We are going to need the transportation improvements if all of the proposed developments go forward.
On the north side of the TransCanada proposals include the proposed community of Haskayne which runs north of the Bow River heading west from the old quarry. This section is in earlier stages than the rest. The next open house is March 3, 2015.
On the east side of the Ring Road (Stoney Trail) are two more proposed communities on the north side of the TransCanada called Parkside and GreenBriar.
On the south side of the TransCanada are several proposed sites. Running from west of COP is Trinity Hills which is proposing a hotel, residential townhouses and commercial office space. This development is facing some local opposition.The Trinity Hills proposal will go before the Calgary Planning Commission in May or June, with a public hearing at City Council expected sometime in July.
West of COP the proposed developments include Bow Valley Crossing, Shape and then Crestmost Phase 4 on the west side of Crestmont.
The Calgary rental market vacancy rate remains very low. Even with a slight increase in the fall of 2014, it is hard to find housing and rental rates remain high.
Given the environment, investors see opportunity. But what's the best purchase to ensure long term growth and income? The safest best is the property that will always rent so chose wisely and consider the following:
Every city has preferred neighbourhoods and zones. The rental market is usually the first stop for newcomers to our city so choosing neighbourhoods that are safe, have great access to transportation and amenities is key. Understand the type of renters attracted to various areas you are considering.
2. Think Winter
Calgary winters can be tough, especially for newcomers that are not used to shoveling snow. Properties that offer in suite laundry, secure parking are obvious positive winter features. In addition look for properties that provide good accessible access roads for cars or transit and are in close proximity to Calgary's excellent multi-modal pathway network. If you are looking at condos, then consider how well a complex is maintained and what their reserve fund is.
Some buyers may not want to purchase a ground floor condo unit especially in more densely populated areas for concerns regarding security. You'll easily see the trend when comparing the pricing of the same units in a building that are below or at ground vs those above. If you want to expand your pool of renters, purchase a property that is perceived to be more secure. For condos that means units on the 2nd or 3rd floor (or above), security doors and well lit entrances, secure parkades and well lit hallways. For single family homes, the feeling of security is based on location, layout, solid construction, good doors and locks. If you don't feel safe when viewing a property then neither will your tenants.
4. Interior details
A beautifully appointed home is going to appeal to more renters, but that comes with cost so the opportunity is in finding the right balance of home features, layout, finishes and amenities. Consider the purchase price and rental price range you are considering and ensure your potential home meets the general expectations of that price point. As the price increases folks expect more amenities, larger space, upgraded appliances, views, decks, etc. Some flooring material wears better and will require less long term maintenance. State of repair and cleanliness are key when showing a rental property but may not be deciding factors in purchasing one. Elbow grease goes a long way to maximizing your return on investment.
5. Know your numbers
What is the total cost of owning and managing the property type you are considering? It is not just about the simple equation of rent - mortgage = income. Factor in property taxes, utilities, condo fees, and maintenance needs. Will you include utilities in the total rental cost or expect tenants to pay their own? Some older homes can see hundreds more in utility costs than newer or renovated home.
6. Who is your target renter?
If you have the time to run a more engaged rental business, you may wish to consider a furnished home that could cater to shorter term leases (3-6) months for corporate or temporary residences for those working or transitioning to our city. There is more work involved, but in return, higher rental margins. Understand the local market and rental needs and decide on your best plan before purchase.
I often get calls from investors looking for a great deal, but investment properties are about so much more than low initial capital cost. The most important number are your monthly revenue, expenses, risk projections and considerations for long term appreciation. The most successful landlords I have worked with are those that invest with a long term vision, mitigate risk, and work closely with a Realtor that gives them the numbers they need to make the best decision.
When you are ready to invest just give me a call to get started.
A 'Subject to Sale' Condition on an offer is one often utilized by those that already own a home but want to move to another property.
When you already own a home you generally have two options: 1. Buy first and sell later. This requires you to secure financing to own properties in the event your current home is not sold before you take possession of your new home. 2. Sell first and then buy. This requires confidence knowing you will find a home in that timeframe or that you have a plan B to live elsewhere if that takes a bit longer.
But in a balanced or buyer's market we add a third: 3. Buy first with a 'subject to sale' condition, sell first home and complete the firm sale of the purchase.
In 2015 I was assisting a few clients that were rather stuck by the hot market of 2014. They couldn't secure financing to buy first or just weren't comfortable holding two properties or they were too nervous about selling first because the market was so hot they feared being without a home or being forced to buy something that wasn't quite right. The market was so hot it was hard to win out in competition with just a typical financing and home inspection condition so a 'subject to sale' lost out.
So now that the market may calm, this is the overview of how a 'subject to sale' offer works:
You are Mr. and Mrs. Smith and own a beautiful home at 124 Great Street SE. You want to move to a new home so you meet with your mortgage broker to confirm numbers and we start the search.
We find a great new home owned by Mr. and Mrs. Swanson at 245 View Street SW.
We write an offer that is accepted with a financing condition, property inspection condition and 'subject to sale' condition. You must complete your financing and inspection in the typical 5-10 business days but have a longer time to secure a firm sale on your home, say 70 days.
During this time Mr. and Mrs. Swanson continue to market their home.
We have to put your home, 124 Great Street SE, on market within a typical 24 hours. I have prepared your marketing plan ahead of time so we are ready to go.
If you sell your home within the 70 days with all conditions removed then you remove your 'subject to sale' condition on 245 View Street SW. Your home is sold knowing where you are moving and at what cost. Mr. and Mrs. Swanson have sold their home and can move on with their plans. All is well.
The challenge is if someone else wants to buy 245 View Street SW before you sell your home. Another buyer can write an offer and if Mr. and Mrs. Swanson accept then you will have a short period of time to remove all your conditions, typically a day or two. If you cannot or do not want to remove all conditions then your offer is now ended and Mr. and Mrs. Swanson can move forward with the second buyers.
If you remove all conditions you have bought 245 View Street and still own 124 Great Street so you need financing in place from the onset if you would consider this option. If you don't remove the conditions then you start again but you have no risk of owning two properties.
In a balanced market a 'subject to sale' can be a bit emotional but much less so than the financial challenge of holding two properties. You know exactly your purchase and sale prices and you can make informed financial decisions.
I've assisted with numerous moves like this. I even helped a great family complete a subject to sale even in the hot market of last year. How? Good negotiating, advising the sellers regarding the sale and marketing potential of the home to be sold and some solid planning.
Considering a move? I'll explain all of your options and ensure you have the information you need to make your best decision. Monika Furtado. firstname.lastname@example.org
(This information applies to our market in Calgary. This type of offer may work differently in other areas.)
The official Calgary real estate statistics have been released and the numbers spurred a series of articles and stories on the evening news. The price of oil and uncertainty of the energy sector has caused folks to take a second breath before making a purchase decision while some others decided they didn't want to delay listing their homes. The result has been increased inventory levels and reduced sales through January 2015.
Part of the drama comes in a review of year over year numbers. Last year in January we saw record low inventory and higher than normal sales so the year over year looks worse than it really is when compared to further years back. Don't get me wrong, numbers are still down but just not quite as dramatically as the year over year statistic portrays.
The more important information is future economic outlook and the supply and demand of housing. We are moving potentially from a year of 10% price growth, multiple offers, and low inventory, to a more balanced market where folks have the time to make solid decisions, potentially purchase on a 'subject to sale' clause when moving between properties. This balanced market shift may also unlock some folks stuck in the hot market of 2014.
From an investment perspective many will follow the thoughtful advice of Don R. Campbell, but even he states the tipping point depends on signs of economic improvement. Nobody today can really tell you the price of a home in 6 months.
With oil on the rebound the last few days and some pundits saying oil has reached the bottom at $50, we may be on the other side. We just don't know it yet. Rental vacancy is still critically low. The single family lot count of available serviced lots is at the lowest in years.
Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist at ATB Financial is quoted in an article updated a couple of days ago:
Talk to an economist. It’s not an original idea. Just ask ATB’s chief economist, Todd Hirsch. His phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting reassurance that the sky is not, in fact, falling. “This is a very normal cycle,” he says. “It’s not that pleasant. But the biggest threat to the economy right now is not $45 oil, it’s fear.” Hirsch is all for household financial prudence but says irrational decisions — “such as ‘I’m not going to spend any money because I might lose my job’” — will lead to a downward spiral. And then, he warns: “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, to the bottom.”
This isn't the time to allow emotions and fear to drive your decisions. Prudent advice, thoughtful review and current information will help you make your best move.
An exciting opportunity to own a renovated top floor 1 bedroom unit with panoramic views. The open concept layout makes great use of space including a large kitchen with granite counters and island, maple cabinets, black appliances and cork flooring. The wall to wall living room windows open to a spectacular view outside and lead to a private 120+ sq ft rooftop deck. A cozy bedroom is across from the full bath complete with tile tub surround. Move-in ready condition with newly installed carpet this unit is sure to please. Other amenities include in-suite laundry, underground parking, separate secure storage, indoor complex pool and hot tub, party room, exercise room and tennis courts. Recently rented for $1300-$1400 per month but now vacant for immediate occupancy or investment. Book your private showing today.
NW Calgary, especially along the LRT path, is a very popular and vibrant area of Calgary. From the inner city all the way to the newer communities in the NW, various apartment, townhouse, heritage home, infill, single family and estate home options exist.
The challenge comes in when folks look for new construction options as new construction is on hold in a number of communities. In 2013 the City of Calgary determined that the West Memorial Sanitary Trunk was at capacity and instituted new criteria for development until the Sanitary Trunk upgrade is completed in 2017.
So that means no new subdivisions, building permits or development permits other than regular basement developments, deck, et. Home owners looking to replace a single family dwelling with two single family dwellings, semi-attached dwelling (two units), one duplex (two units) are also not impacted.
Fully impacted communities include: Arbour Lake, Bowness, Canada Olympic Park, Crestmont, Greenwood/Greenbriar, Hawkwood, Ranchlands, Rocky Ridge, Royal Oak, Royal Vista, Scenic Acres, Silver Springs, Tuscany, Westview ASP Area, West Regional Context Study North Cell , Valley Ridge Partially impacted: Calgary West, Citadel , Dalhousie, Edgemont , Hamptons, North Regional Context Study (North RCS) Future Cell A, North Regional Context Study (North RCS) Future Cell B, Varsity
So with such a large area on hold it is no wonder that projects with open permits have completed and there is little left other than moving east to Nolan Hill, Sage Hill and Evanston which are currently growing quickly with many new construction options. As well, Watermark just west of Calgary also offers new luxury home options. There are a lot of new projects in planning waiting to move forward so it will be curious to see how they all roll out.
The annual registration for the upcoming school year opens on Monday Jan 12 for the CBE. Due to the high volume of students in some areas it is important to review registration deadlines for Kindergarten registration and lottery.
To find your school new functionality on the CBE website makes it much easier. Use the 'Find a School' feature to select by area or program. If you select the school name in the results list it will give you an indication of enrollment and any overflow designation notices.
If you are looking for information regarding the many schools under construction, details including initial site maps and information are found on the School Projects list.
Information is also available regarding registration with the Calgary Catholic School Board. If you were hoping to register with local charter schools please do contact them individually as many have very extensive waiting lists.
As school information is so fluid, this information overrides all previously provided school information.
The deep freeze has set in. At least for this week. We have had a somewhat unusual December with very few open business days due to the way the calendar was set this year over the holidays. The real estate market did take a bit of a lull. The typical pattern will begin to thaw with the weather as folks once again focus on making a move.
Overall annual sales activity increased by 9.3 per cent over last year. The market remains strong but re-sale inventory is starting to pick up. Interestingly a few builder reps have told me that they are raising prices in January so the new construction market doesn't seem to be slowing down too much. There isn't a lot of available land so new home sales options remain somewhat limited especially in some areas/price points. The price of oil is on everyone's mind and should be. The impact to Alberta and our city is up for debate. We have seen a more moderate market with pricing increases remaining stable the last while instead of the rather rapid price increases of most of 2014. This is the time to do your homework as at the end of the day we may see pricing increases in some property types/areas and reductions in others.
City tax assessements are also on their way to your mailbox and total values have hit an all time record. Remember these assessments are based on area/home type calculations so are not necessarily a representation of the market value of your home.
At the same time, 2015 is going to be the start of the mega projects in our city. Many large developments are underway which will change the landscape.
I don't have any crystal ball predictions for you. I do have sound knowledge regarding our market, your options and some ideas on how to get you from A to B. Give me a call if you need a real estate consult. I'm happy to help.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and the very best in 2015. We are incredibly fortunate to live in an amazing country and the great city of Calgary. May you have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends and to enjoy a moment for being the moment and to appreciate all that we have and all that we love.
And may we all say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and honour the traditions and special moments of all our lives regardless of the angel, God or entity we cherish.
Bright and welcoming top floor 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom unit at the Pavillions in Rocky Ridge. 10' ceilings, large windows and a gorgeous city view enhance the appeal of this penthouse unit with a vaulted living room. A warm entry welcomes you with storage and laundry on the right. Ahead is the spacious living room with gas fireplace and wall of windows to bring in ample natural light. Open to the living room the kitchen with lots of storage and wrap around counter isn't visible from the front door. The master bedroom with 3 piece ensuite with standing shower and large walk in closet is to the left of the living room and a second bedroom and 4 piece full bath are to the right. Complex and area amenities provides access to secure bike storage, underground parking, exercise room, games room, theatre, salon, tennis courts and more. Amazing location within walking distance to the Rocky Ridge/Tuscany LRT station. The unit includes a titled parking still with enclosed storage at the front of the stall. Accessible building with ramp access option at entry so no stairs are required and 2 elevators to ensure availability.
Seems a lot of folks have been dusting off their crystal ball this week. As the end of the year draws near it is natural to reflect on the past 12 months and start looking ahead. There are a variety of opinions and the economists have mixed forecasts on what 2015 will bring us. What is typically a time of year when media sensationalize the good and bad to come the reports have been less than melodramatic. Maybe just a slow news week?
There is definitely some turbulence around the price of oil and in a resource based City such as Calgary that always generates talk around the water cooler. There are those that speculate about real estate market fluctuations across the country but national trends do not reflect the dynamics of any one local area. The regional reports and predictions I have seen from the majority tend to lean towards a balanced market predicted for 2015 with more inventory and more modest price growth for Calgary.
If that indeed is what 2015 will bring, then I personally view that as a good thing. We have seen substantial price increases in the Calgary real estate market this year and a strong sellers market. That can be tough for those entering the market, moving between properties and just generally increases the stress of buying or selling a property.
Generic statements about "the market" means very little to me and I don't read a lot into them. I also look at local conditions, local sales patterns, property types and many other specific details when reviewing property sales so if you want a realistic opinion of value just give me a call. I'm always happy to help.
I often don't just sell homes. I help people move. We figure out value, affordability, wants and needs and then set out a plan to make it happen.
Wishing you and your family all the very best this Christmas season and throughout the new year. To those awesome folks have trusted me to assist them with a sale or purchase and to those that have referred me to family and friends, THANK YOU!
Exceptionally clean and well maintained end unit townhouse backing directly to the Willow Park Golf Course and walking distance to the Anderson LRT station, Southcentre and local shops. The main level provides a spacious kitchen, powder room, dining area open to the living room, large living room with corner fireplace and beautiful views to the private back patio which looks out directly to the golf course and mature trees. Hardwood floors flow throughout the main and upper levels. The upper level has been converted from 3 bedrooms to a master bedroom and second large bedroom or den as it is used currently. The renovated main bathroom completes the upper level. The basement is also renovated to provide a large rec area and full bath with standing shower as well as laundry and large storage area. The new furnace was installed in 2012 and most windows were replaced 2011-2012. Double carport with tandem parking in front of the unit. Complex outdoor pool is just a few units down.
Walking into this beautifully updated, maintained and spacious home you will find a great modern layout. With vaulted ceilings above the large kitchen, breakfast nook and family room, this bright and warm space is the heart of the home. Large windows open out to the large back yard and deck with greenspace and pathways beyond. The dining room is just off the kitchen and the front sitting room/office looks out the large bay window. A powder room and updated laundry with extra fridge and cabinetry are on the main level. Upstairs you will find a large master bedroom with ensuite and walk in closet. Two additional bedrooms and full bath complete the level. The basement is fully finished with a large rec room, guest bedroom, full bath and ample storage. Windows have been replaced (Vinyl: dual pane, low E), new roof, new high efficiency Trane furnace/AC and home air filtration system, new fireplace with stone surround and more. The backyard with composite deck, interlock stone and adorable shed are a must see.
The snow is about to fly so the real estate market will slow down a bit, but that's to be expected and follows seasonal trends. Our real estate market has been very strong this year with record gains. The pressure is easing somewhat as more inventory has come to market. As a result increases are slowing but it isn't expected for pricing increases to reverse. Inventory should now begin to reduce as we enter winter months. Don't forget that folks are still moving to Calgary so if there are less listings the pressure isn't going to ease too much.
Our rental market is still nutty. I talk to folks all the time who are paying high rents and deciding if they should instead put those funds into home ownership. Even if there is a market adjustment (which is the main fear most folks have) it just can't compare to the funds paid to landlords.
Rent for a 2 bedroom apartment: $1700 per month = $20,400 per year or $102,000 over 5 years. Typical suburban home: $2400 per month = $28,800 per year or $144,000 over 5 years.
On that note, investors and landlords are a large part of the buyer segment in some markets. Those are big income numbers and it is easy to find tenants for condos or holding properties for future development. Throughout the inner city homeowners are up against developers looking at properties on land with good development potential.
Below is a heat map of inventory for the city for folks who like numbers and stats. There is a whole lot of red out there meaning inventory is low. This isn't 'great deal' time. It is a somewhat balanced market in a popular and vibrant city that is growing to accommodate thousands of new citizens every year. Happy shopping.
As soon as you walk up to the front garden, patio, pond and waterfall you can tell this beautiful renovated character home is a must see. The main floor has been opened up to allow for open flow between the front living room with huge picture window, dining area and kitchen bringing in a flood of natural light. Hardwood floors flow throughout with travertine tile in the bathroom. Two bedrooms with good storage, a fully renovated bath with heated floors and new laundry complete the upper level. With closets, nooks and attention to detail throughout this well designed home is both inviting and warm. Downstairs is a fully finished suite with separate entrance and heat control, kitchen, huge living room, laundry, 2 more bedrooms and another full bath. The large lot is open with a back deck, a huge garden and ample room for a double garage. Surveillance system on site. Well located on a quiet street steps from parks, schools, amenities and green space. Book your private showing today.
I have had an ongoing conversation with Jason Dodd of Verico Maximum Mortgages about changes to mortgage financing in the recent past. I've asked him to write a blog to update you on what to expect. It really is time to change our thinking about the process. This is especially for those folks newer to Canada, self employed or any buyer who wants to have the best options, not just those available at the last minute.
While we have enjoyed a very competitive mortgage market and low interest rate environment over the last few years, a slow steady change has happened with mortgage qualification. Lenders and insurers are under much more scrutiny to adjust qualification standards for all borrowers involved in a real estate transaction.
Only a short time ago we had 40 year amortizations, 100% financed mortgages with best rates, and a host of other options to ease qualification for borrowers. Although I agree with a lot of the rule changes, in some cases it has tightened the mortgage rope around many buyers that qualification is being affected.
Clients whether new to the market or experienced in buying need to adjust to new parameters set out by both lenders and insurers. The best way to do that is to shift your view from Pre Approval mode to Mortgage planning mode. The difference is this, most clients we come across have a one page approval that says you are approved up to a certain dollar value with this interest rate. Where we see this fail is when an offer goes live and suddenly clients are finding out they don’t qualify for a number of reasons. Often this comes as a surprise to the buyer and the realtor showing them homes.
A properly planned mortgage strategy would help clients address their qualification up front and deal with any issues before an offer is being made. Review of all relevant documents that are applicable to each individual applicant, as well as a review of the credit history to make sure it meets lender and insurer standards. If there are any additional documents that need to be gathered we can also instruct clients to begin preparing them. Most clients are surprised on the detail that is required to verify the down payment in a transaction as because of regulations in our industry you have to verify the source of funds used in a real estate transaction.
Lastly clients often are not aware at the different terms, rates, privileges and general fine print that are offered by many lenders. So clients feel rushed or pressured to take a certain term because they have had little time to prepare or think about different options. Why not take the time to research this with a broker before an offer is made so you are versed in the debt you are about to take on. There is a beginning, middle and end to a mortgage so be prepared for all stages of your financing.
Are increasing home prices in Calgary pushing folks out of single family homes and into townhouses and condos?
From the CREB update: "While conditions are now more balanced, the composition of the single-family market has changed," said Lurie. "One-quarter of year-to-date sales in the sector has been for product priced below $400,000. Last year, it represented 35 per cent of the market share. Two years ago, it accounted for 44 per cent of all single-family sales."
With that the condo market is seeing a larger increase than single family homes: "For the fifth consecutive month, year-over-year condominium apartment sales growth outpaced growth in the single-family sector. Year-to-date condominium apartment sales totaled 3,819, a 21 per cent increase over last year. This compares with a seven per cent increase to 13,842 units in the single-family market over the same time frame."
While some folks are extending themselves to purchase higher value property, many young families are working hard to stay within their means. Surprisingly it is the younger crowd that tells me they are approved to values much higher than their search maximum when buying a new home. They have families to raise, trips to plan and lots of life to live. The current rental market is encouraging many to look at ownership when they look at the numbers but with budgets in hand.
Rent for a 2 bedroom aparment: $1700 per month = $20,400 per year or $102,000 over 5 years.
Typical suburban home: $2400 per month = $28,800 per eyar or $144,000 over 5 years.
Population predictions are expecting Calgary's population to increase by another 500,000 people by 2042. We all have to live somewhere.
Electronic signatures have been growing in popularity across various industries including real estate. In Alberta, electronic signatures are accepted as part of real estate transactions.
Using highly secure Docusign clients can sign a document using their smart phones, tablets, laptops or computers via their email. No paper. No printers, scanners or faxes needed.
This has become an essential tool in my arsenal for a few reasons:
1. My clients can sign from anywhere/anytime. They will not need to find a printer and then scanner or fax to sign a document. So yes, you can accept a purchase contract while on holiday in Mexico without having to send your personal documents via the hotel front desk. Or you can sign a document at work without having to print anything on the work printer or leave a job site.
2. Documents are returned at high quality vs those that have been faxed a couple of times. Lawyers like legible contracts.
3. It is much faster than the conventional paper and driving. My clients saw a house they loved and drove home to think things through. In the meantime someone else wrote an offer on the house and we had 1 hour to get our own offer in. There was no time to drive there and back so I prepared the documents, we discussed by phone and my clients signed using electronic signatures. We got the offer in and we got the house.
While I still sign most documents face to face, having electronic signatures as an option for my clients is another tool that improves the experience and helps you get things done. We won't miss an important deadline because of a traffic jam.