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Why Victoria is a Great Place to Live

Sun, 25 Jun by Bryon Howard

Natural beauty, good weather and a highly-coveted lifestyle are just a few of the reasons Victoria is a great place to live. The city manages to combine old world charm and ambience with ultra-modern amenities in a seductive island setting. A 2016 Conde Nest Traveler reader’s poll chose Vancouver Island, where Victoria is situated, as “the Top Island” in the continental U.S.A. and Canada, as well as one of the “Best Islands in the World.” In 2015, Travel & Leisure named Victoria one of the “Top 10” cities in North America. The Conde Nest readers understand what Victoria residents and repeat visitors have known all along – Victoria is hard to beat!

The city offers four seasons of fun and outdoor activity. Due to the sub-Mediterranean climate, gardens bloom in early Spring and last long into Autumn. The views in and around the outskirts of town are magnificent. Golf, hiking and cycling are year-round activities here. A rich British lineage is apparent not only it the city’s name, but in its impressive Victorian and Edwardian architecture, stately homes and gardens, tea rooms and horse-drawn carriages.

With a vibrant downtown center surrounded by huge areas of undeveloped wilderness and azure blue harbour waters, Victoria is home to more than 80,000 residents enjoying an enviable quality of life. The technology industry has a strong foothold in the city and employs upwards of 15,000 people. Tourism is another major business, contributing more than a billion dollars per year to an already healthy economy.

Anyone thinking of relocating to Victoria or just coming for a visit should think about timing their trip to coincide with one of the city’s music and cultural festivals that dot the calendar. Theatre lovers will enjoy the late summer Fringe Festival which hosts 50 different productions spread over 17 venues. There are music, dance and art festivals along with beer fests, Celtic festivals and Scottish Highland games.

The real estate market in Victoria is HOT and is expected to remain so throughout 2017. Homebuyers have a variety of housing options to choose from, including many newer single-family homes with income-producing secondary suites.

Victoria is a city where you can play golf in the morning, ski in the afternoon and still be home before dark. Come for the weather, come for one of our festivals, or just come to enjoy a taste of our unique brand of island life. History, culture and opportunities for adventure await your arrival!

 

Are you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-465-0210 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

 

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Tips for Building Equity

Sun, 16 Oct by Bryon Howard

Tips for Building Equity

Real estate investors and homeowners share a common goal when it comes to the value of their home or portfolio. Everyone is looking to build equity. In real estate jargon, equity refers to the current market value of a property minus the balance of any mortgage loan owed to a lender. Equity is one of the main benefits of home ownership. In frenzied, seller’s markets, equity growth can sometimes appear to be exponential. Other times, it just creeps up in small increments through the years.

Many homeowners are content to take a passive approach and watch their property appreciate over time. Serious investors and homeowners looking to pull equity from one home to finance their next one are well advised to take an active approach to promote equity growth through renovations that will enhance the value of their property. Another way to increase equity is to reduce debt through early pay down of mortgage loan balances.

Here are a few proactive tips for building equity:

Maintenance and Upkeep

A house that is well-maintained will always retain more value than a property that is unkempt. More importantly, a home that is unloved and neglected can lose equity in the blink of an eye. Seemingly small items such as leaky faucets and roofs are equity killers when they lead to major damage. Maintenance can admittedly be boring. If you do not wish to perform the maintenance tasks yourself, consider hiring a handyman or property manager to protect your equity.

Renovation

Renovating is a great way to build equity in a property, but beware that not all home renovation projects offer the same return on investment (ROI). Before sinking hard-earned money into a makeover, talk with your Realtor to learn which projects are most likely to enhance the value of your home. This will vary considerably by property, neighbourhood and price point. On some highly-coveted building lots, a tear down of the existing structure will help build equity faster. In most situations, however, this is not the case. Kitchen and bathroom renovations traditionally bring the best ROI, but homeowners should shy away from over-the-top projects and high end materials that do not always deliver a good return.

Debt Reduction

Imagine owning a debt-free home, unencumbered by the constraints of mortgage loan financing. You can make this dream a reality with an aggressive approach toward pay down of your existing mortgage loan through shorter loan terms and extra payments. Even one extra mortgage payment a year can significantly reduce the duration and total cost of your loan. Each dollar spent to reduce the debt gets added to the equity column on your home’s balance sheet and, by making the extra payments on a voluntary basis, you maintain flexibility and the right to direct those funds elsewhere when the need arises.

Meticulous Tenant Screening

A bad tenant who goes months without paying rent and forces you into court to seek an eviction is a definite equity killer. It can get even worse if you find out they trashed your valuable asset. The best way to guard against bad tenants is to adhere to strict qualifying standards with in-depth screening. In addition to reviewing each tenant’s credit history and financial situation, insist on checking references with former landlords. Make an appointment to check in on the home periodically to ensure that the tenants are respecting your property. This will also afford you the opportunity to attend to any repairs that are needed.

One of the best things about being a homeowner is that it gives you freedom – the freedom to decorate and renovate your home as you see fit without requesting approvals. Once you have built up equity in a property, you will also realize the benefits of financial freedom and the security that comes with the ability to borrow money against the equity in your home. Over time, investing in Calgary real estate has proven to be a lucrative investment. Start building that equity now!

Are you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Calgary’s Perfect Storm for Real Estate Investing

Sun, 17 Apr by Bryon Howard

Calgary's Perfect Storm for Real Estate Investors

The stars are aligning in Calgary in a historic manner to create near perfect conditions for certain sectors of the real estate investment market.  Anyone still hesitant about owning investment property should realize that conditions may never again be as favorable as they are right now. A number of economic and social trends are combining to create optimum conditions for the perfect storm!

Economic Uncertainty – The free fall in gas and oil prices has contributed to an atmosphere of economic uncertainty.  A good number of jobs were lost in Western Canada and throughout the nation.  As a result, many workers are reluctant to buy a home and plant roots right now.  They want to maintain the flexibility to relocate quickly if a job opportunity demands that.  Renting remains their best option.

Low Interest Rates – What is there to not like about today’s historically low interest rates?  2015 witnessed not one but two quarter point Bank Rate drops by the Bank of Canada.  The cost of money is as low now as it has been at any point in history.  The forecast for 2016 is for minor increases, if any.

Lower Construction Costs – Purpose built housing and secondary suites cost only a fraction of what it takes to build a single-family detached home.  Lower costs equal higher returns.

Liberal Party Platform – Prime Minster-elect Justin Trudeau and his victorious Liberal party have proposed $125 million in tax incentives designed to add to Canada’s stock of rental housing and promote renovation of existing housing stock. The incentives will come in the form of the elimination of all GST on investment in affordable rental housing.

Everybody is Renting – The shift toward renting vs. owning is not confined only to those uncertain about employment prospects. Everybody is doing it, including retirees!  The millennial generation may be igniting the fuel, but the trend is visible across all demographic groups, including the wealthy.  For many people, renting is simply the more attractive option for a myriad of reasons. There should be no shortage of renters in the Calgary market for years to come.

It is rare that forces come together so forcefully in favor of investment in one sector of the market. Those who wish to share in the profits are well advised to speak to a reputable Realtor with a solid background in representing investors.

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

Creating the Right Strategy for a Quick Sale

Sun, 05 Apr by Bryon Howard

Creating the Right Strategy for a Quick Sale

What do buyers really want? Achieving a quick and stress-free sale requires a unique strategy for each home. The Calgary real estate market is in a much different place than it was last spring, but that doesn’t mean you should put your real estate goals on hold. These four smart tips will help your property stand out and appeal to the right kind of buyers:

Know how your property compares to the competition. It’s important to understand what buyers are looking for. Check out some of the listings nearby, and work with your Realtor for an honest evaluation on how your home stacks up. Does your home have certain features such as a larger yard or updated finishes that others might be lacking? Be sure to showcase the details that make your property stand out from the rest.

Take the time to make a great impression. Getting your home prepared for the market is hard work, but it will be well worth the effort. Whether it’s a professional staging or deep cleaning, give your place the TLC it needs to look its best. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of competent people just a phone call away.

Price it right. Price is the number one driving factor for a quick sale. Particularly in a challenging market, it’s important to fine-tune your strategy. Buyers are highly educated, so they won’t be willing to pay more than the market value in today’s economy. Take a look at recent sales in the area, and determine an asking price that will motivate buyers to check out your listing as soon as it hits the market.

Anticipate deal breakers before they happen. Ordering a home inspection ahead of time is a great way to avoid potential problems during the sale process. This will give you the opportunity to fix any problems with the home or detect some of the bigger issues that might scare buyers away. Some buyers try to use the details of a home inspection as a bargaining tool, which is why the home should be presented with no surprises. This will help you finalize the negotiations on the spot.

 

Are  you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

How do banks and lenders approve mortgages and loans?

Thu, 14 Aug by Bryon Howard

 

 

Are you wondering how banks and lenders approve mortgages and loans? It’s not as complicated as you might think! You will need to be prepared to answer the banks questions, provide documentation, and finally prove out the math that indicates you are ready to be approved. These three simple steps can bring you one step closer to realizing your dreams http://ow.ly/A4Wcq

 

 

How creative do I need to be when talking with a bank or lender?

Fri, 18 Jul by Bryon Howard

 

 

This video explains that you shouldn’t need to be creative when talking with a bank or lender. It is important to layout what it is you are looking for and ensure your math works to better your chances of receiving financing.

What is mortgage insurance?

Wed, 16 Jul by Bryon Howard

 

 

This video explains what mortgage insurance is and how it protects the lender. It explains that based on the amount of your down payment customers may need to purchase mortgage insurance. How this cost is determined is then further explained to give individuals a full understanding of how mortgage insurance works.

1.99% Mortgages

Thu, 10 Jul by Bryon Howard

 

This video addresses lenders who are offering low interest rate mortgages. It explains that customers should be aware of other terms and conditions when agreeing to such mortgages to ensure they are receiving the same value. Examples of banks and lenders who have offered such deals are further investigated.

What is a payout penalty?

Tue, 08 Jul by Bryon Howard

This video defines what a payout penalty is and the benefit it has for banks and lenders. The different types of payout penalties are covered and explained to ensure someone seeking a to pay off their mortgage early is aware of potential penalties and how much those will cost them.

Warming Up for the Summer Market

Tue, 03 Jun by Bryon Howard
Peace Bridge Courtesy of Jeff Whyte Photography

Peace Bridge
Courtesy of Jeff Whyte Photography

There is no doubt that 2014 has unfolded so far as a seller’s market. Inventory is low and homes are selling incredibly fast. The value of real estate continues to increase in major cities across Canada, and Calgary is certainly keeping up with the pack. People who are looking for homes need to be prepared to act quickly. With the reduced inventory of properties to choose from, it’s important to come forward with a serious offer if you find the home that meets your needs and your budget.

If the last few months have been any indication, it appears that inventory is slowly on the rise. Although it will take some time before we transition back into a buyer’s market, having more to choose from is always a welcome scenario when you are looking for your next home.

Thinking of buying this summer? Mortgage rates are sitting at record lows for yet another season. This makes a tremendous difference in terms of affordability and saves you thousands of dollars over the course of your mortgage. If you are thinking of buying in the next few months, it’s a good idea to speak to your mortgage broker and request a rate hold so you are ready to make a move when the right property comes on the market. Keep in mind, a rate hold doesn’t require any obligation on your part, but it does give you the ability to determine your monthly payments more accurately. Particularly if you are a first time buyer, choosing a home that fits into a monthly budget that you are comfortable with is important to meet your short and long term objectives.

Whether you are planning on buying a home in Calgary, looking for your first investment property or thinking of building the home of your dreams, you can make a decision with confidence. Calgary continues to a desirable and profitable place to invest. This city has established itself on a strong foundation and the future is looking bright. So many people move to Calgary because they are looking for new opportunities. Your next real estate opportunity could be just around the corner.

Are you looking to Sell or Buy a home in Calgary and need someone who won’t rest until you’ve found your dream home or until your home is sold? I’ll work hard to earn your trust and to deliver exactly what you need. Contact me at 403-589-0004 or at TheHowardTeam.net.

About Bryon Howard

Bryon Howard and his team of Calgary real estate professionals sell an average of two homes a week. He is a member of the MLS Million Point Club, which ranks him roughly in the top 1% of productive realtors in Calgary. His aim is not just to please clients but to help them buy/sell a home in Calgary at the best price, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle. He is a member of the RE/MAX House of Real Estate that leads in the Canadian market. Learn more about Bryon at TheHowardTeam.net.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 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.