October 2020 - HOUSING TRUTH ~ Calgary housing market from Mark Kolke
WELCOME from editor/publisher - and agent, Mark Kolke ...
In my experience, both buyers and sellers want information and transparency; I can’t remember anyone saying they wanted to hire 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 …
+ have you seen your doctor or dentist for a check-up? If not, book an appointment – that’s a smart thing to do.
+ when did you last sit down with your realtor to discuss the value of your home or your long-term strategy to get you where you want to go?
+ if you don’t have a realtor you work with, call me for a consultation – put the coffee on and we can talk
+ 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
+ if are you 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 …
+ report generated by CREB (Calgary Real Estate Board) for Calgary for September 2020 –  click here
+ monthly stats for the Calgary Region – September 2020 – click here
+ Built Green Canada have a Built Green Communities Pilot project with Averton in St. Albert, AB, called Midtown
+ in reaction to COVID-19 concerns, most condominium board and managers are taking an aggressive posture on sanitation, visitors wearing masks, and generally moving to be more-touchless in building operations; smarter intercom, entry, and amenity design is getting fresh/proper attention
+ the Government of Canada ‘everything’ 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, makes, and gloves’ routine should by now, be 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 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
+ building permit growth stalled in Alberta in August; the value of permits off 7.3% over August a year ago; non-residential permits down 8.7%, residential down 5.5%
+ closing a sale and the calendar don’t easily get along; if you’ve bought and sold homes with a closing on the last or first day of the month, you know that’s the ‘Adjustment Date’ and very often also the ‘Possession Date’, but experience shows, and lawyers’ bills often reflect additional costs, the actual registration of documents – transfers, mortgages, and other registrations can get bottle-necked so, HOORAY!, that’s changing soon – the Land Titles folks have checked their calendars and said, “yes, we have the technology”, and electronic registrations are imminent … at least a decade late in this writer’s opinion, but better late than not at all
+ sign up CLICK HERE for FACILITYCalgary – a weekly e-NEWSLETTER of news, commentary & perspective – financings, deals – commercial real estate, infrastructure, oil & gas; archived issues and archived interviews
+ well, if you haven’t done it yet – time’s a-wastin'! – so here are a few suggestions:
~ inspect your furnace, fireplace, baseboard heating, thermostats – make sure everything is weather-tight and working properly; turn thermostats to extremely high and then low temperatures to be sure your controls are responsive – better to find out now than when it’s cold and dark in the middle of the night, and don’t forget to make sure your return air ducts/registers aren’t blocked or closed …
+ about those leaves – the Nature Conservancy folks have some advice to leave them, not rake them
+ concern about mortgage payment deferral impacts is in the air-supply; Alberta has the highest level of deferral recipients under the government of Canada relief program that has supported over 771,000 Canadians over the last six months – so it seems logical to expect fallout in the Alberta market; we expect to see those who are still struggling to seek re-negotiated terms/amortizations, but the reality is that some people were, or are now, living beyond their means …
+ 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:
CLICK HERE for our client's love-letter to the apartment - a MUST READ!
+ some listings with other agents, I’d love to help these owners sell:
+ price reduced – great value in Rosedale; what’s not to love about this property? – 2,678 sq. ft. of ‘feeling at home’ waiting for someone new to love it next; recently reduced to $1.358 million
FOR SALE - Sylvan Lake - boat all summer, ice fish this winter!
1,388 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, wood-burning fireplace, sauna, extraordinary – $649,900 - email me to arrange a showing:
+ year-round lakefront home (48 photo virtual tour) at Marina Bay, Sylvan Lake – 1,388 sq. ft., 2 bedroom, wood-burning fireplace, sauna, extraordinary – $649,900; in the owner’s words: There is something therapeutic about watching the seasons of life on a lake, the waterfowl and other birds flocking up in groups of thousands, as they are right now, and to hear their excited calls to each other as they contemplate their annual pilgrimage south. The Trumpeter swans, majestic in sound and sight in their perfect formations. The deer, who are not around the house all summer, seem to know that the neighborhood will now be quiet for months, are now in search of my crab apple tree and others, on which they will feast all winter. The variety of activity out on the lake in winter... and all viewed through that WINDOW, seated with a coffee next to a crackling fire. The morning walk along Lakeshore Drive or, to mix it up, through Norglenwold to the north, to see which old cabin is being torn down and rebuilt this time...  - email me to arrange a showing:
GLOSSARY - monthly topic
+ in this section I will discuss an industry term/jargon/acronym – this month Home Inspections
+ home inspectors aren’t a dime-a-dozen, but their credentials, quality/depth of study, and fees cover a broad spectrum of value-for-money, or not. What is the purpose of a home inspection, who orders it, who benefits from it, and the implications? Typically, a buyer’s agent inserts a standard form condition in an Offer to Purchase allowing time and access for due diligence, to let an independent expert go through the property and report on the condition, foreseeable risks/issues/problems, and to identify deficiencies the buyer ought to know about before moving ahead. The report is provided to the party who orders and pays for it – usually the purchase. Most often, the report is also required by the buyer’s mortgage lender. In some situations, a case can be made for the seller to commission this kind of study as a preparing-to-sell step to identify and correct any problems. This can be a useful way for sellers to speed up the process and not leave themselves vulnerable to some element of an inspection becoming price-renegotiation leverage for the buyer. Once a seller is aware of a defect (in the case where they own the report or when details were shared with them by a buyer) of significance, it should be disclosed to prospective buyers if not corrected. Home inspections are a reality and not a cheap service to hire or box to tick, so get references and quotes – if you are a buyer, you want skilled eyes checking for what you won’t see or know to look for. For sellers, my advice is to fix things you know are a problem before we bring your property to the market.
+ next month I’ll discuss Radon … stay tuned
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 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.
+ in Calgary, prices were up in September, and supply grew too
+ in the Fraser Valley, BC; market activity hit historic levels in September
+ the national picture mixes more highs and fewer lows than you might expect; home sales and prices set records again in September
RECENTLY SOLD - Calgary - Kingsland duplex
+ recent sale – what a great story; we listed this property on MLS – 5 tours the first day, under contract with 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!
Our job is to help our clients get where they want to go in a timely fashion!
+ the City of Calgary by-law changes aren’t just for public places like stores and shopping malls, the apply to Open Houses too – realtors MUST post notices and risk fines if they don’t comply; and, signage is required for all Open Houses, indicated the city bylaw and the requirement to wear a mask
+ Toronto is a different story; the spike in COVID-19 cases and provincial government guidelines have resulted in a BAN on Open Houses in Toronto during their second wave …
PROPERTY LINES - monthly news
+ 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; October issue - 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 will now be 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 on 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; the new legislation has been proclaimed and goes into effect December 1, 2020
+ 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
REALLY COOL HOUSES in other places
+ some people love the actor Rob Lowe, some not – but who wouldn’t love the mansion he just sold in Montecito for US$47.0 million … and yes, for that price you get the tennis court, the wine room, and the massive home-theatre screen too
+ this one is from South America, but it looks like something I’d like to see in Alberta’s foothills – I just need the perfect ridge lot and lot of money …
+ while there will be fewer Canadians heading south this winter, the ongoing concerns about tax status and health care coverage, insurance, travel cancellation insurance, etc.; the Canadian Snowbird Association has been publishing some topical articles and appear to be a credible resource …
+ commuting is way down, and likely to stay at lower levels for a long time; that means a lot of save money, saved frazzled nerves, increased productivity – and might cause those who will continue to work from home to re-think where they live, to say nothing of reduced radio station revenues/listeners because commuters aren’t commuting – and commuting isn’t good for your mental health!
+ working from home in your job is one thing; but working from home in your own start-up is a more complicated matter; MNP published an interesting piece on a new self-employment program
+ YOGA at home – great article from Blue Zones on dealing with stress in the digital age
WORK WANTED! .... listings, buyers, sellers - I want to talk to you!
~ call me to discuss your requirements: Mark Kolke, 403-444-6939
~ or email me:
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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 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 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-up is easy. If you are a Calgary resident, client or past client, reader of Musings, Monday Morning Minute or FACILITCalgary 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.

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Mailing address is: c/o Mark Kolke, 6204B Burbank Road SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2H 2C2

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