An item to consider when preparing your home for sale is a pre-sale home inspection.
Especially in a market where buyer's have the advantage, it can be difficult for sellers when an inspection deficiency is discovered. I often recommend a pre-sale home inspection for older properties. The pre-sale inspection can be a whole home inspection or a targeted inspection such as a roof report.
If you are budgeting for some repairs and improvements, the inspection can help you target your efforts.
Should the home inspection show no major issues, it can be provided to prospective buyers as part of the pre-review process which could potentially help the sale process.
Should issues arise, you can address them BEFORE you have an offer on the table or else give you time to get quotes for repairs that can be provided to prospective buyers.
Review your appliances. The sale documents currently include the following detail: "The seller represents and warrants that on Completion Day, the property will be in substantially the same condition as when this contract was accepted and the attached and unattached goods will be in normal working order."
Arrange for your furnace to be serviced by a qualified professional.
Gather together the warranty information for your home and appliances including the roof, furnace and hot water tank. If items remain under transferrable warranty to the new buyer, the additional warranty may be percieved positively by a buyer.
First time home buyers often do not have extra funds for repairs and may not have knowledge about what is required to repair various issues. Depending on your target buyer, a small investment in repairs may reduce time on market and result in a higher sale price than the cost of the repairs.
If you are planning to sell your home and wish to meet for a pre-sale consultation just give me a call at 403 850 2446. I am happy to help.
The City of Calgary has been working on the Main Streets Program which initiates a large number of zoning changes across the city along Calgary's thriving main streets.
If you are considering a purchase for yourself in these areas or for investment / future redevelopment, this is something you need to review. Some of the areas are at initial review and have undergone some community feedback, data collection and analysis. Even if no change occurs these documents provide more detail into these areas as they currently exist.
Located on a quiet street within walking distance to both Arbour Lake School and St Ambrose School, this bright and cheerful home offers a popular floorplan. The classic white eat-in kitchen is huge and a great place for family and friends to gather. With large windows facing west, the room is flooded with natural light and overlooks the landscaped garden. At the front of the house the spacious living room welcomes the morning sun and looks out to the front porch and tree lined street. A powder room is also on the main level. 3 bedrooms and 2 baths are upstairs including the generous master bedroom with ensuite. The basement is finished with a 4th bedroom, full bath with shower, rec room and laundry. The backyard is landscaped with tiered deck and patios surrounded by gardens and walkway to the detached oversized double garage. Easy transit access to the LRT, Crowfoot Shopping and Robert Thirsk High School. Arbour Lake is the NW Lake Community with private access to lake activities and community events.
In recent years there has been more information available about Radon and recent changes to the Alberta Building Code regarding Radon have brought Radon mitigation to our minds when considering a home purchase. If you are looking at newly constructed homes you may have even noticed the mitigation rough-ins in the basements.
What is Radon?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas in the soil produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless. If radon accumulates in a home it can pose a serious health risk. Radon is a leading environmental cause of lung cancer.
Radon can enter a home via cracks or openings in the basement envelope and can vary house to house. Due to newer air tight construction, it is important to consider Radon.
How do you Test for Radon?
Radon can be tested by a professional or via an at-home kit. Health Canada recommends a minimum 3 month test preferably in the fall or winter (October to April) months for the best accuracy. The cost around $50 plus shipping from the companies I have looked at.
Changes in the Alberta Building Code
As of Jan 1, 2015 home construction has changed to mitigate the risks of Radon in a home. Should you be purchasing new construction, ask your builder about the construction changes, any testing done and mitigation options.
High Radon levels and the Sale/Purchase of a Home
Due to the testing length, a test for radon isn't a test that can be completed during the typical condition period for the purchase of a home. High radon levels can be considered a material latent defect to be disclosed to buyers if the seller is aware of the issue and the issue has not been mitigated. Should you know of high levels of Radon in your home please consult a lawyer prior to listing your home for sale.
Help us break last year's record and help CIR REALTY, the Salvation Army and Kiss 95.9 ensure that every child has a present to open this Christmas. Donations of new, unwrapped presents are eagerly accepted at all CIR REALTY offices.
Thank you and may you have a very wonderful Christmas this holiday season.
After increasing for three consecutive years, the apartment vacancy rate in the Calgary CMA declined in 2017.
The rise in the number of units added to the purpose-built rental market universe was the largest increase since 1994.
Rents on a same-sample basis declined slightly from the previous year.
Those are some positive patterns. Even with the increase in inventory the local vacancy rate went down. Couple that with new mortgage rules that may require folks to rent rather than buy in the coming year and some opportunities begin to take shape.
Take care to review the detailed charts. The variation in turnover rates, average rents, rent averages based on construction year and other details are amazing detailed information available to potential investors.
When purchasing a newly constructed home in Alberta, many buyers are comforted to know that as of Feb 2014, it is required that home buyers are provided a new home warranty for their home. While some base requirements between the programs are the same, there are differences in the various programs and some details that all buyers should ask when reviewing the warranty.
1. Which warranty program does the builder offer? There are numerous options to a builder with a difference in coverage to the buyer based on the warranty provider. Each property can be looked up in the registry to determine the builder and warranty provider. Not all programs/providers offer the same coverage or guarantees.
2. What is the commencement date of coverage? This can be earlier than your move in date if occupancy was granted prior. This information is available from the warranty provider. Should you be purchasing a constructed home or spec home the warranty period may have started significantly earlier than your possession date.
3. What is covered and what is not covered? Review the policy details to ensure you understand what is covered by the program and for the duration of time. General guidelines include: 1 year - This takes care of finishes throughout the home, including any defects in flooring, paint or trim. 2 year - This primarily covers defects in labour and materials related to heating, plumbing and electrical systems 5 year - Building envelope means the exterior shell of the home, including the roof and walls. Two additional years of coverage are available. 10 year - This covers the key structural components of your home, including its frame and foundation.
It is highly recommended that homeowners have their homes inspected by an independent inspector at possession and before some of these critical dates to ensure they don't miss deadlines for submitting claims.
4. Are there any financial limitations on coverage and what is the claims process? General guidelines: In a single-family home, townhome, row home or duplex unit, the warranty will cover the purchase price of the home to a maximum of $265,000. Any repair costs in excess of $265,000 will not be covered. For a multi-family residential unit under a condominium plan, the warranty will cover the purchase price of the home up to $130,000, and anything beyond will not be covered. For an overview of the warranty program: http://www.homewarranty.alberta.ca/ Each warranty provider has their own process for handling claims. Review the home buyer information for details
5. Does the warranty provide deposit protection for buyers? Not all builders provide this protection. Ask your builder about the details of the coverage offered.
As always, please contact me direct should you have any questions and we can get the right resources to you.
There is a distinct difference between preparing for the sale of your home and renovating to sell your home.
I strongly believe you should absolutely prepare and stage your home. This includes de-cluttering, arranging furniture and belongings to highlight the home layout, cleaning and cleaning some more and making required small repairs to ensure any required items are in working order.
Renovations are larger scale improvements and include anything from painting to replacing kitchens, roofs, updating landscaping and more. Before setting out on a renovation project there a few things to consider.
1. Inspection Issues. If there is a deficiency that will result in a purchaser walking away from the purchase then it is best addressed prior to listing. Items of disrepair or safety issues should be reviewed independently of aesthetic improvements.
2. Value. Harrison Bowker, Real Estate Appraisers, recently published the Home Renovation Value Guide for 2017. Harrison Bowker is a full-service appraisal company based in Edmonton and serves all of Alberta so I have confidence these numbers reflect our market. A popular example is the kitchen. A kitchen renovation is considered to have the best return on investment when considering functionality. The % return for an average quality kitchen is 75-95% and a high quality kitchen is 40-60%. Please note the numbers reflect renovations completed by qualified professionals.
3. Speed of Sale. Some renovations increase the speed of sale. Recent examples I've seen recently include painting and garage construction.
* Buyers make big decisions based on paint colour. I personally believe a home freshly painted in neutral colours will sell faster than a home with strong or dark colour statements. The % return on interior painting is 80-110%.
* Many first time buyers purchase homes with detached garages on the back lane. In my experience many families prefer to have the garage constructed and included in the purchase price/mortgage. As most families have put the majority of their savings into the down payment they often don't have the $20,000 to then build a garage post purchase. The % return on a typical 24'x24' detached garage (heated, insulted, slab) is 60-80%.
4. Market Timing. Various communities in Calgary have seasonal sales cycles. For example, strong family neighbourhoods such as Tuscany tend to see increased sales in the spring time and move dates that avoid disruptions to school enrollment. If you are considering a sale with a renovation consider timing to ensure your completion is best timed with the market cycles.
Should you wish to review a copy of the Home Renovation Guide and plan your potential renovations to sell, please contact me.
New mortgage rule changes coming into effect. This is a new one effective Jan 1, 2018.
The official info - Official release from Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) - Government of Canada
I tried reading the detailed guideline but went cross-eyed on the fine print so I thought you might feel the same and want some cole's notes. As I'm not a mortgage broker nor do I pretend to crunch numbers like one, I asked my trusted mortgage broker, Jason Dodd from First Foundation to give me a hand. 1.) What this means across the board is that your purchasing power is decreasing by about 20%. ( Previously this only applied to insured mortgages. Now it applies to everyone as of Jan 1, 2018.)
Your qualification is no longer based on the lending rate provided to you. It is now based on a government prescribed rate. If you want a 3% mortgage, for example, you'll need to qualify at the Bank of Canada benchmark rate, currently 4.89%, or contract rate + 2%, whichever is HIGHER. Right now some of those 2% rates on 5 year are higher than the National Qualifying Rate.
2) Your qualifications may fluctuate across areas of the country and be adjusted in 'soft or softening markets.
OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions - Government of Canada) is going to "require" lenders to have more "dynamic" Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratios. Presumably this means that lenders will have to require more money down from buyers in markets that are soft or softening. This could dramatically impact first time buyers who usually can qualify with 5% down. Now the government may determine what's "reasonable" for any given market. In the past lenders were able to make these decisions for themselves. 3) Having multiple mortgages will be calculated differently. This will impact those purchasing a home or refinancing a home with more than one mortgage.
OSFI will ban the practice of combining a first mortgage and second mortgage to a LTV above 80% and marketing the effective blended rate (which is true and accurate as a weighted average, BTW) because they feel that it circumvents the 80% LTV limit. What OSFI doesn't explain here is that nothing will change except the consumer will be more confused than ever. Instead of presenting one rate, the lender(s) will have to present two rates, two payments, and two loan-to-values. This increases complexity and confusion.
These changes are important to both buyers and sellers.
For buyers, these changes will significantly impact your purchasing power as of Jan 1, 2018. I have heard that any purchase contracts FIRM prior to this date will follow current rules, but that isn't in stone and can change. You are best to double check with your mortgage broker. Anything after this date is bound by the new rules. If you are purchasing pre-construction check with your lender.
For sellers, the pool of buyers for your home will be changing and it is important to review the details as you plan your sale. As always, if you have questions regarding your purchase or sale, give me a call anytime directly at 403 850 2446 to arrange a confidential buyer or seller consultation.
Over the years I have been thankful for the opportunity to assist many families in downsizing or adjusting property styles either for themselves or their parents. This move, the move away from a long term family home, can be due to a wish to live a more maintenance free lifestyle, a move to a move accessible home style or layout and often a financial decision as part of retirement planning. The process of downsizing in furniture, belongings and accepting change can take some time.
As folks review options it is also worth a strong look at what can be done for families in their current home as they prepare for a move. Whether adjusting design or assisting with short term financial needs, there are support services out there.
Home maintenance and adaption assistance: Senior Services Home Maintenance - Funded by the City of Calgary. Seniors Services Home Maintenance helps low income seniors to live safely and securely in their own homes. The program provides these clients with basic yard care, snow removal, house cleaning, interior & exterior painting and minor repairs. Senior Home Adaption and Repair Program - Funded by the Province. The Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) provides low-interest home equity loans to help seniors finance necessary repairs, adaptations and renovations to their homes. The loans are repaid when you move or sell your home with no monthly payments prior.
We well, families often rely on outside service providers for exterior maintenance, snow removal, landscaping, cleaning and such. Please contact me to join the CIR Realty Best My Nest Program to receive CIR Realty only discounts with many local providers for these and other home services.
Should you need some help with planning for such a move, please give me a call directly at 403 850 2446 to set up a complimentary seller's consultation.
The September Calgary real estate numbers continue the trend from last month. A bit of an inventory increase has tempered the earlier uptick in pricing increases. General benchmark trends are down a touch and we are entering October with 1000 more listings than the same time last year.
The recent positive sales numbers and steady couple quarters may have provided folks enough stability in pricing to make plans. Sometimes it once we see past the worst that we hope for the best.
Supply and demand is what drives real estates. Perceptions drive decisions.
And numbers. I know they are boring. That's why you hire a realtor. Seriously.
For example, many folks right now are looking for homes with less maintenance, newer homes. They don't want to worry about furnaces, roofs or major updates. So let's look at newer homes across Calgary.
Detached homes built since 2010 under $500,000:
There are 113 active listings across the city. In the last 30 days 51 have sold. That is 2.2 or just over 2 months of inventory. Kind of a seller's advantage depending on the community. Surprised?
Detached homes built since 2010 between $500,000 and $600,000:
There are 184 active listings across the city. In the last 30 days 24 have sold. This is 7.6 months of inventory. This is a definite buyer advantage.
Does it depend where you are? The outskirts are where we find new inventory in this price point.
Let's compare North and South (sorry excluding east for now).
So North/Northwest there are 78 active listings in the $500,000- $600,000 category built since 2010. 7 have sold in the last 30 days. Absorption is 11.1 months of inventory. Hmm...
So South/Southeast there are 79 active listings in the $500,000-$600,000 category built since 1010. 13 have sold in the last 30 days. Absorption is 6 months of inventory.
So if you are a seller in this category in the north vs the south you may have to work a bit harder to get your home sold. Very good information to know. And as a buyer maybe you can ask for the washer/dryer included.
Buyers are very price sensitive right now and it important to understand the distinct variables to know if you are in a buyer's or seller's micro market when buying or selling. Who has the advantage in your market?
Calgary rocks. I mean it. Really. Calgary is a sensational place to live. Calgary is a young and vibrant city full of educated, caring, forward-thinking folks. If you are considering Calgary, stop by for a visit and check things out. I'm happy to help.
1. This has been an unusual year in Calgary with many days of smoke from the BC and Alberta fires. Inspect and potentially change your furnace filters earlier than normal to keep your furnace running efficiently. This is especially true if you run your furnace fan or an air conditioner in the summer. My own filters (only 1 1/2 months old) were clogged with ash from the smoke.
2. Request an inspection and service for your furnace and other gas appliances. ATCO provides an annual furnace inspection service which is free of charge. For cleaning or repair please contact your preferred qualified contractor. (If you are a senior please contact Alberta Senior and Housing for potential financing assistance before making any needed renovations.)
3. Smoke detectors only work for approximately 10 years. After this time they will been and test green on a battery check but they may no longer be effective at detecting smoke. Check and replace any smoke detectors older than 10 years.
4. Drain your outside water lines and sprinkler lines and turn off the water lines to the outside taps inside your home. The lines to your outside taps are most susceptible to freezing in colder temperatures.
5. Should you be leaving your home unattended contact your insurance company to determine requirements. For example, many insurers require a property check every set number of days or require the water be shut off at the residence.
If you have school aged children or are yourself engaged in educational pursuits, then September is a big month. The 'new' of September often gets folks considering their real estate plans as we say goodbye to summer hot days and ponder how many days we have to spruce up the front porch before the snow hits.
Since the weather changes around here every 10 minutes around now would be the time to touch up any exterior paint or repairs if you are considering a fall/winter sale.
Many of the conversations with folks I have these days is about timing the market. Folks considering a purchase or sale are trying to crystal ball things. We have a sense that the market is stabilizing with many indicators from various industry trends and numbers. At the same time, we have an increase in fall listings that are outshining the positive sales bumps.
Our year to date sales total are up across segments (8.06% up year over year detached, 5.12% up year over year apartments and 11.06% year over year attached). This is a very positive sign. Our year over year numbers are indicating positive movement in most regards. However, the monthly numbers are pointing towards an uptick in inventory and a drop in sales of homes per listings than the same month last year. The yearly and monthly comparable (August 2016 to August 2017) are somewhat divergent. An example is that our Year over Year Inventory level shows a decrease of 7.38% but a August 2016 to August 2017 comparable shows an increase of 20.23%.
There is some seasonal here, but also potentially an opportunity to see a bump in an otherwise positive trending path.
At the same time the benchmark pricing continues to drop in the apartment sector and increase in the detached sector with some mixed numbers in the attached sector.
What does all that mean? Typically we are on a positive trend with a bit of up and down along the way.
Curious to find our opportunity? So am I. If you are considering a purchase or sale please give me a call so we can review your specific details.
As we mark the mid-point of August 2017 I wish you all had the opportunity to enjoy this absolutely amazing summer. I can't remember another year full of so much sunshine and outdoor days.
It has felt like a summer of taking a deep breath and a bit of relaxation after a difficult two years. The real estate market is showing signs of recovery. With a step forward, back, sideways and forward again, the adjustments ebb and flow depending on the supply and demand in various micro markets around the city. Folks first jumped on detached homes and continue to do so with attached homes and especially apartments still lagging behind.
That being said, the current political climate, unemployment rates, migration levels and impact of the fall's lending policies continue to keep folks from getting too excited.
The Calgary Real Estate Board released the mid year report earlier today and it is a very good summary of our market and the various economic factors that fuel our market. Have a read.
In terms of buying and selling, right now is very much a time of adjusting expectations and ongoing review of market conditions. I'm very curious how the sales numbers unfold once we all return from our summer break and realize we only have a few weeks before the winter begins to show itself.
Remember, that if you are getting ready to list this fall or winter, now is the time to work on those minor repairs, paint the trim and touch up the curb appeal.
As always, please contact me directly if you wish some personal advice. I'm always happy to help.
Are you enjoying Stampede this year? I hope you are enjoying the sunshine, weekend adventures camping or visiting all the amazing sites around Alberta, taking in Stampede and a great start to a Calgary summer.
It seems lots of folks are doing just that and as the usual trends, show, less folks are focused on real estate right now. Nothing too unusual. What is a bit more unusual is a bit of a surge in listings. The listing increase is good for buyers that were getting pushed out of the quick turnaround in detached homes at the lower price points. It isn't great news for sellers in an already challenged market in the apartment segment. What we are seeing is a market in recovery and the ebb and flow that happens along the way.
Not sure what the best move is for you? Give me a call and we can work out your specific situation. I'm helping lots of folks watch various markets to help them determine their next steps. It is really helpful when you see info just related to you instead of overall city statistics. AND I will make sure you know what you need to get your home and paperwork ready to list when the right time comes. Yes, the lighting, furniture placement, art on the wall, clean cupboards and 'pre-packing' really do make a big difference. :)
Have a great July everyone and enjoy everything that is great about Calgary and Alberta with the free park pass!
Just listed in Point McKay. This little corner of Calgary is one of my favourite spots. It is just far enough and just close enough to downtown, right on the river pathway system and just has a great vibe.
Tucked away in Point McKay just steps from the pathway systems, this renovated 3 bedroom townhouse is move in ready. Walk into the warm front foyer and up the steps to the living room with hardwood floors, corner fireplace and patio doors looking out to the fenced, south facing, private deck opening to greenspace and trees between the units. The bright renovated kitchen with extended butcher block counters and ample cupboards is a great space to entertain around the movable island. New hoodfan and dishwasher. A powder room is on this level. Upstairs are three bedrooms including a large master bedroom with hardwood floors and two newly upgraded closets with sliding doors. The renovated bathroom with cheater door offers a large shower, jetted tub and ample storage. The lower level offers laundry and utilities. New hot water tank and furnace (2014). Single attached garage. Excellent location close to Foothills Hospital, Children’s Hospital, U of Calgary, pathway systems and a quick trip downtown.
CIR Realty recently announced a partnership with two great organizations in Calgary. As a mom to great kids and a couple of nutty canines I am very happy to make a contribution to the program at the closing of every transaction going forward.
The regular market update is usually posted the first week of the month, but I let things play out a few days longer this time. I was noticing a bit of a surge in new listings at the end of May and wanted to see if it was a blip or still continuing.
So far this last week there has been a noticeable surge in listings. This is coupled with trying to show property and being told many are already under contract. This results in things being quite interesting and folks pull out their crystal balls and try and play the market.
With school winding down this is the optimal time to list for folks that want to move after school ends but before the new school year. It is also easier for busy sports families as many events are winding down. Maybe folks were waiting for positive market news which is now more consistent or maybe then wanted to show off their landscaping. With the flowers starting to bloom many homes have beautiful curb appeal.
We are in a climate of slow but consistent stabilization and slow pricing growth in our market for detached homes. Benchmark pricing is up from last year in all areas of the city except the northeast. Semi attched homes are catching up. Townhouses and apartments are a bit further behind and pricing is down compared to benchmark pricing last year most everywhere (except townhouses in the inner city). it is all logical really. Month over month pricing is in the positive though so that's a good sign meaning things are slowly moving forward even though they have a bit of ways to catch up from previous sales periods.
If you are considering the sale or purchase of a new home I would be very happy to assist you. Let us find you a great home at a great price. Give me a call direct at 403 850 2446.
Just steps from the LRT this large 2 bedroom plus den unit could easily be utilized as 3 bedrooms. This is one of the larger units in the building. Located on the top floor looking west, the open layout allows for a great flow and lots of natural light. The open plan kitchen and living room allow for ample living space plus there is a separate open dining area to host friends and family. The den is just to the right of the living room. To the left down the hall is the master bedroom private ensuite, an additional bedroom, main bath, laundry room and storage. This unit provides two titled parking spots just outside the elevator (22, 24) and titled storage (9). Pets permitted with restrictions. In suite air conditioning unit included.
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The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.