A blog cannot deal with all aspects of a subject and is not intended to replace professional advice. It's purpose is to highlight information and identify areas of possible interest. Anyone wishing to discuss this blog or to make any comments or suggestions about this blog is invited to do so by either posting comments or emailing me directly.
February 26, 2011
How to Sell Your Home In A Slow Market
Current market conditions might not always be ideal for you to sell your home. However, just because there aren't hoards of buyers lined up doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to sell your home at all. What it does mean is patience and flexibility will be required,. Also, you'll need extra preparation to make your home outshine the competition and get sold!
Before you put your home up for sale and on the market, make sure that all basic repairs are completed. If you want to be especially competitive, don’t allow something like a dripping faucet or missing window screens to knock you off your game. If a homebuyer thinks these little things aren’t being attended to, they might fell that you haven't been diligent in attending to structural issues over the years, and fear that they’ll have to spend even more money for repairs or renovations in the coming months or years.
In a slow real estate market, it’s important to always keep your house clean...
February 25, 2011
Overview of the Federal Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)
A valuable incentive that today's home buyers can take advantage of is the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). In my experience, however, there is some confusion surrounding this program, so I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with a clear, simple overview.
The HBP allows would-be home buyers the opportunity to withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP without incurring any withholding or income tax, and use it towards a home. The amount withdrawn then needs to be paid back into the RRSP over a 15-year period, with equal amounts due each year (i.e. 1/15th of the amount borrowed).
However, not all homes qualify for the HCP program. The home must be in Canada, it must be a principal place of residence, and it must be purchased (or built) by October 1st of the year following the withdrawal. So for example, if $25,000 is withdrawn on January 1, 2011, home buyers have until October 1, 2012 to apply the money towards the purchase of a home.
Now, there are some key things...
February 25, 2011
Save Up To $750 When You Buy Your First* Home!
Are you in the market for your first home?
Or, with historically low interest rates and lots of selection to choose from, are you thinking about taking an informed step from renting to owning?
If so, then I've got some fantastic news for you that will put a smile on your face... It's called the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC).
Launched by the Federal Government in 2008, the HBTC gives qualifying first-time home buyers a non-refundable tax credit based on an amount of $5,000. The exact amount of the tax credit depends on the tax year's lowest personal income tax rate.
For example, in 2009, this amount was 15%, which meant that qualifying first time home buyers received a tax credit of $750 (15% x $5,000). In 2010, the lowest personal income tax rate remained at at 15% – so that means folks who opened the door to their first new home might be in for a handy $750 windfall when they file their 2010 taxes this year.
Either you, your spouse or your common law partner can claim to credit,...
February 24, 2011
Alberta home ownership affordability best in Canada: RBC
Calgary affordability best in almost six years
Alberta officially became the most affordable province in the country for home ownership in the fourth quarter of 2010 and affordability in Calgary is now the best it's been in almost six years, says a new report released Thursday by RBC.
The Housing Trends and Affordability report said a gradual but steady recovery in housing demand in the past half-year has just begun to bolster market conditions in the Calgary area by drawing the prolonged slump since 2007 closer to an end.
In Calgary on a seasonally-adjusted basis, home resales increased appreciably since the June 2010 lows, and this "helped to reduce the market slack significantly by the end of last year that kept buyers in the driver's seat.
"Nonetheless, the return to more balanced market conditions in Calgary did not succeed in reversing the tide in the fourth quarter of 2010, because home prices continued to weaken for the most part," said the report by senior economist...
February 23, 2011
Interviewing Real Estate Agents
Before you select a Calgary real estate agent to assist you with your home buying or selling needs, it's smart to interview a number of different candidates. This will help you determine with confidence whether or not you have the right agent for the job — and the right agent for you!
Ask friends, family members, neighbours and co-workers for recommendations of agents they have used in the past. You can also check out the Internet by searching for industry terms like "ABR" (an Accredited Buyers' Representative) or "Certified Condominium Specialist". If you are looking at selling a home, check out a few open houses and see what the agents are doing to get those homes sold. Are they hosting the open house or have they employed another agent? Does that agent have great sales skills or are they a novice? What is their marketing plan and does it appear effective in attracting buyers and buyers' agent attention? Open houses are typically a terrible way to find an agent to represent...
February 22, 2011
Calgary economy to lead the country in 2012
3.7% growth this year
Calgary's economy will regain its place as one of the fastest growing census metropolitan areas in Canada over the next two years, says the Conference Board of Canada.
In its Metropolitan Outlook Winter 2011 edition, the board says "the continued recovery in the energy sector will boost economic growth by 3.7 per cent in 2011 and above four per cent the following year, placing Calgary at the top of the growth leaderboard in 2012."
But the board says Canada's slowing economy will weigh on growth in most of the 27 census metropolitan areas across the country. Only Windsor, Calgary, Oshawa, Regina, Saskatoon, London, Sherbrooke, Winnipeg, and Thunder Bay can expect higher real gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year than in 2010.
"Most Canadian cities rebounded well from the recession. This year, however, a weaker domestic economy, winding down of federal and provincial government stimulus measures, and uncertain economic conditions in the United...
February 21, 2011
Do I Really Need My Own Buyer's Agent?
Shhh! - The Inside Secret to Buying a Home!
We often run into first-time buyers that don't yet understand the real estate business and decide they want to save money on their home purchase by calling the Agent on the sign at a home that's for sale. What they don't know is that this actually could be COSTING them thousands of dollars and, in the best case scenario, not saving them even a dime. They could be missing out on homes that aren't yet on the market, having lots of frustration, buying the wrong home for their needs or even losing valuable time in their home search...
Buyer's agents exist to help buyers. Any agent can represent or work with buyers - if they so choose. Many agents just take home listings and wait for unsuspecting buyers to call them - then they try to sell you that home, that day! Accredited Buyers Representatives (ABR®) have additional training and expertise to work with you and not sell to you. We strongly recommend hiring a real estate professional and...
February 11, 2011
Finding a Qualified Buyer's Agent
Categories:Buying a Home In Calgary
How often do you purchase real estate? Once, twice, three times in your lifetime? So you can hardly be expected to know all the ins and outs of such a major transaction complicated by so many details.
In most transactions, sellers are represented by a listing agent who manages these details for them and acts in their best interests (not only an individual agent, but the entire brokerage they represent - including ALL their agents represent the sellers' interests). As a buyer, don’t you also want someone to provide complete and honest representation in your real estate transaction? Real estate buyer’s agents are responsible for protecting the best interests of their clients—buyers like you—and can guide you through every step of the process. But the first step, and maybe the most important one, is finding a qualified buyer’s representative.
What Is A Buyer’s Representative?
Defined most simply, a buyer’s representative (or buyer’s agent)...
February 1, 2011
Former Grow-Ops seem to be everywhere...
Categories:Buying a Home In Calgary,Grow-Ops,Property Virgins,Relocating to Calgary,Selling a Home In Calgary
I had been showing a home in a wonderful community last spring and it just didn't work for the particular buyers I was working with. The layout was really nice, the location really good and the home was vacant and ready for immediate occupancy.
Well unfortunately, it has now appeared on the province's grow-op list.
Here's a link to the full list of former illegal drug operations (grow-ops and meth labs) that have been busted in the Calgary area. You'll see there are hundreds of homes on the list.
How many others have gone undetected, or undisclosed in a real estate transaction?
As a Buyer, know that it is the Seller's responsibility to disclose this information to their agent if it is know to them. The Seller's Agent will most likely disclose this information on the MLS® System (either publicly, privately to other agents, or both). Whether or not the drug operation has been remediated,...
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