Dear Friends,

 
First off, let me wish you a happy and joyful Canada Day! I hope your celebration of our nation are as wonderful as the rest of your summer plans.

Summer is the time of quick getaways, reunions with friends and family, and a chance to explore the path less trodden. If you want to do something close to home, look no further than our list of the hottest, most fun events happening around the city.

For those seeking adventure further away, growing numbers of Canadians are turning to second homes for the summer. A new survey shows that sales of recreational properties such as cabins, lakeside properties and other holiday homes have skyrocketed this year. We’ll explain why and what this means for both British Columbia and Alberta, as well as including some tips about buying recreational property.

Talking about recreational properties, check out our photo feature of unique and beautiful pool patio furniture ideas.

If you or someone who know needs help selling or buying property, please feel free to reach out. It would be my pleasure to assist you.
Platinum Team
Ph: (780) 271-8326
Email: Sales@PlatinumTeam.ca
Web: www.PlatinumTeam.ca
Opera Al Fresco (July 6)
Live music, wine and the great outdoors …. What else do you need this summer?
Outdoor Vintage and More Market (July 7)
An outdoor market of all things antique and vintage from shabby chic to handmade.
Oh Snap! '90s Movie Marathon (July 12 – 15)
Good old movies and classics from the previous decade.
Africanival (July 14 – 15)
A festival that celebrates the diverse culture of the African continent. 
Taste of Edmonton 2018 (July 18 – 29)
One bite at a time, discover this city through food.
Parks Day Celebration (July 21)
A great way to celebrate the outdoors and explore Elk Island National Park.
Who doesn’t dream of a home-away-from-home vacation property on a picturesque lakeside somewhere?

A recent survey shows that sales of recreational property are on the rise across country and the prices are expected to appreciate by nearly six per cent this year, particularly in Alberta and British Columbia. Alberta is leading the way on recreational property purchases, reaching prices of $535,885 on average.

Retirees and baby-boomers are the ones driving up vacation property purchases, flocking to lakes and streams, the seaside and mountaintops, with an eye towards retirement or a secondary home to raise children.

However, a spike down in the recreational property purchases was reported due to the newly introduced speculation taxes in British Columbia.

The tax targets property purchased by those who live primarily outside of the province and second homes, causing many existing homeowners to sell their secondary homes to avoid the steep fees. For instance, although there was an increase in sales in BC, the prices actually decreased by 2.8 per cent to just over $53,000 on average across the province.

The speculation tax also encouraged Albertans, one of largest cohorts of recreational buyers in BC, to look for properties elsewhere — like closer to home in their own province. Regions like Canmore, and west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains were especially popular this year.

But the speculation tax is only part of the equation. Some areas in B.C., like the Cariboo, saw cabin prices soar by 25 per cent for lakefront properties. This is despite the new taxes and wildfires that devastated the region last summer.

Overall, the fluctuation on recreational homes are down to people’s appetite for certain type of properties and their prices.  These trends are expected to continue in the upcoming years.
 
 
 
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 Dear Friends,

Summer is here and with the warm weather, many of our worries wash away in the sunshine and more relaxed days.

But there is one thing we shouldn't be lax about — insurance policies for your home. Take a moment to make sure that you are adequately protected in case the unexpected happens. We’ve included an overview of insurance for condo owners, particularly when it comes to special assessments.

On a more light-hearted note, we’ve also included a list of fun and free activities happening around the city this month for when you are looking for something to do. Check out our photo feature of decorative wall planters that are not only functional but stylish as well.

As always, I enjoy providing you with both the information and the support you need to make the right decisions.

If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate, I am delighted to help.  
Platinum Team
Ph: (780) 271-8326
Email: Sales@PlatinumTeam.ca
Web: www.PlatinumTeam.ca
Foodie Bike Tour (all summer)
Enjoy a bike ride and hitting all the hottest spots to eat in the city.
FUR: The Fabric of Our Nation (until July 3)
An exhibition all about the fur trade and how it ties into Canada’s history.
Elves 2018 Golf Tournament fundraiser (June 7)
A massive fundraiser event that brings more than 100 golfers together.
Edmonton Pride Festival (June 8 – 17)
Very colourful and entertaining, the festival lasts more than a week and is one of Western Canada's largest LGBTQ festivals.
Eats on 118 (June 13)
Discover a variety of dishes from some of Alberta Avenue's best restaurants on this culinary tour.
Freewill Shakespeare Festival (June 19 – July 15)
The Bard is brought to life for everyone from children to scholars at these plays.
The Ultimate Race (June 23)
Two teams race around the city in costumes, looking for clues in this contest.
Condominiums typically have an overall insurance policy covering the building but it’s nonetheless still important for individual condo owners to look into their own policies. Shared insurance doesn’t cover personal belongings, for example, or other costs that an owner could incur in the case of an emergency.

Insurance is particularly noteworthy when it comes to special assessments, a levy or financial contribution that can be imposed on condo unit owners.

Usually, special assessments and other costs like strata fees are explained and disclosed at the time of purchase. In the case of an emergency though, a special levy can be announced — usually after a strata vote.

This money is collected in instances, for example, where the shared insurance policy doesn’t cover the full cost of the damage and can add up quickly for condo owners.

Loss of assessment coverage can mitigate this.

Types of insurance:

1. Title insurance
It’s not unheard of to hear horror stories of condo buyers getting stuck with special assessments after they’ve bought their unit.

Title insurance protects buyers against several risks, including situations like this where special assessments crop up that were not disclosed at the time of purchase.

This kind of insurance covers the condo owners’ portion of any special assessment.

2. Special assessment insurance
It’s also possible to get insurance that specifically covers special assessments.

Problems can come up where this is needed, for example, when a condominium corporation faces a crisis where its own insurance policy isn’t sufficient enough to cover the costs and so a levy is collected.

Special assessment insurance covers the owner in this case.

These are just two examples of insurance that can cover an unexpected special assessment. Dozens of other policies exist to cover personal items and other costs, sometimes even moving costs or unexpected living costs.

Other types of condo insurances
  • All-risk insurance
  • Personal liability
  • Contents insurance 
  • Replacement cost
  • Additional living expenses coverage
  • Improvement and betterments protection
  • Loss assessment
Know how you are covered by your insurance so you can fill in any gaps as needed for full protection and peace of mind.

Acknowledgments

We want to send a special thank you to the following amazing clients for their recent referrals. Our business depends on it and it's very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Ken Quintanilla, Liberty Padilla, Avideh Parent, Chetan Jajadiya.

Featured Business

Peter B Mason | Barrister and Solicitor
peterm@pbmlaw.ca
780-908-6721
pbmlaw.ca

 
 
 
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 Dear Friends,

The sun is out and the days are looking brighter.

In this upcoming month, we have Mother’s Day to look forward to and a celebration of all the women in our life. For tech-savvy Moms, check out our photo feature of cool gadgets for women.

This is a great time to appreciate the people around you and spend time with loved ones — and if you’re looking for ideas of what to do, we’ve got you covered with a list of activities happening around the city this month.

We’ve also included the latest market trends and developments in the real estate world, to enlighten and inform you of all that is going on.

They say the best things in life are free and, while that’s definitely true, carrying a load of debt can make those things less pleasant. We talked to a credit advisor and have some advice on how to improve and protect your credit score.

That score will come in handy when getting a mortgage, once you find the perfect house. And if you’re still looking for the perfect home? Please feel free to reach out and I will gladly help you in your search.

I look forward to being in touch.
Platinum Team
Ph: (780) 271-8326
Email: Sales@PlatinumTeam.ca
Web: www.PlatinumTeam.ca
Art and Sole (May 10)
A foot-forward fashion fundraiser to get getting ballerinas dancing.
Teddy Bear Fun Run (May 12)
Have fun, exercise and support the local children’s hospital.
Dutch Spring Market (May 12)
A European-style market with vendors of all kinds.
Mother’s Day (May 13)
There are lots of ways to celebrate mothers this Sunday, like taking her to brunch.
Cat Pop Up Shop (May 19)
Bring your cat and get ready to indulge in all things cat-related. 
Foodie Bike Tour (all summer)
Enjoy a bike ride and hitting all the hottest spots to eat in the city.
NextFest (May 31 – June 10)
A glimpse at upcoming talent in the area.
Your credit score affects many areas of your life from your spending abilities to your stress levels.

Missing a couple of payments on a credit card can dramatically drop your score, even after years of consistently meeting payment deadlines.

Your credit report tracks your spending history for the past six years and a bad credit (FICO score) makes it nearly impossible to get financing for a home, car, credit card or even cell phone.

So if, for whatever reason, your score has plummeted — there are a few things you can do to repair it.

1. Know your score
Finding out your credit score and history is the first step to knowing what went wrong and how to fix it.

You can get a copy from two main credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax (the most highly recognized) and Trans Union. If you send it in by mail, you can receive a copy for free or you can pay for a digital version for the benefit getting it faster.

2. Review your history
Make sure that there are no errors. It’s not likely but not impossible either.

Check that no late payments have been erroneously added to your account, all the charges made are accurate and that your payments went through correctly.

3. Start making payments
This may be easier said than done but it really is the key to improving your credit score.

Set up a reminder schedule and make sure you are paying off your debt bit by bit each month — and on time. If you want, you can set up payment reminders or automatic withdrawals.

The general rule is to keep debt within 65% of your credit limit. When it comes to paying off debt, start with the one with the highest interest rate first.

It may seem overwhelming but, chunk by chunk, it is possible to pay off debt if you stay consistent with it.

4. Avoid more debt
Be aware of the credit limit on your card and don’t go over that limit. Also keep in mind that having too many credit cards, especially newly open accounts, can also negatively impact your rating.

5. Pay off debt as soon as possible
Although it seems strange to go into debt to pay off debt, and contrary to the previous step, sometimes taking out a loan or borrowing money is the best way to save your credit score.

Balance what the interest looks like, how quickly you can pay it off and whether a loan will ease your credit history.

Sometimes, borrowing money with a low interest rate can help pay off high-interest credit card debt. Repaying debt on a credit card will help speed repairs to your credit history.

6. Take the initiative
Check your credit at least a few months before you need to make a big purchase or re-finance something so you have time to improve your score if needed. This will help give you the best interest rates when you most need them.

Lenders make a lot of their financing decisions by looking at your history. If you pay off debt the day before, you score and reputation is much less credible.

If you absolutely cannot make the minimum payment on your card, consider calling the lender and explaining the situation.

They may have advice or ways to help you; people often look favourably at those who reach out with honesty and initiative and are therefore more willing to help in return.

7. Protect your credit score
If you have bad credit, don’t panic — it’s easy enough to repair it by paying off the highest interest rates first and being consistent with debt management.

If you have good credit, make sure you protect it — set up payment reminders and don’t fall into debt if you can avoid it.

Keep old accounts, even if you are not using them very often, and don’t open too many accounts too soon because the age of an account positively impacts your score. Use fraud alert services and be careful of who you give your information to in order to avoid identify theft.

Acknowledgments

We want to send a special thank you to the following amazing clients for their recent referrals. Our business depends on it and it's very much appreciated.

Thank you,
Chhaya Pandya, Terra and Bryan Cameron, Hugh and Jill Willis.

Featured Business

David Bier
Buyer's Choice Home Inspections
www.abuyerschoice.com
780-868-2796

 
 
 
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 Dear Friends,

Signs of spring are finally peeking around the corner with cherry blossoms coming out and the sounds of birds singing in the morning to be heard again. 

If changing the look of your home is on your to-do list this season, why not try painting the rooms of the house first? If you are stuck for colours, look no further than our guide to the hottest paint trends of 2018.

We’ve also included an update on recent developments in the local real estate market and a look at what is happening in the major cities around the country.

On a more fun side, check our list of activities that are happening around the city – many of them are spring-related and a great way to get into the groove of the warmer temperatures.

If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate, please keep me in mind. I am happy to answer any questions and look forward to guiding you on your housing search.
Platinum Team
Ph: (780) 271-8326
Email: Sales@PlatinumTeam.ca
Web: www.PlatinumTeam.ca
Glenrose Foundation Courage Gala (April 13)
Enjoy an exclusive chef-prepared meal, cocktails, special entertainment and dancing in support of patient care at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.
Family Meals In a Flash (April 19)
Learn tips and tricks to prepare meals in 30 minutes or less.
Amanda Lindhout talk (April 20)
The Alberta journalist shares her story of spending 460 days as a hostage in southern Somalia.
Progress: Thinking through (until April 21)
An exhibit that showcases the behind-the-scenes of art.
Kamikaze FireFlies (April 21)
A crazy show of daredevils and hard-to-believe feats.
Tattoo and Arts Festival (April 27 – 29)
The best way to check out the ink with both local and international artists showcasing their work.

Calgary
Prices in Calgary have remained constant but the rate of turnover has fallen slightly this past month — sales were about 18 per cent lower compared to this time last year. The new listings in part played a role in keeping prices steady.

The average home sold for $502k this past month and there have been 3,240 new listings since this time last month while 874 homes have sold. Homes are spending an average of 38 days on the market before being sold.

Vancouver
Home buyers were less active than usual last month and home sales dipped to a historic low in February, compared to previous years — there was a nine per cent decrease compared to February 2017.

The average home sold for $1.2 million this past month and there have been 1,350 new listings since this time last month while 612 homes have sold.

Toronto
Growth has continued to pick up as we move into the spring market and selling prices are expected to follow suit soon.

More than 4,400 homes have been listed in the past month on the Toronto market and a whopping 2,531 sold in that same time period. Homes are spending an average of 17 days on the market, far below the average in other cities like Vancouver or Calgary. The average home is being sold for $850K.

A rose by another name wouldn’t smell as sweet, as the old adage goes, and the same can be said about homes. A wall by any other colour just wouldn’t suffice.

Choose the right shade for your brush can be tricky, and like anything in life, paints go through ups and downs of popularity from the burgundy oranges of the ‘70s to the darker tones of the ‘90s.

In order to decide on the most up-and-coming colours, experts delve into what’s popular in the world of fashion, arts, pop culture, and even the automotive industry to create a palate of popular paints.

Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization providing unbiased product ratings and reviews, took a look ahead at the hottest colours of 2018 to paint a home.

Using their research, we’ve compiled a list of the top five trends of paint for your home this year:

Caliente (AF-290)
A vivid, lively red that creates impressions of strength and character. Some might find it too bold for an entire room but it’s the perfect shade for details — a door, a trimming or a window frame. Reds work especially well in the kitchen.

Oceanside (SW6496)
If you can’t escape to the seaside, why not bring the vibe of the sea to you? This mysterious blue hue, with a touch of green, will bring to mind images of mermaids and seashells. Works particularly well in a bedroom or bathroom, combined with creams or whites.

In The Moment (T18-15)
A much more subtle shade of blue-green, this colour is both calming and restorative. Slightly paler than a mint green, it can be used to paint an entire room to open it up and give a feeling of more space.

Honeycomb (HGSW2133)
A rich golden yellow that is halfway between sunshine and egg yolk, this colour is energetic and cheerful. It’s best used to accent an otherwise plain room or as a backdrop to a wall that is otherwise covered behind shelves or plants.

River Rapids (29B-3)
A sea foam green that lightens up a room while not being overwhelming. Perfect for a living room that has either cream-coloured or deep, dark furniture. It adds a touch of sophistication to any room.

Acknowledgments

We want to send a special thank you to Joe and Jesslyn Michel and Chhaya Pandya for their recent referrals. Our business depends on people just like them and it is extremely appreciated!

 
 
 
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 Dear Friends,

The sounds and smells of spring are just around the corner — March 20 and spring will have sprung once again.

We are all familiar with the idea of spring-cleaning but why not take it one step further with spring-fixing.

Spring is a great season to tackle some home-improvement projects. We’ve got some suggestions of projects to tackle that will not only improve the aesthetics of your home, but will also increase the value without breaking the bank.

Also in this month’s newsletter, we’ve included the latest market report and some news explainers to keep you up to date on all that is going on.

Although the weather might not seem quite warm enough to want to leave home just yet, we’ve got a list of events that will encourage you to get out and explore the city.

If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate please keep me in mind. I am happy to answer any questions and look forward to guiding you on housing search.
The Romeo Initiative (March 1 – 11)
Based on a true story about an East German spy, this production is half romantic comedy and half spy thriller.
International Women’s Day Celebration and Screening (March 8)
Screening of Embrace, a film about body positivity and empowerment, in celebration of International Women’s Day
Snowshoe and stargaze (March 10)
Trek in the snow and gaze at the stars from Elk Island National Park, all in the safety and fun of a guided tour.
SkirtsAfire Festival (March 8 – 11)
This women-focused arts festival spans four days and showcases work from all the different disciplines.
Lindi Ortega (March 16)
Canadian Country Music Award winner, she has worked with musicians like k.d. lang and Carrie Underwood before. Her raw vocal power and roots rhythm is not to miss.
Northern Lights Folk Club (March 24)
Featuring singer, songwriter and guitarist Roy Forbes.
Anneke’s Antique Sale (March 30 – 31)
More than 130 collections of antiques and old glories from vintage jewellery to furniture are for sale.

This month, for the first time since 2001, a NDP government delivered a budget to British Columbians for the coming year.

The name of the game in the new budget is affordability — huge investments were promised in everything from childcare to healthcare to housing. 

With pledges of money, though, comes a need to generate revenue to fund it. With that came a plethora of new regulations and taxes in the property market, outlined the budget

The main take-aways for real estate in B.C. are:

1. Speculation Tax
This new annual tax will apply to foreign and domestic property owners who are not residents of B.C.

Some exemptions may be made for principal residences or long-term rental properties but it will include properties that are left vacant.

The tax will be introduced this fall and apply initially apply to homes in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and some other capital regional districts like Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna.

It will start at tax rate of 0.5 per cent of the assessed value in 2018 and increase to 2 per cent of assessed value next year.

2. Enhanced Foreign Buyers Tax
Starting this month, the previously-introduced foreign buyers tax will be increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. It will extend to other areas across the province and no longer cover just Metro Vancouver.

3. Property Transfer Tax on Homes Above $3M
An additional 2 per cent property transfer tax will be applied to homes above $3 million, on top of the previous transfer taxes.

4. Pre-sale Condos
The government will be cracking down on the pre-sale condo market, requiring developers to collect and report comprehensive information and building build a database on pre-sale condo assignments.

5. First Time Buyer Program
Details have not been finalized but the previous home partnership loan that matched first-time buyers with down payments up to 5 per cent will be replaced with a different program to support the development of affordable housing options.

6.  Affordable Housing
The province promised $6 billion over the next decade to build 114,000 affordable homes units including modular, student and social housing.

1. Doors and Windows
The cost of a new door is almost entirely recouped when it comes to selling and greatly improves both look and security. A steel door costs an average of $1,162 and would recoup nearly 97 per cent of that cost, according to a survey by Cost vs. Value Report.

The same is true for windows. Dual pane windows in particular are popular and, in addition to improving attractiveness, can cut heating costs in the winter.

2. Landscaping
With warmer weather come fresh flowers and plenty of yard work. “Curb appeal” is hugely important when it comes to selling. Use your garden’s size and dimensions to your advantage — cutting back overgrown bushes and planting a delicate perimeter of flowers can do wonders for a small garden. Even for large gardens though, don’t overcrowd it.

3. Kitchen Remodel
This is a costlier upgrade than some of the others but one that will spike your home’s value. Kitchens are one of the rooms that can most obviously date a house and one of the biggest selling points for a prospective buyer.

If major renovations are not on your to-do list, consider smaller upgrades: new appliances, a fresh coat of paint on the cupboards or more storage space.

4. Bathroom Remodel
Similar to the kitchen, bathroom remodelling is an extremely valuable project albeit it can be costly. New fixtures, shelving and shower head are easy additions that can quickly improve the look. Fresh paint and fixing any water-stained marks are also must-dos.

5. Paint and Other Small Tasks
Small hardware changes – burnt out light bulbs, broken cabinet fixtures, squeaky cupboards and leaks are all little fixes that don’t take long but make all the difference.

A fresh coat of paint, particularly in a neutral colour like cream or pale yellow, can immediately brighten a room and make a home appear much more current.
 
 
 
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Curious as to what specials are happening at your favourite restaraunt in YEG today? Check out this amazing compilation of restaraunts and specials happening on different days of the week! 

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 Dear Friends,

Look around and what do you see? Probably technology, everywhere.

This year, home technology and smart devices are making a bigger splash than ever. We’ve taken a look at some of the top technology trends for 2018 so you can keep your house as flashy as you want.

Also in this month’s newsletter, for an up-to-date look at what is happening in the world of real estate, we’ve included the latest market report and a news brief on property assessments.

On the more light-hearted side, if you are looking for something to do with family and friends this month, look no further than our guide to the most fun, upbeat events happening around the city.

No matter what your needs are, we have you covered.

If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate please keep me in mind. I am happy to answer any questions and look forward to guiding you on a housing search.
Silver Skate Festival (Feb. 9 – 19)
Nearly three decades of sports celebrations, this festival is rooted in Dutch tradition and love of winter.
Great Canadian FitFest (Feb. 10 – 11)
One of the largest interactive fitness festivals in the country, bringing together competition and healthy living.
Proteus Saxophone Quarter (Feb. 17)
Redefining the tradition of saxophone in this vibrant and vivacious concert.
Indian-inspired meals (Feb. 22)
Who needs to order in when you can learn to make your own delicious meals.
Intersect (Feb. 23 – 24)
Dynamic ballet performance, bringing together two very different pieces.
Swing n’ skate (until Feb. 25)
Local bands bring the swinging, the swaying and the jazz to this free event every Sunday.

Homeowners in Edmonton began receiving their 2018 property assessment notices in the mail at the beginning of the year.

By now, everyone should have received one and have a clear idea of the assessed value of their property.

This is important because this value determines the property taxes that must be paid.

Property assessments in Edmonton were fairly stable this year, with an average increase of less than one per cent compared to last year.

The one exception was single-family detached homes in neighbourhoods along the river valley like Windsor Park, Quesnell Heights, Glenora and Oliver.

You can look up different property assessments on the City of Edmonton’s website to compare different 2018 property assessments.

In order to assess the value of the property, a number of key factors such as location, size, land surface, age and condition of the building are taken into consideration.

A large increase in property assessments does not always translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes, however. It also takes into account changes relative to your community.

Property taxes in Edmonton make up about half of all revenue that the City receives.

It helps fund essential services like police, fire fighting and emergency rescue. They also support community programs, recreation centres, public libraries, parks and much more.

Property taxes bills arrive in May and must be paid by June 30.

They can be paid in multiple ways; in person, online banking, credit card or cheque. You can set up a Property Tax Monthly Payment Plan to avoid paying them all at once.

Assessments can be appealed up through a customer review period until March 12, 2018. A complaint can be made online or in person about property assessment, but you cannot appeal your property tax bill.

From smart watches to smart kettles, technology is entering homes at the speed of light.

One of the biggest home technology trends for 2018 is that devices now provide many uses — just one function won’t cut it anymore.

A new voice activated mirror recently came out that changes the lighting, tells you the weather and plays music as you get ready. There’s a door alert system that not only provides lighting but also extends the home’s wifi.

Part of it is an issue of space and availability of outlets — why buy an item that only does one thing when the same sized device does many functions?

Home security is a key example of how technology in the home is taking off.

Many of the security systems on offer are fully integrated and often include functions that are not typically associated with home safety like lighting and doorbell ring tones.

Almost all the systems now include an option to lock and unlock doors and keep an eye on the situation remotely via wifi.
Technology is not always cheap but when used right can help you save money in the long run.

For example, monitoring devices can help curb energy use because it gives you real-time data. Smart thermostats and lighting systems, which are programmable, can also help save money by only using energy when you need it.

Simple safety improvements like smart thermostats, smart fire detectors and smart carbon monoxide detectors are a bonus when selling a home too.

A survey by Smart Home Marketplace recently found that 70 per cent of homebuyers want these kinds of features in a home and so a few inexpensive touches can really make it stand out to buyers.
 
 
 
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Family Day is a special opportunity to spend uninterrupted time with your loved ones. As Edmontonians, we are lucky to live in a place where so many festivities are held to celebrate this special day! And...

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Valentines Day is only a week away! If you're on a budget, or are looking to create something extra special for your loved one this year, these adorable DIY cards are just what you need! These tutorials...

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2017 was a great year. We helped so many families find their dream homes and really focused on our core values.

We can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us.

 

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It can be tough to decide what to do for Valentines Day. Check out these events in Edmonton for v-day date night ideas!

 

Love Grows • Muttart Conservatory 

February 9 • 6:00pm...

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 Dear Friends,

The holiday season is upon us, with lots of cheer and time with loved ones to brighten up the coming month.

December seems to always be a particularly busy time for having guests...
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This 2 storey townhouse style condominium with single garage in "The Lofts at Lakeland Ridge" is ideally located overlooking a courtyard in front and backing to a greenbelt, within walking distance...

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 Dear Friends,

Winter is coming and, as statistics show, Canadians spent between 80 to 90 per cent of their time indoors during the colder months.

This means that it is hugely important to consider the health of your home – from air quality to lighting – to make sure that you and your family are as healthy as possible. We have some advice on what to look for.

And speaking of what to look for — check out our lists of upcoming events around the city to look out for! Many of them are free, family-friendly and fun, making it a great excuse to get out of the house.

To keep you up-to-date in the world of real estate, we’ve happily included the latest market report, in an easily digestible infographic form, and a news brief explainer on the new mortgage qualification rules.

No matter what your needs are, we have you covered. Whether guiding you towards a healthier, happier home or helping you buy the perfect house, I am here for you and happy to help you, or a friend, in a real estate journey.
Cyber Summit (Nov. 7 - 9)
Event of workshops and discussions about the effects of technology on the economy and different parts of the world, held in Banff.
Farmfair International (Nov. 8 - 12)
Western-style agricultural fair with events like bronco riding and barrel racing, held at the Expo Centre.
Hadestown (Nov. 11 - Dec. 3)
A play based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, telling the story of love, epic quests and the struggle between faith and doubt. Showing at Citadel Theatre all month.
All Is Bright Festival (Nov. 25)
Street festival lights and fire dancers, perfect to get in the holiday mood. Free and family-friendly.
St. Albert Indoor Christmas Market (Nov. 25 Dec. 16)
Four weekends of Christmas markets with fresh produce, baked goods and little gifts.
Festival of Trees (Nov. 30 Dec. 3)
A holiday celebration focused on a good cause; this festival of all things Christmas-related raises money for the Alberta Hospital.
Bustling winds, rainy days, and stormy nights are now solidly upon us with few hints left of warmer times left.

Do not despair, with the shift of seasons comes a chance for change for both you and your home.  Take the right steps for you and your family to be happy and well.

Air quality
  • Spring-cleaning is an old adage but don’t wait till next year.
  • Now is the time to vacuum, dust and sweep up dust bunnies and cobwebs.
  • Thoroughly check for moisture spots and moulds—certain strains, like black mould, can be deadly.
  • Consider purchasing an air filter for improved quality.
Lights
  • A lack of sunshine and light during the winter can cause SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Proper lighting and vitamin D supplements can help mitigate the symptoms, however.
  • Sunlight lamps produce a glow similar to the sun and, in addition to helping with the winter blues, can feel more calm and natural that harsh light.
  • Consider switching to LED lights to lower electricity costs.
  • Tri-coloured bulb – with each flick of a switch, the bulb casts a different tone and it’s a great way to control the lighting without buying multiple lamps. 
Green clean
  • Air fresheners, though pleasant smelling, often contain harmful chemicals that can cause lung disease and aggravate allergies. Switch to natural, biological fresheners.
  • If you don’t recognize the long list of ingredients on your cleaning products, consider switching to something more natural. Eco-friendly choices are good for you, your home and the environment.
  • What’s in your laundry detergent and soap? Some chemicals can dry skin and damage clothes. Biological keeps you just as clean without the harshness.
Safety
  • Even more important than health consciousness, basic safety measures can be life-saving. Do not skimp or skip on this front.
  • Check that your fire alarm works and you have a fire extinguisher close at hand and easy to locate in an emergency.
  • Make sure there are carbon monoxide detectors working and placed around your home, especially in bedrooms.
  • Have an earthquake preparedness kit at hand and an evacuation plan ready – know with certainty where you will seek shelter if the earth starts shaking.

Qualifying for a mortgage has never been a breeze and it’s about to get much harder.

In mid-October, the federal government announced changes to mortgage qualification rules and a more stringent “stress test” for uninsured mortgages for those with a 20 per cent or higher down payment.

The biggest impact these changes will have is on purchasing power and housing affordability. Rate Hub, a rate comparison website, looked at two different financial scenarios to compared what a family could afford to buy before and after the new rules.  

Before the changes, a buyer could borrow roughly the equivalent of seven times their yearly income. With the new rules, that has been reduced to slightly more than five times their yearly income.

In practice, the new rules means that homebuyers have had their buying power slashed by about 20 per cent.

The latest stress test comes after several other rule changes this year in the real estate market that have been met with equal criticism. Earlier this fall, borrowers with less than 20 per cent down payments were affected and, now, the focus has turned to those with 20 per cent or more down payment. 

The idea, regulators explain, is to help protect banks and ensure that everyone – no matter how much money they’ve initially put down – have to undergo a stress test before borrowing.

Banks are competitive and, to drive business, do not want to offer below-market rates and mortgages if other banks are doing so. By making it a federal regulation, it means that all banks have to be on board – levelling the playing field and reducing risks from uninsured mortgages all around.

For homebuyers, however, it means that some properties are now out of financial reach which brings up all sorts of issues of housing affordability because people will no longer qualify to borrow as much money as previously.

Experts say that the new measure will hit the real estate market like a sledgehammer by driving down prices. Others believe it is a good change and will equalize the market over time.

The changes come into effect on January 1, 2018.



Acknowledgments

We want to send a special thank you to Jan Nilsson and Sam Gervais for their recent referrals. Our business depends on people just like them and it is extremely appreciated!

 
 
 
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 Dear Friends,

School is now firmly back in session and, as you see the bright yellow school buses carting children to and from class every day, you might have wondered: how do schools in your...
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 Dear Friends,

With summer winding down and regular routines starting back up, it’s one of the peak moving seasons across the country. But how do you choose the perfect neighbourhood?

People tend to want to stay in the areas they are used to. And, when moving to a new city, people like to rely on suggestions from friends, co-workers and others who know the area. This can lead to somewhat biased conversations though and you may inadvertently be missing out on opportunities simply because of old reputations.

Read on, we have some advice on what factors to consider and where to find the necessary information to make a more rounded decision. 

Also, our monthly analysis of market reports and in-depth look at what is happening in the world of real estate may help inform your decision.

On a more fun side, we have plenty of information about how to enjoy the coming month whether you are moving or staying put. Check out the list of events happening around the city this month for inspiration.

As always, I am at your disposal to help. If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell real estate please keep me in mind.
Mutt Strut (September 9)
Pet-friendly 5km walk or run for charity, all proceeds go to the Animal Rescue Society. After, there are food and treats for all participants – even the furry, four-legged ones.
Meet A Machine (September 10)
A fun event for kids to interact and learn about all kinds of machines from farm equipment to vehicles.
EPCOR Riverfest (September 15-17)
Three-day celebration of the North Saskatchewan River and the River Valley with river-related activities available like rafting, cycling along the waterside and camping workshops.
Dollhouse Show and Sale (September 17)
Mini everything is for sale at this annual market of dollhouses and doll furniture. Worth checking out even if you’re not planning to purchase anything.
Comic and Entertainment Expo (September 22-24)
A celebration of comics and pop-culture where costumes of all kinds are welcome.
Oktoberfest (September 29-30)
Not quite October for this German-inspired beer festival but with pints flowing and Bavarian food grilling, no one will be complaining.
Alberta Culture Days (September 29 – October 1)
Celebrations will be happening across the province’s capital, particularly in arts galleries and community centres to showcase heritage and diversity.
When you are buying a new home, choosing the right neighbourhood can be just as crucial to consider as the house itself.

In general, people tend to be creatures of habit and, when moving, will look at the neighbourhoods they know best first and opt to stay in the same part of the city that they are accustomed to whenever possible.

But sometimes circumstances like family, work relocation, school or other life events push us into unfamiliar territory and so the search for a new neighbourhood must broaden.

What are the factors that make us choose a specific area or, as the case may be, stay in one location? How can we make more unbiased neighbourhood selections? Here are some questions to ask and factors to consider.

Distance and convenience
Distance from work, school and other daily activities are one of the most important considerations because the impact commutes have on day-to-day quality of life. If you commute by car, what is the traffic like at peak hours? If you take public transit, how accessible is it? How far away are shopping malls, parks and leisure centres? City councils have this kind information publicly available online.

Economics
Price is always a factor.  When looking for a new place, make a list of neighbourhoods by price range. Sometimes this means considering different property types—a townhouse in one neighbourhood might be a better fit than a single detached home in another. One way of judging this is by looking at the real facts and MSL sold prices.

Family-friendly
What schools are nearby? What are the neighbourhood demographics like—are there other young families around? Community social statistics and national Statistics Canada reports can give you a taste of what to expect. Looking at where schools, playgrounds and green spaces are located is also important.

Crime
Safety is paramount. Higher levels of home-ownership in an area typically lead to more investment in the community so that is a factor to look at. But also, dig up municipal police reports, available online, to find out what kind of crimes are occurring, how frequently and in which areas.
 
 
 
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2852 Calgary Trail, Edmonton, AB, Alberta T6J 6V7, Canada

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 Dear Friends,

I hope you are enjoying the long, sunny months and have the chance to really relax and soak in the summer rays.

And what better way to enjoy the extra hours of daylight than a summery BBQ with friends and family? Check our guide to putting together the perfect summer dining experience from what to cook to how to decorate.

Also in this month’s newsletter, for an up-to-date look at what is happening in the world of real estate, we’ve included the latest market report and a news brief on the proposed mortgage changes.

On the more light-hearted side, if you are looking for something to do with family and friends this month, look no further than our guide to the most fun, upbeat events happening around the city.

No matter what your needs are, we have you covered. Whether guiding you in the direction of summer fun with our recommendations or helping you buy and sell property, I am at your disposal. Have a friend looking to buy or sell? Please keep me in mind; your referral will be put to good use.
Servus Heritage Festival (August 5-7)
More than 85 countries are celebrated at the three-day festival, really showcasing the city’s vibrant multicultural heritage.
Rock Music Festival (August 11-12)
Get ready to rock and roll with this legendary line-up of music.
Tip: Tickets are cheaper if you pay in advance.
Edmonton Airshow (August 19-20)
Take entertainment to new heights with this show of daring manoeuvres and soaring acrobatics. Takes place at the Villeneuve Airport.
Latin Festival (August 12-23)
A celebration and street festival of all things Latino with delicious food trucks, Salsa lessons and fun activities for kids.
Fringe Festival (August 12-27)
This is the 36th year running that the fringe festival takes over the city — the longest running one in North America.
Blues Festival (August 25-27)
There will be a great mix of award-winners, newcomers and favourite faces.
Park after Dark (June – September)
Edmonton’s biggest patio party is the best way to start your weekend off on the right foot. Best part, it is every Friday night this summer.
Earlier this month, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) announced that it is planning to tighten the regulations on uninsured residential mortgages in a move to clamp down on risky lending.

The proposed changes mean that anyone taking out a mortgage would need to pass a stress test, even those who already have a down payment of 20 per cent or more. In addition to the new stress test requirements, loan-to-value measurements will need to be adjusted to local conditions and co-lending arrangements that seem to be circumnavigating the current rules, like certain bundled mortgages, are expressly banned.

As it stands now, there are already some measures in place to prevent risky lending. For example, people with bad—or nonexistent—credit records are not suppose to borrow more than 65 per cent of the value of the home they are purchasing. Even those with a solid credit record cannot borrow more than 80 per cent of the property’s value without insurance backed by the government.
But many mortgage lenders have been sidestepping these rules with bundled loans, pairing a primary mortgage with a second loan from an unregulated group. An investigation by Reuters earlier this year revealed that, by bending the rules, property buyers were being allowed to over-borrow—sometimes up to 90 per cent of the value of the home.

The new stress test on insured mortgages and the banning of suspicious co-lending arrangements are hoped to help cool the real estate market. The changes are still in draft mode and OSFI is currently accepting written feedback on the proposal until the middle of August.

The changes, if they go through, will take effect in late 2017.
Summer is heating up and so why not fire up the grill to take advantage outside dining. A little bit of planning can take your BBQ to the next level—these easy tips take the stress out and put the fun in!

Keep the set-up simple
There is really no need to go all-out when it comes to summer dining; the blooming flowers and lush greenery already set the perfect scene. The biggest consideration is seating. Throw down some picnic blankets and cushions for extra space alongside the usual lawn chairs. For extra oomph, string up some white Christmas lights.

Potluck is perfect
Don’t be shy about asking guests to pitch in and bring sides, drinks or deserts. As the host, focus your attention on just a couple of simple main course dishes and leave the extras to everyone else.

Signature drink
It doesn’t need to be a complicated drink but choose one signature drink as a party theme —spiked lemonade, margaritas, watermelon coolers—and your party will not only be memorable but easier to coordinate on the grocery list.

Fun for the kiddies
If you’re expecting kids at your BBQ, pack away a few fun activities to keep them busy and entertained. Chalk, water balloons, face paint, a Twister board, badminton … it’s easy to keep kids (and their parents!) happy with just a little bit of planning.

Prep the night before
Don’t try to save everything till right beforehand. Not only will having some things set up the night before ease the stress … it can actually make things even better! Meat left marinating overnight, for example, has that extra tenderness and flavour and is one less thing to do in the morning.

Music for the mood
Whether you rely on Spotify or a DJ-savvy friend, have a playlist ready that you can trust. Break out those summer tunes and get your groovy dance moves going. Nothing upsets a party like bad music or a break in the playlist. Playlists are repeatable so set up a good one and save yourself time down the line.

Deep breath and enjoy
Don’t lose sight of what matters the most: enjoying time with friends and family. If you are too busy rushing around and stressing, it doesn’t matter how lovely a party you throw, you won’t enjoy it as much as taking the time to breathe, relax and just have fun. 

Acknowledgements

We want to send a special thank you to Glendon Tan for his recent referral. Our business depends on people just like him and it is extremely appreciated!

 

 
 
 
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2852 Calgary Trail, Edmonton, AB, Alberta T6J 6V7, Canada

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Copyright 2018 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.