Beauty isn’t the only thing in the eye of the beholder; particularly when that ‘beholder’ is a REALTOR®. Part of a real estate professional’s job is to identify value – and we’re not talking arbitrary, subjective value (i.e. dark hardwood vs. light). We’re looking for features or characteristics of a listing that set it apart from the competition – indicators of value that the untrained eye may miss. Our other responsibility to our clients is to evaluate the property from a resale perspective. This type of analysis helps to ensure that you’re paying for something the resale market will appreciate down the road – should you ever wish to sell.
To demonstrate our powers of perception, we thought taking you on a tour of 4 of COMMUNITY’s active listings would be helpful. Every home, regardless of its location, price point or condition, has something to offer a buyer. It’s just our biased opinion that our listings offer more. Can you see what we see?
10111 83 ST NW (MLS #E4079117)
Sometimes it seems like the whole City is “West-obsessed.” It’s almost a given that North-siders will never move South and vice-versa, but the West-end acts as a catchall for those looking for a change of scenery. The downside, it’s typically got a price tag ($$$) to match its appeal. However, if you’ve ever looked just East of the core, there’s a treasure-trove of spectacular listings to suit a variety of budgets. One of our favourites is in Forest Heights.
Downtown Access – One of the best features of this home is location-based. Just up the 98th Avenue hill, Forest Heights borders Edmonton’s River Valley. Commutes from this home for DT-based professionals are minimal, 10-15 minutes at most. That leaves more time for living rather than just commuting. And that’s not all! Forest Heights is a mature neighbourhood; with tree-canopy streets and character homes. This particular listing is just one street in from River Valley access, tennis courts and more.
Infill Build, NOT Builder Basic – The infill craze sweeping across Edmonton can be overwhelming. Three words of advice: KNOW-YOUR-BUILDER. Anthony Developments is a family-owned and operated company that’s been building quality product for over 20 years. Throughout this home there are indicators of value: from the hardwood staircase and second floor landing (carpet is a favourite for penny-pinching developers) to the massive 3-panel, floor to ceiling glass slider at the back of the home for deck and backyard access. With an abundance of custom built-ins, luxurious materials throughout (we’re talking quartz even in the laundry room) and an overall level of attention to detail that’s unparalleled, those responsible for building this home did not cut corners. And just one more thing… this home has a fully-finished basement – a favourite omission from many new infill products.
Resale vs. New – There are some costs that can be avoided by purchasing a newer home that’s not brand new. One client once referred to them as “used homes” but that’s not quite right… they’re resale properties (if only to avoid the title of ‘Used Home Salesman‘). Window coverings, air conditioning, an alarm system and even a garburator are just four elements added by this owner since taking possession in 2014. From a buyer’s perspective, those are valuable upgrades that can be rolled into your mortgage rather than coming out of pocket later. And should you decide to sell, those added features make your home that much more valuable in a competitive market.
5140 MULLEN RD NW (MLS #E4079119)
If SW Edmonton is more your speed, investment should be carefully considered. The competition is steep, and that’s an understatement. In order to ensure your new home fairs well on the resale market, location and finishing should be in your REALTOR’s® crosshairs.
Finishing Appeal – Yes, you can change the colour of your walls. Appliances can be replaced. But ensure most of your fixed elements, the ones that will really add up (cabinetry, flooring, etc.), appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. When purchasing a transitional home (3-5 yrs), this should be paramount. This particular listing is BRIGHT and WHITE! The fixed elements are modern but classic in their execution to ensure this home looks just as good today as it does 5 yrs from now when its new owner may be in need of a change. White subway tiles may seem basic, but they’re tried and true. As for white cabinetry – it also always seem to look current.
Proximity to Amenities – Amenities in this case pertain to the Anthony Henday, shopping and entertainment (just down the street) and an abundance of visitor parking (street parking for this home). Let’s face it, the ‘burbs can be crowded: the less driving you can do to access major thoroughfares, the better… not to mention having a place for friends and family to park when they come to visit. The only thing better than these two elements is being able to stick close to home by wandering down the street for a great meal at XIX or some retail therapy courtesy of Who Cares Wear. A walkable existence shouldn’t be sacrificed just because you opted out of a mature community location.
#208, 9925 83 AV NW (MLS #E4084492)
Starter homes or investment properties aren’t excluded from perceived value. Sometimes it can be even more challenging as a purchaser to detach from the purchase and ensure the dollars and cents align. The property needs to meet your immediate needs but its rental appeal is paramount. This is a listing that manages to marry both.
Price Point – The condo market continues to struggle in Edmonton. Call me a “nay-sayer,” but I’ll stick with ‘realist.’ The condo landscape has never been so competitive. One of this particular home’s key advantages is its sub-$200,000 price tag. The overall investment for this type of home is relatively low for a rental property; especially when you consider its quality of finishes. Should you need to resell, the price point is approachable. If you decide to keep it for your rental portfolio, carrying costs are minimal – easily covered by the rent commanded.
Location, Location – Starting to notice a pattern yet? It’s the oldest lesson in the book but you’d be surprised how often it can be overlooked (even by a REALTOR®). This property is located just off of Whyte Ave. Coupled with its price point, this is a great way to get into the market for a student or young professional. From an investor’s perspective, Strathcona is ripe with rental potential. Close to public transit, this home can’t be beat for accessibility.
Little Luxuries – Granite, hardwood, stainless steel, in-suite laundry. These almost seem to be non-negotiables for this generation of buyers. For anyone looking for a turn-key property, these finishes help exponentially. For this particular home, we noted that every box was checked. As a rental, it’s perfectly equipped. The other thing we noticed: updated common areas (hallways) and new vinyl windows (and patio door). You should be looking at common expenses, paid for by the reserve fund, to have an indication of what may be coming down the pipe. Condo docs without context don’t help much.
7535 MAY COMMON (MLS #E4078100)
Very rarely, we come across homes that are architecturally stunning. When coupled with a few other great development decisions, we have a perfect storm. Such is the case for this listing, custom built by Habitat Studio. With a distinct aesthetic, there is more going on with this home than meets the eye.
Exposure & Privacy – When purchasing in a newer development, often times a developer’s lot map is all you have to guide your purchasing decision. This client managed to snag one of the best lots in desirable Larch Park: backing on to the ravine and with only one neighbour (to the North). When selecting an layout, they maximized privacy by ensuring that all bedrooms or key living areas were exposed to the South (limiting neighbourly staring competitions).
Commit to Quality – It saddens real estate professionals when we see a beautiful lot defiled by a less-than-beautiful build. It feels like the neighbourhood has been cheated out of a community keystone. Not the case in Larch Park. As you enter this niche development, focussed on sustainability, you set eyes on the Jonathan Rockcliff designed stunner. Architecturally designed homes are somewhat scarce in the Edmonton market… likely due to the development cost (again, added value for a new owner). By coupling this design with a premier builder (Habitat Studio), the end result is a quality home to suit the prestige location. That construction/design consideration also extends throughout the homes finishing. Custom millwork, natural limestone floors and a staircase you’d weep for are just a few of our favourite elements that illustrate the quality from “toes to nose” on this home.
Operating Efficiency – This is a bit of a wildcard in our marketplace. Energy efficiency isn’t typically valued the way we believe it should be by the market at large. That’s about to change as the City adopts a new rating program in the coming years. If you can’t wrap your head around sustainable energy – consider this: as a 3,000+ sq ft home, the monthly utility costs are equivalent to that of a 1-bedroom condo for this home. That is real $$$ to your operating budget, potentially increasing your buying power. In addition to doing good, you’ll be feeling good knowing that you can live in an estate home and pay half of what the neighbours do for energy. Have an eye out for elements like solar panels, triple pane windows, HRV and ERV systems… and for the love of all that is holy, be open to some research. Find out where the investment of a home has been made – not all value is skin deep, some of it is in the walls.
Whether you’re in the market for a detached, single family home or an attached condo product (or anywhere in between), there are markers of value that a REALTOR® can help you identify. Perhaps you’re a builder or investor, looking to flip a home to make a profit, a real estate professional can help here too; ensuring that your investment dollars are put where the market appreciates them. As a very wise woman once said, “you can cut your own hair, or you can do your own taxes (in order to save a buck) – that doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with the result.” Consult a professional – there’s no need to be an expert outside your field of expertise.