Thursday, March 28, 2013


Edmonton, March 4, 2013: The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton reports that the housing market in the Edmonton CMA1 remains active. Residential listing activity was up 10% as compared to January and sales increased by 18.2%. The all-residential price (includes single family detached, condominiums, duplexes and row-houses) rose 4.3% in a month.

While the average price for a single family detached home broke through a psychological barrier at $400,973 in February ($399,832 in January), it was up just 0.3%. Condo prices showed stronger gains, rising 7.3% from January to $231,866. Duplex and rowhouse prices were also up month-over-month at $332,285 on average. The all-residential average price was $342,735 (up 2.9% from February 2012).

Click here to read more about the housing market in Edmonton.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top tips for first-time homebuyers

(NC)—More than ever before, first-time homebuyers are considering housing affordability. “We want consumers to be comfortable with the financial responsibilities of owning a home, so it's important to determine what you can afford in order to maintain a reasonable lifestyle once you've made the leap,” says Phil Soper, president of Royal LePage Canada. To assess if you are ready for homeownership, Soper offers this guideline:

1. Determine your net worth. Take your assets (earnings, investments, savings, vehicles and other items you own) and subtract your liabilities (car loans, lines of credit, overdrafts and credit cards). A positive number is a good sign that you may be ready to purchase your first home.

2. Hire a real estate agent. Top agents have extensive experience and demonstrate dedication and commitment to helping their clients. Ask your family and friends for a referral, or explore real estate websites (such as www.royallepage.ca) to read profiles on agents, including their areas of expertise and languages spoken. A real estate agent will have knowledge of accurate, real-time market data to leverage your negotiating position, as well as access to properties often even before they are listed. 

3. Make a list of your basic needs. Is it important to you to be close to transit and amenities? Do you intend to grow your family or do you have a need for extra space? Determine the factors essential to you in a home and which ones you may be able to live without. This will help you narrow your search and choose a home that is within your financial means. www.newscanada.com

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No crash in store for Canadian housing market.

TORONTO — A slowdown in Canada’s housing market will continue through 2013 and years of stagnation may follow, but no crash is likely because demographic trends will support demand in the medium term, a report by Scotiabank said on Monday.

The report by Canada’s third-largest bank said that home sales have already dropped more than 10% from spring 2012, with prices leveling off but not yet falling except in particularly hard-hit markets.

A slowing housing market could deal the most damage to CIBC, National Bank and TD, according to new a report by Barclays Capital. Housing, which slowed but did not crash as a result of the global financial crisis, helped sustain Canada’s economy through much of 2010 to 2012 but is now starting to slide just as the U.S. housing sector has begun a clear recovery.
Scotiabank said the housing slowdown will trim a quarter of a percentage point from Canada’s economic growth in 2013 and 2014, while the U.S. housing recovery is adding half a percentage point to annual growth rates there.

While Canadian home sales may continue to slump, the report said, prices will likely remain above year-ago levels until at least the second half of 2013, and will not drop as dramatically as they did in the United States.

Click here to continue reading.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Making Healthy Meal Choices For Our Busy Lifestyles


Tonight I spent a few hours on the phone with my lovely daughter in law.   Like many women – she’s your typical super woman.   Extremely successful mortgage broker, wife and mother to the two most adorable and smartest and handsomest boys ever (OK – so I’m a little biased but really – all true). We were talking about how hard it is for working moms to put healthy meals on the table when – if they are lucky – they have a minute and a half for meal prep.   It’s so tempting to buy that packaged meal or that bottled sauce.   I totally get it.   So what’s the alternative?  Well – for me it’s finding recipes that make more than one portion – that freezes well.   One of my favorite recipes is my jerk chicken sauce.

Click here to get the recipe!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tips for Selecting and Contracting a Home Remodeling General Contractor



Are you considering a home remodeling project for your property? Most remodeling projects involve either structural or aesthetic aspects which might require several specialized technical skills. If this is the case, you may want to enlist the services of a general contractor. 

A general contractor negotiates a contract for the entire remodeling project, and either completes the specialized work with his own crew, or sub-contracts to other various house remodeling contractors. Some of the specialized areas might include planning/architecture, concrete, plumbing, electrical, roofing, dry wall, cabinetry, or painting. 

The Planning
To get an accurate bid from a potential general contractor, it is very important to plan carefully, with much thought and consideration. You may want to involve an architect or draftsman to generate the blueprints for your project. Remember that any home remodeling features not included in the plans will not be included in the bid. 

Once you have detailed plans for your project, you need to start the selection process for a general contractor. Canadian residents can go on-line to for a list of qualified, licensed contractors.
The Contractor

It is a rule of thumb to get at least 3 bids from separate remodeling contractors. Provide each with an identical set of plans. Be upfront about your expectations, and request they be realistic about time, cost, and interruption factors. It is wise not to make a selection based on price alone; other considerations are equally important. 

Before you accept a bid from a contractor ask questions: What experience and references do they have from projects similar to yours? Will they be working on other projects simultaneously with your own? If they will not be personally working at your site, how much time each day will they spend supervising? Will they use their own crew for some or all the work? How available will any sub-contractors be? What licenses and insurance do they carry? And what is the time line of the project, start to finish? These are questions any reliable, qualified general contractor should answer and outline in the contract.

The Contract
When negotiating the contract for your home remodeling project, be thorough and accurate. Include complete names and addresses of both parties, a detailed job description, material specifications, start and finish dates, any warranties on work or materials, and payment options.It is fairly common for a general contractor to ask for 10-33% of the estimated cost in advance; most contracts provide for payment as work progresses.A reliable, reputable contractor will agree to contract terms which help protect the interests of both parties.

By being thorough in your research, planning, and contracting process, you can look forward to enjoying the results of your home remodeling project for many years to come! (handycanadian.com)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is the definition of a mortgage broker



A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary who brokers mortgage loans on behalf of individuals or businesses.

Traditionally, banks and other lending institutions have sold their own products. However as markets for mortgages have become more competitive, the role of the mortgage broker has become more popular. Today in most developed mortgage markets (especially in Canada, the U.S., the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain) mortgage brokers are the largest sellers of mortgage products for lenders. Mortgage brokers exist to find a bank or a direct lender that an individual seeks with a specific loan the individual is seeking. Mortgage brokers in Canada are paid by the lender and do not charge fees for good credit applications.

The majority of mortgage brokers are regulated to ensure compliance with banking and or finance laws in the jurisdiction of the consumer. (Wikipedia)