Before you start with the search, you should understand the process thoroughly and the requisites. This will simplify the entire process of home buying too. In this article, you will learn about important requisites and steps that you should be aware of before buying your own home property.

Continue reading “Understand the Home Buying Process:”

A real estate analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) says the fact that Calgary’s housing prices aren’t budging much shouldn’t come as a shock. “The current Calgary real estate market conditions are disappointing but unsurprising,” said Don Campbell, senior real estate analyst with REIN.

The oil price slide is in its 15th month after all, he says. Previous forecasts stated prices would begin to slide from November 2015 to February 2016 amid mixed signals in the market.

“The drop in oil prices, which brought layoffs and lower consumer confidence, have been the largest factor in today’s market conditions, prices held steady due to a lack of real desperation to sell,” said Campbell.

Uncertainty all around

Add to the mix, Campbell says, is the uncertainty from Rachel Notley’s newly-elected government regarding taxes, regulation, or an economic strategy.

“These two main factors have pushed the listings up substantially while keeping the buyers on the sidelines,” he said.

According to Calgary MLS, the current detached home listings in September were 3,012 — or 17 per cent more — compared to the same period last year. Although the Calgary Real Estate Board reports total residential sales in the city were 1,448 units in September, well below typical activity levels for this time of year.

Year-to-date Calgary sales remained below both the five- and 10-year averages.

But Campbell says two other major factors are keeping a cap on housing prices — the growing population in the region before oil prices went south and the rental market.

“These new citizens have supported both the housing resale market as well as the rental market,” he said, adding this is directly connected to the second factor — high rents and low vacancy rates in the region.

He suggests that if homeowners were thinking of selling their home but wanted to stay in the city, when they did the math, they discovered it was cheaper to stay put.

“This lack of next home lowered the motivation level of those who listed their property and thus many were willing to stand firm on their price which in turn stabilized the average sale price.”

2016 predictions

But Campbell says to expect even lower housing prices to emerge with increased motivation from November to February with more vacancies but oil prices still remaining low.

Looking into 2016, Campbell says mixed signals will continue if oil prices stay consistently below $50 and there’s no pipeline announcement — likely resulting in more downward housing prices, plus a big dive in demand for luxury homes.

He expects vacancy rates will begin to move up, which could bring rental rates down.

“This will free up the ability for more people who have listed their property to make a move into the rental market while they await more surety.”

STEP 1 – Meet agents out in their working environment, not in their offices. Good agents spend very little time at their desks.

STEP 2 – Make sure the agent has closed many properties and has worked a few years at least. You will want an agent that is willing to knock on doors that are not for sale. More closings mean more experience.

STEP 3 – Check out open houses. Don’t worry that you are not interested in that particular property. The agent knows that open houses rarely produce a buyer for that home and use the open house as a tool to find buyers.

STEP 4 – Contact the agent with whom a friend or relative worked. If this agent produced positive results for a friend, there’s a good chance they will do the same for you.

STEP 5 – Make sure your agent is online. Having a web savvy agent is very important today as over 85% of all buyers initially see their homes online. Great agents have laptops and often have moved to mobile technology to assist. A real estate agent in today’s world must email, text, and be available to buyers and sellers alike.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-5

STEP 6 – Interview several agents. Whether you are looking for a buyer agent or seller agent. Remember though, agents will tell you what you want to hear. Make sure they are not selling you a dream partnership… you want to hire a realistic real estate agent. Don’t sign a buyers agreement form before looking for property (you should feel free to build trust with a real estate agent over several hours of looking before signing anything).

STEP 7 – Look for signs that the agent is busy. A hard-working, go-getter of an agent is good. Be careful, sometimes they are too busy. A real estate agent can only effectively work with about a half-dozen buyers and a dozen sellers at any given time to properly give the time needed to a buyer. If they pass you to an “assistant”, move to another agent that will give their time to you.

STEP 8 – Be sure that your agent is knowledgeable. Ask questions about things you have learned through your new-found interest in real estate. If they don’t know more than you – after all, this is her livelihood! – go on to seasoned agent. Local knowledge is particularly critical especially in city settings.
An excellent agent is the most important to you when buying a home for the first time. They should have experience and should be able to guide you through the complexities of the process including lender info that you will have to provide. The loan process has become much more demanding and complex in 2010.

STEP 9 – See how the agent’s MLS listings come up in searches. However if you wish to purchase your dream home that is not for sale it will not show up on the MLS. When listing in today’s market, all listings from small to big should have professional photos – this is the first sign of a professional real estate agent who understands today’s market.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-10

STEP 10 – See how the agent’s MLS listings come up in searches. However if you wish to purchase your dream home that is not for sale it will not show up on the MLS. When listing in today’s market, all listings from small to big should have professional photos – this is the first sign of a professional real estate agent who understands today’s market.

STEP 11 – Check the references that an agent should be able to provide you. Ask the other real estate agents you interview if they know the other agent and if they respect them as a real estate agent.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-11

STEP 12 – Ask your agent where they live. An agent that lives and works locally will have their finger on the pulse of the market and be able to answer important questions about the community. They should at a minimum know the schools where they work. This is especially important in large cities.

STEP 13 – Ask “Can you recommend service providers who can assist me in obtaining a mortgage, making repairs on my home, and other things I need done?” Keep in mind here that a real estate agent should generally recommend more than one provider and shouldn’t receive any compensation (ethical issues tend to arise when this happens).

STEP 14 – Ask how long the real estate agent has been working full time. It is not that newer agents aren’t capable, it just is a factor in making an informed decision. Many “experienced” agents are not always the best choice either. Especially if they haven’t kept up with technology.

STEP 15 – Ask the agent if the real estate agent is a full time agent. Is this her only job? You should demand a full time agent.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-16

STEP 16 – Ask Who the agent is working for in the transaction, the buyer or the seller (a real estate agent selling a house almost always works for the seller and tend to spin things a sellers way)

STEP 17 – Ask “How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently?” Using what media? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but that one reflects your desires.

Don’t expect an agent to call you instantly when you leave a message, but do expect a call back within 24 hours or a reasonable amount of time depending upon the situation.
Don’t call your real estate agent after hours, past 9 pm or so. They have a life too.
This is your most important transaction of your life, a seasoned real estate agent does this everyday and understands the many problems that arise during the process. Try to keep the big picture in mind.
Your house / or the house you are buying is a commodity. Supply and demand within a neighborhood play an important role in pricing and timing of a sale. Try not to become overly emotionally involved in the purchase/sale of the property.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-19

STEP 19 – See a few properties in the same area on open house day, to get an idea about the house prices in your selected neighborhood. This will help to keep you from being completely blind-sided when you go to an agent.

STEP 20 – Work with a Local Market Expert. There are real estate agents who specialize in working within a specific community. Even if you have a real estate agent that you like, you might be best served by a real estate agent who knows the area well, and can advise you about any adverse local market conditions that an outsider might not be aware of.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-21

STEP 21 – If you are a buyer, you want to work with a Buyers Agents (also known as a Buyer Broker.) This way you know your interests are protected in the transaction. Likewise if you are a seller, you want to work with someone that is experienced in representing the seller and securing the most qualified buyer at the best net profit for you. Not all agents are experts in working with buyers or sellers, so you need to ask specifics. Continue reading “How To Find A Good Real Estate Agent”

By Manuella Irwin, a moving industry professional, author and writer. Posted on Moving Guides

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Although we do try to plan almost every step of our life, sometimes things happen all of a sudden. Life surprises us in the most amazing ways.

Relocating is an important event that is often stressful and annoying, especially if you are moving away from home during holidays. Over holidays such as Christmas, Easter, The Independence Day, most people have a few days off. Moving during the holiday season is quite a challenge. So, we’ve prepared for you a complete how to move during holidays tips guide to help you have a smoother relocation experience. You may not have much choice and time as well, but if you are organized things will run smoothly.

Moving during holidays seems a rather frustrating activity, but if you have to do it, then stop wasting your time. Get ready for your holiday relocation!

Find A Holiday Moving Company
While searching for a mover over the holidays, remember to mention about your plans to move during the vacation time. There are a lot of movers out there, but few are performing relocation trips during holidays. The first thing you should take into consideration is that your move is more likely to cost much more than a regular move. Since most of the personnel would take a few days off during the holiday, it is likely that the holiday moving companies run on a short staff.

When booking your moving company, ask them for a written moving price quote. Actually, you should ask your movers to visit you at home for an in-house moving estimate. This way you can discuss every detail in person and you will get a lot more accurate moving cost estimate. Your movers will also be better prepared for the moving day. Make sure you understand all moving fees and expenses included in your final moving costs. Here is a complete list of the most popular hidden moving costs.

Beware that some furniture items can be carried out only through the windows (often referred as hoisting by the professional moving companies). Let your movers know about all specifics around your move in advance to avoid surprises. Set your moving budget right. Be prepared to spend extra money if you are about to move during holidays. Keep in mind that you can hire a full service moving company and book a luxury moving service option, so you can spend the vacation with your family, while the movers do the complete relocation.

Now it is even easier to estimate your moving costs no matter of your desired moving dates. Use our fast and easy moving cost estimator for an accurate cost calculation.

Research Your Holiday Mover

Hire a professional holiday mover and enjoy your smooth trip. Make sure you research your moving company online to avoid unpleasant surprises during and after your relocation.
Hiring a licensed and insured professional mover for your holiday relocation is a must. You might be on a short deadline, but don’t risk booking inexperienced, or even rogue movers. Here are some tips that will help you to choose a reputable holiday moving company and avoid moving scams:

Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to find out if the particular moving company is registered and licensed. The U.S Department of Transportation obliged all registered moving companies to follow certain safety rules and regulations.
It’s a good idea to run a check on your moving company at Better Business Bureau website. Hiring a BBB moving company with accreditation is a plus.
Ask family, friends, colleagues, neighbors if they can recommend you a holiday mover or a professional moving company they’ve used in the past.
You may read some mover reviews online. There are many moving related forums and blogs that you can check for reviews, testimonials and complaints. Be careful when reading moving reviews – here is a complete article on how to avoid fake reviews online.
Holiday Relocation: The Packing
During holidays we usually spend our free time outside – strolling in the park, coffee with friends, going to the movies, shopping in the mall or a family dinner at the local restaurant. But since you are moving you have to do the boring packing job. Cheer up! Invite some friends to help you. It’s a holiday after all, have some fun. Spend some time with your loved ones, take breaks to chill out. Doing the packing by yourself and not by the moving company will save you a lot on the final moving costs. This way you can spend more for presents and the holiday a day to remember.

Remember to label all the boxes. You will save a lot of time and troubles when unpacking. Write descriptive labels on the boxes, the more descriptive, the better. If you have any doubts about packing particular household items, consult your mover. An experienced moving specialist will always find the best possible way to pack delicate items. Moving a piano, antiques or expensive electronics is a tough job, do not underestimate it. Leave the heavy furniture packing for the professional on the moving day. When unpacking, start with the most used items first.

Holiday Relocation With Kids
Holiday relocation with your children is quite a tricky situation. It can be a good idea to move with your kids during holidays, as they won’t miss classes. Yet, keep in mind that youngsters adore holidays. It’s time for games and a lot of fun. So, if you are considering a holiday relocation, prepare your children for the big move long in advance. Kids need time to adjust and especially for teenagers moving is a really stressful experience. However, you can make your holiday move much more pleasant. Encourage your kids to get involved in the holiday relocation. Let them help with the packing. Discuss the new opportunities that are waiting for all of you at the new place. After all, it’s a fresh start.

Moving During Christmas
Christmas is time of the year when the whole family gathers to spend the holiday together. It might be very depressing to move during Christmas. Everybody is planing the perfect Christmas and we usually don’t see it as a packing-loading-moving event. Anyway, you shouldn’t feel bad about your Christmas move. It may turn out that moving is the best Christmas present you have ever received. Remember that this holiday is all about spending time with your family. Engage everybody to help with the holiday relocation. Listen some cheering music, or go out for a walk all together. You can arrange a visit to the new city you are about to relocate to a week in advance. Visit the best notable places around your new home and explore the city.

Moving During Holidays With No Involvement

Kids love holidays. If you are moving during holidays, make sure there is enough time for fun. It is essential that you keep your kids entertained during the relocation.
Another interesting option to explore is hiring a full service moving company to do the end-to-end move of all your belongings. There are many professional moving companies that offer luxury moving services and high-end moving services that requires no involvement on your end, except covering the final bill.

If you choose this option, you can leave everything to the moving company. The movers will relocate all your household goods while you are on a holiday vacation with your family during the holidays. The moving company will do all the packing, loading, moving, driving, unloading and unpacking of all your belongings. If you choose the high-end (luxury) moving option, all your belongings will be positioned and arranged the exact same way as they were at your origin location. In a case like this, movers use cameras to capture the positioning on your furniture, so they can reproduce the same arrangement at your new place, while you are enjoying your holiday with your kids and family.

To sum up, moving during the holidays has its pros and cons. It’s up to you decide what is the best time to move. Moving during the holiday season can be as easy and enjoyable as you make it. It is the people that make our holiday, not the place.

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CALGARY- It’s no secret that spring sees an influx of activity in the housing market, and if you’re one of the people moving it’s important to do your homework.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it’s been inundated with complaints about moving companies, due to damage or overcharging.

Calgary’s Mark McNevin hired a company to move items out of his home, and was shocked to find a huge scratch in the hardwood floor after workers moved a washing machine.
“They came out, put it down, dragged it 10 feet, moved it over four inches, and dragged it another eight feet over to the stairs,” McNevin remembers. “As I went up the stairs, I noticed a twenty foot gouge in the hallway leading from the laundry room to the stairs going down. So I’m guessing they had dragged it the whole way.”

He adds that he was forced to spend $2,000 to fix the floor, but City Wide Movers refuses to reimburse him.

“They said ‘you paid too much,’ so I offered ‘let’s go get three quotes, we’ll take the average of the three quotes.’ They basically said ‘your file’s closed.’”

The BBB says such incidents highlight the importance of checking out the company before hiring them, and asking questions.

“Are you insured, are they insured? Make sure that you check into those kinds of issues,” suggests Sandra Crozier-McKee. “Take pictures of those items that are significant to you, that you’re concerned are more fragile.”

She adds it’s important to understand the contract before signing.

“That’s what we often find with moving, that the business thinks the contract means one thing and it’s fairly explicit, and the consumer doesn’t totally understand it.”

City Wide Movers did not respond to several requests for comment. They also have an F rating with the BBB, due to receiving 25 complaints over the past three years, including 13 which were not resolved.


You’ve just closed your house purchase-now what? Buyers have lots to do, besides unpacking and making minor repairs.

They include:

  • Getting names and addresses, payment dates, account numbers and amounts to pay for the mortgage, taxes, condo maintenance and utility charges.
  • Notifying everyone about your change of address-from the post office to credit card companies to the provincial health insurer.
  • And don’t forget the provincial driver’s license and motor vehicle branch; failing to do so could lead to a fine.
  • Where”911″doesn’t exist, obtain the emergency numbers of police, fire, ambulance, hospital and poison information centers.
  • Determine garbage and recycling days.
  • Arrange to get the interest on your deposit, if your offer provides for it.
  • And most importantly, change the locks, or at least the tumblers, on all doors-who knows how many keys still remain in circulation?
  • Consider upgrading the locks to deadbolts, for greater home security.

One of the most confusing areas of real estate is the GST. Most resale homes are exempt from GST, but buyers should still ask the appropriate question and deal with it in their offer to purchase, to be safe.

For brand new homes and condos, the offer should say whether the purchase price is “Plus GST” or “GST Included’; and who gets the GST new home rebate.

Buying a vacant cottage/chalet lot or a hobby farm is even more confusing. If an individual is selling, the sale is GST-exempt, but if the seller is a corporation, 5% GST is payable.

Residential rents are exempt from GST, as are condo maintenance fees. But GST is payable on real estate commissions, legal fees, some disbursements, and the cost of a new survey or home inspection.

If in doubt about the GST, check it out before signing an offer. Because if you’re wrong, it’s a 5% mistake.

Every real estate transaction has three key dates. Each must be clearly spelled out in the offer and adhered to-or the deal is off.

  • The first: the irrevocable date, how long the seller has to accept a buyer’s offer.
  • The second is the requisition date-when any issues arising from the title search must be reported to the buyer’s lawyer.
  • The last is important to both buyers and sellers-the closing date- when money, title and keys change hands.

Agreeing on it may be the hardest part of the negotiations. Whenever possible, avoid closing on Fridays, the end of the month, and before long weekends.

  • Buyers who close then often face delays getting keys, and a higher moving bill.
  • Sellers discharging mortgages can face a financial drain, too.
  • If the funds reach the lender late after a Friday closing, three extra days’ interest is payable-four on a long weekend.
  • Whenever possible, steer clear of rush hour in the registry office when choosing a closing date.

Despite what many buyers of resale homes and condos believe, interest isn’t automatically paid on a deposit in a real estate transaction. They only get interest on their deposits if a clause saying that appears in the offer to purchase.

Then three criteria must be met-the deposit is at least $5,000; closing is at least 30 days away; and the buyer provides his or her Social Insurance Number. A $5,000 deposit and a thirty-day closing aren’t legal requirements, but they’re the minimum to buy a term deposit. And your Social Insurance Number is needed so you can be sent a T5 slip after closing, since the interest earned on a deposit is taxable.

Builders don’t often pay interest on deposits when buying a brand new home-but it can be negotiated into the contract.

When it comes to interest on deposits, remember-if it’s not in the offer, it’s not in the deal.

Deposits serve two purposes-part payment of the purchase price, plus an assurance the buyer will close the deal. Usually an uncertified cheque accompanies the offer; when a deal is finally struck, the cheque is certified and the funds held by the listing agent.

If buying privately, be sure the deposit is paid to the seller’s lawyer in trust; otherwise, if the deal collapses, recouping your money from the seller is no easy task.

How large should the deposit be?

  • Buyers like to pay the smallest amount possible, to avoid tying up too much money; but sellers want a large deposit, as a sign of the buyer’s good faith.
  • Real estate agents prefer big deposits, also, since the larger the deposit, the easier for them to get paid after closing.

While there’s no “legal answer” as to what’s a proper deposit, 5% of the purchase price is not uncommon today.