Mortgage Update | Calgary Mortgage and Housing

Approved Mortgage application form with a calculator and penAugust 27, 2013

Surprise! Mortgage rates have increased once again. With the bond market showing strength, a 5-year rate is now in the range of 3.60%. And judging by the looks and rumours, rates are going to continue to increase. With this in mind, PRE-APPROVALS are important to obtain before starting your home search. They are of no obligation to follow through with your lender, and the rate is held for 120 days — it’s like making a reservation at a restaurant.

There has been other changes this past week that took effect immediately.

The Self Employed Program:  The biggest change is the elimination of borrowers who have more than one rental. Three properties in total, max – rental, secondary vacation and primary residence. Additionally, all married applicants require the spouse as co-borrower, and the  spouse must meet minimum credit requirements. Finally, there has also been some changes to the net worth requirements.

Net worth Lending:  The primary change is how they are determining net worth. Liquid asset requirements have been eliminated and replaced with minimum net worth of $ 250,000.  Please note this MUST be proven at the time of the application; however, it should be noted that RSP’s can now be included. This is a nice change because it is more about net worth, not liquid savings.

NewComers:  Gifts are no longer permitted for permanent conventional (Loan to value > 80%)  mortgages.  There also has been some changes to net worth requirements.

There are only a couple of lenders that have started to make these changes; therefore, it is beneficial for clients to use a mortgage broker, as we still have several options available for these clients.

Lindsay Labrecque, BA, AMP

Senior Mortgage Broker


Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Excellence

Mobile: 403.703.3019
Fax: 1.866.651.9084


Tips for Selling your Condominium

We recently provided you with some important tips for selling your home. Since there are two additional things that need to be considered when selling a condominium, we thought it important to highlight those for you too.

1. Gather important documents

Your condo board has likely provided you with several documents that pertain to your unit. Find those. If you are unable to locate them, talk to the condo board. Typically, condo boards charge for each of these documents, so you may want to call in a favour with a friend that you’ve made on the board.

If you’d prefer not to chat with the condo board, The Chamberlain Group (TCG) will take care of getting all the documents you need. Simply give us what you have; we will ensure to gather the rest.

2. Locate your Real Property Reports (RPR)

If you own a bare land condominium, or the land that the condo resides on, you will need a RPR. When you purchased your property, your lawyer will have provided you with the Real Property Report. This report looks like a site plan, highlighting property details, including: decks, patios, permanent sheds, etc. If you made any improvements to your property, you will need to update your Real Property Report. (Also noteworthy, the RPR must be provided for single family type homes.)

Not having an RPR can hold up the sale of your property, so we encourage you to get this done as soon as you decide to sell.

Questions? Leave a comment below, or contact TCG by emailing, or phoning 403-366-3130.

Selling Your Home in Calgary for the First Time?

Couple with sold signBuying a home for the first time can be a daunting and intimidating task, which is probably why REALTORS® seem to invest a great deal of time and website space educating the public about what you need to do when purchasing a new place.

But what about first time SELLERS? Selling a home for the first time can also be an intimidating and daunting task, eliciting all sorts of questions.

Should I sell my current property before buying a different one?

What should I do to get my house ready to list?

How much is my house worth?

Should I list my house myself, or use a Real Estate Expert?

Needless to say, we think it’s important to discuss the first time selling process. Here are a few tips from TCG’s Real Estate Experts.

1. Make a plan: Buy or sell first?

The decision to buy first or sell first is a personal one that’s usually circumstantial. Consider the following:

  • Can you afford two mortgages? Not sure? Talk to a mortgage broker or banker.
  • Do you want to move to a specific neighborhood in Calgary?
  • Are you relocating? If so, do you have a specific departure date?

Knowing the answers to these questions will assist you in developing a timeline; a timeline will help you avoid stress. It’s also beneficial to speak with one of TCG’s Real Estate Experts. Why?  Because we know what communities in Calgary have the most listings, the least listings, and where there the highest demand is, assisting you in establishing a realistic timeline.

2. Get your property ready to show.

 Make your home look like a show home by:

  • Thoroughly cleaning it inside and out.
  • De-cluttering. This includes:

– Packing up family photos, stacks of paper, as well as shoes and clothing you’re not currently using.
– Cleaning/reorganizing your closets.

  • Cleaning your yard, front and back. Think of this as “staging” your yard.

3. Show your home at its best.

When showing your home:

  • Open the blinds and leave the lights.
  • Remove all garbage and stinky items.
  • Bake something. Seriously, who doesn’t love the smell of cookies or bread or cake?
  • Make your home readily available for showings, meaning don’t ask buyers to wait 24-48 hours before they can see it.

4. Use The Chamberlain Group to list your property.

Why use The Chamberlain Group to sell your house?

  • A professional stager comes to your home, providing you with a list of suggestions to make your property as desirable as possible.
  • Our unique, digital marketing platform ensures the right buyers see your listing.
  • We utilize video to market your property.
  • We only use professional quality photos, as well as professionally measured floor plans.
  • We are nice people. Really, really nice people.

Do you have any more questions pertaining to the selling of your home? Comment below, or contact us by emailing

Calgarians Anticipate 9 New Schools by 2016

Alberta announces plan to construct additional suburban classrooms by 2016

Residents of Calgary are sure to be excited with the province’s plan to build 9 new schools by 2016. Built for suburban communities in the southeast, northwest, and northeast of Calgary, the schools will add approximately 7,550 student spaces.

“Calgary is a growing city, and we need to ensure we build the schools today that Calgary will need in the future,” said Jeff Johnson, the Education Minister in Calgary.

Over the next three years, Alberta’s high-growth communities will receive $503-million in total from the Redford government to build these schools. Through a combination of public and private partnerships, the schools will be built using traditional methods.

What the citizens of Calgary — especially the benefiting communities — can look forward to are the advanced technological systems that will be used in each school. Large windows, providing natural light and increased ventilation, will surely improve air quality and circulation within the schools as well.

It doesn’t end with just 9 schools. Operated by separate, regional school division, Christ the Redeemer, a 10th school will be built for Davisburg, a community just south of Calgary. It will occupy 600 students from Kindergarten to Grade 9.

The New Calgary Schools:

1. Auburn Bay

Calgary Roman Catholic School District

Kindergarten to Grade 9

Opening/final capacity: 900/900 students

Anticipated completion: 2016 

2. Copperfield

Calgary School District

Kindergarten to Grade 4

Opening/final capacity: 600/600 students

Anticipated completion: 2016

3. New Brighton

Calgary School District

Kindergarten to Grade 4

Opening/final capacity: 600/600 students

Anticipated completion: 2016

4. Northeast Calgary

Calgary School District

High School, Grades 10 to 12

Opening/final capacity: 1500/1800 students

Anticipated completion: 2016 

5. Martindale

Greater Southern Public Francophone Education Region

Kindergarten to Grade 6 (replacement for Ecole La Mosaique starter school)

Opening/final capacity: 300/350 students

Anticipated completion: 2016 

6. Saddle Ridge

Calgary School District

Grades 5 to 9

Opening/final capacity: 900/900 students

Anticipated completion: 2016 

7. Evanston

Calgary School District

Kindergarten to Grade 4

Opening/final capacity: 600/600 students

Anticipated completion: 2016

8. Evanston

Calgary Roman Catholic School District

Kindergarten to Grade 9

Opening/final capacity: 750/900 students

Anticipated completion: 2016

9. Royal Oak/Rocky Ridge

Calgary School District

Grades 5 to 9

Opening/final capacity: 900/900 students

Anticipated completion: 2016

Red Tape Hindering Suite Housing Deals

Calgary’s gone through its share of growing pains when it comes to affordable housing.

The problem was readily apparent a few years ago, with the arrival of thousands of new Calgarians causing the monthly rate of apartments to soar into the thousand-dollar range for a one-bedroom suite.

Still, as is the case across Canada, new residential developments consisting solely of rental units are few and far between.

News reports last month indicated that despite vacancy rates dropping everywhere in the country, economic conditions are making it more palatable for developers to build condos instead of rental units.

Investors are also more interested in purchasing existing apartment buildings than to put up new ones.

This means one of the few sources of growth will be from the willingness of individual homeowners to develop a secondary suite.

In Calgary, it’s easier said than done. Just take a look at the city’s information brochure on the topic.

Flip to Page 2 to find an unfriendly looking flow-chart that helps determine whether a homeowner can build a suite or not, and what kind of application process to expect.

Sometimes it’s even necessary to appear before city council to request a zoning change to allow for a secondary suite.

The red tape is unreal for the homeowner and for the city.

The process is so arduous, it’s no wonder some have chosen to develop secondary suites illegally or not to develop them at all.

Perhaps Calgary can look for inspiration from Edmonton’s straight-forward secondary suite policy:

• Only for fully detached single-family homes on lots of a certain size.

• Established minimum and maximum suite sizes.

• Requirements for parking.

• Garden and garage suites allowed in certain situations.

No neighbourhood restrictions, no flow charts, no re-zoning, no appearances before city council.

Calgary would benefit from such a simple, uniform policy for secondary suites.

Detractors have always pointed to lower neighbourhood property values as a reason to discourage the development of secondary suites.

That just might have been a side-effect of this city’s parcel-specific policies on the matter, because the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) cautions homeowners that adding a secondary suite will likely cause a slight increase in property value.

Safety has also been used by opponents of secondary suites as an argument against their development.

But really, there should be no cause for extra concern.

Provincial fire safety and building codes have covered the construction of secondary suites since 2007.

In fact, Alberta is one of only two provinces to have a fully developed set of such building code requirements. (The other is British Columbia.)

Our rules are so stringent that the CMHC uses them as an example of good practice to be applied countrywide.

Calgary desperately needs a coherent, uniform policy covering the development of basement, garden and garage suites.

Keeping the system we currently have will needlessly curtail the growth of rental housing stock in the city.

It also inadvertently encourages the development and use of illegal suites.

Because these fall outside of the law, there’s a good chance there are compliance issues when it come to safety regulations, too.

With the economy improving day by day, there is a chance Calgary will once again face a crunch for rental housing.

Streamlining the way we handle secondary suites is the best way to make sure there will be enough legal housing to satisfy our needs.

Read more:


Below is a statement from the Developer which was posted on their Website.

March 18, 2010:

Fire at Canvas at Millrise News Release

Medican Supports Residents Impacted by Fire

Calgary, AB – (March 19, 2010) – Medican says it will offer its support to the residents who lost their homes in a devastating fire Thursday. “This has been a terrible loss for hundreds of people,” says Bob Montgomery, Manager of Wellness Health and Safety for the Medican Group of Companies. “Although it’s been over a year since the condominium board took ownership and responsibility for the development, we’re ready to do what we can to help out.”

The fire started at 23 Millrise Drive at the Canvas at Millrise at about 12:00pm. The fire destroyed about half of the 159 units. The other half, suffered water and smoke damage. The building was about 90% occupied. About 400 people have been directly impacted by the fire.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Investigators are on scene and we are providing our full cooperation. Many of our staff spent the day working with residents, first responders and social service agencies. Other buildings in the complex were not affected by the fire and following a thorough inspection, residents at 11 Millrise Drive were allowed to return home starting at 11:00pm Thursday.

“Despite the terrible damage done to this building, we feel very fortunate that at this time , no serious injuries have been reported,” says Bob Montgomery.

All residents were safely evacuated from the building after the fire broke out. Many residents watched as their home and belongings were destroyed. Regretfully some pets were lost in the fire.

“We at Medican are saddened by this disaster and our hearts go out to all of the residents,” Montgomery says. “We will continue to assist wherever possible.”

For more information:

Bob Montgomery
Manager – Wellness, Health and Safety
Medican Group of Companies
Mobile: 403-660-8421
2March 18, 2010:

Statement with Respect to the Fire at Canvas at Millrise

Members of the Calgary Fire Department and Calgary Police Service are tending to a serious fire at the Canvas at Millrise condominium located at 23 Millrise Drive S.W., Calgary. Our thoughts and prayers are with these first responders and the residents of the building. We will have further comments as the investigation into this fire proceeds.

New Interactive Pathway and Bike Map

If your one to be biking around Calgary, this is a great interactive tool that you can use to find out maps and open pathways.  You can go to the layered map to get a full taste of what it does…  There is over 1,000 km’s to navigate through… Have fun and remember to wear your helmet!

The Worlds Largest Olympic Torch Will Be Flickering For 2010 Olympics

The cauldron atop the Calgary Tower will be burning bright tonight from 7 – 9 p.m. to celebrate the opening ceremony celebrations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

The Tower cauldron will also be lit from 5 – 6 p.m. each day a Canadian Olympic athlete wins a medal during the 2010 Games.

2010 Property Tax Assessment is in The Mail…

property-tax-snoopyAs you may or may not be aware of, on January 4, 2010 your property tax assessment was mailed to you. If you haven’t received it yet, you will soon get it. I wanted to let you in on some of the options that you have if you feel that the value of your home is too high on your assessment. If you feel that your assessment is too low, you have two options, leave it where it is or ask them to raise the value and then you get to pay more property taxes. I’ll leave that one up to you.

Here are some interesting stats and findings that came from the 2010 Tax Assessment:

  • On Jan. 04, 2010, The City of Calgary mailed approximately 439,000 property Assessment Notices to Calgary taxpayers, which is an increase of 8,000 from 2009.
  • The 2010 median single residential assessment (excluding condominiums) is $374,000 compared to $427,500 in 2009. The 2010 median residential condominium assessment is $233,000 compared to $278,500 in 2009.
  • The total value of the 2010 Property Assessment Roll is $218 billion, a decrease of $27 billion from last year.
  • As a result of the 2010 Assessment, the typical assessment change between the 2009 and 2010 Property Assessment Rolls is -13% for residential properties and -15% for non-residential properties.
  • This year, approximately 92% of residential properties’ revenue neutral taxes will stay within plus or minus 10% of last year’s taxes.
  • 70%, or just over two-thirds, of residential properties will experience a revenue neutral tax decrease due to the 2010 assessment, while 30% or, just under one-third, will experience an increase in their taxes due to the 2010 assessment only.

We have had the question multiple times before on how the city calculates what the tax rate will be… Here it is…

Tax Rate Calculation

Each year City Council approves the amount of expenditure needed to support City services. To get the amount of revenues required from property taxes, The City takes the overall expenditure and subtracts all other sources of revenue like business taxes, license fees, user fees and provincial grants. The balance is the amount to be raised through municipal property taxes.

In order to calculate taxes, a tax rate is established. The tax rate reflects the amount of taxes to be paid for every $1 of assessed value.

Municipal Tax Rate =  Total revenue required by The City of Calgary from property tax / Total Assessment
Provincial Tax Rate =    Total revenue required by The Province of Alberta from property tax / Total Assessment

Tax Bill Calculation

Your property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of your property by the tax rates:

Property Tax bill =  (Assessment x Municipal Tax Rate) + (Assessment x Provincial Tax Rate*)

*The Provincial Tax Rate is set once The City receives the annual requisitions from the Government of Alberta (Alberta Learning) and the Calgary Catholic School District. The amounts of the requisition are not subject to review or approval by City Council. The City of Calgary bills and collects this tax amount for the Province of Alberta.

Your annual property tax bill covers the period of January 1 to December 31.

Now… what are your options if you feel that your tax assessment is too high.  Many people don’t look into this, however this can save you a good chunk of change each year if you are on top of it.  Here are the steps that you will want to take.

  1. Check to see what the City has on your property by going to their Property Assessment Search
  2. Once you know what the city has on your property, they have provided a page on their site that you can search out your neighborhood and download a pdf of all the most recent sales that have happened in your community that the city knows about.
    – For all Single Family Dwellings (not condo’s) you can Search Here
    – For all Condo’s you can Search Here

One last thing… Here is a brochure for you to download from The City of Calgary that they give out for more info on Property Tax Assessments.

2010 Property Tax Notice Brochure Download

I hope this gives you a good idea of what you can do about your assessment and gives you a great start on making sure that your are paying the proper amount of taxes.

All Information given here is from The City Of Calgary Website

Beat Niq Jazz: Social Club Faces Closure!

Save Beat Niq Jazz Club by Sept 15th

To all Jazz fans, Musicians and Patrons,

CALGARY, AB – Bistro Piq Niq & Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club have been proud to support live music in Calgary weekly since 1995. As Artistic Director since 2000 and performing artist since the first year, I have been honoured to support the incredible efforts to present live jazz music in Calgary with business owners Rob and Connie Young. Initially we presented duos and trios in the upstairs restaurant once per week focusing on jazz and swing music. In March of 1997 the business expanded to include the basement and the Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club was born. As Calgary’s premier jazz venue for 12 years, Beat Niq has paid out over $1,200,000 in artists fees over approximately 2500 musical presentations. Revenue for the artists has come primarily from the door cover which has remained affordable at $5 – 15 for most events. Since we have not had the benefit of arts grants or donations, the business has always operated tight margins to give the maximum amount of door revenue to the performing artists.

We regret to inform you that Piq Niq/Beat Niq is on the brink of closure as a result of the global economic crisis. There has been a significant slowdown in business in both the club and restaurant over the past 9 months and like many businesses in Calgary we noticed a sharp decrease in revenue starting in November of 2008. Given that our artist contracts are booked 4 – 6 months in advance we did not want to change any agreements but worked hard to increase our promotion with a monthly newsletter and more regular media listings. Our resources for marketing have always been limited but we have been lucky to have loyal and regular patrons that help spread the word and in combination with our restaurant business, the Beat Niq has been able to sustain itself. We also attempted to improve our situation with a membership drive at the beginning of June with hopes of raising some capital to offset the accumulating operating deficit. The membership program was completely restructured and we worked hard to create a program that would give jazz supporters a great value for their membership. Although it was not an easy time to start a membership drive, Beat Niq is pleased to have almost 100 new members at a promotional rate of $60/year but this was far short of our goal.

Now the Piq Niq/Beat Niq business is nearly at an end. Overall the Piq Niq has subsidized the Beat Niq artist fees at least $10,000/year which has accumulated to over $120,000. This does not include any losses associated with rent, utilities, stage and staffing costs which vary depending on each event but come primarily from the food and beverage sales. If not for a $50,000 personal contribution to the business by the owners in late July, the business would be closed already. Although this allowed some important bills to get paid, unless there is a quick turnaround in business, there is no reserve to continue to operate at a loss.

Over the past week in consultation with several business partners, staff and key supporters we have been formulating a last ditch effort to save the club. This message is a call for help to our many great friends and fans that have supported our venue for the last 14 years. We have set September 15 as a deadline to raise enough funds to keep the doors open. It is our hope that through memberships, donations and ticket sales for a major Jazz Gala scheduled for Sept. 10/11/12, we will achieve this target. Initially we need to raise at least $60,000 but along with the membership drive and Gala event, we will announce a corporate and personal donation campaign which will allow a reserve fund to be established and allow improved promotion, technical and management support.

The full details of the gala will be announced shortly. The plan is to sell tickets at $100 which will include a one year membership. Current members will be able to buy tickets for $50. Please spread the word and help us keep a unique and vital Calgary music venue alive during these difficult financial times.

Best regards,
Gerry Hébert, Artistic Director


What can you do to help?
1. Buy a membership and catch some great music.
2. Buy tickets to the Jazz Gala.
3. Book your Holiday/Corporate Event at Beat Niq.
4. Make a lunch or dinner reservation in the Piq Niq this month.
5. Tell everyone you know.

Membership Cost
• 1 year – $80, Students, Seniors & Musicians – $50
• 2 years – $150
• 5 years – $350
• 10 years – $650
• Lifetime – $1000

Membership Privileges
• Cover charge discounts and Coupons for food and drink specials
• 10% off Beat Niq/Piq Niq food bill
• Guaranteed Seating reservations
• Advance schedules for concerts, newsletters and email updates
• Exclusive Members Only nights & discounts on club room rental for events
• Corporate Memberships Available

Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club Jazz Gala (Sept. 10/11/12, 2009)
• 2 bands/night, Silent auction, door-prizes, food & drink specials.
• Tickets $100 for non-members (includes a 1 year membership) or $50 for members.
• Wall of Fame campaign launch for donations

Contact Info
• Memberships & Donations: Rob Young – – (403) 616-3246
• Media & Music Inquiries: Gerry Hébert – – (403) 660-5747
• Private & Corporate Events: Tara Thornton – – (403) 681-4332
Bistro Piq Niq & Beat Niq Jazz & Social Club (Est. 1995)
811 – 1st Street SW, T2P 7N2, (403) 263-1650