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Calgary General Practice Law Blog

Franchising 101: What You Need to Know

Franchising can be a great way to operate a business by reducing the complications that often challenge start-ups. So, what is franchising exactly?

It’s a great way for someone with a passion for business to hit the ground running when operating a business. It means that you don’t need to have a fresh idea from the get-go – you can operate an existing brand. And with that brand, you can also get the added benefit of recognition and vendor relationships.

Challenging wrongful dismissal in Alberta with litigation

When an employee finds him or herself fired from a job, he or she may not have been given a reason. When Alberta residents believe they have been let go from jobs unjustly, they may have cause for wrongful dismissal litigation. It may be, too, that they haven't been offered enough severance pay or no severance pay at all. A call to a lawyer may be the best first step to take in such cases.

An employer can end an employee's job in Canada in two ways: firing – for cause and without notice or termination without cause after giving an employee reasonable notice or payment. Severance is based on a number of things, including how long the employee had been working for the company, the chance the employee will find other work and the type of employment. Being fired without being given a reason or without severance can leave an employee feeling helpless and frustrated.

Estate planning: Alberta DIY will kits not the wisest idea

Most people like to cut corners to save a few bucks. But there are some areas that Alberta residents should have professional help in doing and one of those areas is estate planning, particularly when it comes to writing a will. Do-it-yourself will kits might be inexpensive or come without any cost at all, but they could also be challenged when the time comes.

It is crucial that a will contain all the elements of a testator's last wishes and will kits may not fit the bill when it comes to being comprehensive. There also may be room for misinterpreting the contents in a DIY will kit, and since each testator's circumstances are different, will kits don't leave room for individuality. They may also have areas that are erroneous and may need interpretation, which could cause undue stress to loved ones.

Corporate Alberta: Shifting the focus off oil

For many in Wild Rose Country, the oil industry is the be all and end all. When it comes to the corporate world, Alberta seems to have difficulty with economic diversification and is still focused on the oil industry as its pot of gold. But after decades, this outlook may be becoming passé. 

By putting all its eggs in one basket, Alberta hasn't been able to focus on other areas of the economy that provide payoffs. Every provincial government, for decades, has relied on either oil or gas to keep the province running financially. Experts say it may be time to focus on renewable resources, rather than nonrenewables such as oil. The province even has the Heritage Fund which houses royalties from oil and gas, but coffers are smaller today than they were in the 1980s due to one financial crisis after another.

The mortgage stress test and the future of real estate

It's no secret that very few individuals have anything good to say about the federal government's mortgage stress test. Many Alberta residents -- and others in the country poised for buying real estate -- were set back when the test was introduced at the beginning of 2018. The test has impacted the market in a number of ways, one of which includes a market decline.

The test, which eliminates high-risk buyers from the market, has created some sluggishness. Obviously, if there aren't enough buyers, many properties will sit and that doesn't bode well for the overall economy. Mortgages have decreased by 8% over the same time last year and the stress test, experts say, is partly the culprit. Banks have been the only fans of the test, but even the larger financial institutions are now admitting the test may have hit potential homebuyers hard and may need revisiting.

Real estate transactions: Mainstreet Equity thriving amid slump

Mainstreet Equity Corp. is on a buying rampage. The Alberta company has been continuing with a number of residential real estate transactions and has solidified itself as one of the nation's largest residential landlords. The company hasn't been paying any attention to the naysayers when it comes to Wild Rose Country's economic climate, and marching to its own drum has paid off. 

In fact, Mainstreet actually picked up speed in 2018 and churned out its best year ever since 2014. Not only has it been buying up property voraciously, but the vacancy rates of its assets also showed some impressive numbers. The vacancy rate dropped to more than 6 per cent in last year's fourth quarter compared to nearly 10 per cent during the same time in 2017.

Residential real estate: South-Central Alberta feels oil pinch

Oil seeps into every area of Alberta's economy. The residential real estate market is no different. According to the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA), a sluggish oil industry, more stringent mortgage qualifications, escalating interest rates, all played a part last year in falling sales, especially in places like Fort McMurray and Lloydminster. In fact, sales were down about 18 per cent below a 10-year average in most south-central areas of the province last year.

In Lloydminster, particularly, many homes continue to sit on the market. For the past four years sales continue to be below the average. The glut of homes has caused a decrease in pricing, but buyers aren't biting like they used to. Again, it may be due to outside factors such as a lacklustre oil industry. All these factors aren't helping Lloydminster's realtors.

Luxury residential real estate market favours buyers in Calgary

It seems buyers have the upper hand in the Cow Town real estate market. When it comes to the luxury sale of residential real estate in Alberta -- particularly Calgary -- the economic downturn has put a damper on sales of more upscale homes. Add to that other factors like tighter federal mortgage regulations and heightened interest rates, which are barriers to homebuying.

Buyers have more muscle in this kind of market. And with prices of luxury homes in the Calgary area continuing to plummet throughout 2018, many buyers and sellers took themselves out of the game. But all indications are that those buyers and sellers may be ready to play ball again.

Alberta real estate transactions: Kudos to the industrial sector

In what otherwise has been a pretty bleak economic climate in Alberta, there have been some glimmers of hope. Real estate transactions in some sectors such as investments in the commercial and industrial areas, have provided the business-minded in Alberta with some light at the end of a dark tunnel. And the commercial sector just continues to gain momentum in urban areas like Edmonton and Calgary.

Both Edmonton and Calgary set records in industrial real estate transactions in the third quarter of 2018, with figures of $3.3 billion and $3.8 billion, respectively.  Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust was snapped up by Blackstone for nearly $4 billion back at the beginning of 2018 -- a transaction that could have figured prominently in the elevated figures in both urban centres. Those numbers put Alberta on the positively on the map, accounting for a generous portion of the more than $38 billion of commercial real estate deals in Canada in 2018.

Calgary resale residential real estate pummelled in 2018

The resale home market in Calgary was hard hit in 2018. Residential real estate sales dropped but so did prices. In fact, Cow Town was one of the hardest hit Alberta city's when it came to resale properties last year. The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) said home sales were more than 14 per cent lower in 2018 than they were in 2017. Sales in December were even worse with a 21 per cent drop from the same time in 2017.

Last year was definitely a buyer's market with some purchasers inking great deals. But times weren't so great for sellers intent on listing at asking prices more than the market could bear. Contributing to the real estate market climate were stagnant job growth, problems in the oil sector, higher interest rates and the federally imposed mortgage stress test.

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Calgary, AB T2E 2V9

Phone: 403-879-1613
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