If you take care to price your home correctly — that is, at a price that is in

line with what similar properties in the area have sold for recently — then

you have a good chance of selling it at or near your asking price.

That doesn’t mean you won’t get a low-ball offer. You might. So what do you

do when that happens?

First, understand that the buyer may not necessarily be trying to steal away

your home at a bargain-basement price. He might simply be mistaken about

its true market value. Of course, he might also be coming in at a low price in

the hopes he’ll get lucky.

You will never actually know the buyer’s motives. So it would be a mistake

to get angry or dismiss the offer out-of-hand. That low-ball offer might end

up being the beginning of a negotiation that results in you selling your home

at a good price.

Your first step is to work with your REALTOR® to determine:

• How serious the buyer is.

• How qualified the buyer is. (For example, does he have a preapproved


• How amenable the buyer is to a counter-offer that reflects the true

market value of your home.

• What that counter-offer should be.

This isn’t an easy process. It takes knowledge and experience to get it right.

That’s why working with a good REALTOR® is essential.

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There are many reasons why the air quality in your home may not be at its

best. A faulty furnace or an aged carpet are just two potential culprits. Until

you get those issues addressed, how do you make your indoor air healthier

— today?

Here are some ideas:

• Check the furnace filter. This is one of the most overlooked

maintenance items in the home. Any furnace repair person can tell

you stories about filters they’ve seen caked in dust. Make sure those

aren’t yours. Air passes through those filters before circulating

throughout your home. Replacing a filter takes less than five minutes.

• Clean the drains. Drains are a surprisingly common source of odour

in the home. Most people only clean them when they’re clogged, but

they should be flushed thoroughly with a good-quality cleaner at least

once a season.

• Turn on the bathroom fan. Not only do bathroom fans remove

odour, they also reduce moisture build-up. About 50% of air

pollutants originate from some type of moisture; mould being the

worst. Professionals recommend you keep the bathroom fan on for at

least 30 minutes after a shower.

• Clean your doormat. Even if your doormat doesn’t smell, it can be a

source of air pollutants. When people wipe their shoes, they transfer

pesticides and other outside ground pollutants from their shoes to

your mat.

Of course, you can always open a window. That’s the most popular way to

freshen the air, and it works.

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When you purchase a home, you’re hoping it will continually go up in value

— just like a good investment.

However, there’s something else that you want to see go up in value as

well: the neighbourhood. In fact, the neighbourhood plays a key role in what

the home will be worth in years to come. If the neighbourhood goes down in

terms of desirability, so will the market value of the home.

That’s why, when shopping for a new home, it’s important to get a feel for

the value of the neighbourhood, and whether or not it’s on the upswing.

How do you do that? One way is to simply take a walk. Look at the

properties. Are they well maintained? Is the landscaping groomed and

attractive? Those are signs of “pride of ownership” — a clear indication that

owners value their homes and the neighbourhood.

Another way is to do some research. Has crime gone up in the

neighbourhood? Are there improvements planned, such as new parks? Is

the neighbourhood attracting the kind of people you want as neighbours?

How does the neighbourhood school rank?

Some of this information may be difficult to get on your own. A good

REALTOR® can help you. So Give Me a Call today.

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As of July 1, 2015, Albertans will have an extra expense to consider when preparing to buy or refinance a home. The Alberta Government released its latest budget on March 26 which, among other items, increased the fees the Land Titles Office charges for its services.  REALTORS® will do their buying clients a disservice if Land Titles fees are not part of the initial discussion.  Here are some talking points you may want to raise with your clients:

  • Rates for registering instruments have risen by up to 3.5 – 6.1 times depending on the value of the property and/or mortgage. It will now cost $75.00 plus $6.00 for every $5,000 of purchase price to register a transfer. Mortgages will use the same calculation based on the value of the mortgage.  According to CREB®, the average home price as of March 14, 2015 is now $484,877. If one assumes a mortgage with 80% loan to value, that home would result in registration costs of $274 today. On July 1, the same transaction will result in registration costs of $1197.33 or a 4.36 multiple increase.
  • Beware of the risk of telling your clients they will save fees by closing on June 30Even if you have a closing before July 1 the new fees may apply! Is the increase based on the date of actual registration or the date the Document Registration Request (DRR) is submitted? This is a matter to be clarified by the Land Titles Office (LTO).  Instruments are sent to LTO with a DRR. The DRR allows the registrant to save a place in the queue and track intervening registrations. Currently, documents submitted April 13 will not be registered until April 20. So, for closings on June 30, registration may not occur until July 7, after the fee increase takes place! In the worst case scenario, registrations have been delayed by 2-3 weeks in peak use periods.  If this is not clarified, lawyers representing buyers will start collecting the additional fees for deals closing as early as the second week in June.
  • Fees for most other Land Titles services have also risen. Important for REALTORS®, title searches will increase by 50% to $15 per search. Sellers’ lawyers are now collecting those fees for Certified Copies of Titles as it can take  3-6 months to obtain a mortgage discharge. 
  • Alberta still enjoys the lowest land titles registration costs of any jurisdiction in Canada. According to the Law Society of Alberta, a $600,000 home purchase with a $400,000 mortgage would cost over $7,000 to register in BC and over $8,500 in Ontario (plus the cost of a title insurance policy for both the buyer and the lender). Registration costs in Alberta for the same property will be $1,350 after the increase.
  • Without any other increase, total buyers’ legal costs, including registration, for the average home will increase from approximately $1,500 to $2,500.

It is important to speak to your buyer clients early about preparing and budgeting for land titles costs. If they understand what is required then there will be no sticker shock when they meet with counsel to sign legal documents. 

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You probably don't think buying a lighting fixture for a room is all that

complicated. It isn't. However, it does require you to consider which types of

lighting you may need. According to the Lighting Association, there are

three types:


1. General lighting. By far the most common, this is the type of lighting

that is designed to create a functional brightness that spreads

throughout a room. A good example is a main ceiling light.


2. Task lighting. As the name implies, this type provides extra light

needed for a specific task, such as working at a desk or chopping

onions on a kitchen countertop. A bedside lamp used for reading is

another example of task lighting.


3. Accent lighting. This type is designed to set off a particular feature

of a room, such as a painting. It creates some practical light, but its

main purpose is to add to the overall decor.


When choosing lighting for a room, it's important to consider these three

types. First, decide how best to light the space generally. Then think about

any special lighting you might need for specific functions, such as reading.

Finally, consider how accent lighting might add to the overall look.

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Creating quiet in a (sometimes) noisy home

Does your spouse like to practice the drums in the evening? Does your

teenager like to play video games, with the volume turned up high? Are

there other sources of noise you'd like to minimize?

There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home to reduce noise.

Here are some ideas:

• Furniture placement. Surprisingly, where you place furniture can

dramatically reduce incoming noise. For example, a bookshelf

covering a third of a wall can muffle sound from an adjoining room by


• Noise harmonization techniques. Soft music, air fans, and other

sources of rhythmic noises can actually reduce the unpleasantness

of incoming sounds.

• Area rugs. Adding an area rug, even on top of existing carpeting,

can significantly reduce noise coming from the floor below.

• Acoustic tiles and panels. These are special ceiling tiles and wall

coverings that are designed to diffuse and reduce sound infiltration.

There are some products on the market that are remarkably easy to


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Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are

an important part of what makes a home a home. Pictures on the fireplace

mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us.

You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other

mementoes on display in key places.

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home.

However, if you're preparing your home for sale, it's a good idea to pack

those memories away - at least until you've sold your property and moved to

your new home.

Why? Because those pleasant mementoes that mean so much to you may

actually turn off potential buyers.

You see, when buyers view your property, you want them to be able to

clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That's difficult to do

if everywhere they look they see reminders that this is your home!

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized.

Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those

displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself,

with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn't feel that way if it

looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But helping

them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster –

and possibly for a better price.

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call Today!

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Have you ever attended an "Open House" advertised in your area or in a

community you like? Most people have. Even if you're not serious about

moving, viewing a few properties in a neighbourhood you like is a great way

to get a sense of the market.

Who knows? You might stumble upon your next dream home!

To get the most out of an open house, follow these guidelines:

• Most open houses will have a handout available containing the list

price and other property information. Be sure to keep a copy.

• Don't just view the rooms. Explore the entire property, including the


• Don't be shy about asking the listing agent (or whoever is hosting the

open house) questions about the property.

• Ask about the area. Are there schools nearby? Where is the nearest

park or playground located?

• Ask about potential required repairs and renovations. For example, if

the furnace is more than 15 years old, it may need to be replaced


• Walk around the neighbourhood. Try to get a sense of what it's like to

live there. If possible, chat with a neighbour.

Finally, if you become interested in the home, be sure to advise the listing

agent that your own REALTOR® will be following up. Otherwise, the listing

agent might assume that he or she will be representing you.

Looking for a good REALTOR® to have by your side? Call today.

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Many people order an espresso or reach for an energy drink when they

need a boost. However, there are other foods that can give you a similar

increase in energy and are, arguably, a lot healthier. Here are a few



• Coconut oil. It contains high quantities of medium chain fats, which

are a quick source of energy.

• Honey. It tastes sweet because it's a natural form of sugar. As we all

know, sugar gives you a quick boost.

• Iron containing foods. Lack of iron in your diet can leave you

feeling sluggish. Adding more beans, spinach, and lentils to your diet

– perhaps in salads – can help boost your iron levels.

• Nuts. Almonds, cashews and other nutrient-rich nuts are the ideal

quick snack for an energy boost.

• Dark chocolate. It’s great news for chocolate lovers, but keep the

portions small.


Finally, not drinking enough water can also rob you of energy. In fact, water

may be the best energy-boosting "food" of them all.

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CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

If you are in the Real Estate Market this spring the time to act might have come a bit sooner than expected, these new rates will take Effect May 1, 2014 for all NEW mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after May 1, 2014. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to May 1, 2014, regardless of the closing date.




OTTAWA, February 28, 2014 — Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.

CMHC’s capital management framework is consistent with international practices and Canadian guidelines for mortgage insurers. Increased capital targets are consistent with Canadian and international industry trends and makes the financial system more stable and resilient.

“The higher premiums reflect CMHC’s higher capital targets” said Steven Mennill, CMHC’s Vice-President, Insurance Operations. “CMHC’s capital holdings reduce Canadian taxpayers’ exposure to the housing market and contribute to the long term stability of the financial system.”

For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.

Effective May 1st, CMHC Purchase (owner occupied 1 – 4 unit) mortgage insurance premiums will increase by approximately 15%, on average, for all loan-to-value ranges.

Loan-to-Value Ratio

Standard Premium (Current)

Standard Premium (Effective May 1st, 2014)

Up to and including 65%



Up to and including 75%



Up to and including 80%



Up to and including 85%



Up to and including 90%



Up to and including 95%



90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment



CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and, going forward, plans to announce decisions on premiums in the first quarter of each year. The homeowner premium increase follows changes CMHC made to its portfolio insurance product earlier this year.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable housing solutions that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.

For additional highlights please see attached backgrounder and key fact sheet.

Information on this release:

Charles Sauriol, Media Relations

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca


  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium is calculated as a percentage of the loan based on the loan-to-value ratio. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and amortized over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments.
  • CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and has adjusted them several times since being commercialized in 1998. Adjustments have included both increases and decreases to the premiums.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after May 1, 2014. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to May 1, 2014, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for residential housing of 1-to-4 units. This includes owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums.
  • In 2013, the average CMHC insured loan at 95% loan-to-value was $248,000. Using these figures, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to the monthly mortgage payment for the average Canadian homebuyer. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.

95% Loan-to-Value

Loan Amount





Current Premium





New Premium





Additional Premium





Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment





Based on a 5 year term @ 3.49% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

85% Loan-to-Value

Loan Amount





Current Premium





New Premium





Additional Premium





Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment





Based on a 5 year term @ 3.49% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

For more information visit http://www.cmhc.ca/en/hoficlincl/

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Unless you're a real estate expert, you probably look at the market and think

things are pretty confusing. Even a bit crazy! You hear news about “bubbles

bursting”, “higher or lower home sales in a particular month”, “new home

starts” that are up or down, does this pertain to YOUR locat market... 


It’s a lot of news and a lot of jargon.


If you're thinking of selling your home within the next year or two, you will

want to understand what's happening in the market so you can make the

right decisions and get a clear sense of what to expect. So, how do you

make sense of it all?


That's where a good REALTOR® can help.


Even if you don't have any definite plans to move in the near future, a

REALTOR® who is an expert in the local marketplace can help you

understand what homes in a particular neighbourhood are selling for, and

what you can expect to get should you decide to list your property.

Getting to know a REALTOR® also means you’ll have a trusted expert to

talk to from time to time, when you have real estate-related questions.

You’ll have someone you can think of as "Your REALTOR®".

Plus, when the time comes to sell your property, you won't have to deal with

a stranger. Instead, you'll be able to work with a REALTOR® that you know

well -- and who knows YOU. Overall, that will make the buying and selling

process go more smoothly and more successfully.


Looking for a good REALTOR® who wants to get to know you? Call ME today!

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Thinking about installing wood floors? The first decision you need to make

involves the type. According to the National Wood Flooring Association,

there are four types:


• Unfinished. This type requires you or your installer to sand and

apply a finish. If you want a specific colour or style, or you're trying to

match existing flooring, this might be the best option for you.


• Factory finished. As the name suggests, this is flooring that has its

finish applied in the factory. Although it is more expensive, factory

finished flooring can be installed faster and can be walked upon



• Solid. This is flooring that is made from a solid piece of wood, top to

bottom. The advantage is that it can be sanded and refinished many

times over the years, or even decades.


• Engineered. This is flooring that is made of thin layers of wood

pressed together. It can be engineered to be very durable and

expand and contract less than solid flooring.


The type you choose depends on your needs. Talk to your dealer or

contractor about your specific application.

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Many people only see a doctor when they're sick or have some other health

concern. On the other hand, some people visit a doctor regularly for checkups,

to ask questions and get advice, and to maintain good health.


Which do you think is the better approach? Obviously, the second one!

The same thing is true when it comes to real estate. Even if you have no

current plans to buy or sell a home, there are many reasons to talk to a

REALTOR® regularly in order to maintain your good "real estate" health.

For example, you can:


• Get an assessment of the current market value of your home, so you

can make an informed decision about whether to stay or move.


• Ask about the state of the local real estate market (which may be

vastly different than what you hear on the national news.)


• Find out what homes are currently selling for in the area.


• Learn what's currently available on the market, especially in

neighbourhoods you would like to live in and that are within your



• Ask for a contractor recommendation.


In fact, it's a good idea to have a chat with your REALTOR® once or twice a

year, even if it's just to say hello.


You want to build a relationship with a good REALTOR® who understands

(and cares about) you and your needs. That way, when it does come time

for you to make a move, you're dealing with a REALTOR® you already

know and trust.


Don't have a good REALTOR®? Call me today!




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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.