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Alberta Condominium Purchase Contract in Layman’s Terms

If you haven’t bought a condominium before, or any property for that matter, you’ve probably never seen a purchase contract.  It’s a pretty important piece of the puzzle when you’re looking to buy a property so let’s not wait until you’re ready to write an offer to start getting familiar with it.  Here is a brief overview of the general terms and conditions: 

The first bit of information we will need to include is the legal names of anyone going on the offer, who will also be on title assuming you go firm on the purchase.  This means what it says on your ID has to match - spelling and all - not an alias or preferred name, including your parents or anyone else who needs to be on it need to be on it for financing purposes, or if you are buying it under your business/corporation name/number (which will require proof of signing authority so we know that you have the right to act on behalf of the company).

1. THE PROPERTY

  • 1.1(a): Describes the specific details of the condo unit, including address, project name, and legal information.  I '(or your Realtor) will fill this out, referencing the Title, ensuring accuracy.

  • 1.1(b): Outlines parking and storage details - might be titled or assigned, your Realtor will fill this out

  • 1.1(c): Mentions any unattached goods - this includes any appliances, window coverings, keys, furniture, electronics, anything you expect to stay with the property on moving day and is negotiable (meaning the seller could strike or add certain items they intend on keeping or leaving).  If there is any gray area with attached vs. unattached goods (common ones are TV & wall mount, garage shelving, etc.), it’s better to itemize it out if you have strong feelings one way or the other to make sure there is no confusion or disappointment on moving day

  • 1.1(d): Specifies excluded attached goods - this is often left blank, it could include something like a light fixture (ie. chandelier) that is a family heir loom and the seller plans on taking & may offer to replace with something else that matches the rest of the decor. If there is something intended to be excluded that is typically left behind on move out, the seller usually discloses that at the showing stage so we can prepare the offer properly, or if there is something you very specifically want removed, we will include it here and follow up with verbal communication to the Seller’s Agent to make sure they don’t miss it since it’s commonly left empty.

2. PURCHASE PRICE AND COMPLETION DAY

  • 2.1: States the purchase price - this is ‘the number’ that matters the most, it’s what you’re offering and the seller may counter before hopefully coming to an agreement and moving forward to an accepted offer.

  • 2.2: Confirms if the price includes taxes - most residential re-sale does not need to acknowledge GST in the price.  Only new construction, a ‘flipped’ property that has been extensively renovated to sell, short term rentals (looked at as commercial properties by CRA) and commercial property does assess GST in the sale.  Only condominiumized short term rental properties (Airbnb/VRBO style rentals) use the contract we are currently breaking down, the others will be on a different contract which we are not looking at right now.  Feel free to reach out if you wanted to talk more about GST and when it does and doesn’t apply, the above is an overly simplified ‘list’. 

  • 2.3: Specifies the completion day - aka moving day.  Your Lawyer will need to have all your down payment funds + lender instructions by today at the latest and you will get keys and can start moving in that afternoon… assuming all goes to plan.  The Seller could counter this if they have a specific date in mind.  It has to be a business day where the banks & lawyers are working.

  • 2.4: Ensures the property's condition remains the same on completion day and all goods (attached or unattached) must be in good working order - this term is my favorite term to point out.  It is what protects Buyers but also sets expectations. The property DOES NOT have to be in BETTER condition than when you achieve an accepted offer.  It is not a new build (or it wouldn’t be on this contract) so it will have a little wear and tear; it can’t be in worse condition but it doesn’t have to be in better condition either.  If you are concerned about the cleanliness or negotiate that the seller will replace something like the carpet or re-paint a damaged wall, these things need to be included under 9.3) Other Terms or there is little recourse on the completion day if the property is, for better or worse, in substantially the same condition as it was on acceptance.  That being said, the appliances, as the included unattached goods, need to be in good working order so if we show up on the completion day and the fridge is not working, we can expect a remedy to that because of this term. 

3. GENERAL TERMS

  • 3.1: Lists general agreements, including the use of agents, applicable laws, time sensitivity, and mutual responsibilities.

  • 3.1(f): Requires the seller to disclose significant known defects (the word ‘known’ is key, if a seller isn’t aware of an issue, they can’t disclose it.  This is a big reason a home inspection is a good idea, you might find something the seller had no clue about before you brought it to their attention.  Once they know about it, there are requirements for remedy or we negotiate a term to ensure the seller addresses the issue prior to closing or a price reduction but all these things require it being or becoming a known/disclosed issue).

  • 3.1(h) and 3.1(i): Outlines due diligence responsibilities for both parties.

  • 3.1(l): Emphasizes the importance of reading and seeking advice before signing.

  • 3.1(m): Allows brokerages and listing services to use transaction information.

  • 3.1(n): Establishes who will provide contract and related documents/information to the Lawyers.  This is typically the Seller’s brokerage unless they are unfit to do so or there is some other reason to assign it to the Buyer or a Law Firm.

4. DEPOSITS

  • 4.1: Establishes terms for deposit trust.

  • 4.2 to 4.8: Details deposit-related procedures, responsibilities, and disbursements. 

    • The Seller’s Brokerage typically holds the deposit funds unless they are unfit to do so (like in a For Sale by Owner deal) and we assign it to the Buyer’s Brokerage or a Law Firm.

    • The Deposit is held in trust and is typically around 5% of the purchase price to show capacity - over simplifying here, but if you can’t come up with 5% you can’t get a mortgage so showing the Seller you have that ready to go is a show of confidence.  

    • The Deposit typically needs to be guaranteed funds (bank draft or wire transfer), personal cheques, e-transfers and global money transfers are not guaranteed so most brokerage policies won’t accept those forms of payment.

    • The Deposit is returned to the Buyer if they are unable to waive conditions by the specified date.  If you are successful at waiving conditions and proceed with the purchase (go firm), the funds are forwarded from the holding brokerage to the Lawyers to make up part of the purchase funds on the completion day.

5. LAND TITLE

  • 5.1: Ensures the property title is free of certain encumbrances.

6. REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES

  • 6.1: Seller assures legal right to sell, non-resident status, and truth of representations.

  • 6.2: Specifies the timeline and enforceability of representations.

7. DOWER

  • 7.1: Addresses potential dower rights and the need for specific documentation.  Dower Rights are only applicable if there is only 1 seller on title and that person is legally married and their spouse has spent the night in the property at some point throughout their marriage.  The Seller will determine if Dower Rights apply and if they do, the non-titled spouse will be included in the sale.

8. CONDITIONS

  • 8.1: Requires reasonable efforts to fulfill conditions.

  • 8.2 to 8.4: Outlines buyer's and seller's conditions and the process for satisfaction or waiver.  Condo doc review, home inspection and financing are typical but additional conditions could be relevant depending on your situation.  If you have a financing condition the ‘typical’ condition period is 2 full weeks, if you don’t need financing, you can generally shorten that as home inspectors and condo doc review specialists generally have availability within a few days of reaching out to them.  A shorter condition period is more attractive to Sellers and a way to ‘strengthen’ your offer in a competitive marketplace but you need to make sure you have enough time to do your due diligence and feel comfortable moving forward or not.

9. ATTACHMENTS AND ADDITIONAL TERMS

  • 9.1: Lists attached documents forming part of the contract - This is often not needed, it would be typical if you are assuming tenancy or have a Sale of Buyer’s Home Condition and need to include a property schedule.

  • 9.2: This is the amount for the condo fee & any additional known fees.  Your Realtor will fill it out and is generally disclosed in the listing.

  • 9.3:  Other Terms - we can include any extras that aren’t already covered with the general terms and conditions.  One standard one is a include a walkthrough term on the morning of the completion day to confirm the property is in at least the same condition as when the offer was accepted and all the included goods are in good working order.  If we need a professional cleaning term or anything else, we will add it as appropriate.

10. CLOSING PROCESS

  • 10.1 to 10.12: Details the closing process, including document delivery, payments, costs, and potential delays.

11. INSURANCE

  • 11.1: Addresses the party responsible for property insurance until the purchase price is paid.

12. REMEDIES

  • 12.1 to 12.3: Describes potential remedies in case of contract default.

13. NOTICE AND DOCUMENTS

  • 13.1 to 13.4: Clarifies notice procedures and the use of electronic signatures.

14. AUTHORIZATION

  • 14.1 to 14.3: Authorizes representatives for notice purposes.

15. CONFIRMATION OF CONTRACT TERMS

  • 15.1: Confirms the completeness and exclusivity of the contract.

16. LEGAL OBLIGATIONS BEGIN

  • 16.1: Specifies when legal obligations begin and their binding nature.

17. OFFER

  • 17.1: Formalizes the buyer's offer and its acceptance timeline.  The offer has to have a timeline for response so we will give the seller usually around 24 hours to respond and if they don’t reply in that timeframe, the offer automatically becomes null and void.  If they counter, they will generally extend the time so you have time to reply back after receiving the new contract terms back.

18. ACCEPTANCE

  • 18.1: Confirms the seller's agreement to the terms.  If the Seller counters (changes) anything, the Buyer will have to initial off on those changes to confirm acceptance.  The offer is not accepted until all parties agree to all terms by way of written (initialed) acknowledgement. 

This breakdown should help the buyer, with the guidance of their Realtor, understand the key aspects of the condominium purchase contract before signing. It's important to seek legal advice and clarification on any terms that may be unclear.  As always, I am happy to dive deeper into any of the topics brought up in this blog post or anything else you have questions about in regards to the Buying and Selling process in Alberta.

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New Legislation Addressing the Housing Crisis in BC: Implications for Alberta's Real Estate Landscape

British Columbia (really most of Canada) is grappling with a severe housing crisis, marked by a shortage of affordable long-term rentals and attainable housing options. This crisis is significantly exacerbated by the rise of short-term rentals, where over 16,000 entire homes are being used for this purpose, making it increasingly challenging for residents to secure affordable housing. In response, the BC government has introduced the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act to alleviate the housing crisis by returning valuable housing inventory to the long-term rental market. These new regulations have the potential to ripple into Alberta, as investors may seek opportunities beyond BC's borders and international visitors may look for more stable and affordable rental opportunities when planning a trip to Canada.

BC's Housing Crisis

The scarcity of affordable housing, including long-term rentals, has become a pressing issue in British Columbia. Short-term rentals, particularly entire homes, are viewed as a major contributor to the problem, occupying housing units that could otherwise serve residents seeking stable accommodations. Local governments have taken steps to regulate short-term rentals, but enforcement of these bylaws remains a challenge, prompting a call for additional resources and tools.

Primary Goals of the Legislation

The newly introduced regulatory measures have three key objectives:

  1. Returning Units to the Long-Term Rental Market: The most critical goal is to return short-term rental units to the long-term rental market. By achieving this, British Columbia hopes to mitigate the housing shortage, ensuring that more affordable housing options become available to residents through existing dwellings with new construction and development opportunities not keeping up with current demand.

  2. Empowering Local Governments: These regulations aim to provide local governments with the tools needed to enforce short-term rental bylaws effectively. This empowerment allows local authorities to address the housing crisis at the community level.

  3. Provincial Oversight: These regulations establish a provincial role in the oversight of short-term rentals, ensuring that standards and compliance are consistent across the province.

Scope of the Regulations

The new rules encompass all short-term rentals offered to the public, including various platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, and other web listings such as Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, and Craigslist.  However, specific exemptions include reserve lands, Nisga’a Lands, Treaty Lands of a Treaty First Nation (unless a coordination agreement is established with the Province), hotels, and motels.  The new legislation doesn’t apply to any municipalities with a population of less than 10,000 that aren’t immediately adjacent to larger municipalities (ie. greater Vancouver area), any of the 14 designated resort communities (Fernie, Golden, Harrison Hot Springs, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount, and Whistler) or are an Agri-tourism business. 

Key Changes and Implications

The new regulations introduce several significant changes, including:

  1. Strengthened Enforcement Tools: Regional districts will witness a substantial increase in the maximum fines for bylaw violations, rising from $2,000 to up to $50,000. This aligns with municipalities under the Community Charter, equipping local governments with more robust enforcement capabilities.

  2. Business Licensing Authority: Regional districts will gain the authority to regulate and license short-term rentals, similar to municipalities, under amendments to the Local Government Act. This ensures a uniform approach to regulation.

  3. Display of Business License: In areas where a business license is required, short-term rental hosts must display a valid business license number on their listings, enhancing transparency.

  4. Platform Accountability: Listings without a valid business license, where required, must be removed by the short-term rental platform at the request of the local government.

  5. Data Sharing: Short-term rental platforms are obligated to share listing information with the Province, which is then shared with local governments to facilitate effective bylaw enforcement.

Returning Units to Long-Term Rental Market

To fulfill the goal of returning units to the long-term rental market, the regulations implement a provincial principal residence requirement. This requirement limits short-term rentals to the host's primary residence, along with one secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit. The principal residence requirement applies province-wide in municipalities with a population of 10,000 and over, and adjacent communities.

Exemptions for specific areas or accommodation types may be defined in future regulations. Local governments can also request to "opt in" to or "opt out" of the principal residence requirement, depending on local vacancy rates.

Provincial Oversight

To ensure compliance with the new rules, the Province will establish a short-term rental registry. Hosts will need to include a provincial registration number on their listings, along with their business license number if required. Short-term rental platforms must validate these numbers against the provincial registry data.

Additionally, a provincial compliance and enforcement unit will be established to track compliance, issue orders, and administer penalties for violations.

Implications for Alberta

The introduction of these regulations in BC has sparked discussions about potential implications for Alberta's real estate landscape. As investors in BC navigate the changing regulatory environment, Alberta may emerge as an attractive destination for those seeking new opportunities in the short-term rental market. The possibility of a more stable regulatory environment in Alberta, combined with the potential for increased demand in this sector, could lead to investors selling their BC properties and venturing into Alberta or other parts of Canada.  The stringent limitations on short-term rentals in BC may divert tourism dollars to other regions in Canada, like the Bow Valley, where a wider range of more affordable accommodation options are available, potentially attracting more visitors and bolstering local tourism economies.

If you are looking to purchase a vacation rental property in Canmore, you may want to secure a purchase sooner than later in the event that we do see an influx of BC investors looking to move their for profit housing investments to other markets. 

For prospective homebuyers in Canmore, the impact of BC investors shifting their focus to the Bow Valley should be minimal. Canmore has been proactive in addressing short-term rentals long before online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO became popular. The town's Land Use Bylaws have already established clear guidelines for short-term rentals – a property must have "Visitor Accommodation" or "Tourist Home" designated as a permitted use. Licensing requirements, much like those soon to be introduced in BC, have been in place for years. These regulations are aimed at preserving existing residential inventory from being converted into short-term rentals and safeguarding long-term renters from potential displacement by landlords seeking higher profits through short-term rentals. While tackling the housing crisis is crucial, Canmore's unique challenges are driven by various factors, including residential properties that remain vacant and a focus on Visitor Accommodation developments rather than residential ones, which does not effectively address the town's supply issue or provide affordable housing for its residents. Adopting a similar approach to BC's Short-Term Rental Accommodation Act wouldn't provide a viable solution to Canmore's housing crisis, as the town has already implemented similar control mechanisms to prevent or discourage the conversion of long-term rentals into short-term ones.

Conclusion

BC's new regulations for short-term rentals represent a concerted effort to address the housing crisis by returning valuable housing inventory to the long-term rental market. While the impact on BC's real estate and tourism industries is evident, the implications for Alberta may include an influx of investors looking for more favorable conditions. As these regulations unfold over the next two years, it's essential to stay informed about how they shape the real estate landscapes in both provinces, working toward a balance that benefits residents, investors, and the broader community.

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The Pros and Cons of Houses with Preserved Wood Foundations in Canmore

If you're in the market for a home in Canmore, Alberta, you may come across houses with preserved wood foundations.  In a recent purchase, I helped my Buyers navigate a preserved wood foundation that wasn’t disclosed in the listing as it is a blended foundation with a concrete wall at the front of the house but transition to preserved wood in the sides & rear wall of the home, an understandable mistake to have made but an important disclosure to have stumbled upon for my Buyer.  Luckily, we had a home inspection condition and worked with Adam of Homestead inspections, who identified preserved wood in a small crawlspace area AND the there was moisture present in the rear wall of the house.  For many Buyers, this would have been deal breaking, a non-waiver signed and delivered before the home inspection was even finished.  My Buyers however wanted to continue to pursue the home but obviously needed more information in the evolving situation so we extended our condition date and got a foundation specialist in to make a recommendation.  In this case, with the slope of the lot and some exterior landscaping features, it appears to be a drainage issue where water was pooling in one area against the foundation wall and it’s suspected no weeping tile is present because it wasn’t needed for code when the home was built so there is nothing encouraging water to move away from the foundation wall.  The wall will need to be re-damp proofed and a sump pump installed if no weeping tile is found but once the repairs are made, there shouldn’t be any more cause for concern and after some re-negotiations, my Buyers are excited at the memories they and their family will make in their Canmore home.

These foundations have a unique history and characteristics, particularly in this beautiful mountain town and working through the questions, fears and unknowns with my Buyers, it seemed like a good time to take a closer look at preserved wood in Canmore which are common in Cougar Creek, Peaks of Grassi - and now apparently sprinkled around Eagle Terrace. In recent years, preserved wood foundations have gotten a bit of a bad reputation but in the right environment with a little education and care of ownership, they don’t have to be a bad thing compared to their concrete counter part, especially in the right environment like Canmore with it’s dry climate.

A Brief History of Preserved Wood in Alberta

Preserved wood foundations, often referred to as pressure-treated wood foundations, were a common foundation type starting in the 1960’s spanning the late 90’s.  This construction technique involves using lumber that has been treated with chemicals to resist decay and insect damage. The process involves pressure-treating the wood with preservatives like chromated copper arsenate (CCA) or ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA). This treatment makes the wood highly resistant to rot and pests, extending its lifespan significantly.

Positives of Preserved Wood Foundations

1. Durability

One of the key advantages of houses with preserved wood foundations is their durability. The preserved wood is well-suited to withstand the often harsh mountain climate, including heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures, and moisture. It resists decay and insect damage, which are common issues for traditional wood foundations.  They also have more flex than concrete which is prone to cracking as the ground settles or it goes through a few freeze-thaw cycles so it can withstand movement within a ‘normal’ range any new home experiences.

2. Low Maintenance

Preserved wood foundations typically require less maintenance than concrete foundations. They are resistant to decay and pests, reducing the need for frequent upkeep.  Concrete foundations are durable but may require periodic inspections for cracks and may be susceptible to moisture-related issues like cracking or efflorescence, necessitating maintenance and repairs.

3. Cost-Effective

While preserved wood foundations may have a slightly higher upfront cost compared to concrete or other materials, they can be cost-effective in the long run due to their extended lifespan and reduced maintenance requirements.

Negatives of Preserved Wood Foundations in Canmore

1. Vulnerability to Moisture

While preserved wood is resistant to moisture to some extent, it's not entirely impervious (much like concrete which is porous and also not waterproof, just resistant). In Canmore's dry climate, this might not be a significant concern, especially in areas that aren’t affected by the high water table or steep creek hazards. If the house is exposed to excessive moisture, such as flooding from nearby creeks, it could be problematic with costly  repairs or if it is caught early and addressed properly, it doesn’t have to be deal breaking in our dry climate but further due diligence is requited before making a decision on what to do, including getting a foundation specialist in.

2. Aging Preservative Treatments

Houses built in the 1990s with preserved wood foundations may have older preservative treatments like CCA, which have faced environmental and health concerns. Although the risk is generally considered low, some homeowners may prefer alternatives with newer, safer treatments.

3. Limited Load Capacity

Preserved wood foundations may have a more limited load-bearing capacity compared to concrete foundations. This limitation can affect your ability to undertake structural modifications or additions to the home in the future, potentially restricting your renovation options.  It is also why we don’t see it in large multi-unit buildings, they are most common in single family and duplexes but have been found on rare occasion in some 4-plexes locally.

Neighborhoods with Preserved Wood Foundations

In Canmore, preserved wood foundations were prevalent in neighborhoods like Cougar Creek, Peaks of Grassi, and in a handful of properties in Eagle Terrace and South Canmore. If you're considering a home in one of these neighborhoods, it's essential to assess the condition of the preserved wood foundation, as it has likely been exposed to the elements for several decades.

Before purchasing a home with a preserved wood foundation, it's advisable to:

  1. Inspect Thoroughly: Hire a qualified home inspector to assess the foundation's condition, looking for signs of decay, insect damage, or other issues.  If further investigation is needed, a foundation specialist should be called in. 

  2. Ask for Maintenance Records: If possible, request maintenance records from previous homeowners to ensure the foundation has been properly cared for.

  3. Consider Future Maintenance: Factor in potential future maintenance costs and whether you are comfortable with the long-term care required for this type of foundation.  The key here is proper water management with lot slope, landscaping & eavestroughs/downspouts.  If you have a preserved wood foundation in a secondary home where you are not there all the time, making sure the person you have checking your property (which is usually required for insurance purposes anyways), is paying extra attention to any water in the lowest level of your home.

In conclusion, houses with preserved wood foundations can be a viable option in Canmore's typically dry climate. They offer durability and lower maintenance requirements but may have limitations in terms of aesthetics and vulnerability to moisture. If you're considering such a property in neighborhoods like Cougar Creek, Peaks of Grassi, or Eagle Terrace, make sure to perform a thorough inspection and consider both the advantages and disadvantages before making your decision.  If you google Preserved woof foundations, much like when you WebMD your symptoms, you end up with a death sentence but that’s not always accurate.  Education and working with the right people who know or understand the problem at hand is key.

NOTE:  There is a history of incorrectly built preserved wood panels used in a number of homes in Peaks of Grassi which have resulted in significant foundation issues because of the supplier’s poor craftmanship.  A developer in the area hired a manufacturing company to supply these pre-fab panels that were meant to be built, shipped then used onsite to erect the foundation walls, instead of building everything from start to finish in place.  We are now finding out that the Supplier of these panels used pressure treated plywood sheeting to encase the wall studs but the wall studs & hardware inside of the plywood panels was not pressure treated and that’s a problem.  If these untreated studs get wet, that can be hugely problematic to the structural integrity of the home.  The use of pre-fab panels vs. traditional on-site construction was not the preferred or common method used when preserved wood foundations were being built other than in Peaks of Grassi so it is again very situational depending on the property as to what your risk tolerance needs to be when looking at a home with a preserved wood foundation.  Abalon Foundation Repairs in Calgary are a wealth of knowledge on the topic for Peaks of Grassi and other foundation issues in the Bow Valley.

There was one builder in the preserved wood era who used it in some South Canmore 4-plexes, particularly on 5th Street, with the higher water table in the Valley floor, this is a less ideal environment for preserved wood making it a different conversation in that location as well.

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Cycling Highwood Pass: Canada's Highest Paved Road Adventure

Highwood Pass, located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is not just any ordinary cycling route. This 34-kilometer out-and-back paved ride, stretching from the north winter gate to Highwood Pass, offers an exhilarating and challenging experience for cycling enthusiasts. As Canada's highest paved road, sitting at an impressive elevation of 2,206 meters above sea level, it promises breathtaking views, remarkable uphill climbs, and a thrilling ride back to your starting point. However, it's important to remember that the road is closed for a significant portion of the year due to heavy snowfall and wildlife migration. With careful planning and an adventurous spirit, cycling Highwood Pass becomes an unforgettable road cycling adventure.

The Challenging Uphill Climb: The journey begins at the north winter gate, where cyclists embark on a 17-kilometer uphill climb, gaining a total elevation of approximately 635 meters. The initial stretch offers a gradual ascent, with 3 small recovery dips along the way (remembering these will be little uphill pushes on the way home), allowing riders to warm up their legs and enjoy the surrounding mountain vistas. As you pedal through the pristine wilderness, keep in mind that the weather can change rapidly in the mountains, so it's essential to be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear.

As you approach the final 2 kilometers, the road becomes steeper, presenting the most challenging part of the ride. The incline demands perseverance and mental fortitude, but the sense of achievement upon reaching the summit is unparalleled. Take a moment to catch your breath, marvel at the panoramic views of the rugged peaks and sprawling valleys, and appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

Wildlife Encounters: Highwood Pass is not only a haven for cyclists but also an important wildlife corridor. The road closure during the winter months facilitates the migration of various species, ensuring their safety and minimizing human interference. As you pedal along, keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of wildlife such as elk, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional black bear. Remember to maintain a respectful distance and never approach or disturb the animals. Observing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat adds an element of wonder to the cycling experience.

The Ride Back: After conquering the challenging uphill climb, the return journey provides an opportunity to revel in the thrill of a speedy descent. With gravity on your side, the ride back to your starting point is a joyous and exhilarating experience. Admire the scenic landscapes that seemed like an uphill battle just moments ago as you effortlessly glide down the mountain. However, it's crucial to exercise caution and control your speed, as the road can be winding and there may be other cyclists, wildlife or Alberta Parks vehicles sharing the route.

Tips for a Memorable Adventure:

  1. Assess Your Fitness Level.  Cycling Highwood Pass requires a good level of physical fitness due to the challenging uphill climb and the overall distance of the ride. Before embarking on this adventure, make sure you are adequately prepared and have trained to build the necessary endurance.

  2. Plan your ride during the period before the road opens to vehicles on June 15th. This way, you can fully enjoy the tranquil surroundings without the presence of cars or motorcycles.  Please remember the fact that cyclist are allowed is a privilege that could be revoked if abused so respect the wildlife and pack out everything you brought with you. The outhouses at the trailheads along the way are locked as the area officially is ‘closed’ and are not serviced until the 15th of June so bring a your own toilet paper and baggy & shovel should nature call…

  3. Check weather forecasts and dress in layers to accommodate changing conditions. Remember that mountain weather can be unpredictable, so it's wise to bring a waterproof jacket and warm clothing.

  4. Carry essential safety equipment, including a helmet, repair kit, spare tubes, and a pump. Additionally, bring plenty of water and energy snacks to stay hydrated and fueled throughout the ride.

  5. Respect wildlife and their habitat. Observe from a distance and refrain from littering or leaving any trace of your presence.

  6. Inform a friend or family member about your cycling plans, including your expected route and estimated return time, for safety purposes.

Cycling Highwood Pass is an adventure that showcases the beauty and challenges of Canada's highest paved road. The breathtaking scenery, the sense of accomplishment on reaching the summit, and the thrilling descent all combine to create a truly memorable experience.

*Note:  Starting at the North Gate to Highwood is the most popular route because of the proximity to Calgary but it is ‘short’ and steep.  You can also bike from the South gate coming from Longview which a longer distance (32.5 KM to Highwood pass) but a gentler climb as the vert is stretched out, it’s a total distance of approximately 75 KM as an out and back. The 3rd option is to go gate to gate which would require some logistics with a car drop/ride to one end or the other and would be a total cycling distance of 50 KM, you could start & finish in either direction but would require quite a bit of driving as you’re not ending at your start point. The last option for the ambitious, cycling enthusiasts would be a 100km roundtrip ride from gate to gate and back starting in whichever direction you prefer and I have no advice one this one because I value my sanity ;).

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Selling Summits vs. Selling Sunset:  Real Estate IRL vs. What You Binged on Netflix Last Night

The world of real estate has always fascinated us, capturing our imaginations and dreams. With the rise of reality TV shows like "Selling Sunset," we're given a glimpse into the glamorous and drama-filled world of selling high-end properties in Los Angeles. But when it comes to real estate in Canmore, Alberta, the reality is quite different. In this blog post, we'll explore the hopefully obvious disparities between selling real estate in Canmore and the extravagant portrayal seen on "Selling Sunset.


Fashion Styles:  In the glamorous world of "Selling Sunset," fashion takes center stage with high-end designer labels, chic dresses, and tailored suits that match the luxurious properties showcased on the show. However, in Canmore, the fashion scene embodies a unique "mountain professional" vibe. We embrace a practical yet stylish approach, where comfort meets outdoor-inspired fashion. Locals can be seen sporting their "Patagucci" gear, a playful blend of outdoor brands and fashion flair, as they navigate the breathtaking landscapes and engage in the real estate market. It's a fashion style that reflects our appreciation for the natural beauty of the mountains while maintaining a professional appearance.  Did I just come from a listing appointment or hit Horseshoe on my way to the office? And does it really matter?!  So, leave the stilettos behind and opt for Blundstones in the winter or Birkenstocks in the summer as you embrace the Canmore real estate scene.

Market Dynamics and Pricing:  While "Selling Sunset" showcases multi-million dollar properties with jaw-dropping price tags, Canmore's real estate market takes a more down-to-earth approach. Our market dynamics are influenced by factors like local economy, demand, and price. Don't expect extravagant mansions on every street corner; instead, we offer a balance of stunning properties at various price points and regardless of your budget, we’re all here to enjoy the same beautiful backyard that spans the entire Bow Valley.

Clientele and Property Types:  "Selling Sunset" may focus on the rich and famous, but in Canmore, we cater to a diverse range of clients - admittedly this does include celebs from time to time. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a family looking for a mountain retreat, or an investor seeking a rental property, we've got you covered. Our local real estate agents embrace versatility and work tirelessly to find the perfect property that suits your unique needs.

Negotiations and Timeframes:  In the world of "Selling Sunset," negotiations seem effortless, with deals closing in a flash. But in Canmore, we believe in taking our time and ensuring every aspect of the transaction is thoroughly examined. Negotiations can be a delicate dance, and closing a deal may take weeks or even months. We're not afraid to put in the time and effort to get the best outcome for our clients. After all, good things come to those who wait (and negotiate).  Not to mention here in CANADA, we are regulated by CANADIAN real estate rules & regulations.  If you would like to learn more about how we do real estate in Canada and Alberta specifically, please feel free to reach out and I can explain the process from start to finish but what you see on “Selling Sunset” does not mean you understand how to buy a house. Once again for those in the back, binging a Netflix show does not earn you a real estate license.

Marketing and Promotion:  While "Selling Sunset" dazzles us with luxury staging and extravagant open houses, Canmore's real estate marketing takes a more practical and cost-conscious approach. We know that a well-crafted listing with professional photos and compelling descriptions can do wonders. We rely on our witty writing skills and online platforms to attract potential buyers, keeping our marketing efforts effective without breaking the bank.  That being said Canmore does have a healthy luxury market which does require a bit more of the glitz and glam to properly showcase your property to the right buyers so make sure you interview local agents with an effective marketing strategy for your specific segment of the market (like Me!).

Professional Dynamics and Drama:  Ah, the drama on "Selling Sunset" is riveting, with personal conflicts and shocking revelations aplenty. But in Canmore, we keep it light-hearted and professional. Our team thrives on cooperation and collaboration, ensuring our clients' satisfaction without the need for a Hollywood-style feud. Drama is reserved for our favorite reality TV shows, not real estate transactions. We prioritize teamwork and a shared goal of delivering exceptional service, leaving the tabloid-worthy tales behind.

Boundaries:  In the fantastical world of "Selling Sunset," agents seem to blur the line between professional and personal, lounging in beds, swimming in pools, and hosting wild parties. But let's be real, in Canmore we understand the importance of discretion and respect your privacy. You won't find us cannonballing into your pool, filming TikToks on your stripper pole or spilling the tea while lounging on your bed. We're here to provide outstanding service, not turn your property into a comedy stage. Our priority is showcasing your property, not ourselves..

Selling real estate in Canmore is a unique adventure, far from the glitz of "Selling Sunset." We bring a down-to-earth approach and a dash of humor, focusing on fair pricing, diverse clients, patient negotiations, and smart marketing. But it's not just about the properties; we also embrace the irresistible mountain town lifestyle. As a Realtor, I walk the walk and live the mountain life, because how can I talk the talk if I don't live it? Together, we'll navigate the Canmore real estate journey with a smile.

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Unleashing Potential: An Introvert with Imposter Syndrome in Real Estate

When you picture a Realtor, you often imagine an outgoing extrovert who thrives in social settings and loves networking. But let me set the record straight: I'm a Realtor and I’m an introvert. That doesn’t mean I am shy or a wallflower who can’t hold my own in a social situation. Introverts like me gain energy from alone time, prefer deep conversations over small talk, and bring thoughtfulness to the table. Being an introverted Realtor in an extrovert-dominated world often triggers self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome because I challenge societal expectations, but through introspection and experience, I've discovered that embracing these feelings has actually fueled my personal growth and professional excellence. This positive transformation can be attributed to the following key traits of a person with Imposter Syndrome:

  1. Recognizing My Drive for Perfection: Imposter Syndrome frequently affects realtors who, like me, hold themselves to high standards of perfection. Although it can be overwhelming at times, I now see it as a reflection of my deep commitment to delivering exceptional service and results. Embracing my inner perfectionist allows me to continually refine my skills, go above and beyond for my clients, and strive for excellence in every aspect of my real estate career.

  2. Fostering a Humble and Learning Mindset: Imposter Syndrome keeps me grounded, preventing complacency and nurturing a continuous learning mindset. By questioning my abilities, I remain open to acquiring new knowledge and honing my skills. I've come to appreciate that the real estate industry is ever-evolving, and there is always something new to learn. Embracing the opportunity to seek advice and insights from more experienced colleagues and industry experts has been instrumental in my personal and professional development.

  3. Cultivating Empathy and Compassion: Experiencing Imposter Syndrome as a realtor has made me more empathetic towards clients who may feel overwhelmed by the complexities of buying or selling a property. Understanding the fear and doubt that can arise during such a significant life decision allows me to approach each interaction with compassion and empathy. By sharing my own vulnerabilities and offering support, I strive to create a trusting and supportive environment where clients feel heard and understood.

  4. Embracing a Growth Mindset: Imposter Syndrome has served as a catalyst for adopting a growth mindset within the real estate industry. Instead of viewing setbacks or challenges as signs of incompetence, I now reframe them as valuable learning opportunities. I've embraced the belief that with perseverance, dedication, and continuous improvement, I can overcome obstacles and achieve greater success. A growth mindset empowers me to adapt to changing market conditions, expand my skill set, and become a more effective and confident realtor.

  5. Celebrating My Milestones and Achievements: One common pitfall of Imposter Syndrome is downplaying or dismissing my accomplishments. However, I've realized the importance of recognizing and celebrating my achievements as a realtor. Each successful sale, satisfied client, or positive feedback is a testament to my hard work and expertise. I keep a record of these milestones, no matter how small they may seem, as a reminder of my growth and progress. Celebrating my achievements boosts my confidence, fuels my motivation, and reinforces my belief in my abilities.

Imposter Syndrome may have once been an unwelcome companion on my Realtor journey, but by embracing my strengths as an introvert, I have unlocked my potential for personal growth and professional excellence. I am a Realtor with a calm demeanor, deep listening skills, and a thoughtfully analytical approach, establishing genuine connections with clients to foster trust and understanding throughout their real estate journey.  I seek to work with Clients who appreciate the diverse strengths and qualities that individuals can bring when we break free from the confines of archetypes and revolutionize the real estate industry to create a culture that celebrates authenticity and innovation - that is to say, you’ll never see my face on a urinal cake.

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Like the Matterhorn of the Rockies: Stand out above the rest

When beginning the process to list your house for sale, the to-do list can be overwhelming! Decluttering, cleaning, making repairs, and staging the home to make it more attractive to potential buyers, not to mention depending on your circumstances, needing to find a new place to live yourself at the same time.  Think of all the time you've already had to sacrifice getting your property ready to list that could have been better spent on the trails? And you haven't even started actually trying to sell your home yet! The pre-listing stage is where a little sweat equity does really pay off, showing that pride of ownership makes a difference but after that, free yourself of the time & energy of trying to sell your home.

Beyond the time savings & stress management, here are a few other added benefits to working with an Agent:

  1. Sell Remotely: Digital signatures are the norm when buying or selling which allows for everything to be done remotely, which can be especially beneficial for sellers who are not able to physically be present during the sale. This can save time and reduce the need for travel, making the selling process more efficient and convenient.  All you need is to make sure you have reasonably reliable access to email & the occasional phone call/text throughout the listing & sale process.

  2. Stranger Danger:  One of the main benefits of working with a licensed real estate agent instead of attempting to sell a property as a for sale by owner (FSBO) is that the agent will handle all communication and interaction with potential buyers, eliminating the need for the seller to deal with strangers or other people directly. This can reduce stress and potential safety concerns for the seller, while also allowing the agent to use their expertise to screen potential buyers and negotiate on the seller's behalf, removing the personal bias or emotion that can interfere with negotiations when 2 parties have a common goal of completing a real estate transaction but opposing priorities in accomplishing that.

  3. Access to a network of potential buyers: Licensed real estate agents have access to a network of potential buyers, including other agents, which can increase the exposure of your property to a wider audience.

  4. Marketing expertise: Real estate agents have the knowledge and expertise to market your property effectively. They can create professional listings, conduct open houses, and advertise your property on multiple platforms to attract potential buyers.

  5. Price guidance: Real estate agents have access to real-time market data and can provide guidance on pricing your property. This can help you set a realistic price and avoid overpricing, which can deter potential buyers.

  6. Negotiation skills: Real estate agents have experience negotiating with buyers, and can help you get the best possible price for your property.

  7. Legal knowledge: Real estate agents are familiar with the legal requirements involved in selling a property in Alberta. They can help you navigate the paperwork and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

  8. Professional networking: Real estate agents have professional networks that include home inspectors, lawyers, and mortgage brokers. They can refer you to trusted professionals that can help with the sale of your property.

  9. Insurance:  In the event of a problem or dispute, clients can have peace of mind knowing that their Agent has insurance coverage through REIX (Real Estate Insurance Exchange), which can help to resolve the issue and potentially provide compensation if necessary.  The benefit of REIX for clients is that it provides an additional layer of protection and assurance, helping to build trust between the client and agent, and provide a sense of security throughout the transaction process.

While selling a property as for sale by owner can save you money on commission fees, it can also be more challenging and time-consuming. Working with a licensed real estate agent can provide you with many benefits and increase your chances of a successful sale at the best price with current market conditions.

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Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.