyers while de-personalizing spaces so they can see themselves and in your home.  Whether you do the work yourself or hire a stager, it is time and money well spent.  A staged home typically sells faster and for more money.
  • Consult with a trusted real estate adviser – learn about market conditions in your area, find out what homes in your neighborhood are actually selling for, get advice to prioritize repairs or maintenance you should consider doing before selling, plan timing and timelines to be on market and ensure there is a solid marketing plan to expose your home to the most qualified buyers and agents

For more tips, visit my website  blog “How to Get Top Dollar for your Home” – or call me for a no-obligation consultation.

How to Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Now that summer is finally here and we spend more time outdoors, our attention turns more toward keeping up our home exterior and improving our landscaping. Here are some ways you can add to the perceived value of your house without breaking the bank on a completely new landscape:

  • Wash the windows and siding on the front of the house.
  • Paint window and door frames on the front of the house if they’re outdated.
  • Clean and straighten your porch light.
  • Clean your eave troughs, and make sure the downspouts are straight.
  • Clean up tree and shrub wells by removing debris and edging a clean line around them.
  • Add fresh mulch around the bases of trees and shrubs.
  • Add fresh black soil and light mulch to the top of gardens.
  • Prune and trim trees, shrubs and perennials for a clean kept look.
  • Edge out the front of your lawn to create a clean line.
  • Perform regular lawn maintenance – mowing, weeds and fertilizing.
  • Level and clean all of your walkway stones.
  • Add some solar lights for night time visitors.
  • Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street!

Secondary Suites Update: Committee votes to legalized secondary suites in all semi-detached homes

On April 3rd, the Calgary Herald reported that new rules are being drafted to allow secondary suites in semi-detached homes across the city. Recent suite reform guidelines had not included semi-detached properties, so this change is good news for landlords and property owners as there are hundreds of illegal suites currently in semi-detached properties. New rules will allow property owners to bring suites into legal compliance by completing and necessary upgrades to meet all safety and fire code requirements ahead of the June 2020 deadline. This is also attractive for investors considering purchasing income properties as cash flow is often better in suited, semi-detached properties than in single-family homes. For more information.

Read the full story here.