Millennials as New Home Buyers

Why is it that the Millennial generation is looking more than ever to purchase their first or “next” home as a brand-new home?

Gone are the days of the average home buyer who is looking for a home that “needs a little work”. There are very few of those below the age of 30 that were raised by their parents with the skills and knowledge to renovate a home. In fact, few possess the skills to operate a power saw or a drill…and it’s not their fault.  Most of their parents were raised in a generation where being handy at home was not for them; they had their careers to work on, friends and then the internet had come along.

The handy home repair requirements were taken care of by their parents (millennial grand parents) so the kids didn’t have to.  Well, launch forward 20 years and the children (our millennial) didn’t grow up with any role models to have learned anything about how to utilize some of the common power tools, much less take on the task of renovating a home.  Unfortunately, it’s not something that SIRI can answer for you either.

So what does this mean to New Home Builders and Renovation companies out there?  Well it means they have a whole lot more business coming their way, and its only going to grow.

“Buying a new home directly from the builder, whether a condo, townhouse or detached, is a popular choice. Almost one-third of all homes sold in Canada each year are brand new. In Ontario alone, more than 52,500 buyers opted for a new build last year, and a forecast by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) predicts that number will only climb.”  Romna King, Money Sense  (

millennial are looking for a turn-key home where they can just move in, that is close to the many amenities of their community, close to friends and public transportation and that is selfcontained – not requiring much in the way of maintenance – or carries a monthly fee that takes care of those many needs. They also want a new home that offers the most advanced technologies available that suit their lifestyle, allow for continued and uninterrupted enjoyment of social media and other online experiences and, with a large component of people working from home, the ability to have speed, access and office space related to day-to-day business is key.

The biggest difference in today’s home buyer however is NOT that they don’t have the handyman skills their grandparents possessed, but the seemingly innate ability to know how to research and find out so much information about a home. The days of relying on a REALTOR® or the show home staff member are not what they used to be.

Buyers today know the marketplace, they know the inventory by checking out sites like NewHomeListingService where they can find all of the Builders and their product in one place, and do a great deal of research before they ever talk to a Builder, show home person, or an agent.  These sites operate like the Trivago and of the world that amalgamate all of the hotels in one place allowing you to choose what hotel works best for your needs.  NewHomeListingService does the same thing for the new home building industry.  Today’s buyers of new homes are aware of the average costs of home and readily compare amenities and features of various homes and conduct a ton of research long before making that decision.  So what can Builders and REALTORS® do to prepare for this?

Builders, first of all have to market where these buyers are looking and that is totally online.  Now many Builders have a website which is great, but here is the problem for the consumer: If you plan on buying a new home and rely on the websites, you now have a great deal of research to do. There are literally hundreds of Builders in each community offering a variety of inventory, some available soon, some not available until after an 8-10 month build time.  Each one features their upgrades differently and some will publish their prices while others will not.  Consumers who have online experiences like booking a hotel, are looking for that same experience. They don’t want to be creating spreadsheets to cross compare features, pricing, amenities. They want it all in one place so they can quickly make a very educated decision.

Why?  They don’t have time. Their lives are filled with social interaction both online and off, and life today is as busy as ever.  Consumers of old never experienced a faster experience, so never demanded it.  Years ago, Real Estate Agents used to have a printed book of listings and consumers relied on them to know what was for sale and to take them. Years after sites like existed, people would be inconvenienced if they were told they had to do their own research or rely on others to get them information.

REALTORS® also must be able to quickly find information as there are many new buyers who simply don’t have the time to spend online looking and rely on a professional to do the research for them. But that doesn’t mean they will accept a few properties to look at. They expect agent to show them ALL of the possibilities. That means a lot of research for agents and a lot of time lost, all while their own client may just walk into a show home and buy without them.

Knowing about sources like NewHomeListingService,  and others, can accelerate that research and make it so much easier and faster to help buyers find brand new homes. Because they don’t want a “fixer upper”, and grandpa sure isn’t going to be able to help them out too much…well maybe a little, but guessing with the vision being not what it used to be things may not be as straight as they’d hoped.

New home buyers are where the future is at.  They are either buying a brand-new home, which is great for Builders if they can bring the many features to a home that new buyers want, or fantastic for the business of renovation companies. Either way, the new young buyers are a force that need to be considered and knowing where to advertise new homes or where to help your young clients find new homes will be crucial to your future success.

Milo Anderson

How a Mortgage Broker Can Help You Navigate the Edmonton Real Estate Market

When you think of the people who help navigate the real estate market, your first thought is probably realtors. These experts understand all the components of a home that make up its value, like what type of home it is, whether it’s close to good schools, and what similar homes have sold for recently. But there’s a second professional you should have on your side to help you navigate the Edmonton real estate market: A mortgage broker.

Much like real estate agents help you shop for homes, an Edmonton mortgage broker can help you shop for mortgages. They work with multiple mortgage lenders (including some you might not have heard of) to get the best deal for you. And their services are usually free because mortgage brokers earn a marketing fee from the lenders they work with. But since they get paid no matter which lender you end up using, their primary interest is in getting you a mortgage with the right rate and terms for your needs.

In hot housing markets, homeowners can count on their home to appreciate in value and mask the cost of mortgage mistakes. But in Edmonton—where home prices have been flat or slightly falling for the past few years—you can’t count on a rise in house prices to make up for the cost of paying interest on a mortgage.

It’s important to get the best possible mortgage rate to maximize your equity when it comes time to sell. Mortgage brokers have access to rates far lower than those available from any bank or credit union. On a $500,000 mortgage amortized over 25 years, the difference between 2.99% and 2.64% is close to $3,000 in equity over a five-year term.

If you’re like many Albertans who have run into financial trouble in the recent economic downturn, a mortgage broker can help you overcome credit problems to find options to buy or refinance a home. While Canada’s Big Five banks prefer to work only with people who are employed full time and have good credit, that’s not the reality for many people.

Fortunately, there are many alternative lenders who are willing to lend to people who don’t fit in the banks’ “ideal borrower” category. A mortgage broker can review your financial situation with you and help you find the lender that will give you the best deal given your circumstances. These services are available to support new Canadians as well.

If you’re buying a new home, the best time to engage with a mortgage broker is before you start your search. Start by looking for the broker with the best mortgage rate. There are many mortgage brokers with local offices in Edmonton and some others who serve the area from elsewhere if you don’t mind working with your mortgage agent over the phone or by email. Your broker can help you get a sense of options and explain the difference between mortgage products.

Your mortgage broker can also get you a mortgage pre-approval, which is a letter stating how much you can afford to spend on a home. Being armed with that information gives you great bargaining power when making an offer on a home. The sellers may be more motivated to give a good deal to someone they know is serious and won’t cause the sale to fall through because of financing issues.

The maximum mortgage amount on your pre-approval is based on regulations that state your mortgage, property taxes, heating costs, 50 per cent of your condo fees (if applicable), and payments on other debts can’t exceed 44 per cent of your income. This calculation is known as your total debt service ratio (TDS). Buying a home that maxes out your affordability can cause stress on your budget later on so many people prefer to spend less than their maximum pre-approval amount. Talk to your mortgage broker about what your mortgage payments will be using different purchase prices or use a mortgage payment calculator for a quick estimate.

Navigating the Edmonton real estate market can be easy if you have the right professionals on your side. Using a mortgage broker is a great way to ensure you get the best mortgage rate and the right mortgage terms for your needs. Talk to a mortgage broker before you begin your search and you’ll be armed with the right information to find your new home. is a website that compares mortgage ratescredit cards, high-interest savings accounts, chequing accounts, and insurance with the goal to empower Canadians to search smarter and save money.

Top 5 Edmonton Communities – Tamarack Common

Tamarack Common is a new southeast Edmonton community, developed by Qualico Communities. Tamarack is a great community for “Edmontonians” because of its location to pre-existing amenities and quick access to the city or airport. For recreational amenities, residents can enjoy the Meadows Community Recreation Centre and Golf Course, as well as playgrounds and parks around the community.

Residents have access to a multitude of shopping, such as Sobey’s Garden Market, Milwoods Town Centre, Home Depot and Staples. Tamarack Common is located less than five kilometers away from Grey Nuns Hospital. For families within the community, there are several schools in the surrounding area: Mary Hanley Elementary, Father Michael Troy Jr. High, Velma E. Baker School, and A. Blair McPherson School.

Home buyers have a wide range of homes available to them, including duplex style homes, rear lane access homes, attached garage homes and townhomes. The Tamarack community has three builders: Sterling Homes, Parkwood Master Builder and Pacesetter Homes.

Sterling Homes is one of the most established home builders in Western Canada with over 65 years of experience. Sterling Homes will be building single family houses, rear lane town homes and front garage duplexes.

The second builder is Parkwood Master Builder, who will be contributing front garage duplexes and single family homes. Parkwood Master Builder has been working in the Edmonton area for over 28 years and emphasizes a thorough customer experience for every new homebuyer.

Finally, Pacesetter Homes will be building single family homes, rear lane townhomes and front garage duplexes. Pacesetter is a well-known builder to the Edmonton area, known for quality and a focus on the customer’s experience.

Tamarack Common is an exciting new community in the southeast Edmonton area, with all the pre-existing amenities, moving and getting settled in will feel effortless. Its location is near several schools making it ideal for families, however its location near Anthony Henday Drive and Whitemud Drive gives residents easy access to the city and airport, making it ideal for young professionals as well.

The DigiHand is a YYC Social Media Marketing company that helps align small business owners with savvy individuals to help grow their social media following and business.

Top 5 Edmonton Communities – Cavanagh in Heritage Valley

Cavanagh is a new development located in Heritage Valley, in the south of Edmonton. Cavanagh is described as “modern living in the heritage valley,” providing homes that reflect early Albertan heritage, but with an updated feel and urban twist.

Cavanagh is a great community for young families and young single professionals because of its location. Cavanagh provides residents with easy access to shopping, dining and the airport, however residents also have access to Blackmud Creek for outdoor recreation.

Cavanagh gives homeowners diversity in housing types and styles, however each type features common design elements, giving the community a sense of architectural harmony.

Cavanagh has five builders contributing to the community, including Cameron Homes, Hopewell Residential, Pacesetter Homes, Rohit Group of Companies and Sterling Homes.

Front Garage Single Family Homes are built solely by Sterling Homes, one of the most established Family Home Builders in Western Canada.

While Front Garage Duplexes are built by Cameron Homes, Pacesetter Homes, Rohit Group of Companies and Sterling Homes.

Cameron Homes is a family owned company from Edmonton known for an emphasis on family values.

Pacesetter Homes is also an Edmonton based builder who focuses on customer satisfaction and individuality.

Rohit Group of Companies is a leading home builder in Edmonton and Fort McMurray, known for its town homes and duplexes.

The Laned Homes are solely built by Hopewell Residential, a home builder, who’s been building homes for Albertans for more than 20 years.

Finally, Laned Duplexes are built by Hopewell Residential, Pacesetter Homes, Rohit Group of Companies, and Sterling Homes.

Cavanagh is a new community that comes with history. This community’s unique design features make it an exciting new addition to the Edmonton area. With a fantastic group of contributing builders and range of housing styles, Cavanagh is a great place for anyone to call home.

The DigiHand is a YYC Social Media Marketing company that helps align small business owners with savvy individuals to help grow their social media following and business.

Featured Builder of the Week — Cornerbrook Custom Homes


Cornerbrook Custom Homes is a division of Cornerbrook Construction Ltd., incorporated in 1975. They are a Leduc based builder focused on creating homes unique to the buyer.

As a family owned and operated business, Cornerbrook works hard for it’s customers because they pride their selves in their work. Not only do they build homes fit to your liking, but they offer renovation services as well as design services. At Cornerbrook, small details are just as important as large details, and their constant contact with suppliers and clients ensures no details are overlooked.

Cornerbrook Construction Ltd. Is a member of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program (ANHWP), and has been since 1986. They have also received a multi-year Service Award in the home building industry.

Cornerbrook offers over 20 different floor plans featuring a variety of layouts for bungalows, two-storey homes, bi-level homes, or homes on acreages. Though they have many plans, you are certainly not limited to their floor plans, they are more than happy to collaborate with you and your plans or ideas.

Featured Builder of the Week — Avalon Master Builder

Avalon Master Builder is a family run company started by Steve and Joyce Scott in 1983, and now is run by their son Ryan Scott. They have a Master Builder designation, and are members of the Calgary Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and are EnerGuide approved. They have also done some Built Green homes, LEED certified communities, and Holmes on Homes stamp of approval projects.

Their mission statement? “We want to build net-zero homes at no extra cost to our homeowners. We want to work with extraordinary people. We want to use innovative building ideas and designs to create better living and healthy homes for our customers and the environment.

As one of the best builders in Alberta, they have many awards:

  • Customer Choice Award (Calgary Region) 9 times in the past 12 years
  • In 2012 they won the Homeowners mark of Excellence Award due to holding the highest overall customer satisfaction survey in Canada.
  • In 2015 they were awarded the SAIT Polytechnic Partnership Award

All Avalon built homes must meet third party standards in energy efficiency and sustainable building practices. Each home is tested by a trained, independent expert and given an EnerGuide rating that certifies the energy efficiency of your home. Avalon’s vision for the future is net-zero homes. A net zero home uses as much, or more, energy than it consumes.

Every home they sell is covered by a ten-year Alberta New Home Warranty Program (ANHWP), which covers major structural construction items.

Top 5 Edmonton Communities – Hawks Ridge

Hawks Ridge is a new community located in northwest Edmonton, next to Big Lake and near Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park. This community emphasizes sustainability and active living, making it perfect for outdoorsy individuals and families.

Hawks Ridge’s residents have access to 105 acres of forested areas complete with trails, walking paths and ponds, making the community a nice escape from non-stop city life. However, Hawks Ridge is located close to shopping and recreation, so residents don’t have to choose between nature and the convenience of the city.

Hawks Ridge has a Homeowners Association, which helps in maintaining the community’s amenities, but also provides a social element to the community.

The builders in Hawks Ridge include Akash Homes, Hopewell Residential, Reidbuilt Homes, Morrison Homes, Montorio Homes, Pacesetter Homes, and Truman Homes. All of the builders in Hawks Ridge are all award-winning and CHBA-Edmonton members, so residents know they are getting top quality craftsmanship and customer service.

The three architectural styles of Hawks Ridge are: Arts & Crafts, Shingle and Mountain Vernacular; however, each builder offers a variety of housing styles, giving homeowners choice and individuality. Front Garage homes and Semi-Estates are built by Akash Homes, Hopewell Residential, ReidBuilt Homes, Morrison Homes, and Montorio Homes.

Akash Homes is based in Edmonton and prides itself on quality and customer service.

Hopewell Residential is an award-winning Albertan home builder, building homes for more than 20 years.

Reidbuilt Homes first began in 1982 and has become one of Alberta’s largest home builders.

Morrison Homes has more than 50 years of home building experience and focuses on the customer’s experience and always providing more.

Montorio Homes is an Edmonton-based home builder, known for building homes with a Mediterranean touch.

Hopewell Residential is the builder in charge of Rear Laned homes.

Semi-Detached homes are built by Pacesetter Homes, an Edmonton home builder, who strives to reflect each customer individuality through their homes.

Finally, Townhomes are built by Truman Homes, a Calgary based builder, who constantly strives to provide innovation, quality and value to its customers.

Hawks Ridge is the perfect new community for “Edmontonians” who enjoy the outdoors and an active lifestyle. However, the exceptional list of home builders contributing to this development makes this community a great place to live for anyone!

The DigiHand is a YYC Social Media Marketing company that helps align small business owners with savvy individuals to help grow their social media following and business.

Featured Builder of the Week – Astoria Custom Homes

Astoria Custom Homes is a Calgary-based luxury home builder owned by James and Lisa Stinson. Astoria is the perfect builder for Calgarian’s who want attention to detail and a personalized home building experience. Astoria only works on a select amount of projects each year, allowing home owners a one-on-one relationship during and after the home-building process.
This award winning builder provides their clients with several meetings during the process to review plans and guarantees possession within 8-12 months.
Currently, Astoria is building homes in the Bearspaw’s community of Watermark, in Cochrane. Watermark is a community that’s in touch with nature, giving homeowners lots of wide open space to enjoy the outdoors.
The community features estate homes located on up to an acre of land. Astoria has two show homes at Watermark – Austin and Montebello. The Austin model is designed to be a warm and inviting family home, while the Montebello is family home with modern and elegant features.
Besides Astoria’s home-building in Watermark at Bearspaw, they also build custom country homes on acreages. Astoria works with customers who currently own acreage land to build one of their Country Homes or works with a customer to find the perfect location to build their perfect new home.
If you’re curious to learn more about Astoria Custom Homes, definitely check out Astoria’s twitter where they post news about their show homes and show their appreciation for each of their clients.
And don’t forget to check out Astoria on the NewHomeListingService™ website to view their beautiful listings.

Top 5 Edmonton Communities – Woodhaven-Edgemont

Woodhaven-Edgemont is a community in west Edmonton for families who are looking for nature at their doorstep while still being within city limits. Developed by The Walton Group, Woodhaven-Edgemont was designed with families in mind; they wanted to create a community that would fit any family’s lifestyle.

Woodhaven-Edgemont is surrounded by over 35 acres of greenspace; including a constructed ravine, creeks, and playgrounds. There are also a network of trails perfect for hiking, mountain biking, running, or dog walking – even cross-country skiing in the winter.

As the community is still in its development stage, custom front attached garage homes are still being personally designed to buyer, as well the community has developed luxury ravine condos. Single-family homes are being built by Montorio Homes, Edmonton’s largest custom home builder.

Montorio Homes is creating customized Italian-inspired homes, while incorporating environmentally friendly building techniques and products into their homes.

The Parc at Edgemont Ravine offers home buyers two-bedroom condos that offer an escape and respite from concrete civilization. Whether the buyer uses the area’s many walking paths or take a family trip to Banff, the idea is that the only thing between the buyer and nature is their backdoor.

The Parc condos are being sold upward of $250,000. Woodhaven-Edgemont strives to be an approachable and reasonably priced community that can fit any family, whether it be a first time buyer or a family expanding. Therefore, the price point, size of lots, and location of homes creates a range of prices to fit any budget.

The community is ideally positioned on the Wedgewood ravine, providing an attractive setting for a residential development and adds significant amenity value to the future community along the south edge of the property. Although Woodhaven-Edgemont is on the outskirts of west Edmonton, it is located just a few minutes down Anthony Henday highway from transit, school, shopping, and recreation facilities until retail development is established.

This community boasts opportunity and customization from home builders and would be a great choice for any family. The only con with this community is that it is in the very first stages of development isn’t yet fully established with amenities. However, the next stage of homes being built will complete the community and allow them to focus on developing retail opportunities.

The DigiHand is a YYC Social Media Marketing company that helps align small business owners with savvy individuals to help grow their social media following and business.

Top 5 Edmonton Communities – Keswick On The River

Keswick On The River is a new townhouse, single-family home joint development by Cameron Communities and MLC Group. The first phase of Keswick was completed in 2013, and since then the community has become the premier sought-after southwest community in Edmonton. Keswick On The River is over 200 acres of tree-studded, river-wrapped property located just west of 170th Street on Ellerslie Road. Units range in price from $420,000 to $2,000,000, and sizes range in order to fit any family’s lifestyle.

The development is split into two separate areas, the Valleyside and the Estates. The simplicity, texture, and love for the natural elements that inspire the Estates, also strive to inspire the homes within the Valleyside. The Valleyside is characterized by front attached garage homes, that are a customized fit & finish or move-in ready. The size of the units range from 1500 to 3000 sq ft.

The Valleyside also offers luxury duplex homes from the $420s. There are five builders in the Valleyside: Cameron Homes, Parkwood Master Builder, Landmark Homes, Kimberley Homes, and Hillview Master Builder. The group of builders work together within the architectural guidelines to create homes ranging from arts and craft style to English Country, that blend seamlessly together providing the perfect style and size of home for any buyer. The Estates aim to use old world architecture, masonry accents, and clean lines to emit a sense of timeless beauty.

They provide 3000 sq.ft.+ estate homes that are full custom builds or move-in ready.  There are six builders in the Estates: Aacropolis Homes, Ace Lange Homes, Carriage Signature Homes, Perry Signature Homes, Vicky’s Homes, and Keswick Villa and Bungalows by Kimberley Homes. Although each builder adds its own touch to the development, they all strive to provide modern luxury homes that will appeal to any family’s lifestyles.

There are many perks to choosing a home in Keswick, for example: there is over 21 acres of greenspace: including 3 parks, constructed wetlands, and over 8 kilometres of landscaped trails. Keswick also backs on to a private golf course, and is surrounded by two other privatized golf courses in walking distance. Home owners are only minutes away from the Windermere Currents shopping Centre with highlights such as the Cineplex Odeon theatre, retail, and grocery stores.

Alongside the amenities closely surrounding the community, another incentive to buying in Keswick On The River is that it is also an ecologically sensitive development. All show homes are equipped with solar technology, and builders are highly encouraged to maintain the eco-sensitive lifestyle. As for cons in buying in Keswick, the main problem is that it lies on the outskirts of the southwest end of the city, which can make the daily commute quite long. However, for the price point and quality that the development aims to fit, homes in the interior of Edmonton may not  compete with the Keswick community.

The DigiHand is a YYC Social Media Marketing company that helps align small business owners with savvy individuals to help grow their social media following and business.