Every month the Real Estate Council of Alberta comes out with a report of the most recent disciplinary actions against its members.

The report names names and can be found simply by going to the RECA website.

This past week a realtor was fined $48,000 and barred from practicing in the province for seven years "for breaching multiple codes of conduct."

You also can read more about this specific case in various local media reports that were published/posted on March 9.

This begs the question how do you know if the realtor you are using - or is trying to get your business - is "licenced and in good standing"? It's quite easy. The Real Estate Board of Alberta website has a place to search either by their name or brokerage.

Here's the link: https://reports.myreca.ca/publicsearch.aspx

If searching a person, simply type in the licencee's first and last name and hit the search button. If the individual is licenced with RECA, a short profile will show including their status on the far left.

If the person you search shows a status of “suspended” or “cancelled” RECA's Disciplinary Decisions page may include more information about that person.

You may also request an official Licencing History Certificate to be prepared under Section 80 of the Real Estate Act if it is required as evidence in a legal proceeding.

If you have more questions you can just contact RECA through the Contact Us button on that page.


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The Calgary real estate market is expected to remain strong for 2022, with an increase of 4.6 per cent year over year.

The projection was announced by the Calgary Real Estate Board's chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie at the board's annual forecast on Tuesday.

Interest rates are expected to rise in 2022 and slow activity, Lurie said.

“Despite challenges with COVID-19, we are starting to see a turnaround in our job and migration numbers, and while interest rates are expected to rise, they remain relatively low. All these factors are expected to support strong housing demand into 2022,” said CREB® Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“The biggest question will be whether supply can meet that demand. It will take time for housing to move out of sellers’ market conditions, so we do anticipate prices will continue to rise this year.”

Sales in the Calgary area were up more than 71 per cent year over year, CREB revealed on Tuesday.

The final quarter of 2021 real estate market in Calgary and beginning of 2022 has been highlighted by increase demand with a limited amount of new listings coming on the market, which along with lower interest rates has brought a rise in prices.

The complete report is available by visiting this link:


https://www.creblink.com/crebtalk/-/media/Public/Forecast2022/2022_Forecast_Report.pdf



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Everytime you read or hear something about real estate in the media these days the report mentions that we are in a seller's market in Calgary.

So I'm going to join the bombardment of information and quickly explain the difference too. I can't help myself.

A seller's market simply means there's a shortage of available properties for sale compared to the number of buyers looking. Makes sense.

This, naturally, benefits the sellers because the increased competition can drive up prices due to the increased demand.

This is happening in Calgary right now for detached homes in the under $600k price range, where there are plenty of situations developing where multiple offers are placed and homes are often being snapped up the day they are listed. It's a frustrating situation for sure for buyers and their realtors. Not so frustrating for sellers.

This isn't happening for all properties, though. If sellers price their homes wrong they can sit there for awhile. I'm dealing with this situation right now where I have a buyer who is interested in a place but knows (rightfully in this case) that the price isn't right and so he's backed off. That house has been active for more than four months now in a hot market with nary a price change. If it was priced right it would be gone. 

A buyer's market is the opposite situation. Duh. Lots of properties for sale and more opportunity to negotiate for buyers. Calgary had been in a buyer's market situation for a few years until the low interest rates came along and brought out the house hunters - both first time home buyers and those looking to move up.

If you have any questions about anything real estate related please shoot me an email.

Enjoy the weather.

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Quite often realtors are asked to help their clients find a good real estate lawyer, home inspector and mortgage broker.

Unless you buy and sell houses regularly or know someone who is one of the three, how many of us have one in our phone contacts?

One thing you should remember -  in Alberta at least -  is that when providing recommendations, your realtor is obligated to give you a list of at least three professionals that they either have worked with in the past or know to be very good based on a recommendation by a colleague. They can tell you what they know about each and you decide.

I'm writing this today because there may be some confusion out there in Calgary real estate land about the practice of realtors secretly accepting fees from these professionals to steer business in their direction. It's a no-no. If you are getting just one name from your realtor, ask for more.

Also ask them pointedly if they are getting a referral fee from that person. We are not allowed to accept a fee without disclosing it to you first. I'd be a bit suspicious if my realtor was pushing one person on me and I'd likely try to find someone else myself.

This issue is actually covered in clause 8.9 of a buyer representation agreement so if they have accepted a fee or gift without first telling you, you can file a complaint with the Real Estate Council of Alberta.

Here's the clause verbatim:

"We must not accept any other fees including finder's fees, referral fees, bonuses or gifts directly or indirectly related to the agreement, unless we first tell you in writing everything relevant about the payment and you consent in writing to the payment."

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City of Calgary property tax assessments are either in the mail or have already arrived at homes.

A story about the subject published online by CBC Calgary may have once again caused confusion for those who are considering selling their property. Certainly the way it was worded caused consternation among the city's realtors.

Realtors often have to explain to potential clients that the assessment handed them by the city does not necessarily mean they will get that price if they put in on the market. You may get more or you may get less, which isn't much of an answer I know.

The city has its own assessors while realtors have their own way of coming up with a recommended price and they will present their recommendations to you in something called a Comparative Market Analysis.

Realtors actually ignore the city's number and hope that form you are about to get isn't waved in their face. It doesn't really factor in to coming up with a price for your listing. Recent sales of comparable properties in the neighbourhood, features of your home, the community it's located in are among some of the factors.

I came across this explanation from an American realtor named Bill Gassett from a few years ago that can explains it quite nicely:


 "In summary, assessed value is a valuation placed on a property by a public tax assessor for purposes of taxation. Fair market value, on the other hand, is the agreed upon price between a willing and informed buyer and seller under usual and ordinary circumstances. It is the highest price which the property will bring when exposed for sale on the open market to a buyer who is purchasing with full knowledge of the properties highest and best use."


Regards, Jeff

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I remember when I bought my first home with my wife — a townhome in Inglewood — we both weren't quite sure how the realtor fees worked. It was no biggie, because it was explained to us.

Still, now that I'm in the business I am very conscious of explaining it right away so there's no confusion. I'm dealing with a lot of first-time home buyers these days and they are naturally wondering about how much this is going to wind up costing them.

Typically, realtor fees are seven per cent of the first $100,000 and three per cent of balance of sale price and those fees are split between the buyer's realtor and the seller's realtor.

That's normally how it works and so there's no confusion when I'm dealing with buyers I write an extra line into our agreement that all fees are paid by the seller.

If you are thinking about buying a home and are curious about something please call or shoot me an email.

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When it comes to down payments for purchasing a home, there are a few options available to be able to make the down payment. Mortgage requirements state that at least a 20% down payment needs to be put on the home. This down payment acts as a safe guard to the lender if the mortgage is defaulted on.

In the event the 20% down payment is not available, then mortgage insurance through CMHC would be the next step. With CMHC, a 5% down payment is only required, while the mortgage insurance protects the lender.

Gift as down payment: Lenders will allow a gift of a down payment from a family member to help secure a mortgage. However, a gift from a friend or co-worker will be considered as a loan and expected to be repaid. If you require mortgage insurance through CMHC, you can only receive the down payment gift from an immediate relative and only for a 1-4 unit property.

Home Buyer’s Program: The government allows you to withdraw from your RRSP penalty free to provide a down payment for a home providing the amount that was withdrawn is paid back into your RRSPs within 15 years.

Non-registered investments: If you have non-registered investments, you can use that for a down payment, but, be aware, there will most likely be tax implications for withdrawing the funds.

Borrowing the money: Some lenders will provide a down payment loan; however, the credit of the home buyer must be in excellent standing and not fall out of the limits of the debt ratios.

Cash back: If the bank is offering a mortgage product with a cash back option attached to it, then the cash back can be used toward the down payment. 


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Clean the Gutters: Remove leaves and debris, unclog drains, and rinse away any dirt. This will extend the life of your gutters and help water drain easier once spring comes.


Check and Fix Leaks: Check your home for any indoor and outdoor leaks and drafts. Drafts can be checked by using a lighter and watching for a flickering flame. If the flame flickers, there are issues. Places to check: Electrical sockets, door jams, and windows. Some areas can easily be fixed by caulking around the areas with leaks.


Insulation: Add more insulation to the existing insulation in the attic. This will warm your home and cut down on the heating bill


Furnace: Get the furnace cleaned and checked once per year. Also, change the furnace filters at least once per year. Doing so will help your furnace perform better.


Windows: Windows will eventually need to be replaced because of the shifting of the house over a period of time. If the windows haven’t been replaced in 20 years, it might be time to check into cost and when they can be replaced. If you cannot replace the windows, then use a window insulator kit, which will help keep the cold out.


Chimney: Have a professional clean the chimney so you won’t have issues when you light the first fire of winter.

Ceiling Fans: The ceiling fan can be used for both summer and winter. Reverse the direction that you used in the summer for winter use, and it will distribute warm air throughout the room.


Outdoor Water: When you are ready to do so, and before winter settles in, turn off the valves leading to the outdoor taps.

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Land titles are an integral part of home ownership and a necessity when taking possession of a new home. A Land title protects the owner from anyone trying to claim right to the property.

Who handles the processing of land titles?

Service Alberta provides the registering of land ownership rights, while the Land Titles Act provides the legislative agenda for the registering of the land related documents.

What are Land Titles?                               

Land titles are a registering of ownership or possession of land. This is a recorded, and important, legal document that indicates who owns the property.

The most common documents related to Land Titles are:

Builder’s Lien: A builder (contractor, subcontractor, supplier, and labourer) may put a lien on the property as a way to collect money owed on any work that has been completed on the property.

Caveat: A person can register a caveat if they are claiming an interest in a certain piece of land, even if there is already ownership indicated on the property. However, a caveat does require court proceedings to determine the validity of the claim.

Discharge: This is the process of removing or withdrawing a name from the title of the property. 

Mortgage: This is the loan or the money borrowed to purchase the property.

Transfer of Land: This is when land is transferred from one party to another, between the buyer and the seller.

Utility Right of Way: Typically granted to gas and oil pipelines and municipal utilities to give them a ‘right of way’ or permission across many parcels of land.

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There are the usual factors we need to take into account when we choose a new neighbourhood like proximity to good schools, access to main roads, low crime stats, ecetera. Everyone has the same 'wants' pretty much.
But, one there's another new one, apparently — the 'Starbucks Effect' and stories I've read recently are telling me it is a real thing.
If you see a new Starbucks open up somewhere in Calgary it's supposed to be a sign that that neighbourhood is going to be a good buy eventually in terms of real estate.
Stuff I've read says that the company has a couple dozen analytics experts sequestered somewhere studying maps and data like traffic patterns and what other businesses are opening up nearby. They employ regional teams to do their own research on local factors before deciding on store locations; all so they can get into a community and get the best spot before someone else does.
I just Googled 'Starbucks in Calgary' and found out there are 50 locations in the city right now. I try to remember as many as I can if only for the free Wifi and because they are good spots for meeting people for the first time.
Now, having a Tim Hortons in your neighbourhood is another thing all together. Convenient yes maybe, but who wants one down the street? I remember a few years back hearing that the folks in Inglewood raised a stink when Tim's tried to open in their community. There isn't one there I don't believe so they obviously won the fight. A NIMBY to Timmy's. There's a Starbucks there kitty corner to Recordland and I've used their Internet a few times.
Having a Starbucks in your area can improve property values according to research done in the States, which revealed that between 1997 and 2014 properties within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks had their value rise by 96 per cent compared to 65 per cent for all others. I'm not sure about that and I'm sure not sure this is holding true in Canada  during this current challenging market.
However, if there's a Starbucks within walk distance of one of my listings I make mention of it in my description.

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Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
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.