Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of August 18)

It’s been a busy week for Fort McMurray, especially in the real estate industry. As real estate agents, that sits especially fine with us. Let’s get into the top developments!

First up, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced this week that the construction boom is continuing, with nearly 1000 homes being started since the beginning of 2017. Cullen Bird writes in the Fort McMurray Today:

Fort McMurray construction boom continues

Construction has started on nearly 1,000 homes in Fort McMurray since the beginning of 2017, with 209 housing starts in July, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

In July, the CMHC announced the pace of Fort McMurray’s post-wildfire construction boom had already exceeded expectations. Previously, the CMHC had anticipated a high of 700 housing starts in 2017, issuing a new year-end estimate of 1,000 housing starts last month. The 994 housing starts recorded by the end of July already meet the new estimate.

There were also 98 housing completions last month, making a total 243 housing starts since the beginning of the year.

It’s great news for the economic fundamentals of the region (in terms of employment), as well of course as for homeowners impacted by last year’s wildfire. It does not necessarily mean that a housing rebound is on the cards though, as additional supply tends to be negative for prices, all other things being equal.

Also released this week were July statistics by Fort McMurray REALTORS®, showing an increase in houses listed on the market, along with a decrease in sales. The average sale price was up, but this was due to a few anomalous high prices sales, and not the current downward trend. From MyMcMurray:

Fort McMurray REALTORS say as we recover, more homes listed

July statistics released by Fort McMurray REALTORS show that more single-family detached homes were listed on the market with fewer being sold.

The stats also show that Fort McMurray saw its highest average price in July 2017.

However, the average selling price decreased in July by seven per cent compared to 2016, from $686,060 to $635,433.

Fort McMurray REALTORS® stated in a press release that as the community continues to recovery from the 2016 wildfire there is a great variety of properties available causing ongoing change to the average prices month over month. read more at

And in environmental news, Syncrude is beginning the process of reclaiming a former mine by taking influence from a past project. The company previously transformed a tailings pond into a wetland in a process started 5 years ago:

Land Reclamation at Syncrude Taking Form After Research Project

Syncrude’s Vegetation Specialist Eric Girard says they’re taking lessons from the research project, most importantly, managing water.

“It’s a big challenge, so it means we have to build the surrounding watershed so the water would come in large amounts to maintain a water level high enough to have a wetland.”

Girard notes they don’t have any set results.

The oil company still monitor’s the Sandhill Fen with water continuing to be an important aspect of the area as more will be needed as the vegetation continues to evolve.

Besides water, Girard adds soil plays a big part in the reclamation as different types, mineral, and peat, are needed “to get the wide range of species.” read more…

The success of the previous project is a good sign that future land reclamation operations will turn out well for the environment.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on the Fort McMurray area!

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of August 18) was originally seen on

Aleaha Answers: Fort McMurray Real Estate Statistics

The housing market in Fort McMurray is in an adjustment period, so people are understandably nervous about buying a house. Is the average house price important these days? What statistics should you pay attention to? Buyer’s agent Aleaha tells potential buyers what they need to know.

Thinking of buying a home in Fort McMurray? The right help can make all the difference. Call The A-Team today!

The following post Aleaha Answers: Fort McMurray Real Estate Statistics Read more on:

Selling Your Rebuilt Home Doesn’t Have to be Stressful

We’ve been working for families that are looking to sell their homes that are being rebuilt to replace those which they lost in the 2016 wildfire.

It is an ongoing tragedy and it’s an honor to be able to help.

Families come to us anywhere from the blueprint stage to the final inspection, but they have similar (great) questions such as:

  • “What kind of problems can arise?”
  • “What happens if things get delayed?”

This post answers those questions and helps give some solutions.

The Offer Stage

Fast forward and let’s imagine your home is pending (we have successfully negotiated a purchase contract), and the buyer is working through their financing and inspection conditions.

It is very common that the home and other improvements to the land (for example, a deck or a concrete parking pad) might not be complete at the time of the offer coming in. If this happens, it’s actually a good thing since it means we must be selling the home quickly which means no carrying costs once it’s built (it will become the property of the buyers as soon as the last nail is driven)!

It can be a nervous time, but there’s no need to worry. A REALTOR®’s job is very varied, and we help out wherever we can. So, for example, if that means working for you in discussions with your builder, that’s what we will do. It’s all about putting a contract in place that offers some flexibility and that has realistic timelines that your builder can work within.

What might a sound agreement look like? There might be…

  1. An option for a buyer hold-back for any agreed items that may not be completed before possession. This takes some pressure off you the seller (and your builder).
  2. A seller’s legal condition. This gives you a chance to have the (often complex) purchase contract reviewed by a lawyer prior to you signing off on it.

Communication While Building

All the work that is still required to be completed can fit into two groups. Group one is items that the negotiated contract allows to be finished post-possession (with hold-backs). This group is not the priority at this stage.

There’s another group: Those pesky items that need to be completed before the new homeowner calls the property their home. This is where a good relationship with your builder and clear communication is key…

While negotiating the purchase contract with the buyers, we like to keep your builder in the loop. We are doing our due diligence that the timelines we are promising to the buyers can be executed by the builder.

Once the home is pending, let’s get that contract into the hands of the builder and communicate it effectively to them. This will ensure that they have ample time to address the issues and can make a plan to get them complete. Because builders are working on multiple projects, we do want to give them as much notice as possible to ensure that they have time to schedule the remaining work within the required timelines. We will also ask the builder to keep us in the loop regarding the schedule.

There are definitely going to be bumps in the road, it is best that you expect that up front.

Weather will delay outside work.

Lack of materials will delay inside work.

As unexpected issues arise, we ask that you please keep us in the loop. Here’s why that’s helpful:

  1. We can act as an intermediary between you and your builder (or just another squeaky wheel). We can help by communicating your questions or concerns on your behalf.
  2. Our role is to advocate for your interests to the buyer’s agent in the run-up to possession (and beyond).

Home Warranty & Quality Builders

Here is a little nugget of solid information. When working with a builder, get really detailed information on how the new home warranty works. This can then be passed on to the buyer’s agent for communication to the buyers. When hiring a builder, finding out how long the builder plans to stay in town might be important…

Quality builders show their professionalism by being there for the new homeowner, long after the owner receives the keys. The builder’s performance impacts their reputation, and therefore, their future sales.  Local builders who plan to be around for a while (or for good) are surely more likely to be there for the buyers than those who are here only for the rebuild. Warranty companies are there as an additional backstop.

All of this, when communicated effectively to the buyers (through their agent), can help in the event that some of those aforementioned “pesky items” cannot be completed by possession. It’s okay because under the warranty, noted deficiencies must be completed under the home warranty! This will go some way to calming the nerves of the buyers (and therefore the nerves of you, the seller).

The Walk-Through

So you’ve done all that, and now it’s the witching hour; the buyers are coming to do their walk-through!

Your heartbeat accelerates.

You cross your fingers.

One of two things might happen:

  1. A) It’s a clean, successful walk-through. You naturally stay calm.
  2. B) A few deficient items come up. The buyer is feeling several different feelings. This causes you to feel several different feelings. But again, miraculously, you can stay calm.

Why do you ultimately feel calm in either circumstance?

Because you and your agent worked as a team.

Teamwork = Happiness

You and your specialist A-Team listing agent worked as a team: Together, you talked to the builder, and your agent spoke to the buyer’s agent regularly also.  Throughout the process, all parties always had a deep understanding of the build and a good agreement was written up as well as checked by your lawyer. Through the warranty, you have in writing that all remaining issues will be rectified soon after possession.

It’s all kosher.

Here’s a reality: Unexpected events will happen because a rebuild is a complicated process with multiple stakeholders & suppliers. At the core of a stress-free transaction is a seamless, trusting relationship between you and your listing agent. You can share your concerns along the way, and a great agent will put solutions in place, and sometimes just be a shoulder to cry on (or someone to vent to).

Moving On

It is going to be a tremendous feeling when we call to let you know that keys have been released. It’s a challenging process, but with the right team, there’s nothing to fear. You can allow yourself to get excited about what’s next for you in life!


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Tips for Settling Into Your New Home – What to Do After Moving

There’s no better feeling of accomplishment than owning your new home, especially if it’s your first. The excitement of living in a new place, new neighborhood, etc. is unforgettable. But when having a new house there are also plenty of tedious tasks such as unpacking that you should do first before you can completely enjoy your new home. Today on The A-Team blog, we’ll talk about the things that you should do or need to be aware of in your new home.

Even before you bring in your belongings, there are steps you can take to start the settling process. In the following excerpt from Trulia, Lindsey Grossman details some novel ideas for preparing a new home:

9 Necessary Things To Do Before Moving Into A New House

3. Add a UV film on your windows
Before you drill any holes or plan where you’ll hang your art, find out where the sun is strongest in your new home. “Sunlight can damage works on canvas and paper over time and fade colors,” advises artist Steven Seinberg. He recommends adding a UV film on your windows. You won’t notice it’s there, but it will offer some protection for your precious artwork and furniture.

4. Plan a party
Scheduling a housewarming party two to four weeks after you move in gives you an incentive — and a deadline — to get all those boxes unpacked. Once the invites are out there, you’re committed. It’s the homeowner’s equivalent of telling a friend you’ll meet her for a Pilates class. In many aspects of life, accountability is key. And if the result is a party in your newly organized house? All the better. read more at

Admittedly, these aren’t necessities, but making use of them will undoubtedly improve your home settling experience.

moving into a new home in fort mcmurray
Before unpacking, you should ensure the house is spotless

Once past the preparation, the first thing any new homeowners will do is unpack. It may seem pretty straightforward at first, but there are wrong ways to do it, namely by starting too soon. A recent article from Zillow explains what to do before unpacking, and what your priorities should be before starting:

What to Unpack First in Your New Home

First things first

  1. Clean and prepare your new home. It’s easier to wipe down shelves, clean windows, and mop floors before your belongings have been put in place. Make sure your home-to-be is spotless when your items arrive. If you can’t get to your new place early enough to do a thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to do the job for you.
  2. Inspect and organize your belongings. Check all the delivered boxes and household items against your inventory sheet to make sure nothing is damaged or missing. Then have each of your possessions taken to the room where it belongs. If everything was properly marked and labeled, sorting out your items will be a piece of cake..Read full article here…

By cleaning and inspecting before doing all the work, you can save a lot of time and future stress over lost belongings and dirty shelves.

After unpacking, it’s common to have a little trouble adjusting to the new location. It may be a while before you’re fully comfortable. Luckily, there are steps you can take to alleviate this, as described by Sumiko Wilson of The Toronto Star:

Steps I took to fall in love with my new home

To be honest, I spent the month following my move devising an escape plan. Will the family that moved into my old house mind if I slept on their couch for a while? Would it be feasible to stay in an Airbnb for the next year?

My scheming came to a halt when I took the time to explore my neighbourhood. While my area isn’t the most central, it’s much easier to get downtown from my new home than my old house in the suburbs. Furthermore, I’m steps away from the 501 Queen route, which takes me on a scenic tour around the city, through Roncesvalles, Parkdale, Queen West, and into the downtown core.

Once I took the time to get acquainted with my new stomping grounds, I discovered how much easier I could get to all of the places that I love and that convenience helped me fall in love with my neighbourhood.

If you thrive under deadlines, try hosting a housewarming party…. read more at

Getting to know your new community imperative to feeling at home in it. While it can be hard to meet new people, doing so will make your home truly “home.”

These tips go a long way to making you feel at home. If you’re still looking for that perfect home, though, the A-Team can help you out.

Tips for Settling Into Your New Home – What to Do After Moving was originally seen on