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Calgary Real Estate Law Blog

Title insurance can protect residential real estate from fraud

When making a major purchase such as buying a home, many people want to take steps to protect their investment. One of the most common ways to protect a purchase of residential real estate is by purchasing insurance. Title insurance is one type of insurance that is less understood but can be very advantageous for Alberta homeowners.

Title insurance typically costs between $300 and $400 dollars in most cities, but its benefits can be worth thousands should certain conflicts arise later down the line. Title insurance can protect residential real estate owners from a variety of scenarios. These include a home encroaching on a neighbour's property, property tax defaults from previous owners and title fraud.

Luxury residential real estate sales up 45 percent in Calgary

Real estate trends can sometimes be unpredictable. In Calgary, an increase in the sale of luxury residential real estate has caught local professionals and investors by surprise. In fact, the growth of sales in million-dollar-plus home sales in the Alberta city may be track to surpass Toronto and Vancouver in terms of growth.

According to a recent report, sales of luxury homes were up 45 percent in Jan. and Feb. 2018 compared to the same time last year. A luxury home was defined as residential real estate priced over $1 million. The report says that most of the homes being purchased are detached houses between one and $2 million.

What homebuyers should know about buying a house in foreclosure

For real estate investors who like to flip houses, foreclosed homes can be one opportunity to give new life to an unfortunate circumstance. There is a great deal of work that goes into fixing up a home that was once in foreclosure, especially if its condition is poor. However, Alberta designers and real estate professionals have some tips on how to prepare for this venture.

Those looking to flip a home that was in foreclosure should be prepared to put in what is referred to as "sweat equity." This means not only money, but time and effort are likely needed to bring the home back to life.  This is especially true as foreclosed homes are typically not warrantied, making them a bigger risk despite the apparent lower price tag.

Residential real estate sales down 18 percent in Calgary

Economic trends and real estate laws can have a big impact on closing rates and housing prices. In Calgary, Alberta, a real estate agent shares that the residential real estate market has changed a great deal in the past few years. As sales in the region dropped 18 percent from last year, experts point to a few reasons and share some advice for sellers.

While there has been a decrease in sales compared to last year, the prices for detached and single family homes remain about the same in Calgary. Condominiums are selling for 3 percent less due to an oversupply. Experts say that with these trends, home sellers should put in extra effort when presenting a home for sale. This includes staging a house well, ensuring it is advertised as being for sale, and pricing it realistically.

Can cryptocurrencies be accepted for real estate transactions?

Cyptocurrency has led to debates and discussions in a variety of industries. Across Canada, real estate professionals have begun discussing whether real estate transactions will ever be done using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. In response, a renovation company in Calgary has made an unprecedented move by allowing customers to pay for services using cryptocurrencies. 

The Alberta renovation company began accepting such payments on March 1, with both bitcoin and ethereum as accepted tender. Cryptocurrency will be accepted for both renovation and custom build projects. The renovation company says that it believes that everyday transactions, including real estate transactions and those related to renovations, will eventually grow to incorporate the new technology.

New tax for some Albertans with residential real estate in B.C.

Many people in Canada buy cottages or coastal homes in different provinces or even countries. In Alberta, it is not uncommon for people to purchase residential real estate in British Columbia for vacationing or retirement purposes. Those who do own such properties should be aware of a new tax levied on empty properties in Lower Mainland, Kelowna, Victoria and Nanaimo, British Columbia.

The new taxes will affect any Alberta resident who owns a property in these parts of B.C. but do not permanently reside in the province and keep their homes empty for part of the year. The speculation tax rate is 2 per cent of the property's assessed value. Those who keep tenants in their properties when they are not there may not need to pay the tax as their homes are not empty.

Are auctions the future of real estate transactions?

Real estate is not typically bought and sold by auction in Canada. However, a luxury family home in Calgary, Alberta is becoming an exception to the rule. The home has been listed for $3.88 million but has had no buyers come forth over the past two years, sparking the idea for a bidding war. Auctioning properties, while rare, can instigate real estate transactions which may otherwise be difficult to come by through traditional means.

The Calgary home is located on Clarendon Road in northwest Calgary. It is 4,600 square feet and boasts a gourmet kitchen, a wine  cellar, a Guinness-themed bar, and a stunning view of the mountain. The brokerage overseeing the auction and any subsequent real estate transactions says its global reach will help connect potential buyers to the large home.

Man struggles with bank's handling of real estate transactions

When purchasing real estate, payment can come in many different forms. Unfortunately, even some of the most secure  Alberta real estate transactions can be subject to problems once a seller shows up to the bank. A Calgary real estate investor recently faced this issue when the bank misplaced a certified cheque worth $415,000.

The investor's Scotiabank branch in Calgary reportedly misplaced the cheque after the investor handed it over for a photocopy to be made. After returning to the bank following a brief business meeting, the investor returned to find the cheque lost. The bank manager allegedly told the investor to sign a bond of indemnification to state that he lost the cheque, saying that would make him still liable for the amount should it be found. Later, he learned that no insurance company would issue a bond on the cheque as he was not the party who issued it.

Residential real estate outlook balances, experts say

While there is no way to know the future of any industry with complete certainty, many groups still do their best to predict how the real estate market will unfold in the new year. According to a real estate forecast from Calgary Real Estate Board, 2018 is expected to look much like the year prior in the Alberta City. That said, new laws and economic changes could have some influence on residential real estate pricing.

Downward pressure is expected on residential real estate pricing due to stricter lending criteria introduced in Jan. 2018. The Calgary Real Estate Board expects this to be offset by the upward momentum seen in Alberta as it continues to recover from the economic recession. Between these two factors, the forecast predicts a plateau in 2018 that will result in neither a major increase nor decrease in house sales.

Young Canadians opting out of residential real estate market

Much of the news surrounding home ownership amongst younger Canadians suggests that they are not buying due to financial constraints. However, some young professionals in Calgary, Alberta have shared that they are renting despite having the ability to buy a house. They say the low cost of renting in the area and the unsure returns on residential real estate investments have led to this decision.

This Alberta residential real estate trend signals a generational divide. Home ownership rates for those under 35 have been down for the past 10 years, bottoming out at 50.6 percent in the 2016 census. Baby boomer and older generations, meanwhile, have increased home ownership rates with 83.1 percent owning their own residence.

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