Category: investment (3)

Home Appraisal

Home Appraisal

Selling your home is only half of the process – after the sale is conditional your home needs to pass the appraisal test. Given the importance of this step many clients ask ” How can I improve my Home Appraisal”?
It’s a common myth that “bank appraisals” are always conservatively low, but is that really true? Understanding the appraisal process can shed some light on home values and show you how you can enable your appraiser to substantiate the highest value possible.
First it’s important to understand the rules of engagement. Appraisals are based on recent sales usually limited to the past 6 months sales of comparable properties. In a rapidly rising market this explains why it is often difficult for appraisers to find evidence that proves the current values. Of course the opposite is also true and in a declining market often appraised values can tend to be overstated.

Here are a few ways ways you can help to improve your home appraisal:

  • Ensure the Appraiser is knowledgeable about your area. Especially in inner city communities where there are a myriad of factors that affect value and where values are extremely diverse.
  • Do your own homework. Appraisers rely on MLS data so if you are aware of private sales or the unique circumstances behind any MLS sales be sure to provide this information to the appraiser. You’ll be doing some of the appraisers work, but the payback could be well worth it.
  • Boast about the Calgary Neighborhood Information  If there are unique amenities or attractions that locals covet, now is not the time to keep them a secret. Be sure to inform your appraiser.
  • Document your improvements. If you’ve spent money on improvements be sure to document and show these to the appraiser. Especially important to point out are those improvements that are not readily apparent such as electrical and plumbing upgrades, insulation and other improvements hidden behind the walls. Don’t be hesitant to show receipts to prove the work you’ve done.
  • Understand which improvements add the most value. Kitchens and bathrooms provide the greatest return on your investment. Paint and flooring are next in providing the best bang for your buck, followed by curb appeal and landscaping.
  • Clean up. Ensure that the home is meticulously clean and the entryway shows well. Removing excessive furniture can make a home feel larger. Manicure the walkway to the home. Remove clutter and excess of photos and nik-naks. Remove all the magnets off your fridge and pack loose items in boxes that can be stored in the garage.
  • Understand your home size. MLS and Appraisal rules state that measured size must be area that is above grade. If adding size to your home understand how this will be measured and accounted for in the future. If you add space below grade, it will not count as added living area.
  • Give the Appraiser some space. As in showing any home to a potential client, don’t follow them around breathing over their shoulder. Provide the appraiser some space to let them make their own assessment and take their time to absorb and appreciate the beauty and value of your home.

Remember that appraisers prove value based on sales values in the past, but may not be attuned to market trends going forward. Understanding the current market and trends could enable you to extract many thousands of dollars of value from your home. This is where an expert real estate agent can help a tremendous amount. To ensure that you receive the highest value for your real estate investment before you sell contact Sano Stante Real Estate.



Fall Home Maintenance

Fall Home Maintenance

Each season home maintenance should be performed to prevent structural damage, save energy and keep your home’s systems running properly. To protect your home investment, try to follow an annual routine and you will discover that the work is easy and not very time consuming. By following a healthy maintenance schedule you will receive years of trouble free service from your home and avoid costly and unnecessary repairs.  To winterize your home, these are the most important items to attend to in the Fall.


  • Deadhead plants, weed and rake leaves
  • Mulch over perennials and protect young or sensitive trees
  • Prune overgrown shrubs and trees
  • Store outdoor furniture
  • Shut off outdoor hose connections; Drain and store hoses
  • Clean eavestroughs, downspouts and clear leaves from all vents
  • Check chimneys for any obstructions such as nests
  • Ensure that all ground slopes away from the home – check settling
  • Cover outside air-conditioner units and shut off power
  • Check all doors and windows and repair any weatherstripping
  • Visually inspect all exterior flashing’s and caulked joints for any openings and re-caulk as necessary


  • Consider removing interior screens from windows to provide frost free air flow around windows
  • Check that all bath fans operate properly and to clean any hood fan filters
  • Check and test your sump pump and ensure discharge lines are clear
  • Check all fire and CO2 alarms and replace batteries
  • Test all ground-fault breakers
  • Clean furnace, heat recovery unit filters and replace if required
  • Check all pilot lights for furnaces and fireplaces and check operation
  • Bleed air from radiators (hot water heating systems)
  • Have your furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years and clean ducts as required

Following a regular schedule of maintenance will save you energy, avoid costly repairs and provide you peace of mind over the winter months. If you have any questions about maintenance and ways to protect your home investment, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Sano Stante Real Estate we have a team of real estate experts that can help you get the most from your real estate investment.



Calculate the return

Return on real estate investment

Understanding how to calculate the return on a real estate investment can be instrumental to ensure that you make the best use of your resources. To understand the basics use the following guidelines:

The standard of measurement is to use annual net operating income (NOI) on a care-free basis when comparing real estate against other investments. That is, any costs involved in the real estate investment should be accounted for so that the real estate investment is hands-off, or “carefree”. The costs of maintenance, management or accounting, etc to manage your real estate must be deducted to arrive at the NOI. Even if you are quite capable and enjoy performing the maintenance or management of your investment real estate, you must allocate an equivalent cost for someone to perform these tasks to arrive at a net operating income. Other costs that you will want to ensure are captured will be taxes, insurance, utilities, vacancy allowance, advertising, licensing and supplies. Then when you have arrived at your true annual NOI you can calculate the capitalization rate or “cap rate”. To do this, take the annual NOI and divide this number by the current value of the property.

For example, if you purchased a rental property for $400,000 that brought:
$2200 gross rents per month or $26,400 in gross annual rent

Your expenses cost you:
Taxes  $2,300
Insurance  $500
Maintenance $1,200
Management $1,200
Vacancy Allowance $1,200
Advertising $100

Less Total Expenses: $6,600 annually

($26,400 – $6,600) Net Operating Income = $19,700

To calculate the cap rate divide the income by the value of the property:

$19,700/$400,000 *100 = 4.9%

So the cash flow from this property is returning you 4.9% on a care-free basis. This is now a good basis to measure the return of your real estate portfolio against GIC’s, stocks and other care-free investments.

What the cap rate does not anticipate or calculate is capital gains in the increase of the value of your real estate holdings and this would be in addition to the cap rate calculation. Real estate has historically appreciated in value over the long term so it is a fairly safe assumption that you will realize some additional appreciation from your investment. However, even with no capital appreciation, you may be satisfied with a reasonable cap rate.

Sano Stante is a CCIM which is the accepted gold standard for commercial investment real estate practitioners. For advice on investing in Calgary real estate contact Sano Stante real estate