I wasn't sure if I would post this one. I've been brewing on it for days.


It started a few weeks ago, I was driving into Tuscany and noticed way too many vehicles parked along Tusslewood Blvd. A few of them had city logos on the side. A few days later a crew was out digging out and working on the electrical box on the block. They were there for a few days.  There are often lots of crews around doing maintenance, basement development or renovations on homes, etc but this was all a bit out of place.


A week or two later I was on the City of Calgary website and there was 2A Tusslewood Drive on the grow op list, recently added for 2011.  The home was listed for sale just months before with photos and presentation that showed what kind of home it was.  Stark difference to the Executive Officer's Order posted on the City website.
I have no idea what happened to this home, or who the owners were or who was involved.  I do know there are loads and loads of small children in these outlying suburban communities, particularly in Tuscany. To know that this scale of grow op was amongst them angers many, and sent a couple locals parents I was talking to into quite the tirade.
There have been others in the past. There is a former grow-op up for sale in Tuscany right now that has a public notice.
The worry for most folks are all the ones that don't get caught, the homes that are covered up with a paint job and some new carpet and sold as any other home.  How do you find those? There are some things to look for specifically in electrical, repaired holes in foundation walls or basement ceilings (if unfinished) as well as evidence of mould.  A good home inspector knows what to look for.   A parent I was talking to also had another concern.  What if you buy a home like this and some 'not so nice' folks come knocking at 2 am a few weeks/months later not realizing the sale. 
How do we stop this? Talk to your neighbours. If you think something is going on call the Police. Review the info below for information on what to look for and the risks involved.
All City Health Inspection Orders - Includes Illegal Drug Operations List (above), Housing, Drinking Water, etc.
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It will be March and you will be itching to play some golf, tell some tales and earn some bragging rights.
No better option than the evening of Thursday, March 10th, 2011. The 4th annual Royal LePage Foothills Shelter Foundation Charity Golf Skills Challenge is your change to challenge for longest drive and closest to the pin contests in Par 3, chipping and putting.
At just $65 per ticket you can challenge your friends and get out for a fun evening in support of a great cause.
$65 Includes:
     • complimentary beverage and snacks
     • unlimited warm-up on driving range
     • 6 attempts at any of the skill challenges
     • door prizes (must be in attendance to win)
Package of 5 mulligans available for $20!
For tickets contact:
Monika Furtado
Royal LePage Foothills
Office: 403 288 1554
Cell: 403 850 2446

And if you have to plan a trip to Palm Springs or Pheonix or any other such place to practice up a bit....


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This morning the federal government announced mortgage rule changes.  The reason? This measure is intended to rein in consumer debt and protect the housing market and the broader economy of our marketplace.

The new measures:

  • Reduce the maximum amortization period to 30 years from 35 years for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 per cent. This will significantly reduce the total interest payments Canadian families make on their mortgages, allow Canadian families to build up equity in their homes more quickly, and help Canadians pay off their mortgages before they retire.
  • Lower the maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing their mortgages to 85 per cent from 90 per cent of the value of their homes. This will promote saving through home ownership and limit the repackaging of consumer debt into mortgages guaranteed by taxpayers.
  • Withdraw government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes, such as home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. This will ensure that risks associated with consumer debt products used to borrow funds unrelated to house purchases are managed by the financial institutions and not borne by taxpayers.
The adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework will come into force on March 18, 2011. The withdrawal of government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes will come into force on April 18, 2011.
If you have been prequalified for a mortgage and these rules impact you please contact your mortgage broker.  If you are considering a purchase this year, it is best to first contact your mortgage broker to get a good understanding of your qualifications and how the various new rules may impact you. If you need help getting started or don't already have a mortgage broker or financial advise please contact me and I will direct you to the information you need.
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This warm family home in Rocky Ridge is complete with 4 total bedrooms, bonus room with rooftop mountain views, finished basement, two tiered deck and mature landscaping. The spacious master bedroom has a 4 piece custom en suite with jetted soaker tub and separate shower. Two additional bedrooms, a full bath and a spacious bonus room complete the top floor. Laundry is on the main floor. The kitchen with plenty of cupboard space, separate pantry, gas stove and large island is open to the dining and living rooms. The two tiered deck in the back is perfect for entertaining and a great outdoor living area in the summertime. Mature trees offer privacy and an attractive view. The fully finished basement is complete with a 4th bedroom and full sized window which provides an abundance of natural light. The basement full bathroom and rec room complete this versatile space. Excellent location in this established neighbourhood. Book your showing today.
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Using this method you make an extra payment towards your principle every regular payment. Depending on whether you choose to make your payments monthly, bi-weekly or weekly you can choose to pay a little bit extra on your principle with every payment.
Many people use this method when on a restricted budget. It is easier to pay $50 to $100 each month than one lump sum. How much money and time can we save using this method?
Based on a $100,000 mortgage at 6.00% interest for a 5-year term amortized over 25 years.
Your montly payment would be $639.81.
You would pay $28,225.07 in interest over the first 5 years.
You would pay $10,163.50 in principle over the same 5 years.
Principle Balance left owing after 5 years: $89,836.47
What You will Save by Adding $50 per month:
If you paid an extra $50 per month, each month for 5 years.
You would save $388.34 in interest
You would pay the principle down by $3,388.34
If you continued this process every year you would save 18 months worth of payments; 1 1/2 year's worth of mortgage payments. At $639.81 per mortage payment that means a savings of $11,516.58
This method makes it easier for many people to budget and save.
Courtesy of Daryl Marsden, VERICO Canada Mortgage Direct. Contact Daryl at 403-605-5711.

p.s. Another idea to consider is to round up your payments. Sometimes for a budget it is easier to remember that your monthly mortgage payment is $900 than $865.81. If you can afford to pay the $900 then talk to your financial institution about rounding up your payments.

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2010 will go down in history as one of the slowest years in the Calgary's Real Estate Market in many years with December home and condo sales levels remaining relatively unchanged. It was a challenging year and I again thank my clients for their ongoing business, referrals and trust.
The question on everyone's mind is what is in store for 2011. I've had a number of folks ask me my thoughts lately and I personally feel a cautious optimism. Although recent numbers trended down and then held somewhat steady, the overall recovery in the energy sector and stock markets make me more optimistic about the future. Sales numbers for holiday consumer sales, car sales and such have been positive, however concern regarding household debt is a recent media highlight. I don't believe that 2011 will mirror a year like 2006 however, based on what my clients are telling me, I do feel that more people are going to move forward with home purchases in 2011. Have we hit the bottom of the market? I don't know. However, I do know that this side of the curve offers a greater negotiating opportunity for buyers and more time to make decisions. Once the turn happens and the media begins to report that the market has turned, sellers will be less willing to negotiate as they speculate that prices will rise. 
I echo the thoughts of Diane Scott, president of CREB:
“Employment and net-migration have been slower to pick up here in Calgary—and these are key drivers of our housing market. The good news is we are now seeing marked improvements in investment and employment in the energy sector.  We believe these green shoots in our economy, supported by improved affordability and low interest rates, will eventually translate into a gradual recovery of our housing market as we move into 2011,” adds Scott.
Numbers of note:
The average price of a single family home in the city of Calgary in December 2010 was $441,341, showing a 3 per cent decrease from November 2010, when the average price was $455,460, and a 2 per cent decrease from December 2009, when the average price was $451,341. The average price of a condominium in the city of Calgary in December 2010 was $282,768, showing a 1 per cent decrease from November 2010, when the average price was $284,667 and a 2 per cent decrease over last year, when the average price was $288,640. Average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas.
The median price of a single family home in the city of Calgary for December 2010 was $389,000, showing a 3 per cent decrease from November 2010 when the median price was $399,900. This was a 3 per cent decrease from December 2009, when the median price was $401,000. The median price of a condominium in December 2010 was $258,500, showing a 2 per cent increase from November 2010, when the median price was $253,300, and a 2 per cent decrease from December 2009, when it was $265,000.
“Supply outstripped demand in the second half of 2010, establishing conditions for a buyers’ market. Overall we did see significant improvements in affordability in the Calgary market in 2010—and I think the message to prospective buyers is that this is a great time to buy if you’re looking for good selection, specific locations and price points.  The median price did indeed decline in 2010, signaling a year-over-year price correction of about 2 per cent for single-family homes, just over 4 per cent for condos and 6 per cent for the outlying towns,” adds Scott.

Single family listings in the city of Calgary added for the month of December 2010 totaled 744, a decrease of 44 per cent from November 2010 when 1,318 new listings were added, and showing a decrease of 8 per cent from December 2009, when 806 new listings came to the market.

Condominium new listings in the city of Calgary added for December 2010 were 369, down 42 per cent from November 2010, when the MLS® saw 632 condo listings coming to the market. This is a decrease of 17 per cent from December 2009, when new condominium listings added were 444.
To read the full CREB press release and review the statistics please visit the CREB website.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime.  Happy New Year and I look forward to working with you and yours in 2011.


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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.
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.