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For first time buyers in the Calgary real estate market: some tips and other useful information - Part 1

Posted by Jim Sparrow on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 at 4:55pm.

For first time buyers in the Calgary real estate market: some tips and other useful information - Part 1

 Calgary First Time Buyer

As Calgary Real Estate continues to show signs of improvement, many first time buyers might consider investing now in the hope of beating a price increase. However, buying a first home anywhere is daunting enough without the added pressure of trying to ‘beat the market’, especially for those individuals who have little to no experience within the Calgary real estate market. In this entry, the first of three offering tips and advice to first time home buyers, we will remind you about the importance in picking a location (it is amazing how frequently we all are susceptible to ‘falling in love’ with a house and not heeding even the most common sense advice!).

For as many reasons as there are people, first time home buyers will be drawn to particular neighborhoods; some might love the energy of downtown Calgary, while some will prefer the tranquility of the suburbs. In the end, it doesn’t matter where your preferences lead you, some basic research is critical to finding not just the right house but the right location in the Calgary real estate market.

Start with a simple walk around your desired area in order to familiarize yourself with it; go more than once and at different times of the day or early evening – you will get a great feel for the ‘life’ of the community or area, its amenities, services (transit etc) and shops as well as a sense of safety (or lack thereof).

Since owning a home is normally a long term commitment, thinking long term is important. Even in those cases when it isn’t a home you plan to live in for 20 years, any potential purchasers of your home down the road will be thinking long term, so it is a good idea if you do it in the first place. Thinking about things like the quality of schools could be a factor that might not be important presently, but a few years down the road it might be. Also do a little digging into city/town/policing records which are all public: looking at crime statistics for the area might be a good idea, even learning about planned construction and other future changes could be worth it.

Also, don’t forget that more exposure to Calgary real estate – and I mean more neighborhoods and more open houses  - is the best advice I can give to make sure you have the best insight into the workings of the Calgary Real estate market and ultimately make a solid decision.

Once you have amassed all the relevant information, it should give you a clear picture of the neighborhood, and a sense clarity and confidence when thinking about buying into it. It is also quite possible that even after all this research, you might still be on the fence about a location. Well, don’t forget about your Calgary REALTOR (the Calgary Real Estate Board has some great resources too) as a source of help and guidance, especially one that is specialized to your market, as we can provide invaluable insight into market trends and overall neighborhood vitality.

If you're looking to sell or buy, do not hesitate to contact us.

We are prepared to work hard ensuring that your needs are met and that the result is more than you were hoping for. Nothing gives us more pleasure than your success and being with you through major life changes.

7 Responses to "For first time buyers in the Calgary real estate market: some tips and other useful information - Part 1"

John Robertson wrote: thanks for posting Jim!!!

Posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 at 8:10pm.

Jeff Fredericks | Refinance Mortgage Rates wrote: House prices have increased dramatically in the past few years. For people looking to buy Calgary real estate in the near future, it is worthwhile to examine whether or not the current valuations are justified.

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 8:57am.

Jim Sparrow wrote: @Jeff - thanks so much for your comments. For what it's worth, and with all due respect, I'm not sure how relevant your comments are to the Calgary real estate market *given that you represent a mortgage lender based in Florida*. I'm sure you're aware that Canada's mortgage lending practices and government regulations are far more restrictive than those you have in the USA. Of course one of the most important reasons for working with an experienced Calgary REALTOR is to have confidence with market valuations and to know what is / isn't a reasonable price to pay for a property. While there are some markets in Canada that might be described as having a "real estate bubble" Calgary is *currently* not one of them (see: ) Cheers - Jim

Posted on Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 11:11am.

Jim T. wrote: Do you see any immediate stimulation measures that will move both home sales and dollar values upward? Interesting article Jimbo - Thanks.

Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2010 at 12:58pm.

Jim Sparrow wrote: @Jim - as we both know there are 100's of factors that influence a *local* real estate market. As I told the writer from the Globe, "experts" are doing a disservice to the public when they generalize about the "Canadian real estate market", which is comprised of 100's of different micro-markets *local cities & towns*. It's apparent even in Calgary, where many of the hundreds of communities have vastly different levels of demand *and average / median prices*. ///

Demand is always the driver of prices *short term* and supply *longer term*. When the price of oil bumped over $40/bbl mid-2005, we saw the Calgary market shift dramatically (as 1,000's moved here to support the design & build-out of billion $$ O/G projects). Despite the recession *and Stelmach* Calgary real estate has rebounded nicely over the past year. "Average house price" is currently within 2-3% of where it was compared to pre-Lehman Brothers meltdown (Sept 2008). ///

I don't see anything that Flaherty announced last week (mortgage lending) impacting our market in Calgary, as speculators (aka "investors") are still holding a lot of property from the pre-July 2007 period *which is to say flippers currently aren't a huge part of the market*. Supply is still relatively tight (just over 3 months worth of listing inventory) and we've not quite entered the spring market *which historically sees both sales and prices peak*. I'd expect prices to rise at least 5%, perhaps as much as 7-8% before the end of June. ///

Low interest rates have and will continue to drive a certain part of the Calgary market, but when you dig a little deeper, you find the majority of buyers taking advantage of these incredible rates are first-timers *who because of prices had been locked out of our market prior to the recession taking hold*. The public seems to have grown accustomed to these "emergency rates"; they should understand these rates are better than at any other time in history and will definitely come to an end. When that will be is the million dollar question: my feeling is that they will continue until the US Fed decides to up their prime *summer 2010? fall 2010? not till 2011?*. Your guess is as good as mine. BTW - Canadians continue to use fixed rate as opposed to the lower variable rate mortgages: roughly 75% of all mortgages issued are 5 yr fixed rate. ///

I don't see anything else coming down the pipe (next 6-12 mths) in the way of gov't stimulation that will have any impact on our market. Ultimately we're part of the global economy and I believe it will be another 2-5 yrs before the world recovers from the recession. ///

Give me a call if you want to chat - we can go grab a coffee. Cheers - Jim

Posted on Sunday, February 21st, 2010 at 1:45pm.

For first time buyers in the Calgary real estate market: some useful information and tips - part 2 wrote: [...]useful information and tips - part 2 In the last post we talked about the importance of picking a great location for Calgary Real Estate. For our second installment we’ll look at the world of financing your Calgary property. Even[...]

Posted on Saturday, February 27th, 2010 at 12:06pm.

Madison homes for sale wrote: Jim, Thanks for the useful tips and information. First-time homebuyers in the Calgary area and elsewhere would do well to listen to your sensible approach!

Posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 at 11:19am.

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