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Calgary Home Market Evaluation

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

For many, the prospect of buying or selling a home can be daunting; especially
for first time home buyers. One of the best ways to protect yourself, get top dollar for your home and to
alleviate the stress associated with the purchase or sale of a home is to get a
Home Market Evaluation from a Calgary Realtor.

Home prices vary from place to place and Calgary is no exception. When you
consider Calgary’s proximity to Edmonton, the Canadian Forces bases and many
of Canada’s national parks, many of Calgary’s surrounding areas Home Market
Values are on the rise. How do you know if you are getting a good deal or if you
are selling your home for what it is worth? That is where a Calgary Home Market
Evaluation will come into play.

A Calgary Home Market Evaluation, also known as a “Comparative Market
Analyses” or CMA for short, is a process whereby a local area real estate agent
determines the market value of your home and the market conditions.

A Calgary Home Market Evaluation/ CMA, can differ by agents and can vary
on the information that is included in the report. However, most reports usually
contain some or all of the following data items:

Active Listings

Active listings, as one would imagine, is simply the homes in your area that are
currently listed for sale. In reality, this is your competition. It cannot be stressed
enough that active listing sales prices are not indicative of true market value.
This is due in large part to the fact that sellers can ask whatever they want for
their home.

Remember, what a house is “listed” at is entirely different that the price is actually
sells for. Sales prices do not reflect true market value until they are sold, it is one
of the reasons why appraisers will only use homes that have sold in the recent
past as their “comparables.” Furthermore, in a buyer’s markets, most sell for a
less. The reason for the inflated price is to allow for negotiations and for sellers

Pending Listings

Pending home sales are a listing of homes that were formerly active listings but
that are now under contract. In other words, these are homes that were on the
“active listing” and someone wants to buy it but have not yet paid for it. These
homes cannot be listed as a “comparable sale” until they have actually closed;
thus, the reason for this section of the CMA. Furthermore, unless the agent who
listed the property is willing to share information with you, and many will not,
you will not know what the final sales price of the home is until after the closing.
However, pending sales do provide and indication as to which way the market
is moving and should also give you an idea as to how long you can expect your
home, if you are selling, to be on the market.

Sold Listings

Homes that have closed within the past six months are your comparable sales.
A CMA should be using these homes, almost exclusively if possible, when he generates
an appraisal of your home for the buyer. Comparable sales are really the only
number to be concerned with, as these will dictate your homes market value.

Off-Market / Withdrawn / Canceled

These properties which were taken off the market. The reasons for a home
being de-listed can be many. However, it is usually due to the homes being over
priced for the given market. The median prices of this listing of homes will almost
always be higher than the median prices of comparable sales data set.

Here are some other reasons why a home may fall into this data set:

Seller’s remorse: The sellers decided, for what ever reason, that they
cannot part with their home and no longer wish to sell it.

Low-Ball Offer: Nobody made an offer on the home or the only offers that
were received were low-ball offers which fell outside of the sellers desired
sales price.

Contract expired: The listing agents contract with the home seller expired,
in other words, the “DOM,” days on the market, were too long. Key point to
remember here is that most agents will withdraw listings so they can relist
them as a “new listing,” and fool perspective buyers.

Repair requests. The are homes that were formally in the “pending” data
set but were removed after the home inspection reported that a home
needed repairs which the seller was unwilling to perform.

Seller fired the agent: Similar to a contract expiring, only in this instance,
the sellers are not happy with an agents performance and terminated the
contract prior to expiration.

Expired Listings

This is the group of homes that will more often than not, reflect the highest
median sales price. This occurs because the homes did not sell due to being,
usually, unreasonably priced. Some of the expired listings could also fall under
this category for many of the same reasons as those found in the off-market/
withdrawn data set. Remember, many of these homes could also show up as an
active listing simply due to the fact that they were listed by a new agent at a new

Examining Comparable Sales

Comparable sales are those homes that sold that most closely resemble your
home. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples here. For example,
make sure the bedroom and the bathroom counts are the same or as close as
possible, that the square footage of you floor plan is comparable and that you
have the same number and type of amenities. For example, if your home does
not have a pool and the one you are comparing it to does, then obviously the
one with the pool is more desirable and will thus command a higher home value.
Also, make sure the years the home were constructed are as close to each other
as possible. All things being equal, a home built in the 2000’s will obviously
command a higher value than one built in the 1970’s.

Everybody knows that real estate is valued on “location, location, location,” but
have you considered what this means to you, exactly? For example, a home with
a view of the city is worth more than a home facing a highway. Homes located on
busy thoroughfares are worth considerably less than homes located on a Cul-de-

Remember, a Calgary Home Market Evaluation is just one of the tools you
should use when buying or selling a home.

How to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

When you are ready to sell your home in Calgary, there are a number of things that you
can do to improve the homes value and its saleability. Similarly, there are a number of
things you can do, or not do, that will kill your ability to sell your home. Below are some
of the hard-learned lessons by a top Calgary Realtor that can help you sell your home.

First is the issue regarding home improvements; do you know what improvements
actually add value and which ones are a waste of money? Not all home improvements are
the same, make sure that if you are going to do a home improvement that you are adding
value and not wasting your money.


The front entryway is one of the best home improvements that you can make. They are
relatively inexpensive and provide a good rate of return as well as a stunning visual
impact that can greatly increase your homes curb appeal. Not to mention that fact that
upgrading your door can improve your homes energy use efficiency by providing better
insulation than the older door or entry way currently in place.


Your windows, which are often overlooked by many homeowners, is one of the best
investment you can make to improve the value of your home. Besides a dramatic increase
in your homes curb appeal and high visual impact, modern windows with improved
technology and manufacturing processes can go a long way to increase the energy
efficiency of the house. If you are looking to sell your Calgary home, this makes for a
great sales position, especially in today’s market where more and more consumers are
concerned with “going green.”


Renovating your kitchen can be one of the best investments you can make to improve
the value of your home. The kitchen is always, and I do mean always, one of the most
important selling points of a home. This is the area where families spend a majority of
their time so it is important that it have a broad base appeal. Believe it or not, simply
upgrading the appliances and including them with the home can go a long way in getting
that house sold.


Adding a deck to the home is a great and, relatively, inexpensive way to improve the
home and add value. Decks extend the usable living space of a home, effectively adding
a new “room” without the expense of actually doing so. Unbelievably, if done correctly,
this home improvement can usually return about 80% or more on your investment.


A little known and little used home improvement is the addition of a backup power
generator. Long gone are the days of the noisy, smelly and energy inefficient generators.
Today’s generators provide economical power that can power your whole house with
one small generator. These new generators can easily be installed in the garage or right
next to your heat pump/AC. With the ever-growing concern of the failing power grids in
most cities, this one addition alone can make all the difference in selling your property
and making the home more attractive to home buyers. Trust me, the next time you have a
storm that knocks out the power grid in your area you are going to thank me for making
this recommendation

Next are a couple of property pitfalls that can ruin your chance of selling your home.


I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have gone out to look at a property
only to pull up to houses with a yard sign in it. Why are these signs a problem? Let me
explain. Let us say you have a sign in the yard asking your neighbors to keep their dogs
off of your yard. Sure, some of the signs are cute but, quite frankly; they all mean the
same thing to me: the neighborhood has a “pet problem” and lawn upkeep is going to
be a problem. Nothing looks worse when you are trying to sell a house than a big brown
patch of dead grass. What if you have a potential buyer that is a gardener, do you think he
wants to have to worry about dogs defecating in his garden?

Alternatively, what about the “no parking” signs. You know what that means to me and
other potential buyers: it means that there is a parking problem in the neighborhood. It
means that I am going to perform my “due diligence” and find out why you need the sign.
Does it mean you have disrespectful neighbors that park wherever they feel like? Does
it mean that perhaps you have a local church that has a garage sale once a month that
blocks off your exit from your cul-de-sac?

What about those attractive “security company signs;” perhaps that means there is a
crime problem in the neighborhood? I know it gives me a second pause and makes me
ask questions.


Yes, I like homeowner associations because they do help in maintaining an attractive and
appealing neighborhood. However, I am sure that at some point we have all personally
dealt with or know someone who has had to deal with the dreaded HOA enforcers. You
know, those pesky, intrusive enforcers of the HOA who throw a fit and fine you because
your car was parked 2” to far away from the curb. Or even worse, the time that my
contractor and I decided on a wonderful paint scheme for the house and then spending
over $3,500 to do the makeover on the house only to be told, after the fact, that the paint
scheme was not acceptable to the HOA and it needed to be changed. Forget that I already

had an approval letter; New Year, new board, new rules. Between the fines, the materials
and the labor cost we are talking about a $10,000 mistake. How can you protect yourself
as the seller? Get involved in the Homeowners Association and voice your concerns to
the board. If all else fails, run for a board position. Remember, this is about selling your
home and doing whatever it takes to sell your home at the best possible price.

Finally, let us talk about saleability. Today’s real estate market is extremely challenging so
small investments can go a long way in selling your home.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) there are several home
electronic upgrades that buyers absolutely love. Home technologies are having a greater
and greater impact on home sales. In just the last two years alone nine out of ten real
estate agents, have in one way or another, been involved in the purchase or sale of a
home that was equipped with a home technology upgrade. The most popular item was
a home security monitoring system, which accounted for over 93%, with a close second
falling to home theater systems at 89%.

However, what is even more interesting is that more and more home buyers are “going
green” and want technologies that make them feel like they are doing something to help
the environment. In respect to making your home more seleable the CEA reports that over
50% of homes that were either bought or sold had technologies and system for home
automation and energy management.

Your best options for making your home more salable are:


Relatively inexpensive to install, depending on your model and features, and provides a
great selling feature to the home. With security always being a huge concern for families
this is a great investment to make. According to the CSA, over 93% of homes bought or
sold by a real estate agent had home security systems.


Also relatively inexpensive to install, this is a great feature to add to a home. Just do
not go overboard. Home theater systems and wiring can reach into the thousands if not
tens of thousands of dollars if you are not careful, so do not over do it. With a shrinking
economy and less disposable income more and more homeowners are looking to home
entertainment to save money. By having a house all ready pre-wired to provide this
entertainment need you instantly make your home more sellable.


More and more home buyers want to go green and as well as looking for ways to
save money. Why not provide a solution to both of those concerns. A home energy
management and automation system can save the home buyer money each and every month, year after year and gives them a sense of giving back to the environment. This technology has been around for years in commercial application but is only now making its way into the home real estate market.

Hopefully, with the information we have provided, you can get the edge over your competition and get your Calgary home sold.

Choosing a Top Calgary Realtor

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Whether you’re trying to sell your own house or looking to buy a new one, there’s no doubt that
the process can sometimes bring about certain difficulties. There are plenty of different avenues
for you to take, but some of them might not always be the best choice. If you’re looking to
buy or sell a home in Calgary, the sheer enormity of the city can sometimes be overwhelming.
For sellers, pricing your house and marketing it to adequate buyers can sometimes feel like
impossibility. For buyers, the number of Calgary neighborhoods (nearly 200) and the wide variety of
different options can produce more confusion than clarity. That’s why it’s always good to have a
real estate agent on your side as you navigate through all the real estate options for you.

Of course, every real estate agent is licensed or registered to do business in their particular
province and/or city. But, that doesn’t mean that all real estate agents are created equally. Some
individuals might use the terms “real estate agent” and “realtor” interchangeably, but there’s a
distinct difference between the two that can help you make a better decision when it comes to
finding an agent. To put it simply, all realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents
are realtors.

The major difference between a realtor and a standard agent is that realtors have been accredited
through the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). They have access to more listings and a
wider variety of information than anyone else who has not been certified by the CREA. You’ll
find a large amount of real estate agents in Calgary, but it’s important to make the distinction
between real estate agents and realtors. Most certified realtors will proudly display their
credentials either in their office or on their website. These agents are likely the most competent
and professional real estate experts that you can find, and it’s important to know exactly who
you’re partnering with.

Even though you’ll find a wide selection of realtors in Calgary, not every one of them will be
able to give you exactly what you want when you’re looking to purchase a home. For instance, if
you’re looking to a buy a house in the northwest section of the city, then you probably should not
enlist the services of a realtor who specializes in Calgary neighborhoods in the southeast portion
of the city. The benefit of having a wide array of different realtor options is that you can find the
one that is localized in a specific area. You’re likely going to want the realtor who can provide
you with keen insight into everything regarding a particular neighborhood.

Obviously, if you’re looking to move into the Rocky Ridge neighborhood, you’re going to want
to find a realtor that has intrinsic knowledge of the area. This knowledge can manifest itself
in a number of ways, but it usually means that they’ll understand what that neighborhood has
to offer. For instance, they can let you know about the quality of the schools in the area or the
access to public parks. They will also provide you with a number of different insights regarding
home values in the area. You can never go wrong with a hyper-localized realtor when you’re
looking to buy a house.

The same rule applies if you’re trying to sell your house, as well. A listing agent is valuable for
a number of reasons, but you’re probably going to want to opt for one that understands your
area keenly. For instance, if you’re trying to sell your home in Panorama Hills, a realtor that can
advise you on all things associated with the area would be your best bet. One of the major pitfalls
that you might encounter when trying to sell your home is overpricing. Many homeowners fall

into this trap either because they ascribe too much sentimental value to the house or because
they want to get as much out of the property as they can. A realtor who knows all the advantages
and disadvantages of the area (as well as the condition of your house) will be able to objectively
evaluate what your house is really worth.

Beyond that, you’ll also find that local realtors will be able to market your listing with superior
skill. They will be able to target the right buyers who will show interest in your place and
potentially make an offer. It’s commonly considered that the best time to sell a house is within 7
weeks after it’s been listed. With the proper marketing techniques, this goal is certainly feasible.
Of course, if you don’t have the best realtor on your case, your listing might fall into a virtual
slush pile of other houses. The only way to get your house sold fast is by enlisting the services of
a CREA-certified listing agent.

The primary goal of any realtor is to help you get a better deal and save time in the process. This
applies to both buyers and sellers and is certainly something worth noting. Of course, choosing
the right realtor isn’t all a matter of their localized knowledge base. They also need to be aware
of any individual needs that you might have. For instance, if you’re a senior, the right realtor
will be aware of exactly what options you have in terms of accessibility. You’ll also probably
want to make sure that they are a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist. Some buyers will want
a realtor who has extensive knowledge of remodeling costs and the benefits and detriments of
older houses.

Sellers may want their may want their realtors to offer similar expertise. If you’re trying to sell
an older home, you might want someone who knows about all the issues that crop up when
listing these homes. What repairs should you make, if any? What is the market for old homes
that require a little touching up here and there? If your realtor can’t answer these questions, then
you might want to find one who does. It can be the difference between being listed for months
and selling your home in weeks. These natural uncertainties about whether it’s financially
feasible to make repairs prior to listing are going to need to be alleviated in some way. After all,
realtors only want you to get the best deal, and, if a few small repairs here and there are enough
to increase the house’s value substantially, then that’s something your realtor should probably

In the end, it really comes down to how comfortable you feel with any particular realtor. If
they’ve got a wide knowledge base of the City of Calgary (or the section of the city you’re
interested in), then they will likely be a good option for you. Many other factors come into
play that might help you make your decision. For instance, the experience of the realtor can
be a major selling point for you. Sometimes, agents will receive certain accolades for their
high-quality work, and those are plaudits that you should probably take heed of. Whomever
you choose, it’s certain that you’ve chosen the right city in which to live. Calgary offers a
wide variety of interesting options that can make it perfect for you and your family to become

Preparing to Sell your Home in Calgary with a Realtor

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Selling your home can be viewed as a number of different things. Many people in your family might view it as a bittersweet ending to an otherwise exceptional chapter in their lives. Others might see it as a chance for a new beginning elsewhere. Whatever you think of selling your house, there’s always going to be one single fact: it’s not going to be easy. Depending on the market, your neighborhood, and whole bevy of other factors, your house could end up in limbo for quite some time. No one wants to see their house listed for any extended period of time, but the simple fact is that sometimes it is unavoidable. In general, Calgary has relatively fast turnaround rates, but, without the right help, you might never see the light of day. With a certified Realtor on your side, you can shorten the time that your house is listed substantially.

Of course, when you’re getting ready to sell there are a wide range of factors that come into
play. Unless you want to attempt to go at it alone, you’re likely going to want to look for a
listing agent. Any real estate agent that is active in selling homes must be registered or licensed.
Certainly, you don’t want to be duped into having your home listed by an amateur, but if you
know that they are licensed, then you should be okay. Of course, there is a difference even
between licensed real estate agents and certified Realtors. Realtors are the only ones that are
accredited with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), and they offer their expertise and
high-quality service. Making sure that your listing agent is a certified Calgary Realtor is tantamount to
getting your house sold in an efficient, competent, and timely manner.

One of the major instances in the process of selling your house is setting the price. This
can determine a lot about how quickly your house gets sold. Perhaps the major issue that
presents itself during this time is overpricing. Very few people are particularly fond of leaving
their homes because there is a certain sentimental attachment they might have to all of its
eccentricities. This can cause sellers to overestimate their asking price, causing both buyers and
real estate agents to avoid looking at your house. It’s important to assess the value of your house
objectively, even though it might be difficult to do so. Of course, a Realtor can help you make the
right determination in that regard because they have extensive knowledge of the standard prices
based on neighborhood, condition of the house, and many other factors.

Even with their extensive knowledge of real estate standards, Realtors are also quite skilled at
being able to market your house. If you think that a little blurb in the classified section of the
Calgary Herald is going to be enough to sell your home, then you probably have another thing
coming. Exposing your house to as many prospective buyers as possible is the best way to
ensure that the right buyer will come around at some point in time. The best way to really get
your house on the market is by letting your Realtor work their advertising magic. With the right
price and the right publicity, your house will have more scheduled viewings than you could have

But, it’s not enough to just ensure that your house is getting the right amount of attention. It
certainly helps, but it won’t be the only determining factor in regard to the viability of selling
your home. You still need to present a good product to any potential buyers if you really want
to catch their eye. Of course, one of the first aspects of a house that anyone notices is the front
yard. It’s often indicative of the quality of the house indoors, and most buyers will recognize that
immediately. A sloppy, overgrown front yard is naturally going to raise some red flags with any
potential buyers. A properly landscaped and manicured front yard will certainly be a breath of fresh air and a good omen of things to come.

It’s also important to ensure that your house is as clean as possible during showings. This
effectively means taking away any junk or clutter from plain sight and trying to eliminate any
unseemly odors. If you are a smoker or you have pets, it can be difficult to eradicate all smells,
but it’s vital to at least get the house smelling fresh if you really want to attract buyers. Making
sure that everything shines with a bright burnish will also help you in the long run. Dust on
window sills and cobwebs in corners are natural parts of life, but buyers don’t want to see that
when they enter into their prospective new home. This is especially true for individuals with
allergies who will pick up on the dust particles in a flash.

Your house should also be accessible during showings. While this might seem like an obvious
step, it’s one that really shouldn’t be overlooked. Most sellers need to provide access to their
house usually via an electronic key box. This keeps your house safe from criminals and also
allows real estate agents to get into your house with ease. In general, it’s also important to be
noticeably absent at the time of the showing. You want your prospective buyers to feel relaxed
and not rushed, and the only way to do that is by not being there. You might also consider taking
your pets to the kennel or to a friend’s house, particularly if they are intrusive in any way. If
there’s no one way to not be there during a showing, it’s probably best to be neither seen nor
heard to the best of your ability. It’s almost never a good idea to offer any help of your own as
the real estate agent is perfectly capable of handling any questions the buyer might have.

While the buyer is walking through your clean and virtually empty house, they might notice a
few more eye sores that can lead them to pass on purchasing your place. For instance, cracks
or chips in the paint and stains in the carpet are going to be odious and obvious. They will
also require fixing that any prospective buyer will likely not want to do. There also might be
some major problems with the inner workings of the house. For instance, outdated electrical or
plumbing work will naturally bring up additional costs. If you have the money to get these things
fixed beforehand, it’s certainly important to do so. Ensuring that your house is fully operational
and as aesthetically pleasing as possible is going to go a long way in determining how interested
potential buyers are.

There are a lot of different things that you have to do in order to get ready to sell your home, but
the most important thing is to work with your local Calgary Realtor. They will be able to guide
you along the way with a wealth of expertise in their field and extensive knowledge of the local
area. They will also be able to market your home like no one else. Of course, the cosmetic issues
of the house rest solely on your shoulders, but making your home as beautiful as possible is the
best way to get it sold in as short an amount of time as possible.

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The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license. REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.