Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to Tell If You’ve Found the Right Home

Finding the perfect house after a long search is exciting. but sometimes people have trouble choosing. Numerous home buyers, mainly first-timers, are curious how they will know if a house is the perfect one for them. Here are a few ways to know if you've truly found the right house:

The first thing to keep in mind is that the perfect house fits your basic needs. It might not have all of the things on your list, but it meets the basic requirements you need for your perfect house. A post from Columbia Real Estate expands on this more:

It Meets Your Basics

Since the ideal home doesn’t always show up like a bolt out of the blue, how can you know when you’ve found it? Naturally, the help of a good real estate agent can be useful. Still, this choice is one every home buyer must make.

It may seem dreamy, but choosing a house is as much science as art. Near the beginning of your house hunt, decide on the things your new home absolutely must have – and a few “nice to haves” that you can take or leave. It’s rare that a dream home completely changes your mind on all these items. How many of them can the property really deliver? Read more...

Finding a dream home with everything you want is rare: there could be a few properties that you feel are perfect for you despite lacking some of your needs. What’s important is that the house meets your basic needs.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="258"] The house fits your basic needs![/caption]

Another simple way to know if you have found the right house for you is when you start to lose interest in looking for other homes. This can be pretty noticeable if you've been house hunting for a while. A recent article from Laricks explains how this works:

You lose interest in seeing other homes

You might have heard that saying about the number of fish there are in the sea – the sea of prospective dates and mates. The same goes for homes on the market. Even when the market heats up as it's doing now, it's not uncommon for a buyer to visit 10, 20 or even more homes before finding the property they want to make their home.

When you find "The One," your interest in seeing other homes dissipates, instantly – no matter how many homes you've seen or how long you've been house hunting. Via laricks.com

A home that makes you lose interest in others is one that you should take another look at.

When house hunting, you may get used to not having much interest in viewings. Genuinely wanting to enter a home is a good sign. If you get a rush of excitement when you enter a particular home, it's a good sign that you're on to something:

You Want to Go Inside the House

Part of the excitement of looking at homes is not knowing which could be your new home when you pull up to the curb. Is it the one on the left, or does the house on the right strike your fancy? If it is the house on the right, and you like it better than the house on the left, that could be a sign. It means there is something about this house that appeals to you. See more...

Feeling comfortable in a home before experiencing it fully probably means it's right for you.

Your ideal home should be a place that you’re happy and comfortable in. Don't rush a decision, and only go for a home if you're absolutely sure it's somewhere you want to be living for years.

Image credit

The article How to Tell If You’ve Found the Right Home was originally published on https://www.ateamymm.ca/

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The A-Team Ice Cream Van Competition

This week instead of writing about our real estate market, I figured I’d write something more fun (and cheerful)...

Ice Cream!!

How This All Came About

Our friends David & Gail are the ice-cream people. They drive around Fort McMurray, day in, day out, playing their familiar tunes and dishing out ice-cream (what a life!) They are very kind and good people.

a-team fort mcmurray ice cream truck

So kind, and so good, in fact, that they are letting us “wrap” their ice cream vans with a design of our choice…

We know that there are a few little A-Team supporters out there (because of our YouTube advertising campaigns), so we figured we would leave the choice of what we put on the ice cream vans, to the kids!


What do I mean? Well, kids have got way more imagination than adults, right?

Tell Me About This Competition!

We are going to have two competitions (one for each van).

→ The first competition is for the age group 0-7.
→ The second competition is for kids aged 8-12.

fort mcmurray ice cream van competition

To enter the competition, all you have to do is draw, paint or sculpt an ice cream van with your design on it. You can even use a computer, phone or tablet if you like.

The theme (what you are trying to make) is:

Bonus points will be given for including some A-Team members as “superheroes”.
The design must include at least one unicorn (we LOVE unicorns)

When you are done, take a photo of your creation and post it to our social media (or if you like privacy, email it to info@ateamymm.ca instead). Please remember to include your age and name. If you think it might be hard for the judge to understand what it is that you have created, feel free to include a description from Mom or Dad.

This is our judge. Her name is Aleaha and she is very very sweet:

What Can I Win?

FAME! Yes, I said it, FAME.

The winning designs, will be emailed to our “graphic designer”. We send them sketches of things all the time and they make them even more amazing! Their job is to use a computer to make dreams into a reality.

Then for as long as those ice cream trucks are driving around Fort Mac with your design on it, you get to point out to your friends: “Look, that’s MY ice cream van”. Pretty cool hey?

(That’s what we think, anyway - that’s why we’re doing it!)


There’s no rush, and we’ll be putting some YouTube videos up about it soon too so you can learn more and maybe get some hints and tips from our judge. She will show some of the best entries on YouTube between now and then, so feel free to get started if you’d like your design showcased around town!

You can submit your images anytime, but they won’t be judged until Halloween.

Good luck!! Can't wait to see your entries! :)

The post The A-Team Ice Cream Van Competition Read more on: https://www.ateamymm.ca/

Friday, September 22, 2017

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of September 22)

As the fall season begins today, it's time for another edition of the A-Team's weekly roundup of news from around the region. Here's what we found notable for this week.

The 2016 wildfire, along with the oil crash, have done a number on the local economy, but in an optimistic report released this week, the Conference Board of Canada predicted strong growth for Wood Buffalo. The report expects the region to grow faster than any other city in Alberta, according to Fort McMurray Today:

Report predicts strong local economic growth

From 2015 to 2016 Wood Buffalo's GDP shrank by an average of 8.9 per cent, much more than Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, whose GDPs fell by an average of less than three per cent over the same period.

However, the region's economic growth during this year and the next is expected to surpass those cities. Wood Buffalo will have average GDP growth of 10.4 per cent per year over 2017 to 2018, the report said. Over the same period, both Calgary and Edmonton are expected to grow by an average of 2.3 per cent per year, while Red Deer is expected to grow by two per cent per year.

"I think it's optimistic," said Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce president Bryce Kumka. "It's always nice to see that other people think we're going to outpace the growth of the rest of the province." read more at fortmcmurraytoday.com

This is the kind of news everyone in town likes to see. It really does look like the worst might be over for the local economic climate.

Conversely, another report released this week highlighted a persistent community issue: lack of housing for seniors. The Advisory Committee on Aging conducted the study in both urban and local areas. From Jenna Hamilton of My McMurray:

Lack of housing greatest issue among seniors: report

Rural residents also identified community support and health services and communication as significant issues.

In the urban service area communication, civic participation and employment were rated as high issues.

“This report signifies the beginning of another important phase of our work,” said Linda Mywaart, Committee Chair. “Eventually, this report will allow us to identify and implement strategies to improve the lives of seniors in our region.” h/t mymcmurray.com

Hopefully, more effort is made to address the housing problem, specifically with the construction of the Willow Square Aging in Place facility.

In education, the FMPSD revealed this week that it was considering a name change for Composite High School, amidst its ongoing modernization. The proposed change would take effect in 2019, but wouldn't affect all aspects of the school, according to superintendent Doug Nicholls:

FMPSD Mulling Name Change Of Composite High School | MIX 103.7

Considered names would need to have some affiliation to education, be it a famous Albertan, a local community member – past or present, a location of geographical significance or through some other historical significance.

Nicholls says if the school does get renamed, the change would likely come for the 2019 school year.

“The board, after hearing previous feedback, thought the timing was right to look at rebranding the school, re-visioning it and thought perhaps if the name change were to occur, it would happen along with the modernization.” mix1037fm.com

Composite High has been a mainstay in the community for decades, so this change will surely spark some controversy.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on the Fort McMurray area!

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of September 22) Find more on: The A-Team Real Estate Blog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Are Fort McMurray Homes Shrinking?

Sounds like a funny question, right? Well, over the next few months, you may notice that the sizes of properties listed on the MLS® might be smaller than before. It certainly will be changing! Weird, right?! Because the homes themselves can’t be changing size, can they?

As well as being a specialist buyer’s agent at The A-Team, I am also a Candidate Appraiser, which means I have measured a few properties in my time. Because of this, I figured I’d be well placed to explain what is going on here. This is my first blog, so bear with me...

What Is The RMS?

Believe it or not, until recently, there was no standard measurement system for real estate professionals to use in Alberta. Earlier this year, however, a new measurement system, called the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS), came into effect.

From now on, when REALTORS® list homes for sale, we must measure them according to this new standard. When we help people buy homes, we must also offer to measure the home on behalf of the buyer.

At The A-Team, we are pretty geeky, so we are pretty excited about this.

That’s all well and good, but could the new measurement standard have implications for you and your home next time you go to sell and/or buy? YES.

Why The RMS?

While measuring properties has always been best practice for REALTORS® when we help people buy or sell, the actual standard for how to measure a property has, until now, never been regulated.

This has led to inconsistencies over the years on how properties are marketed and sold. For example, often times the square footage provided by builders specification sheets, municipal assessment, condo plans, or previous listing information has been relied upon and assumed to be correct.

Those measurements likely are correct, but they aren’t consistent, so maybe they shouldn’t be used to compare the sizes of different properties. We need to be able to rely on the fact that two homes are measured in the same way because...

Size affects value. If measured sizes are inconsistent, so might valuations be: People might pay too much or not enough for properties which can hurt buyers and sellers respectively. Not good!

In this way, the regulator (Real Estate Council of Alberta or RECA) is aiming to raise industry standards (a lofty goal, but a good one, and one we agree with). Here’s an awesome online consumer brochure about RMS:

Residential Measurement Standard

Alberta real estate professionals must use the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) when measuring residential properties. This measurement standard helps consumers easily and accurately compare different types of residential properties.

The RMS offers a consistent means of representing the property’s above grade space. Among other things, the RMS sets out what parts of a property can be included in its measured-area. For example, if a room has a dormer with a ceiling height of only 4 feet, is it included as floor space? What about finished basements that are entirely below grade? The RMS information benefits consumers. Read more at reca.ca

I Am Thinking of Selling. Should I Be Worried?

Probably not too much, but there are important considerations.
There is a likelihood that when your REALTOR® measures your home as part of the listing process, you will be surprised that it is not the same as the listed size when you bought it.

In fact, for many homes, the RMS square footage will be smaller.

This may be frustrating or upsetting to some, especially those who have purchased from builders and bought a home under the impression that price directly correlated with the measured size (buying a home at a price per square foot).

Don’t panic. This should not impact value. It is more likely to impact the ego than the wallet....

Your house hasn’t shrunk, and if everyone measures consistently (this is the goal of the RMS), then all of your neighbours’ homes just likely “shrank” in measured size, too. We will be comparing our home to these homes when estimating value.

Furthermore, there are many other important factors which will attribute value to a property, such as features in the home, lot size, location, basement development, etc.

If you are considering selling your home, please address your concerns to one of our A-Team listing specialists (two thumbs up if you mention this blog when doing so!).

How Much Will The New Standard Affect ME When I Sell?

Your measured size will change different amounts based on the specifics of your home.

Read on to see how much your measured size might be impacted…


If you currently own a detached home (stick built, modular, manufactured), then your home will now be measured at the exterior perimeter. Due to exterior obstacles, it will be common to see your REALTOR® measure from the interior of the property and extrapolate the exterior measurement (add for the exterior walls). It’s also often cold as heck outside and you won’t catch me outside with a tape measure this winter.


This is where it might get tricky.

If you currently live in a home with common wall(s) (half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments), then your home will be measured at the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint). This was common in the past with apartment or townhome style properties; however, it’s a newer concept for half-duplexes. In this way, owners of duplexes are most likely to experience measured square footage ‘shrinking’.


  • Levels of a home that are entirely above grade (see later for implications).
  • Additions/conversions of above-grade areas within the structure if they are weatherproof and suitable for year-round use. Note, if you have a 3-seasons room that was included before, it won’t be included now.
  • Areas must have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 2.13 metres (7ft). This probably won’t impact most home-owners.
  • If the ceiling is sloped and there is a ceiling height of 2.13 metres (7ft) somewhere in the room, then only the area with a floor-to-ceiling height of at least 1.52 metres (5 feet) is included. This could impact measured square-footage if you have a converted attic with low ceilings at the edges, as those edges won’t be included in the measurement.


  • Any area that is (even partially, or a portion) below grade. The main type of property I see being impacted by this exclusion is the split-level style of dwelling. Previously, there was a grey area if the lower level (which often walks-out above grade) would be included in living space above grade. This has now been defined that the majority of the time (if even portion of this level is below grade), it will not be included. This lower level will still be valued within the property, but just not as above-grade square-footage on the listing.
  • Any vaulted spaces. If you bought a home from a builder, it’s possible that they would have included vaulted space as part of the living space, but realistically, not many of us can walk on air, so the new standard does not include vaulted space as part of the upstairs square-footage. It’s lovely, but it’s not living space!

Here’s some good news:

A listing agent’s role is to market a home (expose it to as many people in the best possible light). As part of this, your listing agent can give extra measurements to show the value of your home. For example, that three-seasons room might not factor into the measured total square footage, but it can be measured and included elsewhere in the listing and the marketing material (for example, in the video).

I Am Buying. What Does This Mean For Me?

As a home-buyer, you can expect to see more accurate and consistent square-footage represented throughout the marketplace. There will be a transitional period over the next several months, however, as the listings which were created prior to the RMS being enforced sell or expire from the market. In the future, I see this change as an overall positive.

If you are purchasing a home and are unsure if the RMS has been used when listing the property, ask your REALTOR® to verify and measure the property for you. Our buyers agents will be extremely diligent, especially during the transitional period, and especially when helping buyer clients buy homes with unusual layouts.

Good Times :)

In summary, no, homes are not shrinking. The RMS may not be interesting to everyone, but it is an important development in our industry. No need to be worried though! This new standard will protect you, the consumer, and raise the standard and accountability of Real Estate Professionals like us. As long as you are well informed, which we will help with (we love helping!), then you don’t have anything to worry about! Over time, this new standard will bring consistency and, in fact, reduce worry for buyers and sellers alike. We are in full support of this change!


The following article Are Fort McMurray Homes Shrinking? Read more on: www.ateamymm.ca

What to Do When You’re Ready to Buy a Home

When preparing to buy a home, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of necessary know-how. The buying process is confusing to some: a major trait many buyers share is not knowing what the next step is. To help potential buyers who don't know how to approach the process, we got buyer's agent Aleaha to explain.

Hiring a professional can go a long way. If you're considering buying a home, get in touch with the A-Team for specialized help!

What to Do When You’re Ready to Buy a Home Find more on: The A-Team LLC