It is August, but the winds and rain of yesterday reminded me to do some some annual maintenance that is sure to have an impact.
 
Every year it is a great idea to have a look at the weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows to make sure it is in good condition and doing its job. Poor weather stripping and deteriorating caulking can have a major effect on your heating/cooling costs. As heating accounts for an average of 60% of the energy used in your home in Calgary, I'd say any improvement is worth the effort. Sealing leaks also has the added benefit of reducing noise and dust from entering your house.
 
The Government of Canada's Office for Energy Efficiency has some great resources for finding leakage areas and fixing them.
 
 
 
 
 
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Come by on Sunday between 2-4pm to 6915 Edgemont Drive to view this amazing home.
 
Backing onto a greenspace & siding onto a sports park is this bright & welcoming two storey split in sought-after Phase 1 of Edgemont Estates.  With a total of 4 bedrooms, this fully finished home boasts an airy living room with floor-to-ceiling windows &  vaulted cedar ceilings, a separate dining room with mirrored feature wall & a sunny eat-in kitchen with a bay window.  The sunken family room has a wood-burning fireplace framed by built-in cabinets, with sliding doors to the rear deck where you can enjo y the great outdoors.  The master bedroom has its own private balcony with panoramic views of the mountains & surrounding neighbourhood, plus a mirrored closet & an ensuite with walk-in shower.  Another full bathroom is shared by 2 more bedrooms, & there' s a 4th bedroom & bathroom in the lower level, which is complete with a den with a built-in desk & a terrific rec room with a wet bar.  Complete with a fenced West backyard & minutes to transit & shopping, this is just a smashing home for your family!
 
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In recent days some disturbing events have occurred to clients of my brokerage and I am sure others in the city and I would like to pass on this info so that you all make efforts to protect your investments.
 
Clients recently discovered that a criminal had forged their identify and drew out mortgages against their existing homes without their knowledge. In such cases the current home has either a small mortgage compared to the value of the home or no mortgage at all. In situations like this, people don't often know this has happened until they apply for new credit, try to sell their homes or receive a nasty non-payment letter from a financial institution. This is a very serious mortgage fraud issue.
 
How to protect yourself:
 
1. Check your credit once a year. www.equifax.com. The cost is around $15.00 and it is a soft hit on your credit bureau so it does not affect your credit. Also you can set up for auto alerts so it updates you instantly when something is changing on your credit. This could be a good up front warning so you know if someone is acting outside of your knowledge.

2.  For low Loan to value mortgages or property ownership where there is no mortgage, set up a Line of Credit to 80% Loan to Value. Although you do have a registered mortgage on your property if you don’t access any money you don’t get charged any interest. This will prevent fraudsters or criminals from accessing money on top of that and will deter people when they see something already registered on property. Also it is a great product to have in place in case of investment needs, home re-model, or emergency spending requirements.

3. Discuss options with your lawyer. Perhaps registering a caveat that will prevent a lender from going on there and putting a mortgage on there. This could be an alternative solution to registering a Line of Credit if it is not needed.
 

Mortgage fraud has been in the news recently but it seems people often associate mortgage fraud to the process of buying and selling. This does happen as well and working with professionals such as lawyers, realtors, home inspectors, mortgage brokers (and other financial advisors) and document review companies (for condominiums) can help protect you in such cases.
 
Please do protect yourself and take precautions such as shredding any personal documents, limiting the sharing of your personal information and do check your paperwork, financial statements and credit on a regular basis.
 
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me and/or seek the advice of your financial advisor to help you.
 
Cheers,
Monika

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Over recent days I am starting to see more news that is pointing towards a positive view of the future outlook for Calgary residential real estate sales. Yes, the numbers for July were lower than hoped. However, the Conference Board of Canada, RBC Economics, CMHC and others are predicting positive gains for the city in various reports. An increase in demand for industrial real estate as well as commercial real estate are positive indicators for businesses and employment in our city. Oil is up. Calgary is a vibrant city with positive long term growth expected.
 
Personally, I feel there is an increased interest from buyers. I have also watched some of my buyers see their favorite homes conditionally sold while they have been watching and waiting.
 
If you are selling a home and want to know how to increase your chances:
 
1. Presentation and staging are key. I have viewed homes recently where homeowners had given up. The home was dirty and not presented. It didn't sell. The fresh smelling, wonderfully clean and staged home sold. Cut the lawn, pull the weeds, clean the windows and do what is necessary to make it show as 'move in ready'!
 
2. Marketing. Your home needs to be well marketed. Check out the video for my recent sale. Going the extra mile to get a home noticed is necessary.
 
3. Price. Know your comparables and run the numbers regularly. What the market was doing 60 days ago when you may have listed your home is not the same market we are in today. Work with a Realtor who will keep you informed.

 
If you are considering the purchase of a new home, but are waiting to see what happens consider the following:

 

1. By the time you know the bottom has hit it will be too late and you have a better chance to negotiate a good deal when there is a belief the market is going down than when the market is going up. It all depends on what you collectively believe based on media headlines and what your neighbour's recent sales experience was like.
 
 2. Mortgage rates are low and have dropped again over recent days/weeks (depending on your financial institution). If you are pre-approved and locked at a low rate, have you considered what it will cost if the rates go up and you lose your low rate?
 
3. In the current market you generally have the time to view homes, take some time to review and make a choice you are comfortable with. A hot market is a hard time to buy with buyers forced to make decisions on the spot. Take advantage of this time to find the 'right home'.
 
4. Some folks believe the prices will still fall, however, we are watching homes expire rather than sell at a lower price. There is just a level below which people are not willing to sell. Now that this is happening the inventory of homes is decreasing. Supply and demand rules will quickly apply.

 
Wondering where to start? First talk to your mortgage broker and run your numbers so you understand the cost of buying now vs at an increased mortgage rate. Knowing your personal numbers and circumstance is the first best step. Next talk to a Realtor and get some information on your preferred neighbourhood and market and start getting the information you need to make the right informed decision for you.
 
Media headlines are great, but what really matters is what we all believe. If you heard today the market was rebounding would you be buying? Would you be selling? Give me a call or send me an email if you are ready to make the move!
 
Cheers,
Monika
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Driving down Tuscany Way the other day I was excited to see the start of work on the new Tuscany Middle School. The fencing had been up for a couple of weeks so we all knew it was going to start soon, but it was great to finally see work begin.
 
Tuscany Middle School is slated to open September 2012 for grades 5 to 9. The school capacity is listed as 900.
 
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All residents of Tuscany, Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak are receiving this newsletter regarding the LRT Extension to our communities in NW Calgary.
 
The project website for the extension also has updated information regarding parking layouts, landscaping, pathway (bike) access, station name, sustainability, station concept and project timeline.
 
Bridging many area communities is the Pathway Connection system.
 
 
The focus on sustainability has also resulted in some great numbers in terms of long term conservation and sustainabilty for the station vs a typical light rail transit station:
50% less water use, 66% less natural gas use and 21% less electricity use
 
 
Like many folks I am looking forward to seeing this project progress and appreciate the ongoing communication regarding developments in the project from the project team.
 
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The Tuscany Fall Program Guide for programs and events organized by the Tuscany Club (Tuscany Residents Association) is now available on Tuscany-Connect. Login is not required.  Check out the listings from all the fall/winter community events to fitness classes, children's programs and more.
 
The Tuscany Community Association is also organizing the Tuscany Race and Chase to be held on Sept 12th.  Register today and be part of the fun!
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Two more families found new homes this past week. Congratulations on the firm sale of a beautiful home for my clients in Tuscany and the conditional sale for another family of a great condo in Panorama.
 
There are some great homes out there so if you are in the market to find a new home don't hesitate to give me a call.
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Looking for a beautiful estate home in Tuscany?

Come visit me on Sunday, Aug 8, from 1 to 4pm at 111 Tuscany Estates Close.
Built in 2009 this home has 4 bedrooms up, a walk-out basement and amazing views of COP. Built with beautiful finishing throughout including granite counters and custom cabinetry in the kitchen, it also has a great layout including laundry upstairs and a formal dining room on the main. See you on Sunday.
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Today the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) released the statistics for residential sales in Calgary for July.  Unfortunately the numbers continue to indicate a slowing of the overall market with a reduction in overall sales and a small increase in average home prices. As a result, the number of listings coming onto the market is also slowing.  It is a buyers market and it is a great time to get out there and find the right home for you.
 
Some markets are feeling the slowdown more than others depending on overall inventory levels per neighbourhood and market (condo vs single family).
“Calgary’s housing market is cooling off after its record-setting pace in the post-recession period.  This slow-down is not all that surprising in the face of tighter mortgage regulations and rising interest rates.  The post-recession rally we saw in the summer of 2009 was unique and that pace couldn’t be sustained,” says Sano Stante, president-elect of CREB®. 
 
The numbers tell one story but an increase in buyer interest among the Realtors I have been talking to indicates that a change may be on the horizon. There seems to be more activity and a general feeling that things are turning around as we move towards the fall.  I`ve been asked a few times lately if it is the right time to buy. In general, if you are selling and buying in the same market then it makes no large difference as the overall change between homes is relative. I would be careful if you are considering buying prior to selling though as each situation would need to be carefully evaluated. If you are renting, take into consideration the monthly cost to rent vs minor fluctuations in housing prices. It is often better to have an investment you own rather than trying to optimally time the market.  Make the priority the 'right house' instead of the 'right time'.
 
As always don't hesitate to contact me with your specific questions. 
 
July CREB Statistics Package - Calgary Residential Sales
 
Cheers,
Monika
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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS ® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
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.
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