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Real Estate Can Be Your Solution in 2021 – Entrepreneur

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November
26, 2020

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their owns.

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As we enter the homestretch of perhaps the most turbulent year of our lifetimes, it’s hard not to ask the major questions: How did we get here? How can we fix it? And what does the future hold?

In March, virtually the entire US shut down as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies around the country were forced to close their offices, quickly implementing work-from-home policies for non-essential workers; and many of those policies remain in effect for the foreseeable future, as organizations continue to prioritize their workers’ health and safety. The closing of offices and need for social distancing simultaneously caused a mass exodus from major US cities like , and , with suburban markets experiencing a boom as a result. And systemic — highlighted in recorded acts of police brutality, violence and injustice — spurred widespread, national protests and ignited a sense of responsibility for many Americans.

So what does have to do with this, you might ask?  and Urban Land Institute recently published a new report, “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021,” which highlights the ways the pandemic will change how property is bought, sold and used. Perhaps one of the most interesting takeaways from the report is “Housing as a solution — for people, for communities, and for societal repair” — and the way real estate will emerge as one of the coming decade’s forefront business opportunities.

In this article, we examine some the report’s findings, including the opportunities for housing and real estate to emerge as a solution for afflicted individuals, communities and at large.

Related: Here Are Real Estate’s Winners and Losers In the New Normal

Real estate as a solution for individuals

When examining recent trends from an individual perspective — for buyers and sellers of single-family properties — Covid-19 has impacted everything. According to the PwC and Urban Land Institute report, “listings during the first half of 2020 declined,” with many homeowners fearful of inviting contagious disease through their doors during showings and open houses. But the second half of 2020 has seen a boom in both listings and sales, particularly in suburban areas. The report goes on to suggest that the months spent adjusting to social distancing, working from home and sheltering in place, “emerged as one of COVID-19’s wild-card forces, tripping thoughts to motivations, tripping interest to pursuit, and tripping new-home purchases into a higher gear.”

Individuals and families are shifting into planning mode. Looking ahead, they are thinking about their living space in terms of both personal and professional comfort, as well as safety. This shift in focus has undoubtedly impacted the homebuilding and construction sectors, which despite logistical challenges due to the pandemic, experienced booms in the warmer months as families and individuals continued to seek home upgrades ahead of the colder months.

Technologies like Punch List, which enables seamless, contact-free communication, progress tracking, project approval and payment via a mobile app, have made the process easier and safer for both contractors and homeowners. If anything, the pandemic has cemented the importance of “home” for many Americans, as home has become not just where we sleep and eat, but also where we work, where our children learn and where our in-laws and even adult children can stay safe. At Punch List, we’ve witnessed a continued increase in bathroom and kitchen renovation projects, as well as upgrades to indoor/outdoor space, in-law suites and home-offices. Homeowners and contractors are doing what they can to prepare for the uncertainty of this winter with home purchases and upgrades that will help keep everyone safe.

Related: 3 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate Right Now

Real estate as a solution for communities

For larger developments, living communities, and multifamily enterprises, the need for social distancing has caused a massive shift in focus and outlook. Amenities like community pools, fitness centers, theaters, and game rooms were a top selling point for these developments — until recently, when the health and safety of residents became top priority. Then there is the pandemic’s economic effect on vulnerable populations, who can’t afford to contribute a large percentage of their income toward rent.

As the pandemic has decreased the popularity of community living, many developers and investors have temporarily hit pause on large development projects, both in major cities and suburban markets.

But pausing is not the answer. As an industry, real estate needs to better address the needs of working-class families and individuals with secure, affordable communities — focusing less on amenities and more on health and safety.

As the PwC and Urban Land Institute report indicates, “The pandemic’s lens could favorably alter the conversation. For instance, in light of the likely need for a New Deal–style work, training, and economic vitalization megaprogram, might housing — especially multifamily rental communities for working-class families and individuals — qualify as infrastructure?” It’s certainly a solution worth considering.

Related: 3 Factors Driving Real Estate Investment in 2020

Real estate as a solution for society

As I pointed out earlier, 2020 has been trying — both due to the pandemic, and the police brutality and violence that highlighted our society’s ingrained systemic racism. It is our responsibility as a society to do better. According to the 2021 Emerging Trends survey, only 25 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “I believe that the real estate industry understands how past policies and practices may have contributed to systemic racism.” We need to educate ourselves and take an objective look at how the real estate industry, lenders and the government share responsibility for historic redlining and segregation across the .

Per the report, “Many interviewees suggested that the real estate industry could be more proactive in creating and supporting neighborhoods that are racially and socioeconomically integrated, and reversing the impact of de jure segregation, as well as investing more in areas that have been overlooked and that have suffered from perpetual and deliberate disinvestment. Institutional investors are increasing commitments to ‘impact investing,’ and real estate investments that address racial inequality are a key target.”

Let’s challenge ourselves to be more proactive in addressing the wellbeing of our society — and in promoting racial equality within the real estate industry, starting with housing. We can and should be part of the solution.

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Climate-Proofing Your Edmonton Garage Door: A DIY Guide

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Edmonton has a one-of-a-kind climate, which can be very harsh on residential garage doors. Homeowners need to ensure that their garage doors are able to withstand severe weather conditions lest they compromise the safety of their homes.

This piece aims at providing tips for DIY insulation, weather stripping and maintenance to enable you maintain your garage door in good working condition throughout the year.

 

 

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Significance of Climate-Proofing Your Garage Door

Adapting to any weather is possible when you ensure your Edmonton garage door is ready. It keeps your home warm, saves on power bills, and lessens the concern of what lies beyond coming in.

 

Tailoring Garage Doors for Edmonton’s Climate

Edmonton experiences lengthy freezing periods during winter. Such extreme cold requires tough garage doors; hence, people living around Edmonton should consider the Thermacore insulated steel door series, which are among the best. They are made to fight the winter cold by keeping the garage warm.

 

These doors block out all things chilly while retaining heat inside. As John Carter, who conceptualized garage door repair Edmonton, states, Choosing a garage door that can withstand the winter in Edmonton is not just wise but necessary.

 

Enhancing Insulation for Energy Efficiency

Start with the garage door when you want to make your home more energy efficient. It is a simple move, but one that pays off. If filled with materials such as polystyrene or polyurethane, this will keep heat in and cold out, especially during winters, when temperatures can drop significantly in places like Edmonton. This is not only for comfort’s sake; it also saves money on power bills.

 

Such improvements translate into great savings, generally speaking too. If you insulate your garage door along with windows and skylights, which are energy efficient, you will cut down on heating and cooling costs immensely. These alterations are relatively cheaper than other methods but will eventually have paid for themselves through reduced energy expenses.

 

Integrating Heat Pumps and Renewable Systems

Incorporating heat pumps in your home comes with a myriad advantages. These small devices pack quite the punch when it comes to saving power and, therefore, are ideal for those who wish to introduce green solutions into their living spaces. By slashing energy bills and cutting reliance on non-renewable power sources, these systems are easy on the bank account and good for our planet.

 

Homeowners who leap witness a rise in their indoor air quality levels while at the same time ensuring more comfortable living spaces; this contributes towards making the world eco-friendly. living sustainably should start from your home – this is among the many steps we need to take toward coming up with climate-resilient solutions for tomorrow.

 

Practical Approaches to Garage Door Climate-Proofing

 

Leveraging Canada Greener Homes Grants

Even Canadians can apply for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, which aims to make their houses energy efficient, including garage doors. It provides up to $5,600 to cover part of the expenses for eligible renovation works geared towards enhancing energy performance in a home.

 

Out of this total amount, not less than $5,000 goes into financing different types of retrofits, such as improved insulation or heat pump installation to create more comfortable living environments and save on utility costs. This support encourages eco-friendly renovations across Canada by helping cover the costs of retrofit improvements necessary for sustainable living enhancements.

 

These financial incentives are crucial for pushing forward energy-efficient upgrades and retrofit improvements without putting too much strain on personal budgets.

 

Implementing Garage Door Resiliency Features

Weatherproofing adds an extra layer of protection against storms and extreme temperatures. People typically seal gaps around their garage doors to prevent drafts and leaks, which also helps control the indoor climate. Adding storm protection features can shield homes against severe weather.

This may involve strengthened panels or materials capable of withstanding winds, rain, and snow. It ensures that despite whatever is happening outside, a steady temperature is maintained inside.

So, giving your garage door a climate makeover keeps out the cold and cranks up the cozy in your house. Taking advantage of programs like Canada’s Greener Homes makes it less of a hit on the wallet. Protecting against every kind of bad weather while still managing to be friendly towards both our planet and our finances Sounds like a win-win to me. Therefore, feel free to get all DIY with that garage door.

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Calgary’s ultra-luxury real estate heats up

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New report from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada highlights that the city leads the nation for demand growth.

Ultra-luxury homes in Calgary may not be selling like hotcakes, but homes priced $4 million or more are seeing higher demand than ever before, says a local realtor, specializing in the niche resale real estate segment.

“This spring, Calgary has seen multiple ultra luxury sales over the $4-million mark, compared with last spring,” says Corinne Poffenroth, senior vice-president of sales with Sotheby’s International Realty in Calgary.

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She points to one sale in late April in Upper Mount Royal for more than $5 million among a handful of ultra-luxury home transactions that are becoming more common, though still far from the norm in Calgary. The recently published Top-Tier Real Estate: Spring 2024 State of Luxury Report, by Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, reveals that Canada’s luxury market is recovering after the recent slump in activity in many major centres, resulting from higher borrowing costs.

It also highlights Calgary as a luxury market outlier with higher demand than other large cities, further adding the city should continue to lead Canada for percentage sales growth of high-priced homes.

“One big reason is Calgary is attracting a lot of new businesses right now,” says Don Kottick, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

What’s more, Calgary is a value market for luxury, unlike Vancouver and Toronto where luxury starts at $4 million. In Calgary, by comparison, luxury starts at $1 million.

Yet luxury is a moving target in Calgary these days — upward in price, that is — given that the average price for a single-family detached home in the city exceeded $800,000 at the end of March, Calgary Real Estate Board statistics show.

Still, buyers are arguable purchasing a luxury home in Calgary for about $1 million, with Kottick noting a comparable home in Vancouver costs $4 million — which is considered luxury there.

Most luxury demand in Calgary is for single-family homes “accounting for 83 per cent of sales for homes priced at $1 million-plus,” Poffenroth says.

Yet ultra-luxury — $4-million-plus — in Calgary, often a slow market, has picked up, as noted in Sotheby’s report.

It points to two luxury properties worth more than $4 million selling in the first three months of the year versus none in the same period in 2023.

The market for luxury homes under that price, however, was much more active. All told, 441 sales over $1 million occurred in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 63 per cent year over year, the report states.

The vast majority of sales are in the $1-million to $2-million range, accounting for 92 per cent of luxury activity in Calgary.

While many of these transactions involve single-family detached homes, other luxury housing types — townhomes and condominium apartments — are seeing stronger demand than seen in the previous 10 years, Poffenroth says, pointing to recent sales for $1.5 million and $3 million for apartment condominiums downtown.

“We are seeing both downsizers wanting larger luxury condos and a lock-and-leave lifestyle to replace their large estates, combined with out-of-province buyers who see the investment value in Calgary luxury condos.”

CREB statistics from the first quarter of 2024 reveal 15 apartment sales of $1 million or more versus 10 in 2023, also a strong market historically. Row sales did fall from four to three sales year over year, ending March 31, but semi-detached transactions in that price range were up sharply from three last year to nine this year.

Kottick says the report forecasts improving demand for Canada’s luxury market, especially if interest rates fall, with Calgary expected to again be a luxury activity leader.

“The city is still booming economically, and that will certainly drive luxury sales.”

 

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This abandoned Toronto home is $6 million

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It’s unclear how long this Toronto house has been abandoned.

The last time it sold was in 2009 for $1.8 million, and even then, it was being sold “as is.”

“The house had been vacant and derelict for years before I purchased it,” said current owner Marina Stefanovic.

“And at the time the sellers, the estate of the couple that passed away, was not allowing showings inside the house for safety reasons. The children of prior owners had chainsawed the house throughout (floors, fireplaces, walls,  etc.) looking for a valuable coin collection that the parents had.”

For the record, the kids never found the coin collection.

When Stefanovic bought it she had grand plans but she told blogTO that it took a long time to get through the Committee of Adjustments for approvals of new plans.

By the time plans were approved Stefanovic, her family had moved out of the area and things stalled.

In 2017, 132 Blythwood Rd. went on and off the market for the entire year. It started at $6,188,000 and dropped to $5,295,000 by December, but never sold as a deal fell through.

132 Blythwood Road Toronto

The front of the house.

In the intervening seven years, the house has remained abandoned and has only become more derelict.

And yet, despite the abysmal state of this house, the home has just been re-listed for $6,385,000.

Why? You might ask. Because land. It’s always land.

132 Blythwood Road Toronto

An aerial shot of the neighbourhood and property.

132 Blythwood Rd. is sitting on a massive 77 by 403-foot ravine estate lot with a substantial amount of table land (aka flat ground).

With over 30,000 square feet of land, the possibilities of building a dream home are pretty much endless, if you have the cash.

You could have a sprawling estate with a pool, detached four-car garage, and enough room for the greenhouse of all greenhouses.

In fact, according to the listing, plans for a dream home are already in the works.

There’s a survey, previously approved renovation/extension plans by Richard Wangle, and draft plans for a 13,000-square-foot new build.

Or, if you’re more entrepreneurial, you could divide the property in two and build a whole townhouse development, a condo, or whatever you want.

132 Blythwood Road Toronto

The backyard and detached garage.

This property has the space and potential to pretty much do anything you can get a building permit for.

Location wise, it is in the prestigious Lawrence Park neighbourhood where homes, on average, go for over $4 million.

So that obviously plays a part in the listing price, but even considering all that $6 million is likely high.

When we ran the address through HouseSigma and looked at the comparables, the value of the 132 Blythwood Rd. was in the $4 million range.

132 Blythwood Road Toronto

Looks like there once was a pool.

Then again, Stefanovic shared that in the years she’s owned the property she’s received a number of unsolicited offers – the highest offer being $6 million plus commission.

So who knows, maybe it will sell for close to the asking price.

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