Archive for the ‘First Time Home Buyers’ Category

Space-saving Upgrades

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Giving a Smaller Home a More Roomy Feel

Smaller rooms can create a decorating challenge for homeowners. While some may be dealing with a space that is smaller overall – such as an condo or apartment – others may have just a couple of smaller rooms that look and feel cramped. While enlarging these rooms may not be an option, there may be a few upgrades to consider that can give these rooms a more spacious and open feel.


Light Paint Colours

Dark colours can add dramatic flair to a room, and they certainly will make a bold statement. However, they also can create the feeling that the room is smaller than it is. It is best to paint with light paint colours on the walls or even to choose a lighter colour for the ceiling. In addition to these colours, a lighter floor colour can also add the feeling of depth to the space. If the use of bolder, brighter hues is preferred, consider adding a pattern in combination with lighter colours to the ceiling. Another idea is to use stripes with alternating darker and lighter hues on the walls to create the illusion of space.


Shelving Installed Close to the Ceiling

Storage space is often a concern with smaller rooms, and cabinets and bookshelves can take up valuable floor space in any room. A smart idea for smaller rooms is to install shelving or even cabinetry closer to the ceiling. This can enable the space below it to be kept open or to be used for other purposes, such as for other furnishings that must be kept on the floor.


Recessed or Flush Lighting

Lighting is an important element in any room, and brighter lighting can make a space look larger in many situations. Darker shadows cast about a room can make the space feel closed off. More than that, overhead lights that hang down, such as pendants or chandeliers, can create a visual illusion that makes the room feel smaller than it is.

To achieve the goal of casting light throughout the room more evenly while removing these hanging light fixtures from the space, install recessed or flush lights into the ceiling. These can be combined with small table lamps if necessary to brighten up any areas that may still be dark or shadowy. Avoid tall, imposing lamps when decorating a smaller room.

Decorating a smaller room is rarely easy to do, and there are many things that homeowners can do when decorating that actually may make a smaller room appear to be even smaller. These are a few tips that can be followed to make the space appear to be more roomy and spacious, but there are also other ideas for decorating as well as built-in upgrades to consider. Ideally, the fully decorated room will be stylish and functional as well as appear to be spacious.

With proper research and planning, a homeowner can achieve the desired results. Be sure to continue to read my blog for more great ideas and insight on how to maximize your home. When looking to sell, trust me to get the job done.

Alberta First-Time Homebuyers Expecting to Spend Approximately $380,000

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

CALGARY — First-time buyers in Alberta expect to spend nearly $380,000 on a home, the third highest average in the country, according to a report released Tuesday by BMO.

The First-Time Home Buyer’s report said the average amount Canadians planning to buy their first home in the next five years plan to spend is approximately $300,000, with an average down payment amount of $48,000 (16 per cent).

The average spend is the highest in British Columbia at $529,922 followed by Ontario at $392,962 and Alberta at $378,685.

The report also found: on average, first-time home buyers expect to be mortgage free in 20 years, with 20 per cent estimating it will take between 10-19 years; those planning to enter the real estate market for the first time are twice as likely to choose a fixed rate over a variable rate mortgage (46 per cent versus 20 per cent); and first-timers who expect interest rates to stay the same or decrease over the next five years still prefer fixed rate over variable rate mortgages (39 per cent versus 23 per cent).

“Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions one can make. It’s crucial that those planning to enter the market are well prepared — not only to manage their costs, but also to pay off their mortgage as soon as possible,” said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Determining what your mortgage payments and overall costs of home ownership will look like, and then living in that financial reality for a year before entering the market, can be an effective strategy.”

According to the report, two-thirds of first-time buyers (66 per cent) say the latest changes to mortgage regulations — which included reducing the maximum amortization for government-insured mortgages to 25 years from 30 years — have not affected their buying timeline, while 19 per cent say they will have to wait longer before buying as a result.

The report also found: 63 per cent of first-time buyers have made cutbacks to their lifestyle to save for their first home, with 27 per cent expecting their parents or other family members to help them pay for their first home; 59 per cent have had to hold off buying their first home because of increasing housing prices; and 59 per cent wish they had bought their first home five years ago.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

When is the Best Time to Buy or Sell a House

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Do you believe there are better times than others to buy or sell houses? Here’s an article that offers some timing tips that can save home buyers and sellers some money:

The best month to make an offer on a house is January. Fewer buyers are willing to house-hunt during cold, nasty weather, so there’s less competition and few, if any, bidding wars. Sellers also tend to be more motivated than they will be in the spring, when there are more buyers. Why? They may have just received their credit card bills that reflect Christmas spending and may be feeling financially insecure. And their decision to try to sell their houses in the winter means they’re willing to risk listing during a time of the year when properties tend not show particularly well.

The best day of the month to make an offer on a house is the first Tuesday. Why early in the month? Because the homeowner just wrote a mortgage check for a house he no longer wants – or needs to sell — and he doesn’t want to write another one. Why Tuesday? Because by Tuesday he’s starting to worry that he won’t get any offers from house hunters who saw the house the weekend before.

The best time of the year to sell a house is the spring. Buyers come out of the woodwork during the spring, and with tax refund checks in the bank, spring buyers more often pay full price. In fact, sales peak in the spring, helping to explain why about 60% of those who move do so in the summer. Tip within a tip: Don’t price your house with a zero at the end. Studies show that people perceive a precise price, such as $282,284, as lower than rounded ones, such as $280,000, even when the rounded prices are actually lower. Real-life sales show that one zero at the end of an asking price lowers the final sale price by .72% and two zeros lower it by .73%. That may not sound like much, but it can add up to thousands of dollars.

The best day of the week to list your house for sale is Thursday. This is more true during a sellers market, but if you list your house for sale on a Thursday, it will be available right away for weekend showings and by Saturday — the most important day of the real-estate week — your house will have shown only two days. That’s important because the fewer days on market, the better chance the home will attract a full-price offer. Even if your house doesn’t sell by the next Saturday, it will still show only nine days on market, benefiting from the psychological advantage of a single-digit number.

The best time to stop renting and buy a house is when it costs less to buy than to rent. Makes sense, but how do you figure that out? Find two similar houses – one for sale and one for rent – and divide the asking price by the annual rent. The difference is called the rent ratio. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the nationwide rent ratio stayed between 10 and 14, then rose to nearly 19 in 2006, when the housing market topped out. A rent ratio of 20 or more usually means that it costs considerably more to own than rent after you factor in the mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs and other expenses. It makes financial sense to buy when the rent ratio is a lot closer to 10 than to 20.

For example, my listing at 46 HIDDEN RANCH CR and a similar home found on Kijiji, let’s call it RENT. My listing’s asking price of $419,900 divided by RENT’s annual rent (at $2500 per month PLUS utilities) of $30,000 equals 13.9 rent ratio showing that it is VERY affordable to buy than rent.


A Rise in First Time Homebuyers in Alberta

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

A recent national survey sent out to prospective buyers in Alberta reports that over the next two years Alberta will see a rise in first time homebuyers. If this is any indication, Albertans remain confident in the marketing heading in to 2013 and the future.

Even more surprising is that 20% of the prospective buyers that plan to buy in the near future are single. Calgarians no matter the demographic, remain confident that the market will continue its recent success and housing values will continue to rise.

Another Calgary condo boom coming? Keynote Urban Village and University City to launch new towers

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

CALGARY — Are we looking at another residential condominium boom in the city?

This weekend two high-profile projects launch sales initiatives on the next phases of their developments to capture the renewed interest in the market.

Keynote Urban Village is opening its doors Saturday to a new show suite for its Residential Tower Two project in the east Beltline area while University City on Saturday and Sunday is having a VIP launch for a select group of people for its Building 3 project at the Brentwood LRT Station.

“Activity in the condo market has been gradually improving. Gains in employment, favourable mortgage rates, and price reductions have attracted buyers to the condo market, especially those looking for their first place. A majority of the condo sales in the city of Calgary were for units less than $300,000,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“We are also expecting to see more new apartment condominiums break ground in the coming months. There has been an uptick in the number of apartment permits issued, signalling the intention of more activity.”

According to the CMHC August had the highest number of monthly apartment starts since May 2008 with 451 units breaking ground in the Calgary census metropolitan area.

The second Keynote residential tower will be 29 storeys high, and will include 250 suites and a wet spa. Possessions are scheduled for the summer of 2013.

Keynote Urban Village project sales manager Jeannie Elrafie said sales have been surging over the past eight months and that’s “telling us there is an upswing underway in the Calgary real-estate market.”

“We’re getting a lot more demand than we ever were,” she said.

Keynote Urban Village encompasses nearly an entire city block on 1st Street S.E., between 11th and 12th Avenues. The Keynote development already includes the 26-storey Residential Tower One with 179 units, and a 14-storey office tower with featured tenants CH2M Hill and Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc., and about 1,500 employees. It also has 40,000 square feet of retail space, occupied by Sunterra Market, Starbucks, and a full-service RBC Royal Bank branch.

Just last week the city’s subdivision and development appeal board gave the green light for the construction of the first two condo highrises for the University City project.

An invitation for the VIP launch of sales for Building 3 says 400 condos sold in five days for the project’s first two buildings. Sales this weekend are for a select group of clients. A public launch is expected to be announced next week.

The first two towers are 18-storeys each with 216 units in each. The master-planned community will eventually consist of between 600 to 700 residences across from the University of Calgary at the Brentwood LRT station.

The University City website says phases 3 and 4 of the project will consist of 12-14 storey buildings while phase 5 will be four storeys.

Calgary home ownership becoming more affordable

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Downtown Calgary skyline, with the Calgary Tower on one side and the lights of The Bow project on the other, stand in contrast to the sunset.

Calgary housing became slightly more affordable in 2009, but it’s still just the 23rd most affordable place to own a home from a list of 28 Canadian cities, according to the Winnipeg-based Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

In a study released Monday, the centre found Thunder Bay and Windsor, both in Ontario, were tied for most affordable Canadian cities and Vancouver was the least affordable.

In fact, Vancouver was also the least affordable among the 272 cities in the international study, which covered Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

As Canada’s resale housing market boomed and prices rose in 2009, affordability fell, sending the national average to a reading of 3.7 from 3.5 the year before. (A higher score indicates less affordability).

That would place Canada’s overall housing market in the “moderately unaffordable” category — from 3.1 to 4.0. The numbers are calculated by dividing the median residential house sale price for the third quarter by median annual gross household income.

In Vancouver, for example, a median home price of $540,900 was divided by median household income of $58,200 to create a multiple of 9.3, which the group describes as “severely unaffordable” — any reading of 5.1 and over.

Calgary, with an affordability index of 4.6, is just slightly less affordable than Prairie rivals Saskatoon (4.4) and Edmonton (4.1). On the international list, Calgary is 188th and its nearest neighbours are Eugene-Springfield, Ore.; Palmerston North-Manawatu, New Zealand; and Dundee, U.K. It’s just slightly more affordable than Dublin, Ireland.

Calgary and Edmonton became fractionally more affordable in 2009 after climbing two points over the previous four years. In 2008, Calgary’s index was 4.8 and Edmonton’s was 4.2.

Toronto moved from a reading of 4.8 to 5.2, moving it into the severely unaffordable category, while Montreal moved from a reading of 4.6 to 4.9.

“Montreal is approaching severely unaffordable for the first time. It appears Montreal has caught up to its urban growth limit and this has now become a real constraint on land supply,” the group said.

Victoria was second only to Vancouver, with its reading rising from 7.4 to 7.9, while Ottawa’ hot housing market remained within the realm of the moderately unaffordable, at least as measured as part of the Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area, with a reading of 3.8, up from 3.4 the year before.

Calgary Herald

Calgary resale home prices to simmer in ’10

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

cf253380-54fa-405c-8e46-47bba163ada9CALGARY – In two years, Calgary’s resale real estate market has gone from “sizzle to fizzle to simmer,” incoming Calgary Real Estate Board president Diane Scott said Wednesday.

Aff ordability and low interest rates will keep the pot slowly boiling this year, creating modest growth in sales and prices, she predicted as the board hosted its annual forecast conference.

A panel of economists mostly concurred with the board’s projection of a continuation of the gradual recovery experienced in the second half of 2009, faltering later this year as low interest rates rise to more normal levels.

Scott told about 1,000 real estate agents in attendance a recovery in Calgary’s market is highly dependent on prices for oil and gas.

“Calgary and Alberta remain tied to global energy markets and, ultimately, the outlook for oil and gas will play a big role in employment and migration to Calgary,” she said. “The good news is we have the energy to recover.

“The road will be a little bumpy, but there is light on the horizon.”

The board estimates Calgary-region single-family home sales will climb to 17,000 from 14,440 in 2009 and 7,000 condominium units will change hands, versus 6,328 last year.

In 2007, single-family sales added up to 18,438 and there were 8,236 condos sold. In 2008, the numbers were 13,455 and 5,661, respectively, with the single-family number the lowest since 1996.

The board predicts the average price for a single-family home in Calgary in 2010 will jump six per cent to $470,000 from $442,327 last year and the average condo price will rise 4.3 per cent to $296,000 from $283,734 in 2009.

The average single-family home price peaked at $505,920 in July 2007 and condo prices hit a record $332,237 in May 2007.

Surrounding towns are expected to experience 14 per cent higher sales and 3.2 per cent growth in average prices.

The downtown apartment condo market is expected to be particularly slow this year, while smaller, single-family homes and lower-priced segments will lead in sales and price growth.

Scott noted that younger people buying starter homes have fuelled the market’s recovery so far. Better afford-ability will help encourage 15,000 people to relocate to Calgary this year, the board predicts.

The low level of listings in the market at year-end is expected to grow throughout 2010, giving buyers more options.

“We will not likely tip to a seller’s market until the end of 2010 and into 2011,” said Scott, describing the current market as “balanced.”

Panellist Adam Legge, chief economist for Calgary Economic Development, said he doesn’t think the pace of the recovery in the city in the second half of 2009 is sustainable because the recovery in the larger economy is largely based on stimulus spending and inventory replacement.

He said news Tuesday that the ConocoPhillips and Total plan to expand production at the Surmont in situ oilsands discovery near Fort McMurray, while encouraging, won’t necessarily help create jobs and confidence in Calgary.

“We’re going to see probably a number of years of very, very tepid growth in Calgary,” he said. “There’s not going to be any zooming to the nearly eight per cent GDP growth we saw in 2006.”

Warren Jestin, chief economist for Scotiabank, said he’s not a “double-dipper” — a proponent of a quick return to recession — but he does predict better-than-expected growth in the national economy in early 2010 to slow down in the second half of the year as the Bank of Canada raises its trendsetting interest rate by as much as 200 basis points.

He said the economy, after bumping along the bottom in the first half of 2009, is in a “good news” phase now, but that’s only because there’s less frequent bad news (such as Wednesday’s stock market sell-off).

Two real estate agents questioned panellist Richard Cho, Calgary market analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., about whether the federal government will increase the minimum allowable down payment for first-time homebuyers above the existing five per cent.

Cho said the government is looking at it as an option, to prevent homebuyers from taking on too much debt, but added that the change wouldn’t have a great impact on the housing market because not many people use it.


© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

The Wedding Fair – Sunday January 24, 2010 Roundup Centre – Stampede Park

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

slideshow-1The Home Sweet Hom Team will be teaming up with Donna Lodberg ( )& Jaime Coulter ( )  from The Mortgage Center at this years Wedding Fair. Please stop by our booth and say HI & enter to WIN A 42″ Television!

Show Information

Calgary’s largest and longest running Bridal Fair® !

The Wedding Fair is the most popular bridal show in Alberta.

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Roundup Centre ~ Stampede Park
Exhibition Hall open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Fashion Shows at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.

Attending a bridal show is very helpful in planning your wedding because you can meet with many Calgary and area wedding specialists all in one location. Bring your girlfriends, mom, and even your fiancé and enjoy the day. Many vendors will be giving away items as a promotion of the show, and you can only benefit from these if you attend. Each bride will receive a complimentary copy of the Calgary Bride and have the opportunity of getting the latest copy of Weddingbells Magazine for the discounted rate of $2.00.

Tips for Attending a Bridal Show

  1. Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Be prepared to register at the door. Be patient! This is well worth it.
  3. Bring preprinted self-adhesive address labels if you have them with your name, address, phone, email, and wedding date. This will save you time and allow you to sign up for anything you want very quickly.
  4. Bring a pen and print very clearly when registering for anything.
  5. Bring your cheque book in case you decide to book services or hold dates with a deposit. Be sure to check on refund policies before giving any money, and read the contract carefully before signing.
  6. Collect any information you are interested in – take it home to look over again when you have some quiet time.
  7. If you cannot attend, send someone in your place to register you for prizes and collect information on services you need.
  8. It is nice if your fiancé attends with you and he will enjoy the “Groom’s Room” Many guys attend, so he won’t be the only one there!
  9. Allow yourself three hours to visit the exhibits and watch the exciting fashion show

Relax and have fun—this is your wedding.


Info provided by :

Preparing to BUY!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Buyers : Know your Numbers

If you’re planning to buy a house or condo, a little research gives you confidence that you know what you;re getting and that the price is fair.

  Talk to your broker – This is the right time to visit your mortgage broker to prearrange your mortgage and lock in a low interest rate. You’ll also learn how much you will be eligible to borrow. Plus, you’ll be able to design a mortgage that will suit your needs.

  Set A limit – Knowing your upper limit for a morgageg, together with the amount of your down payment and estimates for utilities and taxes , will tell you how much home you can afford and are comfortable carrying.

  Know your neighbourhood – Get to know your desired area, identifying both trouble spots and the best streets. Ask your agent to provide some actual selling prices in those areas.

  Make your wish list – Choosing and buying a home usually incolves trade-offs, even in a buyers market. View listings and visit a couple of open houses to spark discussion and zero in on whats really important to you.

The bottom line for buyers and sellers alike? the better prepared you are,the more likely you are to be satisfied with the outcome.


Housing market blossoms in spring

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

There’s little mystery why Canada’s housing market has seen a rebound in sales this spring.

“Record-low mortgage rates have unleashed pent-up demand that accumulated last year when previously soaring prices closed the door on first-time buyers,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, in a research report released Friday.

“After a harsh winter, spring has come surprisingly early to Canada’s housing market. Sales have rebounded from a lengthy slumber and prices have firmed,” he said.

“While it’s doubtful that the housing train has left the station without a recovery on board, the data support our long-held view that the Canadian market is merely correcting, not busting.”

In Calgary last month, historic low mortgage rates combined with less expensive homes compared with a year ago sparked activity in the local real estate market. May witnessed the first year-over-year gain in single-family MLS sales since September and since April 2007 for condos.

“We need to be cautious about declaring a firm bottom is at hand, but the improvement in recent months is an encouraging shift,” said Bonnie Wegerich, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, when the May numbers were released. “All signs indicate we are moving to a balanced and stable market. Consumer confidence is improving, prices are holding steady and inventory is trending downward.

“I think some buyers are trying to predict the bottom of the market. The reality is if you spend too much time trying to anticipate the bottom, you miss out on choice and selection.”

There were 1,584 single-family home sales last month, up 15.8 per cent from May 2008, while the condo market saw 653 sales, representing a 13.2 per cent hike from a year ago.

The average sale price for a single family home in May was $436,427, while for a condo it was $275,212, compared with $426,311 for a singlefamily home and$277,491 for a condo in April.

The prices are off from year-ago levels when the average was$479,564 for single-family homes and $311,816 for condos. Single-family prices are off by nine per cent, while condo prices are down by nearly 12 per cent from last year.

At the national level, Guatieri said despite massive job losses, demand has firmed for housing, even in Ontario and British Columbia and, to a lesser extent, in “boom-bust” Alberta.

“The surprising upturn in sales, coupled with fewer listings, has tilted the market back towards balance from the buyers’ haven of last year,” he said.

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary HeraldJune 13, 2009


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 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.