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Smart Home Trends in 2018

With the quick advancement of technology nowadays, living in a smart home is slowly becoming normal. New innovations in the smart home sector have grown exponentially over the past few years and with their high adoption rate, there’s no doubt that smart technology is a must-have feature in homes for home buyers and sellers alike. Here are a few smart home trends to watch out for this year.

As more and more appliances connect to the internet, security has become an issue. That is why smart security solutions have become more commonplace. A recent post from Smarterware talks about the importance of having home security solutions:

Home Security Solutions

“Security products will have a big showing at CES this year because they serve dual purposes,” smart home analyst Blake Kozak said prior to the event. “A security camera can alert you to when a package has arrived at the front door or when a child arrives home from school. Moreover, security cameras and video doorbells can act as a communication portal for parents, children, and family.”

Smart security solutions are what will help propel the market forward in the coming months. Whereas people may be less likely to spend on superfluous technologies, security is seen as an integral investment. This gives it an automatic advantage. Via smarterware.org

Smart home security systems are considered to be a priority. Security is very important, and it’s likely that having a robust security system will pay off when the time comes to sell your home to a cautious buyer.


Voice assistance for your smart products!


Next on the list are voice assistants. They’ve surged in popularity in recent years. A new post from The Culture Supplier discusses the advantages of voice assistants for your home.

Voice Assistance in Everything

With these innovative solutions and products, different Smart Home News all over the globe state that there are more to come this year that are much more enticing and worthier of the attention.

Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are known to be the voice assistants of today. As the year emerges, there are no known new additions to these voices (except for Alexa) but features and controls of these assistants are further expanded. It is seen that there will be a huge development on cloud integrations with these voice assistants and other smart products.

In these developments, it is now made possible to control almost everything through Apple’s Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant if smart products are efficiently connected to the internet. h/t smarterware.org

More and more devices have started to get voice-activated into their hardware. Voice commands are the new way to control your home and get information on anything from the weather to the best team to call:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FATeamYMM%2Fvideos%2F1465641346895446%2F&width=350&show_text=true&appId=1933344623578337&height=733Lastly, advancements in lighting are sure to affect the way home interiors are shown off. Lighting that changes tone automatically sounds impractical, but research has shown that light colors have effects on health:

Tunable White Lighting

Science shows that the lighting can affect our moods, productivity, sleep and other functions. A cooler (bluish) hue can boost our energy, while a warmer (reddish) tone can calm us. Tunable white lighting, with variable color temperatures that can change automatically or manually, can help humans improve performance, moods and overall health. read more at cepro.com

These lighting systems will likely do a lot to make a home stand out, especially in these pre-mass adoption times.

The post Smart Home Trends in 2018 is available on The A-Team YMM Blog

YMM Market Update: Average Discounts Still Favoring Buyers

The Close to List Ratio

It’s 2018, and the oil price crash is long behind us. Alberta has returned to growth, and unemployment in the Wood Buffalo region is down. In the last article we wrote about the market, we noted increased demand and reduced supply vis-a-vis last year. The number of foreclosures on the market is even down since Christmas. These trends have continued, but one piece of information remains bearish: The “Close Price to List Price Ratio”.

Here’s a chart:

fort mac home list prices
Graph Of The Average Monthly Fort McMurray Close Price to List Price Ratio Over the Last 4 Years[note]The data covers sales of all property types only the following areas: Abasand, Beacon Hill, Dickinsfield, Downtown, Eagle Ridge, Grayling Terrace, Parsons North, Prairie Creek, Stone Creek, Thickwood, Timberlea, Waterways and Wood Buffalo.[/note]

What is the Close Price to List Price Ratio?

Also known as the “sale price to list price ratio”, this tells us the average discount that buyers and sellers are negotiating below list prices, in any given market (or market segment) in any given time period. You can find a little more information in this Motley Fool article.

For example, let’s say Aaron Chalmers lists a home for $100,000 and sells it for his clients for $99,000, then the ratio would be 99%. In another example, buyer’s agent Aleaha Frigon, might help someone negotiate a $6,000 discount on a competing brokerage’s listing. This would give a ratio of 94%.

An indication of a balanced market is when the ratio is between 98-99% (1-2% discounts). Once the average ratio crosses below 98% (2+% discounts), it represents one indicator of a buyer’s market.

The above chart shows us, that negotiations have been favoring the buyer, for most of the last 3 years (save for a couple of months after the fire).

So, Are We In A Buyer’s Market?

Our opinion is “no”. We appear to have crossed the divide from buyer’s to balanced market, based on other, (more important) ratios, as well as the anecdotal evidence we encounter daily in our professional lives.

But it is an interesting result, that sellers and buyers are still negotiating large discounts despite the number of buyers and sellers in the marketplace reaching “goldilocks” numbers (like the porridge – not too hot, not too cold).

What Can We Learn?

Number 1: I think this chart shows how seriously our community has been rocked by the events of the last 4 years. In other evidence, confidence appears to have returned, but it’s not showing up in this statistic. It’s a reminder that we will only know the future once it happens.

Number 2: If you’re thinking of entering into a real estate transaction with us as a buyer or seller client, it’s good information to have that the average discount in the marketplace right now is approximately 3.5% for the market as a whole.

Can You Do Better?

The short answer is “yes”.

Selling? Because we specialize, we have listing agents who are dedicated to selling your home for absolute top dollar (that’s all they do – see our YouTube page, for example).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FATeamYMM%2Fposts%2F1483000175159563&width=500If you are planning a purchase soon, our specialist buyer’s agents will commit to finding you the best homes and negotiating the ultimate possible deal.

If you’d like to hear about our solutions and results, please reach out so that we can give you the information required to help you make the best decisions.

YMM Market Update: Average Discounts Still Favoring Buyers See more on: The A-Team LLC

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of March 16)

It’s time for another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. Here is some important news for this week.

Canadian debt is generally rising in recent times, but it turns Fort McMurray residents carry the highest average debt in the country, according to a new report by Equifax Canada. From Mix News:

Report: Fort McMurray Residents Carry Highest Average Debt In Canada

According to a new report by Equifax Canada, the average non-mortgage debt in Fort McMurray in the fourth quarter of 2017, was $38,359. This is a slight increase from the first quarter where residents, on average, had $37,345 in debt.

The next highest was Calgary sitting at $29,478, followed by Edmonton with $27,241.

Fort McMurray is on trend with the rest of the country as the report shows, nationally, consumer debt levels are on the rise with Canadian consumers owing an average of $1.8 trillion. Via mix1037fm.com

The residents between the ages of 18 – 25 have been recorded to have the least amount of debt, while residents of ages 46 – 55 have the highest average debt load.

As we reported earlier this year, home supply is decreasing in 2018. In a new report by Fort McMurray REALTORS®, fewer homes were sold in February compared to last year:

Fewer homes sold in February

Fort McMurray REALTORS® are reporting fewer homes sold in February.

According to their numbers, 30 homes were sold last month compared to 36 in February 2017.

Last month the average selling price was $611,483.

There are 279 houses currently listed, this time last year there was 357. h/t mymcmurray.com

The lower number of houses currently listed is a good sign for sellers and the housing market in general, which is slowly balancing.

Credit: mymcmurray.com/

Lastly, unemployment dropped to 6 percent in the census region covering Wood Buffalo. From Fort McMurray Today:

Unemployment falls to six per cent in Wood Buffalo

Statistics Canada released the information Friday morning, showing that employment in the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region was down 400 full-time positions, but was up 200 part-time positions from January.

For the first time since October, the sector covering natural resource jobs saw an increase in positions, with 400 jobs added to the region.

Construction saw an increase of 100 positions in February, after it had decreased by 100 in January. Wholesale and retail trade saw a decrease of 400 jobs.

Across Alberta, the unemployment rate remained at 6.8 per cent, the same as the rate from January. Nationally, unemployment saw a 0.2 per cent increase, bring it to 5.9 per cent. read more at fortmcmurraytoday.com

Hopefully, this will contribute to the uptick in activity the local economy is expected to receive this year.

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

The following blog post Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of March 16) Read more on: The A-Team YMM Blog

How to Save Money When Buying a Home

Home buying is a long process and it could take you a while to find the property you want, given the current market situation in Wood Buffalo. Buying a home could cost you more than you bargained for, particularly if you don’t know the ins and outs. Luckily, a buyer’s agent can help you navigate, but there are things you should take into account yourself as well.

The first thing to remember when home-hunting is to look for one that you can make your own. A recent post from MV Buyer Agents talks about the importance of buying lower-end properties and making it your own:

Go for the Home that You Can Make Your Own

Let’s say you’ve done all the legwork, contacted a lender and came up with an amount that you’re pre-approved for. A mistake that too many homebuyers make is not realizing that’s their upper limit.

Instead of looking at properties at the upper end of your maximum loan amount, consider going lower and giving yourself enough room to negotiate in the buying process.

There are plenty of high end luxury properties available for sale, but lower end properties that might require a little maintenance or remodeling before you move in are super-hot right now.

You spend less and get to make the home completely yours. Via mvbuyeragents.com

If you really want to spend less, there’s no need to buy a luxurious property that goes way beyond your budget. Instead, you can make do with a lower end property that you’re able to renovate.

Next tip is to purchase a home during the off-season. There are only a few weeks left till the snow melts and we enter spring, but it’s still a good time to hunt. A new post from PHX Wholesale Properties shares the monetary advantages of buying your first home during the winter season:

Buy in The Winter

There are many ways to save money when shopping for a house. By knowing what to expect and that you always have options, you can save some serious cash when buying your home.

Statistics show that home prices tend to drop in the winter time. There are a few likely reasons for this. For one, fewer people are buying during this time of year.

Depending on the climate, cold weather will deter many people from moving. Also, families will usually avoid disrupting their kid’s school year if possible.

Sometimes, interest rates will drop. With fewer people buying, lenders will cut their rates to gain a competitive edge. h/t phxwholesaleproperties.com

The season can make a huge difference and can save you a lot of money. So in order to gain the most negotiating power and also a better or cheaper price, winter is the season which you’ll likely want to purchase a house. Since fewer people buy during winter, you have greater leverage.

Take advantage of buying a home during the off-season!

Lastly, be sure to consider your mortgage options. Your agent will usually recommend a mortgage advisor, but it’s always a good idea to get other opinions:

Shop Around

When you’re a first-time homebuyer it’s easy to focus only on the end goal. However you have to remember to look at the bigger picture. Check out your financing options with multiple lenders. That will help make sure you get the best rate possible. Getting preapproval gives you an idea of how much of a mortgage you’ll qualify for and whether you qualify for the best interest rates. Via smartasset.com

We’re not mortgage advisors, so we can’t say much more, but shopping around may save you a lot on your mortgage and in turn your home.

The following article How to Save Money When Buying a Home is available on https://www.ateamymm.ca/