For some time now I’ve been cautioning my clients on saying too much when viewing homes. In the past I’ve noticed the little red light on the open laptop or the nanny cam and my clients and I would nod at each other, stop talking and move along. However, these days recordings are becoming so common that it is changing the way we view properties for sale all together.
Ask a few different folks and you will hear different opinions on whether or not a seller can legally record a buyer in their home.
Can a seller record audio and video of showings? I don’t know. I still think technically you can’t, but we have to wait for someone to sue someone to find out for sure.
There is a distinction between audio and video and also a distinction between watching a live stream and a recording. I am not even going to attempt to get into the legalities of these, but sellers should really think consciously about whether or not they will watch or record audio and video of showings and if they will disclose that they are doing so.
In the meantime, know that you and I are most likely being recorded when viewing a home.
If we walk up to a home with a doorbell camera and I ring the bell I expect to be recorded. Yes, I do, but for a short period of time and only in that location. I also expect the home’s security system to capture which doors were opened and when.
I used to not expect a recording device that looks like a phone charger to capture audio and video of us discussing the kitchen design. Yet, I have seen them more and more now that I have learned to recognize them. Also, I know that I have been recorded at times I wasn’t aware that a recording device was in play. How? Well, the seller’s didn’t appreciate my commentary on the installation of their DIY floors it seems.
From the seller’s perspective the logic makes sense. Recordings allow sellers to manage security of their home. Eavesdropping allows them to find out that folks really, really hate the blue shag carpet.
But what about when a buyer says something that would affect their negotiating power. What about something said in confidence to a spouse at a time they felt they were having a private conversation. What if the recording catches personal information that has nothing to do with the property sold, a phone call with another party, or a private conversation between parent and child?
What if the seller was to publish these videos?
So from this day forward we can’t chat about a house inside the house because we are being watched. It is such a downer. When folks realize they are being watched they shut down, they stop engaging and they withdraw. Those emotions are not good for a showing, for connecting with a property and falling in love with a new home. Yes, in the summer we take those conversations outside and the cameras will catch us chatting on the front driveway for a few minutes. In the winter, we will hop into our cars and head off to another house.
There are exceptions. I have a couple buyers that love the recording antics. They tell stories, make funny remarks and have fun with it. I don’t think it’s helping the sales process, but it sure does lighten the mood.
Hopewell is currently in the planning phase to develop the remaining lands along Arbour Lake Rd into a new residential area. An updated plan was recently submitted to the City of Calgary for consideration. The "Aurica Hawkwood' homestead is named after the long time previous resident of the land.
Curious about what is being built?
Fully built out the area is expected to provide approximately 890 units and be home to 2200 residents.
Information by the Developer - Hopewell's Arbour Lake Development
City of Calgary - Arbour Lake Engage Information
As we move into 2018 and the spring market home owners looks to statistics and numbers to evaluate the value of their home. We look at various numbers such as list to sale ratios, absorption rates and comparable sales on MLS. These numbers are very valuable and provide insight into the activity and demand in a particular areas of the city.
However, we must also look to numbers outside of the MLS system.
Especially in new communities where resale homes are competing with new construction, we have to look beyond the MLS. New home sales data is generally not available to the public.
Last week the OWL, written by the ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team, published an article titled 'More Evidence of a Residential Construction Slowdown'.
In Relation to Calgary specifically the article stated:
That indicator is the number of completed, but unabsorbed houses in our province. In Calgary, 635 new homes sat vacant with no binding agreement made to buy or sell at the end of last year. As of December, vacant housing in Calgary was 19 per cent higher than during the same month a year earlier. In fact, December’s total reached the second highest level of vacant housing of 2017 since December 2011. What’s more is that inventory rose at an average rate of 22 per cent last year.
When buying and selling homes in areas that compete with new home construction, consider all competitive options in your review. A visit to the local showhomes never hurts to get a better understanding of the options buyers have in your price category.
Most of us strive to be happy, go-lucky, energetic folks that enjoy what life has to offer. Stuff happens, life changes. Resilience kicks in and off we go again.
But every once in a while things wear us down. It is death by a million cuts. I think that's how the quote goes.
One big influence on how a person copes and thrives in life is their resilience, the ability to recover quickly from difficulty.
In terms of real estate, I've encountered two types of resilience. One is the market and how it adjusts but that's not the topic here.
I'm talking about how your house, your home, either works for you and is set up to help you enjoy your day to day or annoys you and wears you down with the daily challenges. A home that doesn't work can wear down a person's overall resilience.
What do these look like?
Not going out to an event because it is too hard to get home.
Your home is located in the wrong location or area of the city for you and your family. The extra travel, school accommodations and daily grind can wear away at your nerves. Job changes, school plans, bus routes. They are all things out of our control.
The layout that doesn't work for a growing family and the frantic run to that crazy, annoying two steps your little one is determined to be at whenever you turn your back.
Sounds you can't shut off.
The small entry where 3 of you plus 2 dogs are trying to get in.
Taking the time to figure out what you really need is one of the best steps in searching for a new house. Tell me what you want and tell me what is not working.
I love clients that can tell me want they want or need in a house or give me details such as it has to be within 10 min of a bus stop or within a school area or far away from these things. Tell me you want walking distance to both a middle school and elementary. Tell me you have to have a walkout with either stairs down from the upper deck or room for stairs. Tell me you hate bonus rooms or love bonus rooms. With details come realistic conversations about what the market allows within a budget and what is absolutely possible. I have clients that will only purchase a home with a specific lot orientation. That's awesome. I will narrow down the list, show you just the ones that make sense and make the best use of your time to find your new house.
With some clients we have previewed condo survey plans to decide where in the building they want to live. We watch, wait, map it out and pounce. Yes, we got that top floor penthouse within 6 hours on market before others noticed it was on market and got the offer accepted a couple hours before the next one came in. And they didn't know we were waiting so we got a good price. Yup.
Resilience. Life and the daily grind can be hard. Your home ideally is a place where you recharge and wake up feeling stronger than the night before.
Calgary is a winter city. There's not denying that we get a bit of snow and chilly temperatures in the winter months. When buying a home in August we sometimes forget about the daily challenges that arise when winter arrives.
When purchasing a home one of the things to consider is whether the property is on a snow route.
A snow route is a priority route, most often a bus route also, that is regularly plowed and sometimes requires owners to remove any street side parked cars after a snow storm for snowclearing during a Snow Route Parking Ban.
All residential streets are now plowed and cleared in Calgary so being on a snow route has it's advantages since the road is a priority for plowing and snow removal. Alternatively, it can be pretty tough to get out of some residential areas not on a snow route and down a winding hill in the winter if you don't have an appropriate vehicle.
To find out everything and anything about snow removal, snow route maps, maps of where the plows and sanders are and a whole lot more, the City of Calgary has everything posted on www.calgary.ca/snow
Want me to find the right location for you? Give me a call. I helped find a family a home that met their criteria and within 5 min walk to the bus stop. Life matters.
Map Snapshot Feb 7, 2018
You have decided to become a homeowner. Congratulations! Now what?
Although you really want to just start looking at homes there are a few tips to get you started before you get in the car.
1. Figure out your budget. Home ownership costs include the home, but also property taxes, condo fees (if applicable), maintenance and utilities. Have a good look at how much of your monthly income you WANT to spend.
2. Talk to a lender or mortgage broker and get pre-approved. Find out how much the banks will APPROVE you to borrow.
1 and 2 can sometimes be different and figuring out a number that makes sense for you is Priority 1. It is so easy to move up in price, but understanding your numbers before you head out keeps things in perspective.
3. Find a Realtor to work with to help explain the market and your options. Go through the process of talking about how long you plan on staying in this home. Most families move multiple times as needs change so it is good to talk it out. If you are buying a condo, learn about condos and how they are managed.
4. Start looking at properties. Keep an open mind. Pink paint is easy to change and so is carpet. And those prices on HGTV for ripping down walls and rebuilding kitchens for $10,000 are not Calgary pricing. If you are considering renovations, lets get you some real local numbers. The best advice I can give is choose community/location first (within your budget) and go from there. The shiny of some items can wear off quickly if your home isn't located where you need to make your day to day more enjoyable.
5. Stay informed and ask questions throughout the process. In my experience, the more informed and prepared my clients are the more comfortable they are with asking questions and making decisions because they know what to expect. Utilize the experience of your Realtor, inspector, condo document review company and lawyer to help you close on your first home purchase.
As always, contact me anytime with your questions. Whether you are ready to start looking today or at step 1, I'm happy to assist to ensure you have everything you need to make buying your first home a great experience.
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.
Others have available future planning details. An example is Bowness Road and 16 Ave in Montgomery. Another is 17 Ave from Crowchild Trail to 37 St SW. These areas show detailed proposed rezoning maps and future density plans.
Some of this information has been out for some time, but here all the information is together in one place.
Should you be considering a purchase please do give me a call to set up a buyer's consultation. I would be happy to help you find your next home.
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.
RECA Article: I've recently started hearing reports about radon in Alberta homes. If I’m buying a home in Alberta, is it something I should be concerned about?
Cross Canada Survey of Radon Concentration in Homes-Final Report
Radon Reduction Guide for Canadians
The fall 2017 CMHC Rental Market Report for Calgary CMA was released this morning. Of all the reports and media noise out there, this is one detailed report to review every time it is released.
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?
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.
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.
For many years an acerage in Arbour Lake, NW Calgary, remained as a large private parcel of land with a private residence on scenic property. The land is now sold to Hopewell and a new development is in the works in the very popular community of Arbour Lake. Walking distance to Crowfoot shopping and the LRT, this development is one to watch.
Hopewell's Arbour Lake
The 43 Acres of land is expected to house approximately 2200 new residents in approximately 890 homes and condo units. Construction is expected to start September 2018.
As we approach the construction season of 2017, it seemed a good time to get caught up on some of the major development and transportation projects in NW / West Calgary especially so much happening around Canada Olympic Park (COP) and the Trans Canada Corridor. This is a longer post than intended but I have so much to share with you!
You may have also noticed signage regarding some of the new communities soon to be starting construction in the area. The stages of development and detailed information vary for each site. As well, the names for some areas on the City of Calgary website differ from the advertised community or project names.
New Development Projects/Communities:
Trinity Hills / Medicine Hill / Paskapoo Slopes:
The first zone is the area in the SW corner of the Trans Canada and Sarcee Trail interchange between the interchange and COP. This area is called Medicine Hill/East Paskapoo Slopes on the City of Calgary site. The main name from a community perspective seems to be Trinity Hills. This area is currently proposed to include a supermarket, retail and residential properties.
City of Calgary: City Information for East Paskapoo
Developer Information: Trinity Hills
Developement of the area right beside Canada Olympic Park to the east. The application is by Winsport which runs Canada Olympic Park.
City of Calgary: City information for the Ripley Site
Parkside / Greenbriar / Greenwich:
The second zone is the area on the NW corner of the Stoney Trail and Trans Canada interchange between the interchange and Bowfort Road. This area is currently cleared on the west section and looks to be close to start of development. This area is expected to include retail, office and residential properties.
City of Calgary: City Information for Parkside (west section)
Developer information: Melcor's Greenwich Calgary
Shape / Calgary West:
This area is located just south of the Trans Canada on the east side of the community of Crestmont. The developer site notes: "This mixed-use open air regional shopping centre calls for 650,000 square feet of retail, and some 800-1,000 on-site residences."
Ciyt of Calgary: City Information for Shape
Developer information: Shape Properties's Calgary West
Loblaws / BVX Corp:
This area is located immediately southwest of the Trans Canada Stoney Trail interchange. Proposed use is 1325 residentail units, grocery store and supporting commerical, retail and office space. To be developed by Loblaw Properties West and BVX Corporation.
City of Calgary Information: Proposal Summary Only
Crestmont Phase 4:
To be developed by Qualico Communities. Within this space, there will be approximately 516 dwellings ranging from single-detached, semi-detached and townhouses.
City of Calgary: City Information for Crestmont Phase 4
Bearspaw in Haskayne:
The Haskayne Area Structure Plan was approved in 2015. This covers the area south of Tuscany, north of the reservoir and west to Rocky View County.
City of Cagary: City Information or Haskayne
Developer information: Brookfield's Bearspaw
A unique development located surrounding the Alberta Children's Hospital and west of the University of Calgary. Numerous residential projects will be developed in this large project. A unique difference in our market is that University District will offer leases on parcels for a 99-year term. The conclusion of this term will either see an extension of the lease or a purchase back at fair market value.
West Campus Development Trust
Developer Information - University District Discovery Centre
Stadium Shopping Centre:
This area will be redeveloped by the property owners, Western Securities. Redevelopment Plan
Calgary is building. Where are you going to call home? Contact Monika at 403 850 2446 to help you make your best move.
Guest post by Tammie Redelback, Mortgage Advisor, MortgageLine Powered by Dominion Lending Centres
Thinking of buying a property, but don’t know where to start? One of the inital steps is to speak to your lender about your mortgage pre-approval.
1. Get your pre-approval in place.
2. Look at property in your price point.
3. Sign an offer to purchase with a financing condition.
4. Complete your financing for a formal approval. (Usually within a few days.)
5. Complete your purchase.
A pre-approval is the best way to get started, but you should understand what a pre-approval is and what it isn’t.
What is a pre-approval?
- a formalized review of your financial status to give you information regarding mortgage options, mortgage rates offered to you and your mortgage maximums.
- allow you to understand all the documents you have to gather to formalize your mortgage approval. If you are self employed, new to Canada or requesting maximum amounts this paperwork can take some time.
- provide an understanding of your monthly costs so you can budget accordingly
- prove you peace of mind that you are searching for homes in the correct price bracket
- allows you to manage any issues before your dream home is on the line.
What is a pre-approval not?
-A pre-approval is not binding to you. A pre-approval is not the same as a final approval to purchase a specific property. It is not a guarantee of financing. There are a number of factors that come into play after the pre-approval is in place that can send your dreams of homeownership sideways. A couple of examples are:
• An approval requires a property to be scrutinized. Since a pre-approval cannot review the property (as you haven’t found it yet), it can’t be guaranteed the lender or insurer will approve the property.
• A secondary credit report can be pulled by the lender or insurer after the pre-approval is in place, if there are discrepancies, or your credit history changes they could decide not to proceed with financing.
• Mortgage rules can change and sometimes come into effect with no grandfathering.
If you make a large puchase, finance a car, change jobs, add significant funds to your credit card or fail to make regular payments on your accounts between pre-approval and purchase, you may be jeopardizing your formal approval for your home purchase.
So if things change why get a pre-approval?
A pre-approval is simply a formalized gathering of your information, and reviewing it. It won’t guarantee you will get the mortgage, but it will certainly uncover any major obstacles that might be in your way. Consider a pre-approval a pre-screening, where we take a look at your employment, credit history, your down payment, and figure out the maximum mortgage amount you can qualify for. Mortgage professionals that do a more thorough pre-approval verification are able to determine where you might get flagged by lenders and how and what to submit in order to satisfy lender mortgage requirements.
A pre-approval usually comes with a rate-hold, which is a good thing. Rates fluctuate and go up and down from time to time. Lenders will typically offer a rate hold for 90 days on a specific mortgage term. This means that if you find a property to buy in the allotted time, even if rates have gone up, you will get the rate that was guaranteed. If rates go down, you get the lower rate. It’s a win win.
Buying a home is a process, a process that has a lot of steps that come into play. A pre-approval is one of the first steps you take. A pre-approval allows you to collect all your documentation ahead of time, handle any obstacles that may come up, have a look at your mortgage options, secure a rate hold, and will give you peace of mind as to the next steps in the process. Regardless if this is your first time buying a place or your tenth, a pre-approval is the best place to start.
For more information regarding your next preapproval contact:
Tammie Redelback, Mortgage Advisor, MortgageLine Powered by Dominion Lending Centres
Web: tammieredelback.ca; mymortgageline.ca
Guest Post by Jason Dodd, Vice President, Verico Maximum Mortgages Inc.
Doing your research and talking to the right people can help you save thousands of dollars on your largest debt obligation, your mortgage. Surprisingly many clients are unaware of options, terms, rates and conditions that are attached to their mortgage financing. This summary will help with ideas on how to go about getting a mortgage and show you how to save money on your mortgage.
1) Consult multiple people/sources before deciding -
Many times it starts with your realtor making a recommendation for a broker or banker. The important part is to at least contact a couple people who deal in mortgage financing. Many people ask me why I would suggest this when I am trying to earn their business? Well I feel it is important for clients to experience the advice and expertise of more than one person before jumping into a large debt obligation. Mortgages are more than just rate, you need to understand the options, terms, rates and conditions which cumulate to give you a full mortgage package. Many clients are surprised at restrictions or high penalties that were not explained initially, that come back to cause high cost and aggravation in the back half of their mortgage term. Initially you should talk to and work with someone who can fully explain the process and the mortgage and is able to provide you with multiple options.
Knowledge is power and peace of mind when getting into a mortgage and home ownership. Many clients who are just comfortable with their bank are surprised to find out the large amount of good offerings that are available elsewhere in the market.
2) Utilize pre-payment options -
There is more to this than most people even consider and each client is very different. Many lenders offer varying degrees of pre-payment options and some are better suited to specific borrowers. This is a great discussion piece and you can literally save a lot of money by having the correct pre-payment options that align with your borrowing and home goals. This is why selection becomes important when deciding on a lender, if you just look at one option how will you know what is out there? By making small adjustments to monthly payments and choosing accelerated biweekly/weekly options you can dramatically reduce interest over the life of your loan. I find April is a great time to decide if you would like to make lump sum payments as spring is coming(home repairs) and also the tax man will either give or take away some money at that time. This might determine how much or little you can put towards your home.
Consider a mortgage of $400,000. 5 year fixed rate of 2.59% and monthly payments.
Your Monthly payment would be $1809.84 and you would pay $47753.89 in interest over the term and $60836.51 principal pay down.
Utilizing some pre payment options that are manageable can make a significant difference under the same scenario.
Changing payments to Bi Weekly accelerated $904.92. Applying a lump sum payment annually of $1200 (or increase payments $100 each month).
Interest is reduced to $46467.79 but you increase your principal pay down up to $77,171.82. A significant difference with making minor changes to your overall monthly budget.
3) Choose the correct term-
I have lost count over my 14 years in the industry of times I have seen clients aligned with incorrect terms. Discussing life changes, job movement, home ownership goals starts to uncover the best options for financing. 5 year fixed terms are popular because of stability and security (good points) but some clients are saddled with large penalties if they have to break early due to life changes or circumstance. Often this can be prevented by picking a shorter term or variable (closed or fixed) or open term that can accommodate more readily some uncertainty for future plans. This alone could save you thousands of dollars down the road if you anticipate some uncertainty of plans in the future. Good brokers will give you options on shorter terms as well as an option so you can consider them as well, certainly a worthy discussion.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions on various lenders and options and rates.
Happy to talk about this important subject
Regards, Jason Dodd, Vice President-Associate, Verico Maximum Mortgages Inc.
F: 403-451-1660, C: 403-815-0565, Jason@maxmort.ca, www.jasondodd.ca
As we enter the spring market on the start of what seems to be a strong upswing in our market, we are once again seeing more multiple offers on property. Surprised aren't you?
It is about inventory, numbers and affordability.
Considering the mortgage rule changes that came into effect in the fall of 2016 and the pricing in our market, it isn't surprising in the starter and mid size home detached home segment especially.
The mortgage rule changes reduced the buying power of anyone utilizing a mortgage with less than 20% of purchase price for a downpayment. Where previously folks utilized the bank rate for their mortgage for qualifying (example 2.79%), they now must qualify using a benchmark rate (4.64%) set by the Bank of Canada. This can reduce buying power up to 20% for some folks.
With most detached homes in our market starting in the $400,000s and quickly moving up from there, there is a large segment of folks looking in the pricing zone. When you line up typical incomes, mortgage approval ratings based on those incomes and the price of typical detached homes in our city, it is no small surprise that more folks are being squished into a smaller pricing zone than previously.
More buyers + less inventory = Multiple Offers
How do you stand out when putting forth an offer in competition?
As a seller you are looking for security of the transaction. Let us say Mr and Mrs Seller have a home for sale in NW Calgary for $450,000. It is in great shape, in a great community and presents well. After going on market they receive 4 offers. They are all somewhat similar. How do Mr and Mrs Seller choose? Their home is going to be conditionally sold for over a week waiting out someone completing their financing and completing a home inspection. Is it a strong offer from a prepared buyer or a buyer on a whim that hasn't done their due diligence?
The first place to review is financing. What is the amount each potential buyer is borrowing? It would seem someone with 5% downpayment is in a stronger financial position than someone with a 20% downpayment and more likely to complete their qualifications but is that true? What if they ar all purchasing with a 5-10% downpayment? As a seller's realtor, my first question to each buyer's realtor is if the buyers are pre-qualified to purchase. As a buyer it is your choice what you disclose. Do you think having a prepared letter confirming your preapproval from your lender could help you? I'd recommend having that in your back pocket. It might just be what wins the purchase when sellers are looking at 4 similar offers. Peace of mind can be worth a lot.
You may be tempted to simply exclude some conditions from your offer to win. I would highly discourage you from doing that. You never know what a home inspection could uncover on that 'great deal' or if your bank would withdraw a mortgage approval due to a unique history on a property. Win smart and be prepared instead. Having a great Realtor that knows how to negotiate a win helps too. Give me a call anytime. I am happy to answer your questions.
For many people the word 'condo' means an apartment. But as development styles have evolved, the term condo or condominium can refer to any kind of property including detached homes, attached homes such as duplexes and townhomes and the typical apartment in Calgary. A condominium is a term that refers to legal ownership, not property style. Condominium ownership combines individual ownership of a living unit with shared ownership of the common property and shared participation in the condominium corporation.
Over the years some common condo examples include a complex of semi-detached duplexes such as villas or townhomes. Each owner owns their unit but shares common property such as the back greenspace, clubhouse, street, snow and lawn maintenance and other services. Often exterior maintenance is also part of the responsibility of the condo corporation. This concept appeals to those that enjoy owning their own home with the benefits of a lock and leave lifestyle without worrying who will cut the grass.
Another example is a street or community development where a number of detached homes are developed under a bareland condo structure. Each owner owns their home (their unit) and land, but share common property such as the road, snow maintenance, amenities, security, etc. All of the units (detached homes) form a condo corporation with set rules, responsibilities and condo fees.
A condominium structure, whether apartment, townhouse, duplex or detached dwelling, appeals to many. It is important to understand that when you purchase a condo that you purchase a unit and also a portion of the responsibility of the condo corporation. The value of similar units between different condo corporations can differ substantially even if the units seem similar due to the management and financial stability of the condo corporation.
As part of purchasing a condo, there are additional due diligence steps a buyer should take including a review of the condo documents.
Buying and Owning a Condo - Service Alberta
Condominium Buyers Guide - CMHC
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.
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.
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.