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.

 

 
Calgary Real Estate Market Update
It has now been a week since the mortgage insurance rules changed. There has been lots of speculation from a number of banks and other economists over the last several days as to the impact that is forecast. For example, the TD Bank economists forecast that average home prices in Canada will likely contract 10 to 15 per cent over the next two years.
 
Incredibly, we still see articles quoted from a week prior to this with extremely optimistic numbers based on the conditions prior to the mortgage insurance rules change. These folks are either extreme optimists or they have their heads in the sand.

What Will the Local Effect Be?

The Corporate Economics department at the City of Calgary has now come out with a report with a significantly more local focus. As a result of their prior research and adjustments, their forecast is:
 
The Calgary housing market has two active sectors, entry-level and move-up level.
 
Low priced entry-level housing will be affected most by this...
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Priced to SellAttracting buyers and their agents is the name of the game. As a seller, you really have these two goals:
 
  • To get the most money possible, and
  • To sell as quickly as you can.
Be realistic. Price is the number one factor that most home buyers and their agents use in determining which homes to view. Although the price is set by you, the seller, the value of the home is determined by the buyer. Don't allow your enthusiasm to warp your judgment and lead to overpricing – a mistake you truly can't afford to make.
 
Here are some factors to consider – recommended by experienced residential specialists – to help you sell your home. This information is not all-inclusive and does not replace the expertise provided by a Seller Representative Specialist™ (SRS™).

What Affects Your Asking Price?

  • Urgency – How quickly must you sell? 
  • Competition – Are there just a few or many homes available in your price category and area?
  • Available Financing...
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Back in 2010, Redfin (a full-service real estate brokerage in the U.S.) conducted a scientific study that supports what many REALTORS® already know:
 
The quality of the photographs of homes for sale is important. The study actually showed that sellers got more money for their homes if they were marketed with professional quality photography.
 
The study found that the highest quality pictures were taken with DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras. Here's a quote from the study:
 
"Given this obvious upside, it is shocking that only 15.4% of homes in our data set were marketed using professional photography. The majority of listings, 80.9%, were photographed using point-n-shoot photography, and still another 0.7% used just a camera phone. Let’s not mince words: If you are not using professional photography to market your home, you are not really marketing your home." [Redfin]
 
 
I would stress, however, that I have seen quite a few otherwise very good...
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On June 21, 2012, Ottawa tightened rules on mortgage lending in the country, reducing the maximum amortization period to 25 years, down from 30 years.
 
Here's a visual look at how these changes (which take effect July 9) would affect one homeowner's mortgage payments using a five per cent sample interest rate (which is above today's rate but well below the average interest rate over the last 25 years) and assuming the homebuyer were to take advantage of the maximum length of time for the mortgage without annual prepayments or accerated payments:
 
 
Sources: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation mortgage calculator, Canadian Real Estate Association, CBCNews.ca
 
The federal government has moved once again to tighten mortgage-lending rules amid lingering concerns about overheated housing markets in some major cities and rising household debt levels.
 
In a completely expected decision called for by some of the big banks — and one that's expected to soften...
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Hang on. What's the difference between all the names like agent, REALTOR®, broker, associate, and others that are used so often in real estate? I expect most people assume they're all the same.
 
Quite simply, an agent is any person or entity who is legally licensed to represent another party. The insurance, recruiting, mortgage, and real estate industries all use this agent concept. In real estate, it is a real estate Brokerage (the real estate company) that is the legal agent that represents you – however, the licensed individuals working for the real estate brokerage are often referred to as "real estate agents." Generically, they should be referred to as brokers since they broker transactions between buyers and sellers.
 
To become a licensed real estate agent in Alberta, one must:
  • Have a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent;
  • Have proficiency in English;
  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Satisfactorily pass a criminal record check;
  • Satisfactorily pass the Real...
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It occurred to me the other day that one of the most important early decisions that you can make when considering purchasing or selling real estate is the selection of a REALTOR®. It's no secret that real estate agents, as a whole, are not really held in high regard, and certainly much of it is well deserved.

 

So how can you meet and talk with a real estate agent without feeling pressured, sold to, or just plain intimidated by them? Other than meeting them in their natural habitat (an open house, a real estate office, when they "call you out of the blue" at meal time) it's really kind of difficult, and frankly too important a decision to leave to chance. Which, by the way, is how many people end up with their real estate agent.

 

One of the reasons that I maintain this and several other real estate information websites is for people to get to know me and a lot about the real estate processes of buying and selling - without the pressure. Over a period of time, you'll get to...
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An article from last month by a an American pundit predicts that housing prices in the U.S. will never recover, and in fact, except for the boom of the mid-2000s, housing prices have remained relatively flat for the last century. In 2007 he was advocating that "Renting Makes More Financial Sense Than Buying" and then last year he was advocating "It's Time to Buy that House".
 
He backs this up with research by S&P / Case-Shiller numbers and states that now, with inflation taken into account, U.S. housing values are equivalent to 1895 levels.
 
 
The implication of this very last somewhat startling sentence is that buying property may not be the strong, long-term investment it has often been positioned as. The article does not discourage buying property however, instead it argues that “...buyers should stop focusing on the vague hope that house prices will jump from here and focus instead on the functional value houses provide for the money.” In other words,...
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Why You'll Want Me to Call...

So you're just in the information gathering stage of hunting for a home. You may not even be sure you want to buy a home this year! Your credit score may even be "a little dodgy" right now. Whatever the reason, you don't want to be bugged by some pesky "salesperson" looking to make a quick buck. Do you?

Me neither!

I loathe being pushed. I loathe being hounded. I especially loathe being harassed into making a decision – especially when I'm not ready! It's just plain rude. And it screams that that pushy salesperson isn't even listening to me nor are they working in my best interests. If they're not listening to me now, do you think they'll be listening to me later when it may be crucial?
 
I'll make you a deal right up front: I'll be fair and honest with you, if you're fair and honest with me. If you tell me exactly why you want the information that you're requesting and how quickly you need it, I'll give you that information -- whatever the reason....
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Are your real estate agents providing you with the information that you need to hear, or aren't you listening to them?

Two months ago, a young fellow gave me a call about the price of a home that had recently disappeared off the MLS® System market. He thought that I was the agent that had listed it for sale since he had "googled the address" and, as usual, my website was the one that had always come up first in the ranking. [It's a common mistake, but it is really hard to understand why people make it. The MLS® System is where we share each other's listings and have permission to market them throught IDX websites provided we disclose who the listing brokerage is and we don't modify ANY of their data. (It's called a reciprocity agreement). Every MLS® home listing for sale should show up on every agent's websites since it is extremely rare that we would ever bring a buyer to one of our own listings. But, that's another topic.]
 
Anyway, back to this story...
 
This fellow...
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Source: KWRI - used under standard YouTube license terms.
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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS ® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.