February 16, 2017
Calgary Property Types and Building Types - Your Options
There are a number different property types and building types available for sale in Calgary and sometimes it gets confusing because names and terms changes over the years and they are also different area to area.
Below is a breakdown of the various options here in Calgary and the local terms used. There are others too but this captures the main ones. I hope it helps you narrow down your preferences and understand your options in the local real estate market. Any questions at all just contact me anytime.
Detached: This type of home is a free standing residential building where the exterior walls do not touch the adjoining property.
Attached: A home shares at least one common wall with another unit.
Semi-detached: A single dwelling built as one of a pair that share one common wall. These are sometimes called duplexes. These may be villa properties such as in a condo complex of 30-40 units where each is structured as a semi-detached villa.
Row: A single dwelling attached to each other by a common wall with more than two properties in the complex. These are what most folks consider as typical townhouse properties where most of the units share common walls The end units only share one wall but they form part of the larger building so all of these units are considered as Row.
Apartment: Whether high rise or low rise, apartments are typical buildings with common access and hallways.
So now you have decided which of the above may work for you.
Apartments are rather easy. They are either single level units or multi level units.
For attached and detached properties, the options are quite varied. Below is a visual from the RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta) Measurement guidelines. A visual is the best way to understand some of the options especially various split level designs. The front door is on the left of these examples.
The one most often singled out is the Bungalow in terms of property searches is a Bungalow which is the local name for a single level property.
Please note that different property types are measured differently so please refer to the RMS Measurement Guidelines
for more information if you want to get into the details.
Did you know that any property type can be a condo? More on that next time.
February 15, 2017
Building Feature - Renaissance Towers
The Renaissance Towers in Briar Hill are a unique and sought after address. Located at 1718 and 1726 14 Avenue NW, the two towers provide amenities, location and views like no other.
The adult only building is connected to the shopping centre below allowing residents to access groceries (Safeway) and many shops and amenities without ever stepping outdoors in the winter time. The towers are also located across the street from the Lions Park LRT station and easy access to city amenities.
Building amenities include on 24 hour on-site concierge and security which assist many residents with their building needs, parcel delivery, receiving guests and maintaining the security of the building. Underground titled parking as well as underground visitor parking are accessed off the beautiful entry. An onsite library, fitness room, games room, theater, guest suites, carwash and private roof top park are unique features as is the building and unit central air conditioning system.
Should you be wishing to sell your unit or wish to be notified of properties as soon as they are available just contact me at 403 850 2446.
Details, photos, location and available listings for the Renaissance Towers.
February 2, 2017
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Feb 2, 2017
The sun is shining and soon the snow will be flying and it is winter in Calgary. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We are managing through some turbulent times, but always remember the opportunities and daily joys we share living in this great city.
So to those that are making Calgary home, the real estate numbers are an important item of consideration. Last months numbers were starting to indicate the curves on the charts were turning and that continues to be true.
Numbers from CREB:
January sales totaled 947 units, 24 per cent above last year, but 21 per cent below 10-year averages for the month. Sales activity improved across all product types, but only when compared to the near record lows that occurred in January 2016.
The detached segment of the market is demonstrating the most improvement. Sales activity totalled 584 units in January, a considerable improvement over the 466 sales recorded last year. Inventories have also declined pushing the months of supply to 3.2 months well below the 5.4 months recorded in January 2016.
The numbers are turning. Slowly but turning and we are still below averages. But isn't it great to be on the other side of this one in some respects? Looking forward to a great year and to those of you with the means I hope you review your options to see what opportunities there may be waiting for you in the local real estate market.
January 17, 2017
Calgary Real Estate Update - Jan 17 2017
The Calgary Real Estate Board, CREB, released the 2017 market outlook and forecast report recently. The themes speak to a transition to a stable local real estate market in 2017. While detached and attached homes are ahead of the curve on this over apartments, the overall market balance is now taking us away from the challenging conditions in the previous two years. The apartment sector continues to lag in part due to new construction supply.
With that, our market is very much dependent on many factors including the stability of the energy sector, the overall labour market and public government policy regarding mortgages and lending.
As I have completed property evaluations for numerous clients over recent weeks the one biggest takeaway remains that the trends are quite different across the city. You can't just look at an overall city benchmark and take that to determine a home price.
With the holiday season now behind us we look forward to 2017 and the upcoming late winter/spring market. With change comes opportunity. Lets chat about yours.
January 14, 2017
SW Ring Road - Initial Project Information Posted
Yesterday Ward 6 Councillor, Richard Pootmans, posted a very important update regarding initial work for the SW Ring Road.
Part of this work is a gravel pit and haul road to be constructed and initiated in the TUC between 101 St SW and the community of West Springs and down to access to Hwy 8.
From the announcement:
With a goal of acquiring valuable construction materials for the SWCRR, Alberta Transportation announced in December that they and their partners, KGL, will begin a gravel mining operation including a haul road early this year. This will take place west of the community of West Springs in the Transportation Utility Corridor, essentially between Old Banff Coach Road and Bow Trail, in the future location of the WCRR.
SW Ring Road Main Website
Gravel Pit and Haul Road - larger version of map and details are posted here
The City of Calgary existing City projects to accompany the Ring Road
December 9, 2016
5 Tips to Make Showings a Little Easier
You staged your home for the listing photos, you cleaned places you never noticed before and you set out pillows, accessories and flowers to welcome buyers to your home.
Everything is perfect. Then everyone comes home from school, work and sports events and stuff appears as if by magic in every room.
Preparing for showings can sometimes cause folks angst as it is hard to keep everything 'perfect' all the time. How we show our homes isn't often how we live day to day especially if we have children and pets.
1. Prepack some unneeded items and ensure you have one spot in each room to put all that random stuff that shows up.
- Living room: Keep an empty ottoman or empty couple drawers in the living room. On non-showing days keep all the showing accessories in there. On showing days, put everything that's been left out in the living room in the ottoman. You'll find the remote that way when you get home.
- Children's room - toy trunk or storage bin under the bed
- Bathroom - storage bin under the sink or in the hall closet
- Kitchen - storage box in the pantry
- Office - keep all your personal papers locked away.
- Bedroom - empty drawer for laundry
2. Prepare a showing tidy kit for yourself in a carry container. Cleaning wipes, stainless steel wipes, duster, etc. for last minute cleaning as you walkthrough your home.
3. Keep an extra bag for baby items, toys, food, water or whatever you may need in the car just in case. That way you have an extra whatever-you-need on those days where timing doesn't go in your favour.
4. Have a plan of a few places to go during showings and options for folks to watch your pets.
5. Determine your showing cut off times and communicate them to your Realtor. It is very common for homes with children to end showings at a specific time like 7 or 8pm. That way you maintain your normal evening bed routines no matter the days events.
Short term staging and cleaning and you will soon be on your way to your new home. All the best!
December 6, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Dec 6 2016
The official numbers are out for November. I've been mulling them over before I sent out my update because things feel different than the numbers suggest.
November sales and pricing numbers were down. November was the first full month following implementation of the new lending rules and many people have been pondering the consequence of that change. The rules change has definitely slowed down the market.
While the effect of the new lending rules is supported by the data that does not tell the whole story. At the same time I am having a hard time finding good new detached home options for some clients. They could be hoping for lower prices still or maybe many sellers are just choosing not to list their homes resulting in lower inventories. There were 2680 detached homes on market November 2015, but only 2322 on the market November this year. As the holidays approach we expect the number of listings to continue to constrict until after the new year.
The trend is quite different for apartments where inventories remain higher on the resale market. Townhomes and semi-detached properties fluctuate in terms of supply / demand differences this year compared to last depending on the area of the city.
There have been more sales in the upper price and luxury price points this year than last. Perhaps some folks are recognizing the savings opportunity here. A 5% reduction on a $1,000,000 home is quite the savings if someone is moving from a $500,000 home. They would have sold their previous home for a bit less but overall enjoyed relative savings on the new purchase in this market.
Now, what's next is what is on the horizon? The approval of two major pipeline projects, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge's Line 3 replacement, has many ears perking up. Energy East is yet to be determined as is Keystone XL.
So time to look ahead with open eyes and prepare for 2017. It will take a bit of time for new projects to translate into jobs, but it is great to see positive news in our forecasts.
With that I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, my amazing clients, for your continued support. Be it calls for information, a move, a referral or just to say hello, I feel touched that you turn to me with your real estate questions. I am always happy to help and happy to say hello. I''m always curious about your move, if you like your community, and how the family is doing.
I wish you all the very best in 2017. Keep in touch and feel free to contact me anytime.
December 2, 2016
How are property measurements calculated in Calgary?
When looking for a new home, an initial item many folks consider is the home size. On reviewing properties you will see the property measurement in sq ft or sq m, but you may not know what that number actually measures.
All properties measured for sale in Alberta must follow RMS (Residential Measurements Standard) as outlined by RECA (Real Estate Council Alberta). The current rules of the RMS came into effect in 2016.
The details of the measurement guidelines
provided by RECA are very specific so please direct any specific questions to your Realtor or RECA directly.
In a general sense there are some fundamental items to consider.
1. Below grade measurements are not included in the RMS. The 'floor space' measurements for a listing on realtor.ca
or other websites are above grade only even if it is a developed walkout or a split level below grade. The basement or below grade measurement is a separate figure.
2. Vaulted areas with no floor such as two storey open to below are excluded from measurements. Minimum ceiling heights are required in areas of sloped roofs and details surround the inclusion/exclusion of bay windows and other cantilevers.
3. Detached homes are measured using the exterior wall at the foundation.
4. Attached properties with a common wall such as half duplexes, villas, townhouses and apartments are measured based on interior walls (paint to paint) at floor level. (This means these properties show smaller than if the same property was detached.)
The most important item to consider is that RMS treats all property of the same type the same. If a property is not measured according to the RMS standard it makes it difficult to compare to other properties.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or for more information regarding the purchase or sale of your home.
December 2, 2016
Preparing for winter showings - Shoes
I was out and about a week or so ago with some clients showing homes and we got into a conversation about shoes as they searched for a place to sit and tie their shoes after a showing. They commented on my shoes. My easy to slip on shoes.
We had an in-depth conversation about my shoes. Why? Because they are going to bring easy to put on shoes for our next showing appointment.
For those sellers listing their homes this winter season I'd ask you to consider shoes when preparing your home for showings.
- Many people have to tie their winter shoes. Please provide a place to sit if possible.
- If you ask people to take off their shoes, please keep the heat at a comfortable temperature.
- Buyers will track snow into your front foyer. Please provide a welcome mat to wipe our shoes and an entrance mat inside.
- A couple of years ago I almost broke my leg slipping on ice trying to reach a lockbox at the side of a property. It was cold, icy and dark. I wasn't happy when I hit the ground. Please ensure the lockbox for your property is located in a safe location.
- Please clear your sidewalks and driveway of snow and ice so potential buyers can safely access your property.
Thank you for considering your buyers shoes when presenting your home this winter season.
November 18, 2016
Listed: 2956 Signal Hill Drive SW Calgary
On the ridge at Signal Hill Point, this exceptional 5 bedroom, renovated (2014), estate home overlooks panoramic views from downtown Calgary, the Reservoir and to the mountains. A stunning curved staircase leading from the bright walk out basement to the upper level. The brand new kitchen includes Bosch double ovens, gas cooktop, all stainless appliances, custom cabinets, marble backsplash and quartz counters. 4 bedrooms upstairs including the master suite with stunning views. The master bath offers heated marble floors, glass enclosed shower, free standing soaker tub and double sinks with custom cabinets. The oversized triple garage with exposed aggregate driveway provide ample parking. The fully finished walkout basement includes a 5th bedroom, full bath and very large, bright open concept rec room. Extensive renovations from the new Euroshield rubber roof, New 35 ft wide composite deck with stairs, all new Pex piping, upgraded electrical, new kitchen, new master and main baths and much more. Highlights include: Pex piping throughout, upgraded electrical, sewer backflow preventer, kerdi and ditra waterproofing behind showers and under tile floors, Euroshield rubber roof, 35 ft wide Timbertech composite deck with glass rails and stairs, triple pane windows, all exterior and interior paint and trim, hardwood floors, custom kitchen and baths. A perfect place to watch the sun rise over the city.
View full property details, all photos and video for 2956 Signal Hill Drive SW
November 10, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Nov 10, 2016
Last month I posted my update and the next day the new mortgage rules were announced, so I waited this month and today is a day after the USA election results.
While folks are in various states of happiness or concern regarding the results, the one positive takeaway is to note that Keystone may be back on the table and that is a great possibility for Alberta. Enough about that.
Locally, the October numbers were strong with sales returning to 'normal' levels. City wide sales increased nearly 16% over last year. Detached homes especially are going strong. However, at the same time prices have continued to edge downward. The price variance is highly dependent on price point, property type and location. Strongest sales remained in the lower priced detached markets. Meanwhile, high apartment inventory continues to impact this segment the most.
With some many large scale events on the horizon, I'm not going anywhere near a general prediction for our market. I can, however, give you prudent, detailed and realistic independent advice and information to help you guide your next decision. I've provided numerous past and future clients with market information recently and we have been able to plan their next steps to ensure their goals are met.
For those in the market for a new home, please ensure you speak to your lender and have a pre-approval ready to go. More sellers are requesting confirmation of financing as they review offers during this changing financing environment. If you aren't aware of the new rules and have an older approval please give your lender or me a call for more information and an approval update.
May the snow stay away another week!
October 27, 2016
New Listing - 226 Panorama Hills Close NW
Are you looking for a great family home in Panorama?
Located across from a playpark on a quiet street and around the corner from easy transit access, this updated and spacious family home in Panorama Hills Estates is move in ready. The kitchen is bright and welcoming with granite counters, all new stainless steel appliances including gas stove and modern backsplash. The south facing backyard is perfect for evening dinners on the large deck. The kitchen is open to a warm family room with gas fireplace. The living room/dining room faces the front of the home. The laundry offers new washer/dryer and is easily accessed on the main level beside the powder room. The main level also offers a private office. Upstairs includes three large bedrooms including the master. The master suite offers double sinks, granite counters and modern tile as does the main bath on the main level. The basement is unspoiled and well designed for additional bath, bedroom and a large rec space. Neutral designer paint throughout. Central air conditioning. Double front attached garage.
View all property details, pricicing and photos for 226 Panorama Hills Close NW
October 3, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Oct 3 2016
Timing the market. It's what folks try and do. But you just don't know what's up or down until the curve forms. A curve may currently be forming in the detached sector. Detached homes are those that do not share walls with other properties. Garages can be attached or detached. Inventory numbers are lower than last year at this time and sales are ever so slowly trending up. Average prices and median prices are above this time last year.
From the Calgary Real Estate Board: "The segment of Calgary’s housing market with the greatest influence on the overall market is showing signs of pricing stability. The detached benchmark price totaled $503,400 in September, which is 3.3 per cent below last year, but the second consecutive month at this price level."
Attached properties are a bit mixed. Semi-detached homes (duplexes and those sharing one common wall) are becoming somewhat more stable. Row houses (sharing multiple shared walls such as townhouses) are still seeing some increased inventory numbers.
Apartment numbers are the ones that are seeing the continuing higher inventory numbers with eight months of inventory in the apartment sector.
With a shifting market the opportunities are presenting themselves. Investors ears should be perking up.
Running numbers in different communities yields quite different buyer or seller trends. For condo purchases, whether apartment or townhouse style, folks are looking first to those that have a lower risk of special assessments or condo fee increases. The complexes and residences that are well run, well maintained and of good construction are maintaining stronger prices than those that show risk due to a lack of reserve, unattended maintenance issues or unfunded projects.
There's also a trend I personally watch. It is the luxury sales market. It's kind of a hunch thing. These folks seem to be buying more real estate again.
Sales of detached homes over $1M
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2013 - 504
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2014 - 590
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2015 - 372
Jan 1 - Oct 3 2016 - 426
If you are watching the market to determine the right time to purchase your new home, get out that crystal ball. It may be getting interesting.
View the full CREB Statistics Package
September 30, 2016
5 Reasons to Select Your Buyers' Realtor
A few weeks ago I was invited by MoneySense magazine to do an interview regarding the purchase of a for sale by owner property and the role of a buyer's Realtor. The resulting Money Sense Magazine article comments on some of the topics we covered.
I have assisted folks view and purchase for sale by owner properties in the past, but honestly it can get a bit tricky sometimes so I thought I should elaborate on the article. The first part is about representation.
As a buyer you have a choice in how you purchase property. You can go on your own from listing agent to listing agent or for sale by owner listing and work it out yourself. Or you can choose one Realtor to represent you and they assist you in reviewing homes, showing homes, negotiations, research and finalizing your sale.
The benefits of working with a Realtor include:
1. It is most often free to the buyer. Sale commissions are paid by the seller with a portion of the commission going to the buyer's agent on sale. Most for sale by owner listings will also pay a buyer commission. In the odd case where they don't then you need to work out buyer commissions directly with your Realtor.
2. A buyer's agent or Realtor represents you. Your Realtor holds your personal information in confidence and works with you to find the right property. A listing agent's job is to sell a particular home. Your buyer's agent is to make sure you know what you are buying and at what value.
3. A Realtor has the training and experience to review property details and provide you with a comparable market evaluation so you have more knowledge on the value of a property. Your Realtor will also review property title and look out for potential issue such as Dower Rights in Alberta, Real Property Report Issues, title registrations and other details which are costly if discovered too late in the purchase process or which can delay your access to your new home.
4. Buying a home can be an emotional experience. It is also a very large financial investment. Why wouldn't you seek outside help from an experienced Realtor to assist you through the process? Or are you prepared to manage negotiations, contracts and legal details on your own? Negotiations can be tough. An experienced Realtor knows the tactics and antics and how to best manage them to your best advantage.
5. In the case of buying a for sale by owner property there is also the added challenge that some sellers do not know what is required to sell their home. Nor has there been any property verification, measurements verification, title review, property financial review, permit review, identification, or other vetting by a listing agent. I believe it is even more important in such cases to work with qualified professionals such as Realtors and lawyers to ensure your purchase completes smoothly.
I have worked with many buyers and look forwarding to hearing from you as you pursue your next home purchase.
September 1, 2016
Important Real Estate Numbers in the Calgary Real Estate Market - Sept 2, 2016
Should you happen to hear a general real estate market number such as sales or price adjustments in the coming days please ignore it or view it as a very generic indicator. The market is currently segmented enough that an overall number tells us little about the value of individual properties.
Detached homes are in a more balanced environment due to reduced inventory numbers while attached and apartment listings continue to increase the imbalance between supply and demand leading to a strong buyer's market in some areas. Apartments are seeing a stronger impact on pricing and sales than other attached properties.
We live in a large city. At previous times when the market favoured the seller, higher pricing may have moved folks outside of their preferred neighbourhoods. Today, in a more balanced market, a buyer can find what they are looking for in preferred areas, housing types or those properties that have specific details. This is the market where that well kept home with a popular layout on a quiet street with beautiful manicured yard will sell well. However, those in less desirable locations or with less desirable finishes may take more time and see a lower price. As our market shifts any sellers entering the market must be willing to review market shifts regularly. To not adjust and expect results based on a market evaluation completed 2-3 months ago isn't a pathway to a successful sale.
So what does this mean to you?
As a seller, you must be provided with and understand the specific market information that relates to your home. If you are truly wishing to sell and not just test the market, then presentation and pricing are imperative. You must be flexible with showing times and keep your property clean and in good repair. It also takes patience. Average days on market for a sale of a detached home is currently 42 days. For apartments this number is 56 days. If you expect a sale in 10 days at list price then you need to review expectations of pricing to encourage more buyers. The number of folks looking for a new home at any given time remains the same. You can create incentive for more of those folks to look at your home with pricing or you can wait for more buyers to enter the market.
For a buyer, this is actually a good time to buy depending on what you are looking for. With more options you will find the right house that checks all the boxes at a good price. You can make decisions at your pace rather than the immediacy required during a hot sellers market. Where you may have only been able to purchase an apartment or townhouse in the past, a detached home may now be an option.
Calgary's real estate market has been and will continue to be a shifting market. Thousands of homes have sold this year in the city and some folks have done a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities.
For example, there are currently 78 detached homes active on market in NW Calgary under $500,000. 68 of such homes have sold in the last 30 days. That's a great opportunity for a seller to sell their home at expected market prices. Should that same family be in need of a large home in the $600,000-$800,000 zone they have 78 homes to choose from. They are however competing with less buyers as 29 of such homes have sold in the last 30 days.
For year to date numbers of detached homes, average price has actually increased from last year by 1.23%. Benchmark price has decreased by 3.27% and median price has decreased by 3.32%.
As always, contact me anytime for information specific to your needs. I am happy to help.
July 30, 2016
Contribution to MoneySense Magazine - New Homeowner Unsure of "It's Cute" Comment
My most recent contribution to MoneySense Magazine Ask an Expert Series.
This one was sweet. I wish the homeowners all the best in their new home.
MoneySense Magazine - New Homeowner Unsure of "It's Cute" Comment
Thank you again Romana for including me in your series.
July 18, 2016
Open House Sunday July 24 2-4 pm - 153 Evercreek Bluffs Rd
You have been wanting to view this beautiful home but haven't booked your showing?
Visit me this Sunday, July 24 from 2-4 pm at 153 Evercreek Bluffs Rd SW
July 13, 2016
Staging your home for sale - Consider your privacy
Over the last few years I've noticed a trend in staging advice that honestly we just didn't think about before. With photo quality and volume increasing it is important to consider that the photos remain in the MLS system long after your home is sold. Consider your family privacy when staging.
We now often question if open houses are necessary. And we also take care in photographing homes for sale. To keep photos beautiful while securing your family privacy please do the following.
1. Remove your children's names from their bedroom walls or elsewhere in the home.
2. Remove large family photos and replace with neutral prints.
3. Tuck away your family event calendar.
4. Clear your office and tidy away any financial or personal papers.
5. Explain to young and teenage children that their room will be photographed and ask them to remove anything they do not wish to be public.
6. Remove any valuables from view such as watches or watch boxes, jewelry and storage, electronics, etc.
A staging consultation is available to all of my clients as part of the listing process. We will work together on the details to present your home at its best while respecting your home privacy and security.
July 13, 2016
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - July 2016
The school year has come to an end, folks are gearing up for attending or avoiding Stampede, the trailers and boats are out, the thunderstorms are rolling in and there are so many other distractions right now. All that aside, our local real estate market isn't riding any roller coasters this month but rather remaining somewhat flat and mellow compared to last month. The detached home market is stabilizing and apartments and attached properties (townhouse style) continue to see more of a challenge with sales.
The pressing purchases in the next month will be those folks that want to be moved prior to the start of the next school year. There's often the summer shuffle. With a number of new schools opening this year and next I am curious how this will impact some previously underserved areas. Time will tell.
An important topic that is starting to come up more often is security and privacy. Should you be purchasing or selling please be conscious of what you are posting and what folks could take advantage of. As well, personal privacy and security need to be considered.
As always, please contact me with any question or if you wish a detailed evaluation or market information specific to your area. Enjoy the pancakes!
CREB Statistics Package
June 26, 2016
Just Listed 153 Evercreek Bluffs Rd SW
Built by Calbridge Fine Homes, the attention to detail and design are evident in this executive home in Evercreek Bluffs steps from Fish Creek Park. The large foyer opens to an office on the right and looks to the back of the home with open concept dining room, stunning 2-storey tall, bright great room, chef’s kitchen with an expansive island and separate breakfast nook surrounded by bay windows. Beautiful cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops sparkle in this well designed kitchen. Walk through the corner kitchen pantry to additional storage, the laundry room, and garage access. A fantastic layout! Upstairs a large master suite offers separate tub/shower and very large walk in closet. Two additional bedrooms and a main bath are also found upstairs along with a large and bright bonus room. The basement is fully finished with an additional bedroom, bathroom, and large open media room/recreation room (wired). South facing backyard with a great deck and patio. Attached double garage.
Full property information for 153 Evercreek Bluffs Rd SW