Buying Tips

Weekly Calgary Real Estate Update for February 18, 2019

Weekly Calgary Real Estate Update for February 18, 2019

Weekly Calgary Real Estate Update

6413 homes for sale in metro Calgary (up 127)

1004 homes sold in the last 30 days (up 45)

6.39 months worth of inventory (down 0.16)

15.66% of the homes statistically to sell in the next 30 days (up 0.40%)

Market Conditions: Buyers

Average List Price: $476,795 (down $2,213)

Average Sale Price: $458,113 (down $1,1088)

Average days on market: 66 (down 3)

Average list to sale price ratio : 96.20% (up 0.17%)

*Numbers in the brackets are a comparison from last week’s stats. Ideally, we want the number of homes selling in the last 30 days to increase weekly, the months of inventory to decrease (meaning demand is matching inventory) and the % of homes to sell in the next 30 days to increase.

New and Upcoming Schools in the Calgary and Surrounding Areas between 2018-2020

New and Upcoming Schools in the Calgary and Surrounding Areas

Many clients like to consider which schools are in the neighborhood before purchasing a home. As population grows in our subdivisions, there has been an urgent need to increase the amount of schools in many areas. Here is a list of schools that have recently opened or are scheduled to open between 2018 and 2020 in the Calgary and Surrounding areas. 

Herons Crossing School  – K-6 –  Located at 1860 Reunion Blvd NW Airdrie – Opened January 2018

Griffith Woods School  – K-9 – Located at 7752 26 Ave SW Calgary – Opened April 2018

Foothills Composite High School –  Located at 229 Woodhaven Drive Okotoks – Opened September 2018

Joane Cardinal-Schubert High School  – Located at 19480 45 St SE – Opened September 2018

Devine Mercy Elementary School – K-6 – Located at 228 Mahogany Blvd SE – Opened September 2018

All Saints High School  – Located at 729 Legacy Village Rd SE – Opened September 2018

Blessed Marie-Rose School – K-9 – Located at 999 Sherwood Blvd NW Calgary – Opened September 2018

Ecole Beausoleil  – K-8  – Located at 71 Okotoks Drive Okotoks – Opened in January 2019

Meadow Ridge School – K-9 – Located at 21 Chinook Arch Way Okotoks – Scheduled to Open September 2019

West Hillcrest Airdrie – K-12 – Located at 275 Hillcrest Dr SW Airdrie – Scheduled to Open September 2019

Coventry Hills/Country Hills Village Second Elementary School – K-4 –  Located at 711 Coventry Dr NE – Anticipated Opening Date – September 2020

Cranston Second Elementary School – K-4 – Located at 66 Cranford Dr SE – Anticipated Opening Date – September 2020

Evergreen Second Elementary School – K-4– Located at 2511 Fish Creek Blvd. SW  – Anticipated Opening Date – September 2020

Mahogany Elementary School – K-4Tentatively Located at 210 Mahogany Way SE – Opening Dates still TBD

North Calgary High School – 10-12 Tentatively Located at 12065 Coventry Hills Way NE – Opening Dates still TBD

Weekly Calgary Real Estate Update for February 11, 2019

Weekly Calgary Real Estate Update for February 11, 2019

Weekly Calgary Real Estate Update

6286 homes for sale in metro Calgary (up 149)

959 homes sold in the last 30 days (up 125)

6.55 months worth of inventory (down 0.81)

15.26% of the homes statistically to sell in the next 30 days (up 1.67%)

Market Conditions: Buyers

Average List Price: $479,008 (down $3,782)

Average Sale Price: $459,201 (down $2,839)

Average days on market: 69 (down 4)

Average list to sale price ratio : 96.03% (up 0.15%)

*Numbers in the brackets are a comparison from last week’s stats. Ideally, we want the number of homes selling in the last 30 days to increase weekly, the months of inventory to decrease (meaning demand is matching inventory) and the % of homes to sell in the next 30 days to increase.

What is Radon?

What is radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs when radium in soil and rock breaks down. It is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas that can accumulate to unnaturally high and dangerous levels in our homes.

Radon gas in Canada

Western Canada contains some of the highest radon-generating soils on our planet. Although it arises naturally from our geology, radon gas is often drawn up inside modern buildings and concentrated to hazardous levels not seen in nature – thus, high radon exposure is a manmade problem. Canada contains many radon-generating regions, and Canadians have constructed towns and cities across almost all of them. This does not mean, however, that all of our buildings contain high radon. There are three factors needed to incur hazardous radon exposure:

  1. Geologic source and pathway (upwards) for radon into a property
  2. Building metrics that actively draw up and concentrate radon
  3. Human behaviour that enables higher exposure

Why is radon gas harmful?

Radon is radioactive and unstable. In a very short period of time it decays and emits alpha particle radiation, which severely damages our DNA in such a way that is almost impossible for our bodies to repair without introducing genetic errors (mutations). These errors trigger a worsening cycle of DNA mutation that drives cancer formation. Hence, radon is listed as a category 1 carcinogen (cancer causing agent), meaning that it is absolutely known to cause cancer in humans. As radon is inhaled into our lungs, it primarily triggers the formation of lung cancer – the number one cause of cancer death in Canada – even in folks who have never smoked. Younger people, especially children, are the most at risk from the DNA damage caused by radon exposure. The risk of cancer goes up with greater radon levels, and prolonged exposure over a life.

How is radon gas measured?

Radiation from radon is measured in a unit called the Becquerel (Bq) that represents one alpha particle being emitted per second. When measuring radon, the Bq is monitored per cubic meter of the air in your home (Bq/m3). A 16% increase in your relative risk of lung cancer is measurable per 100 Bq/m3 of chronic radon inhalation. In Canada, 200 Bq/m3 is considered maximum allowable by Health Canada, with advice being to strive for as low as reasonably achievable. We have observed some homes in Western Canada with radon as high as 10,000 Bq/m3, which is the equivalent of 60,000 dental x-ray equivalents of radiation each year according to the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

How do I test my home for radon gas?

Testing your home for radon is cheap, easy and effective. To figure out the amount of radon in your home, all you have to do is purchase a radon testing device through us. One of the most effective and simplest of tests is called an “alpha track” device, which, over a 90+ day period, will register the Bq/m3of the indoor air of your home. It requires no electricity and is about the same size as a small hockey puck. Place the device in the lowest level of your home that you or someone spends about 4+ hours a day. This could be your basement, or perhaps the main floor. Do not place the radon test in kitchens, bathrooms, near open windows or other areas with fans or strong air flow. Areas of the home that no-one spends time in (crawl spaces, furnace room, etc.) are also not ideal. Radon testing should only occur between the beginning of November to the end of April, as testing in spring, summer and early fall gives inaccurate readings. After your 90+ days are complete, you just ship your device to a lab using the provided shipping label, and within 2-3 weeks you should receive your confidential reading.

What happens if my home contains high levels of radon gas?

Radon can be easily prevented from entering into most properties. This is usually quick (1-2 days’ work) and, even for the most drastic (but effective) of interventions, it still only costs about the same as replacing a few windows. The important thing to recognize is that determining if your home has high radon will not devalue your property, as it is so easily solved. Homes that have been ‘mitigated’ for high radon tend to have the lowest achievable levels – and have amongst the healthiest of indoor air. In other parts of the world, a radon mitigation device is seen even as a selling feature. When considering a mitigation, always find someone with C-NRPP (Canadian National Radon Proficiency Program) certification. C-NRPP certification is approved of by Health Canada.

Should I have my home mitigated?

Any level above 100 Bq/m3 represents a statistically significant increase in the lifetime relative risk of lung cancer for those being exposed chronically to it. Indeed, the WHO deferred to the amount of radon where a statistically observable increasing in lifetime risk of lung cancer is clear and significant – this is 100 Bq/m3Health Canada set our “maximum exposure limit” reference level at twice this value, with the view that double where we start to see an increase in risk is truly unacceptable. To ensure that you are protected to where there is no significant increase in risk (as science and medicine understands radon), aim to get your home, school and work environment below 100 Bq/m3. It is important to remember that the 200 Bq/m3 level is set by Health Canada as a maximum acceptable reference level. Health Canada’s advice is to aim for as low as reasonably achievable. Your body cannot distinguish between 199, 200 and 201 Bq/m3 of radon, and being slightly under or over that number is meaningless to your long term health. Our advice if your home is at or near 200 Bq/m3 is to evaluate your relative risk and exposure by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Are their babies, kids or teens in the home? If yes, consider mitigating, as young people are at a much higher risk from the negative impact of radon compared to those of older ages (65+).
  2. Does anyone work from home or spend most of their days at home? If yes, then consider mitigating, as those individuals are breathing the home’s air for a lot longer than a person leaving for large parts of the day for school or work.
  3. Does anyone in the home have a family history of cancer? If yes, consider mitigating, as some families carry altered genes that make them more susceptible to cancer following exposure to radiation.
  4. Is anyone in the home a current or former smoker? If yes, consider mitigating. The risk of lung cancer from radon is ‘synergistic’ with the risk from smoking. For example, ‘1 unit’ of risk from smoking plus ‘1 unit’ of risk from radon does not equal 2, rather it is a case of 1+1=17. Smokers (current or former) are much more at risk from radon, and so should protect themselves from radon even if still actively smoking to reduce their chances of cancer in the future.
  5. Is anyone in the home exposed to other lung cancer risk factors? If yes, consider mitigating. In addition to smoking (described above), folks who work with or who are exposed often to metal dust (metallurgists, jewelers, machinists, blacksmithery, etc.), leather dust, gasoline or diesel fumes (mechanics, firefighters, etc.), asbestos and heavy air pollution should also aim to reduce their exposure to radon as much as possible

How do I test my home?

STEP 1

Order

Order a radon test through the Evict Radon website. Every radon test bought assists in field research.

STEP 2

Register

Once you receive your device make sure you register it on our website: radonova.com/evictradon/with the supplied commission number and password.

STEP 3

Place

Test the air you are breathing on the lowest level of your home.

STEP 4

Wait

Leave the radon test device in place for 90+ days allowing the device to measure radon levels over time for an accurate reading.

STEP 5

Send

Log back into radonova.com/evictradon/ and enter the end date. Collect your radon test device and send it to the location specified on the test kit package.

STEP 6

Review

You will receive your results within a few weeks. Be sure to review them and ensure your home’s radon levels are safe.

What do I do once I receive my results?

The Canadian guideline established by Health Canada for the maximum exposure limit of radon in your home is 200 Bq/m3. A bit more information about why this is the maximum acceptable limit:

RADON LEVELS

0 Bq/m3

200 Bq/m3

Breathe Easy

Phew! Your radon test results are within the safe range for your home. You can now breathe easy knowing, in this house, you and your family are safe. Please note: Health Canada recommends retesting every few years, or if a major home renovation takes place. Encourage a neighbour or friend to test their home for radon.

Tell a neighbour/friend

Mitigation Recommended

Uh oh! Your radon test results are over the maximum exposure limit for Canada. At this level you, your family, and especially your children are at risk of future radon-induced lung cancer. Our team and Health Canada highly recommend that you have your home mitigated by a C-NRPP professional. Don’t worry, in Western Canada, radon mitigation techniques are very effective.

Find a mitigation professional

 

*This post is an excerpt from evictradon.ca

Barb Eglauer Mortgage Update February 2019

Down Payment Options and Tax Credits for First Time Home Buyers

Purchasing a home is a big financial commitment. In addition to moving costs and closing costs, most home purchases require a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price.  This is the amount of money you are personally committing.  Coming up with a down payment can be challenging; however, there are options, depending on the lender, the location of the purchased property, the loan to value and your credit score.

Ideally, you’ve saved the down payment in a savings account or have an RRSP, from which you can withdraw up to $25,000 with no penalty under the Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP). If you choose to take advantage of the HBP, here is what you need to know.

RRSP Withdrawal Conditions

  1. Must be a resident of Canada at the time of the withdrawal.
  2. Must receive or be considered to have received, all withdrawals in the same calendar year.
  3. Only the person who is entitled to receive payments from the RRSP can withdraw funds from an RRSP. You can withdraw funds from more than one RRSP as long as you are the owner of each RRSP. Your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on withdrawal amounts of $25,000 or less.
  4. Your RRSP contributions must stay in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the HBP.
  5. You have to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself, for a related person with a disability, or to help a related person with a disability buy or build a qualifying home.
  6. Also, there are a number of rules for repayment that we can review together.

If an RRSP withdrawal is not an option, here are some other avenues to consider:

  • Non-repayable gifted funds from an immediate relative
  • In some cases, you can borrow the down payment, just be aware that the loan payment will be factored into your affordability calculation
  • You can sell some personal property. Make sure you have proof of ownership and a paper trail. If a lender sees a large amount of money deposited into your account, they want to know where it came from.
  • You can sell any assets, such as stocks or bonds
  • Use the cash value built up in your life insurance policy
  • You can use your TFSA. Remember you can withdraw as much as you want tax-free. As with an RRSP withdrawal, there are few rules to repayment that we can review.

Because different lenders have different down payment requirements, I would be happy to discuss all your options.

I’d also like to mention the First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit (HBTC). You will qualify if:

  • You or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and
  • You did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years.

A qualifying home includes existing homes and those being constructed as well as single-family homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or apartment buildings.

The tax credit is not connected to Home Buyer’s Plan so your eligibility for the tax does not change whether or not you also participate in the Plan.

Call me today.

Clark & Clark Lawyers – One of our preferred Law Firms to Deal with your Real Estate Needs

 

Clark & Clark has been serving the Calgary Real Estate community since 1995. Whether you are a first time home buyer, an experienced seller/ buyer, a new client or a repeat client, we are committed to providing exemplary service to you.

 

The Calgary Real Estate legal community is a competitive environment with many law firms competing for your business. We are proud to say that our long successful track record is partly due to the fact that once our clients are introduced to us they keep returning to us for all their future real estate and legal services. We have many realtors and mortgage brokers across Calgary and Alberta, that continue to refer their clients to us because they know they can trust us with their valued clients.

 

At Clark & Clark we are in the business of building long term relationships and as a valued client you will have the benefit of our teams pooled capabilities, knowledge and experience to ensure you receive the best results.

 

We offer free parking and are currently located next to the Chinook L.R.T. station.

 

If you looking for real estate law firm with an exemplary track record, call us on 403-777-1444 or email us at info@clarklegal.com.

 

We will be happy to talk to you and to provide you with a fee estimate or go online and use our Real Estate Fee Calculator at http://clarklegal.com/real-estate/fees-calculator link.

 

Thank you,

 

Clark & Clark Lawyers

 

 

Condo Versus Traditional Home

Condo Versus Traditional Home

When it comes to choosing the perfect first-time home, down-size property or even long-term investment, the Calgary Condo Market may have just what you’re looking for. There are many reasons why people might choose to buy a condo. Single professionals, new to the housing market, often find them convenient and perfectly suited. Many retiring ‘baby-boomers’ are increasingly leaving their large family homes, and find the idea of living in a community with low-maintenance considerations, highly appealing.

But what are the advantages, and disadvantages, to owning a condominium over a more traditional house? To answer that, we must first determine just what a condo is, and how it differs fundamentally from a single family home.

A condo is essentially an apartment, in as much as it is a unit within a building comprised of other, similar, units. However, each condo is privately owned, as opposed to being rented from the apartment block proprietor.

Condo owners each pay a fee toward the upkeep of the common areas such as gardens, exteriors and general maintenance; well worth bearing in mind if you spend a good deal of time away, or simply don’t have time or the inclination, for DIY projects. Many condominiums also have a range of tempting amenities on site such as a gymnasium, sauna or pool, exclusively for residents’ use. One of the appealing things about living in a condo is that it can be a great way of meeting neighbors and making new friends.

A condo will often have great location as a prime incentive, and the convenience of many downtown blocks means that city workers can cut commuting time down significantly, and of course, enjoy easy access to all the best that a city has to offer. The lure of living within walking distance of theatres, parks, shops and favorite restaurants and cafes can be a strong one.

On the downside, there can be a number of restrictions put in place by the condo association, which may compromise your lifestyle choices. A lack of privacy and the close proximity of neighbours may affect your decision when it comes to considering a condominium. Also, the fact that condos do not have a tendency to appreciate in value as much as similarly priced houses, might well deter some buyers. Take a look at our Statistics for a price comparison of single family homes versus condos over the years.

With a wide selection of new and established Calgary condos on the market, it could certainly be worth while looking into the potential of investing in one.

 

 

What to Look for When You’re Moving During Your Retirement Years

What to Look for When You’re Moving During Your Retirement Years

If you have decided to relocate during your retirement years there are a few factors that you’ll need to consider first. You’re probably going to be spending some years, if not the rest of your life, at your new location so you’ll want to make sure that you choose it well.

Take time to make your decision

Don’t just jump in and decide too quickly that you want to move to a certain location. Get to know the neighborhood or city you’re planning on moving to. If it’s within the city you currently live in, learn more about the community and the types of amenities and services around it. If you’re planning a move outside of the city, take a vacation to the destination of your choice and spend some time there to learn more about the different neighborhoods around town.

Consider your health

Plan for your future retirement years by settling close to excellent medical care facilities. Research the wellness services and hospitals that will be available to you in the new community.

Consider the weather

Find out what type of weather patterns you can expect at your new destination. Every place has its own type of weather and if you’re someone that thrives when the sun is shining, you won’t want to move to a rainy place that only sees the sun shining through the clouds on a hit and miss basis.

Look at the cost of living

Here in Canada, the cost of living can vary greatly from one end of the country to the other. Living in a major city, for example, is going to cost a lot more than settling in a small town as far as housing costs are concerned. Do some research first to find out what types of costs you can reasonably expect to incur once the move is completed. You probably already have a retirement budget set up so you’ll want to ensure that you won’t be breaking the budget by moving to an area with a higher cost of living than where you are now.

If you’re planning to work during your retirement

Many Canadians expect to carry on working past the age of 65. Some are planning to continue work in order to remain mentally active while others believe that they’ll need to stay employed in order to cover their basic costs of living. Find out what type of work would be available in the community you’re planning on moving to. There should be some part-time employment positions open in the community that you find interesting.

 

What’s the Value of Your Home in Today’s Market?

What’s the Value of Your Home in Today’s Market?

You know how much you paid for your Home, and how much you still owe on it. But how much could you actually sell it for in today’s market? Let us prepare a complimentary CMA – a Comparative Market Analysis – for you!

A CMA compares the features – and the value – of properties that are similar to yours, in your immediate area. In order to make sure you’re getting an “apples to apples” comparison, we will look at homes comparable to yours in:

  • location;
  • square footage;
  • year of construction;
  • condition;
  • number of bedrooms and baths;
  • tangible amenities such as a swimming pool, health club facilities, party room, doormen, or garage, and;
  • intangible amenities such as a nice view or safe neighborhood.

We will then look at how much the similar properties were listed for and what they sold at. Also, we will note how many days they were on the market before they sold, and if they were previously listed, pulled off the market and then re-listed.

The CMA, together with the principal balances on the various loans attached to the home, enables you to estimate the equity you have in your own condominium, and gives you an idea of what you can afford to spend on your next property.

Before you make the decision to put your unit up for sale, you’ll want to make sure it’s listed for fair market value, especially when compared to other similar properties. Only with a CMA, and the benefit of an experienced real estate sales representative, can you receive the correct value for your home in today’s market. Of course, if you’re looking to purchase a property in a specific area, you will also be interested in getting a full overview of what’s available, and at what cost, so please call for this interesting comparison, too