Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Just Listed - 63 Sunset Point in Cochrane
Enjoy the unobstructed views of the valley and mountains from every level of this beautiful home including the fully finished walkout basement and south facing backyard. 63 Sunset Point backs directly on to the ridge, pond and park area in Sunset Ridge, Cochrane. Upgrades include hand scraped solid hardwood floors throughout the main level, stone faced fireplace, granite counters with raised island bar, granite sinks, stainless appliances, gas range, wired sound system, custom built-ins and more. The main floor open concept design with ample windows allows light to fill the space from all angles and allows for an office and separate laundry room and powder room. Upstairs is a large bonus room as well as 3 bedrooms and 2 baths including master bedroom with 5 piece ensuite. The walk out basement offers a 4th bedroom, full bath and large open rec room. Step out into the fully landscaped backyard with concrete patio and plantings designed to enhance view and privacy. View the video for additional photos.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - March 3
The number of listings on market continue to remain low. Are folks all waiting for the deep freeze to end or betting that prices will continue their climb?
I'll be watching the listing numbers once the weather breaks.
The number of sales of condos and townhouses especially are up. CREB - "After the first two months of the year, both condominium apartment and townhouse sales increased by 28 per cent compared to last year." With such sales increases it won't be long before this segment also begins to surpass 2007 pricing as single family homes did last year.
With prices continuing the move, it isn't a surprise that more people are moving to condos and townhomes just due to affordability and availabilitiy since the rental market continues to be very very tight. With many older homes on inner city lots being purchased by developers rather than homeowners, the trend to tear down and build new also impacts available inventory.
As the market turns towards spring (and warmer weather I hope), there will also be a change to the rates for mortgages with less than 20% down. CMHC has increased the rates for mortgage insurance as of May 1, 2014.
One very bright note for the NW areas of the city, there has been a very recent announcement that work will soon begin on the sewer system upgrade and it will be completed earlier than expected. Bowness Sanity Trunk Upgrade.
Especially in this market many folks begin to ask whether they should buy first or list first when moving between homes and the decision on either side has its risks and rewards.
Monday, March 3, 2014
List First or Buy First?
Unless you are a first time buyer, one of the big decision points when purchasing a new home is whether to buy first or list first.
In a strong market such as we have today, sellers won't often consider an offer 'subject to the sale of a buyers' home' so purchasers are left with a big decision before signing an offer and I've noticed a few folks deciding to just wait a bit because they find the decision somewhat daunting.
There are risks and rewards from both approaches, but finances ultimately dictate. With banks changing lending rules and putting limits on refinancing, the option to buy first sometimes isn't there. Have a conversation with a very good mortgage broker or your personal mortgage rep to ensure your numbers are clearly outlined as well as the purchase process, down payment options to avoid unneeded mortgage insurance costs and other details.
If you buy first, the risk is that you will be holding two properties without knowing your exact sale price or sale date. The benefit is that you can wait to find the right new property without being rushed to purchase just what is available during a given window of time. If you are looking for a unique property or one with specific characteristics such as view, walkout basement, specific area or homestyle or else a condo in a specific building, it is often these types of homes that are purchased prior to selling.
If you sell first, the risk is that you will not yet find a new home and need to find temporary housing between possession dates. You will have certainty that your home has sold, have a firm sale price and have full understanding of your budget and dates.
If you are deciding a plan forward then take the time to ensure you have the market data you need and that you know there are options out there when looking for a new home. Being prepared makes it much less daunting and much more exciting.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Open House: March 1 and 2 at 2404 25A Street SW
Open House: March 1 and 2: 2:00 - 4:00
Stop by this weekend to preview 2404 25A Street SW. An exceptional home featuring 5 total bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, and an open concept design. A well thought out floor plan and beautiful finishes complete this beautiful home located in Richmond just west of Crowchild.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Feb 4 2014
The sales and pricing numbers continue to show substantial growth across the City. While overall sales showed a 17% increase in sales from the same time last year, condominium apartment and townhouse sales totaled 466 units in January, a 33 per cent increase over the same period in 2013.
The lack of inventory is making it tough to find homes for some buyers especially under the $500,000 price point. With less than two months of inventory for single family homes and very small numbers of homes in some areas, folks are responding in big ways.
With our rental market remaining very tight, the low interest rates for mortgages and a growing city, the push to find homes is driving up prices. Multiple offer situations are becoming more and more common and may be the reason we are seeing more townhome sales just due to pricing and availability.
While multiple offers get folks fired up, it is essential that you have the information you need to not go beyond your own risk threshold.
Banks still rely on appraisals to determine how much they will lend on a property so even though you are willing to spend an extra $20,000 to get that house, the bank might still only lend on a lower appraisal value. Going forward without a financing condition can be very risky. Home inspections and review of condo documents are very important items of protection for buyers. It is in these markets that sometimes properties get purchased that would be passed over in a slower market.
The interesting thing is that I am noticing the lenders tighten up their review of each and every file. Get that paperwork ready as your bank is going to want to see it all.
Need some guidance so you feel comfortable about your move? Give me a call.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Just Listed - 2404 25A Street SW
Elegant and beautiful executive infill close to amenities, schools, LRT with easy access to the city core. With upgrades throughout and a well thought our floorplan this property stands out. Touches include custom built-ins, sound system, vaulted ceilings, granite counters, upgraded insulation and noise reduction, bamboo flooring, Italian tile and beautiful skylights. The main level provides a front open den or family room, stylish kitchen with stainless appliances and eating bar, dining area and living room beyond as well as a half bath. Upstairs is an open bonus room; laundry; master bedroom with stone surround gas fireplace and a 5 piece custom ensuite and walk in closet; additional full bath and 2 more bedrooms. The basement with in floor heat and built in custom bar in the rec room also provides a full bath and two more bedrooms with large windows throughout. The two tiered deck and low maintenance yard out back are perfect for entertaining or relaxing. Detached double garage.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
New Listing - 20 Tuscany Reserve Green NW
Spacious home in Tuscany located on the inside of a cul-de-sac and backing onto environmental reserve greenspace. The main floor offers an office, laundry, open concept living room, dining room and very large kitchen with walk thru pantry. Custom cabinets surround the stainless steel appliances and 7 foot island. Large windows look out to the landscaped backyard, cedar shed and tree grove beyond. Upstairs is a vaulted bonus room, master bedroom with sitting area and 5 piece ensuite including soaker tub, separate shower and custom walk in closet. Two additional bedrooms and full bath complete the upper level. The basement is fully finished with a large rec room, media area, bedroom and full bath with in floor heating. Professionally developed with dricore subfloors, large windows, extra lighting and acoustical insulation. The tot lot is a short walk and the local school bus stops are just behind the home and up the path. Warm and inviting for your family, this home is a must see. Fully finished garage.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Are your renovations going to increase the value of your home in Calgary?
As Canadians we are spending more on renovations than ever before. TD recently released their renovation spending report. According to TD, "At 7% per year since 2003, spending gains in this area have outshone other components of household spending. During the 1990s, outlays for home renovations accounted for just over 25% of total residential investment. Currently, that share is almost 40%."
Many of us renovate for our own use and to add features we wish to have such as upgraded mud rooms and laundry rooms, media rooms, new fireplaces, spas, modern kitchens, high end showers, basement bars and rec rooms, new exterior finishes, sunrooms and even pools.
So when it is time to sell, are your renovations going to increase the market value of your home?
Well, it depends.
1. What did you renovate?
Replacing old carpet and worn wallpaper and paint with more new can have a huge impact on a home, but choose colours carefully. Pink carpet or paint is not popular no matter how new or expensive it was to install.
When already renovating, attention to future homeowners needs are well worth the planning and additional attention to detail. For example, changes to a bungalow that remove stairs, open up flow in the home and improve access to sinks, laundry and kitchen appliances will remain in high demand as will lot and home design that reduces maintenance and allows for easier access during the winter.
2. Where is the property?
Depending on the community, holding the budget to stay within typical sales patterns in the area is key. If you add a $40,000 custom kitchen to a home worth $260,000 you will not see a $40,000 return on your investment. Each community and style of home has a ceiling of sorts as a 1600 sq ft two storey home will only sell up to a certain value before buyers start looking at larger homes or homes in more desirable areas no matter the finishings.
The recent flood events need to be acknowledged. Homes in flood fringe areas now require special attention to flood proofing and acknowledgement of potential future buyer fears.
3. Do you have your paperwork in order?
Buyers are asking more and more questions about renovations and permits than ever before. They are checking for asbestos in older homes as part of home inspection. Insurance companies and lenders are also asking more questions especially related to major renovations so ensure you have the required permits before you start your renovation. As of February 2014, the new home warranty rules will come into effect. Major renovations that require a building permit will also require a home warranty so even handy home owners will require documentation, permits and warranty to sell their homes.
At the end of the day, if you are making a substantial investment in renovations, do your homework. Very often sellers believe their home is worth more due to the actual cost of renovations and can be disappointed when it comes time to sell. At the same time, well thought our designs have fetched sellers sizeable increases in sale price.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Prices are on the rise. Calgary Market Update Jan 2 2014
2013 was a year of larger than anticipated price increases and sales volume for both single family homes and condominiums. Will the trend continue for 2014?
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Back from Holiday - Time for Winter Property Showings in Calgary
Over the last few weeks we've all been busy with the festivies of the season and listings slowly declined and sales slowed as the season came upon us.
Now that we focus again on the year ahead, many folks are going to start planning an upcoming move. If you are considering a sale give me a call now so you have time to make preparations and plan for your move.
If you are now listing your home and are ready for showings, here is some advice to make those showings count.
1. Folks that view properties in the winter tend to be serious buyers. Those folks just having a look tend to look more during the spring / summer open house season. Try to accommodate showing times and requests.
2. Shovel your driveway and sidewalk or hire a service. This past weekend a home I showed required us to walk through 2 feet of snow with the side access frozen shut.
3. Please provide a carpet or entry mat at your front door so we can leave our shoes and boots without creating too big a mess.
4. Leave the lights on outside. It is much more inviting and makes access easier in the cold.
5. Please allow your property lockbox to be at or very close to the front door. They don't fare well frozen into the ground, buried in snow, attached to side back fences and other fun places to access.
6. Leave the heat on. Cold floors and drafts aren't showing features. Please keep the heat on for comfort.
Thank you and good luck with your sale.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Calgary Real Estate Market Update - Dec 3 2013
Until the last few days, we've been very fortunate with the fall and winter weather, but this kind of snow and cold is sure to put a damper on enthusiasm. Am I still showing homes today? You bet. Buyers willing to put on snow boots and get out in this weather are serious.
There is no doubt sales during this time of year are fewer than the warmer months. However year over year the seasonal numbers are up, pricing numbers are breaking records and single family home statistics show average prices higher than 2007 levels. We are not yet reaching 2007 total sales numbers (total number of properties sold) but the trends have been trending upwards since the summer. The number of luxury homes sold continue to break records month after month as well.
Single-family benchmark prices totaled $470,600 in November, 8.5 per cent higher than one year ago. Of course the value for each specific home is different based on property price range, style and location so your home may have gone down, gone up 4% or it may have gone up 14% but the general trends are holding strong.
The graphs show that there are now less sales at the lower price points and more sales at the higher price points. This points to availability of property but also buyer demand. Calgary is a city of folks that earn higher wages than in other parts of the country, we are a young city and we see opportunity. Our attitude, perspective, rental availability, net migration and general optimism create the environment of growth and we are seeing that in the real estate market. I hope all those enthusiastic new landlords have done their homework.
Ever changing is our market, just check out the roller coaster ride of the last few years. Timing is everything. Whether buying or selling, you never know the time was 'best' until it passed.
If you want to crunch the numbers yourself, see the CREB Statistics Package or give me a call and I'll do that for you. ;)
Friday, November 15, 2013
Calgary Schools: Buyer Priorities
A new family moves to Calgary and innocently asks, "What are the best schools in the city and what is available to purchase within walking distance." The answer is a long one and it usually starts with 'It depends...."
Schools. One of the most important criteria for some families when choosing a community or property to call home.
Sometimes it is parents looking for a specific program or philosophy and sometimes it is all about the logistics of getting our children to school and home safely while still working or attending to our other activities.
It used to be easier I am told. Children in a community would go to the school in that community, often within walking distance. Some communities had before and after school care. It's not that easy now.
In some communities the choice to attend the local designated school is thwarted by full enrollments, alternate school assignments, bus schedules and lotteries for school space. Parents are scrambling to find before and after school care or changing their plans regarding work and availability.
Some inner city locations have low enrollments while outlying areas are bursting at the seams. The current baby boom, Calgary's large growth numbers, funding and timeliness of construction of new infrastructure all contribute. Affordability of housing, access to backyards and playgrounds, parks and amenities fuels the move within the city as well.
Recently the province announced more schools in 2013 with $1.4B allocated over 3 years to school capital projects. I'll leave the 'how can you build that many schools so fast given the shortage of folks to build them' to someone else and instead say, "That's great. What's the plan for the when and where?"
Calgary Board of Education schools and Calgary Catholic schools also offer french immersion, language schools and specialized programs on top of everything else. Charter schools enter the mix providing unique learning opportunities geared towards various streams including science, arts, girls only, academics, inquiry based and others. Charter schools are unique to Alberta and the waitlists are huge so they must be doing something right. On top of that are the private schools adding another layer of option.
So as you are looking at new homes, you need to remember that just because you see a school doesn't mean your children can attend. It's kinda nutty given the perceived options. Research is critical if schools are a top priority.
I should have listened to my neighbour and enrolled my kids when they were born.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Sold. 30 Rocky Ridge Heights has now sold and over list price
Great homes attract great people. This amazing Rocky Ridge familly home sold quickly and will soon welcome a new family.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Real Estate Market Update Nov 5 2013
With the snow hitting the ground, it usually signals a slow down in Calgary's real estate sales. That is a little less evident this year it seems. The ongoing growth in the overall sales numbers and increases to pricing continue.
The overall numbers show a slight increase from September in terms of pricing across various types of property. The larger increases are in year to year comparisons. Sales are significantly higher with inventory significantly lower from October 2012. Total sales numbers increased beyond the 10 year average for the first time since 2007 are on par between those posted between 2004 and 2005.
Things are slowing down a bit due to the expected seasonal adjustments but just less so than in previous years. Inventory is dropping so buyers will see less and less choice as we approach the holidays.
The big picture for Calgary is positive and strong but not yet entering the frenzy zone. It has definitely made for interesting negotiations when buyers and sellers have different views of the crystal ball.
On a local level, the various developments and announcements from builders, developers and government are changing the landscape so adjustments to various communities may also start to shift outside of the larger picture.
The largest announcement being agreement for the SW ring road. The construction can have nothing less than a major effect on how folks get around Calgary and it will have consequences to the real estate market. View the design concepts for the length of Stoney Trail and the SW Ring Road.
Currie Barracks is in the news with plans for a town site concept in this large and unique urban community as well as applications related to the West Campus development by the University of Calgary. Various condo projects have been announced and some existing developments such as the River in Mission have adjusted design and construction plans due to the recent floods. Growth and more growth for our amazing city.
November 30 marks the deadline for home owners applying to the Disaster Recovery Program and much work remains in this area.
Hope you had a great Halloween. We'll soon be searching for our Christmas lights.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
The SW Ring Road. The concept designs.
As many other Calgarians, I am excited to see the SW Ring Road move closer to reality. It shortens my personal travel time and will ease congestion among my various frequented routes. Reduced commute times is what matters, even if the distance is a touch longer.
The remaining sections to be developed are actually 2.
The second is from Hwy 8 to 22x which is what is called the SW Ring Road portion. The 2013 Agreement with the Tsuu T'ina Nation allows for this section to move forward. The images are from the published concept plan on the Alberta Transportation website as linked above.
Image 1 of 4 - Glenmore Trail SW near Sarcee Trail SW and path through the Weaselhead Natural Environment Park.
Image 2 of 4 - Extending to Anderson Rd SW
Image 3 of 4 - Anderson Rd SW to 116 Ave SW
Image 4 of 4 - Detail of Sarcee Trail SW and Glenmore Trail SW Imterchange area.
The details of this huge project will change. Information here is what is avalable today.
For more details visit Alberta Transportation.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Just Listed - 30 Rocky Ridge Heights NW, Calgary, AB
Beautiful home in Rocky Ridge, 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms.
Beautifully renovated and updated inside and out by the current owners, this warm home in Rocky Ridge is fully finished with 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, bonus room and attention to detail. A new kitchen including solid maple cabinetry, stainless steel appliances including double ovens and wine fridge compliment the expanded island with granite counters and mosaic backsplash. The living room and current dining room opens to the kitchen with new hardwood flooring. Painted with neutral colors throughout. The bonus room is spacious and custom entertainment system is included. The master bedroom and 4 piece bath with in floor heat and two additional bedrooms complete the upper level. Outside the exterior has been painted, new roof installed and decking expanded. You'll enjoy the beautiful two tear deck, mature trees and views. The basement is completed with a large bedroom with full sized window and ample light, a full bath and completed rec room with custom built-ins. Excellent location. Double garage.
Monday, October 28, 2013
When the best mortgage rate is not the lowest mortgage rate. Saving money on your mortgage.
With rates beginning to move around a bit, I’ve noticed that some clients are getting better advice than others from various lenders so I asked one of my trusted mortgage brokers to put together some information to start the conversion. The question: what’s the best mortgage available for my clients?
It’s nearly impossible to predict your refinance needs three or four years out. Statistics show that well over half of Canadians with a mortgage renegotiate before their term is up.
So if you try to end your mortgage or move your mortgage prior to the current term (say 5 years) you may face larger than expected mortgage penalties or be restricted by mortgage limitations. Mortgage restrictions can easily outweigh small (e.g., 0.10% to 0.15 %) differences in interest rates.
Did you know the average five-year borrower changes their mortgage after just three-and-a-half years?
Can you break your mortgage any time you want?
If a mortgage penalty applies, how is it calculated?
Can I port (move) my mortgage to a new property to avoid penalties?
Provided by Allan Bowerman, Mortgage Associate-Managing Partner-CERC Relocation Specialist, Ultimate Mortgage Partners Ltd.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
New Warranty Legislation coming into effect. Are you buying new construction?
Beginning Feb 1, 2014, new legislation will determine minimum warranty requirements for new constrution in Alberta. The changes apply to new homes constructed under a building permit applied for after Feb 1 2014.
"All new homes (detached homes and condominiums) would at minimum, include a warranty for:
What does the change mean for homeowners?
There are currently various warranty programs available to builders and consumers that offer various levels of protection and some warranty packages provide much less coverage than homeowners may expect. This is true for single family homes and condominiums (townhouses and apartments). The New Home Buyer Protection Act is the provincial effort to manage this issue.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Time to Winterize your Home - 5 Essential Steps
Waking up to the thick layer of frost outside this morning, it is the sign it's time to winterize for the winter.
1. Get your furnace serviced if you haven't had an annual maintenance check recently. If you've done major renovations this year or added a basement development you might want to have the ducts cleaned too. If you have a gas fireplace, add that to the service list if you haven't had it checked in a couple of years.
2. Clean and inspect any wood burning fireplaces.
3. Test your smoke detectors and change the batteries. If your smoke detector is more than 8-10 years old, it needs replacement. The test may beep but it may no longer be as effective at detecting smoke and fire so check your model and replace if needed.
4. Check your windows and doors and repair any seals needed.
5. Blowout and winterize sprinkler systems and shut off water to outside taps.
As you take a walk around your property secure anything that might be blown away or damaged during a winter storm and put up the fall decorations.
Oh, and pull out the sleds, skates, skiis and other winter gear. There is an upside to coming snow.
Friday, October 4, 2013
The question is: What does it look like to work with a Realtor?
Every once in a while I have a chat with folks looking for help with real estate that don't really understand what it looks like to work with a Realtor. They don't know what to expect. Good question. So before I answer, I have to say this article is about me. Other Realtors work differently so I can't speak for them.
In terms of selling a property this is rarely misunderstood. Realtors work with homeowners to present, market, list and sell their homes to qualified buyers that can complete on their purchase. There's lots that goes on in the middle, but it is my role to get all the middle taken care of so you can focus on moving and packing or finding your new home.
In terms of purchasing a home, there is more ambiguity. Some folks go out on their own and find their own home and work with the listing agent to purchase. This works well for some, but not a method I feel is in the buyer's best interest.
So when I work with folks wishing to buy a new property a large part of my role is education. In looking at potential options, I listen to your needs and questions and put information in your hands. I work with you to ensure you see the properties on market that would be potential options. We talk about the things that matter to you such as proximity to infrastructure, zoning, transportation, being close (but maybe not too close) to family, schools, work. We talk about timing, whether your dining room set will fit, the cost of new flooring and all of the other things you need. We are working together to find your home. You share your personal information with me and that becomes nobody else's business. My role is supporting you in figuring out what you need and wish to afford and then finding that home, being successful in securing a purchase and completing on Possession Day. As in selling, a lot happens in between, and my role is to ensure the pieces come together.
I also assist with the uniqueness of each purchase. Educating you about how condos work; what an RPR is; managing inspection issues, foreclosures or issues on title; estate sales and many other challenges that come up during a purchase.
I bought and sold numerous properties before becoming a Realtor. I had great experiences and poor ones in various cities and I do try very hard to emulate one Realtor in particular that had worked with my family for many years in BC. Her name is Teri Steele. She is truthful, educated and we always felt she cared about our family. She helped us fight through multiple offers on one purchase, work through inspection issues on another, knew when to be tough and when to be gentle. She knew what she knew, told you when she didn't know something and then found answers for us. She answered her phone, was there when we needed her and made our plans come together.
If I could be that support for you, then that's what this is all about.
P.S. To those great folks that have allowed me to assist them, Thank you! And thank you for passing my name on to others. That makes my day.