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.
April 7, 2017
We Found The House of Our Dreams Only To Find Out that it is already Conditionally Sold. Is it worth making a Backup Offer?
The simple answer is: YES.
Backup offers are becoming more common and are ofter successful. In the last downturn of the market, buyers were having a difficult time in qualifying for mortgage loans. While not a huge number of deals fall apart, in difficult times they seem to double in quantity. In a short 3-month period that year, we completed 3 successful deals for our clients by making backup offers on homes that were conditionally sold.
In October of 2016, lending criteria for high-ratio mortgages substantially changed. As a result, consumers who would previously had no problem in qualifying for a mortgage loans are more frequently being turned down by lenders. As a result of this, their conditional purchases are collapsing. In March 2017, the mortgage insurance premium increased – again! The qualification rules will probably only get more difficult.
If you had an accepted offer that was a backup to the first offer and the first offer collapses for any reason,...
February 4, 2016
Should I call the Seller's Agent?
A little while ago, I was wondering... why do consumers and potential home buyers call the agent that represents the seller in order to see a home and potentially make an offer on it?
Well there are probably lots of reasons. Here may be a few:
1. They think buying a house is like buying a car: You have to go to each and every car dealership and dirt lot to see all the inventory.
2. They think that the agent with the sign has insider knowledge about the home that other agents can't find out.
3. They think the agent with all the signs in the neighbourhood is the neighbourhood "specialist".
4. Their agent is too busy and they don't want to bother them.
5. They think that by only having one agent involved in the purchase/sale that they can get a better deal on the home.
Let's provide some clarity on these points...
1. Inventory: If a homeowner hires their agent to put up their property for sale and doesn't allow them to share the property's listing with other...
February 4, 2016
IDX, MLS Reciprocity and DDF: What does it mean for you, a buyer?
[I originally posted this article in early 2014 and it's been reposted often by others (with and without permission). I have reposted it here with updated content to reflect some of the realities in 2016.]
In an increasingly digital world, it's really important to have at least a very basic understanding of how some of the advances in technology affect you as a consumer. This is true even when it comes to looking at purchasing real estate. While searching for homes online makes the hunt for real estate a heck of a lot easier, you will likely find yourself lost in "information overload" and why hiring a real estate agent to help you before you start a serious search is important. Real estate agents have access to oodles of data and can help interpret it by separating the important details from the myriad of other data. At least they should be able to.
When it comes to searching for real estate online, particularly with things like IDX and MLS Reciprocity, what does it all mean for...
January 26, 2016
Open House this Saturday & Sunday! 136 Sunset Close (Cochrane)
It is a fabulous home that is ready for a new family. Located at 136 Sunset Close in Cochrane, Alberta, the home is a perfect blend of Location + Value + Lifestyle.
Just 30 MINUTES to downtown Calgary & about an hour to the mountains. Cochrane has that small-town charm and it's just close enough to the big city!
A bright, MOVE-IN READY Calbridge-built home of 2,400+ square feet. Quality upgrades like easy maintenance - and pet friendly - ceramic tile throughout most of the main floor, a main floor home office, walk-thru pantry & laundry area, an over-sized patio door and a large granite island are features of this newer home. See FLOOR PLAN in photos. Plush carpeting in the living room & throughout the 2nd floor. SPACIOUS bedrooms & walk-in closet. BONUS ROOM + added FLEX area upstairs. Ensuite bath has soaker tub & separate shower enclosure. Fully-fenced yard backs onto green space & walking path and trees provide lots of privacy. INSULATED, DOUBLE GARAGE. Unspoiled...
January 22, 2016
Open House this Saturday! 334 Ascot Circle SW
I'm hosting an OPEN HOUSE this Saturday from 2 to 4 pm. Come on down and say "hi."
Priced $44,000 below TWO almost identical units that came on the market in the last several days — this home offers tremendous value at $425,900!
Tranquility and style, this exquisite 2 bedroom townhouse is located in the highly sought after Enclave at Castle Keep in Aspen and is surrounded by an abundance of green space. It features a functional, open concept layout, dark hardwood floors throughout main level, 9 foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, extended high modern cabinets with a raised eating bar overlooking the dining and living areas with over-sized windows and an unobstructed view of the forested area and ravine. The upper floor boasts two large master bedrooms, each with their own private ensuite and a conveniently located laundry room. The ground floor includes a tandem 2-car garage. The home is a quick commute to downtown Calgary and is close to...
January 19, 2016
RE/MAX Signs - What's the Difference?
You've probably been driving around Calgary and have seen several RE/MAX® Real Estate Signs.
RE/MAX actually has some of the strictest real estate signage rules among all the various real estate brands (both franchised and independent). The colours, the style, the layout and the content are strictly defined by our corporate offices.
Currently, there are two basic styles. Both indicate which franchisee is being represented in the bottom line of each sign. In Calgary, for example, there are over 10 different RE/MAX offices working the city so you may see a sign from any one of them. The individual real estate agent's name is also required to be on the sign (and the name has to be the one that is registered on their provincial real estate licence. A nick name, if used, must be on the licence too.) Team names are permitted, but they should always include the name of the individual agent that has the listing.
So, the two signs are as below:
The left sign...
January 18, 2016
Open House at 334 Ascot Circle SW a Success!
Yesterday, I held an Open House at 334 Ascot Circle SW.
I met so many wonderful people!
A big THANK YOU to everyone that came out in the chilly Calgary weather to see this wonderful home. We had 12 people through during those two hours including one real estate agent and her client. At one point it seemed to be like shark infested waters and a feeding frenzie of home buyers!
We should be getting an offer any day on this wonderful home in a tremendous complex in Aspen Woods.
If you're looking for a home in this area or any other west and northwest community of Calgary, please give me a call. I specialize in all of these neighbourhoods!
January 6, 2016
Hawkwood Real Estate Stats for December 2015
Sales of homes in Hawkwood this past month are following a similar trend of many other established communities in Calgary. While sales are slower than sales in 2014, sales continute to happen and overall sales prices have not substantially lost ground. In fact, on an annualized basis the selling prices in Hawkwood for 2015 are up 3.2% over 2014.
Because home prices throughout many areas of the city are somewhat stalled, it remains a good time to buy homes for both first-time buyers and move-up buyers. However due to the negative influence of the media, many will tend to sit back and wait until prices begin to rise overall in the city instead of just in a few select neighbourhoods and price ranges as the case today.
Looking for a home in our lovely neighbourhood of Hawkwood or looking to sell one?
I'm the trusted neighbourhood real estate professional!
I live here, I work here, I'm here for You!
Here are all the listings available in Hawkwood today: click...
December 8, 2015
Mortgage Insurance Rules Changed... Again!
Today, the federal Finance Minister announced changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance to contain risks in the housing market, reduce taxpayer exposure and support long-term stability.
Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5% to 10% for the portion of the house price above $500,000. The 5% minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.
For example, a home costing $700,000 would require a $45,000 down payment – a 5% down payment on the first $500,000, added to a 10% down payment on the remaining $200,000.
Buyers shopping for homes below the $500,000 mark will be unaffected by the new rules.
The move is expected to take pressure off the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which offers mortgage loan insurance for properties valued below $1 million.
Since the 2008 recession, the federal government has made it more challenging for Canadians to...
November 17, 2015
New Calgary MLS System Communities and Community Map as of January 2016.
There has been little talk of the alignment of the Calgary MLS System community names and divisions with those of the City of Calgary. Early in January 2016, the map will be aligned.
What this means for consumers is that they can get more relevant information on the community they are interest in buying a home within. The 4 zones are being replaced with 8 districts. Some MLS System neighbourhoods are disappearing and almalgamating with a larger neighbourhood. (eg. Ranchland Estates almalgamates with Ranchlands; Lake Bonavista Estates almalgamates with Lake Bonavista; Garrison Woods amalgamates with Altadore.)
For me, it will be a bit of a challenge getting to learn some of the new nuances, but it does make a lot of sense and I welcome it. As far as I'm concerned, it's long overdue and the sooner it's implemented, the better!
Here are the expected changes:
September 16, 2015
The September Hawkwood Home Insights has arrived...
Calgary, AB - September 16, 2015
Every month, I've been mailing out 1,000 flyers in some of the newer sections of Hawkwood. (Actually, it's mailed out ten times a year.) There are lots of home insights for homeowners, renters and potential home sellers. If you have any questions about your current home value or wish to discuss marketing your home within the next 6 months, now is the time to talk with an experienced, real estate broker that actually lives in your neighbourhood. As Hawkwood's RE/MAX real estate professional and resident REALTOR®, I can help tell you what others may not be able to share with you. I'm also very "in tune" with many of the northwest and southwest neighbourhoods in the City of Calgary.
If you are currently renting your home, and you're thinking now may be the time to buy, please get in touch with me and we can get the process started. As you can imagine, the overall trend of house values within the City of Calgary is upward. Some communities can...
September 4, 2015
Are you being watched? Do you know who may be listening?
In visiting a number of homes, recently, we have noticed video and/or audio capture devices that were actively monitoring the premises. What this means to us is there is an increase in the number of home sellers that are actively recording their real estate agents, prospective buyers and their buyer agents during the course of open houses or private showing appointments.
This is something we were concerned with several years ago with baby monitors being positioned in homes and turned on so that home sellers could "eavesdrop" on the buyer's viewing sppointment from nearby outside the home. That was something we always warned our clients about when we were showing homes to them and reminded them again when we noticed monitoring equipment (whether or not we could determine if the device was "on".)
Times have now changed: it is starting to appear quite often. In a few cases the common indicator light showing the device is acively monitoring had been covered up or possibly even disconnected....
September 2, 2015
Calgary Real Estate Market Stats for August 2015
For a complete statistics package, just send me a note and I'll email you a 28 page report or click here to download it immediately.
September 1, 2015
Hawkwood: Luxury homes hit Balanced Market for first time this year.
Neighbourhood of HAWKWOOD Stats as of the end of August 2015:
With the end of summer all but complete, the summer market ends this week as we enter the Labour Day weekend. Although school has already started, home purchasers tend to get back into their home hunt after this unofficial end of summer. Market activity should warm up some between now and Thanksgiving's Day. Now is a good time to buy that home you've been keeping an eye on (providing you and your agent are able to get a market value price for it -- there are, incredibly, a few homes on that market that are still priced too high for their location and/or condition.)
Overall, the Hawkwood community remains in a BALANCED MARKET for the month.
Attached homes (townhouses & side-by-side duplexes):
0 Conditionally Sold
0 Sold August 1 - 31
2 Sold year-to-date
16 Months of Supply - STRONG BUYERS market
0 Conditionally Sold
0 Sold August 1 - 31
6 Sold year-to-date...
August 2, 2015
Hawkwood: Balanced Market for Homes Priced Under $600,000 Remains in July 2015
Neighbourhood of HAWKWOOD Stats as of the end of July 2015:
July is usually the slowest month of the year for real estate sales in Calgary. This year shows no variation from the norm. We should start to see the listing and sales activity slowly climb until mid-November. It may be a great time to both put a home on the market and to shop for homes in Hawkwood. There will be a little less to choose from than the winter-spring market, but there will be far, far fewer people to compete with in shopping for homes. This also is an ideal time to see property at their visual peak – the grass remains close to green and there's no snow hiding unkept landscaping.
Attached homes (townhouses & side-by-side duplexes):
0 Conditionally Sold
1 Sold July 1 - 31
0 Conditionally Sold
1 Sold July 1 - 31
1 Conditionally Sold
6 Sold July 1 - 31
3.66 months of supply - Balanced Market
June 3, 2015
Buyer Agent Benefits: What Will a Buyer's Agent do for You?
What would you do if you had an income tax or legal question regarding $300,000?
Who would you contact? Yes, most of us would find the best accountant or lawyer we could find! A home purchase often far exceeds $300,000 and many buyers don’t take it as seriously as they would a legal or tax concern.
Finding a Buyers' Agent should be one of the very first steps you should take before you go finding a home. Let's look in more detail at what an exceptional Buyers Agent will do for you:
- Represent you and your best interests, not the sellers
- Respond honestly and accurately to your questions
- Help you create a plan based on your wants and needs to find you the perfect home
- Refer you to a lender or mortgage broker that has access to either first-time home buyer programs and/or trade-up buyer programs to find the most favourable loan for your particular situation
- Using the criteria you provide, they search all possible listings and properties
- With their experience they can point out the...
June 3, 2015
Understanding Designated Agency (Alberta)
There Currently Exists 2 Types of Agency Relationships in Real Estate Transactions in Alberta.
In a common law agency relationship, the agency relationship exists between the client (a buyer or seller), and the real estate brokerage (company). If both parties to a transaction are represented by the same brokerage, the brokerage has a conflict of interest. Designated agency is a departure from traditional common law agency practices and addresses this conflict. In designated agency, the agency relationship exists between the client and a designated agent(s) from a particular brokerage, and not with the brokerage as a whole.
Because the agency relationship is between the client and the designated agent(s), designated agency eliminates the conflicts of interest that commonly occur in a brokerage when two REALTORS® from the same brokerage represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction. Designated agency allows industry members to act as sole agents and provide full fiduciary...
May 19, 2015
If I Buy Privately, Do I Even Need An Agent?
Technically, no. But, I have yet to see an opportunity that couldn't have been made better by using a buyer's representative. Terms, conditions and price.
Often, first-time buyers don't know differently and embark on their home hunt by looking at random homes by calling every agent that has a listing on a particular street. And they call all the private sellers too. This would be like them contacting the coach of the opposing football team for advice -- you wouldn't do that would you?
A better use of their time is to find an agent that they get to know and trust and then use them to set up convenient appointments all at one time. That single agent can also compare and contrast the homes (which had they called all the listings agents, they would likely skew all the comments in favour of their own listing or more likely omitted the ones that weren't favourable. Obviously, if they called seller then they couldn't get any factual information on the other homes available).