Real Estate Blog

Kim is a 
wicked photographer with a smile that brightens up your whole day. 

Kim transitioned quickly from client to friend. She sent me the cover picture the night she took possession... after her girlfriend, Dani, found the bottle of bubbly I stealthy stashed in her fridge. Texts like that make me ridiculously happy.

Kim moved to Calgary from Ontario a few years ago to attend ACAD. Now, the time was right to stop renting, truly become an adult, and buy a home. Her family's go-to Realtor in Ontario referred KaraLee and I. We started emailing every day about what she wanted in her first home.

Kim's mom Kari came to Calgary for a few days. We looked at a ton of townhouses. Lots stood out. But there was a clear winner. The only problem was, it was

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Before I was a REALTOR and saw thousands of homes, I really liked the theme song from Weeds. 

I thought it was like a poignant middle finger to the home building industry. A skeptic can say that our homes have become cookie cutter boxes covering a hillside, all filled with similar ticky-tacky from Ikea. But the song pre-supposes that there was a time when this wasn’t the case; when every home was a ‘character home.’ That’s just not true.

Countless times, when speaking to someone interested in buying a home, I’ve heard: ‘We want an older home. Something with character.’

What gives most old homes their ‘character’ are odd ‘maintenance’… um, ‘upgrades’… um, let’s go with ‘improvements’ - made by the amateur handyman living in it at the time. The

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A Christian minister, a recent immigrant to Canada, a dude covered in tattoos, and woman under 5 feet tall with a baby on her hip have all told me a version of, ‘I’m not a bad person, but how can we find someone who’s desperate to sell their home and is willing to give us under market value for it?… I’m not trying to take advantage of someone… but I’m not buying anything that’s not a great deal.’

I’ve honed my response.

‘Houses don’t go on sale. A real estate outlet mall would be ten thousand times worse than a regular outlet mall, filled with hundred thousand dollar problems. Here’s why:

‘If you were desperate to sell your house, you’d likely have serious money problems, or the house has serious problems.

Let’s talk about the first. Let’s

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I’m a competitive person. I like to win.

Basketball, ping pong, negotiating an offer, bowling, trying to get a listing, blogging… it really doesn’t matter the contest. If I’m playing, I’m playing to win.

Relocations have become the bane of my existence. I keep getting whooped. Especially working with sellers who have already left town.


I’ll never forget a pristine, one-year-old home in Nolan Hill. 

My client, a down to earth, practical, food loving man, was tearing up. Offering another man a hug in a vacant home isn’t part of the service I provide, but I considered it for a second.

He and his wife had carefully selected upgrades, made some pricey modifications, and enjoyed every minute of designing exactly the home they wanted.

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I don't know why, but there just aren’t many 4 bedroom houses in Calgary. 

When I say '4 bedrooms', I’m talking about 4 above grade bedrooms. Or 4 bedrooms all on the same floor.

The cynical part of me likes to imagine how this decision was made... 

An innovative home builder probably looked at census data for 39 seconds, swiveled his chair to ask one of the ‘hammer swinging guys’ how much an extra bedroom costs to build, and decided it wasn’t worth the money/effort to cater to families with more than two children.

Other builders, scared that their homes wouldn’t look exactly the same as the innovator, immediately burned all their designs of 4 bedroom homes.

There are just so few 4 bedroom homes in Calgary that this is the only

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'We’ll take down all of these family pictures.'

9 times of out 10 a home seller brings this up before I do. It’s the one 'must do' that all humans seem to know when preparing their home for the market. I’m not sure why. Someone important must have said it once. The original Nate Berkus, I guess.

Yes, you should take down most of your pictures. Most but not all.

There are two good reasons to leave the family a picture where it is when your home is on the market: one aesthetic, the other is more subtle.

1. Sometimes Your Home Doesn't Look Good Without Them

Take down Grandma’s black and white picture from beside your bed. Your bedside table won't look too bare without it. The three photos of your kids on the dresser can be stashed in a

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I met a new client last week. He's a smart guy. He has a good job. He has a university education. He's also young and never bought a home before. 

He's been looking for a home for over a year without a Realtor. He's even made a few offers.

I gulped. He's so lucky he didn't make a massive mistake.

All week I've been wracking my brain to figure out when you shouldn't use a Realtor to buy a home.

I've determined that these three conditions need to exist for you to buy a house on your own.

'When I look at the Purchase Contract, there are things I don't know... do I need a financing condition?'

I swallowed a lug of cappuccino. 'Are you buying with straight cash or do you need a mortgage?'

'Ha! I need a mortgage.'

'Then you need a

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A Sale Of Buyer's Home Condition is like dating someone, but they haven't updated their Facebook profile to 'In A Relationship'

You're together, but deep inside you know you're gone if someone better comes along. They don't even have to be as good looking. Just more stable. 

Let me Explain

A Sale Of Buyer's Condition is when you purchase a home subject to your current home selling.

More simply, you've found a great home that you want to buy. But you need the money from the sale of your home to afford it. So you write an offer that says 'I will by this home as soon as my home sells.'

You and the seller agree on a price and the possession date.

You get a home inspection. Your mortgage broker finds you a mortgage based on what your

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'The trick to golf is to swing really, really hard.'

I make this joke every time I play golf. It's such an absurd statement that it always gets a good laugh from the rest of the foursome. 

But as we wait to tee off, there will always be a guy on the first hole that: addresses the ball, brings the driver back with serious gumption and tries to punish that poor little hunk of plastic like it stole his daughter's ice cream. At the very best, the ball will sail into the trees on the right. At worst, he misses it completely, curses, fakes an injury, goes to his bag and gets a different club, only to hit the next one into the trees on the right.

The real key to golf is to find the right amount strength to hit the ball straight first, then long.

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If you asked a nerd, ‘Would you pay more for [insert nerdy new video game here] if you could have it on the first possible day it was released?’ What would you expect the nerd to say?


What if you could have [insert nerdy new video game here] a week later at a lower price, but it might be sold out, would you take that chance?


When you really want a house, you become a nerd. But most of us are not used to thinking nerdy. Here’s what I mean:

Right now, because people still read the Calgary Sun, there’s a perception that it’s difficult to sell a house in Calgary. That’s wrong. A good house, priced at a fair market value, will sell quickly at a fair price.

So let’s imagine I’ve set you up on an automatic search to

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