Author Topic: Calgary Real Estate  (Read 1304 times)

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Offline silent

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Calgary Real Estate
« on: February 03, 2018, 02:32:13 PM »
I know there have been some discussions here and there about real estate, but I was looking to create a consolidated discussion for this.  My girlfriend and I will be looking to buy within the next 6-8 months and have some questions about the process.  Budget-wise, we are looking in the 500-650k range right now.

Are there any areas you guys recommend that are still affordable but within a 15-20 minute drive of downtown?  Are there any areas that are commonly overlooked with decent dining/coffee options?

What do you like/dislike about your current home?
What do you like/dislike about your current area?

Is it better to get a house that's move-in ready, or maybe something that requires renovations to get it to where you'd like?

What about realtors -- are they all the same or are some better than others?
 On average, how flexible are people on the prices of their homes?

Can mortgage brokers get you significantly better rates, or is it a safer bet to stay with the big banks?

I'm sure I (and others) have a million other questions, so I'd love to get this discussion started.

Offline Ambystom01

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 03:23:25 PM »
Mortgage brokers can get you better rates.
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Offline jellynuts

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2018, 05:26:14 PM »
1. What do you like/dislike about your current home?
2. What do you like/dislike about your current area?

3. Is it better to get a house that's move-in ready, or maybe something that requires renovations to get it to where you'd like?

4. What about realtors -- are they all the same or are some better than others?
5. On average, how flexible are people on the prices of their homes?

6. Can mortgage brokers get you significantly better rates, or is it a safer bet to stay with the big banks?

1. I'm 5 minutes from work, there's a large park just outside our community.  While Airdrie doesn't feel small town, it still feels rural

2. So many white people

3. That's up to you, where you're at in life and what your ambitions are.  Are you going to do the renovations?  Can you afford renovations?  Can you afford to pay contractors to do them?  Can you trust the contractors to do a good job?  Can you trust yourself to do a good job?  Do you have the time to do renovations? 

For us, we built our own garage which was a great experience.  My wife was a framer and I had a bit of experience in construction from missions in Mexico and Habitat for Humanity.  It took us... 4-5 months to frame, roof, side and power the whole thing, where it would have taken a contractor probably 2 days.  There was one toddler and wife was 5 mo pregnant.  This last summer, we insulated and drywalled the thing, which took us another 2 months.  This time with two toddlers and a 2 mo pregnant wife. 

Worth it?  For us, totally.  Raised the value of the house by a lot and it didn't cost us too much in labour (I did hire someone to do the electrical and mudding).  Most importantly though, I really developed my friendships with people who came out to help; like Canuckrz.  If not for that project, I'm sure my stranger danger radar would be going through the roof whenever I see him at Tims.  Now we're on to different projects around the house, like patching up holes in the walls and painting. 

4.  Yes.  Ask your friends who they used.  People are loyal to their realtors and realtors reward clients for their loyalty. 

5.  Your realtor should be able to advise you on how much to offer. 

6.  Yes.  A broker will get you a better rate. 

Good luck!
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Offline Zaider

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2018, 06:30:53 PM »
I know there have been some discussions here and there about real estate, but I was looking to create a consolidated discussion for this.  My girlfriend and I will be looking to buy within the next 6-8 months and have some questions about the process.  Budget-wise, we are looking in the 500-650k range right now.

Are there any areas you guys recommend that are still affordable but within a 15-20 minute drive of downtown?  Are there any areas that are commonly overlooked with decent dining/coffee options?

What do you like/dislike about your current home?
What do you like/dislike about your current area?

Is it better to get a house that's move-in ready, or maybe something that requires renovations to get it to where you'd like?

What about realtors -- are they all the same or are some better than others?
 On average, how flexible are people on the prices of their homes?

Can mortgage brokers get you significantly better rates, or is it a safer bet to stay with the big banks?

I'm sure I (and others) have a million other questions, so I'd love to get this discussion started.

1) We used to live in Mount Pleasant but have now moved to Winston Heights. Our main considerations were that it was close to downtown, that we could bicycle to work easily in summer. Also, the majority of our friends live within 6 blocks, so that helped :)

While I think Mount Pleasant was a nicer neighbourhood, I really like Winston Heights. Its definitely a mixed neighbourhood with lots of our neighbours having been here for 20-30 years as well as lots of younger people and families. We're starting to get some good restaurants (eg. Scopa) and good coffee shops (Rosso). As well, they're going to be renovating the Coop on 16th ave so that'll be great in a few years. Its not like Mission or Bridgeland or Inglewood with the restaurants, shops etc, but its definitely getting better.

2/3) We used to live in a house built in 1914 that had some renovations done to it, and now we've bought a brand new infill duplex, so I've seen both sides. As jellynuts said, its totally up to you. We realized that the old house would never be quite what we wanted so pouring money into it in renovations wouldn't get us to where we wanted.

So we bought a new place. It took a while to find it, and we had to go a little over our initial budget, but the new house has everything we wanted and there isn't anything we'd change about it. Its nice being able to look around and not get stressed about changing this or that, but also recognize that there is a cost to that.

4) Realtors are different. Some are better, and some are worse. We used different ones for both purchases so it was interesting to see. I think the biggest thing that a realtor can help with is pointing out things about a home that you wont notice. Also, research on the neighbourhood, whats going on, future developments. Our old place backed onto a dog park. Our realtor did the research to find out who owned it and if there were development plans for it.

My advice for a realtor is ask your friends if they recommend one and why. Find out the good things they did and if that seems important to you, then contact them.

5) Totally varies, but both our house purchases ended up going for less than what our real estate agents thought they would go for. Our first one, was for almost 10% less than listing, but it had been on the market for over a year (2010 and nobody was buying). Our second one, we put in what our real estate agent said was a lowball but.. whats the worst that can happen? they say no, right? Then you move on.

On the flip side, when we sold our house, it went for almost asking, which we already thought was on the high side, and listing to sold took less than a week.

6) Go with a mortgage broker. I really like ours, so if you want, send me a PM. She took the time to explain everything and, with bridge financing etc, it was important to understand the terms.


5.  Your realtor should be able to advise you on how much to offer. 


While yes, thats true... as I said, we offered lower than what our real estate agent thought was reasonable, and got it for almost that. So, dont be afraid to disagree with your agent. Its your money.
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Offline LilDrunkenSmurf

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2018, 03:15:39 PM »
What do you like/dislike about your current home?
What do you like/dislike about your current area?

Is it better to get a house that's move-in ready, or maybe something that requires renovations to get it to where you'd like?

What about realtors -- are they all the same or are some better than others?
 On average, how flexible are people on the prices of their homes?

Can mortgage brokers get you significantly better rates, or is it a safer bet to stay with the big banks?

Currently live in Hawkwood. Purchased because it's a 5min bus ride to a transit line, and a 19 minute drive to downtown if I chose. It's an older, established neighbourhood with 2000+sqft homes build in the 80's. Ours was already renovated within your budget, but still some dated parts. Neighbours are fantastic. In the winter, everyone turns stupid and drives down the middle of the road, and we get terrible ruts.

I wanted move-in ready, as I wasn't prepared to pay someone, or do a ton of renovations myself. At this point the only things I've done are re-paint the basement, and get central A/C.

My mortgage broker recommended a realtor to me, and he was so fantastic that I've had family and friends use him since. He's based out of South Calgary, but he helped us find a place in NW Calgary, and even will work in Airdrie, and other surrounding towns. Our broker was also fantastic, and was recommended by Asstuna, but he's since left the brokerage.

Our sellers were very flexible in terms of pricing. We knocked nearly 10% off the purchase price.
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Offline jellynuts

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2018, 08:27:54 PM »
Airdrie is nice.
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Offline RockThePylon

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2018, 08:37:32 PM »
Airdrie is nice.

If you're into that kind of thing.
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Offline Perfect Dark

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2018, 10:18:34 PM »
If you're into that kind of thing.

Paying less for more?  That's something I could get behind.

Offline jellynuts

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2018, 10:39:03 PM »
If you're into that kind of thing.

Swinger Central man...  Are you saying YOU can't get behind that?

Paying less for more?  Swingers?  That's something I could get behind.
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Offline Cagare

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2018, 11:02:57 PM »
Swinger Central man...  Are you saying YOU can't get behind that?

Bleh, but so many white people.  Less for more, but complain about that commute, if you work downtown.

Look at communities that did not dip in value during the two slight downturns we had and go from there.  If you are working downtown nothing beats walking to work 30 minutes or biking in less. 

Offline Perfect Dark

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2018, 11:49:46 PM »
Bleh, but so many white people.  Less for more, but complain about that commute, if you work downtown.

Look at communities that did not dip in value during the two slight downturns we had and go from there.  If you are working downtown nothing beats walking to work 30 minutes or biking in less. 

If that's worth $100k or more then giver, there's a price for everything.

Offline silent

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2018, 12:12:29 AM »
If that's worth $100k or more then giver, there's a price for everything.
That $100k is worth it for us right now.  The extra 2+ hours/day we would both have definitely justifies the premium.  A person really doesn't realize how much their daily commute affects them until they move to Fort St. John and have a 2 minute drive to work every day.  It honestly feels like there's so much more time in a day now.

Offline Tenacious_B

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2018, 08:08:02 AM »
A person really doesn't realize how much their daily commute affects them until they move to Fort St. John and have a 2 minute drive to work every day.

100% agree.

Put an hourly price on your daily commute.  Let's say your job pays you $30/hr, and you commute an hour each way 5 days a week... that's $15,600 a year, not counting fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Times that by the typical number of years that people pay a mortgage (25 yrs) then that commute cost you $390,000.  Up here in edmonton, people buy way out in spruce grove or ft sask in order to save $30,000 on a house...they need 30-45 minutes to drive to work, and it takes me 10. Seems like a no brainier to me.  Sure I paid slightly more for my house but I can be home before 5 every day.
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Offline Zaider

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2018, 08:23:52 AM »
Location is just like everything else when buying a house. Some will pay for it and some wont. Just like some will pay for a nicer kitchen, 2 car garage, etc.
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Offline rallyman_03

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2018, 09:47:43 AM »
I won't speak to everything else in this discussion because it seems like everyone else here has provided some valuable insight. I can speak to using a mortgage broker, in every case having someone that doesn't work for one particular bank but can shop the entire market will always be of benefit. On that note, I am a vendor here on the WSC and one of the things I offer is guidance and assistance in financing a home. If you would like some more information please shoot me a PM. Good luck!

Offline Perfect Dark

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2018, 11:21:44 AM »
That $100k is worth it for us right now.  The extra 2+ hours/day we would both have definitely justifies the premium.  A person really doesn't realize how much their daily commute affects them until they move to Fort St. John and have a 2 minute drive to work every day.  It honestly feels like there's so much more time in a day now.

I used 100k but now thinking about it you'd have to go much higher to get what I've got in the areas closer to downtown.  Again, everyone has different priorities so you need to make sure you are getting exactly what you want before you drop hundreds of thousands on a place.

Offline silent

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2018, 02:02:35 PM »
Thanks for the info guys, it looks like we'll be submitting an offer on a place tomorrow.  Does anyone have recommendations for a home inspector?

Offline Asstuna

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2018, 02:43:37 PM »
Yes. I'll see if I can find his details

Offline Asstuna

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2018, 02:57:17 PM »
This guy wrote us a book when we bought our condo in a fourplex in 2011. We gave a copy of our report to the other owners and they were very impressed with his level of detail.

Kevin Hawes
Certified Home Inspector
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ASSURED HOME INSPECTIONS
PRE-LISTING and PRE-PURCHASE Inspections
Phone:  403-617-4677 (INSP)
Email:  contact@assuredhi.com
Website:  www.assuredhi.com

Offline Zaider

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Re: Calgary Real Estate
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2018, 08:37:29 PM »
Dont go with Pillar to Post. We used them and I wasn't impressed at all. The guy basically mailed it in because it was a new build. He missed tons of stuff that I had to point out (eg. downspouts missing). He did say that the thermal stuff is a waste of time though... just after I'd paid him to do it.

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