The temps are starting to drop; the smell of wood smoke is in the air. That’s when veteran homeowners know it’s time to do these six things if they want to avoid grief or overspending:

1. Buy Appliances

Whisper to them. Do a rain dance. Whatever it takes to get your old appliances to wait until fall to go on the fritz. Manufacturers bring out their latest models during the fall, and store owners offer big sales on appliances they want to move out — like last year’s most popular dishwasher. So September, October, and November are great months to buy.

But October is right in the middle — when there’s still plenty of selection, and retailers might be more willing to haggle.

Refrigerators are the exception. New models come out in the spring.

2. Switch the Direction of Ceiling Fans

Most have a switch to allow the ceiling fan blades to rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise — one way pushes air down to create a nice breeze and the other sucks air up, helping to distribute the heat. Think counterclockwise when it’s warm and clockwise when it’s cool.

3. Clean Windows

Winter is coming, which means it’s time close your windows up and turn your heaters on. When this happens, all the accumulated dust and dirt from the summer season gets locked inside of your home. When pollen and dust are locked inside and accumulated throughout your home, it can make your seasonal allergies worse.

Clean your windows while the weather is still warm enough to do so. For streak-free windows, combine ¼-cup of white vinegar with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of eco-friendly dish detergent and 2 cups of water.

If window cleaning isn’t a DIY job at your home, schedule a professional window cleaner (who, unlike most of us, is able to do it even when temperatures plummet) before the end of the month. The closer it gets to the holidays, the busier they get. Bright sunshine on winter’s darkest days makes it totally worthwhile.

4. Schedule a Heating Unit Checkup

To ensure your family will be able to feel their toes all winter, schedule early in the month for your heating unit to be serviced. As temperatures drop, service companies get busier.

Whether you hire your heating company’s technician or a contractor to do it, they’ll clean soot and corrosion from the combustion chamber, replace filters, and check the whole system for leaks, clogs, or damage. Nothing pairs with a pending blizzard better than the assurance that you’ll be weathering the storm with warm air piping through the vents and cocoa in hand.

5. Get a Chimney Sweep to Inspect the Fireplace

It’s time to dust off and sweep the chimney! Best to hire someone who knows wood-burning fireplaces. A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. So yeah, it’s pretty important.

Tip: If you don’t already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it — and  into your house.

6. Insulate Exposed Pipes

If you’ve ever dealt with a burst pipe, you know it’s a sad, wet disaster worth preventing. To avoid the stressful and expensive ordeal, prep your home’s exposed pipes with foam or heat tape — choosing which one will work best with your climate — to keep those pipes toasty.

Remember: The most at-risk pipes are often those in unheated areas such as an attics, crawl spaces, and garages, so secure those first.


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Thanksgiving weekend was a time to acknowledge our loved ones and to take time in appreciating our surroundings. By taking a moment to recharge through a little rest, we ensure that we have a little more strength to tackle the battles of the days ahead.

Now that we've moved on to the next following weekend, I wanted to acknowledge some important people...

I take it personally to ensure that the best possible deals are made for my clients, when they place their trust in me, they place their trust in my system that works solely on their behalf.

Thank you to all of my past and present clients for placing your trust in me.

Patrick Hospes

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With no change in the economic climate, Calgary’s sales activity totaled 1,272 units in September, a 13 per cent decline over the previous year and well below long-term averages. There was a pullback in sales across all product types, most notably the detached market.

Calgary's economy continues to struggle with unemployment, which rose again last month to over eight per cent. Concerns in the employment market, higher lending rates and shaken confidence are weighing on housing demand.

At the same time, supply levels continue to remain high, resulting in persistent oversupply and price declines.

Inventories totaled 7,941 units, pushing the months of supply to 6.25. This continuation in oversupply is placing downward pressure on prices. The unadjusted citywide benchmark price totaled $428,700 in September. This is nearly one per cent below last month and three per cent below last year's levels.

This is the new normal of Calgary's real estate.

Some potential buyers may want to take advantage of the market conditions, but they face difficulties selling their existing home based on their expectations. This prevents them from purchasing something else.

September sales have dipped, but third quarter figures generally point towards a slower decline in sales and some easing in new listings growth. This was not enough to impact inventory levels this quarter.

The Calgary economy continues to struggle, but there are some signs of improvement in the rental market, which could contribute to a slow reduction in overall housing supply,



    Year-to-date sales eased to 7,945 units, over 20 per cent below the 10-year average. Sales eased across all price ranges, except properties under $300,000, which posted a modest gain.  

    Easing sales were met with some adjustments in new listings in September. However, inventories remain elevated and are higher than long-term averages in most districts.

    Months of supply rose to 5.5 months in September and continue to weigh on housing prices across all districts.
    Detached benchmark prices totaled $493,100 in September. This is a 0.8 per cent decline over last month and three per cent below the previous year.

    Prices have trended down in most districts in September. However, on a year-to-date basis, benchmark prices remain above last year in both the City Centre and West districts.


    The apartment sector has seen the slowest decline in sales at six per cent so far this year. Like the detached sector, activity remains over 20 per cent below long-term averages, totaling 2,103 sales.

    For the fourth month in a row, new listings have generally trended lower than levels recorded last year. This has helped reduce some of the inventory in the market compared to the previous year.

    However, even with some reductions in inventory levels, the market continues to remain firmly in buyer's territory when compared to the reduction in sales.

    With more supply than demand, benchmark prices for apartment condominium continued to ease in September, declining by 0.4 per cent over last month and 2.7 per cent compared to last year.


    The attached sector has recorded year-to-date sales of 2,814. This is 15 per cent below last year and 14 per cent below long-term averages.

    With no significant reduction in new listings, inventory levels remained elevated, pushing up months of supply to over seven months.

    Elevated levels of supply compared to demand persisted for both row and semi-detached product types. Like all other sectors, the oversupply has weighed on prices across all districts, except the City Centre, North East and East.

    While September semi-detached benchmark prices eased, year-to-date prices remained just above last year's levels.  The recent oversupply has eroded some of the steps made toward price recovery last year.
    Row benchmark prices have averaged $298,667 this year, nearly two per cent below last year and nine per cent below previous highs. Despite the citywide pullback, row prices have remained relatively stable in the City Centre, North West and South East districts.  



    Airdrie's housing market has exhibited buyer's market conditions so far this year. This is largely due to weak economic conditions that have hindered growth in demand. This does not help alleviate excess supply and has led to a downward pressure on benchmark prices for detached homes.

    Year-to-date total residential sales in Airdrie have declined compared to last year and sit at levels comparable to activity recorded in 2012. Meanwhile, new listings have remained elevated, causing inventories to reach new highs for September.

    Elevated months of supply have continued to place downward pressure on prices. The year-to-date detached benchmark price averaged $371,244. This is a 1.7 per cent decline from 2017 levels and five per cent below previous highs.


    Affected by similarly weak economic conditions, the housing market in Cochrane has also experienced slight supply-side imbalances.

    Year-to-date sales in the town were recorded at 477 units, 59 units lower than 2017. Sales growth has been trending downward for most of the year. However, levels in 2018 are still higher than those recorded in 2015 and 2016.  

    New listings in Cochrane have been persistently growing for most of the year and year-to-date levels are 269 units higher than long-term averages. Inventories have now reached a new September peak at 360 units, leading to elevated months of supply.

    The oversupply in the market has started to cause prices to trend down in the third quarter.  However, it has not been enough to erase earlier gains, leaving year-to-date benchmark prices just above last year's levels. So far this year, detached prices remain four per cent below recent highs.  


    Okotoks is facing supply pressures in the market due to slowing sales and increases in new listings.
    Despite the presence of oversupply, benchmark prices have managed to remain relatively stable in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter. At $436,422, year-to-date detached benchmark prices have averaged nearly one per cent higher than the previous year, but remain three per cent below previous highs.


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