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.

 

 
I'm updating my e-PRO® certification at REALTOR® University today and came across this information that I had viewed earlier this spring. I think it's pretty relevant to today's real estate consumer. What do you think? 

Important Factors in Choosing a Real Estate Agent to Sell a Home:

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) in their 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the agent's reputation is the #1 reason why sellers chose their agent.
Here's the chart:

 

Chart: Factors Important to a Seller Choosing an Agent

Source: 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®

 
  • Reputation of the agent - 35%
  • Agent is honest and trustworthy - 23%
  • Agent is a friend or family member - 16%
  • Agent's knowledge of the neighbourhood - 12%
  • Agent has caring personality / good listener - 4%
  • Agent is associated with a particular firm - 4%
  • Agent's designations - 1%
  • All other factors (combined) - 4%
I found it quite interesting to see both "being the neighbourhood expert" and...
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CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) just released a report this morning on their forecast for the National Housing Outlook.
 
At the national level, sales of existing homes through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) declined in the second quarter of 2011 and are forecast to remain stable in the remaining quarters of 2011. MLS® sales are expected to increase modestly in 2012. Overall, 446,700 sales are forecasted in 2011, followed by 458,000 in 2012. As for national resale prices: the average MLS® price in the second quarter of 2011 continued to increase but is expected to plateau for the remainder of the year. For 2011, the national average MLS® price is forecast to be $367,500 while 2012 will see a modest increase to $372,400.
 
In 2012, growth in housing starts is expected to be strongest in Alberta and British Columbia.
 
For the Alberta market, here are the key items:
 
Elevated oil prices will continue to be the foundation of economic...
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According to a new report from Statistics Canada, the average commute time to work for Canadians in 2010 was 26 minutes (one way). About a quarter of those took their own vehicle (24%), while another 44% rode public transit. Some 14% walked or used a bicycle.
 
Not surprisingly, commuters in Canada’s largest cities spent the most time getting to work, with Toronto leading at 33 minutes. Montreal (31 minutes) and Vancouver (30 minutes) were not far behind.
 
Of cities over 1 million, Edmonton had the lowest average commute time of 23 minutes. It took Calgarians an average of 3 minutes more (26 minutes).
 
Improved public transportation systems in Calgary in the coming years could help reduce congestion and commute times.
 
Source: ATB
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Alberta Repeat Buyers less likely to compromiseCALGARY – August 23, 2011 – TD Canada Trust Repeat Home Buyers Report (released today) finds many repeat buyers in the province feel they compromised on features of previous home purchase - Albertans are the most likely in the country to feel they compromised on the layout and features of their current home and are not willing to do so again in their next house hunt. The TD Canada Trust Repeat Home Buyers Report, which surveyed Canadians who recently bought or intend to buy a home that is not their first, found that six-in-ten (59%) Albertan repeat buyers are moving on to larger or more luxurious homes. Even though many are upgrading, they are among the least likely to need a mortgage to finance the purchase (58% versus 69% nationally).
 
The large majority of Albertans (84%) plan to sell their current home before buying a new one. More than one-in-five (22%) say market conditions played a factor in their decision to buy another home. Seven-in-ten Albertans expect to sell...
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Home inspectors in Alberta are to be licensed as of September 1, 2011As of September 1, 2011, home inspection businesses and individual home inspectors must obtain a licence from the provincial government.

Qualifications for a home inspector licence

  • Inspectors must have a degree, diploma or certificate in home inspection from an approved educational institution and successfully complete a test inspection. The government currently recognizes the Carson Dunlop & Associates curriculum offered by SAIT and will evaluate other courses that become available in Alberta. 
  • Inspectors are automatically qualified for a licence if they hold a Registered Home Inspector designation from the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors; or a Certified Master Inspector designation from the Master Inspector Certification Board, Inc., affiliated with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. 
  • Inspectors who do not meet these requirements may apply for a conditional licence valid until March 31, 2013 to give them time to acquire the necessary...
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Adding a deck or patio adds value to Calgary real estate and the your enjoyment of your back yard.Patios and Decks

Many home improvements increase your enjoyment of your home, but some can also affect your home’s value – according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada: Adding or upgrading a deck or patio can yield a 50 to 75% return on investment at the time of resale.
 
These tips will help you plan for your deck and patio improvement needs with a focus on resale value:
 
Truly Assess Your Wants and Needs – Decide on what the main purpose of your deck or patio should be. Will it be for entertaining? Relaxing? Or simply to improve the look and landscape of your yard? Answering this first question will help you determine the size, layout, and your need for things like eating areas and built-in seating.
 
Do Lots of Research – Find out whether you require a building permit to meet fire and structural safety standards, even if you’re just upgrading an existing deck or patio. Always - check with the city's building department for permit related...
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Buying a house can certainly be the most rewarding purchase you ever make. However, depending on your current circumstances, this may not be your very best option. To help make an educated decision, try to answer the following important questions first:

 

1. Do you really want to own your home?

Some would argue that this is the first question you should ask yourself. Like everything else, home ownership is a matter of choice. Only you can decide whether or not home ownership is really important to you. If homeownership is something your really want, then you may want to compete an evaluation on where you spend your money every month and re-assess some of your current choices.

 

2. How often do you expect to move in the near future?

If you expect to be moving every couple of years (or more often) then you probably shouldn't consider buying your own home. Every time you buy or sell a home you incur significant costs: Legal fees, registration fees and marketing fees alone average...
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Source: KWRI - used under standard YouTube license terms.
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Buying your first home can be a daunting task, but hiring a real estate professional early in the process helps!Are you among the thousands of Calgarians who pay rent each and every month, knowing that you'll never see that money again?

 

For many this need not be the case. If you don't need to move from place to place or from job to job, why not take income lost forever to rent and build it into an investment that can last a lifetime?
 
Right now there are excellent opportunities for first-time buyers; mortgage rates are low and there are reasonably-priced starter homes on the market.

 

Before you run out and start looking at homes, it is a good idea to first take a look at what you need, what you want and what you can afford. Whatever your taste and budget, there is a home out there for you. It will just take a little planning and forethought to make your dream of being a home owner come true.

What kind of home do you need?

Buying a home is never based on one specific factor; instead, it is a balance of many requirements - things like family size, location, income and lifestyle. REALTORS...
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With today's low interest rates and wide variety of housing options and prices, buying your first home may be one of the very best long-term investments you'll ever make. But before taking the big jump into home ownership, it is important to consider your personal needs and financial situation very carefully.

 

Owning a home is not for everyone. It's a very big responsibility that may require some sacrifices and possibly a lowering of expectations. Unless you have a significant down payment readily available, it is important to keep in mind that double car garages, gas fireplaces, family rooms, powder rooms, walk-in closets, ensuite bathrooms, finished basements and over-sized lots all add dollars to the price of any home. Prime neighbourhoods - regardless of a particular home's negative features - also command premium prices.

 

For most people, their first home is a very modest structure in a pleasant rather than prime neighbourhood, and it may need some cleaning or fixing up....
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For a few years before the Calgary area real estate market burst in late 2007, I saw quite a number of "flipped" houses. Now that selling prices are somewhat low again and the market is somewhat starting to turn around, I have been seeing more and more properties hitting the market that have obviously been "flipped." Some of them are even trying to get early-2007 prices! Some of these homes end up in transactions that have a degree of irritation with the investor-owner who operates with a "bottom-line" mentality; others have been like a continuing bad dream.
 
A "flip" is a distressed property that is bought by an investor below market price. The investor then invests minimal dollars in "fixing up" the home and then tries to sell at market price. The problem is: how much the investor spends on improving the house. I'm sure you've seen them on the market - they're called "fixer-uppers" or sometimes just "fixers."
 
Buyers - listen up! Typically, investor-flippers spend most of their...
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