money_800Are you in the market for your first home?


Or, with historically low interest rates and lots of selection to choose from, are you thinking about taking the (smart) step from renting to owning?


If so, then I’ve got some fantastic news for you that will put a smile on your face – it’s called the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC).


Launched by the Federal Government in 2008, the HBTC gives qualifying first time home buyers a non-refundable tax credit based on an amount of $5,000. The exact amount of the tax credit depends on the tax year’s lowest personal income tax rate.


For example, in 2009, this amount was 15%, which meant that qualifying first time home buyers received a tax credit of $750 (15% x $5000). In 2010, the…

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trends_800Earlier this month, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) lowered its resale housing forecast for 2010 by a modest 4.9%. The decline is expected to reach 9% in 2011.


The revised forecast, which is based on the Multiple Listing Service’s (MLS) home sales activity, is due to less-than-stellar national economic growth. Factors such as slow job creation, shaky consumer confidence, and slowly rising interest rates are also playing a role.


However, the overall picture – especially in places like Alberta, which has a relatively strong and growing economy – is not grim. Really, the decline is a realistic correction in the marketplace, which saw massive, record-level activity in 2009 and into 2010. It’s still a “friendly” housing market…

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deal_400For months, real estate professional and home sellers have been closely following negotiations between the Federal Competition Bureau and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

At issue was whether home sellers could select specific services from real estate professionals, and then pay for only those services when selling their home. Historically, sellers were not provided with this choice.

However, under a deal struck on October 24 between the Federal Competition Bureau and the CREA, home sellers will enjoy more choice and selection from their realtors® when selling their home.

Also, among other immediate changes, CREA realtors® will stop blocking so-called “discount agents” from accessing the Multiple Listings Service® (MLS®) system.…

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balance_800According to Dan Sumner, an Economist at ATB Financial, Edmonton’s housing market is continuing to “correct” itself after about year and a half of sizzling growth.

Referring to data recently released by the Realtors® Association of Edmonton, Sumner noted that in October, the average home price in Edmonton fell about $10,000 or 3% vs. September ($327,235 to $317,422).

The decline was noticed across the board among residential properties, including condos, town houses, row houses, single-family dwellings, and rural properties.

At the same time, house sales in October dipped slightly from September, from 1,187 to 1,077. However, Sumner sees this as a normal seasonal shift that typically occurs when fall sets in, and not a trend related to…

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buysell_800Traditionally, the real estate process has, in some ways, resembled a courtroom.


One the one side, you have the plaintiff or the crown. We’ll call them the sellers. On the other side, you have the defendant. We’ll call them the buyers. And both the sellers and buyers have their lawyers; I mean, their real estate agents.


And while this process may not be a roll-up-your-sleeves and come out swinging brawl, let’s face it: it’s pretty adversarial. It’s about not giving “the other guy” an inch, and about getting the most for the least.

Well, that may have been true in the past, but according to Beth Braverman of Money Magazine, both buyers, sellers and real estate professional need to take a giant leap forward and escape from “us vs.…

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