Edmonton’s Top 10 Neighborhoods & How They Got Their Names

Each year, Avenue Magazine publishes a list of the “best” neighborhoods in Edmonton, as voted by their readers. As you probably know, the list is fairly similar each year, but do you know how each neighborhood got it’s name? We have the list of the top ten neighborhoods in 2017 below, but with an added bonus of how each community got it’s name.

1. Glenora

The development of the Glenora neighborhood began in 1906. Land originally owned by Malcolm Groat was bought by Montreal businessman and developer James Carruthers. Carruthers named the area and persuaded the city to bridge Groat Ravine at 102 Avenue. Carruthers placed a caveat on the development, dictating housing standards in the area. The regulations were implemented in order to ensure that Glenora would be an upscale development. In 1909 the Alberta Government built Government House in Glenora as the official residence of the lieutenant-governor.


2. Strathcona

Strathcona was named for Sir Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal (1820-1914). He was born in Forres, near Inverness in northern Scotland, and apprenticed with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in 1838. Fifty years later, in 1889, Smith became governor of the company.

In the 1870’s, Smith was a politician and railroad financier who promoted the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). In 1896 he was appointed High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom. Smith held this position, and the governorship of the HBC, until his death. Smith can be seen in one of Canada’s most famous photographs: he is the white-haired top-hatted gentleman driving the last spike for the CPR ath Craigellachie, B.C., in 1885.

In 1891, a town site was established when the Calgary and Edmonton (C&E) Railway reached the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. Rather than embark on the building of a bridge across the river, the C&E located its terminus on the south side. Its plan was to promote “South Edmonton” as the areas major commercial centre in competition with Edmonton, on the north bank of the river. To this end, C&E purchased land for the establishment of a town site in the spring of 1891. By the end of 1898, South Edmonton was renamed Strathcona (informally known as Scona).

The high hopes for Strathcona were never quite fulfilled, however, and by 1910 the CPR had undertaken to build the High Level Bridge across the North Saskatchewan River. Stathcona became a town in 1899 and a city in 1907. The City of Strathcona amalgamated with Edmonton in 912.

The area now known as the Strathcona neighborhood was originally part of River Lots 15 and 17. Whyte Avenue between 101 Street and 109 Street is Strathcona’s traditional commercial area, and has gone through a number of transformations over the years. Through the efforts of the Old Strathcona Foundation and many others, much of the area’s original historical character has survived.


3. Oliver

Newspaperman and politician Frank Oliver (1853-1933) brought the first printing press to Edmonton and co-founded the Edmonton Bulletin in 1880. Oliver came to Edmonton in 1876 and went on to formulate much of the early legislation in the North-West Territories.

He was born in Ontario and attended high school in Brampton where he apprenticed at a local weekly newspaper. It was during this time that he dropped his original last name, Bowsfield, in favour of this mother’s maiden name, Oliver. The name change apparently followed a disagreement between Oliver and his father over his plants to enter the printing trade. Oliver later worked in the composing room of the Toronto Globe before coming west in 1873, where he was employed at the Manitoba Free Press and the Manitoba Journal. In 1876 he moved still further west to Edmonton, then only a small village controlled by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

After a telegraph line to Edmonton was established, bringing regular news from the rest of the country, Oliver went into partnership with the telegraph operator, Alex Taylor, and founded the Edmonton Bulletin. It was only the second newspaper on the prairies, the first being the Herald in Battleford, Saskatchewan. The first two-page edition of the Bulletin was published on December 6, 1880. In the paper’s editorials, Oliver was an outspoken and sometimes fiery supporter of the west. He lobbied for elected representation, protection of settler land rights and the building of schools. Between 1883 and 1885 he was a member of the Regina-based North-West Territories Council; he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories (which succeeded the council) and served from 1888 to 1896.

Under Liberal Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Oliver became the privince of Alberta’s first member of parliament in 1905. He sat in the House of Commons from 1896 to 1917, and was minister of the Interior and superintendent general of Indian Affairs from 1905 to 1911.


4. Westmount

Westmount, one of the oldest areas in Edmonton, may have been named for a Montreal neighborhood of the same name. Malcolm Groat settled here in 1878. In the early 1900’s, Groat sold his land and Westmount was quiclky developed. Most of the area’s homes were built around 1910. Marketed towards young professionals, the Westmount neighborhood was a popular location because of its proximity to downtown Edmonton. Beginning in 1910, residents could easily travel to and from downtown on the electric streetcar that ran from Jasper Avenue to 110 Avenue via 124 Street. The portion of Westmount located from 107 Avenue to 11 Avenue and 124 Street to 127 Street has also been known as West Ingle; the first settlers here were Malcolm Groat and John Norris.


5. Ritchie

Robert Ritchie (1848-1932) arrived in Edmonton from Ontario in the early 1890’s, just as development in South Edmonton was being spurred by the arrival of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway. In 1893 Ritchie and his brothers established the Edmonton Milling Company and built the Ritchie Mill. Ritchie went on to become the mayor of the Town of Strathcona in 1901, and again in 1906; he was also an alderman and school trustee. He retired in 1920. Ritchie School, built in 1913, was named in his honor. The area, present-day Ritchie neighborhood, was known as Richmond Park until the late 1950’s. In 1959, the name Ritchie first appeared on a city map.


6. Highlands

Now, in the early 21st century, the Highlands neighborhood can boast some of Edmonton’s best preserved historic homes and street-scapes, dating from 1912. In the 1880’s this area was known as the “lower settlement” and was originally owned by three Hudson’s Bay Company employees who were bought out by J.A. McDougall in 1888. By 1910 the real estate developers Magrath, Holgate, and Company, acting as brokers for McDougall, sponsored a contest to select a name for the district. The judges awarded the prize of $50 in gold to a 19-year-old law clerk, S. Loughlin, who suggested the name “The Highlands”, which is descriptive of its position on the banks above the North Saskatchewan River.

In 1910 William J. Magrath and Bidwell Holgate advertised the area as Edmonton’s newest “high class” neighborhood. Its selling features included the healthful, beautiful setting, large lots, and a $2500 minimum cost per house to ensure the standards of building would be high. So enthused were they about the area, they bought out J.A. McDougall’s interest in the land in 1913. Messsrs Holgate and Magrath also build houses next to each other on the Ada Boulevard in 1912-1913. Their houses were worth $49,000 and $76,000 respectively.


7. Garneau

Laurent Garneau (1840-1921) was of Metis descent and is believed to have been born in Michigan. He later moved to the Red River Colony in Manitoba, and in 1869 took part in the Red River uprising under Louis Riel, which led to the formation of Manitoba in 1870. By 1874 he had moved west to Fort Edmonton and by 1883 had been granted River Lot 7 in the Edmonton Settlement, on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River. He was active in local affairs and politics. After 1901, Garneau moved to St. Paul. His property, known as “The Garneau,” became part of the Town of Strathcona, and later, in 1912, part of Edmonton. That part of Garneau south of Whyte Avenue was part of a subdivision formerly known as Strathcona Place.


8. Downtown

In the late 1800’s, as the town of Edmonton began to develop outside Fort Edmonton, Edmonton’s downtown was established to the east of the Hudson’s Bay Company Reserve. At the turn of the 20th Century, Jasper Avenue and 97 Street were the hub of downtown activity. Much of the Downtown neighborhood is now located to the west, within the southern portion of the original Reserve. By the late 1980’s, Edmonton’s downtown was being challenged for its position as the city’s center of business and commerce by suburban shopping malls and commercial trips. Nevertheless, the Downtown neighborhood continues to be an important cultural, historic, governmental, and business area.


9. Crestwood

Crestwood neighborhood was developed around 1952. It had formerly been know as the Jasper Place and Capital Hill subdivisions. City council allowed the local community league to help choose and vote on the new name.


10. Bonnie Doon

The neighborhood of Bonnie Doon was named around 1912. The name is Scottish for “pleasant, rolling countryside.” In the early 1900’s, Canadian-born Premier Alexander Cameron Rutherford owned a portion of land east of the Mill Creek which later became part of the Bonnie Doon neighborhood. Rutherford is believed to have subdivided the land in 1906 and then named it Bonnie Doon in memory of his ancestral homeland, Scotland. He also named a second, nearby subdivision Scona Brae (the subdivision no longer exists under this name). In keeping with Rutherford’s fondness for reminders of Scotland, his second home, located along Saskatchewan Drive, was named Achnacarry, after a castle in the County of Inverness, Scotland.


Naming Edmonton, From Ada to Zoie, published by the University of Alberta Press.






Living Next To Transmission Lines: Will I Get Sick?


The internet is great. It facilitates access to essentially all of the accumulated knowledge on Earth. The open source architecture of the internet allows anyone to create content, which for the most part is in the public interest. However, as most people are aware, there is content on the web which is created either for malicious intent (ie. to sell you something), or simply out of plain old ignorance. This brief blog aims at dispelling a certain myth perpetuated by both of those latter circumstances.


That myth is: Transmission lines cause, among other ailments, cancer and neurological disorders.


Transmission lines are so commonplace that most people are simply immune to their presence within their field of vision. However, when you are purchasing a house, they stick out like a sore thumb. Other than the obvious aesthetic drawbacks to a large transmission line neighboring your backyard, there is a worry about the negative health effects which accompany them.

The debate around the harmfulness of transmission lines is fueled directly from a fundamental misunderstanding of what “radiation” is. There are two types of radiation, non-ionizing and ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation does not possess the energy required to strip electrons (or ionize) from atoms. Ionizing radiation carries enough energy to knock electrons from their orbit, thus being able to change molecular compositions, which in turn may alter cellular DNA.

Transmission lines, microwave ovens, cellular telephones, FM and AM radio, and all household electrical appliances emit non-ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation can come from many sources, which may include cosmic radiation, medical imaging, industrial sterilization, and smoke detectors.

At this point, the debate should be over. Transmission lines do NOT emit the type of radiation necessary to impact humans in any negative way.


However, as this common misconception is still alive and well, below is further discussion on the subject.

Here are some excerpts from sources asserting that electromagnetic fields (EMF) from transmission lines are a direct cause of health ailments in humans.

From safespace (

“Strong, artificial EMFs that radiate from power lines can scramble and interfere with your body’s natural EMF, affecting everything from your sleep cycles and stress levels to your immune response and DNA!”

There is no evidence to suggest that the EMF propagated from transmission lines have any causal relationship with anything stated above. A 2002 study commissioned by the WHO (World Health Organization) titled “IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans” says the following:

“There is little experimental or theoretical evidence that mutations could be directly caused by ELF [extremely low frequency] magnetic fields… There is little evidence that ELF electric or magnetic fields can cause malignant transformation of cells in culture.”

A convenient graphic is also shown, which based on your proximity to the transmission line, puts you at risk of many illnesses and disorders.

This graphic, while hilariously incorrect, does raise an important question: what exactly is the field strength based on the proximity to transmission lines?


Well, this is easily determined with a high amount of accuracy, and is shown by the below graphic.

Source: Atco Electric

A typical 240kV transmission line right-of-way is about 60m in width. This means that if you are standing directly adjacent to the right of way, the highest magnetic field you would be exposed to is about 8 milligauss. For reference, standing a foot away from your electric stove or a fluorescent desk lamp would expose you to over three times that amount.

From Life Energy Designs (

“Another, well researched, way in which EMF interacts with our bodies is through the pineal gland and melatonin reduction… Cancer and other serious conditions are possible results of interrupting this bodily repair cycle.”

Again, this statement is easily refutable. A study produced in 2013 by Elliott et al (, came up with the following conclusion:

“Our results do not support an epidemiologic association of adult cancers with residential magnetic fields in proximity to high-voltage overhead power lines.”


Of course, as per the scientific method, it is impossible to prove that there is anything on the planet which is correlated with no known health risks. Research can only tell us that no observable correlation to negative health effects exists in any one study. After that, it all comes down to a simple risk/reward approach.

Transmission lines do not cause cancer or any other illness as some may suggest.

They may however, block a tad bit of your view.


Daniel Lang, P.Eng.


Connect with Daniel here!







Edmonton Housing Forecast For 2017

“2016 turned out to be a stable year, and we aren’t forecasting anything dramatic for 2017”


Earlier this month, the Realtors Association of Edmonton hosted the 2017 Housing Forecast for our city. It was jam-packed with great information on what we can expect from the real estate market this year, and I am happy to give you the highlights of the presentation.


Of course, we can’t forecast the future without taking a look at 2016 first! 2016 and 2015 were quite similar: over all, the prices stayed strong, there was a lot of inventory, but there was a dip in sales. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the market looked like last year:

  • Single family home sales were down 5.4% from 2015
  • Condo unit sales were down 14% from 2015
  • Duplex/Row house sales went up 8.3% from 2015
  • All residential sales were down 6.7% from 2015


As we look at sales within Edmonton, a few “hotspot” neighbourhoods had the most sales in 2016. For single-family homes, Summerside, Windermere, and The Hamptons were the most popular in sales. The communities with the highest sales in condo units were Oliver, Downtown Edmonton, and Rutherford. When it comes to duplexes and row houses, the neighbourhoods with the most sales in 2016 are Walker, Chappelle Area, and The Hamptons.


Selling a home took a bit longer in 2016, as we saw an overall increase in days on market for all property categories. Single family homes averaged about 52 days on market in 2016, condominium units averaged 63 days on market, and duplex and row house properties averaged 62 days on the market. Although days on market have increased from 2015, the average has remained stable since 2008.


We also saw some great new inventory in 2016. The top three communities with the most single family listings last year were Summerside, Windermere, and The Hamptons, which does make sense since they had the highest single family sales in 2016. The top three communities with the most condo listings were Oliver, Downtown Edmonton, and Rutherford – again, the areas with the most condo sales in 2016. Lastly, the communities that listed the most duplex and row house properties were the Chappelle Area, Laurel, and Walker.


Now, looking onward to 2017!


The good news is that major banks are expecting GDP growth in Alberta, but it won’t take place right away. Because employment rates will take a bit to catch up, we will not see this change in the housing market until mid to late 2017. As well, lower rental rates and higher vacancy rates will keep buyers who are already on the fence at bay just a bit longer until growth takes place. The increase in mortgage rates are thought to be quite minimal, so impacts on the market in this way will be minor.


Looking at the sales forecast for 2017, the predictions are that overall residential sales will decrease 1.3% in 2017. For single-family homes, it is expected that there will be a decline of 1.7% in sales over 2017. With economical growth expected in the second half of the year, a dip in single-family sales is only predicted for the first half of the year. Last year there was strength in the price of $325,000 – $425,000 with multiple offer situations happening, and this expected to continue in 2017.


The number of condo sales this year are expected to increase 0.2%, as there was a rise in inventory in the condo market last year, and this will make condo prices more competitive for 2017. Because condos are generally more affordable, it is expected that more buyers will purchase condo properties instead of single-family homes in 2017. And although duplex and row house sales increased in 2016, we are looking at an expected decrease of 1% in sales for this year.


Looking at inventory for 2017, it is forecasted that single-family homes will see a small increase of 0.5% in their inventory. Condos are expected to also see an increase of 1.1%, and duplexes and row houses will see a 0.5% decrease of inventory in 2017.


Residential prices are also expected to drop in 2017, with an average overall price drop of 1.3%. Single-family homes are expected to drop 2.2% in average price, as it is predicted that less higher priced properties (over $500,000) will sell this year. Although there is so much great inventory in condo units, the prices are also expecting a decrease of 3.8% this year. Duplex and row house sales however, are expecting a price increase of 0.5% in 2017.


Now that you’ve worked through all of this information, here’s a quick summary of what the market is going to look like in 2017!


Have questions about buying or selling in today’s market? Click here to get in touch. Let’s chat!













Why Use a Realtor to Buy a New Home?


Many people think that when you are purchasing a new build, you might not need a Realtor. However, I highly recommend you have a Realtor to represent you – there are so many factors that go into buying a new home! As your agent, I can help with all aspects of your transaction, including:

  • The location, design, layout, and features of your new home – I have a unique aspect and can help you see what qualities are better for resale value in your new home
  • I can help you understand all that paperwork – what it all means, what can go wrong, and what to expect
  • I have so much experience in negotiating, and I can help you get the right price, the perfect upgrades, and the contract terms that suit you
  • I will be facilitating in the buying process from beginning to end – going through step by step and what to expect after each phase, including who to call and talk to, and when
  • I can give you objective professional advice and insight during all phases of the process, such as contract, construction, walkthrough, and closing
  • While the sale representative will always give the appearance that sales prices are non-negotiable, I am able to use recent and historical sales data to aid in the negotiation, data that is not available during new construction.
  • I have knowledge of and the ability to leverage contracts, real estate law and the real estate community when/if things go awry with the builder
  • Working with me will give you access to my contact sphere of vetted professionals who I have spent many years building relationships with, including mortgage brokers, bank managers, builders, contractors, tradesmen, lawyers, and home inspectors
  • I can help you with information on Alberta New Home Warranty

When buying a new home, it is easy to forget that the salesperson is working for the builder. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and trained to make you feel comfortable. When working with a Realtor you have someone who is legally mandated to look out for you and your best interests before, during, and even after your transaction!

Just the other day I had a client who had purchased a brand new Brookfield home. He spotted a foundation crack with water leaking in to his basement. He was obviously panicked. He sent me a text at 10:00 pm at night, and because I am a bit of a workaholic I was up and working and jumped at the chance to help. I connected him with his warranty partner, explained how the process will work, and within 24 hours he had all he needed to start the process of fixing the issue.

Buying a new home is a very emotional and exciting time, and sometimes this can cause some “blindness” in buyers. My ten years of experience selling homes (old and new) has made me immune to the emotion when buying. This allows me to be unbiased and because I always align myself with my client’s goals I am able to see things from your point of view but as a professional realtor.

Still have questions about buying a new home? Let’s chat! Click here to send me a quick email.

How to Stage Your Home Like A Pro Part Two

how to


Last week, we released part one of this post. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here! Read on below to get the best tips for staging your space to sell your home fast. 


  • It’s time to get out your cleaning equipment and scrub away all the built up grime on every surface of your bathroom, such as water stains, and soap scum.
  • Consider completing tasks such as re-caulking around the tub, painting the tile (this is much less expensive than replacing the tile, and can turn out to be a very beautiful upgrade), replace old towels with new and clean towels, un-clogging and cleaning drains, and fixing a leaky toilet.
  • Put away all your personal toiletries, from medicine to razors, and add in some spa-inspired items, such as nice soap dispensers, candles, and plants.

Walls, Windows & More

  • Brighten up dark rooms and hallways with a fresh coat of light neutral coloured paint, or add in a mirror to create a larger space.
  • Even out the nicks in your walls by filling them and touch up these spots with some paint.
  • To keep your home modern, paint over any wood panelling – if you want to you can fill in the panel lines with wood filler and paint over the whole thing, or keep the panelling as an interesting texture.
  • It’s also important to ensure that all your switch plates and outlet covers match and look new. Replace them if necessary.
  • De-personalize the space by removing your family photos and replace with interesting, modern art.
  • Lastly, wash all the walls and windows, you’d be surprised at how grimy they get from day-to-day life.

Throughout the House

  • Think about every possible way you can de-clutter, whether that’s getting ruthless and getting rid of things, or boxing them away for later assessment.
  • Keep any storage space as empty as possible so buyers can see how large the space really is.
  • Make your unused space functional – add in a desk or reading nook so buyers can see how to utilize your space.
  • Lastly, keep your floors updated by replacing any broken boards and deep cleaning your carpets.


  • Freshen up the outside of your house by re-staining your porch and deck, and re-painting your door.
  • Keep your colour neutral or to red, black, or something that compliments the trim and won’t blend in too much. Before painting, it might be a good idea to power-wash everything.
  • It’s also important to make sure all your lights, doorbells, doorknobs, and locks are working, and if they aren’t it’s time to replace that.
  • Take a good look at your landscape, and see what upgrades you can do. We have published a great post on landscaping to sell your home here.

For Pet Owners

  • Deep clean all carpet and textile areas, and use a specialized carpet or textile cleaner made specifically for removing pet odours.
  • Stash away any pet toys, and check the yard for those special “presents” your animal may leave behind.
  • For showings and open houses, find a place where you can take your furry friend for the time, as pets can be very distracting to potential buyers.


Day of Showing

  • Add something special with a seasonal accent, such as a bouquet of flowers in the warmer weather, or simmering cinnamon sticks in the cold months.
  • Try not to do any cooking, as it might leave behind an unpleasant scent. Instead, you might want to bake cookies to leave a nice smell in your home.
  • Clean and tidy up everything as best as you can.

Now you can stage your home like a pro! Have questions about selling your home? Let’s chat!






Maintaining Your Home: Laundry and Utility Rooms


I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Referring my clients to a house inspector who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important. Brad Hanson from Hanson Inspections has proven himself to be one of the best home inspectors I have had to privilege to work with over the years. Here is Brad letting giving us a few tips on how to maintain and upgrade a few specific rooms in our homes.


There are a few things every homeowner should know to help him or her get the most out of their home. Each month, you’ll find plenty of useful information for keeping your house in great condition so that you can enjoy it for years to come. Preserve your investment, and keep your family safe and healthy, by maintaining your home using the following tips.

Laundry and Utility Rooms

Laundry Room: Watch for leaks and kinks developing at plumbing connections to the washing machine. Water can overflow from the top or bottom if the machine is overloaded with a load that’s too big, or if it is resting on an uneven surface.
Protect the electrical or natural gas connections to the dryer and ensure that they are not disturbed or accidentally dislodged from their connections.
A gas dryer vent that passes through walls or combustible materials must be made of metal. The length of a dryer exhaust ensures that its blower will be able to push sufficient air volume to take away the laundry’s damp air and lint. The maximum length of the exhaust hose should not be greater than 25 feet from the dryer to the termination at the wall or roof. The length can be increased only when the make and model of the dryer are known.
Inspect the dryer venting to make sure it is not clogged or restricted, which will help the unit operate efficiently and normally, as well as prevent the unit’s motor from overheating and failing. A clogged or restricted vent hose may also lead to an accidental fire caused by the ignition from built-up debris.
The clothes dryer exhaust poses a different problem than other exhaust systems because the air is damp and carries lint. Ensure that the vent exhausts go to the outside and not to the attic, crawlspace, or attached garage, because the wooden structural members of the house could be affected over time. The exhaust vent’s termination should have a backdraft damper installed to prevent cold air, rain, snow, rodents, and birds from entering the vent. The vent termination should not have a screen on it, as this can trap lint and other debris and pose a fire hazard.

Furnace Room: Rooms or closets containing combustion or fuel-burning equipment or appliances should not be located off a bedroom in a single-family residence (and must be in a publicly accessible area in a multi-family building).

Retaining Walls

If possible, weep holes and related drains should be assessed following a heavy rain to make sure they are working properly. If they are not discharging water, the drains should be cleaned out and observed again in the next rain. Retaining walls more than 2 feet high should be backed with drainage material, such as gravel. There should be drains at the bottom of the drainage material that should discharge the water either at the end of the wall or through pipes. These drains and the drainage material behind the wall relieve the pressure of groundwater on the wall. Failure to drain could be remedied by excavating behind the wall, replacing the drainage material and damaged drainage piping, and backfilling. In all but the driest climates, improper drainage of water from behind a retaining wall can cause the wall to fail.
Look for movement in your retaining walls. Bowing (vertical bulges), sweeping (horizontal bulges), and cracking in retaining walls can be caused by water pressure (or hydrostatic pressure). Bulging can also be a result of inadequate strength to resist the load of the earth behind the wall. Bowing and sweeping failures may be correctable if found early enough and if the cause is poor drainage.
There are other types of failures of retaining walls. Failure by over-turning (leaning from the top) or sliding may be caused by inadequate wall strength. In addition, water behind a wall can create unstable earth, especially in clay soils, and contribute to sliding. Retaining walls also fail due to settlement and heaving. Settlement occurs whenever filled earth below the wall compacts soon after the wall is built, or when wet earth caused by poor drainage dries out and soil consolidates. In cold climates, poor drainage contributes to failure by creating heaving from frozen ground. Both overturning and sliding earth may be stabilized and sometimes corrected if the amount of movement is not extreme. Settling may be corrected on small, low walls of concrete or masonry, and heaving may be controlled by proper drainage. Significant failure of any kind usually requires rebuilding or replacing all or part of a wall. Consult a qualified professional when major repairs or corrections are needed.


Have a few more questions about home inspections? Connect with Brad through his website.



Picture source:

What is Good Credit and Why Does it Matter?

what is


I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Sending my clients to a mortgage broker who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important.  Lisa Last from River City Financial has proven herself to be one of the best mortgage brokers I have had to privilege to work with over the last 9 years. Here is Lisa letting us all know what you can expect during your first meeting with an experience mortgage broker like herself.


Credit. Another thing to worry about, right? Well, here are a few simple, easy-to-understand things that you need to know about credit. Essentially it’s your financial scorecard that the business world uses to determine whether or not they should, say, loan you money for a house, give you a credit card, rent to you, employ you, insure you, etc. (see the whole list of who checks your credit here). Your score can range from 300-850 points, and a higher score is better. Your credit score tells whoever is inquiring how good you are with your money. It’s pretty simple in theory: Pay your bills on time and you’ll look great, but if you have money problems, your credit score might hold you back.


Here are five things you can do to get a good rating:


  1. Pay your bills on time. 35% of the score is based on your ability to make payments on your car loans, phone bills, lines of credit, etc. If you make payments later than 90 days after or have something go through collections, your score can be affected.
  2. Don’t owe more than 90% of the credit available to you. Creditors want to know that you aren’t maxed out all the time.
  3. Have credit available to you for a long time, and the longer the better.
  4. Having different kinds of credit is good. A mix of a mortgage, a car loan, student loans, and credit cards is better than just credit cards alone.
  5. Don’t get your credit checked if you can avoid it. Each time your credit is checked, it can take up to 50 points off your credit score!


Now I want to point out a few things you can avoid doing. I know it can be challenging to be financially wise all the time, but maybe if you read them, you’ll remember and try to avoid doing these things, because good credit is the goal!

  1. Avoid always paying the minimum payment. Sure, it’s not going to make next month’s bill any smaller, but paying off more than the required amount is a good idea.
  2. Try not to have leftover amounts carry over from bill to bill. This just creates a perpetually overdue account. Not good.
  3. Don’t ignore bills completely or live with maxed out credit cards. As you can guess, both of these things are even worse for your credit than just making minimum payments.
  4. Avoid applying for loans all over the place trying to get someone to approve you. Chances are that if one turns you down, most of them are probably going to turn you down. Work at restoring your credit for 6 months and then try again.
  5. Try not to apply for bankruptcy or default on your mortgage payments. Basically, avoid these at all costs. The word “devastation” comes to mind when I think about what these things can do to your credit.


Still have questions about credit? Let’s chat!

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Sell Your Home with Landscaping Tips and Tricks


Spring is here and it’s time to start revamping your yard, especially if you plan to sell your house this summer. First impressions make a big difference on a buyer, and the first time your buyer forms an opinion of your house is from it’s curb appeal. Although yardwork and landscaping can often be neglected while selling a home, as much as 10% extra value can be added to your home through beautifying your yard.

Give yourself time to start working on your yard – at least a month before you plan to list – to get your yard looking just right, instead of looking haphazardly thrown together. Here is a guideline with a few tips you can follow to get your yard in ship-shape for selling.


Fix Up Outdoor Containers

Quite a lot of interest can be added to green spaces, patios, doorways, walkways, and difficult spaces in your yard through container gardens. A container garden can be anything from simple succulents to flowers and vegetables, to large tropicals, adding different levels of greenery. These touches can also show how endless the possibilities are when designing and landscaping a yard, especially with a more difficult space.


Layer On Some Mulch

Probably one of the easiest and cheapest steps to take, yet will add some invaluable tidiness to your garden bed, is adding a new layer of mulch. New mulch will make your foliage stand out and add some contrast and new colour to your beds.


Add In Colour

Greenery is especially treasured here in Alberta, but colourful plants will add even more beauty to all that greenery, and will break up monotone yards. Add in layers or splashes of colour, or opt for a garden with a monochromatic theme – whatever style will suit your home best.


Get Pruning

Another inexpensive way to clean up your yard is to spend time shaping overgrown foliage. It might be easy to overlook this chore throughout the seasons, but gardens will show signs of neglect quickly if they are not taken care of – and that is not something you want to present to a potential buyer.


Spend Time With Your Perennials

It is a good idea to spend time replacing or tidying up your perennials that might not be looking as nice as they should. If you don’t want to replace the plant, you can always put an ornamental pot or container garden in its place. This is also a good time to think about what plants you will be taking with you when you move, and to possibly dig those up – or be sure to let potential buyers know which plants will still be in the yard after you sell.


Tidy Up Water Accents

Neglected features containing water, such as fountains, bird baths, and small pools in your landscape can easily collect algae or leaves. It’s important to keep these clean and updated, as a nasty looking water feature can turn off buyers instantly.


Fix Up Irrigation Concerns

Potential buyers can also be turned off by expensive updates and repairs, so make them before you list your house. Irrigation issues fall under this, as they can be time consuming and costly, so be sure to fix it right away. It’s also a good idea to provide information about irrigation in your yard – the schedule, system, and any instructions.


Take Care of Faucet Leaks

Faucet leaks might not seem like a big deal, but sometimes they can point to other issues on the property with plumbing. As you can imagine, a potential buyer might stray away from this. If you are able to repair these leaks, it’s best to do them right away. It’s a good idea to quickly water your yard and greenery before a showing happens at your home, as it shows buyers that your space is well managed.


Power-Wash Your Space

Rent or purchase a power-washer to clean hard surfaces, such as driveways or cement pads in your yard. This step can make rundown areas look all shiny and new. A power washer can also help clean other surfaces, such as brick, vinyl, and fences.


Label Your Plants

Lastly, providing potential buyers with garden and plant information is a great extra bonus for showings. Leaving a garden plan behind, or even labels in the garden, will eliminate a lot of work for your home’s new owner, and they will greatly appreciate your effort. This is also perfect for showings as some long term plants, or ones that may be difficult to grow can add extra value to your home.









What To Bring To A Mortgage Broker Appointment



I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Sending my clients to a mortgage broker who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important.  Lisa Last from River City Financial has proven herself to be one of the best mortgage brokers I have had to privilege to work with over the last 9 years. Here is Lisa letting us all know what you can expect during your first meeting with an experience mortgage broker like herself.


We understand how exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, it can be once you decide you want to buy a home – especially if it’s your first time.


First and foremost, we recommend working with both a real estate agent and a mortgage broker that you can trust. Both do very different, yet very essential, jobs when it comes to finding and financing your dream home.


Before you start shopping, it is best to book an appointment with a qualified mortgage broker to determine your budget for purchasing a home. There is no point in looking at gorgeous houses that are nowhere near your price range.


“Why would I work with a mortgage broker when I can just go to my bank?” you might ask.


Working with a mortgage broker benefits you as the homebuyer in so many ways!


For instance, it’s free; the lender compensates us. We also have years of experience and tons of knowledge to offer you as we plan for your purchase as well as other long-term financial goals.

Also, unlike the bank, we have access to a variety of lenders, rates, and flexible options that make getting the mortgage you actually want a whole lot easier.


A good mortgage broker will work with you at your first appointment to cover the following:

* Answer any burning questions you may have about the financing process or home buying in general.

* Determine your budget for purchasing your home – this is unique for everyone, as we all have different financial circumstances that will come into play when applying for a mortgage.

* To get you a pre-approval so you and your agent can go shopping with the peace of mind that you know exactly what your budget is.

Typically, most professional real estate agents will send you to get a mortgage pre-approval before they shop for homes with you anyway.


Either way, if you have mortgage on your mind – it’s time to book an appointment with a mortgage broker!


While this first meeting is kind of a meet and greet, you’ll want to get down to business right away. To do so, there are a few documents that you’ll want to have at the ready so that your mortgage broker can take a holistic look at your unique financial circumstances, offer personalized service, and truly connect you with the best-fitting mortgage from a variety of lenders.

Here is a comprehensive list of the documents and information that you should bring to your mortgage appointment:

  1. Job Letter – This must be on a company letterhead, and should state your position, start date, guaranteed wage, and be signed by a direct manager or human resources. This letter must be dated within 30 days of your home purchase.
  2. Current Paystubs – Please bring two consecutive paystubs that are dated within the last 30 days.
  3. Notice of Assessments – Please bring your tax assessments from the past two years.
  4. T4’s – If you have been at your job for less than 1 year or have worked part-time, please provide us with T4’s from the past two years.
  5. 90-day Bank Statements – Please bring a 90-day bank statement from the bank or investment account that is holding your down payment. This statement must show both your name and your account number.
  6. Identification – Please bring a copy of your photo ID, either your Driver’s License, Passport, or another form of government issued photo ID.
  7. Details of Liabilities – If you carry a credit card balance, have vehicle financing, or other consumer loans, please bring your statements from the last 3 months.
  8. Void Cheque – Please bring a void cheque for the account that you want the mortgage payment to come out of. A stamped, pre-authorized direct debit form from your bank is also acceptable.
  9. Realtor® Contact Information
  10. Lawyer Contact Information


Are you self-employed?

In addition to the documents above, please bring the following:

  1. Complete T-1 General – We require this for the past 2 years, and if you are a sole proprietor, please include a Statement of Business Activities as well.
  2. Company Financials – If you are a professional corporation (PC), incorporated (INC), or limited (LTD), please provide us with company financials from the past 2 years.


Do you own an existing property, second home or rental property?

In addition to the documents above, please bring the following:

  1. Current Mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit Statement
  2. Property Tax Assessment – Please bring your most recent copy.
  3. Lease Agreement – You only need to provide this if you currently have a tenant.


We know exactly what it feels like to be scrambling at the last minute to find essential paperwork. Let our list take the stress out of the process, and get organized before you meet with your mortgage broker.


Have questions or concerns about the required documents? Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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