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Melody Kilbank

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The Equity Snowball

Wed, 02 Nov by melodykilbank

November is the time of year we all reflect on our freedom in Canada. Paid for by the sacrifice of many. My dad is a WWII veteran and he just celebrated his 95 birthday in September! As I reflect on my parent’s real estate decisions over their life time, they are the prime example of how the equity snowball can work for you, in the purchase of your own home.

They started small in the early 50’s by financing their home purchase by the benefits of the Veterans Land Act. In 1950 the VLA began to provide loans to veterans who wished to construct their own homes. Their subsequent home purchases allowed them to move the equity from this original home to the next and so on. This equity is still providing a passive income to my Dad.

I think the key to building a good equity snowball is in getting into the market as soon as you can with an affordable home. It doesn’t have to be your dream home. As long as it provides for your needs, get started in home ownership and build some wealth through, market appreciation AND principle pay down on your mortgage.

With the new mortgage qualifying rate, first time home buyers are going to need to readjust their expectations. They may need to see one extra stepping stone along their path to their dream home.

My advice is to keep the big picture in mind. Your equity snowball is just going to start smaller. But you will still get to your end goal, thanks in part to the veterans who have served so we can enjoy the freedom of owning our own piece of real estate!


Government Changes To Mortgage Qualifications

Tue, 04 Oct by melodykilbank

Effective October 17th the Federal government is now requiring all home buyers who are borrowing more than 80% of the price of their home to qualify for a higher interest rate.
Without getting overly complicated about the minutia, I’ll keep it simple. Any buyer who is entering into a purchase with high ratio financing (only 5-19% down) will have to qualify for the rate of 4.64% instead of the actual rate they are paying. This is for any term of mortgage. It used to be a 5 year fixed rate, you could qualify for the rate you would be paying.

My understanding is the government wants buyers to be more aware of what they can afford, not just what they qualify for.

Stacy Bell-Powell, of I Find Mortgages, a mortgage broker to whom I refer some of my clients, has given us a specific example:

“Currently, if a client gets a mortgage with a fixed rate of five years or longer, we use their actual discounted interest rate for qualification purpose. If they take a term less than five years we need to use the Mortgage Qualifying Rate (or MQR) of 4.64% to qualify them. Effective October 17, 2016, regardless of the term selected, we will have to use the MQR to qualify them. The applies to all insured mortgages, so mortgages with less than 20% down payment.
For example, let’s assume a buyer has an income of $50,000.00/year and assuming no other debt payments, 5% down and good credit. Today, using a 5 year fixed rate of 2.44% this client would qualify for a purchase price of $324,000.00. Under the new rules this buyer would now qualify for a purchase price of $ 239,000.00.”

So if you are considering buying and are on the fence, any offer which has had approval and conditions waived by Oct 17th will not be subject to this new regulation. So act now!

Call me if you can move forward with speed!


Thu, 08 Sep by melodykilbank

Apparently it is a good adjective for the Edmonton market for August 2016!

The City of Edmonton SFD (Single Family Dwellings) prices were down by ONLY .02% year over year for August! Homes are selling 3 days quicker on average. Condominium prices dropped 1.2% year over year taking 4 days longer to sell than last year. The overall inventory level is down 2% from July 2016 but up 9.4% from August 2015.

“Alberta’s economy has been under enormous pressure for some time, but the residential real estate market in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area continues to hold. Prices and unit sales for all residential homes are consistent with last year, down less than 1% and 2% respectively,” said Steve Sedgwick, Chair of the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.

As for the month over month numbers, SFD prices were down 4% July over August, bouncing back to the same average as June 2016. Condos were down 2.7% on average reflecting prices back in early spring.

“While this is one of the most active times of the year, we are seeing both listings and sales tapering off as we move into the fall months. This is standard in our local real estate cycle,” said Sedgwick. “

Our inventory will last us 5.37 months if no other homes are listed. This is still a balanced market. The quantity of listings could favor buyers over sellers, but not dramatically.

So, if you are like me, and have not had many PARS in your golf game this summer. Take heart! The real estate market is on PAR!

In a balanced market with stable pricing, it is a good time to either buy or sell. If I can help you with a market valuation on your home OR a buyer’s qualification valuation, please give me a call.

Considering buying an investment property?

Wed, 27 Apr by melodykilbank

The time is ripe for buying an investment property. Here are 4 good reasons:
1. The Edmonton and area inventory is at record levels since 2007, which means there are lots of properties from which to choose.
2. The mortgage rates are low and just went down a little more this past week. 2.49% on a 5 year fixed is a great rate.
3. The Edmonton market has remained stable. This means you won’t be buying or selling in an inflated market.
4. There are more foreclosure properties on the market due to Alberta.

NOW is a great time to take that leap! Here are three main factors which will help you make a good decision for the long term investment.

LOCATION! You know the number one factor in buying ANY property is to consider the location for RESALE. When it comes to location of a rental or investment property don’t just look for what is there but also look for what isn’t there. Cheaper properties on main streets are an advantage to an investment for rental purposes. Being close to public transportation, schools, recreation and shopping are also valuable. But also consider what should NOT be there, power lines, un-kept neighbor’s yards, and surrounding properties which look like they need more “loving” than the one you are interested in purchasing.

The second factor to consider is LAYOUT! If the property has a functional layout, no matter how small it is, it will be a sound investment. The layout in an investment property can be changed, but those kinds of renovations are costly and the ROI is diminished. No matter what condition a property is in, cosmetic fixes can get you more rent and more resale value, but not if you are having to knock down walls, relocate plumbing and electrical lines.

And the third major factor to consider is to be sure there are NO RESALE OBSTACLES THAT CAN’T BE FIXED. For example a 2 bedroom home in a family oriented area will be harder to rent or resell than a 3 bedroom. Another example of a resale obstacle that can’t be fixed is inadequate parking for tenants. I recently considered purchasing a condo which needed gutting. That was not a problem. But when I phoned about the parking arrangements the property management company told me there was NO parking with this unit. Street parking only diminishes your prospective rental pool and limits the buyer pool for resale.

So after you get your financing in place and you begin to search for a property, consider these 3 main factors, LOCATION, LAYOUT, RESALE OBSTACLES. This will get you off to a great start in choosing your next real estate investment.

And the RONA Gift Card Goes to…

Fri, 04 Sep by melodykilbank

CONGRATULATIONS to Lily S of Kingston, ON – the winner of the $50 RONA gift card!

A BIG thank you to Lily, and to all of you who “liked” my REALTOR page.

My business continues to thrive because of the support of those, like you, who recommend my services. Your greatest compliment is a referral.

All about you. Really.


Melody Kilbank HiRes size 1


The BIG Reveal! and the Winner is….

Fri, 14 Aug by melodykilbank

HALLELUJAH –201- 10529 93 St is DONE!!!

The furniture is set up, the blinds are installed, the bedding is on the bed, and the decorative touches and stocked kitchen complete our newly-renovated, centrally-located 1-BR, 1 Bath condo unit. All that is left to do is to find that perfect (lucky!) renter.

Here is the link to view the rental advertisement. –

ps. Tell your friends and family…spread the word! 🙂

I’ve also included a few snaps, here (I think it turned out fabulously!):


AND, I haven`t forgotten – At the beginning of this adventure, I promised that if you `liked` my facebook page, that I would include you in a draw for that $50 Rona gift card, so….(DRUMROLL)

I will contact the winner in the next few days.

Thank you for following me through all of this. So, you might be asking, will we continue our annual trend of condo purchase fix-er-up-ers.

Ask me next year, and stay tuned…

All about you. Really.



Taking Stock – the Cheap, the Free and the Inventory

Wed, 05 Aug by melodykilbank

We are SO close! All that’s left to complete the condo is to give it a through clean, spit-shine, then to off-load and set up the furnishings to stage it for advertising. Renters, on your marks, get set….to view the cutest, most complete little 1-bedroom in central Edmonton. BIG reveal coming SOON…! CHECK BACK… So, as I did a walk-through yesterday, I snapped my pictures and had to chuckle again – feeling very self-satisfied – when I took stock of all of the fabulous “finds” we were able to unearth through my determined, ruthless and disciplined commitment to kijiji and Re-store shopping. While my contractor questioned the value in the end of using some of the older fixtures and materials in the reno, and wondered if more money may have been spent on time to install some of these, I still maintain – even, simply from an ethical stand-point – that re-cycling and re-using over purchasing new, at least SOME materials and furnishings can, indeed, yield savings AND gave a sense that wise and responsible choices have been made. It feels great! Take a look, room-by-room:

DONT FORGET – your chance to win the $50 GIFT CARD for RONA. I am extending the deadline… All you have to do is “Like” my REALTOR(R) page on FACEBOOK by August 15/ 15. All about you. Really. Melody

We’re nearing the finish line!

Sun, 19 Jul by melodykilbank

No matter how organized you are and even if you have a project plan, there is always things in a renovation which are unique and can set things back on the time line.

This project there have been 2 concerns which took longer to resolve than hoped. One was the bath tub and the tub wall surround. A mistaken purchase on Kijiji, because I didn’t know much about surrounds, a replacement tub which was 59.5 inches and didn’t come with a wall surround, and a mistaken purchase for a new surround which didn’t fit because it was 60″ and finally….the right solution. The tub it in and walled!! Pictures to follow next week!!!

The second concern has been repairing the gypcrete flooring surface. There had been some spots where there was some erosion which we had to fill in before flooring. My contractor and I did some research through concrete companies and gypcrete companies. We finally have the answers to using the right product to fill the spots! The floor is patched properly.

That being said there has been significant progress this week! So exciting!

The flooring is in!!! That means as of now every surface of the unit has been redone! What a difference!

The cabinets are in their final resting place and secured!

Next week we hope to have final pictures for you before we stage it!!!

Stay tuned!

Nothing like a coat of paint to…..

Tue, 14 Jul by melodykilbank

>>>…… make a place feel like it is your own. I love the smell of a freshly painted room. It make you feel like everything is really clean! The odors from the many years of cooking, smoking and living are GONE!! Also, there’s such noticeable progress in a project once the paint is on the walls!

So this past week the unit is completely painted and the bathroom vanity and kitchen cabinets are installed. The swing doors are installed and the baseboards and casings are painted and ready too!

The delays this week have been trying to find a tub wall surround to fit and after 2 attempts, the 3rd one is going to work!!! What a learning process that was!!

All in all we are a little behind schedule, but every obstacle has had a reasonable solution!

Still aiming for August 1st!

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Wed, 01 Jul by melodykilbank

This is REALLY happening!

As soon as the demos begin, it becomes all-too-real. Out with the old and out-dated, making way and space for the new/ newer up-graded (and income producing)!


I’ve included a photo ofour contractor and plumber, onsite. Can I just say what difference in our peace-of-mind having these trusted professionals in from the ground floor is making- even at this early stage! Again, my husband is still heaving that huge sigh of relief, and in turn my life on the home front continues, mostly, as usual…except for balancing project expense sheets, and taking photos and checking in with the progress, each day- it actually feels fun…making my daily lists and feeling the satisfaction of checking off each item, one, by one…I love to see things coming together!


Melody Kilbank, RE/MAX Real Estate
102-12650 151 Ave, Edmonton, Alberta T5X 0A1
Tel: 780-893-9987 Office: 780-457-3777 Fax: 780-457-2194
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