Marketplace Survival Guide: Hiring Movers

I caught an episode yesterday of CBC Marketplace which originally aired almost a year ago but had missed.  It’s an eyeopening look at movers and what you can do to protect yourself.

If you’re planning on moving anytime soon, I recommend you watch this episode: click here


From CBC:

It’s the wild west for moving companies, so this week, Marketplace is wiring up a house with hidden cameras and getting ready for a showdown.

We found a great deal online, but what’s going to happen at high noon?

Bandit movers are robbing Canadians across the country with a truckload of tricks. From sneaky hidden charges to surprise contracts, fly-by-night movers make an already stressful day worse.

“I got robbed right in broad daylight and the worst thing is I called them to come to my house and rob me,” one angry customer tells us.

So Marketplace is tracking down one shady outfit. What happens when we decide not to stand up to their scare tactics? A showdown on the street.

How can you protect your wallet and your stuff from moving company mayhem? The Marketplace Survival Guide gives you everything you need to know to avoid your own movin’ day showdown. Watch the episode here

Tips On Selecting A Mover

  • Watch out for low prices, you could be hit with hidden charges later
  • Demand a written estimate and a copy of the contract before you move
  • Get proof they have insurance to protect you and your stuff
  • Deposits are usually paid before moving day
  • Do your homework.  Ask family, friends, associates for recommendations and referrals.


If you’ve used a mover that you would *recommend*, please leave a comment below.

Calgary’s Luxury Real Estate Market Unabated By CMHC Rule Changes

Calgary’s expanding luxury market will soon be home to more high-end names: Rolls Royce, Nordstrom and Lamborghini to list a few.

“We’re leading the country in business growth, economic activity, GDP growth,” said Bruce Graham, Calgary Economic Development. “It’s just natural with income levels and opportunities in migration for luxury retailers and retailers of all segments to be coming into this market.” (Source)

By extension, it should be of little surprise that Calgary’s luxury real estate market continued to boom in August despite mortgage rule changes by CMHC directly aimed at the $1 million-plus segment.

Effective July 31st, CMHC stopped offering mortgage insurance for homes that cost $1 million or more, regardless if the buyer made a 20% or more downpayment.   That’s in addition to the rules introduced two years ago when CMHC stopped insuring mortgages on $1M+ homes if the buyer borrowed more than 80% of the value.

At the time of writing, a total of sixty-five Calgary homes have sold for a million dollars or more this month surpassing the August record of sixty-four set last year.  Ten of the sixty-five sales are condominiums.

A St. Andrews Heights home has the most expensive sale price so far in August at $3,300,000.  According to the listing, the Riverview Custom Homes property was a National SAM Award Winner in the best new home over 4000 sq ft category.  You can view pictures here.

Check back next week for the complete August 2014 Luxury Home Review.

New August Sales Record

New August Sales Record


Alberta Economic Indicators – Updated Weekly

Weekly Economic ReviewDo you want easy access to the latest economic and demographic information and analysis on Alberta? The Alberta Treasury Board and Finance website releases two economic publications every week, usually by Friday afternoon.  You can browse the site or simply subscribe to the information you want.

Economic Review: contains economic commentary, statistics and indicators on the overall economy, labour market, price indices, household sector and business sector.

Alberta Economy – Indicators at a Glance: contains the most recent data releases for key economic indicators relating to the overall economy, labour market, price indices, household sector and business sector.

There are also many other monthly, quarterly and annual reports released: click to view

August 1-28, 2014 Calgary Real Estate Market Update

How busy of a month has it been in the Calgary real estate market? Even if no more homes were to sell in the remaining three days, it would still be the third best August.

August 2005 holds the sales record with 2326, followed by August 2013 with 2192. Month-to-date, we’re at 2061.

Ultimately, a large factor is the number of weekdays in the month and we’re shortchanged this August.  There were 23 weekdays in August 2005, 22 last year and only 21 this month. But now I’m just splitting hairs.  Regardless of the final total and whether it’s a record sales month or not – it was still a great month.  Note these year-over-year price gains MTD:

Single family home
Average price: +5.59%, from $513,747 to $542,463
Median price: +6.98%, from $448,000 to $479,250

Average price: +11.31%, from $299,974 to $333,914
Median price: +10.58%, from $260,000 to $287,500

Average price: +14.10, from $328,925 to $375,297
Median price: +9.77%, from $307,000 to $337,000

For the final month-end statistics from CREB®, check back on Tuesday.

Calgary Stats Summary, August 1-28, Y/Y Comparison

Calgary Stats Summary, August 1-28, Y/Y Comparison

RBC: Low Rates & Income Growth Offsetting Rising House Prices

RBC report

RBC Housing Trends & Affordability Report

“Owning a home became more affordable in virtually all provincial and major local markets despite increasing prices [in Q2],” according to RBC’s Housing Trends & Affordability report released today.

“In fact, even areas, such as Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver, that saw solid price gains during the second quarter enjoyed improved affordability.”    Reason being?    “Fixed mortgage rates (posted)  fell the most in almost four years in the second quarter of 2014.”

Below is the excerpt for Alberta:

Alberta – Good times keep on rolling
Alberta’s housing market was still on a roll in the second quarter. Home resales increased for the fifth time in the past six quarters, registering their fastest quarterly advance in nearly four years. Second-quarter resales were the second-best on record (unadjusted for seasonality) in the province.

The good news for homebuyers was that the supply of homes for sale finally increased meaningfully. New listings jumped by 12% in the second quarter (relative to the first) to a multi-year high. This long-awaited supply response helped ease some, albeit not all, of the ongoing market tensions.

Alberta has been a sellers’ market since the latter part of 2012, which led to rapid price increases in areas such as Calgary in the past year, yet escalating prices largely have been taken in stride by homebuyers. Solid growth in household income provided substantial offset, such that affordability continued to be attractive. Affordability improved modestly in the second quarter, with RBC’s measures for Alberta easing between 0.2 and 0.9 percentage points.

You can download the entire report here pdf

Tips For Buying A Hail Damaged Home

hail damageExperts say that hailstorms in southern Alberta are happening more often and with more intensity.  A couple prime examples are the hailstorms that recently pounded the Airdrie area which have been classified as a catastrophe by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Dealing with hail damage can be a frustrating nuisance for both buyers and sellers, but there are workarounds to make the transaction a successful and relatively pain free one.

In this post we will look at one possible scenario:  a seller’s home was damaged and now a buyer wants to write an offer.

Let’s say the offer was accepted, financing has been approved and the home inspection didn’t turn up any major issues aside from the damage caused by the hail.

As a buyer’s agent, it’s my responsibility to protect my client’s interests so I would recommend one of two options:

1. the seller has to agree to have the damage professionally repaired at their expense, or

2. the buyer is to be compensated monetarily by the seller in order to pay for repairs themselves when they take possession.

Provided the seller had adequate insurance, the work is likely covered and it’s only a matter of time before repairs are made.  But what if the insurance company simply pays out an amount and the seller just takes the money?   That’s why all agreements should be in writing.

Before my buyer waives the property inspection condition, I would advise that an addendum be signed by both parties (Example: Insurance Claim Addendum) which outlines that if the repairs aren’t made by closing, X amount will be held in trust with a lawyer.

Insurance claims can take a while to process so there’s a chance that the repairs won’t be completed when the keys are handed over.   The addendum above allows for repairs to be made even after possession, up until the “Rectification Date.”  If by that time the repairs still haven’t been completed, the buyer is entitled to receive the holdback. It’s important that the holdback amount agreed to is enough to actually complete the work.  Also note that in this case, the repair work would be added as a term to the contract, not a condition  (Read the difference between a term and a condition)

Hail damaged properties are just one of many issues that can arise in a real estate transaction.  If you’d like to be represented as either a buyer or seller, contact me at 403-554-2284 or at and I would be glad to assist you.

August 1-21, 2014 Calgary Real Estate Market Update

It’s still a hot market.   We’re on pace for a record August month for sales, inventory absorption rate is at two months and the sales-to-new-listings ratio has edged back up to 70%.  Month-to-date condo average and median prices are up over 10% y/y.  The average price of a single family home has climbed 4.12% with the median price up 5.96%.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Calgary home Sales - August 21 2014

Calgary home sales MTD

Calgary luxury home Sales - August 21 2014

Calgary luxury sales MTD

Calgary stats summary

Calgary stats summary