Calgary Luxury Portfolio Blog

There are some forms of real estate speak with which you’re already pretty familiar: for example, I’m guessing you wouldn’t expect a property listed as ‘cozy’ to be appropriate for your family of six. But sometimes, we real estate agents get fairly creative with our lingo, bringing uncertainty to your housing search. 

Like the real meaning of Christmas, here’s the real meaning of 6 listing terms.

  1. “Hot” or “Up and Coming” Neighborhoods: A ‘hot’ neighborhood is not defined as a safe or good one; it is more likely to mean a neighborhood adjacent to a great one that will hopefully become more popular in the next few years. You’ll certainly get more for your money here than in more established areas, but your re-sale value may not hold and local
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The dream of living debt-free is right up their with the dream of home ownership in many of our minds, so paying off your mortgage just seems to make sense when the funds become available.

Before you make that decision, however, there are some things you need to consider. Read on for the four questions you must answer before deciding to pay off your mortgage: 

  1. Is this your only debt? If you have any other kind of outstanding bills—car payments, student loans, credit card debt—paying down or paying off those expenses takes priority over making early mortgage payments. Yes, you probably owe a lot more on your house than on your Visa, but mortgage payments won’t hurt your credit score and generally other debts have a much higher interest rate than
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As a seasoned real estate agent I’ve learned that, even when the markets seem bad, there’s always room for opportunity. While home sales decline in Calgary, I want all of you to take heart: you can still sell your luxury property, even in this seemingly-scary environment. 

Admittedly, the situation isn’t pretty: To date, there have been about 6000 fewer sales in 2015 than by the same time in 2014—16,692 compared with 22,669. Now, that is an obvious decline, but the figures still reflect some serious movement. Compare that to a truly slumping market—Las Vegas in 2009—where just 5,184 closings took place the entire year, and you realize things aren’t as bad as they initially appear. 

The next piece of good news is that the hardest real estate sector has

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When getting ready to put your home on the market (or when considering an offer on an available property) the name of the game is always price—how high can your listing go or how close to the sale price does your offer really need to be?

In the U.S., many people turn to websites like Zillow and Trulia to help determine property value, but the sites themselves admit that their estimates may be off—by as much as 9%, which could be almost $100,000 on a million-dollar listing. Not exactly an exact science, to say the least. 

So what’s a better way to figure out value? Learn from the experts: real estate agents like myself. You’ve probably heard agents talking about ‘comps’—similar homes in your area that are currently for sale or have recently sold—and

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They say everything is bigger in Texas—even here in Calgary, that idiom is familiar. Well, if real estate listings are any indication, the saying is certainly proving to be true!

This month, a new property has smashed all kinds of records in the luxury real estate market: the almost 800-square-mile Waggoner ranch, located 175 miles northwest of Dallas, has an asking price of $725 million. It is not only believed to be the largest ranch in the United States, if it goes for asking price, the sale will be four times higher than any previous real estate transaction ever recorded in the country! 

So, what does $725 million get you these days? Well, first of all—1000 oil wells, something we as Albertans certainly can appreciate. The ranch also comes with

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In case you missed it, we just had an historic election in this country. After 9 years in power, the Conservatives were ousted from government in favor of Justin Trudeau and his Liberals. 

Which might leave many of us in Calgary wondering: what lies ahead for us? Times of change in leadership can often lead to upheaval in the markets, real estate being no exception…

But, before we all pack up and head to Arizona, America’s hot-bed for Albertans, let’s take a look at what’s been going on down there recently. 

As recently as three years ago, Canadian buyers represented 5% of the Phoenix real estate market; this year, however, we aren’t making as strong a showing south of the border. The number of Canadians buying in Arizona fell by half during 2015;

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Over the past few years, so much has been made of the sharp increase in Canadian home prices, (particularly in Toronto and Vancouver) that you might imagine our country is the only one enjoying a strong sellers’ market. In fact, experts are so focused on predicting just when the housing bubble might burst, they’ve overlooked the fact that other nations are seeing even sharper rises in year-to-year home values. 

Let’s take a closer look: in Canada, the year-over-year rise in annual home prices was 8.3% (tied with Australia); in Sweden, home prices rose 10.1% over the previous year and in Ireland, values were up an astonishing 13.3% from the previous year. 

In all of these countries, talk of bursting bubbles abounds, but there are a few common factors

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There are plenty of lovely, expansive homes available in Calgary and beyond, but just because your house is large or has a high listing price doesn’t mean it’s a luxury property.

Buyers seeking to acquire a true luxury property are very discerning and have come to expect a certain standard set of features in a house before they’ll even consider making an offer.

If you want to help your home makes the cut, consider these 7 features non-negotiable:

1.      An Open Floor Plan: No one wants to buy a 5000 square foot house that feels like a shoebox. These days, the airier the home, the higher the sales price it can elicit. If you’ve been considering knocking out a wall or two ever since you acquired your place, it’s a good idea to take the plunge before

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When times are tough, luxury real estate buyers seem to have the control—with a decrease in demand and an increase in the available supply, sellers become more eager to offload their property, and prices become very negotiable.

In an explosive market, however, sellers can pretty much name their price on any kind of property and expect to find at least one or two interested parties. Want proof?

 It’s no secret that San Francisco real estate has gone nuts—while many younger or lower income residents are protesting the rising cost of living in the city, luxury home owners have rejoiced as their property values literally skyrocketed.

And now, for the first time in 19 years, the Flintstone house, located in the Bay-area suburb of Hillsborough, has gone

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You may not know this about me, but in addition to specializing as a real estate agent in the Calgary luxury market, I am also an expert in all things rented (see my website, rentedlifestyle.com, for more on that).

In that capacity, I have become an expert advisor on renting vs. buying dilemmas. And at this point, leasing a luxury condo in Calgary just makes more sense.

Here’s why: Buying costs more than you think! The old adage that renting is just throwing away money simply doesn’t hold up anymore. Let’s look at downtown Calgary. Say you buy a two-bedroom condo for $1 million, putting down 20%. You’re left with a monthly mortgage payment of about $4000/month; by comparison, renting a luxury two-bedroom condo in the heart of downtown will set you

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