April 17, 2018

The Final Cost of Buying a Home in Calgary

Your new home's purchase price will be the biggest costs you'll see when buying a new home, but there also other costs involved. A REALTOR® can give you more details on the extra costs, which could include:

Application / Mortgage Broker Fee - It cost the lenders money to process your mortgage application. If income or credit problems might be an issue in the approval process, lender or the mortgage broker might charge a fee for the mortgage application.

Appraisal Fee: Your mortgage will be a percentage of the purchase price of the home or the appraised value, whichever is lower. The appraiser might be on the lender's staff or the lender may contract the appraisal of an independent company and you will probably pay the associated fees.

Land Survey Costs (Real Property Report): Knowing the boundaries of the property you are purchasing is important. This is to ensure that encroachments are not a problem, like a part of your neighbour’s garage or house isn't protruding onto your property. The lender will require such a survey and they will let you know the requirements they want. Typically this is provided by the seller, however, there may be some instances where this will come out of your pocket.

Insurance (CMHC): If you are applying for a mortgage that is going to cover more than 75% of the purchase price of your home or a high-ratio mortgage, mortgage insurance is mandatory to protect the lender if you don't make the required payments. Since your new home will be used as security for your mortgage, the lender will also require fire insurance and extended coverage.

**Be sure to look at how much mortgage life insurance will cost. If you or the co-borrower dies, this insurance guarantees that the mortgage will be paid off.

Legal Fees: Lawyer fees for the completion of the home-buying process. Disbursements are the fees needed to complete the process like doing a title search, preparing a title deed, preparing the mortgage and having it registered. Property Transfer Tax -  $50 base + $1 for every $5000 or portion thereof of the property value. There is no land transfer tax rebate in Alberta. $50 base +$1 for every $5000 or part thereof of the mortgage amount. Get details from your REALTOR®.

GST: Any new home purchase is taxed on its full purchase price, but you might be eligible for a partial GST rebate if the home will be your primary residence. Get details from your REALTOR®. A "used" rental house is usually exempt from paying GST. GST also applies to the REALTOR®'S commission as well as to the other transaction fees like appraisal and legal costs.

Additional Costs: Utility bills, yearly property taxes and maintenance costs should be included in your budget when buying a home. 

 

 

March 17, 2018

Buying or Selling a Calgary Condo Unit - Things You Should Know

Do you want to buy or sell a property covered under the Condominium Property Act like an apartment, townhouse, villa etc.? If that is the case, you will need to understand that the Condominium Corporations documentation has to be provided or that you need to get in order to make an informed decision. The Condominium Corporations must give you or maintain important documentation as per the Condominium Property Act. The listing REALTOR® will ask the Condominium Corporation for the documents listed below. Note there might be some additional documents that are not on this list.

Condominium Corporation Records

(1)    a statement setting out the amount of any contributions due and payable in respect of the unit

(2)    the particulars of:

i.                     any action commenced against the corporation and served on the corporation

ii.                   any unsatisfied judgment or order for which the corporation is liable

iii.                 any written demand made on the corporation for an amount in excess of $5,000 that, if not met, may result in an action being brought against the corporation

(3)    the particulars of, or a copy of, any subsisting management agreement

(4)    the particulars of, or a copy of, any subsisting recreational agreement

(5)    the particulars of any post tensioned cables located anywhere on or within the property that is included in the condominium plan

(6)    a copy of the budget of the corporation

(7)    a copy of the most recent financial statements, if any, of the corporation, including the most recent year-end and month-end statements

(8)    a copy of the bylaws of the corporation

(9)    a copy of the most recent approved and most recent draft minutes of the annual general meeting

(10) a copy of the minutes and draft minutes of meetings of the board of directors of the corporation for not less than the past 12 months

(11) a statement setting out the amount of the capital replacement reserve fund

(12) a copy of the reserve fund report

(13) a copy of the reserve fund plan

(14) a statement setting out the amount of the monthly contribution (commonly referred to as condominium fee) and the basis on which that amount was determined

(15) a statement setting out any structural deficiencies that the corporation has knowledge of, at the time of the request, in any of the buildings that are included in the condominium plan

(16) a copy of any lease agreement or exclusive use agreement with respect to the possession of a portion of the common property, including a parking stall or storage space

(17) a copy of the registered condominium plan

(18) a copy of the condominium additional plan sheet certificate (CADS)

(19) a copy of the insurance certificate Access to Records

The Condominium Corporation, according to the act, must make these, along with other records available when requested and provide the owner copies, or an owner-authorized (in writing) individual like a REALTOR®. It is in the sellers interest to have these copies readily available once showings have started to ensure a smooth transition for the buyer when an offer is accepted.

 

If you have any questions at all during the buying or selling process, get the answers from one of our REALTORS® who has the training, expertise and knowledge to deal with these situations.  

March 6, 2018

Keeping your home in shape this spring!

How to keep your house in great shape this spring

Spring is a great time for selling a house, as it is the busiest home-buying and selling period of the year. Warm weather, longer daylight hours, and the desire to be settled before the next school year starts are all encouraging factors for those looking to sell their home.

It’s also an excellent time for home improvement projects, but before you can consider doing either, you’ll need to do some spring cleaning. Just like the spring cleaning you do inside, you’ll want to spend some time outside as well. Here are some suggestions.

Clean your gutters

Make sure your gutters are ready for any spring rain, by ensuring they are securely attached and are draining properly. Clean them out, paying special attention to corners and downspouts. And be sure to seal all leaks.

Siding

Once it’s warm enough, use a power washer to clean the siding. This will help prevent mold from growing. Once it’s clean, you can check for weathering and paint failure, and touch up any areas that may need it.

Porches and decks

As the weather turns warmer you’ll want to spend more time outside, so take some time now to prepare your porch and/or deck. Check all stairs and railings for stability, clear off any debris from the winter, and double check the longevity of the wood treatment. Usually, wood fences and open decks need to be treated every 4-6 years.

Landscaping

It’s time to start cutting the grass again! Start off your spring lawn care routine on the right foot by taking the time to trim any overgrown bushes and tree limbs. Overgrown shrubs or limbs can damage the siding or paint as well as cause severe damage in storms. Cut and edge the grass as well.

Sprinklers

After you’ve prepared your lawn for spring, double check any sprinkler systems. Make sure nothing is leaking or exposed, and that the water is distributing evenly. Again, a little preventative maintenance can save time and money later on.

Windows and doors 

Hopefully, you repaired any cracks or problems in windows and doors throughout the winter if you found them, but take a few extra minutes and fill any cracks, repaint, or caulk the edges of window and door sills. You may also want to check screens in the windows and doors, as you will want to patch or replace any holes before the warm spring weather inspires you to open them up.

Roof

Spring is a great time to thoroughly clean your roof, especially since you’re cleaning your gutters. You don’t want all the debris to wash down to the gutters and clog them at the first rain. Check surface flashing, soffits, and eaves both on the roof and on any sidewalls.

Foundation

A quick, annual check of the foundation walls and floors is definitely in order. Check the concrete foundation as well as any masonry for signs of cracking or deterioration. A good rule of thumb is to repair any crack that you can slide a nickel into.

Additional things to check include making sure your heat pump, water heater, venting systems, and air conditioner are all working efficiently. Taking some time in the spring when these things aren’t running regularly will help you save money on utilities in the summer.

Spring cleaning and spring maintenance is a great way to renew your love for your home or start preparing your house to sell. When you’re ready to talk about your real estate options, give me a call at 403-919-2247.

Feb. 27, 2018

What to expect for 2018

It's been a wild ride these last few years! Check out our quick update video to see what you can expect this year!

 

Posted in Market Update
Feb. 15, 2018

Helpful Tips Newsletter - Feb 2018

 

Want a clutter-free house? Here are 20+ ways to do it one day at a time

You put the holiday décor away, you’ve been going strong on your New Year’s resolutions and now it’s time to tackle the clutter that keeps building up in your house. February is an ideal month to tackle excessive clutter. Let’s begin!

Why should you get rid of clutter?

Clutter in your home is often the window to clutter in your life. The average Canadian has about 52 random things attached to their refrigerator. If you see that cluttered fridge multiple times a day, you’re likely to accept it as a fact of life, which will begin to affect the rest of your life, usually resulting in buying things you can’t find, and spending money you don’t need to.

The two main ways to attack the clutter in your house without feeling overwhelmed are to do it one room at a time or one task at a time. Either way, you can tackle the whole house over the course of the month.

The Method Doesn’t Matter

You may have more than four rooms in your house, but you probably also have more than one person. So divvy up those checklists and get some help. Focus on the high traffic areas, as that is where clutter tends to build up. Just make sure you don’t move piles of things to the bedroom!

Or, pick one of these tasks each day for the month and do them in whatever order is easiest to accomplish the goal of getting uncluttered. Remember, the goal is to get rid of things you don’t need and to find a place for everything you do need.

Here are some tasks you could put on your list for the main rooms of the house.

Kitchen

  1. Clean out the fridge and clean off the outside of it, getting rid of any magnets you don’t want anymore

  2. Clean the freezer, getting rid of things that have been in there too long

  3. Purge that junk drawer

  4. Divide the cabinets into top and bottom and tackle one section one day

  5. Then the other half of the cabinets the next day

  6. Discard all expired food from the pantry

  7. Clean off all countertops

Living Room & Dining Room

  1. Clean out coat closet

  2. Purge DVDs and video games you don’t use anymore

  3. Clean off the coffee table and end tables

  4. Tidy up toys and books and find them a place and get rid of any books or toys that nobody uses anymore

  5. Clear off all flat spaces

  6. Find a place to put mail that won’t pile up

  7. Set the table for dinner to discourage people from putting things on the table

Bedrooms

  1. Purge the closet of clothes you don’t wear

  2. And shoes, purge the shoes

  3. And bags! And coats, and suitcases

  4. Purge your drawers, especially socks

  5. Clear off all dresser tops, finding a place for things or discarding them

  6. Clean out purses, bags, briefcases

  7. Purge the linen closet

Bathrooms

  1. Clean out under the sink

  2. Check the shower and tub for empty toiletry bottles

  3. Dispose of expired medicines (responsibly)

  4. Purge old towels

  5. Organize cleaning supplies, so they are easy to grab

  6. Discard old makeup or hair supplies

  7. Put all trial size toiletries in a cute container to leave for guests to use

Now that you’ve decluttered your house, you may be thinking it’s time to sell. Are you’re ready to talk about your real estate options? If so, give me a call at 403-919-2247.

Feb. 2, 2018

Calgary Housing Market Update - January 2018

The new year opened predictably, with monthly figures close to the Januarys of the past three years.

With new mortgage rules and rates officially in effect, sales activity in January remained comparable to last year, as rising sales for attached properties were not enough to offset declines in both the apartment and detached sector.  

Overall January sales totaled 958 units, nearly two per cent above last year and 11 per cent below long-term averages.

"2018 was kicked off with higher rates and the official implementation of the new mortgage requirements. While it is too early to see the impact of these changes, so far, January levels are consistent with what we saw last year," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

"The recovery will be bumpy, and we will continue to monitor the impact of the lending changes relative to the overall economic climate." 

Stable sales were met with rising new listings, causing further gains in inventory levels and impacting prices. Citywide, unadjusted prices totaled $432,300, 0.21 per cent below last month and 0.25 per cent below last year's figures. Prices eased across all product types compared to last month, but price declines were more pronounced in the apartment and attached sectors. 

In the detached sector, new listings rose with declining sales activity for product priced over $500,000. However, product priced between $300,000 and $399,999 saw an increase in activity. This will be an adjustment to the new reality buyers and sellers face, as pockets of the market will experience a mismatch between supply and demand.

"Sellers needs to be aware of the competing supply in the market. This can influence the timing of their decision, along with setting realistic expectations regarding time on the market and selling price," said 2018 CREB® president Tom Westcott. "For buyers, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential, along with getting advice from a REALTOR® to get into a home they will be happy with.

 

Posted in Market Update
Feb. 2, 2018

Purchasing A House: A Solid Long Term Investment

How come you are using your well-earned money to pay off the landlord's mortgage? Why don't you use that rent money to purchase your own home? These are questions most people ask themselves once they start giving consideration to moving from the rental market into owning a home.

For most people, this is a huge step. Getting a mortgage is the largest financial commitment they will make in their lifetime.

However, purchasing your own house has always been a sound financial decision. Below are a few facts to consider when thinking about home ownership compared to renting.

           If you happen to be around 35 years old today and purchasing your first house, you should be mortgage-free close to 60 years old and you will be comfortable with a substantial asset.

           It's very likely your investment is going to significantly increase in value in 25 years. It's crucial, however, not to purchase with the objective of making quick money. You should think about buying a house as a good, long-term investment.

           Purchasing a house is an extremely effective method of saving consistently over decades. Although you might never invest in other retirement or investment programs, you are in effect saving money for the future.

           Owning your home means you and your loved ones are able to put down roots and get involved in the community.

           Learn about the satisfaction of home ownership. It is possible to improve the house to suit your purposes. You could also have pets in your house.

         When your family expands and go into their own homes, you have the choice of generating extra money by renting out vacant rooms or whole floors, if local bylaws permit it.

         If you plan to take out a loan from a bank or other lending company, owning your home is an obvious plus when it reaches negotiation time.

         You probably won’t require as much money as you believe to enter the housing market. Qualified buyers can purchase a property with just 5% down via the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) mortgage insurance plan. It might be possible to use RRSP money towards your down payment.

         As with many different types of investments, you will have to pay a capital gains tax on the profits. If your house is your primary residence, this tax will not apply.

 

After having diligently considered every facet of owning a home and are prepared to start your search, it's time to find a REALTOR®. This individual has use of the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), a co-operative marketing system where properties are purchased and offered for sale. Making use of the MLS®, your REALTOR® is able to put together a tailor-made listing of houses on the market that suit your needs the best, desires and budget. Your REALTOR® can even give invaluable help and professional guidance to you all the way through the buying process.

Jan. 4, 2018

December 2017 Market Update

Elevated inventory levels continue

 

For the second month in a row, sales on all types of homes improved in December. However, an increase in new listings has kept inventory levels lifted and pushed benchmark prices down for the fifth month in a row.

During the first half of 2017 we experienced price growth in the detached sector as the disparity between supply and demand began to disappear. Through the year, as prices rose, many who had held off on selling their home took the opportunity to realize a higher sales price. This increase in inventory has resulted in plateaued price growth.

Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist for CREB noted that “Many economic indicators continue to post modest improvements, including improving sales. However, demand gains have not outpaced the additional supply coming into the housing market. This is creating some of the bumpiness in terms of price recovery”.

Overall, the benchmark price for a detached home in 2017 was $504,867, up 0.63% over 2016’s benchmark.

Similar to the detached market sector, the attached sector saw increased sales when compared to inventory in the first half of the year resulting in price increases. Late in the year, inventory levels rose reversing much of the price gains. The benchmark price for an attached home in 2017 was comparable to that of 2016 at $332,325.

High inventory in the condo/apartment market continued to cause challenges in this area with benchmarks continuing to fall an additional 4% this year.

“This year, we saw a rise in the number of consumers willing to purchase in the market with the expectation that the economy had already shifted. There were also many who waited to list their property until prices showed more stability” stated CREB president David P. Brown.

 

“Those who acted were typically driven by longer-term plans that best suit their current lifestyle. We are ending the year with stronger sales in the last quarter, but supply levels are holding back price gains. The year played out as expected with a transition from price declines to general price stability in most sectors of the market.”

Posted in Market Update
Dec. 6, 2017

November 2017 Market Update

November marks a rise in sales

The November housing market was spurred by a rise in sales, particularly in the lower price ranges.

Sales totaled 1,411 units in November, an increase of 15 per cent over last year. This is comparable to longer-term averages for the month of November. Improved sales activity occurred in each of the housing segments, with most of the gains occurring in homes priced under $500,000.

"The combination of improved confidence and pending mortgage rule changes have likely contributed to the stronger sales activity this month," said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. According to Lurie, the last time that sales activity rose to long-term averages for the month was October 2016, when the stress test for high-ratio loans was first announced.  

"Moving forward, we will continue to monitor shifts in demand as improving economic conditions should help offset the impact to the housing market after the new lending policy comes into force in January," said Lurie. 

The largest gains in the detached sector were in the $300,000 -  $399,999 price range, while the apartment and attached sectors saw the largest gains among homes priced below $300,000.

"We have seen some improvements in confidence with many of our clients. There are some concerns regarding the changes in the lending market, but there is also a significant amount of confusion regarding how it will affect them," said CREB® president David P. Brown. 

"For a lot of buyers, they are interested in taking advantage of the choice in the market at all price ranges." 

The rise in sales relative to new listings improved this month, helping ease inventory levels over the previous month and keeping the months of supply relatively stable. However, the amount of supply relative to the sales in the market remains elevated. This continues to weigh on prices.

Citywide benchmark prices totaled $436,700, 0.50 per cent below last month, but 0.46 per cent above last year's levels. Both median and average prices recorded a more significant decline compared to last year. This should not come as a surprise, as more sales in the lower price range this year compared to last November would cause a more pronounced drop in average and median prices.   

 

Want some more area-specific information for your current or next home? Hit the contact button at the top of the page and just tell us which area(s) you would like more information on!

Posted in Market Update
Dec. 4, 2017

6 Non-Food Gift Ideas that will Make Your Neighbours Happy

 

Can you believe this year is coming to an end so fast?

As we spread the holiday cheer, we shouldn't forget that a big part of the happiness is our fantastic neighbours!

Each year, it's a good idea to get them a little something to spread the holiday cheer… and this year, why not go non-traditional and give non-food gifts.   

Here’s our list of ideas so you can steal them for yourself!

  • Doing the Dishes - Grab cute holiday paper plates, cups, and/or cutlery and tie them up with a cute bow and a note that says “Let me help you do your dishes this week!”
  • For the Cards - Get your neighbours a return address stamp or stickers. They’ll love these when they’re sending out cards!
  • Giving Energy - Wrap up a set of AA or AAA batteries with a note that says “We could all use extra energy this holiday season!!”
  • Family Game Night - Pick up a great family board game and wrap it up! They’ll love this gift that can be used for many years!
  • Holiday Washes - Tie a bow around a holiday towel and a bottle of hand soap with a note that says "We wash you a merry Christmas, we wash you a merry Christmas, we wash you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!” or simply “We ‘wash’ you happy holidays!”
  • Movie Night - Grab a holiday movie, Netflix gift card or a Redbox promo code (both available online) and wrap it up with a blanket. Add a note that says “For those nights that you want to stay in and be cozy this holiday season.”

With whatever gift you choose, adding a thoughtful thank you note letting them know how much you appreciate all they do throughout the year is always a great way to spread holiday cheer!

And, as always, if you or one of your neighbours needs a real estate agent, please give me a call at 403-919-2247

Cheers!

 
Posted in Helpful Tips