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Budgeting for a new home can be tricky.  Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected—expenses to add to the equation.  The last thing you want is to be caught financially unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.

 

These expenses vary:  some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of monthly or yearly installments.  Some may not even apply to your particular case.  But it’s best to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so you will be prepared for any situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your move.  Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget:

 

  1. Purchase offer deposit.

 

  1. Inspection by certified building inspector.

 

  1. Appraisal fee: 

Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property.  The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility.

 

  1. Survey fee: 

If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request an updated property survey.  The cost for this survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000. 

 

  1. Mortgage application at your lending institution.

 

  1. 5% GST:  this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations. 

 

  1. Legal fees: 

A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork.  Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire.

 

  1. Homeowner’s insurance: 

Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution.  You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan.

 

  1. Land transfer (purchase) tax: 

This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly.

 

  1. Moving expenses.

 

  1. Service charges: 

Any utilities you arrange for at your new home, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee.

 

  1. Interest adjustments.

 

  1. Renovation of new home: 

In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon moving in to their new home.  If this is your plan, budget accordingly.

 

  1. Maintenance fees: 

If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.

 
 
Thanks,
 
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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When preparing your property to show, work your way from the outside in.  It is essential that your home possess a certain “drive-up appeal.”  Remember, a potential buyer’s first impression of your house is formed while s/he is still sitting in the realtor’s car.  So, first you need to view your house from this perspective.  Go stand on the opposite curb and observe your property.  Compare it to surrounding properties.  Concentrate on the following three areas:

 

Landscaping:

 

How does your landscaping measure up compared to the rest of the neighbourhood?  If you guess it would rate below-average, make a few adjustments.  You might want to consider buying some bushes and planting them around the property.  Do not buy trees, however—mature trees are expensive, so you will not see a return on your investment.  And immature trees don’t tend to significantly improve the immediate appearance of your home. 

 

If the problem with your yard isn’t a case of too little greenery, but rather too much, get out the pruning shears.  The purpose of landscaping is to complement the home, not hide it.  Overgrown shrubs should be sheared to a height near the bottom of the windows.  Remove any ivy clinging to the side of the house.  Tree limbs should be high enough that you’re able to walk beneath.  Trim any branches that bar the way.

 

Your lawn should be freshly cut and watered, and an even colour.  If there are brown spots, make sure you begin to remedy this well in advance of putting the house on the market.  You may want to re-sod areas, and you need to make sure these spots are given enough time to grow, so they will match the existing lawn.  Also, if you decide to use fertilizer, you’ll want to allow enough time for it to take effect.  Rake up any leaves or grass cuttings.

 

Planting a few flowers is an easy way to add colour and vibrancy to your yard, enhancing the first impression of your home.  Invest in a full flat of mature, colourful flowers, such as petunias or periwinkles, which last the length of the growing season.  Do not buy bulbs or seeds—they won’t necessarily grow enough by the time you begin showing to achieve the desired effect.  If you don’t have an area in which to plant flowers, consider purchasing a few flower pots for your porch and planting flowers or blooming plants.

 

If you have a pool, keep it sparkling and leaf-free.

 

House Exterior:

 

When you view your house from across the street, does it appear weathered or faded?  If so, it’s probably time to treat it to a fresh coat of paint.  This is usually a sound investment; new paint can do wonders to increase a home’s perceived value.

 

Stay away from unusual or loud colours.  The new colour should fit in with surrounding houses, and complement the style and structure of your house.

 

Examine the roof closely.  Old or leaking roofs should be replaced.  If there are leaks, you’ll have to disclose this detail to the homebuyer anyway, and they will want it replaced.  If there isn’t any apparent damage, however, wait for word from the home inspector before making repairs.

 

The Front Door and Porch:

 

The front door and surrounding area should look particularly fresh and welcoming, as this will be the buyer’s first up-close impression as they enter the house.  If you paint nothing else, at least give the door a new coat.  Replace the doorbell if it is broken and polish the door fixture until it gleams.  Wash the mail box.  Keep the porch swept and buy a new plush door mat.  All of these little things will contribute to the overall effect of a well cared-for and welcoming home.

 

Ensure the lock works smoothly and the key fits properly.  When a homebuyer visits your house, the Realtor will open the front door with a key.  You don’t want the buyers’ first experience to be of waiting on the doorstep while the Realtor fumbles with the lock.
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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When preparing your property to show, work your way from the outside in.  It is essential that your home possess a certain “drive-up appeal.”  Remember, a potential buyer’s first impression of your house is formed while s/he is still sitting in the realtor’s car.  So, first you need to view your house from this perspective.  Go stand on the opposite curb and observe your property.  Compare it to surrounding properties.  Concentrate on the following three areas:

 

Landscaping:

 

How does your landscaping measure up compared to the rest of the neighbourhood?  If you guess it would rate below-average, make a few adjustments.  You might want to consider buying some bushes and planting them around the property.  Do not buy trees, however—mature trees are expensive, so you will not see a return on your investment.  And immature trees don’t tend to significantly improve the immediate appearance of your home. 

 

If the problem with your yard isn’t a case of too little greenery, but rather too much, get out the pruning shears.  The purpose of landscaping is to complement the home, not hide it.  Overgrown shrubs should be sheared to a height near the bottom of the windows.  Remove any ivy clinging to the side of the house.  Tree limbs should be high enough that you’re able to walk beneath.  Trim any branches that bar the way.

 

Your lawn should be freshly cut and watered, and an even colour.  If there are brown spots, make sure you begin to remedy this well in advance of putting the house on the market.  You may want to re-sod areas, and you need to make sure these spots are given enough time to grow, so they will match the existing lawn.  Also, if you decide to use fertilizer, you’ll want to allow enough time for it to take effect.  Rake up any leaves or grass cuttings.

 

Planting a few flowers is an easy way to add colour and vibrancy to your yard, enhancing the first impression of your home.  Invest in a full flat of mature, colourful flowers, such as petunias or periwinkles, which last the length of the growing season.  Do not buy bulbs or seeds—they won’t necessarily grow enough by the time you begin showing to achieve the desired effect.  If you don’t have an area in which to plant flowers, consider purchasing a few flower pots for your porch and planting flowers or blooming plants.

 

If you have a pool, keep it sparkling and leaf-free.

 

House Exterior:

 

When you view your house from across the street, does it appear weathered or faded?  If so, it’s probably time to treat it to a fresh coat of paint.  This is usually a sound investment; new paint can do wonders to increase a home’s perceived value.

 

Stay away from unusual or loud colours.  The new colour should fit in with surrounding houses, and complement the style and structure of your house.

 

Examine the roof closely.  Old or leaking roofs should be replaced.  If there are leaks, you’ll have to disclose this detail to the homebuyer anyway, and they will want it replaced.  If there isn’t any apparent damage, however, wait for word from the home inspector before making repairs.

 

The Front Door and Porch:

 

The front door and surrounding area should look particularly fresh and welcoming, as this will be the buyer’s first up-close impression as they enter the house.  If you paint nothing else, at least give the door a new coat.  Replace the doorbell if it is broken and polish the door fixture until it gleams.  Wash the mail box.  Keep the porch swept and buy a new plush door mat.  All of these little things will contribute to the overall effect of a well cared-for and welcoming home.

 

Ensure the lock works smoothly and the key fits properly.  When a homebuyer visits your house, the Realtor will open the front door with a key.  You don’t want the buyers’ first experience to be of waiting on the doorstep while the Realtor fumbles with the lock.
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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If you are considering looking for a new house, and are a current home-owner, then chances are you’re wondering what your strategy should be:  do you wait to find the perfect new home before you put your current home on the market, or do you sell first and then look around?  You have a few options.  Use the following as a guide to explore what might be the best move for you.

 

Sell First:

 

There are several benefits to selling your current house before searching for your next home.  First of all, once you have sold your house, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with.  With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking, and negotiate accordingly.  This will allow you to immediately make firm offers on houses that you are serious about purchasing.  You can be first in line with an unconditional offer you know you can afford, and this will grant even further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take unconditional offers more seriously.  When they counter or turn down an offer that’s conditional on the sale of a home, they usually think the Buyer will come back with a better and more firm offer once they have sold their current home.  However, if you make an unconditional offer, the Seller will usually give you more consideration, as they realize you’re probably looking at other properties and will move on if your offer is rejected.  Likewise, if you have already sold you house, you probably do have a wider opportunity to look around, negotiate, and find the best deal and fit for you and your family.

 

The flip side of this scenario, however, is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for.

 

So, before you opt to sell first, you should determine whether you have alternate, temporary options, in case you have to move from your house before you’ve found a new one. How would you and your family deal with living in a transition home for an undetermined period of time?

 

 

Buy First:

 

Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you are interested in a specific property and will only sell your current home if this property comes on the market.  It may be a matter of timing—grabbing hold of the home before it’s too late.  The same might be said of a property you haven’t had you eye on previously, but that catches your attention due to its uniqueness or unbelievable price.  If buying first means you don’t miss out on the real estate opportunity of a lifetime, it may be the best move.

 

However, be careful. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell.  You can get a financial appraisal or market evaluation of a home prior to selling, but this doesn’t guarantee the price you’ll ultimately receive for the home after the negotiation process has run its course.  Since your selling price will be an unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight. 

 

Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial reality this scenario would create before you purchase another home.  You may be faced with owning two homes at once.  What type of financial stress would this bring to your life and how would you deal with it?  Consider the fact that if your current house doesn’t sell quickly enough, you may be forced to sell it off at a reduced price in order align the closing dates of your two properties.  What effect would this have on your financial situation?

 

Conditional Offer:

 

An additional option involves making your offer to purchase conditional upon the sale of your current property within a specified period.  Conditional offers usually include a clause that allows for the Sellers to keep their property on the market and remain open to other offers while you try to sell your home.  If the Sellers receive another attractive offer before you’ve sold your home, they may accept and ask you to either remove your condition and firm up your offer, or to back down from the offer.  A conditional offer forms a kind of middle ground, an area of compromise, for those who are afraid to sell or buy first—but doesn’t hold the advantages of the other two options.

 

One of the drawbacks of the conditional offer is that Sellers tend to take them less seriously.  They definitely give stronger consideration to firm offers.  This leaves you with less negotiating power.  In fact, some Sellers will simply turn down or counter a conditional offer.  Other Sellers will believe the Buyer will come back with a more serious offer when their home has sold.  So, you may end up having to increase your offer in order to have your conditional offer accepted and keep your foot in the door of your desired house. 

 

Even if your conditional offer is accepted, there is no guarantee another Buyer won’t step in and overthrow your offer before you have sold your current home, which would put you back at the starting line.  Also, consider the fact that you cannot withdraw your conditional offer until the end of the period specified in the contract—which means that if a better deal comes along, you will have to wait to jump at it. 

 

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Setting a realistic price for your home that reflects current market values will help sell your home quickly and for top dollar.  When you price your home properly, you increase the chances that the offer you receive will nearly match your asking price, and that there will be competing offers—which may net you even more in the long run. 

 

Your property has the best chance of selling within its first seven weeks on the market.  And, studies indicate that the longer a property stays on the market, the less it will ultimately sell for.  A property priced 10 % more than its market value is significantly less likely to sell within this window than a property priced close to its actual market value.  About three-quarters of homes on the market today are 5-10 % overpriced.  Sellers will usually over-price their homes by this margin if, either, they firmly believe the home is worth more than what the market indicates, or if they want to leave room for negotiation.  Either way, if you choose to over-price your home by this amount, you run the risk of increasing the amount of time your home spends on the market, and decreasing the amount of money you’ll ultimately receive. 

 

At the other end of the selling spectrum are houses that are priced below a fair market value.  Under-pricing often occurs when the owner is interested in a quick sell.  You can bargain on these homes attracting multiple offers and ultimately selling quickly at—or above—the asking price.

 

The knowledge and skills of an experienced Realtor will be invaluable when determining an appropriate asking price.  It is the job of your Realtor to know the current market and market trends inside and out, to be closely connected to the real estate market at large, and to be aware of other properties currently for sale in your particular area.  Based on this range of connections and knowledge, your Realtor should counsel you on how to price your home properly in order to attract the highest price possible, in the shortest period of time.

 

Before approaching this process, you should first do some homework yourself.  You’ll need to know the workings of the current market before you even begin to think about setting an asking price.  The market will always influence a property’s value, regardless of the state of a home, or its desirability.  Here are the types of market conditions and how they may affect you:

 

  1. Seller’s Market:

 

A Seller’s market is considered a “hot” market.  This type of market is created when demand is greater than supply—that is, when the number of Buyers exceeds the number of homes on the market.  As a result, these homes usually sell very quickly, and there are often multiple offers.  Many homes will sell above the asking price.

 

  1. Buyer’s Market:

 

A Buyer’s market is a slower market.  This type of market occurs when supply is greater than demand, the number of homes exceeding the number of Buyers.  Properties are more likely to stay on the market for a longer period of time.  Fewer offers will come in, and with less frequency.  Prices may even decline during this period.  Buyers will have more selection and flexibility in terms of negotiating toward a lower price.  Even if your initial offered price is too low, Sellers will be more likely to come back with a counter-offer. 

 

  1. Balanced Market:

 

In a balanced market, supply equals demand, the number of homes on the market roughly equal to the number of Buyers.  When a market is balanced there aren’t any concrete rules guiding whether a Buyer should make an offer at the higher end of his/her range, or the lower end.  Prices will be stable, and homes will sell within a reasonable period of time.  Buyers will have a decent number of homes to choose from, so Sellers may encounter some competition for offers on their home, or none at all.

 

Remember, a Realtor is trained to provide clients with this information about the market, helping you make the most informed decision possible.  The right Realtor will guide you through the ups and downs of the market and keep you up-to-date with the types of changes you might expect. 

 

Evaluate your house in the other main areas that affect market value:

 

  1. Location:

 

The proximity of your home to amenities, such as schools, parks, public transportation, and stores will affect its status on the market.  Also, the quality of neighbourhood planning, and future plans for development and zoning will influence a home’s current market value, as well as the ways in which this value might change. 

 

  1. Property:

 

The age, size, layout, style, and quality of construction of your house will all affect the property’s market value, as well as the size, shape, seclusion and landscaping of the yard.

 

  1. Condition of the Home:

 

This includes the general condition of your home’s main systems, such as the furnace, central air, electrical system, etc., as well as the appearance and condition of the fixtures, the floor plan of the house, and its first appearances.

 

  1. Comparable Properties:

 

Ask your Realtor to prepare you a general market analysis of your neighbourhood, so you can determine a range of value for your property.  A market analysis will provide you with a market overview and give you a glimpse at what other similar properties have been selling for in the area.

 

  1. Market Conditions/ Economy:
The market value of your home is additionally affected by the number of homes currently on the market, the number of people looking to buy property, current mortgage rates, and the condition of the national and local economy.
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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Selling your home is a complex process that can be stressful and time-consuming.  An experienced Realtor has the knowledge, skills, and connections to help you through the process every step of the way.  Consider the following benefits of working with a Realtor:

 

Professional Experience:

 

With knowledge and training in marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and the workings of the current real estate market, a Realtor will be able to guide you through the steps of the home-selling process and be able to explain exactly what to expect.  S/he will make you aware of your rights and responsibilities, work with you to strategize the best moves according to your own goals, discuss financing options, and point you in the direction of other specialized professionals who will aid you in different stages of the process.

 

Best Price:

 

Realtors have their fingers on the pulse of the current real estate market, and will know what comparable properties in your area are selling for.  They have the resources and knowledge to establish the best asking price and to attract the highest selling price.  With access to their company’s professional marketing resources and connections, they will ensure potential buyers are immediately made aware of your home and market the property to sell as quickly as possible and for the most money.

 

“Showcasing” Experience:

 

Your Realtor will know the importance of a property’s first impression.  S/he will have experienced first-hand, for example, the impact a property’s “drive-up appeal” has on the rest of a potential Buyer’s experience of your home.  Your Realtor will be able to offer you tips and information on how to get your home in the best selling shape possible, in order to sell your property quickly and for top dollar.

 

Access to Qualified Buyers:

 

Realtors save time and effort by dealing only with qualified buyers.  They have access to a pool of pre-screened and pre-qualified buyers who are serious about buying a home in your neighbourhood.  Realtors work hard to develop this base of qualified buyers which will become an invaluable resource for you.

 

Negotiation Skills:

 

Realtors serve many functions, but perhaps the most important is their role as primary negotiator on your behalf.  Your Realtor realizes your goal is to sell your home as quickly as possible, and for the most money possible, and will work closely with you during the negotiation process to facilitate this goal.  Realtors bring to the process the knowledge and skills to draw up legally binding contracts, to assist in negotiating offers and counter-offers, and to offer counsel and perspective as you work toward your selling goals.

 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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8 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home

 

You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually.  Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house.  The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once.  Where do you start?

 

It is essential you do your homework before you begin.  Learn from the experiences of others, do some research.  Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable.  But be careful:  learning from your mistakes may prove costly.  Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.

 

  1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender:

 

Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification.  Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford.  Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier. 

 

  1. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision:

 

The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy.  Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can.  Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment.  Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work.  Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour!  Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions. 

 

  1. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy:

 

Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself.  A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run.  Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.

 

  1. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase:

 

Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out.  A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract.  Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs.  These problems may even lead to a void contract.  So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer.  With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.

 

  1. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value:

 

Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis.  This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying.  What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market?  What is the difference between their asking and selling prices?  Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, over-priced, or fair value?  The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.

 

  1. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying:

 

Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around.  What amenities does the area have to offer?  Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach?  Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children.  How will you be affected by a new commute to work?  Are there infrastructure projects in development?  All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.

 

  1. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move:

 

If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you.  Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.

 

  1. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation:

 

Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low.  However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations.  Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor.  S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation. 

 

 
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
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Here is an CNBC artical with 7 towns where land is free.
 
Check it out!
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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Found a small town in the United States that is giving away free land. There are development fee's how ever its low and it is carried over 15 years. Follow the link to the towns website and see for yourself!
 
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Very interesting read in the journal a few days ago. Check it out!
 

Calgary has The Bow, Encana's imposing new headquarters. At 59 storeys, it's the tallest skyscraper in Western Canada.

Vancouver is abuzz over Telus Corp.'s $750-million scheme to build a new 22-storey downtown headquarters and adjacent 44storey condo tower.

Yes, Edmonton has its own marquee downtown office project -Qualico Developments' spiffy new 28-storey Epcor Tower.

But Edmonton isn't Calgary or Vancouver. The head-office sector here is small and demand for new office space is often anemic.

On the flip side, Edmonton really flexes its muscles in other areas, notably the industrial real estate market. And it's big.

At roughly seven times the scale of the city's downtown office market, Edmonton's industrial real estate commands the highest average rental rates in Canada, and some of the highest in North America.

Now, after experiencing a sluggish couple of years in the wake of the global recession, Edmonton's industrial market is again powering ahead, driven by a big rebound in Alberta's oilsands.

"We make stuff here. Our industrial (real estate) guys call them the tin bangers. We're the guys that produce the products that are engineered somewhere else, and I really believe we should be proud of it," says Dave Young, senior vice-president at CB Richard Ellis.

"Edmonton is the industrial heartland, and although our office market is extremely important to the health and the vibrancy of the city, the driver here is industrial. As industrial goes, so goes Edmonton."

With oil prices well north of $100 US a barrel and a raft of major projects underway, metal fabricators and other suppliers are ramping up once again. That's creating demand for more industrial space, from Nisku to Acheson, and from the industrial parks of southeast Edmonton to the growing distribution hub on the city's northwest side.

"We had a little over one million square feet of (industrial space) absorption in the first quarter, the highest in Canada. That was up from about 800,000 square feet in the fourth quarter of 2010," says Young.

By contrast, during the first three quarters of 2010, the local industrial market was virtually dead as the vacancy rate ticked up.

"In Calgary the market is driven by (office space in the) downtown core.

As that market goes up or down, the city goes up or down with it. Here in Edmonton, it's the industrial side that drives things," he says.

So while there may be fewer gleaming office towers in the city core, there's a growing roar of activity in warehouses and industrial parks all over the Capital Region.

The inventory of vacant industrial space is shrinking fast. At 5.1 per cent, it has fallen about 150 basis points (or 1.5 per cent) over the past year, and new supply is getting tougher to find.

Although some 1.2 million square feet of new industrial space is currently under construction, mainly on the city's northwest side, no new supply hit the market in the first quarter.

But the pace of industrial development is expected to pick up as big institutional investors move into the market and developers gear up for the next growth cycle.

"Last (summer) there wasn't a lot going on, and in our view that was the bottom of the regional market on the commercial and industrial side," says Vince Lachance, of SCR Commercial Realty.

"But by November-December we started to see a real uptick and that has continued. So there's a real solid level of activity now."

The majority win by Stephen Harper's Conservatives in Monday's federal election has also helped to reinforce the view that Alberta's oilsands are heading into a new, long-term growth phase.

"I had a call last week from a large investor out of Toronto and they were specifically looking for industrial properties of between 10 and 50 acres -preferably serviced, so there could be activity there within the next two to three years," says Lachance.

"They already have interests here, but they want to add to it. So as we see the upgraders develop as well as more secondary, value-added manufacturing, those are the (tenants) that will require the two-or four-acre sites and the 20,000-square-foot warehouses. So it's looking pretty solid in our view, and there isn't a lot of property out there at this point. It's a pretty tight market."

John Marotta, senior vice-president, western region at Bentall Kennedy (Canada), is also upbeat on Edmonton. His firm spent $160 million to acquire two downtown office towers last year, bolstering its existing local portfolio of industrial holdings.

"We feel it's an attractive market, especially with the oilsands activity in Fort McMurray. So as the oilsands continue to evolve and more projects are approved and underway, there will be positive spinoffs for the industrial market in Edmonton." glamphier@edmontonjournal.com

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Edmonton's Chinatown is a mass of contradictions.

 
In many ways, it's the most vibrant part of the city centre, filled with thriving storefront shops and restaurants, the kind of pedestrian-friendly businesses that get the sidewalks bustling with life and energy. Walk up 97th Street on a warm sunny Sunday, past greengrocers who put their lychee and mangoes out on the sidewalk for display, past packed dim sum shops and pho noodle houses, past busy bakeries and bridal stores, and you see what a downtown can look like, when it's filled people enjoying their city.

 

Yet all that retail and restaurant energy shares a sometimes uneasy coexistence with the area's homeless shelters, social outreach agencies, and, of course, the Edmonton Remand Centre. Chinatown was once literally on the "wrong side of the tracks"; even though the trains no longer run, Chinatown is visually and physically cut off from the rest of the downtown proper by an old railway trestle.

 
That's what's so exciting, and intriguing, about a new proposal from Yorkton Development to build two elegant-looking highrise residential condominium towers in the heart of Chinatown.

The proposed towers would stand at 105th Avenue, just west of 97th Street, filling in what's now a large surface parking lot behind the Yorkton Pacific Mall.

This is no small project. According to the current proposal, the south tower would be 32 storeys, while the north tower would be a dramatic 42 stories high -for a total of about 425 condo units. The project also calls for a major renovation of the existing mall and the addition of more commercial and restaurant space in the tower pedestals. In the preliminary designs from architect Brad Kennedy, at least, the slim buildings look more like something you'd see in Vancouver, or Shanghai, than Edmonton.

 
"From a design perspective, we're taking into account that this is in Chinatown," says Yorkton's Terry Liu. "We're not going to build a pagoda, but the flavour will play well into the neighbourhood, in terms of its design."
 
Liu says the goal isn't to build highend condos, nor social housing, but mid-priced units to sell to young urban professionals, empty nesters and seniors. They'd be marketed locally first and foremost -but also offshore, say Liu, to Asian urbanites for whom high-density, highrise living is the norm.

Last fall, when the developers first started talking about the project with area residents, there was considerable enthusiasm, but a lot of skepticism, too. It was hard for people to imagine exactly how you could sell investors, and future condopurchasers, on such an ambitious project, in a part of the city that some people might consider seedy, even dangerous.

But the development started to look a whole lot more plausible last month, after Ed Stelmach announced a surprise plan to build a magnificent new $340-million Royal Alberta Museum -and a possible future high-speed railway station -on the site of the old downtown post office, just a block or so south of the Yorkton Pacific parcel.

If the RAM plan came to fruition, condo tenants would no longer have a view of the back end of a squat brown postal station garage -but rather of a splendid new museum, meant to be a signature work of downtown architecture.

 
On top of that, of course, the old Remand Centre, kittycorner to the southeast of the Yorkton Pacific Mall, is scheduled to close in 2012. Whether the existing building is rehabilitated in some way, or demolished to make way for something new, it will no longer be a focal point for a "bad element" in the area.
 
Liu says his company had no idea the plans for a museum, or a high-speed train station, were in the works. He says their project doesn't hinge on a new RAM or a new downtown arena. Still, he's not denying that they might make his location more attractive.

"It's great news, it's fantastic," he says. "When you take a look at all that's going on in the downtown, it's very positive for the community. All these various developments assist in making this a desirable place to live."

 

Still, there's a big difference between proposing a development and getting it built. Our Journal archives are filled with optimistic stories about grand condo schemes that never happened -or which seem to be on indefinite hold. Yorkton has held one consultation meeting with local residents and business owners. It has filed a formal rezoning application with the city. But it's still a long way from breaking ground.

"We want to see this built," says Liu. "However, the business economics have to come into play as well."

 
Liu says they're finding investor interest, both locally and in China and Hong Kong. Who knows?

Where conservative Edmontonians look at the property and see an ugly parking lot on the edge of a rough quarter, an investor with an outsider's perspective might see the potential for people to live in a pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood within easy walking distance of restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores, not to mention the RAM, City Hall, the Law Courts Building and the Churchill Square arts precinct -even, perhaps one faroff day, a direct high-speed commuter link to Calgary, or Fort McMurray.

Whenever, if ever, the project goes ahead, it does at least give us something to dream on -a chance to see a new kind of urban development potential, in a place where there was none before.
 
 
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Unless you've just spilled a few million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, increasing the amount of social media chatter about your brand is unequivocally beneficial, because it can help drive sales. You should consider every mention of your brand for potential use in your email marketing campaigns. Doing so demonstrates to your subscribers that your brand is being seen and heard in this new medium.

Here are five ways to integrate social chatter into your email marketing campaigns.

1. List testimonials and reviews

Gone is the day when to sell a product you had to write a multimillion-dollar check to a celebrity to hold the product up to the video camera for 30 seconds. Social media is weighted in such a way that a celebrity endorsement is not much more powerful than one from your uncle in Peoria. Every positive testimonial and favorable review you receive online holds a remarkable amount of value and should be used to crank up the level of social chatter about your brand. Don't rely only on a copy and paste on your Facebook wall. Include a variety of sites, such as Yelp, Epinions, and Amazon.

2. Gather and promote "tweetimonials"
Just because a testimonial is in the form of a 140-character tweet does not mean that it carries less promotional heft than a three-page review in a leading online publication. The social media sphere treasures brevity; therefore, a tweet that waxes poetic about your product can be more effective in gaining brand converts than a voluminous tome.

Integrate an anthology of your testimonial tweets, or tweetimonials, into your email campaign, and get ready to watch the positive reaction unfold in social media.

3. Check out Web forums

Forum comments are a prime place to gather positive posts related to your brand. It seems that every established forum contains a rarefied, elite constellation of star gurus, and if one of them comments on your product or service, that is an endorsement that can powerfully drive sales. Any approving forum post is valuable to your brand, so they all merit a listing. Or, better yet, link to them in your email marketing content.

4. Link to positive blog posts

The blogosphere is vast. Someone, somewhere, is discussing your brand right now. Locate blog entries in which the blogger focuses on your product positively, and work it into your email marketing promotions via a listing or a link.

These blog posts might take the form of a review or a comment as to how your brand had some relevance to or impact on the blogger's life, but any positive mention provides the social media veneer of credibility and endorsement of your brand.

5. Create a basic video

If you haven't yet taken the step into video promotion, now is the time. With the advent of semi-professional video capabilities in devices costing just a few hundred dollars, the process of introducing and reviewing a product in a fully audio/visual presentation is now within anyone's reach.

Strive for professionalism, because an amateurish video can backfire and devalue your brand. You're also not stuck with just posting it amid millions of others on YouTube and hoping that someone will see it by sheer chance. Once you review your video and you're happy with it, set it up with an attractive email template and send it off as a video email to your list!

* * *

It would be a mistake to take the "kitchen sink" approach and plunk all manner of social media mentions into a single email. A powerful and effective alternative is to implement a drip email campaign into which social media chatter is integrated. It builds the impression among your subscribers that your brand is a major social media player.

 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
 
http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/4984/five-ways-to-use-social-media-chatter-in-your-email-campaigns?adref=nl050611
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Enter the contest and
get a chance to win one of the
2 grand prizes of $25,000

in ENERGY STAR qualified
JELD-WEN windows and doors*

Follow this link to enter! http://en.jeld-wen.ca/
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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Local housing market well-balanced: able to meet reasonable expectations. According to the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, the average price of housing remained relatively stable through April as compared to the previous month. The all-residential average price decreased $310 to $327,415; down from $327,725 in March
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
www.ryangillen.com
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Hey Everyone,
 
I am looking to start a contest that will give away a prize to a lucky client that closes in a real estate deal (buying or selling) before fall. Im not to sure what would be a good prize. I have ideas around 2 Ipad 2's, an all inclusive trip to mexico, a 2000 dollar gift card to a store of choice.... I am trying to figure out what would best appeal to real estate clients. Let me know what you think. Would you like any of the prizes I stated above, or is there something else that would appeal more to you?
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
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If my offer is conditional upon financing until Thursday, Jan 5, 20xx, when does it expire? Thursday or Friday?

 
"Your condition on the agreement has to be stated exactly by time & date. Also is the condition waived by default or acceptance? Usually it's by waiver but there are cases where the clause is written that it's accepted by the due date if not waived off. This is a contract and your terms have to be stated clearly and defined. If it's vague, you will have issues."
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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When thinking of buying a home, most people research various neighborhood amenities, including local schools. Regardless of whether you have children, schools can affect property values and are an important consideration when buying a home.

Here are four ways to tell if area schools are having problems:

Local test scores low or dropping
Low test scores can be a product of resource shortages, poor teachers, lack of commitment by the school district or parents.

Student enrollment dropping
If fewer families are moving into the neighborhood, or parents are choosing schools outside the neighborhood, the school may be having problems.

Poorly maintained or vandalized buildings
Inadequate upkeep may be a sign of funding shortages and low involvement from parents.

Troubles at PTA meetings
Tension among parents or between parents and the school's teachers or management may indicate serious problems in a school.

If you have any doubts about the school quality in your target neighborhoods, please give me a call and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you. Learning about local schools helps you make an informed choice about where you live
 
 
Thanks,
 
Ryan Gillen
 
7807008355
 
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