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»The Cats Meow in Real Estate

Can You Unlock Property Secrets by Looking at its’ Condo Fees?

August 19th, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Hi Folks,

I am often told by buyers that they are frustrated with the purchase process of condominiums in Edmonton, Alberta. You see in Edmonton, a client is generally not granted the opportunity to review condominium documents before the buyers write an offer on the property.

The contracts used for MLS® purchases (not most Builders) is created by the lawyers over at the Alberta Real Estate Association and included in a Residential Condominium Property purchase contract is a condition of satisfaction with the condo documents. This is great; as a consumer, you need to know how well the property is being managed and how much money it has in the bank.

You will most likely be waiting for a few days after you negotiated with the Sellers and reached final acceptance before you receive the condo documents. The Sellers will have to request a copy of the documents from the property management group and they will take some time to produce the results.  Even a rush job can lead onto to a week or more, especially in straightening out everything that is needed for the buyer to make an informed decision.  A part of the reason that the Sellers aren’t asked to provide the documents before the offer comes in, is the cost.  To get all the documents necessary, it could cost the Sellers up to 600 dollars and that may not even include a rush service.  Another reason is tied to the information statement which needs to be current to the month that you have written your offer; and that makes it nearly impossible to do ahead of time. (See Sellers Note 1 at the bottom of this post.)

So how do you make an informed decision quickly?

Real Estate is a quick industry and the best homes at the best prices always go right away.  So how do you beat the rest of the public to a smart decision about that particular property and move onto the next one, while maximizing your time spent looking?

Simply put; look at the amount of the condo fees.

High Condo Fees in Edmonton

All Condo are not created equally, you could have a 1000 ft2, 2014 built, apartment styled condominium with condo fees of $175 per month no utilities included.  You could also have a 1000ft2, 1976 built, apartment styled condominium with condo fees of more than $1,100 per month condo fees. What makes the difference in the fees is if; utilities are included, what kind of building it is, how much maintenance costs for that building and the historical as well as professional management of the property.

If those condo fees are high, you can bet they have had to raise the fees to offset future repair and replacement costs.  Sometimes the condo fees get so high they are just as much as your mortgage.  If the condo fees get that high, you will need to be earning a fairly good wage as condo fees are considered a part of debt to the Financer and you will need to be able to cover this cost, plus your mortgage and still have a significant portion of your wages left over for things other than housing.

What is considered High Condo Fees?

Yikes, this is a tough question.  Like I noted earlier, it depends on what is included in your condo fees.  I’m going to talk generals or averages here. 1000 ft2 apartment style – low rise, 2000+ build, with heat, water and power included – maybe $550 per month. Same type of property, no utilities included; maybe $250. 1000 ft2 apartment style – high rise, 1970+ build, with heat, water and power included – maybe $900+ per month. Your 2 storey townhouse condos also known as row housing; probably won’t have utilities included and those condo fees fall in ‘normal’ ranges of $200-$275.  You should know though, that these averages do not include Bare Land Condos.  This is a different type of condominium structure and less exterior maintenance is paid for by the corporation.  It is a type of condominium where you own the land the property is on; not just have exclusive use of it.

So check out those condo fees and use your smarts or your REALTORS® help for knowing if it is even going to look at in the first place. Save yourself time, money and frustration. Not every condo is a welcome choice.

If you are thinking about buying a condo and would like a valuable, subject matter expert on your side; I hope you will give me a call. I’d like the opportunity to help you make an informed decision for your home purchase in Edmonton.  I consider this as one of the ways in …

How to save thousands on your next home in Edmonton. Now that’s the Cats’ Meow.

SELLERS NOTE 1: If you are a Seller, I suggest leaving the Information and financial statements to when you have a negotiated offer in place and ordering the by-laws, property management agreement, full reserve fund study, reserve fund plan, reserve fund study, annual general meeting minutes and the budget when you list your home for sale.

As Summer slows and cools down, are your home prices losing value?

August 19th, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Hi Folks,

The last few weeks of summer are upon us and I hope you’re getting out there and enjoying the last long days of summer. Alongside the flip-flops of summer, late summer in Edmonton bounces back and forth between a balanced and buyers market.  At 3.99 Months of inventory, we’ve just tipped back into that buyers market. If you are moving, or thinking about it, have a look at the latest Edmonton Market trends below.

Inventory: July finished with a strong amount of inventory. We are just a few dozen listings short of the same number of properties being listed this month as last.  Yet, there is 14.9% more inventory in Edmonton this year than last.

Total number of homes available to buy in Edmonton: 7,266                       Total sales for last month: 1,812.

Days on Market: We’re starting a slow down of the summer market with just a few less properties coming available for sale.  3,123 New listings for July in Edmonton, with only 2,718 listings added this time last year.  So with just tiny little changes in the number of listings from month to month, we see very little change in Average days on market, the average being 50 Days on Market, here in Edmonton, up from 49 dom’s the previous month and 46 dom’s the previous year.

Odds of Selling: This year is a game changer for the city.  We have had a record number of listings come on the market, but those sellers, turn around and within 30, 60 or 90 days, they buy everything right back up again.  Your chances have dropped just a wee bit.  You basically have a 1 in 4 chance of selling your home in the next 30 days. In fact, you have a 25.08% chance of selling, especially if you are already listed for sale. lol. Worse than last year. Worse than last month.

Average Selling Price: Condo: $256,708 Townhouse: $356,237 Single Family Dwelling: $436,948 and the average selling price across the City of Edmonton is $372,910.

Home sales by Price Range: The highest percentage of properties are selling in the $300,000-$399,999 price range at 33.57%. Second position goes to the $400,000-$499,999 price range at 21.62%.  Third place is the $200,000-$299,999 and 19.90%. These haven’t changed very much from month to month as this works in with Edmonton average earnings per family.


Prices have not gone down in Edmonton since 2011, when we saw a decrease of 1.41%. Prices are up by 2.10% this year.

If you, your firends or family are thinking of moving, please keep me in mind, your referral is the best compliment I can recieve.

780 916 9739  … Now that’s the Cats’ Meow.


Peta Action Alert – Putnam County Fair

August 6th, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Animals won as “prizes” often become victims of cruelty or, as the novelty wears off, are surrendered to already overburdened shelters or bounced around from home to home, relegated to lonely rooms and backyards and forgotten. Others are abandoned outdoors to fend for themselves, only to die as a result of starvation, dehydration, exposure, stress, or attacks by other animals. Upon hearing that rabbits are being doled out as booth prizes in Cookeville, Tennessee, at the Putnam County Fair, which is scheduled to run through August 8, PETA implored the members of the fair board to cancel this aspect of their event but to no apparent avail. We need your help now!

Action alert for animals

Action Alert for Bunnies and Rabbits

Please call or send polite comments to: John Allen, President |     Putnam County Fair Board |     931-528-9316

My letter:

Dear Members of the board for the Putnam County Fair and president John Allen,

I strongly urge you to reconsider your policy and plan to give away live animals at the County Fairs that you hold.

Animals are not prizes to be won, they are creatures that deserve warmth, food, shelter and attention.

To purchase, adopt or guard an animal requires responsibility, time, effort, money and most importantly love.  Often when a person is forced to pay for something they take much better care of it.  Even online community sales organizations like Craigslist and Kijiji have stopped allowing ads to run that give away free animals.

If a member of your public wishes to purchase an animal for companionship, they will.  They animal will then most likely have the best chance of survival, having had its’ shots and a person who sought out ownership/guardianship of a live being.

Please re-consider, animals are NOT TOYS, NOT PRIZES and should be shown to the public as something more than a “stuffy’ that is discarded after the novelty wears off.

Please give these bunnies a fighting chance and don’t replace the bunnies with any other living creature.

In thanks for what you can do to alleviate unnecessary animal cruelty on this planet,


If it Looks Like an Under Priced Condo, Beware of Looming Assessments!

August 5th, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Hi Folks,

You might be looking at buying a condo these days.  They are an affordable option for many reasons; perhaps you plan to be sailing your boat in another country while you’re in retirement and you don’t want to have to cut the lawn or shovel the snow.  Perhaps you’re new to home ownership, and your funds are limited to the townhouse range of condos.  In any case that you might find yourself in, if you live in Edmonton, you’ve recently heard of the outrage surrounding Oliver Gardens Condominiums and the $56,000 special assessment each owner in the building was issued.This month, I had a very affordable, built in the 90’s condo recently go up for sale, and it sold in 10 days.  That’s it, 10 days. It was listed for $147,000.  It was one of the Savills Condos over by NAIT on 118th ave and 101 Street. I got quite a few calls from the public, wondering about this condo and if it has any special assessments on it.  Thanks CTV and Global, no special assessments or levies here.  The condo fees were reasonable at $308 per month, adjusted last year to make up for a projected shortfall in the future.

Edmonton Special Assessments

Special Assessments for Condos in Edmonton

Condo fees go to the management and operation of the condo and some of your condo fees go into the Reserve Fund.  The Reserve Fund is meant to cover future expenses on the property.  Sometimes though, there just isn’t enough money. Too much maintenance at the end of the money.

A Reserve Fund Study is prepared…

You see, the rules are that every five years a condo board has to have a reserve fund study completed on its’ property. Thanks to the Government, years ago, it was decided that condo corporations were being run into the ground,too many sellers were being foreclosed upon and properties were being under-maintained and under-managed.  So the powers that be decided Reserve Funds were the answer, and to re-visit those reserve fund studies every five years, with a commence-able action plan as a result of the study.

A certified personnel member (hopefully an Engineer) of an accredited organization with a permit to practice will come out and perform a review of all the elements in the property.  Everything from roof top units to parking paint lines is reviewed for deterioration as well as remaining age and assigned a remaining life expectancy.

A Reserve Fund Plan is created…

The results are cross referenced to the expected amount in the reserve fund and both charts are placed together to compare results and see if there will be enough money in the reserve fund when the time is necessary.  These Reserve Plans can be made for 5,10,15,20,25 or even 30 years into the future.

Sometimes, it is easy to cover the shortfall over a large number of years, and a condo board may opt to choose a recommended plan that only increases the condo fees by a small percentage.  Perhaps the fees are increased gradually over a number of years.  Though the worst is that sometimes, a special assessment is needed to cover major repairs that are immediately necessary.  Special assessments are generally not approved just to put money in the bank and gain interest.  I have seen special assessments as low as $200, and I have heard of special assessments at $90,000 here in Edmonton.

Some board OPT and VOTE NOT to complete these studies and surveys because they don’t have the money or feel it is a waste of the owners’ resources.  I’m not sure why they get away with it for so very long; however I have seen with my own eyes, a condo corporation that has not done a reserve fund study for 20 years.

The Vote is Cast by Your Board Members…

That’s right, your friendly neighbours on your Condo Board voted which way to go, how much the special assessment was going to be (within the confines of the Condo By-laws) and out went your notice in the mail.  It will be nearly impossible for you to get a loan to cover the assessment from the banks, unless you can pull some money out of a line of credit, etc.  Hopefully if that doesn’t work, you’ve got enough equity built in the property to sell, cover REALTOR costs and pay off the special assessment.  You will need to as the contract states the Seller is responsible for all special assessments up to the closing date.  If not, the next options aren’t going to get any more pretty.

In the end, it is up to you, BUYER BEWARE.  READ your Condo documents. The Savills Condos turned out okay, but they don’t all go so jolly.

Often when I am showing condos to my clients, I will find someone in the hallways and ask them if they live in the property, for how long, if they have any problems with the condo board, if repairs are coming up on the building and what the reserve fund is it.

Whether it is a high number or low, 99% of the people I run into can’t tell me what’s going on with the maintenance of their building or where the reserve fund is it.  Why they don’t know is foreign to me.  In fact the last woman I ran into, who had lived at her home for under a month responded with:

“Oh I don’t know, all those documents are still with my Lawyer.”

The best part, when we got to the main floor, the Reserve fund amount of $825,000 which is awesome (Go Carrington build, Promenade Eaux Claires) was posted on the Condominium board, right outside the elevator.

Let your Lawyer rad your documents, sure.  Let your Lawyer give their advice to you about the future of the property.  Get your REALTOR to help you.  I know I can’t sleep at night unless my client is making a solid investment that I CAN COUNT on.  Just read those documents for yourself folks, know what’s going on, be involved, be a board member, send your proxies to the meetings and remember, even one voice can make a difference.

How to save thousands on your next home.

Effortless Real Estate

July 30th, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Effortless Real Estate in Edmonton

Jeanine made my transition from Calgary to St Albert feel effortless. She went over and above what she needed to do for me. Jeanine is extremely knowledgeable and is very prompt when questions are asked. I recommend her services to anyone looking to purchase or sell their property.

Bradley Scott
St Albert AB.

Not Some Catty Remarks here either…

July 27th, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

My thanks to Vera, for her lovely testimonial letter:

‘Last year our daughter and I started to look for a new home for me. I was fortunate that a friend whom I love and trust referred me to Jeanine Boutet Osborne.

When we first started the search, we didn’t know much about the process. I just had a list of what I would like to have in my perfect new home. The realtor-client relationship is extremely important. It has to be based on absolute trust — anything less than that will just create stress and obstacles.

Jeanine is very open-minded, knowledgeable, responsible and kind. She shares her knowledge without holding anything back. She is so personable, very understanding, and never pushy. She gave us great professional real estate advice.

As I was working full time and going to school she was always willing to work with us when it worked for our schedules; we also had to learn to respect her schedule, and found a balance that worked for both parties.

Jeanine spent a great deal of time to ensure that the home was perfect for me.

I really enjoy living in my new home and I am very grateful to you, Janine. You were excellent to work with and I would highly recommend you to my own friends and family.

With gratitude and respect,


Pioneering my Own Destiny and How I Got to Here.

July 23rd, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Hi Folks,

Thanks for coming back again to listen to what little old me has to say about real estate, life and the human plot in general.  I’d like to talk about Real Estate in Edmonton for a little bit.  It’s interesting, all that I’ve learned in the past five years. Enough to write a book, or at least a blog… lol

Integrity is a word that gets thrown around a lot when describing the good agents of Real Estate. What’s integrity mean?  Strong moral principles and the quality of being honest? Is it what happens when no one is watching?  What makes a good agent?  Lead generation?  YES, ask any agent.  Ask a client and they’ll say good service.  Agents spend in the 10’s of thousands, if not hundreds – marketing to get your business. We have overseas ‘administrators’ or ‘virtual assistants’ competing to get our money to write our blogs, our website content and post our twitter and linked in updates… all to find you, the next client that might want to buy or sell.


-We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.- Richard G Scott

I want to be real with my clients and customers. I want you to know what I have to say about things. I want to talk about what sucks about real estate, what condos are good, which aren’t. What you should look out for, pitfalls of the process, the good, the bad, the ugly.  I want to talk about the animal rights movements and petitions of the world. Some soy milk cake recipes!!! AND, maybe, if I get a little real, you’ll keep coming back.  It’ll bring some color to your life, and mine and we’ll both learn a little something in the process.

I want to hear from you.

Send me some comments, ask me about what you want to know.  I’ll be there.  I’ll answer. I promise.

Now that’d be the Cats’ Meow.

Here are the Latest Results for RE/MAX and Edmontons’ Sales Survey!

July 23rd, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Hi Folks,

I love this chart and its’ findings.  RE/MAX is a really great company to work for and there are quite a lot of REALTORS in Edmonton that agree with me.  The sales summary also show positive results with the Remax system.  A system that continually works to educate me, and provide me with solutions to marketing and technology in this ever and quickly changing world.   Check out our market results for Edmonton:


What I really like about this years chart is the addition of some of the brokerages I get the most questions about.  Comfree and 2% Realty.  I get so many questions about these brokerages and I am proud to show these results.  So to paint a current but not crystal clear picture of home sales for the Edmonton area in June of 2015… 2,008 homes sold. RE/MAX sold about 835 homes, Comfree sold about 49 and 2% Realty sold about 26 homes.

So the next time you ask me how these brokerages are doing, you can come and check out these reports, produced by RE/MAX and see for yourself.

Ready to set sale when you are,


Did Edmontons’ Sellers see Better or Worse Results in June?

July 23rd, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

Hi Folks, it is great to see you here again!  I’m happy to announce we’ve just adjusted to a temperate real estate market, balanced between buyers and sellers. Congrats Edmonton!

Inventory: June saw an interesting turn in the Real Estate Market here in Edmonton and we are smack dab in the middle of a balanced real estate market.  Just enough choices, for just enough people!  The number of listings has decreased and the number of purchasing buyers has increased, closing the time it will take to get through all the inventory out there. Dropping from 3.68 months of inventory, we’ve hit 3.57 months of availability.  Total number of homes available to buy in Edmonton: 7,177, total sales: 2,008.

Days on Market: We’re seeing more inventory come on the market than we did last year at this time, and at the same time, less than last month. Last year had 2,965 new listings added to the inventory and this June saw a bit of an increase to 3,192.  Last month saw 3,316 new listings added to inventory.  The increase in the number of listings from last year has resulted in just a few more days on market, increasing from 42 dom last year to 49 dom this year.

Odds of Selling: Here’s the big hitter, your odds of selling as compared to June of last year have decreased by 24%. This is mostly due to the fact that last hear, there was 2000 less properties available to buy in Edmonton.  That being said, the odds of selling have increased just a bit from last month and we’re sitting at 27.98%.  That’s almost a 1 in 3 chance of selling in the first 30 days. That’s pretty good!

Average Selling Price: Condo: $255,662 Townhouse: $351,171 Single Family Dwelling: $444,862 and the aerage selling price across the City of Edmonton is $378,050.

Home sales by Price Range: The highest percentage of properties are selling in the $300,000-$399,999 price range at 33.64%. Second position goes to the $400,000-$499,999 price range at 21.66%.  Third place?  Can you guess? $200,000-$299,999 and 19.72%.  The neat part?  Only 14.97% of properties sold, cost the buyers  $500,000 or more.

Get your copy of the whole report here and remember folks…

I’m ready to move when you are.

Cheers, Jeanine.



What would you do to Own a Cabin in the Woods?

July 23rd, 2015 by edmontonrealestatesells

The recreational property market has had a strong start and is expected to remain active throughout the Canadian summer. Find out what is driving sales in the 2015 RE/MAX Recreational Property. RE/MAX also examined what Canadians would consider sacrificing in order to afford their dream cottage or cabin. Interestingly, giving up destination vacations is listed as number one on the list. Another notable finding was that 21 percent of Canadians would downsize their main residence in order to purchase a cottage, cabin or ski chalet demonstrating that Canadians are looking for alternative ways to finance their dream properties.


Download you cpoy of the report from Dropbox here.

Highlights of this year’s report:

  • The majority of Canadians prefer long weekends at the cottage or cabin over big city getaways
  • The low Canadian Dollar and foreign buyers are creating demand in well-established Canadian recreational property markets
  • The recreational property market buying season has had a strong start and is expected to remain active throughout the summer as continued low interest rates and consumer demand fuel activity

The low Canadian dollar is having a positive effect on local recreational property markets as Canadians are choosing to stay in Canada where their dollar will go further. Some are selling US properties that appreciated in recent years to take advantage of the exchange rate. The low Canadian dollar is also attracting foreign buyers to well-established recreational property markets across the country including Whistler, Tofino, Muskoka, Shediac, and PEI. Regions reporting an impact from the low Canadian dollar but no increase in foreign buyers include Shuswap, Lake Winnipeg, Penticton, and Thunder Bay.


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton
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