Real Estate is Still Hot in Canada

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I don’t know how much you keep in touch with things going on back home in Canada, but the real estate market there is still humming along. Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary are the most notable cities when it comes to activity and price appreciation.

Vancouver prices are going through the stratosphere and Toronto continues to build condos at a frantic pace. Calgary is still the place to move to if you need a job so in migration is high both from other provinces within Canada and from other countries.

The doomsayers have been predicting an American style crash for years now and it just won’t happen. Even with all the finance minister’s moves to slow the market down, with lowering the maximum amortization from 40 to 35 to 30 and finally to 25 years the market continues to defy all expectations. Just before he stepped down as finance minister, Jim Flaherty increased the premiums for CMHC backed mortgages which are really Government backed mortgages. If you want to put only 5% down on your home you need to pay over 3% for CMHC insurance which is usually tacked onto the total mortgage so you don’t pay it in advance.

One thing that is helping to keep the market moving despite all the changes I just noted, is the fact that mortgage rates are at an all time low. Right now you can get a 5 year fixed rate mortgage for 2.84% from some of the smaller financial institutions and 2.99% from the Bank of Montreal and they are advertising that rate everywhere.

In Calgary RE/MAX realtor Carmen Paradis told me that there are very few properties on the market and bidding wars are common. She said that if you want to list a property in Calgary, now is a great time. As long as it is a decent property and you are not unrealistic with your asking price, your home will sell and at a premium price. However with the spring market just starting, you may want to wait a little while longer and let the prices go up even more.  If you want more information on selling a home in Calgary go to her website here

Who knows how long this market will last but one thing I know is that when the experts start saying that it will last forever – that is when you need to worry because they almost always seem to get it wrong.


Comparing Real Estate in Alberta to Naples

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I recently met a nice young couple from Edmonton, Alberta that were vacationing in the Naples area, and in other places in south Florida. The were hanging out in a coffee shop and struck up a conversation with me. Their names were Robert and Shawna and they just happened to be realtors in Edmonton. In fact they told me they were the number one real estate team in their office last year. Pretty impressive, so I thought I would pick their brain on what is happening back in Alberta with regards to home sales.

They told me that the market was very good and prices had rebounded to their record House in Edmontonlevels that were last seen in 2006 and the beginning of 2007.Of course we all know what happened in 2008 with the great recession. Even booming Alberta saw home prices decline significantly and foreclosures go up. Now Alberta price declines and foreclosures were a far cry from the kind of thing we saw in south Florida where things were down right catastrophic, but still the recession had a big impact there too.

Robert told me that there is not a lot of inventory in Edmonton right now, and not a lot of homes for sale in central Alberta with either single family homes or condos. Good homes that are priced right will sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers. However he cautioned that there is none of the unchecked optimism that gave rise to the prices of homes doubling almost overnight in 2006 and 2007. People are more cautious and remember that things can change quickly. So, the market is very good and prices are rising in relation to the demand, and not speculation. The average price for a single family home is $405,826 and for a condo is $240,000.

Here in Naples things are also very good with a record number of sales last year. Prices increased by 16% in 2013 and there is a 7 year low in inventory. Builders are busy trying to tap into the demand with new homes becoming available as soon as they can. However unlike Edmonton, Naples has a long way to go to catch up to the record selling price of $717,534 in 2006. In fact prices would have to rise by over 60% to get to the same levels, so homes are affordable, at least when compared to historic prices. I do however expect prices to continue rising moderately for the next few years because this is such a great place to live. Who wouldn’t want this fantastic weather, ocean, and lifestyle?

Indeed, Robert and Shawna said they would consider moving here for six months of the year so that they can miss winter, which can be pretty harsh in Edmonton compared to the weather here.

If you need any more information contact  REMAX Edmonton Real estate 102 12650 – 151 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5X 0A1

Marco Island in Naples Florida

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If you are not familiar with Marco Island, it is the largest and only developed island in Florida’s 10 thousand islands located just south of Naples. Marco was a barren island 30 years ago and I marvel at how much it has changed over the years while still holding on to that laid back casual beach feel and charm that people just love.

With plenty of marina and waterfront homes, Marco is hands down a boaters paradise with plenty of fishing and outdoor activities to enjoy. It is a very active tennis community with the fabulous weather and numerous facilities available to use all year round. Dining and shopping are two other great things to do on Marco Island although the same could be said for the entire Naples area. Marco Island has more than six miles of beachfront and more than 100 miles of waterways within it’s 24 square milesmarco island in naples florida

When it comes to real estate, there is something for everyone with a variety of condos and houses either directly on the beach or just a short walk away. Single family options range from canal, beachfront and golf course view. Of course you need to be well heeled to be able to afford a home in the Naples area these days. Real estate prices have increased dramatically since the 2008 financial crisis when properties could be sold for a fraction of todays prices. Things are even tougher if you are coming from another country since the American dollar is so strong versus almost every other country in the world. Canadians are especially hard pressed since their dollar is worth only about 75 cents compared to an American dollar. However, we still see plenty of Canadians coming to south Florida to escape their brutal winters. I can’t say that I blame them for that, since I used to live in Canada and almost never visit in the winter.

Of course the best thing about spending time on Marco island and Florida in general is the weather. Millions of people love to call Florida home, and millions more love to flock to the sunshine state to escape winter every year. Snowbirds are always welcome in Naples because they are an important part of the local economy. Each year they spend millions of dollars on dining, accommodation, and activities. Many of the snowbirds end up buying a property in the Naples area because they love it so much.

Here is more information from a nice little video from Melissa McMurray of Premier Sotheby’s 239-594-9494

Common Mistakes People Make With Home Inspections

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Once you have spent weeks or possibly months finding your dream home in Naples, you will want to make sure that you are getting a good property before it becomes a firm deal. You absolutely must hire a qualified home inspector to make sure that you won’t have any nasty surprises a few months or even years after you move into the home.

A home inspector will do a thorough evaluation of the entire structure and foundation while taking notes and taking pictures to document any problems he finds. The most important and potentially most expensive parts of the home are the foundation and the roof. If the roof has been leaking for any length of time, there will be evidence of that and possibly a lot of mold growing in the attic. Mold is an problem that can be particularly bad in Florida because we don’t get any winter to speak of, and the air is so humid. The foundation can be extremely expensive to fix whether there is cracking in the concrete, or there are termites eating away at the home.

The inspector will also test the electrical wiring to make sure that it is up to date and meetsMold in florida home the latest building codes. You want to make sure that you are not buying a home that is essentially a fire trap. The same goes for the plumbing, where there could be leaky pipes in the walls which could also allow mold to grow. Getting rid of mold anywhere in the house would be very expensive since you would need to hire a professional remediation company that has the proper equipment and knowledge to make the home livable again. The inspector would also test all the little things like the light and electrical fixtures, appliances, and one of the most important things in south Florida which is the air conditioning.

Once you get your home inspection report, you need to take the time to carefully read the report and ask any questions you may have to the inspector. It you have determined that there are items that need to be fixed before you proceed with the deal, you will need to have your realtor negotiate with the seller’s realtor and come to an agreement on what will be fixed before the possession date by the seller and at the seller’s cost.

Once you have an agreement with the seller, the repairs must be added to the contract to make sure that the items are fixed and completed before you take possession of the home. This is why it is important to use a realtor and real estate lawyer that are working in Naples and know our contracts and procedures. Many people that buy here, are from other places like Canada or the northern states and sometimes assume that everything works the same way here as it does back home.

In this video, the York Real Estate Group discusses these issues surrounding home inspections and the real estate contracts with a local lawyer.



Naples Real Estate Update for April 2016

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There were 1,570 Active listings in North Naples in the month of April. Of those, 238 homes sold which is a decrease of 11% when compared to April of 2015. At the same time, inventory increased by 41% compared to April of last year.

The average days on the market was 75 days which is an increase of 6% when compared to last year, but is no where near the 173 days it took to sell a home back in 2012 and 2013.

Pending sales were at 290 which is also a decrease of 10% compared to last April. The pending ratio is approximately 16% which is 238 out of 1,860 and included the supply and demand of the market. Specifically, a higher ratio means listings are in high demand and quickly being sold. The 16% pending ratio indicates the market has balanced and we may even be headed to a buyers market heading into the summer.

Thanks to Janet Berry of Sand Castle Realty for the statistics and video.


Do You Know what TRID is?

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Back on October 3, 2015 the government rolled out something called TRID which is a acronym which has acronyms in it. So it is basically a double acronym that stands for TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule. TILA stands for Truth In Lending Act and RESPA stands for Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act.

what is tridNow that we got that out of the way, what the heck does it mean? Basically it means that there are now a new set of forms and regulations that lenders have to follow when you apply for a loan. TRID was created because of all the fallout from the 2008 recession where the housing market was devastated. The goal is to make the entire process of applying for a loan or mortgage a lot simpler and transparent than it was before. It really was implemented to help the consumer with something that was probably too complicated before.

Probably the biggest thing to come out of this is that the lender has to give you full disclosure on what fees they are going to charge you and how much your payments are going to be, three days before the loan is supposed to be complete. This gives you time to read everything over and make an informed decision. The disclosure form is supposed to be very clear so that almost anyone could understand it.

Here are some facts about this new rule:

  1. Pre approvals will not change
  2. The application process starts with a loan estimate and no fees can be charged at this point.
  3. The borrower must indicate that they wish to proceed in writing
  4. Once the borrower decides to proceed with the loan, the lender can charge fees
  5. If circumstances change, a new loan estimate or closing disclosure may be needed
  6. The borrower must receive the disclosure at least three business days before the loan is supposed to close.

Make sure that you find a lender that has already proven to have closed a lot of mortgages so that you can be sure that they know what they are doing and have adapted to the new rules and regulations. This way you can avoid any delays from a lender that hasn’t fully gotten up to speed yet on TRID.

For the consumer this is a great thing, so make sure you take the time to read your disclosure and fully understand what you are being charged for, and how much you will have to pay every month for your mortgage.

More details are here




10 Great Things To Do In Naples Florida

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Southwest Florida has a lot to offer, and if you have been here at least once you would know that already. But if you have never had the opportunity to explore the area around Naples, we have compiled a list of things to do when you come on your first visit.

  1. The Beach – Naples pier and beach area are very popular places to swim in the Naples Floridawarm Gulf of Mexico waters.
  2. Golf – There are more than 80 championship level courses in the Naples area which is considered one of the golf capitals of the world. If you like golf even a little bit, you will love walking around these scenic courses with perfect weather
  3. Shopping and entertainment – A great mix of modern and historic shops and excellent restaurants to keep you entertained
  4. Naples Botanical Garden – Has a great mix of natural and native plant species and imported tropical plants. There are over two miles of walking trails for you to explore and learn about nature and conservation on over 90 acres of land.
  5. Artis – This is the place to go for the performing arts with many concerts and stage shows every year. It also hosts exhibitions and houses the Baker museum
  6. Naples Zoo – Has all the usual lions, tigers, and bears as well as a tropical garden. The monkeys inhabit their own island which you can view from a boat that you can take on scheduled cruises.You can also get your exercise here because the main path through the zoo is over a mile long.
  7. Delnor Wiggins State Park –  This park is a tropical sanctuary that runs along the beach where you can see all the natural wildlife and plants of the area.
  8. Revs Institute for Automotive Research – This is a great automotive museum with a very thorough explanation of the history and evolution of motor vehicles. They have an excellent collection of the best vintage cars throughout history. If you love cars, plan on spending a lot of time here.
  9. The von Liebig Art Center – This at gallery is the home of the Naples Art Association and hosts art classes, tours, and exhibitions. It also has a state of the art resource library.
  10. Historic Palm Cottage –  Built in 1895, this 3500 square foot home is the oldest in Naples and was build by one of the founding residents of the area.You can take a tour and learn about the history of the area and view original artwork and furnishings from the time.

There are many other attractions you could add to this list, but this will be enough to keep you busy for a while. Don’t hesitate, come on down and enjoy everything Naples has to offer.


242 Tradewinds Ave, Naples Florida

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Here is a fabulous home that will satisfy all of your needs. It is close to the beach and backs on to the canal that leads you straight to the Gulf of Mexico where you can enjoy hours of fishing, boating, and fun in the sun.

It has a pool and plenty of parking space with a two car garage and a huge tile driveway that can hold several cars. If you invite family and friends down to visit, you won’t have a problem with parking.

Great property in Naples Florida


  • Well maintained canal / pool home can absolutely be enjoyed for years to come, generate excellent seasonal rental income as an investment and provide an amazing building site for future new construction. Few canal properties compare to this opportunity for boaters, sun worshippers, beach goers, full time residents, builders or investors. Your covered boat is in the backyard, Gulf of Mexico access is minutes away through Wiggins Pass with one bridge (20′ clearance);
  • The home is bright and open with water views from the kitchen, family room, guest bedroom and master bedroom. Two car garage provides plenty of space for autos, bikes and extra storage. Circular paved driveway for convenience and guest parking.
    You’ll love the generous space around the pool & spa, allowing for different and separate seating areas.
  • Conners of Vanderbilt Beach is a boating community that enjoys a fabulous central location – walking distance to Vanderbilt Beach, Delnor-Wiggins State beach park, The Ritz Carlton, La Playa Hotel, beachfront dining at the Turtle Club, marina, bayfront restaurant, public tennis courts and library. Mercato is 5 minutes away with Whole Foods, restaurants & cafes, clubs, boutiques, shopping and Silverspot Cinema.

Click here for VIRTUAL TOUR





Local Realtor Predictions for 2016

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If you have had your eye on Naples for  a while and have been thinking of buying a property here, you need to a bit of research first. Of course the best time to have bought a property here would have been during the 2008 recession when prices hit rock bottom. While you won’t find any deals that rival prices during that time period, prices are still low compared to many parts of Canada.

Granted, as a Canadian citizen you can only stay in your Florida property for a maximum of 6 months, but that is long enough. The main goal here is to avoid Canada’s harsh winters unless you live on the British Columbia coast. But even then you have to put up with unbearable rain and not seeing the sun for weeks at a time so you still need to get away for a while.

If you do decide to investigate the local Naples real estate market, make sure you engage the services of an experienced realtor that has worked with snowbirds before. They will understand the challenges that Canadians will face when buying in Florida and be able to give you guidance. Do not go it alone and buy from a for sale by owner – you could find yourself in a lot of trouble since you don’t know how real estate transactions work down here, and also make sure you get a home inspections. That pretty much goes without saying anywhere but it is worth mentioning again.


The post Here’s What Realtors Think about the Real Estate Market appeared first on Naples FL Real Estate.

Want to know what Realtors think about the real estate market?

If so, you’re in luck – the National Association of Realtors wants to know, too, which is why they regularly put out a survey of Realtors from all over the country and see how confident they are in the market. This gives us the Realtors Confidence Index, and the latest version came out in December for the month of November 2015.

Right off the bat, we can see that most Realtors think the market is strong. The index rates the single-family home market as a 57, which is on a 0 to 100 scale. Above 50 is considered a strong market; below 50 is considered a weak market.

Thus, most Realtors think the market is strong. This goes way down if you’re talking about townhomes (41) or condos (36). In most places, markets in those categories aren’t very strong – even though we can argue that’s not the case for the Naples real estate market.

Over the next six months, Realtors largely expect the market to improve. The rating for the six-month outlook was 68, where 50 represents a “moderate” outlook. Florida was one state that reported a positive outlook, and if they had asked Realtors from around this area, we would’ve been very enthusiastic.

Furthermore, the study revealed that the average non-distressed home stayed on the market for 54 days. That’s slightly above the average for Naples real estate, and that figure has gone down considerably since 2011.

Finally, we’ll get to prices. Realtors expect modest increases for prices over the next year. On average, they predict a 3.2 percent increase in prices. But in Florida, we expect more, as much as 4-5 percent and above. Florida was one of the few states in this category (along with Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, and Colorado.)

Talk to your Naples real estate agent for more information as to what this means for you moving forward.

The post Here’s What Realtors Think about the Real Estate Market appeared first on Naples FL Real Estate .

Planning for Your Florida Retirement

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Here is an article that explains some of the things that you should consider before deciding to retire to Florida. I had to take out some suggestions since they simply did not apply to Canadians wanting to winter in Florida. They had to do with state exemptions and establishing Florida residency.

Of course right now the most important consideration for a Canadian is the low Canadian dollar versus the American dollar. As I write this our dollar is worth only 74.8 cents in the United States. That is quite big hit to take when you are travelling on a budget. However, some of the author’s points are still valid.

Here is the article:

Many people are nowadays preparing ahead for retirement and, of course, a lot of those folks are considering Florida as their destination – do you blame them?  Naples & Bonita Springs are beautiful cities to live, retire and play.  There is a growing group of future retirees who are planning their home or condo purchases in advance of their actual retirement for good reasons. If your retirement is 1 to 5 yrs away, you might want to consider the following:

Prices are going up.

The Law of Supply and Demand has a firm foothold in our market area and we’ve witnessed a steady trend of closed sale prices increasing as inventory continues to shrink.

Interest rates are at historic lows.

Although you might be thinking that you would own a property free and clear of debt in retirement, it might be advantageous use of your money to mortgage the purchase for tax purposes. Your personal bottom line may be healthier with a mortgage interest deduction. Also, it is typically easier to qualify for a home mortgage loan while you are still employed.

Your property can be rented on a short term seasonal basis until you are ready to live there full time.

Many of our clients have bought homes well in advance of occupying the property themselves. By making an intelligent property investment now, you can enjoy a positive cash flow until you are ready to make it your retirement home.

You have options in all price ranges in the Naples and Bonita Springs area.

Contact us to help you learn about all of the possibilities including new construction in planned developments. Our local market area offers all kinds of housing in a very wide price range. We guarantee that there is a home, villa or condo within your budget that has the lifestyle and amenities to satisfy your needs now and in your retirement.

This article first appeared at

On the Water in Naples

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