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Edmonton Real Estate Prices Hold Steady As Sales Drop

December 16th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

While fewer homes and properties are selling right now in Edmonton, the prices of those homes are holding steady, a story in The Edmonton Journal reports. In an interview with the paper, association chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton, Steve Sedgwick, remained optimistic about the housing prices in Edmonton, saying, “We continue to see consistency in prices, without any huge spikes or dips.”

 Sedgwick’s remarks come after a summer of relatively steady pricing in Edmonton’s real estate markets, which point to a tipping point in how the market could go in the fall and winter. Overall since September 2015, the markets have seen a modest 1.5% growth in residential sales while also experiencing an 8.4% drop in actual sales numbers in the same amount of time. For condos, the sales drop was even more severe at 20%.

 When asked as to why Edmonton’s markets seem to be holding steady, especially compared to Calgary’s current markets, Sedgwick was hard up for an answer. “I don’t have a solid answer as to why Edmonton is not being as impacted with respect to pricing,” he said. “Generally, when demand drops, the prices usually follow shortly thereafter.”

 Overall, Edmonton’s real estate market has been steady and flat for values, even as fluctuations have occurred in the past few months. The average price of a single-family home, for example, is down “slightly from the 2014 peak, multi-family units like condos and duplexes have actually experienced a slight uptick in value.

 Sedgwick has also warned about confusing the steady market with dependability. Even though prices aren’t fluctuating, that all could change. “I think if we’re going to continue to see this trend for a longer duration, [but] it’s inevitable there will be some type of price correction,” he warned in the interview.

 Edmonton remains an affordable market right now, with the average condo coming in at just over $250,000 and the average single-family home valued at $430,461. But, as Sedgwick warns, things could change.

3 Things to Look For When In A Basement

December 2nd, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Basements are an often overlooked aspect of inspecting a home , especially if they’re unfinished. But basements can give you a glimpse into the home that other parts cannot, so you should always give it a thorough inspection. Here are some things to look for when going through a basement.

1. Cracks in the Walls

Wall cracks are a sign that you need to leave the property as fast as you possibly can, especially if the basement is unfinished. Wall cracks are usually a sign of foundational damage, which is one of the most expensive repairs made to homes, often costing five figures just to get back to where it was, never mind any necessary upgrades.

2. Signs of Water Damage

Water damage has a number of different signs, which makes it easier to to spot but also easier to cover up. Finding water damage takes at least two of your senses. The first is sight. Look for furniture that has been oddly placed, which could be covering up water damage on the floor. Walls with patches are a good sign of water damage as well. You’ll also need to follow your nose. Mold has a very distinct smell, one that you can spot if you know what you’re looking for, so keep sniffing the air in each part of the basement to see if there’s any signs of mold, which is a sign of water damage in the home.

3. Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are the weakest part of a home’s defence against the outside elements. That means they are ground zero for water damage and issues concerning heat, cold, and other issues. Always pay close attention to any and all windows and doors in the basement, especially those facing the outside. Look for any wear and tear that indicates recent issues, and inspect the walls around the casings and frames to ensure they haven’t been leaking.

No home inspection is complete without looking at the basement. Without looking at the basement, you could open yourself up to multiple issues, including expensive repairs and dealing with mold, which can become a health concern. Always closely inspect the basement for any signs of issues to protect yourself from future surprises.

Negotiation Tips For Buying Or Selling A Home

November 29th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Negotiating is part of the home selling process but it isn’t part of many other sales in our everyday lives. This means many of us are unfamiliar with the art of negotiating and haggling, and this leads to common mistakes that cost people money and time when buying or selling a home.

If you’re buying or selling a home, be sure to think about the negotiations aspect and prepare yourself by reading these tips. They will help you be in the right mindset to negotiate, and help you keep a cool head during the whole process.

1. Remember Your Budget

Knowing how high and how low you can go is the absolute first rule of negotiating. After all, no one wants to be negotiated to the point where they don’t make any money. Be sure to carefully plan out your budget before you even start selling or buying, and always hold firm to that budget. Going to high or too low can endanger your finances for years to come, so make a quality, well-informed budget and treat it like a hard and fast law, not simply a suggestion.

2. Relax

Edmonton is currently a buyer’s market, which is great for the buyers. It comes with certain challenges for sellers, however, and emotions can run pretty high when people are buying property. Whatever you do, be sure to take time to step back and look at what you’re doing more objectively. Truly consider the value of the home and your budget. If things are really as amazing as you think at the outset, or as terrible, then you’re probably just very lucky or unlucky. In reality, many home sales come with benefits and setbacks. You have to figure out which ones are worth it and which ones are deal breakers.

3. Remember Negotiations are Part of the Sale

There has possibly never been a home sale that sold for the exact asking price with absolutely no conditions. This is just simply not how real estate sales work. When you’re negotiating, you have to remember that the entire process is just that: a process. Money will fluctuate, so it’s important to make a reasonable first offer that you can work with. Don’t overbid or undersell just to move the property. Be sure to offer something that’s fair and stick through the negotiations.

Negotiating is a bit of a lost art, but that doesn’t mean you can’t employ some simple tips to help you during the process. If you stay calm and objective through your real estate sale, you’ll be much more likely to walk out with a deal that you like, and all parties are more likely to walk away satisfied.

Simple Tips for Selling Tenant-Occupied Property

November 23rd, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

In most home sales, the property sold is occupied by the people selling. But there are many times when a property is instead occupied by tenants paying rent. If you want to sell your property but there are tenants, then you have a unique set of challenges to face, and every one of them requires a diplomatic approach.

 

The fact is tenants call your property their home and, in many instances, they don’t want to move out. But you also need them to maintain the place and keep it in salable condition, which angry tenants are less likely to do. The trick to dealing with tenants is to be both professional and courteous. Here are just a few things you can do to make the sale better for everyone involved.

 

1. Keep an Open Line, and an Open Mind

Communication and patience are the two things that you have to make your tenants happier and your home sale faster. Be sure to communicate with your tenants as soon as you decide to sell the home, if not earlier, so that they can make the appropriate arrangements to move out. Be responsive to their requests, questions, and concerns as well. And always take the time to explain your expectations for the property. It’s often best if you meet with your tenants in person and take time to have a conversation. If your tenants feel like they are being treated with respect, they will help you in your sale.

 

2. Incentivize

That being said, a little encouragement can go a long ways for your tenants. If the buyer is planning on keeping the property as a rental, be sure to mention that your tenants need to convince their new landlord they should stay. You can also offer to reduce their rent slightly before the sale to help them move out easier. And when everything’s over, be sure to thank them with a nice gift.

 

3. Prep Them for Showings

Home showings are one of the most important aspects of home showings. When it comes to tenants, these times can also be the most unpredictable, especially if your tenants aren’t really sure about what is happening, when it’s happening, and what they need to do.

 

As stated, it’s important to keep an open line of communication between you, your tenants, and possibly a landlord. But it’s also important to talk about home showings with your tenants. Tell them what your expectations are for the property in terms of cleanliness and availability. You can also offer to have the place professionally cleaned on your dime so that they don’t feel like they’re working for you to make money. Whatever you do, be sure to let your tenants know far ahead of time about any and all showings so that they can prep your place for looking its best.

 

If you own property with tenants and it’s time to sell, then you have to ensure that their leaving is the best experience possible. By giving your tenants plenty of warning and time, they can move out faster and with less hassle, and you will avoid and nasty problems that can happen with angry tenants.

4 Home Selling Tips Known Only By the Pros

November 15th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Trade secrets are those little-known bits of information that many people use to be better. They exist in every industry, but the trade secrets for selling your home could help you sell faster, for more money, and with less stress. Here are just a few secrets the pros know about home selling that you can use, too.

1. Don’t Worry About Closing Dates

Possession dates can make people stressed and scared to the point that they’ll turn down a great offer just because they worry about owning the home for an additional month. But if the deal is truly great, then the possession date isn’t that big of a deal. The reason? Bridge financing. Most mortgage lenders, be it banks or brokers, can offer you a bridge financing loan to help cover your added costs for that one month. It might be a great idea to take the loan and the great deal rather than risk less money and the same possession date a few weeks later.

 

2. Don’t Overprice

Finding the right price for your home is a complicated process, but getting the right price early can sell your home faster. Many home sellers think to overprice their home to give themselves some negotiating room, but going too high can simply scare off potential buyers. So if you’re looking to sell, be sure to price it reasonably. You can always stand more firm on your price once you’ve hooked someone rather than do heavy negotiating on inflated pricing.

 

3. Renovate, Beautify, and Organize

Selling your home means making it presentable. There are plenty of quick projects you can do to make your home look better, all of which won’t cost you a lot of money, but can help sell your home. First things first: clean, organize, and declutter. By getting rid of stuff, your home will look bigger and more inviting. Then, be sure to update the curb appeal by painting your door and cleaning up your property. Finally, give old walls a lick of paint for a more updated and neutral look. All of these will help sell your home, almost guaranteed.

 

4. Find a Good Realtor

Even if you do everything right, selling a home on your own can cut you off from a multitude of serious buyers who are using realtors. Real estate agents can help you sell and buy a home, but they’re more likely to show homes that they can make money on. Going without will close you off from serious buyers who know that investing in a real estate agent is a sound idea. So instead of going alone, be sure to get qualified and licensed help from a realtor.

 

When you’re selling a home, every bit of knowledge and advice can help. These little-known trade secrets are important for the home selling process, but many people don’t know about them. Now, with this information, you could sell your home faster, for a better price, and with a lot less stress.

How To Pick The Right Construction Material

November 7th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Edmonton homes are changing, not just on the outside, but on the very materials from which they are built. It used to be that most homes had wooden frames and little else, but these days you can buy homes made from almost anything, including old shipping containers, Here is a list of common building materials and how each can make for a better Edmonton home.

 

1. Platform Wood Framing

In case you hadn’t noticed, Canada is home to plenty of forests. When homes need built, Canadians tend to go for wood homes because of the abundance of material. Wood framing remains popular for a number of reasons: including its low cost, relative strength and versatility, and its ability to be easily modified on-site.

 

Wood can also have some drawbacks as well. Homes made from inferior wooden framing can end up falling apart, meaning you’ve spent twenty years paying off a mortgage of something that won’t hold its value. Waste is another concern, since wood is often discarded to make for better framing. It can also house mold and rot that can affect your health. Edmonton may not have termites, it’s simply too far north, but it does have carpenter ants, which can similarly damage wooden structures.

 

2. Light-Gauge Steel Framing

Despite being a completely different material, light-gauge steel actually has many of the same benefits as wood. It’s lightweight, it’s easy to create and manufacture, and it’s surprisingly cost-effective. It may not be as easy to manipulate on-site, but it’s strong and can be created to exact specifications long before it hits a worksite.

 

Steel does have some drawbacks, however, which mostly stem from its high demand. While it is relatively inexpensive, the prices are going up as more and more builders start to make homes made from steel.

 

3. Concrete

This building material isn’t just for sidewalks and foundations, more and more people are actually using it to build homes. Concrete is extremely durable, especially when poured by experts, and it can take almost any form since it starts out as (more or less) a liquid. In the hands of experienced concrete professionals, you can do things that are almost impossible with wood or steel.

 

As all Edmontonians know, however, concrete doesn’t do well in wide temperature changes. It’s also not very green, being made from dangerous chemicals. Aesthetically, it’s often associated with Brutalist architecture, which isn’t exactly a popular style in Canada or around the world, being associated with cheap housing developments in the 1970s. Edmonton’s most famous example is probably its law courts, which is derided and praised in equal measure.

 

If you’re building a new home in Edmonton, you’ll have lots of different materials made available. Be sure to pick something that works within your budget and aesthetic leanings so that your home will not only last, but look great as well.

 

Report: Edmonton’s Vacant Office Space Could Become Residential Space

November 1st, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

A new report by Satish Narayanan, a consultant for the Downtown Business Association of Edmonton, has released a report that could change the downtown core, and hopefully save it from the increasing office vacancy rate. His suggestion: make some low-cost renovations and convert them into more usable space.

In his report, which was released last Thursday, Narayanan argues that “instead of breaking buildings down and doing major renovations, it’s easier to have temporary, environmentally friendly, low-cost conversions that you can always change a few years down the line.”

His bold suggestions aren’t without precedent, however, and he points to “seven towers around the world that have been successfully revamped after sitting vacant for more than five years.” These towers were all successfully integrated for multi-use, something Narayanan says Edmonton should do to keep these spaces viable and profitable. If following in the footsteps of the buildings he mentions in the report, Edmonton residents could be seeing office buildings start to house university students, open up for retail space, or even grow organic food.

Yet while Narayanan offers many different solutions to Edmonton’s dropping office occupancy rate, he does warn against one move many end up making: converting into premium lofts. “There are many premium lofts that exist,” he says in the report, “It might not be the smartest idea to convert an older building into premium lofts just because you are competing with … newer developments.”

Edmonton’s office occupancy rate has been increasing for a couple of years now and sits at about 12.3 per cent. A report by Avision Young real estate argues that “the Edmonton office market is showing signs of cooling as new construction slows and vacancy climbs.” Jim Taylor, the business association’s president, added that “there is a lot of new office space on the market. I think there’s a bit of a panic.”

Converting office space into multi-use areas could be a new way for Edmonton buildings to make money, especially as outside-of-the-box thinking may be required. Plus, the chance for more residential areas in downtown could help boost the goals of Ice District for a more usable downtown core that stays open past six in the evening.

Calgary Pulls Ahead of Edmonton’s Real Estate Market

October 27th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Edmonton real estate , in general, has faired better than Calgary real estate during Alberta’s hard economic times. The reasons have been researched and speculated about for a few years now, but the hard data never lies: in general, Edmonton has had better growth, more stable pricing, and has more homes coming than Calgary. But last month, things started to change in some key demographics. According to the Calgary Herald, the City of Calgary has pulled ahead of Edmonton in important categories when it comes to multi-family living spaces. Here are the major points of comparison and why it matters to the Edmonton real estate markets.

1. Pricing

In general, Edmonton homes have sold for less than Calgary homes but this has been true for any years before the economic struggles. What is interesting is the housing prices. In general, Calgary housing prices have dropped or stayed fairly flat while Edmonton’s have increased very modestly or stayed flat. As of right now, the average resale price of duplexes and town homes in Edmonton this year has been was $353,586. During that same period in Calgary, the average was $403,442.

2. Multi-Family Housing Construction

Calgary has famously ground to a halt when it comes to new home construction, especially when it comes to single-family detached homes. But this halt has now spread to multi-family homes as well. According to the report released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Edmonton has “1,090 duplex starts and 737 for town homes.” Calgary, meanwhile, has only “474 duplexes and 597 town homes.”

Essentially, this means finding a brand new multi-family home in Edmonton will be easier and less expensive. In Calgary, the resale market is going to be the hot ticket since the new homes will probably increase in value when they’re ready to sell.

3. Condo Construction

While Ice District may seem to argue otherwise, it’s actually Calgary that has more condos in development. In Calgary and the surrounding area, including Airdrie, Cochrane and Chestermere, there are 2,087 units, including 466 in the city’s downtown. In Edmonton, that number is less at 1,609, which also includes surrounding areas like St. Albert and Sherwood Park.

4. Condo Resales

Once again, Edmonton is leading the charge in condo resales, probably because many new developments are still going up in Ice District. For right now, if you want to buy a condo, a resale is often your best bet. Over 2,600 units were sold in the first half of this year, while Calgary only saw a little over 1,600. Proportionately, Edmonton also saw more listings than Calgary.

Calgary and Edmonton have had very different real estate markets these past few years and that continues to be the case. In general, Edmonton’s markets have been more stable, but Calgary is starting to pull ahead in specific areas. Overall, Edmonton has more new stuff while Calgary’s resale markets continue to dominate.

Simple Tips To Help Sell Your Home In The Autumn

October 18th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

While Edmonton may have experienced its first bout of winter over Thanksgiving, we’re still selling homes in the autumn season. It turns out the fall can be an excellent time to sell a home for a myriad of reasons: people are moving into the city, the summer rush has passed, and people are eager to buy before the weather gets truly chilling. These are just a few tips to help you stage and sell your home in the fall.

1. Fall Cleaning
While we often think of spring as the big cleaning time, fall homes need to be cleared out to help keep it looking its absolute best. Fall homes can often feel musty since the warm sun and cool nights keeps people from properly ventilating their homes. Try to clean up the home as much as you can, paying close attention to eliminating the dust particles that can cause that musty feeling. Once you’ve done that, don’t be afraid to throw down some blankets in the main living areas to give your home a cozy feel. And be sure to put out some welcome mats at all the entrances so that visitors have a place to take off their boots without ruining your floors.

2. Head Outside
The snow may have frozen your lawn, but it and the rest of your property still needs to be properly maintained. There are plenty of things you can do to make your property look better, including:
• Keep your yard, walkways, and gutters are free of leaves and debris.
• Mow your lawn if it hasn’t already been frozen stiff and dying.
• Trim your trees. Unexpected winds can knock down branches and damage your home, or hurt somebody.
• Keep all your paths and walkways free of snow and ice.
• Wash decks and wipe down windows so they don’t appear streaked in the rain and wetter conditions of the fall season.

3. Get into the Season
Fall colours and flowers are simply beautiful, so it doesn’t hurt to lean into the season when selling your home. Plant some nice, seasonally appropriate flowers in the home or, if the weather is particularly nice, in the garden or other outside areas. These can help warm up the home and add to the curb appeal, which is important for every person trying to sell their home. Modest and fun Halloween decorations are recommended leading up to Halloween, but be sure to take them down soon afterwards. Leftover decorations are often viewed as a problem with maintaining a nice home, which can also dissuade people.

This fall, be sure to have some fun with selling your home. Get into the season, decorate appropriately, and ensure your home looks its best inside and out.

4 Major Changes Have Come to Canada’s Real Estate Industry

October 17th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Changes are coming to Canada’s real estate market and they will affect home buyers, home sellers, and everyone else involved in the industry. These changes are designed to help consumers and the Government in the wake of Toronto and Vancouver’s continued market fluctuations. Here are the major changes and how they can affect you.

  1. New Regulations for Mortgage Rate Stress Tests

Mortgage rate stress tests are a way for lenders to assure that the home buyer can still afford the mortgage if interest rates were to rise. As of this year, the people who must pass this stress test will be everyone with an insured mortgage. The stress test also ensures that the mortgage owner will not spend more than 39% of their income on mortgage payments to help ensure people foreclose on mortgages less. As defaults become a real concern in Canada’s most over-inflated markets, policies needed to be put in place to avoid widespread issues in Canada as a whole.

  1. Restrictions on Low-Ratio Mortgage Insurance

As of November 30 of this year, the Canadian government will no longer be offering insurance for certain mortgages. The policies are designed, once again, on the basis of Toronto and Vancouver’s markets, which frequently have homes of $1 million and can potentially expose them to costly situations.

  1. Changes to the Rules for the Primary Residence Capital Gains Exemption

As it stands, the money you make off of the sale of your primary residence doesn’t have to be reported and is ostensibly tax-free. New rules, however, mean you will have to report the sale to the Canadian Revenue Service, even as the capital gains are exempt from taxes. The change is “aimed at preventing foreign buyers who buy and sell homes from claiming a primary residence tax exemption for which they are not entitled.”

Essentially, this new law is coming into place based off of anecdotal evidence that foreign buyers are flipping houses in order to make tax-free money in Canada, which could be contributing to the inflation issues across the country.

  1. Lender Risk Consultations

This is less a policy change and more gearing up to a new way that people can do business. As it stands, the Canadian Government assumes 100% of the entire risk of a mortgage default. That is, according to themselves, “unique” in the international marketplace, so the government is looking into solutions where other bodies take on some of that risk.

The changes would likely mean banks and mortgage lenders will raise their rates to offset the additional risk. The move itself is worrying as well, since the government is trying to distance itself from what could be a large swath of defaults in some of Canada’s most volatile housing markets.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. 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.