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.
Via fortmcmurraytoday.com

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 mymcmurray.com

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 https://www.ateamymm.ca/

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: https://ateamymm.ca/

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!

 

Selling Your Rebuilt Home Doesn’t Have to be Stressful was first seen on https://ateamymm.ca

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 trulia.com

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 blog.newinhomes.com

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 https://www.ateamymm.ca/

How to Buy a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) with a REALTOR®

Buying a FSBO Home

It’s easier than you think!

Let’s say you’ve decided to buy a home over the next few months. That’s exciting!…

Buying a home can be a life-changing event, and your choice of home can have a real impact on finances, your lifestyle and your future. It is an exciting time, but it can also be a big deal.

It’s also true that while many homes are listed by real estate brokerages, others are listed by members of the public, and there are some that cannot be found other than by literally knocking on doors.

Now we also know that one of these homes is the best one for you.

The goal of this post is to help members of the public learn more about what it is like to buy a property that is not listed with a real estate brokerage.

What is a For Sale By Owner?

A “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) is a home that is listed in some way by the owner, without the representation of a real estate agent. That is, any home with a sign outside that simply says “for sale” or listed on Kijiji, Facebook, etc. and when you make an inquiry, you are told by the owner that they are attempting to sell their home themselves (that’s a whole other blog).

home for sale by owner fort mcmurray

In addition, there are property marketing companies, such as Comfree and Property Guys, which offer a range of listing options. Sometimes this involves an MLS® listing. If the property is found on the MLS®, then it is not an FBSO because this means it is listed with a real estate brokerage. In the case of Comfree, potential sellers are given the option to list on the Calgary MLS® with their own “Common Sense Network” brokerage for a fixed fee that is paid even if the home does not sell. By law, as REALTORS®, we need to treat these homeowners exactly as what they are: clients of a competing real estate brokerage.

Sometimes properties aren’t even listed for sale. You might have a friend or relative who wants to sell you their home. They tell you that the would want to sell without the help of a REALTOR®.

You might even like a specific street, and decide to knock on doors until you find someone who is thinking of selling!

So, you see, there are many different types of FSBOs and each type of seller should be approached slightly differently for best results. You can think of buying one of these homes as landing a large aircraft safely. You are currently at an early stage: you’re lining up to the runway using radar (above the clouds) and lowering the landing gear.

Any of these homes above might be the best home on the market for you.

As REALTORS®, we must follow the Real Estate Act of Alberta, which states that while we must give our clients advice that is in their best interests, we must also follow your legal instructions. That is: we advise, you decide.

As part of this, we would never encourage you to remove properties from your short-list because the seller does not have representation. Quite the opposite! This could be a really good opportunity for you and your family, if done right.

Two Well-Ordered Informed Decisions

For any quality real estate transaction, there is an order of process…the first step is representation, the second step is negotiation.

Representation: Who is representing whom? Who is representing themselves?
Negotiation: What are the terms/conditions of the contract between the parties?

You may be reading this, having just found a home that someone is attempting to sell to you privately. You may be thinking “uh oh, I am on step 2 already!”.

Don’t panic.

Unless you have an agreement with the sellers of the property, you have the ability to take a quick pause while we work on step 1.

Step 1: Buyer Representation

At the earliest opportunity, our specialist buyer’s agents like to meet our potential buyer clients for a “Buyer Consultation”. We hold these at our RE/MAX® office here in Fort McMurray and it is an opportunity to share information.

Sometimes this happens years before the property search.
Sometimes it happens right at the last minute, as someone finds their dream home.
The earlier the better, but late is better than never!

At the meeting, our agents learn about you and share information about our amazing services (getting people incredible deals) as well as tons of helpful real estate information about the process, etc. Our agent’s role is to give you clear, quality information and you’ll have the opportunity to hire our team-member at the end (or not…that’s okay, too).

In Alberta, when you hire a real estate professional to help you buy, it’s the law that at the earliest opportunity, the real estate professional educates you about representational relationships and enters into what’s called a “written service agreement” with you. See FAQs for consumers from the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) here:

Real Estate Buyer Representation Agreements – RECA

Are written Buyer Representation Agreements mandatory?

Yes. Effective July 1, 2014, if you are interested in buying residential property and are the client of a real estate professional in Alberta, you will be asked to sign a written service agreement (buyer representation agreement).

What is the difference between an exclusive and a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement?

In an exclusive buyer representation agreement, you, as the buyer, agree to only use the services of that brokerage to represent and assist you in purchasing a property.

As you can see, this agreement is designed to protect the consumer and, as such, sets out what services will be rendered. It also specifies how commissions will work (in the case of MLS® listings and FSBOs), as well as timelines, terminations, and what happens if the consumer decides not to buy during the life of the agreement. It’s a thing to be negotiated between the brokerage and the client before any real estate transaction gets started.

Our agreements are extremely friendly.

Let’s say you decide all of these things with your agent, and together, you have a watertight plan for FSBOs. This is the key:

If you do buy a FSBO, you will arrange for a fair commission to be paid to your agent from the sale proceeds of the home (not out of pocket)
If you do not buy a home, you will not pay a commission
If you buy a home that is listed on the MLS® through a full-service brokerage, your agent will be paid whatever commission is posted in the listing by the seller and the listing agent

Now you can truly go home-shopping, knowing that every home in Fort McMurray is suddenly available to you.

Not a Step: Seller Representation

This is the easy bit. You’re not the seller so it’s not your choice. The seller has a choice whether or not to hire a representative and they have made their choice to not be represented.

The property is probably not getting as many showings as it could be due to it not being exposed to buyers as well as it could be. Pricing can be erratic, and we outgun sellers in terms of skills (e.g. negotiation, market knowledge, contract law, etc.).

Furthermore, because the sellers are likely to be paying around ½ the commission they would be with a full-service brokerage, then their bottom line could be lower.

Step 2: Negotiation

Communication:

It’s generally best for potential buyers of an FSBO to politely hand over communication with the seller to their buyer’s agent. This way, common negotiating slip-ups won’t be made (for example, telling the seller your reason for buying “we’re pregnant” or how much you love their home).

A talented REALTOR® knows what to say, when to say it, and ultimately how to secure the property for the best terms and conditions. They also know when to advise you to walk away. Having a specialist buyer’s agent on your side is a game-changer. Especially when the seller has some experience selling homes.

One of the first things we will say to the seller is that we represent the buyer and have a signed agreement with the buyer about how commissions work.

Showings: We find it’s best to quickly see all the best options on the market (Comfree, MLS, etc.) so that you can be certain that the FSBO is at the top of your shortlist. It’s key to a productive negotiation (to have other options) and in some cases, we find that the FSBO is in fact not the best home on the market for you. This is part of due diligence.

Due Diligence:

When a property is listed For Sale By Owner, as professionals, we encourage/do even more extensive due diligence than normal.

For example, it is now the law that when professional real estate agents list homes for sale, they use the Alberta Residential Measurement Standard (RMS), which is a fairly complex and difficult way to measure homes systematically. This is not the case for private listings, so that’s something that our buyer’s agent would offer (to measure the home properly).

Presenting The Offer

The way I prefer (advise) to write offers on behalf of buyer clients in these circumstances is by including a term in the contract that says something like:

“Seller to remunerate the buyer’s brokerage $x,000 on closing for services rendered to the buyer.”

(There is further documentation with the seller that helps to enforce the agreement).

When I present the offer to the seller, I explain that the buyer has chosen representation and that they wish for the commissions to be paid from the sale proceeds (not out of their pocket) and that this term is non-negotiable. That is, if the seller wishes to sell to this buyer, then that term will remain in the purchase contract.

Typically, sellers mainly care about the size of the cheque they will receive from their lawyer on closing (the sale proceeds minus the closing costs). If the seller wants a larger cheque, they can certainly counter offer the purchase price (even above the asking price if they wish). I state this clearly, and I have never had an upset seller in this circumstance. They are usually just really happy to be receiving an offer on their home.

 

Happy Days

We negotiate the best possible price, other terms and conditions, and assist you by guiding you (not the seller) through a stress-free transaction. You move into your dream home. We love our job.

Important Summary

The seller’s choice of representation is their own and they are responsible for it.

As the buyer, your choice of representation is your own, and not that of the seller. Your choice of representation is independent of your choice of home.

It’s best to clearly pin down your choice of representation prior to reaching an agreement with the seller of an FSBO. Ideally, this will happen before interacting with the seller or even searching for homes.

homes for sale in fort mcmurray ab

The A-Team has a wealth of experience helping clients successfully purchase FSBOs for great prices, and we remain in contact with all of the buyers (and many of the sellers) to this day. We would love to help you, too!

How to Buy a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) with a REALTOR® is available on https://www.ateamymm.ca/

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of August 11)

It’s time for another A-Team roundup of all the latest news and developments affecting the Fort McMurray region.

In oilsands news, a pilot project operated by Japan Petroleum Exploration Co, which was shut during the 2016 wild fires, will not restart its operations. Low oil prices and technical risks were cited as the main reasons, according to My McMurray:

Japex oilsands pilot project won’t restart

Also known as Japex, the company says it has decided to abandon the development due to low oil prices and the technical risks of reactivating the wells.

The pilot project had been in operation through a subsidiary called Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd. since 1999 and produced a cumulative total of 35 million barrels of bitumen.

Japan Canada Oil Sands also announced Monday that it has achieved first production from a commercial oilsands project in the same area that has been steaming since April.

The company, which owns 75 per cent of both projects, says its Hangingstone commercial project is producing about 1,000 barrels per day and will gradually ramp up to capacity of 20,000 bpd by the second half of next year. Read more…

While the closure is a loss for the region, other operations by the company are thankfully still running.

Next up, it was reported this week that of all provinces in the country, Alberta is forecasted to see the lowest amount of salary increases. The annual study by Morneau Shepell shows the increase to be 1.8%, compared with a national average of 2.3%. From MIX News:

Report: 2018 Alberta Salary Rises Lowest in Canada

“Despite this optimism, employers are still cautious about salary increases, perhaps reflecting a concern that rising interest rates may dampen economic growth next year,” said Michel Dubé, Principal in Morneau Shepell’s compensation consulting practice, in a release.

The survey notes the economy is continuing to hamper certain industries. People working in the mining, oil and gas extraction sector could see an increase of just 0.8 per cent.

Industries such as utilities, manufacturing, wholesale trade, finance, and insurance are expected to see big rises between 2.7 and 2.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, Quebec is expected to see the highest rise, around 2.6 per cent. Via mix1037fm.com

The prevalence of mining, oil, and gas in the province, along with the effect the economy is having on these industries, surely plays a huge part in Alberta’s tepid wage growth this year. Total income of the Alberta economy itself (GDP) is beginning to rebound though which is great news.

As the municipal elections draw closer and closer, a local pipe fitter, Anthony Needham, announced his candidacy for mayor this week. As per the Fort McMurray Today, Needham was inspired to run by the other candidates, lawyers Allan Vinni and Don Scott, who he believes don’t have the working-class experience he brings:

Helicopter pilot Anthony Needham running for mayor

That said, Needham said one of his priorities as mayor would be working to create more affordable daycare and at-home seniors’ care in the region, by offering incentives for people to work in those jobs.

Reducing the commuter workforce in favour of more local jobs is also a priority, he said. If industry can afford to pay for flights and work camp accomodations, they should also be able to pay a living allowance to employees who choose to settle down in Fort McMurray.

Needham added the recession may call for more austerity at the municipality.

“That may mean downsizing the workforce of the RMWB, and cancelling certain infrasture projects that are deemed not necessary at this time,” he said.

However, Needham said he currently has no particular infrastructure projects in mind. h/t fortmcmurraytoday.com

Perhaps Needham’s working-class background makes him a strong candidate next to his competitors. However, we’ll have to wait until October to see how well that experience and hard work pays off.

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

 

The blog post Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of August 11) See more on: The A-Team LLC

What’s My Best Housing Option in Fort McMurray?

Best Housing Options

You’ve saved.
A lot.
Now you’re thinking of buying…

For argument’s sake, you’re pre-approved for a mortgage that gives you a budget of around $500,000. What is your best buy?
For some folks, it’s an easy decision because they already know exactly what they want and where it is they want to live. But for some others, they might prefer some professional guidance. Let me explain…

Single Family Home

Thanks to downward pressure on the market, the average cost of a detached house, on its own lot, has fallen to within reach of many first-time buyers. Of course, most of these homes will be located in the older areas of town, but deals are increasingly found in even some of the newer parts of Timberlea. It depends on what you want.
If you want a large lot for the kids/pooch and you don’t mind doing a few renovation projects, then there are loads of choices in Thickwood and Dickinsfield where lot sizes are generous.
But maybe you want to be in a newer neighborhood (and home), but then you have to expect the house to be smaller and most especially the lot size. Thanks to the high price of lots back in the early 2000’s, average lot sizes shrunk to between 3000 – 4500 sqft (Confederation Heights, in Timberlea, is a prime example).

Duplex

There’s no doubt about it, owning a detached house is your best investment if you can find one that you can afford. But let’s say you want more ‘bang for your buck’? Then the $500k budget will get you a newer duplex in a new neighborhood like Stonecreek or even Parson’s Creek, for example (ask for details!). These are amazing communities which are close to tons of amenities.
Some of these duplexes have as much living space as a house, and often times, they come with an attached garage. Nice to have, especially on those chilly winter mornings. You just have to be okay with sharing a wall (however well sound-proofed) with a neighbor.

Condominiums

Let’s clear something up. A condo isn’t a physical structure, it is a form of ownership. Condo just means that there is a fee which takes care of some of the common property, management, etc.
So there are condominium apartments, duplexes, single family homes and mobiles in Fort McMurray.

What Are the Advantages?

The short answer is low maintenance lifestyle. If you don’t have time for grass cutting or snow shoveling, nor do you want to worry about replacing the shingles, outside repairs, etc., then owning a condo is the way to go.
However, when buying a condo, there are lots of things to consider. The by-laws, the reserve funds (is there money in the maintenance pot?), whether or not heat and water are included in the condo fee, etc.
Speak to a professional REALTOR® for a breakdown explanation on condo fees and which condo complexes might be right for you.
Mobile – These are great if you have a big dog that you’re particularly fond of and you don’t want to be restricted by condo by-laws. Or, maybe you have quads or snowmobiles; or you simply want most of the advantages of a single family house, but can’t quite afford one, then a mobile on its own lot might right for you. In particular, they can be a nice way of keeping your monthly mortgage payment down.
My advice is to buy the newest one you can afford because the banks usually look at mobiles as a depreciating asset. But be mindful that these do lose value fairly quickly.

The real estate value is based on where it is (the lot) and not so much what it is.

However, sometimes an older mobile has been renovated to a higher spec and has a properly engineered roof, then an appraiser could give it an effective age of quite a bit less than when it first rolled up highway 63. A $500k budget today will get you into the very best of them. It’s probably overkill, to be honest.
Try to find a mobile with unique qualities: For example, on the greenbelt, corner lot, big garage, etc.

What’s Best for YOU?

If you have a family, then a house or duplex might well be best.

If you’re a commuter who leaves town on your days off, then condo apartment is the way to go.

And if you love your space (and your money) and you need your own space for your pet “Bowser” and for your toys, then mobile on its own lot is what I’d recommend.

And finally…

Please bear in mind that one day you’ll want to sell your home; therefore being smart now can help you much later in life.

For expert advice on all of this and more, you can rely on a qualified A-Team buyer’s agent.

What’s My Best Housing Option in Fort McMurray? is available on The A-Team YMM Blog