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.
No matter if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market, there are a few critical steps you can take to make a smarter purchase. Since buying a home is likely the biggest single investment you will ever make, being prepared will help you make a better purchase. Here are our best tips to buying a home.
Know your buying power
What is your buying power? It is the combination of your credit-worthiness and how much you can realistically pay for a home.
First, you need to understand the hidden costs of buying a home. You will need to save not only for the down payment of your home -- which is typically between 5% - 20% of the offer price -- but also for any additional transaction fees, such as land transfer fee, inspection charges, title insurance, and legal fees.
Then you need to know what you can realistically afford each month to understand how much house you can buy. Your mortgage rate will depend on your creditworthiness -- if you have a high credit...
Your home isn’t selling and yet the current, local real estate market is really quite active. You naturally ask yourself, “Why?”
Sadly, not all real estate agents are equal. Some only use the classic 3 P’s of real estate marketing: Put a sign in the yard, Put the home in the local MLS System, and Pray that the home sells.
But there are also some other sure signs that it’s time for you to face the music and hire someone else:
1. The online photos leave a lot to be desired. With real estate being a cut-throat and expensive business to be in, many real estate agents are trying to cut expenses wherever they can. Too often, we see homes being photographed with cellphone or point and shoot cameras. Often, real estate agents don’t have the tools to crop, colour balance or control exposure in their photos. Worse still, they don’t know when they should hire a professional. For the minimal cost, this is one area that agents should short-change...
The current trends are all about utilizing rich color, maximizing texture and creating comfortable interiors you can’t wait to relax in. Use these trends to get inspired to makeover your home’s interiors and create spaces you love that also appeal to your personal style. Remember, if you plan to sell in the next few years, you may want to avoid doing anything dramatic and instead incorporate small changes that would appeal to buyers.
Why are these trends gaining popularity?
The underlying theme of these trends is creating a home environment you love; one that appeals to your emotions and feels like a retreat from the stresses of the world. Although the home is a place where you can relax and spend time with loved ones, work expectations are beginning to blur the line between work and home. Even if people don’t work from home specifically, many are stretching their work hours into their evenings and weekends to complete work projects.
Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (or UAVs), have recently entered the mainstream market in Canada and are now widely used both commercially and recreationally. For use in real estate, the activity is considered strictly a commercial use. Commercial drone use is heavily regulated and compliance is required in order to fly.
Operating a drone means that certain rules and guidelines must be followed to ensure the safety of the drone's team, of the public, and of manned aircraft in the area.
All drone flights must take place in daylight and in good weather,
Aircraft must remain in visual line-of-site of the drone pilot at all times,
Drone operations must be conducted outside of airport airspace, away from populated areas, buildings, public areas, and busy roads, and cannot go higher than 90 metres, vertically,
The privacy of others must be respected.
While most of these rules are primarily safety oriented, they may also affect when and how one is able to capture aerial imagery,...
I received another soliciation for a real estate coaching program this morning. The opening line was, "Do Open Houses Work?" Okay so as a very curious REALTOR® that truly believes they can work I thought, let's hear what he had to say.
Take a look at this information in this video:
Source: Used under standard YouTube license terms.
As a disclosure, this is a Toronto-based real estate trainer that sells his coaching program across North America to real estate agents from all brands: local, national and international. Whether or not he is a certified coach or if he has ever been a licensed real estate agent, I don't know. But, his words are mimicked by almost every real estate trainer.
Did you hear what he said? "Of course open houses work: almost any lead generation system works if you're great at it."
Did you hear what he didn't say? "Open houses are not used to actually sell the home where the open house is being held. They're used to generate more potential business...
[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...
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.
Locally, we've recently had a lot of conversations about Seller Brokerage Contracts. What these are are the contracts that is agreed to by a Seller of property and the brokerage through the brokerage's agent to allow them to market the property on behalf of the Seller. Specifically our discussion have revolved around, the agreement regarding the real estate professional's obligations and the consumer's obligations regarding to their property when it is being listed for sale within the local MLS® System.
Firstly, there are several weaknesses that creep up as a result of Provincial Standard Forms. One of them is that they cater to the lowest standard of care.
One of the notorious weaknesses has been in detailing some of the individual real estate board rules that govern how the various MLS Systems in the province run. A few years ago in this province there were Harmonized MLS System Rules agreed to by all real estate boards in the province (which are still in place), but...
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...
This past week, I came across a post card hanging on the door knob of one of the homes that I currently have listed for sale. The card was hanging from the door knob and was about 15 cm by 40 cm in size – so it was very highly visible.
The card featured the words "LOCK BOXES SUCK" superimposed on a photo of a standard REALTOR's lock box. Okay, I was intrigued.
I turned the card over. It was marketing by the local For Sale By Owner (FSBO) franchise. I didn't see a similar card on any of the neighbouring homes – so I assume it was targeted to only the homes with real estate signs. Hmm – I'm quite sure I wouldn't do business that way, but they probably have a business plan and process that they must follow as franchisees. In the really fine print on the card it specifically stated that they are not real estate brokers nor agents. Wow – that's news to me because when I was looking at ways to expand my real estate business a few years ago they were one...
Seller Secrets for Today's Calgary Real Estate Market
When it comes to selling your house, you probably want to get the most money you can in the least amount of time, with the least amount of hassle.
To help you create the best pricing strategy, we've compiled research and advice from leading experts to give you the very best answers to the most common pricing issues and questions.
This is the result of countless hours of market study, including the review of thousands of survey responses, as well as list price and sold price data from literally hundreds of thousands of transactions.
And the research is clear: pricing a house for sale correctly from the start is one of the most important factors in ensuring that the house sells quickly and for the highest price possible.
The very best agents know the secrets to pricing a house right. And now you will, too.
In this video series, we'll explore how the market determines price, the value of improvements, a...
In today's highly competitive real estate industry, many real estate agents have taken to reducing services in order to remain profitable. With the average real estate agent in the Calgary area only doing 5 or 6 transactions in a year, it's no wonder services are being cut back. Like you, most consumers today are looking for better value for the money they spend for all types of services – not reduced services and ineffective results.
Choose your real estate agent or broker carefully whether you're buying or selling real estate. Like with any other service provider, look for value, personal service, commitment, integrity, ethics and results. Here are some of the questions to ask your prospective real estate agent/broker or REALTOR®:
Are you a full-service real estate agent/broker and REALTOR®? In addition to real estate, are you also holding down another part-time or full-time job?
What is included in a typical agent's "full-service" and what premium services do you...
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...
Price is Key. No matter how much advertising is done by a home seller and their agent, a home that's priced too much over current market value is just not going to sell. If it's priced too high you may get viewings by buyers and their agents, but you're attracting buyers that are looking in a particular price range and your home won't compare favourably with the current (and recently sold) competition in that price range. Buyers and their REALTORS® are looking at a number of homes and it becomes very obvious very quickly which homes are overpriced.
If the home is priced right, it will receive consideration from all prospective buyers and their REALTORS®. A good REALTOR® will help their prospective buyer understand the value in your home and likewise try to diswade a client from overpaying for an overpriced home (they actually have a legal obligation to do this).
A home that is underpriced will possibly end up in competing offers and...
Selling a home. For most people, it’s a little like being on trial: They’re faced with more questions than they could imagine, and one wrong answer could cost them dearly. For first-timers, the decisions and implications of selling their most important investment can seem overwhelming. Even for experienced home sellers, keeping up to date with the changes in the real estate market — or perhaps finding ways to overcome the problems they ran into last time — can be daunting. That’s why information becomes such an invaluable commodity for anyone selling a home today.
To help alleviate this problem, I’ve personally compiled a list of answers to ten of the most common questions most home sellers face.
“How can I be sure now is the right time to sell?” For some homeowners, I believe the decision to sell at a particular time is necessitated due to job relocation or some other factor that makes the answer to this question an easy one,...
It's a very common question for consumers, students and for real estate industry members: How much do real estate agents really make?
I know a lot of new agents didn't have a clue when they started and some still have a belief that they can make well over $100,000 per year working less than 40 hours per week.
The answer to this question can vary wildly depending on where you're working and how many hours a week.
A recent infographic by one of the larger MLS data republishers, Point-2, explains some of the variables that agents, sellers, buyers and someone interested in getting into the business may find useful.
Take a look at this information in this video:
Source: Used under standard YouTube license terms.
The survey and the video talk about American numbers. As always, real estate is very local. In Canada, surveys have indicated that the average agent makes less than $40,000 per year. This is a gross income amount. Since real estate agents are independent contractors...
Calling the listing agent is the BIGGEST mistake a potential buyer can make!
The listing agent is legally working for the seller to get them the very highest price and best terms possible!
The listing agent is required, by law, to disclose three important facts to an unrepresented potential buyer:
They are working FOR the seller,
They are NOT working for you, and
The buyer will likely get a better deal with their own agent.
The listing agent is prohibited from sharing with the potential buyer knowledge they may have about a home or the seller – unless the seller gives them authorization to share the information ahead of time. And why would the seller offer to share negative information?
The listing agent is going to try to push a sale of the home – whether or not it meets the potential buyer's criteria. Keep in mind they work FOR the seller.
The seller has already agreed to pay a certain fee to sell their home through the listing agent. They pay no...
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.