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.


- A guest blog submission:
You have finally found the house of your dreams. It is priced right and is receiving a lot of attention from other buyers. You don’t want to miss this opportunity so you are ready to put in an offer with the real estate agent immediately. What can you do to guarantee your offer is the one accepted?
Financially, offers can be broken down into three categories:
  1. An All-Cash Offer
    Obviously, a cash purchaser is always favoured by any seller. In today’s real estate market, an all-cash offer is even more enticing. Last month the U.S. statistics show, one in four real estate transactions were impacted by a low appraisal. An all-cash buyer eliminates the need for the bank appraisal.
  2. A Non-Contingency Offer
    If you don’t have the cash reserves for an all-cash purchase, the next best thing would be to make a non-contingency offer. To do this you should be already pre-approved for a mortgage and have your current house already in contract. This...

- A guest blog submission:
Many people ask us whether they should hire an agent to sell their home or whether they should first try as an unrepresented seller (aka "for-sale-by-owner" or FSBO). In today’s volatile market, we believe this is an easy decision: you need an experienced professional!

You need an expert guide if you are traveling a dangerous path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a buyer willing to pay fair market value for your home at a time that there are massive inventories of foreclosures and bank sales will take a true real estate professional. Finding reasonable financing can also be tricky in today’s lending environment.

You need a skilled negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible r...

- A guest blog submission:
AppraisalBanks have become very conservative when lending mortgage money today. With the current foreclosure challenges in the country [...in the U.S....], we can’t really blame them. The requirements now necessary to qualify for mortgages have gotten much more stringent and it seems will get even more stringent as we move forward. The banks want to make sure the prospective buyer has the ability to repay the loan. However, this does not just involve the borrower buying the property.
The second way a bank can protect their investment in the mortgage is to make sure that the collateral backing that mortgage is secure. That is where the appraisal comes in. The bank wants to make sure that, should the buyer not be able to make their payments, the house they will be forced to take back will sell for an amount at least equal to the balance left on the mortgage. For that reason, the banks seem to be getting more conservative with appraisals also.

Q: If I attend an Open House, do I have to use the REALTOR® that is holding the open house? - Anonymous.
A: Absolutely not! In fact, this may be the very worst person for you to use!
You aren't the first buyer to be confused about the role of a real estate agent in their quest to purchase a home. Buyers, whether it's their first time or their fifteen, may not understand exactly who the agent represents and real estate agency (broker) relationship. Let me educate you a bit about what’s called "Agency" (i.e. who represents whom) in a real estate transaction for Alberta (every province or state has their own rules and laws). In Alberta, real estate agents must give buyers and sellers an "Agency Disclosure" form to sign before a transaction is started or offer is written. This form is not a contract or an agreement, it simply disclosures the various types of possible agency relationships that may exist. But it does require a signature to show that you have in fact...

Home Inspections for Calgary area real estateA Press Release today from Service Alberta:
The Alberta government will license and set standards for home inspectors under new rules to protect Albertans who rely on an inspection when buying a home.
“A home is the single largest investment most Albertans make. They deserve to have confidence that the person they hire to inspect a home is qualified to make a reliable assessment,” said Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk, responsible for consumer protection. “Most home inspectors are professionals, but the financial consequences of a faulty or negligent inspection can be staggering for families.”
The Home Inspection Business Regulation, which comes into force on September 1, 2011, will require all home inspection businesses and individual inspectors be licensed by the provincial government. To qualify for a licence, inspectors must have successfully completed training from an educational institution approved by the provincial...

Bloggers note: I read this article in the local paper and thought I should share it as a news item. This news is a very welcome surprise! Its quite odd that the apparent runaway prices in both Vancouver and Toronto haven't caused another change in the national mortgage rules..

There has already been "some softening" in the Canadian real-estate market so there is no need for further tightening of mortgage rules, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday.
In his first public comments since the election, Flaherty said the country continues to weather the ongoing upheaval in the global economy. He said his first priority is to deal with the budget — which will likely be presented in June — in order to continue to implement his government's economic action plan.
Unlike the United States and Europe, the Canadian housing market has continued to rise after the financial crisis, leading some observers to caution we could be headed for a bubble.

If you plan on moving anytime in 2011, you should strongly consider selling your house now rather than waiting. Here are five reasons why:

1. This is when your house will get the most exposure

The spring, and particularly the month of May, is when most buyers enter the real estate market. This surge of buyers dramatically increases the exposure for your house . The best chance of getting quality offers (perhaps even multiple offers) is RIGHT NOW!

2. Foreclosures, bank sales and distress sales will increase in about 90 days.

The good news is that the number of people paying their mortgage on time is increasing. This will lead to less distressed property sales later this year and throughout 2012. The not-so-good news is that there is still a large inventory of existing foreclosures, bank sales and distress sales that will still be coming to market.

3. Interest rates have risen over the last six months

Interest rates have stabilized recently. However, in the last six months, interest rates...

Canadians tend to behave surprisingly conservatively when it comes to handling mortgages, according to a recent poll conducted by ING Direct, the sixth largest mortgage lender in Canada. The results of the survey show that more than one third (36%) of Canadians carrying a mortgage have conventional mortgages - mortgages where they placed more than 20% down and didn't require mortgage insurance. And, three quarters (75%) have mortgages with amortizations of 25 years or less. These numbers are fairly surprising, considering the unusually low values of interest rates and all the cautions about rising consumer debt amongst Canadians.
Peter Aceto, President and CEO at ING Direct, believes that Canadians are simply willing to listen to experts’ advice. "We’ve always encouraged our clients to put a larger down payment on their home if they can, and to pay off more of their mortgage whenever they have the opportunity," he said. "It looks like Canadians are heeding this...

Just a quick note to let you know how we can help you or anyone you refer to us!
Another happy customer! We were first contacted by Sandra, who was referred to us about selling her condo. She was frustrated that her home had not sold and had been on the market for a total of 98 days in the past with another agent - and no offers!
We went out to meet with Sandra to review her home and go through our detailed marketing action plan for her condo. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to be chosen to sell it. We brought it onto the market on Monday, April 4th with all our full marketing pakage all kicking in at 8 a.m.: Virtual tours, awesome professional photography, detailed measurements, a drafted floor plan and an extensive Internet presence. We automatically sent email notifications directly to hundreds of buyers and their agents!
The resale market was extremely slow for this type and age of home and several other - almost identical - homes were languising...

Multiple (or Competing) Offers in Alberta

As we are hearing of more and more competing offers on homes in the Calgary market every day, it is worthwhile to review the current regulations on them and how the offers are handled. I still see a number of local real estate agents still quoting an old rule from our real estate board which is now obsolete: "The existence of multiple offers must be disclosed to all Buyer agents."
From the Real Estate Council of Alberta's (RECA) website:
"All offers must be communicated to the seller as soon as they are received. However, there are no rules as to the order in which the seller responds to them; nor is the seller obliged to accept the highest offer. The seller decides which offer, if any, will be accepted, countered, or rejected. The seller and the seller’s industry member are under no obligation to disclose to a buyer that other buyers have also made offers for the home. However, if your industry member learns of competing offers and...

Are you wondering what your home is worth on the open market?

Most homeowners are "house-proud." They truly love their homes and think they are worth a lot of money. You are probably in the same boat – you have put plenty of time, money and effort into this very big investment and of course you want to achieve the highest possible return on that investment. We all do!
Remember when you were buying your home? You probably weren’t too concerned with what the sellers wanted to achieve. Instead, you kept your eye on market conditions to make sure you weren’t overpaying. When the time came to make an offer, you probably considered offering less than the sellers were asking. You wanted your agent to negotiate the best possible purchase price regardless of what the sellers wanted.
That’s why the truth is so important. Any agent can visit your home, ask you what you want to sell it for, and agree with you. You can go ahead and list your home for sale at that...
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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.