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Top 5 Tips for Nervous Sellers

Sun, 14 Jan by Bryon Howard

You have made the big decision to sell your home and you are overflowing with excitement and anticipation – and maybe feeling just a little bit nervous too.  Whether it’s your first time letting go of a property or your tenth does not really matter.  It’s easy to doubt yourself and have second thoughts.  Here are my “Top 5 Tips” for apprehensive sellers.  Follow these guidelines to help your home sell quickly and for top dollar.

  1. Work with an Experienced Realtor

The easiest way to banish any possibility of seller’s remorse down the road is to work with an experienced professional who understands the local market.  Knowing that you are in good hands will calm your nerves and help you sleep at night.  You have made a serious decision to sell a very large asset.  Ensure a good outcome by working with an experienced professional.

  1. Price it Right

Homes that are overpriced end up languishing on the market and, in the end, often sell for less than they would have if they had been priced right in the beginning.  Timing is everything in real estate and an overpriced home can easily end up costing you time and money.  Work closely with your Realtor to set the correct price at the start.

  1. Understand the Market

The real estate market is a continuum in constant motion – sometimes leaning heavily toward a buyer’s or seller’s market and often times, balancing somewhere in the middle. Your Realtor can help you understand the realities (good and bad) of the market and micro market your property is in.  It is great to dream, but you also need your expectations to remain realistic on the road to realizing those dreams.

  1. Highlight Your Home’s Strengths

We know you love your home and will be leaving with some great memories.  The challenge in selling is to do everything possible to make sure buyers see what you see and fall in love with the property. You accomplish this by emphasizing your home’s best features – both in marketing and in presentation.  If the house has great crown molding, don’t obscure it with heavy drapery.  A beautiful façade should not be covered with overgrown foliage.  Do everything possible to make sure the home’s finest qualities shine through.

  1. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

When you decided to sell your property, you had at least one goal in mind.  Perhaps it was to free up money to invest in another property, or maybe you just wanted to rid yourself of mortgage debt.   Many sellers simply think it’s for a change in their living situation.  Whatever your motivation for selling, keep that in mind throughout the sometimes-frustrating process of selling a home.

Follow these simple tips to avoid needless anxiety, stress and aggravation after putting up a “For Sale” sign.

 

 

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.

Enjoy a Winter Blast in Calgary

Sun, 07 Jan by Bryon Howard

Winter is a wonderful time to plan a visit to Calgary.  The locals here do not hide from Mother Nature’s fierce chill.  They embrace it and extract every bit of snow and ice related fun imaginable.  If snow and ice are not your thing, that’s OK too.  In Calgary, frigid temperatures are never an excuse to not explore the city.  With the world’s largest pedestrian skywalk system spanning more than 16 km, you can enjoy all that downtown Calgary has to offer while leaving your snow boots and parka at home.

Parks, Paths and Hiking

Many of the city’s parks offer year-round recreational opportunities.  The 580-km regional pathway system helps locals keep fit year-round and offers several wintertime fun runs, including the Hypothermic Half Marathon in February.  Many of the trails are kept clear of snow and ice for the enjoyment of walkers, runners and cycling enthusiasts.

Winter Sports

Don’t forget that Calgary sits at the base of the Canadian Rockies – home to world class facilities for skiers and snowboarders.  Some of the best runs in the world are within a few hours’ drive from the city at Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Nakiska Ski Resort, but you do not need to travel at all to participate in your favourite winter sports while in Calgary.  You can snowshoe, cross country ski, play hockey, ice skate, sled and even learn to luge at facilities throughout the city, including Canada Olympic Park, originally constructed for the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Festivals

Calgary is a festival goers dream – for visitors and locals alike.  It starts with the Stampede in the summer and continues for 12 months.  The frosty winter months offer plenty of opportunity for outdoor and indoor partying – everything from film and music festivals, food and wine tasting to avant garde theatre and motorcycle expos.  There is even an annual citywide Hot Chocolate Festival in which local eateries compete for the best hot chocolate recipes.  The proceeds of this event go to support Calgary’s Meals-on-Wheels program.

Calgary offers endless options for outdoor adventure and indoor exploration during the cold season.    Don’t let a little winter chill keep you from enjoying everything our city has to offer.  Take your pick and have a blast!

 

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 Kickstarting your Christmas Spirit

Sun, 07 Jan by Bryon Howard

With so much conflict and uncertainty in the world this year, it is not hard to understand how some people may be having trouble summoning the Christmas spirit.  If you find yourself cringing instead of smiling as the holidays draw near, here are a few tips for getting in the Christmas groove – Calgary style.

  1. Start with Music – Create your own Christmas playlist and blast that music until it rocks. Choose your favourite carols and artists – songs that remind you of your childhood or a time in your life when things seemed simple.
  2. Make a List and Check It Twice – To avoid getting overwhelmed by all you must do to prepare for the holiday, make a Christmas “To Do” list and take pride and delight in crossing items off once they are done. If you’re not careful, anxiety over workloads and tasks will keep you from enjoying time spent with friends and family. To avoid a meltdown, get organized and stay organized.
  3. Pay it Forward – If your financial situation permits, buy a gift or donate to a stranger or local family in need of Christmas cheer. If money is tight, take a few minutes to shovel snow from your elderly neighbour’s walkway.  You will be amazed at how far a simple act of kindness goes toward lifting your spirits.  Joy is truly found in giving.
  4. Set the Stage – Pull your Christmas boxes from storage and do a little decorating. Take the time to examine individual ornaments that hold treasured family memories and reminders of Christmases gone by.  Once the tree is up, kick back, put on your favourite Christmas movie and enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate or eggnog.
  5. Visit a Christmas Market – Instead of doing all your shopping on-line or at a mall, take a stroll through one of Calgary’s vibrant Christmas markets. Support the fine work of local craftspeople and artists and find something for everyone on your list.
  6. Ice Skate in a City Park – You may find magic in the air after lacing on your skates and taking a few turns around a rink in one of Calgary’s beautiful city parks. The crisp winter air and Christmas tunes playing over loudspeakers should lift your spirits.

Tinsel, garland, presents and twinkling lights are all just signs of the holiday season.  They are there to look pretty and help get you in the mood.  They are not, however, what Christmas is about.  Christmas is about rebirth and renewal, love and sharing.  Invest time giving of yourself this year and spending quality time with the ones you love.

The world outside may be frightful at times.  Instead of letting that fact get you down, use it as a reason to appreciate and connect with your family and friends, embrace your holiday traditions and make it a Christmas to remember.

Merry Christmas to all!

 

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.

New Government Guidelines Mean Smaller Conventional Mortgages

Thu, 30 Nov by Bryon Howard

Goldstream Provincial Park

Sun, 23 Jul by Bryon Howard

Nestled in an old growth forest less than 17 kilometres from downtown Victoria is Goldstream Provincial Park, a crown jewel in the British Columbia park system.  Goldstream is home to dozens of hiking trails, waterfalls, an abandoned gold mine, a world-famous annual salmon run, black bears, bald eagles, spring wildflower displays and endless vistas to soothe the soul.

Since there is such an abundance of things to see and do in this 477- hectare park, first-time visitors should begin their day at the park’s Freeman King Visitor Centre. Join an individual or group tour or one of the many interpretive programs and lectures that discuss Goldstream’s rich natural history.  An introductory tour might start with a hike through a forest canopy formed by 600-year old Douglas fir trees.  Several moderate hikes will take you to viewing platforms for the park’s wildlife and waterfalls, including Niagara Falls, cascading 47 metres into a canyon pool.  Adventurous hikers visiting the area will want to embark on the steep and challenging climb to the summit of Mt. Finlayson, a 419-metre mountain offering magnificent views of the Olympic Mountain range and Greater Victoria area.

While Goldstream offers year-round activity, the park bursts at the seams every year from mid-October thru late December when tourists and bald eagles from all over Canada come to observe the natural spectacle of streams of salmon traveling to the Goldstream River to spawn and then die in the very spot they were born four years earlier.  Tourists come to see Mother Nature’s circle of life on full display and the eagles come to feed on the salmon.

Due to the park’s proximity to Victoria, Goldstream is a perfect day trip for the city’s residents and visitors.  For those looking to explore the park in-depth, there are campsites, picnic areas and children’s playgrounds. Since Goldstream is located on the traditional fishing grounds of local First Nation tribes, recreational fishing is restricted to members of these indigenous cultures.

Whether you are an advanced hiker, mountain biker or just a nature lover yearning to find comfort in the embrace of an old growth forest, Goldstream Provincial Park has what you are looking for.  For residents of Victoria who already enjoy a plethora of natural and man-made beauty, having Goldstream Provincial Park as a neighbour is just another bonus.

 

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.

A Stroll Along Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Sun, 09 Jul by Bryon Howard

A visit to Victoria is incomplete if it does not include time spent enjoying the city’s majestic Inner Harbour. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and you will discover the magical mixture of scenery, activity, architecture and ecosystems that keep tourists and locals alike coming back whenever they can to breathe in the fresh ocean air and take in the views.  Look one way and you will see Victoria’s iconic Parliamentary buildings and the historic Empress Hotel.  Look the other way toward the sea to behold a colorful flotilla of yachts and boats against a backdrop of azure blue sky and water.

Situated fully within the city of Victoria, the Inner Harbour, also known as James Bay, bisects the downtown area to the front of the Empress Hotel and extends northeast to the Johnson Street Bridge. Home to dozens of restaurants, breweries, whale watching tours and ecotourism activities, the Inner Harbour serves as a port of entry to Victoria and Vancouver Island.  Ferries and small cruise ships shuttle tourists who, in only a few steps, can embark into the heart of the city.  The Harbour is a whirlwind of activity during the day and well into the evening – in good weather and bad.  As dusk settles, the lights come on, the local buskers start playing and people-watching kicks into full gear.

Throughout the warm weather months, the Inner Harbour plays host to a series of music festivals, art fairs, boat shows and sailing events.  There is always something going on.  You can enjoy a local craft beer and watch the sunset, take an ecotour to the regions of the Outer and Middle Harbours, or just sit on a bench surrounded by overflowing flower baskets and watch the rest of the world go by.  Amateur photographers are everywhere –  waiting for the perfect light.  The iconic architecture of British Columbia’s capitol city combines with the vibrant flower arrangements and natural beauty to create one of the most-photographed locations in Canada.

If it is your first visit to Victoria, you are bound to end up at the Inner Harbour.  Hop a ferry, stroll the promenade, and enjoy some fine street musicians and a good meal.  If you are fortunate enough to visit again, we will know where to find you because everyone falls in love with Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

 

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.

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.

RMS reset?

Sun, 21 May by Bryon Howard

So, how are you getting along with RECA’s Residential Measurement Standards (RMS)?

It’s been nearly a year since RECA launched the new standards, so the ins and outs of applying it must be routine? You may not agree with every aspect of the RMS, but by now you should be able to present your listings compliantly and explain the rationale and principles to your clients and prospective clients.

All is good and we can move on to other pressing matters . . . right?

If you paused on your response, you’re likely our target audience for this article. The simple reality is that there will never be a measurement standard that pleases everyone—at least that was our experience in the decades that this was CREB®’s work.

From time to time, we would see the need to make some changes, but often it was because new housing products would evolve and we needed to make sure they were included in CREB®’s Measurement Guidelines. This is how different standards evolved over time for single-family and semi-detached product—and then we saw waves of new attached and multi-family structures that drew out even more approaches.

In the absence of any legislated standards, local real estate boards, the new construction industry and other municipalities inched down different paths.

Some time ago, we viewed registered size as a means to establish a consistent size of condominium properties and we know where that has ended up. Maybe the problem is that during all this time, we focused on the structure, rather than the space people use the dwelling to live in? Even NAR on realtor.com advises consumers that, “. . . a home’s square footage can be surprisingly subjective.”

If that’s the case, then maybe we have been too focused on using exact measurements, and perhaps a margin of error or tolerance should be built into the RMS?

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the CREB® measurement standard did not create a perfect world either, and we are not likely to go back to that world in any case. We now have a measurement standard that is principle-based and mandated, which is envied by some jurisdictions like Toronto.

My colleague from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) has said from an Alberta stage that they would love to have a standard imposed by RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) because it would bring order to their chaotic approach.

Meanwhile, RECA has heard the concerns of the real estate community after the RMS launch and has since initiated a request for feedback last November. Over a three-month period, they invited you as industry professionals, as well as real estate boards, to provide input by February.

We hope many of our members took action and provided feedback on this subject, as we did here at CREB®. We continue to be very concerned with the impact of the RMS on CREB®’s MLS® System. I will not retrace all of that ground here, but we will not rest until we have a database that our members and Alberta consumers can rely upon as being fully accurate.

Our main message in our submission to RECA was the need for consultation, effective change management and a concerted lobby effort for the RMS to be adopted by all participants in the residential housing sector. We encouraged RECA to maintain the principle of providing a measurement standard that gives consumers and industry professional’s accurate and consistent property measurements.

Following the principled approach, we also advocated for a measurement standard that is simple and consistent with every type of home. You can read our submission by clicking here and keep in mind that in approving this document your board of directors is maintaining their focus on the big picture.

You will also see how we positioned AREA to play a key role in lobbying for the adoption of the RMS as the only standard of measurement in all aspects of residential housing in Alberta.

As RECA continues to consider making changes to the RMS, we are encouraged that they have embraced greater consultation and proactive change management practices. With a fresh approach, we hope a principle-based standard can meet the test of the common sense approach and that it can be readily determined by industry professionals.

Please take a close look at our submission. We are continually asked to provide input and feedback on your behalf in an endless number of ways. Obviously, when we speak on your behalf, we try to respond in a way that reflects the wishes and objectives of the majority of our members. In the case of the RMS, that is a lofty goal and the additional complication is that by suggesting something new and radical in moving to a fully interior living space approach (paint to paint), thinking outside the box comes with risk, something we have been proud of our directors for taking on judiciously.

Our document may not be popular with some of you, but it does achieve the goals of database integrity and promoting member’s interests by steering the thought process toward a principled approach to landing a measurement standard that is consistent and simple to explain, and provides the opportunity for consumers and REALTORS® to genuinely compare all product types equally.

We invite you to share your thoughts here, or you can come to our Town Hall meeting at CREB® on May 31 at 2 p.m. Among other things, we will update you on the work of the Presidential Task Force—the group of your peers that have been taking a fresh look at RECA’s current enforcement of the RMS, while also making recommendations regarding CREB®’s ability to protect the data integrity of the MLS® System.

Moving this conversation further into the realm of principle may not be an easy route, but what if there is a better way to represent the size of a home? Your board of directors is always thinking strategically and have considered the possibility that REALTORS® leading the way toward a measurement standard that resonates with consumers is the ultimate act of advocacy.

 

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.

Divorce: Your Mortgage and Home

Thu, 11 May by Bryon Howard

Discover Victoria By Bicycle

Wed, 03 May by Bryon Howard

Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is famous for its thriving real estate market, magnificent scenery and stately Victoria architecture. The city and the surrounding landscapes present a feast for the eyes and memorable vistas that are best enjoyed on a bicycle. Blessed with mild winters and humidity-free summers, the biking trails in and around Victoria beckon riders of all ages, fitness and skill levels. The city can boast of more cyclists per capita than any other Canadian city and a ride along one of Victoria’s well-travelled bike routes is a great way to acquaint yourself with this southernmost major city in western Canada.

When it comes to cycling in Victoria, the options are infinite. Here is a newcomer’s guide to just a few of the city’s more popular trails:

The Galloping Goose – This relatively flat, 55-km trail is the perfect choice for families and casual cyclists. The trail starts in a busy section of town and then meanders through farmland and evergreen forests to an old abandoned mining town. Built on a former railroad, the terrain for the most part is flat with a few easily managed hills.

Hartland Bike Park – Serious riders in search of a challenge head to Hartland Bike Park – about 20 minutes from downtown Victoria. This woodland paradise offers options for all experience levels, but is used primarily by intermediate and advanced cyclists. Don’t forget a trail map if you visit Hartland since the complex network of trails can be confusing.

The Seaside Touring Route – This popular route, specifically designed for visitors, takes the rider by many of the city’s noteworthy attractions. This route has it all! Look one way and you will be treated to a surreal view of the mighty Olympic Mountains. Look the other way and breathe in the deep blue Pacific Ocean. The 39-km route can be modified to virtually any length with water views most of the way. Don’t forget to wave to the resident seals at Oak Bay Marina.

Given the abundance of bike trails and natural beauty, Victoria has emerged as a mecca for international bike racers. The annual Tour de Victoria takes place in August and is a mass participation event attracting both world class riders and weekend enthusiasts. There is even a 3k race for young children.

If you are contemplating a move to Victoria or just joining the thousands of tourists who visit each year, consider getting to know this beautiful corner of the world on two wheels. Grab your helmet and enjoy the view!

 

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.