WELCOME from editor/publisher - and agent, Mark Kolke ...
In my work in this industry, and in this publication, my communication with clients and customers is predicated on the notion that more information is better than less information, and answers are important. A lot of the time people aren’t sure what questions to ask --- so hopefully, this publication will fill some gaps.
In my experience, both buyers and sellers want information and transparency; I can’t remember anyone saying they wanted the best salesman. In fact, industry surveys show the number one complaint buyers and sellers have about agents is that they don't return phone calls promptly!
Who knew? ... we all do, and right now we are more aware than ever that staying in touch and working together, being on the same page in our desire for the best outcome, is to work together. People tend to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Buying or selling a home is, for most people, their most valuable asset and there are plenty of emotions attached to every decision. In our 2020 environment, those emotions seem to be cranked up a couple of notches for everyone …
+ you see your doctor once a year don’t you? … dentist? … investment advisor? ~ so doesn’t it make sense, whether or not you are concerned about the COVID-impact on your home, to periodically review the value and marketability of what is likely your most valuable personal asset – your home?
+ suggestion, take your car in for a tune-up, and call your real estate agent for a checkup!
BUYER AND SELLER PACKET
+ if you are interested in buying, or selling, let me send you a ‘Preparing to Sell’ and/or ‘Preparing to Buy’ packet – information everyone needs to know to buy or sell real estate in Alberta, and customized information about the neighbourhood, style, price-range, and amenity influences that matter most to you – let me know and we can meet at your convenience after you’ve had time to review the packet. In this way, we can prepare the best marketing plan - suited to you, and to marketing your home.
BUYER AND SELLER PACKET ++**++
+ if you are a first-responder, health-care worker, City of Calgary or Province of Alberta employee – thank you for your incredible service to our community always, but especially during these pandemic times. I want to do something for you – so, when you request a ‘Preparing to Sell’ and/or ‘Preparing to Buy’ packet – I’ll be including a gift from me to you …
CALGARY RESIDENTIAL MARKET OVERVIEW AND STATISTICS
+ the Government of Canada ‘everything COVID’ page/links
+ most realtors in Canada are complying, but not all customers want to. Local real estate boards and provincial associations have fine-tuned the guidelines and forms and your eyes might glaze over … the long and short of it is this: owners deserve to feel safe when agents run an Open House or tour prospective buyers. Conversely, prospective buyers need to feel comfortable touring a property – so the ‘hand sanitizer, mask, and gloves’ routine should by now, a comfortable measure of comfort for everyone who is healthy. We want ONLY healthy/COVID-free people touring properties. While the risks are obviously lower on new homes and vacant properties, we are wise to be careful. A sample form prepared by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) covers the issues pretty well. Expect your agent, whether you are buying or selling, to be very careful at following the rules …
+ showing homes is new territory and Open Houses ‘not the same’ in the marketplace; this article tells the story pretty well
+ are the gutters cleaned out so snow melt can flow?
+ is the furnace in good repair with filters cleaned or replaced, has your humidifier been cleaned out, is the media/pad fresh and clean?
+ weather stripping?
+ if you need some outdoor repairs done, do you have a plan and/or a contractor standing by?
FALL YARD CLEAN-UP
+ it’s time to rake the leaves, prepare flower beds for winter – one last mowing and give those evergreens a good long drink ~ and take some pictures; very often we take properties to the market in the winter, so it is important to have some photos of your great landscaping – some spring, some summer in full bloom, some fall …
FINANCING NEWS & INNOVATION
+ Alberta has the highest mortgage deferral rates in Canada – so lots of people are accessing relief, but one must wonder what will happen if the relief ends and people remain unemployed or shut-down/shut-in for valid reasons. One in five Albertans is getting relief …
+ CMHC published a report on the current view of the Residential Mortgage Industry Report which assesses 2020 activity and trends, including COVID impacts
+ HomeEquity Bank launched a short-term reverse mortgage – CHIP Open
FISH CREEK PARK
+ I live near Fish Creek Park – so I’m walking in the park, or cycling, often. I LOVE the park. I’ll be reporting each month on ‘goings-on’ in the park, but also focusing on issues impacting value and demand for park-edge communities. COVID-times are putting greater emphasis on outdoor safe activities, which has made walking, cycling, and running far more popular. Access to the park is not just a ‘nice to have’ in the area, but it’s a bump-up in value.
+ if you use the park, consider joining/supporting the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society – they do great work and have fantastic programs for children of all ages to learn about nature
FOR SALE - Calgary downtown - Eau Claire Estates
+ 2 bedroom condo in Eau Claire Estates; 1,740 sq. ft. in one of Calgary’s finest icons, concierge services, 24/7 onsite security - $455,000 – email me to arrange a showing: firstname.lastname@example.org
+ in this section I will discuss an industry term/jargon/acronym – this month RPR
+ an RPR is a ‘Real Property Report’ which is often mingled this way, ‘RPR and Compliance’, which every agent asks every seller in that first meeting to list a property. In order to close a sale, the seller’s lawyer will have to provide the buyer’s lawyer as part of the document package, a current (or updated) RPR (you might remember the old-school term ‘Surveyor’s Certificate’) – which outlines all property lines and survey monuments/pins, and all constructed improvements. This sounds routine, particularly when nothing has changed since the last time the property sold, but what if the deck got replaced with new dimensions? Frequent problems occur involving decks and garages built without permits/inspections and improvements which encroach on neighbouring property. And, are the improvements shown on the RPR in compliance with City by-laws? There are too many horror stories in our industry when closing gets delayed or transactions go off-track when these issues are left to the last minute near the closing date – so I strongly recommend this is ‘owner’s Job#1’ when preparing for sale …
+ next month I’ll discuss Home Inspections … stay tuned
GOVERNMENT ACTIONS/programs IMPACTING HOMEOWNERS - Canada
+ at the end of August, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was extended to September 27th – then to transition to three new programs administered by Employment Insurance
+ CMHC, a federal crown corporation, does many things; mortgage default insurance is a big part of that, but they do many other things as an instrument of government policy, particularly around ‘qualifying’ criteria for financing. The mandate is shifting, and a name change is imminent. No official announcement yet, but expect something like ‘Housing Canada’ to show up in this week’s throne speech, or fairly soon after.
HOME SEARCH APP - shop all MLS via this phone APP
+ a cool tool: I’ve got a new on-your-phone MLS search tool. Drive-by any sign, or find properties anywhere surfing from your phone, check it out – contact for more information or to book a showing. Get it here. By the way, you don’t have to drive – do your ‘virtual tour searching’ from the comfort of your easy-chair, check out listings in Calgary and anywhere your fingers want to wander - with quick links to get further information or to set up a showing.
+ Calgary is strong in certain sectors of the market; in our office, we’ve seen lots of multiple-offer and speedy sales on new listings hitting the market. But that is not ‘across the whole market’. In some categories, neighbourhoods and price ranges where there are waiting buyers, new listings are getting lots of attention. In oversupplied categories (i.e. high-end acreage properties, suburban condos), not as robust in terms of prices and time-to-sell. A lot of people held properties off the market due to COVID concerns, and we are finding those who ‘want to sell’ and ‘need to sell’ are stimulating the market with a lot of properties where location, condition, and pride of ownership are supporting strong pricing ...
+ national market overview from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) – August statistics and overview, market snapshot, and National Price Map - which comes on the heels of a very strong July as buyer sentiment became more confident and we were getting used to COVID-showing/marketing protocols. The Toronto market is very robust – TREB August 2020 report.
+ the trend we are reading about (in Ontario in particular) where people are leaving the dense-city and moving to rural/cottage country locations, is being hyped a bit by the media, but it doesn’t seem to be a trend with a lot of traction in the West
RECENTLY SOLD - Calgary - Kingsland duplex
+ recent sale – what a great story; we listed this property on MLS – 5 tours the first day, under contract within 24 hours, conditions waived in 10 days; we’ve got a great story to tell on this one, in terms of our client ‘getting the property ready for sale’, our marketing plan, execution, and negotiation!
PILLAR NINE - what is it, and how does that help a buyer or seller?
+ this summer (2020) saw a significant move forward for real estate agents and their ability to help clients; all real estate boards in Alberta excepting Edmonton, are sharing information on listings, solds, and statistics across a single platform. A few glitches. Most people think this is ‘just for agents’ which is the primary force behind it, but it is a substantial game-changer in terms of agents serving clients wherever in the province they want to buy, sell, or have their property managed. Over time, this will be a powerful tool for agents to market properties more effectively to a wider audience of potential buyers
+ the migration of data to the new platform was completed in June, with tweaks being made frequently to harmonize everyone’s data, disclosure processes as well as weekly education updates for real estate board agents to improve their nimbleness …
PROPERTY LINES - monthly news
+ to sign up CLICK HERE for PROPERTYlines monthly newsletter focused on commercial real estate both locally and across Canada in industrial, commercial, investment, multi-family, hospitality and infrastructure real estate; archived issues
REAL ESTATE LICENSING and regulatory news
+ real estate appraisers have been under the same umbrella as real estate industry professionals for a number of years; this year they are no longer under the RECA umbrella, and now are regulated by the Appraisal Institute of Canada
+ regulation and control of licensing in real estate in Alberta is handled by the Real Estate Council of Alberta(RECA), an NGO delegated by the Government of Alberta to enforce the Real Estate Act and regulations; in the course of renewing licenses, all agents are required to renew their errors and omissions insurance (E&OE) which is handled by REIX – which means, in practical terms, your agent cannot renew his/her license without having their ongoing educational requirements in place AND having their professional insurance in place. Licensing for brokerages and agents they employ is renewed at September 30th every year; you can find your agents/confirm licensing under the Find A Professional tab
+ this year the Government of Alberta amended the Real Estate Act [Real Estate Amendment Act 2020] and made significant changes to the role of RECA, and installation of new officers and board members following an external review and industry consultation
+ expected in the coming year: condominium project managers, not currently regulated by RECA, might be. Government, RECA, and industry-wide discussions are ongoing …
+ my license is renewed – residential, commercial, rural, and property management
+ being off work for a lot of people been a boon to the Home Depot type retailers – their business is brisk. It’s a great time, for doing fix-ups and ‘get ready to sell’ repairs. Having said that, small contractors are very busy and whether you are building a deck, pruning some trees, or replacing windows, there is a wait-time factor
+ renovations and ‘adjustments’ are happening in a lot of homes as ‘work from home’ becomes a long-term-reality rather than a short-term opportunity to work from home in casual clothes and attend Zoom meetings; this is a ‘new reality’ which is giving rise to robust sales in office furniture and computer peripherals as employers help out in many cases to support staff and executives to work from home
SMART HOMES / tech news / I.O.T. ...
+ connectivity is a term we’ll all be using more as sensors and 5G become increasingly important to us; automated controls will make our homes safer, less costly to run in terms of energy costs, and we’ll see a lot of changes in coming years at a faster pace than we’ve ever seen – for the new home market, custom builders and for every DIY handy-homeowner; the multi-family and hotel industry applications of today will find their way to our local home improvement stores soon; a great article about Schneider Electric’s pioneering in this field
What is this newsletter, and why do I publish it? Most people aren’t buying or selling their home right now or anytime soon, but they have – or ought to have – concerns about what is going on in the marketplace relating to the care and value of their investment; their home is likely their largest personal investment and source of much pride. Knowing ‘what is going on’ in the market and in housing generally, in Calgary particularly, matters to almost everyone here.
Do you do residential real estate work, or just write about it? Over the last 20 years, I’ve done more commercial work. I got my start in residential mortgage brokerage, lending, and sales – and I’ve always lived in housing! YES, I help people buy and sell homes. I have some recent experiences – and a great ‘selling high-end homes in a saturated market case study’ to talk about. I’m happy to provide ‘neighbourhood specific’ stats and sold-listings information but you won’t find that in this newsletter; its purpose is to provide information and perspective of value. If that causes someone to call me for a listing presentation or hire me to help them buy a property – I’m happy to help you get where you are going!
I thought you did commercial real estate work and publish FACILITYCalgary? Yes, I do. Leasing, sales, and consulting work – office space, industrial space, land, and investment property work along with public-private-partnership (P3) consulting, have been the largest part of my practice for a long time. Love to do the work.
Who gets this newsletter? In short – anyone who wants it. It’s free. Sign-upis easy. If you are a Calgary resident, client or past client, reader of Musings, Monday Morning Minute, PriopertyLines,FACILITYCalgary publications, I’ve got you on this list. If you don’t want to get Housing Truth, just use the opt-out button or send me a note.
The fine print: it is a Code of Ethics requirement for members of the Calgary Real Estate Board, of which I am a member, to not actively solicit property already listed for sale; in other words, or simpler words, we agree as members of the CREB/MLS co-operative, to not interfere with or try to induce anyone to cancel any listing agreement or service agreement in place - so we don't. I don't. AND, when you get mail in your mailbox from a real estate agent with 'words to this effect', that is why. And I've made this small, fine-print and at the end because there is a rule - and I follow the rules!