Featured Floorplan: The Shelby

Posted by Bronwyn Marie West on Aug 19, 2014 9:41:20 AM



The Shelby is a popular Bi-Level Duplex model from Avonlea Homes. The floorplan is so well liked that it was also used in our Charlestown Townhome layout as well.Your Shelby unit will come fully-developed, which includes 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms -- more rooms for a lot less money, and entire home completely deveoped and ready to move into.


On entry you are greeted with a landing with enough room to keep a shelving unit for shoes, dog leashes, keys, and mail. Continue up the stairs to your open concept living, dining and kitchen areas, and one bedroom and one bathroom. The huge vaulted ceilings allow tons of light into the space and make the home seem huge! The railings, open half wall and large open space really make the main living area open and inviting.


Lot's of room for main floor living with an open sitting area amid bright windows and a large dining nook with overhanging lighting fixture. Across the room is the u-shaped kicthen with built in dishwasher, hood fan, and kitchen pantry. Lot's of room for personal items ontop of all the custom cabinetry!


Finishing out the top floor is a bedroom that could be turned into an upstairs office or den, a three piece bathroom and access to the backyard through the back door. Lot's of storage can be found in the Shelby, with three more large closets on the upper level, and more storage to be found on the lower level too.


The lower level holds two more bedrooms, both with walk in closets --- ideal for hotter summer months where being in the lower levels will be much cooler and much easier to sleep in. Rounding out the lower level is your own laundry room, and another finished bathroom. Remember that the Shelby comes fully-developed, so you get an entirely finished home on both levels for an exceptional price!

Home Features:

  • Energy Efficient Furnace
  • Fully Developed Basement
  • Kitchen Pantry
  • Kohler Faucets
  • Laminate Flooring
  • Kitchen Skylight
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Walk In Closets in Masters
  • Rear Parking Pad

The Shelby Floorplan:



Shelbys for Sale from Avonlea:

BlackWolf: 543 BlackWolf Blvd N $259,900
BlackWolf: 541 BlackWolf Blvd N $259,900
BlackWolf: 575 BlackWolf Blvd N $259,600
BlackWolf: 577 BlackWolf Blvd N $259,900
Country Meadows: 148 Crocus Terrace W $254,900
Country Meadows: 150 Crocus Terrace W $254,900







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Topics: Blackwolf, New Home Buyer Resources, Community, Featured Floor Plans

Mortgage Debt In Retirement, Yes or No?

Posted by Jessica Kachmarski on Aug 14, 2014 10:00:00 AM

A new CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima in spring 2012 reveals that nearly 60 per cent of retired Canadians hold some form of debt. Although retired Canadians hold less debt than those still working, they are also less likely to be taking steps to accelerate their debt repayment. This suggests that retired Canadians may carry debt for longer than they anticipated in retirement, incurring higher interest costs and affecting cash flow.


After divorcing at age 61 Amy wanted to purchase a home with her divorce settlement.  She found herself a newly constructed home for $460,000. However she was $160,000 short and she did not feel comfortable with borrowing at this stage of her life.

At one time carrying debt into retirement was considered irresponsible.  Today, though, low interest rates have added the option of borrowing smart.  Debt payments must be lower than you can afford.

Once Amy looked at the numbers she decided that she could make her new home purchase work.  Her mortgage broker showed her that the payments would only be $820 per month, easily covered by her part-time income.  The bonus was that Amy’s basement was an income generating suite.  She preferred this option as it enabled her to have a tax advantages.


Amy’s main goal is getting rid of her debt while gaining more equity in her home.  She realized that in retirement it is possible to borrow for productive purposes like buying a home.  Low interest rates can make the difference between an affordable or unaffordable expenditure.

 Advice for retired Canadians on managing and eliminating debt:

To increase cash-flow and eliminate debt, Ms. Kramer offers the following debt management tips:

  •   Work with an advisor to structure your debt to minimize your overall interest costs by utilizing debt products that offer a lower interest rate and having a strategy to pay these balances down in a specific time frame.
  •   While interest rates remain near historic lows, don't ignore the long-term benefits of making small adjustments to your payment today. Setting your debt payment even slightly higher than your required payment can reduce your overall interest costs and help you become debt free faster.
  •   Use free budgeting tools to help you stay on budget. It allows you to set customized budgets and receive spend alerts if you exceed your planned budget for the month, helping you stay on top of your everyday budgeting and saving.


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Topics: New Home Buyer Resources

Chuck Gulyas Monthly Lethbridge Real Estate Update for August

Posted by Bronwyn Marie West on Aug 12, 2014 8:45:57 AM



How July in Lethbridge Real Estate Went:

July saw a large year over year increase in the number of single family home sales in Lethbridge with a 28% increase over July of 2013. The number of Single family home listing was down 9% with just 182 new listings for the month.

Total units sold (which includes all market segments ie. condos, vacant land etc.) was up 31% over the same month last year. July by all accounts was a big month here and Lethbridge even though July it typically less that brisk. Total market sales here in Lethbridge are up 6% year to date and the annualized average price of a single family home is up 3% to $303,196.00. Lets hope for another strong month in August!


The Importance of Reading and Understanding an Offer 

When you make or receive an offer to buy a property, it's important that you read and understand every clause. It is especially important to understand any conditions or any changes that are made to the standard offer. An offer may contain several types of conditions. The most common are "conditional upon arranging financing" and "conditional upon passing a professional home inspection." However, there may be other conditions as well. You should be aware of – and fully understand – all of them.

 In addition, the wording of an offer may change during the back and forth negotiations that often happen. Aside from changes to the price, other clauses may be added, removed or reworded as well. A good agent will always ask you to initial changes. This is done primarily to ensure you know and approve of what you're signing.

 A recent newspaper article tells the story of a buyer-seller legal dispute that resulted in a six-figure judgement against the seller. This was due, in part, to a lack of understanding of one of the clauses in the agreement. You don't want that to happen to you. Take the time to carefully review and understand an offer.

 Want to make sure everything goes smoothly with your next move? Call Chuck Gulyas today.


 "For Success, attitude is equally as important as ability." - Harry F. Banks 

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Topics: Lethbridge Real Estate Market

Top 10 Home Improvements That Can Increase Sale Value

Posted by Jessica Kachmarski on Aug 5, 2014 1:00:00 PM

Now that you have chosen your dream home and are ready to move, consider doing the following 10 improvements to get top dollar for your existing home.


1. Pet Repair- Replace or repair carpet, fences, sod and flooring as needed.

2.Flowers and Mulch- talk to your local garden store about appropriate plantings for the season and climate follow with a nice layer of mulch.  Easy curb appeal

3. Kitchen Appliances-Upgrade yours today and enjoy the new and more energy efficient models.  Get your money back when you sell.


4. Kitchen counters- Brighten your kitchen with new countertops and consider repainting your cabinets.  Kitchen remodels bring top dollar.

5. Bathroom update-Bathroom remodels are a shoe in for increasing the selling price of your home.


6. Carpet replacement-remove old, stained or worn carpet.  Consider hard surface, hardwood or laminate, which are more popular flooring choices.

7. Windows-depending on the age and energy efficiency of your windows, it may be time to consider new ones.  You will benefit from energy savings and a better looking home.

8. Front Door-The first thing a buyer sees is the front door.  Freshen it with a coat of new paint.


9. Door Hardware-replace old door hardware and update to a keyless front entry.

10.Driveways and Sidewalks- Ensure concrete driveways, sidewalks and entry steps are in good condition.

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Topics: Home Maintenance & Care

Deciding to Purchase a Rental Property?

Posted by Bronwyn Marie West on Jul 29, 2014 11:56:45 AM


Looking to buy a new house and contemplating renting out your current one? Perhaps you are happy in your current home but have been eyeing a few income properties that have come on the market. Whatever your situation there are both pros and cons to owning and maintaining a rental property. 

Decisions, Decisions: The Pros and the Cons:

The Benefits:

  • Extra Money: If the rent coming in is more than the mortgage, it's like you're receiving an extra pay cheque every month.
  • Appreciation: Investing in a property that could be worth more 10 years down the road will certainly increase your initial investment
  • Building Equity: Your tenants will be paying your mortgage for you throughout the years. This could be an investment for your retirement, with accessible money down the road. 
  • Tax Deductions: If you're treating your extra cash flow each month as another pay cheque, you'll notice that amount of tax you would be paying on that cheque if it was a regular 9 to 5 job. 

The Drawbacks:

  • Don't Count Your Chickens: Appreciation is great, but is not 100% inevitable, and depends on many factors such as location, initial price, economical impacts and time itself.  
  • High Payments: Be careful with too small of an initial down payment, and very high monthly payments. Changes in marke, vacanies and repairs can make it difficult to maintain high monthly payments.
  • Careful What You Buy: Just because the price is right doesn't mean the property is. Appreciation will suffer, you will face maintenance woes, vacancies, and when it comes time to sell you may face a significant loss --- all that work for nothing.
  • Get Advise: Make sure you take advise in regards to purchasing a rental property. Perhaps you're also ok with a regular cash flow then hoping for a huge return on investment when you want to sell the property later. Depends on what you want out of the property. Consultation is best before buying.

When You've Decided to Buy:

Let’s say you buy a house for $250,000.  Through research you learn that the average rent for that type of property is $1,200 per month.  You can then calculate that you will receive $14,400 a year (1,200 x 12 = 14,400), minus your expenses, of course:

Annual Expenses of Owning a Rental Property:

Fixed Expenses:
  • Property Tax
  • Insurance
  • Routine Maintenance
  • Repair Items
  • Property Management Services 
Variable Expenses:
  • Water Heater
  • Air Conditioner
  • Furnace
  • Roof
  • Fencing
  • Flooring
  • Plumbing
Set aside enough money to cover your fixed expenses, at least $1000 per year, and for major repairs, at least $1000 per year.  Your rate of return for this property will then be $12,400 per year.  ($14,400 - $2,000 = $12,400).

Is Rental Ownership For You?

Owning a rental property can provide a stable source of income, as long as you have weighed all the benefits and drawbacks of being a landlord. Not all people are properly equipped with the time, resources and personality to successfully maintain and benefit from an income property, though for the right person, it can be an excellent source of income and a smart investment for retirement.

Talk to your accountant and Avonlea representative for objective views on rental property ownership today. Contact Avonlea Now.

Already Decided and Looking for the Perfect Rental?


 Skye Townhomes are affordable, have 2 or 3 bedrooms, and are ideal rentals for University students, young professionals, and new families alike. View Skye Townhomes Here.

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Topics: New Home Buyer Resources

Downsizing Homes? 10 Tips For An Easier Transition

Posted by Bronwyn Marie West on Jul 22, 2014 11:07:00 AM


Whether you are moving to a newly constructed home from a previous home or a rental space follow the 10 tips below and make your move a snap!

  1. Write a list of items that you love and can’t do without.  Keep only what is on your list.  This way you will not be upset about the things you can not keep.

  2. downsizing (1)Start thinning out your belongings at least 3 months before the move.  Take time each day to go through a closet or a filing cabinet.

  3. Get a feel for the size of your new rooms by comparing them to rooms of similar dimension in your present home.  Measure everything!

  4. Heavily edit areas with items that don’t have as much sentimental value.  The kitchen is a good place to start you don’t really need 10 mixing bowls.  Also target the garage, take only the tools you need.

  5. Don’t throw anything in the garbage.  Recycle, sell and donate items instead.  Hold a yard or garage sale. You will be happier knowing that others can benefit from items you no longer need.

  6. Label 3 bins: to keep, to sell and to donate.  Try and aim for keeping only one-third to one-half of your belongings.

  7. Get an objective opinion.  If you can’t decide whether to keep or donate an item ask a friend or a family member for advice.


  8. When selling your goods try an auction for high-end items.  Also try local websites like freecycle and kijiji.

  9. Use floor plans to prearrange your furniture before the move.  Don’t move unnecessary items that you will just end up tripping over.

  10. Once you get to the packing stage use a colour coded system to organize your boxes.  Use stickers for boxes-one colour per room.  With your boxes colour coded your move will be that much easier.

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Topics: New Home Buyer Resources, Home Maintenance & Care, Client Resources, Community

The Outdoor Home: How to Choose The Perfect Outdoor Furniture

Posted by Bronwyn Marie West on Jul 17, 2014 9:35:00 AM


Outdoor entertaining areas have always been popular among homeowners.  The ability to entertain friends and family or simply to relax alone is something that homeowners cherish, particularly during the warm summer season. 

Finding the right furniture for your outdoor area, deck or patio, is essential to making the most of this special area of your home. When shopping for exterior furniture it is wise to consider the following.


Weight: Unlike inside the home, outdoor furniture will be moved around quite frequently and in some cases must be able to be put away during severe weather and also at the end of the season.  Do not purchase furniture that is too lightweight as the wind may blow it away.  You can also choose very sturdy furniture as long as the cushions can be easily removed and stored during storms.


Comfort:  The whole idea behind an outdoor entertaining area for your home is to have a relaxing place to spend time outside.  So be sure to choose furniture that is comfortable and can handle the wear and tear of the elements.  Metal furniture is durable but can get very hot if it is in direct sunlight.  For upholstered furniture look for outdoor fabrics like Sunbrella: which can handle some light rain and is fade resistant.


Versatility:  Many homeowners enjoy changing their interior décor from time to time.  You may want to do the same with your outdoor décor so look for furniture that can be accented with a variety of accessories, so that you can easily change the look of your outdoor entertaining area.

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Topics: New Home Buyer Resources, Home Maintenance & Care

Featured Avonlea Floorplan: The Sullivan

Posted by Jessica Kachmarski on Jul 15, 2014 9:08:00 AM


Welcome to The Sullivan, one of Avonlea's Two-Storey designs.  With lots of space to offer, this a perfect home for your family. What's not to love with a double attached garage in the front,  a large kitchen, and three bedrooms on the same floor?



With beaufiful laminate flooring throughout the main floor, you are greeted by an open concept floor plan.  The kitchen features an island with lots of space, a pantry in a convenient spot, a dining nook, and patio doors for a deck if you choose.  There is also a main floor office/computer room that is tucked away.  

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The cozy living room which is right off the kitchen is perfect for entertaining guests.  This area features a built in fireplace with a large bay window for tons of natural light.  Both the staircases to the upper and lower level are right off the kitchen.  Once upstairs the flooring is a nice soft carpet, perfect for barefeet in the bedrooms! 


On the second floor you'll see three bedrooms and the main bathroom. The Master Ensuite has a large walk-in closet and a luxurious five piece ensuite.  The ensuite will feature a double vanity--perfect for his and hers, a walk-in shower and a jetted tub! This home has so much to offer all age groups.  

Home Features:

  • Energy Efficient Furnace
  • Island Kitchen Bar
  • Kitchen Pantry
  • Kohler Faucets
  • Laminate Flooring
  • Master Bedroom Ensuite
  • Quartz countertops
  • Fireplace
  • Double Garage
  • Patio Doors

The Sullivan Floorplan:

describe the image

Sullivans for Sale:


30 Blackwolf Bay N

$381 900


160 Blackwolf Way N

$374 900


272 Blackwolf Way N

$363 500

Country Meadows:

137 Crocus Terrace W

$354 900

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Topics: Featured Floor Plans

Native Plants are a Good Option for Southern Alberta Gardens

Posted by Jessica Kachmarski on Jul 10, 2014 8:53:00 AM


One of the best ways to maintain a homes resale value is to beautify the landscaping.  There are many ways to increase a property’s curb appeal.  A well cared for lawn and garden adds to your property’s resale value.  You give your neighborhood a great impression by maintaining the property surrounding your home.

Many homeowners choose exotic plants when addressing their landscaping issues.  Though these plants can be appealing most of them are not native to the region.  Instead of upgrading your property with exotic plants from a far, consider the benefits of local native plants for your landscape.

The native plants and the wildlife specific to your area have evolved together for years.  EachPrimrose ensures the other’s survival.  As housing and commercial areas of a community continue to develop local wildlife suffers from loss of food sources.  The wildlife relies on the local native plants to survive and thrive.  Your choice of native plants helps keep the ecosystem in check.

Less yard work is required when using native plants as landscaping.  The native plants have already adapted to the local climate and will require much less care.  They are most likely to be perennial plants needing to be planted only once rather than annual plants which need to be planted year after year.  In this area of Southern Alberta the native plants require a lot less water, which is also better for the homeowners with busy schedules.

Native plants are more resistant to insects and fungal infections as they are able to fight off these problems easier than exotic plants.  This reduces the need for the homeowner to spend time and money purchasing and applying pesticides to garden areas. 

Homeowners will find that their properties stand out in their neighborhood using native plants.  Properties that stand out are great for resale and a yard that requires less maintenance is a great selling feature for potential buyers. As a helpful tip for homeowners, residing in Lethbridge, seeds of native plants can be purchased at the Galt Museum.


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Chuck Gulyas Monthly Lethbridge Real Estate Update for July

Posted by Bronwyn Marie West on Jul 8, 2014 2:20:00 PM



How June Was for Lethbridge:

Single family home sales in the month of June saw a negligible decrease of 2% month over month here in Lethbridge and overall sales are down just 2% year to date over last year. After some gradual softening in the first quarter of the 2014 and the dramatic rebound in May, our market has returned to (you guessed it ) Stable!

Listings of single family homes were up 8% over the same month last year and the average sale price of one of those single family homes was $321,508.00 in June, a whopping 5% increase over 2013. There are currently 583 single family homes listed on MLS in Lethbridge which is a typical number for this time of year and will likely be close to (if not the) peak listing volume for this year. Expect an unprecedented increase in the number of "New Construction" condos in the coming months as sales in the "Skye" by Avonlea Urban gain momentum.

With over 25 sales in less than a month of the Grand Opening it's obvious to everyone that this project in west Lethbridge has sparked life into a condo market that has been largely deflated over recent years. With 139 total units to be constructed, this development will soon be driving the condo market in Lethbridge for the next few years. 

All in all the market here in Lethbridge remains steady and reliable and likely will for the foreseeable future!


When Someone is Upset with You 

It may be a co-worker who feels slighted because of something you said at a meeting, a driver you inadvertently cut off on the way to work or a neighbour who's upset because your tree has branched too far into his yard. It's almost impossible to go through life -- or even a week -- without someone becoming upset with you. It happens.  So how do you deal with it?

 There's an easy technique recommended by de-escalation experts called the balloon technique. It works like this: 

Imagine the other person's anger is like a balloon filled with air. If you get angry back, all you're doing is adding more air to the balloon. Instead, simply let the person vent until he has communicated his frustration completely. (If he asks questions, say you prefer to hear him out fully before answering.)

 Letting the other person vent with little or no interruption will help to "deflate the balloon" thereby de-escalating the tension. Then you'll be in a better position to deal with the situation.


"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you CAN do!" - John Wooden

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