Lethbridge, AB Real Estate News

By Robert May, Real estate consulting
(Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate)
As a mortgage associate in Lethbridge with Canada First Mortgage, as well as being a licensed Realtor and Broker of Rainbow Realty, I have been an active fixture of the local real estate community since 1993.  I have helped many others obtain mortgages, home equity line of credits, consolidation loans, and even second mortgages.  Many of these clients were a bit of a challenge, having poor credit or non-traditional jobs or income streams, so imagine my suprise when I submit my own personal application for financing on a property and am declined by the lender. Now let me start by saying that I am self-employed, have strong credit, and no debt.  On paper I appear to be a strong applicant.  However, sometime in the recent past during the mortgage and lending crisis which we are enjoying, m...
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By Robert May, Real estate consulting
(Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate)
Genworth, the mortgage insurance company, recently sent out this update.  Much of the information is valuable information for consumers and real estate professionals.  The informed Realtor will be advised to know this information and/or to have a great mortgage associate at your disposal.  Here is Genworths update:   Commonly Asked Underwriting Questions Answered:   Rent to Own - Genworth asks that the "rent to own" agreement was signed prior or same time as lease.  We only apply the dollar amount that exceeds the fair market rent towards the down payment    Agricultural property - Zoning must allow for residential development; property must meet guidelines as per Acreage Property requirements; confirm applicant(s) income is not derived in any way from the land; the land will not be use...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
November statistics continue to reflect the balancing of our local market. The number of new listings each month continues to decline from previous months as only those "serious" about selling are putting their homes on the market. Prices have stabilized considerably with a 12 month average sale price of $259,774 across our board. With this said, I continue to hear buyers say they will wait. My feeling is that the perfect storm has brewed and it is time to take action for these reasons: 1. Inventory is still high, meaning there is a great selection of homes for sale in Lethbridge and the surrounding areas. Although the inventory has passed its peak, there are still many well priced homes to choose from. 2. Interest rates are low. "The Bank of Canada has cut the Target for the Overnight ...
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By Greg Toles, Mortgage Associate
(Mortgage Alliance Mortgage Design Group)
Zero down is actually completely impossible... why? You will always have to put down a deposit (of good faith) when you write up a purchase contract and you always have to prove that you have closing costs available (which lenders typically calculate at 1.5% of the purchase price depending on where you are purchasing). However, I can show you how to obtain mortgage approval through other means. Maybe a down payment that is "gifted", sweat equity or a rent own option?. For more information, please contact me, your
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By Robert May, Real estate consulting
(Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate)
Today we booked another trip to Cuba for Christmas.  This will be our 5th trip to Cuba in the past 3 years, we try to go every 6 months.  Our vacation is a little different then most people's, and most are suprized to discover how exactly we spend our time there.  The truth of the matter is that we take down suitcases full of charitable aid and donations for Cuban families in need.   In the past 3 years we have taken suitcases full of medicine, clothes, toys, eye glasses, school supplies, car parts, electronics, shoes and socks, tools, motorcycle helmets, solar equipment, and bicycles.  We have delivered to schools, orphanages, old age homes, churches, families, and even the El Alba University where we sponsored an art contest.   We are not Cuban, we are pastey white canadians.  We don'...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
October 2008 stats show much of the same "settling" of the market that has prevailed for the past several months. A keen eye will see that the market has shifted and will use the help of a REALTOR® to seek out the opportunities that exist for buyers. There are many well priced investment properties in Lethbridge and many opportunities for first time buyers with a solid credit history to enter into home ownership. Visit us for more information on Lethbridge Real Estate.     Lethbridge Real Estate Board MLS ® Statistic Report [OCTOBER 2008 ]  200820072006%INC/DEC [ 2007 - 2008 ] Total # of Listings [Month] 526 439 348 20% Total # of Listings YTD 5626 4522 3871 24% Total # of Expired Listings [Month] 228 132 39 73% Total # of Expired Listings YTD 1432 526 558 172% Total # of Sales [Month] ...
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By Robert May, Real estate consulting
(Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate)
"The only reason every American doesn't own an elephant is because they haven't been offered one for no money down and easy monthly payments"   The horrible truth behind that statement is reflected in the purchasing decisions many people have been making for much of the past few years.  Everything from vacations, furniture, and elctronics has been sold using the sales gimmick of "no payments until....".  I have a friend who sells vacuums for prices in excess of $2,000 and while I am pretty sure they are nice vacuums, unless you can drive them to church on Sunday the price seems a little steep to me.  What the change in marketing strategies of recent years has meant for the consumer has been a total shift in the way they think.   I remember in the early 1980's my parents saved up money t...
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By Robert May, Real estate consulting
(Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate)
I had a meeting today with a business development manager from Hometrust today.  As the lending climate in Canada is in a bit of a state of confusion, it is important to stay in constant contact with lethbridge real estate industry members and keep abreast of product changes and developments. Hometrust has previously been an alternative lender (aka B lender or subprime lender) but are moving more into main stream products.  I assume that this is a progression towards improving the quality of the mortgages on their books.  They have also become famous for offering a secured credit card which can be a great first step for people to rebuild their credit or to establish credit for the first time.  I have personally used their card and have helped many friends and clients use it successfully...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
The National Do Not Call List (DNCL) came into effect in Canada on September 30th, 2008. It is a set of rules that telemarketers must follow regarding unsolicited telecommunications (by way of either fax or phone). Consumers can register up to 3 different telephone numbers in an attempt to reduce the amount of telemarketing calls they receive. Registered charities, political parties and newspapers are exempt from the DNCL rules. This new regulation affects me in two ways, as both a consumer and a real estate agent. As a consumer, I am delighted to have a new tool to help me effectively battle unsolicited calls. As a mom with two small children, I get a little hot under the collar when I rush to the phone or my 1 year old's nap is cut short only to pick up the phone to hear a recorded vo...
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By Shaun Serafini, B.MGT
(Shaun Serafini - Mortgage Expert - All Source Mortgages )
Recent changes in federal regulations on mortgages have eliminated the popular zero-downpayment financing programs that were available through the major mortgage default insurers.This does not mean that you will be unable to purchase a home without a minimum of 5% downpayment saved. All Source Mortgages uses several lenders who have options available even if you don't have 5% or more saved towards the purchase of a home. It is important that you get in touch with a mortgage professional in order to discuss all of your options. Fast Facts about Downpayment programs offered by All Source Mortgages Do I qualify for a mortgage with Less than 5% downpayment? As long as you can prove a strong credit history IE: established credit history combined with strong credit score, you may be eligible ...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
I often hear comments about why home sellers and buyers are frozen in their tracks right now. Here are some of the things I am hearing and my responses on why it might not all be true: Comment: It's not the time to buy.. prime rate is dropping and I will wait until it hits bottom. Response: If you have a crystal ball, I would love to borrow it! Having a husband who is a mortgage specialist in Lethbridge, I have learned that even those in the know don't know when, how much and what direction rates will go. This excerpt from yesterday's Toronto Star says it all: "Canada's big banks passed on the full value of the Bank of Canada's quarter percentage point interest rate cut yesterday, making it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow. "The outlook for growth and inflation in Canada i...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
My apologies for getting this out so late... I keep hearing talk about this slowing real estate market but I've been swamped! With that said, on with the report! When comparing the September 2008 stats to those of August 2008, we again see a decline in the the number of new listings in Lethbridge (down from 534 to 460) followed by a parallel decline in the number of listings that are expiring unsold (174 in August to 116 in September). Perhaps an indication that only those who are serious about selling are putting out a "For Sale" sign and the days of fishing for top dollar are dead and gone. Surprisingly though, the total number of homes that sold across the board in the month of September (228) is only down slightly from August (236). One stat that sticks out to me is the comparison b...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
August stats are in and it is noteworthy to point out that the total listings for the month (535) were down significantly when compared to the 670 homes in Lethbridge listed for sale last month. That's a 20% decrease in the amount of homes listed for sale. We can interpret from this that an increasing amount of home owners are realizing that if there is not significant motivation to sell, now may not be the ideal time to do so. This decrease also had an impact on the amount of expired listings bringing the year to date number of expired listings down from 220% to 211%. Although this percentage of homes left unsold is still much higher than previous years, we can see that the shift is still happening daily. With all this said, people still buy and sell homes in Lethbridge every day. The ...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
The month of July proved to be very comparable to June with only minimal increases to the total# of listings (671 in July compared to 653 in June) and the total# of expired listings for the month (182 this month compared to 170 last month) The good news is that there was an increase in the total number of sales for the month (279 in June 2008 and 301 in July 2008) and total sales for the month were down a mere 4% from July of 2007. With that said, the big question still looming is "Has the market reached the breaking point necessary to force a return to sustainability?" There are currently 1231 single family homes and condominiums for sale in Lethbridge and the surrounding areas and according to this months numbers, 42% of those are destined to not result in a successful sale. Add to th...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
Here's how the month of June stats looked: Total # of Listings (Month) - 653 (Up 30% from June 2007) Total # of Listings (YTD) - 3437 (Up 36% from 2007) Total # of Expired Listings (Month) - 170 (Up 240% from June 2007) Total # of Expired Listings (YTD) - 642 (Up 228% from 2007) Total # of Sales (Month) - 279 (Down 13% from June 2007) Total # of Sales (YTD) - 1436 (Down 20% from 2007) Although it appears that the number of expired listings (month) is still astronomical compared to last years data, it is actually showing signs of improvement when compared with the May 2008 stats. And although sales for the month are down 13% for June compared to 2007 stats, they are again showing signs of improvement when compared to May sales that were down 32% from previous years numbers. What does all...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
Fierce and sassy, well equipped with confidence and a pay cheque to back it, single woman home buyers are taking the real estate world by storm. According to the most recent (2007)stats from the National Association of REALTORS®, single women accounted for 22% of all home purchases with single men trailing behind at just 9%. One in five single women are taking the bull by the horns and plunging into home ownership! So what are the driving forces behind this growing trend? Here are my thoughts: 1. Women are more organized. Face it guys, we have you beat here ; ) and with all that organization comes the discipline needed to scrape together a down payment. It's also that organization that helps us keep our bills paid on time protecting that much needed credit score that's so very important...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
Current market conditons should always be considered when trying to decide if it's the right time to buy or sell real esate. Here's how the month of May looked in Lethbridge: Total # of Listings (Month) - 696 (Up 33% from 2007) Total # of Listings (YTD) - 2784 (Up 38% from 2007) Total # of Expired Listings (Month) - 101 (Up 274% from 2007) Total # of Expired Lisings (YTD) - 473 (Up 224% from 2007) Total # of Sales (Month) - 273 (Down 32% from 2007) Total # of Sales (YTD) - 1156 (Down 22% from 2007) So, what can we interpret from this data? Well, the number of expired listings continues to climb as sellers and REALTORS® alike are perhaps failing to realize how important it is to set a realistic list price when faced with stiff competition and a limited number of qualified buyers. Gone ar...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
Many parts of Alberta are experiencing what is known as a buyer's market, which in simple terms means that there are more properties available than there are buyers willing or able to purchase them. A seller in this type of market has their work cut out for them. They are faced with stiff competition and their home's perceived value needs to be at it's maximum if they want to sell within a reasonalble amount of time and for the most money the market will bear. So what can a home seller do to prepare their home for sale and give themselves an edge over the competition? Here are a few of my favorites: 1. Have your home staged: It's just as it sounds... set the stage for potential buyers. Make it easy for any buyer that walks through your home to envision themselves living there.   2. Cons...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
Energy efficiency is a topic that any smart homeowner should take an interest in. So, what's in if for a homeowner to increase their home's efficiency? A. Save $$ B. Save the planet C. Increased enjoyment and comfort D. Any combination of the three! While newer homes tend to be built with energy efficiency in mind, not everyone wants a new home. I personally love my older home for it's unique features, larger lot size and mature landscaping. So, where is your money best spent as the owner of an older home with regards to increasing the home's efficiency? Here are three of my faves:   1. Quit flushing money down the toilet...install a low flush or dual flush toilet. Or better yet, install a dual flush toilet retrofit kit to your existing toilet. Dual flush toilets were found to save an a...
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By Liz Toles, Lethbridge Real Estate
(MyLethbridgeRealty.com)
Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, and here's how the state of the market is: Total # of Listings (Month) 615 (Up 54% from 2007)Total # of Listings (YTD) 2089 (Up 40% from 2007)Total # of Expired Listings (Month) 106 (Up 203% from 2007)Total # Expired Listings (YTD) 373 (Up 213% from 2007)Total # of Sales (Month) 276 (Down 14% from 2007)Total # Sales (YTD) 881 (Down 18% from 2007) So what can we interpret from these stats as a REALTOR® or a home seller? Well, it appears that there are both more listings for buyers to choose from and also less buyers looking at this time, so if you are selling a home, you have your work cut out for you! As a seller what are some things you can do to make your home stand out from the other 568 homes for sale in the City of Lethbridge at this time? 1. S...
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