Archives for April 2010

Towns around Edmonton – St. Albert Alberta

Towns and cities around Edmonton, Alberta – Next up is St. Albert (http://StAlbert.ca)

St. Albert is located northwest of Edmonton, straddling the Sturgeon River.  Soon, the only thing separating St. Albert and Edmonton will be the Anthony Henday Ring-road highway around Edmonton.

It was originally settled as a Métis community, and is now, one of the oldest original settlements in Alberta.

St. Albert received its town status in 1904 and, in 1907, was reached by the Canadian Northern Railway.

St. Albert’s population is currently about 60,000, with a substantial proportion working in different fields in Edmonton. The city is home to most amenities and it draws shoppers from surrounding areas like Morinville, Westlock, Barrhead etc…

The city has two school systems, Catholic and Protestant. Unlike most areas, the Catholic school system is the “public” system, while the Protestant is the “separate” school system. Full-french and french immersion schools are a key part of the schooling available from Kindergarten through Grade 12, should parents wish to explore that option for their children. The city also has excellent parks and walking/biking trails. The Servus Centre Sports facility features everything from swimming to hockey rinks, indoor soccer court… you name it. It’s a great facility.

Housing and property taxes are generally more expensive in St. Albert, but for many people this is offset by the secure, comfortable feeling of residing in this desirable community. The city has often been portrayed as having a bit of an “elitist” population, but this generalization is not founded in truth, in my opinion.

Check out St. Albert as one of your options, should you be looking to move to the Edmonton area. You just might like what you find.

For more info about housing in and around St. Albert, just fill-in the form below.

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Buyer’s Agents?

Hi John;

I noticed that you have 2 agents working under you, I’m wondering how their licenses work in relation to yours. They’re buyers agents, right?

– “Calgary Realtor”

Hello Calgary Realtor;

Ben and Sarah both work on the Knock-Knock real estate team, but they aren’t “Buyers Agents”. In my opinion, a Buyers Agent isn’t allowed to list property and is an employee who take orders from another Realtor. That’s not the case here.

Ben and Sarah both have listings, service sellers, and are fully licensed and respected Realtors in their own right. They aren’t subordinates, employees, or pee-ons. They carry the exact same license as I do.

They’re part of this team because they see the value in the systems, education, and marketing that I’ve created through the Knock-Knock.ca model. They, and I, benefit from the exposure we’ve created and the large volume of buyer inquiries and leads that come to our properties.

But they are not buyers agents, limited in their licensing, or subordinates to anyone.

I hope this clears things up for you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

John Carle
ReMax Real Estate
www.Knock-Knock.ca

“Nice Agents for Nice People”

Towns around Edmonton – Gibbons Alberta

There are different living and housing choices around Edmonton that can provide a good quality of life for those that choose them.

First up, the Town of Gibbons. (http://Gibbons.ca)

Gibbons is a town of about 3000 people, located 10 to 15 minutes north of the edge of Edmonton.
It lies near the junction of Hwys 28 and 28A, giving it good access to many areas. It has a diverse
cross-section of oilfield, agricultural, military, and other segments of the population found living
in Gibbons.

The housing market in Gibbons is predominantly older single family homes, that can be had
for thousands less than the comparable home in Edmonton. New homes have been built (and continue to be built) in Gibbons, along with some different condominium developments. There is currently an apartment condo complex being built along the main street.

Gibbons has most amenities for day-to-day living, although a weekly trip to a larger centre
like Morinville or Edmonton is not unusual.

Military families often choose it as a home, because of it’s easy commute to CFB Edmonton, more affordable housing, and friendly, quiet surroundings.

Keep Gibbons in mind, if a move to north Edmonton or CFB Edmonton is on your horizon.

If you would like more information on the housing market in and around Gibbons, please fill out the form below.

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Mortgage Rates are on the Rise!

If you follow the news, you have heard about itMortgage Rates are on the RISE! Now that the economy is showing signs of recovery, the inevitable has begun to happen – increasing mortgage rates…..currently, it is fixed interest rates that have started increasing (interest rates that do not fluctuate during the term of your mortgage), but variable rates (rates that fluctuate) are also expected to start increasing as early as June 1, 2010.

This spring market looks to be a great buying opportunity – property values seem to have stabilized from the hot market that ended in 2007 and interest rates are at record lows, making home buying an attractive idea for many Canadians.  Whether its your first home, or you are looking to upgrade from your current home, getting your financial ducks in a row now can save you thousands of dollars in interest when you are ready to purchase that perfect property.

What can you do to safeguard against rising mortgage rates if you haven’t begun searching yet or are currently looking without interest rate protection?  An independent mortgage associate can find the perfect lender for your financial situation and secure an interest rate for you for up to four months.  This way, your rate is protected from the rate increases lenders and financial experts caution are expected to continue.  The best part – if interest rates should instead decrease during your rate protection period, you will receive the lower interest rate.  In other words rate protection offers all win and no risk!

Securing an interest rate when you are house hunting is key. Even a small increase in interest rates can make a big impact on your monthly mortgage payment and the interest you will pay in your mortgage term. Just a quarter point interest rate hike will cost you almost $3,700 more over a five year term on a 300,000 mortgage* – however, since the end of March 2010, interest rates have increased by over a half a percentage point.  Coupled with the newly announced increases in the news over the last couple of days, the end result will be increases of up to a full percentage point in just three weeks – a potential of almost $15,000 more interest paid over the term.

Interest rates are expected to continue to rise with the economic recovery.  Interest rate protection is a prudent way to ensure you will be prepared to make an offer when you find the perfect property. While some lenders have already started this second round of increases, there are others that have held off for a day or two.  However, they too will begin to match the increases other lenders have already initiated.  Don’t get caught in the higher rate increase!  All it takes is talking to an independent mortgage associate to secure a great low rate.

If you’d like to secure a mortgage, you are welcome to use the contact form below. A mortgage specialist with Axiom Mortgages will contact you within 1 business day.

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* (amortized over 35 years)

This blog post was provided by Julie Cooper with Axiom Mortgage Solutions.

Julie Cooper CMA, AMP
Tower Mortgage / Axiom Mortgage Solutions

16406 100 Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T5P 4Y2
p.780.982.1154  f.1.866.891.7305

towermortgage@telus.net

www.towermortgage.ca

Site Update – Daily Property Hotsheet

This morning we launched a new service, the DAILY PROPERTY HOTSHEET.

This free service provides property and market information for the Edmonton and area neighbourhood of your choice, based on the address of your property.

How does this report differ from other property updates or agent searches or realtor.ca?

1. It provides much more detailed information than you’re going to get through those other sources.

2. The property address is included on EVERY listing sent to you.

3. The information includes information on SOLD property and sale prices

We are very excited about this new service, and hope that you’ll benefit from our efforts in this regard.

Follow this link to start your own DAILY PROPERTY HOTSHEET.

http://www.knock-knock.ca/realty-tools/daily-hotsheet/

Edmonton Military HHT Services

CFB Edmonton is one of the largest military bases in Canada, and as such the military moves a lot of people into and out of the Edmonton area.

A relocation to Edmonton can be a very stressful process for the military personnel and their family. They have to coordinate the sale of their home with the purchase of a new one in Edmonton. Usually, the family moving to Edmonton is sent out on an HHT, house hunting trip, with 4 or 5 days to find a home, negotiate the sale, and complete the transaction. Now that’s stressful!

Our team has a terrific system in place to help reduce the stress, open up more housing options for the HHT, and make the entire process more successful for the military relocating family.

With more than 11 years of experience as a Realtor, John Carle has successfully helped dozens of military families move into and out of the Edmonton area. During his 20 year career in the Canadian Forces, Ben Officer personally went through 3 HHT’s of his own. In the past 5 years of his real estate career, Ben has helped more than 30 families with their HHT’s. The processes and systems below are a result of combining their experiences and expertise to create the smoothest and most effective HHT process in the market today.

Here’s a few things that the Knock-Knock real estate team does to make your HHT a success.

1. A Dedicated Agent.

When you land in Edmonton, one of our agents will be at your disposal for the entire process. During your 4-5 day stay in Edmonton, that agent will have their schedule cleared so that you’re the only client they deal with. The benefits of this are obvious.

The Knock-Knock.ca real estate team has 3 experienced agents and a full compliment of support staff. This means that all other clients are disbursed throughout the team, freeing up your agent to give you the attention and dedicated service that makes an HHT successful.

2. Pre-Booked Inspection

The home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process. Being present at the inspection is something that most military clients don’t have the luxury of doing, because good inspectors are usually so busy that they are booking a 7-10 days out. You want a good inspector, because a inexperienced inspector will miss a lot of the details.

Most inspectors won’t book an inspection without an address and pending sale; they want to know where they’re going and confirm that they’ll actually be working. Otherwise they’ll just book someone else.

Because of our strong relationship with our home inspectors, they are willing to bend the rules for us. We get the luxury of pre-booking the home inspection, without knowing where the inspection will be, because the inspectors value our clients make up a huge part of their business. This allows you to be present for your inspection, see the issues first hand, and get hands-on information about the home you’re buying; rather than having a report faxed to you in your home town.

3. Market Knowledge Before Your HHT

In most cases, the first day out looking at properties is an orientation day. You’re getting a feel for the market and the lay of the land. You’re learning about the neighbourhoods and the values of the properties. You’re getting to see what you can get for your money. But with only 4-5 days to buy, inspect, and close the sale… spending that first day getting your feet wet is terribly inefficient.

That’s why we set you up with market knowledge before you come out. We send you new listings, neighbourhood advice, and sales prices on the areas that interest you. This helps you to better understand just what you’re getting into, how your neighbourhood selections will affect the type of home you’ll get, and generally eliminate the need for learning about the market while you’re here.

This makes the first day on the ground far more effective, and gives you more valuable time looking at good properties.

4. Professionals on Stand-By

Sometimes you need to meet with a banker to finalize the financing on the home, or meet with a lawyer to sign transfer documents or get a power-of-attorney in place for 1 of the spouses. Because of our strong relationships, our supporting lawyers and and bankers are always prepared to shuffle their schedules to make sure that you’re taken care of while you’re in Edmonton. Not only does this make the HHT go more smoothly, but it makes the time between the HHT and possession go smoothly too.

These are just a few of the several tricks, systems, and processes that we use to make your HHT a success.

If you’d like to talk to one of our agents about your HHT, fill in the form below and we’ll call you right back. Your successful HHT is just a phone call away.

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ReMax is #1 with Reader’s Digest Readers

Congratulations to RE/MAX associates on being voted Canada’s Most Trusted Residential REALTOR® by readers of Reader’s Digest magazine. Reader’s Digest announced its “Trusted Brand Awards 2010” last month and will be featured in the May issue.  A study was conducted for the annual awards asking respondents, unprompted, which brands they trust most within 28 different brand categories.  Brand reputation, in this case, represented consumers having a positive personal experience with the brand.  30% of Canadian’s surveyed answered that RE/MAX was their most trusted residential realtor, that’s an impressive five times more than the runner up.

Who takes care of you when you contact us?

I don’t want this to come across as a rant against someone and I can sort of understand how she felt in this situation.

I  just had an interesting call the other day, and I felt it was something I needed to blog about.

I was calling back to a lady that had called for John. Now, John didn’t know her and he was busy with other clients.  He would not have been able to call her back quickly. So, he asked me to.

I called her, explained who I was, and asked how I could assist her. She was very pointed in telling me that she called John, and didn’t want one of the other team members to call her back.

I nicely explained that we are just looking to provide better service to each and everyone of our clients or contacts.

“No, that was the problem. She called John, not Ben”, she said. She didn’t like being treated like that. And, “Good Bye” she said.

Now, I ‘m sorry she was unhappy, but I didn’t even have a chance to say that I would have John call her back later.

The question arises, are you better served working with a team? I say a definite YES!

Oh, once you start working with one of us, we stay with you throughout the purchase or sale of your home. But if you call us on our day-off, or if we are not available and it’s urgent, then we always have someone who can step-up to handle the situation.

I believe you are better off working with a team (and so are we because we can take a guilt-free day off once a week) and you can feel assured of good service.

Ben Officer

Please let us know what you think.