Are You Clear On What Is A Good Deal?

Wed, 27 Dec by maricelmcdonald
So often,in the beginning, investors focus on real estate investing techniques, and lose sight of the important issue-is this a good deal? Learning to recognize a good deal takes research, education and, above all, experience. Here’s a good formula to determine whether a potential real estate purchase is a deal. It’s a simple acronym called “C.L.E.A.R.”
Cash Flow
Ask yourself, will this property cash flow? Well, that depends on a lot of factors, such as the strength of the local rental market, the interest rate on the financing and how much of a down payment you contribute. Also, it depends on whether it is a single family or multi-family dwelling. Considering all of these factors, ask yourself, “Will this provide income for me?”Also, ask yourself the question, “How will
this property cash flow compare to other potential properties?” For example, a $150,000 house that rents for $1,000/month has better income potential than a $300,000 house that rents for$1,600/month. A four-unit building that costs $400,000 may bring in $3,000/month in the same neighbourhood. Now, of course, whether the property will provide income to you begs the question of whether income is important to you. Is it? Do you earn other income? Do you need more income now, or is future equity growth more important? There’s no right answer to these questions, but all are factors to consider when looking at a potential purchase.
Leverage is important in investing,because the less cash you put down on each property, the more properties you can buy. If the properties go up in value, your rate of return goes up exponentially. However, if the properties go down in value and you have a lot of debt on the property, this can result in negative cash flow (see above). Since real estate is generally cyclical, negative cash flow is only a short
term problem and can be handled, if you have other income or a cash reserve to pay the shortfall. “Nothing down” investing is very attractive for the high-leverage investor, but should be approached
with caution. If you are a long-term player, leverage will generally work in your favour, if the markets in which you invest appreciate over the long run,and your income from the properties can pay for most of the monthly debt service.
Does the property you are purchasing have equity? Equity can take a number of forms, such as:
A discounted price
A potential fixer upper
A re-zoning opportunity
A poorly managed property
A foreclosure
There are many ways to create equity, but buying into equity is your best bet. Find a motivated seller
that wants out of his property, and is willing to give up his property for less than full value. Or, buy a property that need work and can be done for 50 cents on the dollar or less. In other words, if the property needs $10,000 in work, make sure you get a $20,000 discount on the price, or better.
Buying in the right neighborhoods, and in the right stage of a real estate cycle, which will result in appreciation and profit. However, timing a real estate cycle is difficult and can be very speculative. If you buy properties without equity or cash flow, solely for short-term appreciation, you are engaging in a very risky investment. Buying for moderate to long-term (10to 20 years) appreciation is safer and easier. Look at long-term neighborhood, and city-wide trends,to pick areas that will hold their values and grow at an average of 5 to 7% per year. Combine this tactic with reasonable cash flow, and buying into equity,
and you will be a smart investor.
Risk is a consideration that too few investors consider. Ask yourself, “What if my assumptions are wrong?” In other words, do you have a “plan B”? If you bought for short term appreciation,and the property did not appreciate in value, can you rent it out for positive cash flow? If you bought with a variable rate loan and the rates go up, will this put you out of business? If you have a few vacancies, can you handle the negative cash flow, or will it break the bank for you? Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. Remember, whenever you look at a property to purchase, think “CLEAR” ly

10 Simple Tricks to Avoid Bad Hair Days

Tue, 22 Aug by maricelmcdonald

1. Make a “I’ll Miss List!”
There are several items you’ll probably miss when you leave your house. These items are normally excellent marketing featured to promote to potential buyers. Take time to make note of the things
you enjoy and will miss when the sale is completed and you’ve moved from your house. Items you appreciate are items someone else will enjoy too!
2. Know the Facts!
Most buyers will have questions about taxes, lot size, utility costs and other pertinent
information about your property. It’s always a good idea to know the facts and to have this information available for potential consumers looking at your real estate. Take time to research this information and have it readily available for buyers and or real estate agents.
3.Recent Repairs.
Most borrowers need to know about any recent updates or repairs or additions you’ve made to
your home. For example, a new roof, furnace or central air, hot water heater are all important to note. If so, what was the cost, when was it installed and who did the work are all note worthy features to have for buyers and agents while selling your property. Any items of repair or newly added during your tenure should be listed on a separate sheet if at all possible. It’s also a good idea to furnish copies of paid receipts if you choose on the items repaired or installed with the property to validate these costs. Sometimes placing this information in a binder is a good idea and marketing feature to show buyers and agents.
4. Replace Light Bulbs.
Changing light bulbs to a higher wattage can be an aid in brightening rooms and giving a
more spacious feel to your rooms. Always check the light fixture and the maximum wattage and do not add bulbs  above the recommended usage.
5. Remove Any Heirlooms or Keepsakes.
Many times sellers will want to keep certain items that have sentimental value to them such as a light fixture or wall mirror that has been affixed to the property. If you have an item that you plan to replace so you can keep then you should do so prior to any showings. Once buyers visit your property and begin making offers to purchase on your property it’s generally hard to negotiate these items off
of the offer to purchase.
6.Clean the Gutters 
You never know when your property may be shown and if it’s a day that is raining the last thing you want to portray is a house where the water is gushing over the gutters and downspouts. Making sure the gutters are cleaned and extensions move the water away from your foundation is always a good idea for continued maintenance of your home and shows buyers your commitment to
caring for your home and keeping it in tip top shape.
7. Hire a Building Inspection.
Let’s face it; you want to sell your home. If so, it’s probably not a bad idea to have a
building inspector look at your home and make a list of repairs or items they feel need to be fixed prior to marketing your property. After all many homebuyers will have a home inspection too so this type of pre-inspection will help to get any potential problems a future inspector might have corrected in advance. Many buyers will also get “cold” feet if the inspection shows too many needed repairs on their report. By fixing these issues in advance you can ward off these potential future problems.
8.Don’t appear to Anxious!
Many sellers will sometimes point out too many facts or features about the home and
often sound too anxious or the need to sell quickly. This attitude can hurt you with your negotiating with the buyers and often cost you several thousands of dollars. You might note that this is one reason many sellers feel the need to hire a real estate agent to help with the negotiations with the buyers.
9.Have Your House Appraised.
 It’s usually a good idea to hire an independent appraiser when you’re selling on
your own. This way you’ll know and feel certain that you are getting top dollar for your home. According to the National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 2006 Edition, most for sale by owners could have sold their homes for more money if they had been assisted by a real estate agent.
10. Call Me If You Have Questions.
If you do have any questions or concerns that arise in the near future please don’t hesitate to give me a call to know the easiest ways to avoid bad hair day!

10 Biggest Pitfalls When Buying a Home

Mon, 21 Aug by maricelmcdonald

1.Failing to have your real estate associate provide a detailed market analysis of the home’s value.

2.Failing to get an inspection on the property you are purchasing.

3.Not requiring a Real Property Report (RPR) with compliance on the property you are purchasing.

4.Making a low-ball offer and discouraging the seller from negotiating with you.

5.Failing to get pre-qualified for mortgage financing prior to making the offer to purchase.

6.Not allowing enough time to find out all of the important information, such as building inspections, permits, title examinations and any relevant municipal/community information.

7.Neglecting to work with a Buyer’s Associate.

8.Purchasing a For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) or other property (ex. new build), without the use of a real estate professional and attorney.

9.Purchasing a parcel of real estate without obtaining title insurance.

10.Not obtaining a City Inspection or copies of applicable permits!
Although the list above is not a full and comprehensive list of all pitfalls buyers make when purchasing a home, they are common problem areas.  You can avoid dealing with the headaches that arise from overlooking these items by choosing the right REALTOR®. For further explanation of the implications of any of the pitfalls listed in this report, call me, Maricel McDonald at 403-397-0831.  I would be happy to discuss your specific situation and put you on my personalized real estate listing search, so that you can be the first to find out about new listings that match your specific criteria.  If you would like more information about the process of purchasing real estate, visit my website at or e-mail me at


Experience Great Savings and Benefits

Mon, 16 Jan by maricelmcdonald

Signing up has its savings and benefits from many popular companies and local businesses who offer services and trades such as plumbing, renovations, home design, cleaning services and more. You can also shop in great savings from many popular brands like EQ3, Revolve Furnishing, Peridot and the list goes on. Another side benefit of being a member also gives you a FREE access to seminars and events. Please contact Maricel McDonald for the complete list of our Vendors/Partners and become a member of our Best my Nest Program.

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Hello world!

Mon, 15 Aug by maricelmcdonald

Welcome to my new blog! I look forward to sharing new and exciting updates about the Real Estate Market and what is happening around town! Stay tuned for new posts coming soon!

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary 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.