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YOUR City Property Taxes… Where does the money go?

Sat, 31 May by mcnabhomes

MP900448757_eb2d25af26bda702f924e68c0889ad6cTHEY ARE YOUR PROPERTY TAXES… LEARN HERE WHERE THE MONEY GOES!

 

Every spring property owners in our city watch their mailboxes, and prepare to fork over some hard-earned cash when the tax notice arrives. You have more than likely received yours by now.

These notices disclose the amount of money owed to the city and province, and can vary from resident to resident.

Calculated based on a property assessment completed earlier in the year, the taxes you are required to pay are influenced by your property’s size, quality, age, lot size, and location. Once paid, taxes are put towards supporting a variety of services within our community.

All this is fairly common knowledge that probably sounds painfully familiar to tax payers. So let’s be honest, what we really want is a simple explanation for where the money goes.

Thankfully, we’ve managed to enlist the help of Corey Wright, Director of Corporate Services with the City of Lethbridge, to make all the tax jargon, calculations, and information a little easier to digest.

Corey explains that while many people believe property taxes are solely controlled by the City of Lethbridge, this is simply not the case. “In fact, about 25 per cent of the residential tax bill is charged by the Province of Alberta and goes directly to them to fund education within the province,” he reveals.

So, where does the rest of the money go?

Taxes are complicated and math sucks, so it’s only natural we tax payers have developed some misconceptions about the way taxes actually work. Here’s how it all breaks down:

tax

So now that you see where most of your dollars go, it’s obvious one of the most common misunderstandings about property taxes is that they fund all City services. In reality, only 35 per cent of these services’ operating costs come from taxes. “The remainder comes from things like utility rates, user fees, and licensing,” states Corey.

Another myth is that new infrastructure and facilities in our community are paid for by property taxes. “In fact, property taxes fund less than 10 per cent of capital projects, with a high proportion of capital funding coming from provincial and federal grants,” he adds.

While it’s understood that the market value of a property is determined in the assessment, Corey explains that many of us also incorrectly assume that when property market values increase as a whole, the City receives more tax dollars. “If market values increase overall, the tax rate is decreased correspondingly so that the total amount of property taxes charged is equal to what was approved in the operating budget,” he says.

This means that overall market values across Lethbridge don’t play a role in determining the amount of revenue collected.  However, changes in market value do affect taxes when you’re dealing with a specific property.

The average property tax bill for 2014 increased an average of 2.88 per cent from last year, while market values for single family residential properties in Lethbridge increased by an average of .7 per cent. Properties that experienced an above average increase in market value will receive tax notices that have increased above the 2.88 per cent average as well. “Of course that would hold true for a property with a market value change lower than the average for the community,” Corey clarifies.

So now that you know how taxes are determined and what they fund, you’re ready to write that big fat cheque. This year property taxes are due June 30.

With all your new-found wisdom you’re ready to navigate the ever-complicated world of taxes with ease!

The deadline to pay your property taxes is June 30. For more information on your City property taxes visit www.lethbridge.ca/taxes

Mark Carney is now shrugging off concerns about Canada’s Housing Market

Tue, 27 May by mcnabhomes

Mark Carney is now shrugging off concerns about Canada’s housing market.-OUKBS-UK-BRITAIN-BANKS-STA

As he steps up his battle to contain Britain’s rapidly growing house prices, Mr. Carney’s track record in Canada is coming under more scrutiny. And he’s fighting back by suggesting that Canada’s problems are peanuts next to those in the U.K.

In an interview with Sky News this weekend, Mr. Carney, the former Bank of Canada chief and current Bank of England governor, told his interviewer Dermot Murnaghan that “we could do more” to keep a lid on the British housing market, including limiting certain types of mortgages and ensuring individuals could afford loans at much higher interest rates.

In response, Mr. Murnaghan pointed out that Canada adopted some such measures when Mr. Carney was here, and suggested they haven’t worked. “Are you in danger of having been the governor in two countries that left behind them a housing boom?” Mr. Murnaghan asked.

Mr. Carney said that he left Canada at a time when inflation was on target and the economy was the best performing among the G7 nations.

Moreover, he said that “the housing market in Canada, in terms of valuation, is about 50 per cent less in terms of valuation metrics than the housing market in the United Kingdom. So let’s focus on the United Kingdom.

“The issues around the housing market in the United Kingdom, the longer-term structural issues I think you know, there are not sufficient houses built in the U.K.,” he added. “To go back to Canada, there are half as many people in Canada as in the U.K…twice as many houses are built every year in Canada as in the U.K., which just gives you a sense of the orders of magnitude of the supply problems.”

Click this link to read the full article… http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/carney-says-supply-behind-uks-housing-woes-defends-canadian-record/article18752556/

Grow Ops a Concern for Home Buyers

Wed, 21 May by mcnabhomes

Local realtors applaud the government’s report on recommendations to combat the negative effects of marijuana grow operations on residents, their homes, and their neighbourhoods.

The report was released by Justice Minister Jonathan Denis earlier this month and it includes 37 recommendations about the health, safety and remediation of former marijuana grow-operations.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Brad Kopp, president of the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA).

“Albertans need to be protected in the event a property becomes ‘sick’ after re-habitation due to the reoccurrence of mold or other toxins. Guidelines are also needed for properties that fail remediation standards, so they don’t become blights on our communities,” said Brad Cook of the Lethbridge & District Association of Realtors in a news release.

“We know that each municipality has their own standards of remediation to make the home safe again. However, what happens is those homes, when they’re used for a grow op, for example, and in the case of the floods, mold is an ongoing concern. What happens is the home becomes sick again and you don’t know it,” Kopp said.

AREA put forth the air quality standards that made their way into the report’s recommendations and it’s pushing to have consistent, province-wide remediation and air quality standards put in place for grow ops.

Kopp said they’re also recommending the government establish a database where grow ops and remediations could be listed.

“That answers everybody’s questions,” Kopp said. “If there’s a certain standard that’s met across the province rather than each municipality then we know it’s going to be a safer home for the consumer to move into.”

In 2011, the RCMP dismantled 4,367 grow ops in Canada, Kopp said. The number doesn’t include those dismantled by city or municipal police forces.

The recommendations identify the need for public education on how to spot a marijuana grow operation, the safety and health risks of grow ops and how to report suspected grow ops. Improved police reporting and better communication between police agencies and municipalities, and other agencies requiring knowledge, is also recommended.

The recommendations also ask the government to consider options to require real estate agents, when they have knowledge, to disclose to potential buyers that the property was previously a grow op. As it stands now, under common law, the listing agent has the same obligation to disclosure as the seller. So if the seller must disclose, then so must the listing agent.

Government also needs to ensure mortgage lenders and insurance companies will mortgage and insure remediated properties.

Article courtesy of The Lethbridge Herald written by Caroline Zentner

Protect your HOME from Vandalism

Mon, 19 May by mcnabhomes

It’s almost Summer and most of us leave our homes unattended for a long period of time while vacationing. Here are some tips to keeping your home safe this Summer;

Protect Your Home From Vandalism and Burglary

When you go on vacation, or simply leave for work in the morning, the last thing you want to worry about is the security of your home. Visibly empty houses are prime targets for vandalism or break-ins, and the threat is real.

By now, you probably know the drill: always lock your doors and windows, stop your mail and newspapers prior to vacations, and put your lights on a timer.  Here are some additional helpful suggestions to prevent you from becoming a victim of a burglary or an act of vandalism:

  • Don’t post your travel plans on social media sites, talk about your trip with casual acquaintances, or leave notes on the front door indicating that you’re not home.
  • Install outdoor lighting (activated by a photocell or movement) to illuminate the area around your home at night.
  • Consider purchasing a security system that directly alerts police to intruders if you live in a higher crime area.
  • Turn down the volume on your answering machine and ringer so that it can’t be heard outside.burglar-door-open-300x199
  • Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions, but be sure to keep valuables out of sight.
  • Cover the windows in your garage door so no one can see that your car is gone.
  • Trim shrubs and large trees so trespassers have fewer hiding spots.
  • Leave a locked vehicle in your driveway or have your neighbor park there if you go out of town.
  • Ask a neighbor or pay a service to take out your garbage, shovel the walk or mow your lawn.
  • Make sure your Homeowners Insurance is up-to-date so any losses that may occur are covered.

Information courtesy of Allied Insurance https://www.alliedinsurance.com/home-vandalism-prevention.jsp

Learn how the Canadian Real Estate Association helps it’s Realtors

Mon, 12 May by mcnabhomes

What CREA Does

CREA works on behalf of the public and its REALTOR® members. To do so, it:

  • Assists our REALTOR® members to better serve their clients.
  • Represents the interests of its members to the federal government and its agencies on existing or proposed legislation that will affect those members, and/or impact homeownership.
  • Enhances member professionalism and ethics by providing national standards, including establishment of symbols of quality associated with using CREA brands and trademarks. Protects and promotes the two primary national CREA trademarks, MLS® and REALTOR®.
  • Produces accurate, up-to-date information and analysis on economic issues.

How Canadians Benefit

The REALTOR® Code, which sets out standards of professional conduct for members of CREA, helps protect the rights and interests of buyers and sellers. And our advocacy to governments continues to influence legislation for the benefit of homeowners.

CREA’s efforts also allow our REALTOR® members to better serve their clients. Our vigilant eye on both the economy and government, plus the economic statistics and analysis we provide, enhance our members’ knowledge. This in turn can improve the quality of advice they can provide to clients. As well, the REALTOR® Code helps create a level of trust between REALTORS® and their clients.

Organized Real Estate in Canada

Organized real estate in Canada operates at three different levels. The real estate board generally operates at a local level. Provincial and territorial associations represent their province or territory and CREA represents the industry nationally and internationally.

5 Ways Home Sellers Can Prepare For The Spring Market!

Thu, 08 May by mcnabhomes

tulips_house-300x195With spring being the busiest time for real estate, homeowners planning to put their homes on the market shouldn’t wait for flowers to bloom before getting ready to sell. Having a few months to prepare can make for a much smoother selling experience.

If you’re a prospective home seller, here are five things you can do now to get ready for a spring sale:

Start Packing

It may sound crazy to start packing months in advance of your move, but since you’ll eventually need to do this anyway, you might as well get organized now. We’re not suggesting you pack up your kitchen and eat off paper plates, but you can sort through your storage closets, attic, basement or garage to determine what you want to keep, what to give away and what to sell. Boxing up items will make your space look larger and neater when it’s time to show your home. You can also get an idea of whether you need to rent a storage facility while your home is on the market.

Clear Away the Clutter

If you visit model homes or open houses of homes that have been staged, you’ll never see a stack of unread magazines, children’s artwork loosely hanging on the refrigerator, or a cluster of unpaid bills on a table. While everyone has clutter, buyers want to see a fantasy version of your house, in which they can envision living. Once your home is on the market you’ll need to keep it as neat as possible. One way to make that easier is to reduce the amount of clutter you have on your shelves and surfaces. Put away items that are regularly on your kitchen sink and pack away the family photos that gather dust.

To read the full article click this link… http://www.realtor.com/advice/5-ways-home-sellers-can-prepare-for-the-spring-market/

Article courtesy of www.Realtor.com

The GREATEST investment!

Sun, 04 May by mcnabhomes

We thought that this was one of the most inspirational real estate quotes we have come across and thought we would share this insight with our followers… ENJOY!!!!

 

franklin-roosevelt-quotes-sayings-real-estate-catrina-foster-keller-williams-realty-knoxville-tn-investment

3.9% Growth Rate in Alberta boosts Ecomony

Fri, 02 May by mcnabhomes

 

Bank of Canada

OTTAWA — A regional breakdown of economic performance suggests Canada’s two economies drifted even further apart in 2013.

Ontario’s government is facing growing calls to get its fiscal house in order, with a Fraser Institute study pegging the province as an economic ball and chain “dragging down the country as a whole.”

Statistics Canada says in a new report issued Tuesday that improvement in economic output last year was heavily slanted toward resource-rich regions. The gap between the West and the rest was even more pronounced, said Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic, widening to almost two full percentage points.

Saskatchewan, which also benefited from a bump in the agriculture sector, posted a 4.8% surge in gross domestic product in 2013, while oil-rich Alberta realized a 3.9% growth rate.

Newfoundland and Labrador, which also has a resource-based economy, actually led the country in GDP improvement with a booming 7.9% acceleration, but that was somewhat misleading because it came in the wake of a 4.2% slump in 2012.

Click link for full article. Article courtesy of Financial Post

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/04/30/western-growth-pulls-away-further-from-rest-of-canadas/

Education is KEY…

Mon, 28 Apr by mcnabhomes

Buy and Selling a home is not as simple as walking into a home and loving it or painting a home and selling it. It is important to educate yourself not only on the Agent you choose but the market trends as well. Here is a great link for all information about the Canadian Real Estate Market, Association and our Country as a whole. We hope you find this information helpful and invite you to contact us to learn more about How Realtors Help!

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http://crea.ca/content/national-average-price-map

9 Things FSBO companies do not want consumers to know!

Wed, 23 Apr by mcnabhomes

for sale

By Wes Hoover

1. They charge upfront (in most cases thousands). Agents don’t.

When it comes down to it, listing with an agent shouldn’t cost you a cent. I know you probably read that a few times. Agents don’t charge upfront, we only charge when results are provided. This gives you an advantage in more than one way. On the other hand I have heard of individuals paying upwards of $2,000 upfront just for a sign and a spot on a website, only to end up having their house listed and sold by an agent.

2. They aren’t held to any code of ethics.

Real estate agents across Canada are held to a strict code of ethics by CREA. They take the liability if something goes wrong. They are also held to higher standards in advertising and they have duties to you as a client.

3. Just because you’re a real estate professional does not mean you’re rich or overpaid.

This has been the fuel for many slanderous ad campaigns released by popular for sale by owner websites over the years. The truth of the matter is, if it was that easy and they got paid a “small fortune” to sell a house, everyone would get into the business. Selling homes is hard work. Agents often find themselves working for free and hoping to receive a commission.

Consider this situation: A buyer has his agent show him 30 houses over the course a month. The agent spends hours of his time to assist the buyer. The buyer decides not to buy. The agent has worked for free and lost money on expenses. This is a common situation.

Article courtesy of http://ymlp.com/zZwilC

 

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Lethbridge Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.