Greater Calgary Real Estate was modelled around the needs of realtors. It is realtor centric. Having spent over 20 years in real estate, and seeing many companies thrive and dive with all types of business models from well known franchise models to unknown names, we wanted to create a company that thrived on keeping fees low for realtors while creating a financially healthy company. And how did we do that?


Realtor Centric


Typical needs for realtors are conveyancing, finance, and broker questions. 


But throughout the year topics about legal questions, regulatory input, client care, and negotiating advice come up. The help they receive from Greater Calgary Real Estate comes any morning to any night and they know someone is there for them. 


Our Realtors know the advice they receive comes from over two decades of experience dealing with RECA investigations, CREB complaints, Broker to Broker resolutions, client issues and legal matters. As a realtor, you just never know if it could be you. It can cause health problems, sleeping issues and depression. Our Realtors receive high quality representation with a proven 100% track record. 



Business Model


We have changed our business model a few times since our start. But in 2010 after changing our successful printed real estate magazine advertising, we decided we wanted to start a business that could thrive and be financially stable, even if it was only myself and my husband. This was a very important turn for us. Print media changed and this had been our success since the 90’s. 


So what were we looking for? After many discussions, and soul searching, we realized we didn’t want to have a company that only thrived with top producers. We wanted to make sure our company thrived from as little as two to the sky’s the limit. 


We noticed that most companies were competing against each other, all had the same type of commission splits/office fees. All advertising how successful they would make you. But we know what it takes to be successful, and that’s you! 

We noticed there were companies that charged nothing! But having a finance background, we knew that was not a good plan! Need I explain the problem with that?


We didn’t want to be one of those brokerage that failed financially, that would be devastating to my financially educated husband. 


So…..


We decided to keep our fees low, offer online virtual systems, intranet library with training, company documents, branded designs, online feature sheets, presentations, goal setting, and training and learning company sales meetings and advances.  All while keeping in mind, our aim was to keep more in the pockets of our realtors. 


And that we accomplished. Although we have two professional programs and a training program, we have been able to keep the fees low and be very financially stable and responsible and we are entering our 14th year successfully operating Greater Calgary Real Estate. 



Technology


Our company works with online systems organizing your whole office and ours. Our file reviews go through 3 checks which are part of the system that helps keep our agents out of trouble throughout their career and aids in their knowledge of contract and quality real estate. The system hosts per deal checklists, auto notifications of conditions and essential dates, tasks, notes, accounting, statements and more. 

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2014 was Calgary's last boom, sales were just crazy. May 2014 showed the highest number of sales at 3911 with a median price at $425,000. It was crazy!!!


What happened?

Many factors came into play. The price of oil crashed! A new NDP government came into power! The federal government brought in stress testing for all people trying to buy a home with less than 20% down. Then the ystarted increasing interest rates. That wasn't enough stress on our market, they then brought in stress testing for everyone and again increased the interest rates. 


Calgary Today

Population increase from births to immigration is expected in 2018 by 1.4%, above the country's 1% overall forecast. Our discounted and bottle necked oil problem can see the light with the approval of Enbridge Line 3 and Transmountain Explansion pipelines in around 2021. And confidence may come back to Alberta with a new provincial government. 


What does residential real estate look like today in comparison to 2014? June 2014 showed the number of sales at 2657 and the median price at $425,000. June 2018 showed 1896 sales and median price at $433,750. The number of sales are down 29% from June 2014 - June 2018 but the median price has stayed strong! 


That being said, there are 3 sectors of the real estate market that each have their own statistics to consider. 



Apartment - June 2018: 292 Sales, Median $250,000 Compared to June 2014: 480 Sales, Median $284,000,

Number of Sales down 39%, median price up 13.6%


Attached - June 2018: 394 Sales, Median $345,500 Compared to June 2014: 627 Sales, Median $340,000

Number of Sales down 37%median price up 1.5%


Detached - June 2018: 1210 Sales, Median $495,750 Compared to June 2014: 1550 Sales, Median $493,500

Number of Sales down 22%median price even. 

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When you decide to sell your home, one of the documents required to have ready is your Real Property Report. First of all, I'd like to define Real Property Report and highlight it's importance when selling.


What is a Real Property Report? (RPR)


A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. The key word is improvement. 

Improvement

The word “improvement” refers to any visible structure of a permanent nature, constructed or placed on, in, or over land. Improvement does not include structures that have been taken away. Although you and I may agree that taking away a rotting deck will certainly look better than it staying!

Municipal Compliance 

City of Calgary - The RPR need to have a Stamp of Compliance from your municipality confirming your building locations and that you comply with the land use bylaw.  

A Certificate of Compliance is a confirmation from The City of Calgary that the locations of structures on a property comply with the Land Use Bylaw. This is confirmed on a Real Property Report prepared by an Alberta land surveyor. It does not regulate or enforce any building code requirements or serve as a confirmation of permit history on a property.

A Certificate of Compliance is not a comprehensive bylaw review. The following items are not reviewed for compliance:

  • Fences*

  • Retaining walls*

  • Driveway width

  • Parcel coverage

  • Building height

  • Accessory residential buildings less than 10 m2 (sheds, pergolas, etc.)*

  • Alberta Building Code requirements

*All built structures will be reviewed for encroachments onto City property.

A Certificate of Compliance is usually required by lending agencies or lawyers in the sale of a property and/or mortgage approval to protect their clients' investments. Standard real estate purchase contracts often require the vendor to obtain a compliance certificate. A Certificate of Compliance is not a legislative requirement, but rather a service provided by The City of Calgary. The City does not require you to get a compliance certificate.


Non-Conformance and Relaxations

City of Calgary - A Real Property Report that shows structures that are non-compliant with the Land Use Bylaw will result in a refused compliance. When this occurs, consider the following:

Remove the non-compliant structure

If the non-compliant structure is a minor issue, it may be easiest to remove the offending structure. This option depends on the feasibility of removing the structure and the importance of that structure to the sale. If a structure is removed and the survey is updated to reflect the change, submit the update within six months of the original and compliance fees will be waived.

Apply for a relaxation

development permit for relaxation of Land Use Bylaw rules is another option. After the refusal, the applicant submits color pictures of the non-compliant structure, the Real Property Report and the applicable fee. See the requirements list for relaxation of an existing structure. Relaxations are not guaranteed, as they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Every relaxation presents unique variables and impacts on the surrounding community. Affected parties have an opportunity to provide input.

Compliance is not always required

Sales, leases and other agreements often require a Certificate of Compliance for the protection of interested parties, but this is done as a private condition between those groups. The City offers compliance as a service only, and does not intervene in private transactions.

Even if a non-compliant structure existed before you owned the property, it may still impede compliance. Real property reports represent the property at the time of survey.


The Purchase Contract


When you receive a purchase contract you will need to review the Closing Process. In this section you will be required to supply closing documents which will include the RPR and the Buyer/Buyer's Lawyer should have time to review this document. It is in everyone's best interest you have the RPR prepared prior to your sale. Then if an issue arises, you can choose to remove the issue, negotiate the issue in your offer (which comes with finding a buyer that will be willing to accept your issue), or, apply and pay for a relaxation with the city. 

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If you follow real estate you have probably read the term “Guaranteed Sale”. I decided to write about this topic because I feel it is a conflict of interest between industry members and the public.

 

What is a Gauranteed Sale?  It is when a Realtor®/Brokerage offers to buy your home at a huge discount if they cannot sell it on their own. If using industry specific terms in advertising, industry professionals must present the information in such a way that the consumer will have a CLEAR understanding of what the advertising means.

 

Bait and switch tactics.  Doesn’t it seem odd that if a realtor® is offering to buy your home, that everyone should just be selling their home to their realtor®? Industry members are not allowed to communicate an offer just to get a foot in the door only to substantially restrict the offer during their meeting.

 

Conflict of interest means a real or obvious incompatibility concerning an industry professional’s interest and the interest of the client or potential client. The test to determine if a conflict of interest exists is to take an objective viewpoint. If a reasonable person concludes the industry professionals’ judgment, advice or loyalty to the client may

have an adverse effect on the client - this would be a conflict of interest.If a realtor is offering to buy your home at a huge discount, who’s best interest do they have in mind? How can they act in your best interest if they may have to buy your home or want to buy your home.

 

My assumptions on Guaranteed Sales is that the Realtor® cannot possibly be representing the public in good faith without a conflict of interest. The only reason a Realtor® is marketing Guaranteed Sales is for you to call! They have either no intention of ever buying your home (so reduce, reduce is their mantra), or their intention is to buy your home at an excellent discounted price! Either way, this has nothing to do with your best interests!

 

How is a price determined? Taken from Realtor's website for Calgary and AREA who practices Guaranteed Sales. 

"We look at comparable sales in your community to determine the fair market value of your home. From that a percentage up to around 10% is taken off the net amount that you would receive if you were to sell in today’s market.

For example, if your house is valued at $400,000 we subtract real estate commissions and then a percentage up to around 10% is taken off that amount giving you a net guaranteed sale amount. In this case, the guaranteed sale amount would be $345,600. The percentage that is up to 10% is solely based on the property’s location and current market trends and conditions."

The key to this example is that she hasn't told you how they determine VALUE. It is not based on what you feel your home is worth, nor is the VALUE based on the list price. And there are always 3 parts of VALUE;  high, mid a low. I can ensure you the VALUE will be determined as LOW!

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Data supplied by CREB®’s MLS® System. CREB® is the owner of the copyright in its MLS® System. The Listing data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by CREB®.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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