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University of Calgary student is passionate advocate for real estate industry

Jennifer Allford for Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Arshpreet Baidwan spends a lot of time talking about the different facets of the real estate industry with students at the University of Calgary. A fourth-year student at the Haskayne School of Business, she’s a licensed realtor, program advisor for Haskayne’s Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies and the president of the Real Estate Student Association, a student club dedicated to promoting careers in real estate and land development.

Baidwan is also the daughter and granddaughter of realtors. “I grew up seeing the industry because my dad is a real estate agent here and in India. I’ve met a lot of people working in the industry,” she says. “I watched a lot of HGTV in junior high and high school and I used to go to a lot of show homes in new communities. That’s where I found my passion for residential real estate.”

That passion has been fueled by getting involved with the Westman Centre at the Haskayne School of Business, which launched the province’s first real estate specialization for undergraduate and graduate business students. And while Baidwan can’t take the speciality—she was already in her third year of studies when the program launched in September 2017—the finance major is taking real estate courses, case competitions and, as program advisor, she plans and manages events at the Westman Centre.

“We have a lot of student engagement and networking events aimed at increasing program awareness on campus and letting students know that we have a real estate studies program and exposing them to different career paths in the industry,” she says. “A lot of students don’t understand that there are so many different aspects to the industry.” Baidwan happily tells them about potential careers—from being a broker in residential or commercial real estate to working in asset management, land development or property management.

“The real estate industry is one of the largest industries in the world and it affects everyone around the globe in some capacity,” says Jessica Abt, the Director for the Westman Centre. “Arshpreet’s desire to learn, engage with industry and invest her time and talent for the benefit of students and industry makes her a great fit for this ever-changing industry.”

Baidwan will graduate with a BComm in 2019 and is deciding where she will take her love for and expertise in real estate. She likes the idea of land development and working on an “open canvas” to create a community. “I’d love to work for a land developer and see where it takes me,” she says. “I think I’d like working with urban planners and getting creative on what should be built. I also like the due diligence part of land development as well as talking to customers and marketing the project.”

The industry is looking forward to welcoming Baidwan and other graduates who have studied real estate through the Westman Centre. “We’re excited to have a school of this stature in our midst,” says Alan Tennant, CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB). “It creates a place for thought and discussion and knowledge to be expressed and shared. A lot of that was happening on an ad hoc basis of course, but having it take place in an institution of higher learning and higher thought is the ultimate validation that this is important work.”

As she settles into her last year of business school, Baidwan will continue to spread the word to her classmates about the different careers waiting for them in real estate. “It’s such an exciting industry, she says. “You can make a difference in a city and you can be part of making communities. I want to contribute to that.”

2018 Canadian Rental Housing Index

Jennifer Allford for Alberta Real Estate Foundation

A new and improved Canadian Rental Housing Index (RHI) is giving policy makers, real estate professionals and other interested Canadians a clearer picture of rental markets and the state of affordable housing across the country. The RHI is a comprehensive database that compiles rental housing statistics for cities, regions, and provinces across Canada. See how much rent Canadians are paying in different parts of the country, compare affordability measures and find out where residents are overcrowded and severely overspending on housing.

The interactive web-map, which was updated in May 2018, incorporates new and comprehensive information from the 2016 long-form census. The RHI includes the latest data on rents, incomes and overcrowding in hundreds of large and small communities across Canada.

“It’s Canada’s most comprehensive database of rental housing statistics and provides information about more than 800 municipalities and regions across the country,” says Brian Clifford, the policy manager at the BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA). The organization helped start the Rental Housing Index in BC in 2014 and worked with a number of partners across Canada to develop a national version of the RHI in 2015.

The 2018 index is easier to use than the previous website and lets people compare a number of different communities at once. “You can get a snapshot of housing information of one location and use the comparison tool to select several communities at the same time,” says Clifford. “The data can be used to understand average rents, incomes and housing stock in your community as well inform long-term housing planning, development, and research.”

The 2018 update generated a lot of media interest with stories running in major news outlets across the country—some of those stories addressed the state of rental housing in different communities. The long term goal of the RHI is to help with decision-making and planning for affordable rental housing. “We’ve seen many examples of housing stakeholders and organizations using the index to inform planning and we’re beginning to see the new data be translated into policy and research,” says Clifford.

The real estate and development industries are also using the index. The Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis, for example, used the data to compile a report for the construction industry on shelter affordability.  Various industry real estate agents and blogs, including the Real Estate Management Industry network, have written about the updated RHI. “These examples provide some concrete evidence for how the index is being used by the real estate industry but we would like to see an even greater adoption of the tool within the sector,” says Clifford.

Detailed data tables can break down renter households according to income quartiles and bedroom size. This gives the user “a nuanced understanding” of where housing need is clustered and allows them to assess factors such as average rent, households spending more than half of their income on shelter costs and overcrowding across different income and bedroom sizes.  “These data can help the real estate industry identify opportunities for where housing need lies, what local income ranges are, and how much housing needs to be built in specific communities,” he says.

Brokers How-To

Brokers did you know that the interest earned on deposits is paid to the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (AREF) and is then reinvested into the community of Alberta? This is mandated in The Real Estate Act and it is important that you ensure your compliance and understand where the money goes.

The Real Estate Act states that all licensed brokers are required to maintain a general trust account to hold deposits on behalf of their client(s). Section 25(1)(b) requires general trust accounts to be interest bearing and section 69(2) directs any interest earned on these trust accounts to be paid to the Alberta Real Estate Foundation . For the complete Real Estate Act visit Service Alberta’s Website.

All the projects AREF distributes grants to benefit the real estate in some way and are encompassed by five main areas of interest: Education and research, housing, land stewardship and environment, and industry leadership. AREF does not fund personal real estate licensing or capital builds. In over 25 years, AREF has granted over $17.5 million to 550 projects. For a list of all our grant recipients visit our Projects Page, and for useful resources visit our Resource Library.

To be compliant you must follow three easy steps to direct interest earned on deposits to the AREF: First, download the broker form from our website. Second, get the form signed by your bank. Third and finally, send the form to AREF (make sure your bank has a copy and that you have a copy). For more detailed information about when to remit funds and how to remit to AREF visit our Broker Page.

 

 

Real Estate Council of Alberta Partners with University of Alberta School of Business to Raise the Bar in Commercial Real Estate Education

Calgary, Alberta – Commercial real estate education in Alberta will take an enormous step forward with a new partnership between the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) and the University of Alberta.

RECA and the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta have entered into an agreement that will see the University’s business school develop a completely new Practice of Commercial Real Estate course. RECA will offer the course to individuals entering Alberta’s commercial real estate sector.

“RECA is extremely excited about this new partnership,” says Council Chair, Krista Bolton. “This is the first time RECA has partnered with a university for course development. Commercial practitioners have told us the current commercial real estate education in Alberta doesn’t go far enough; the new commercial course will be a game-changer.”

The Alberta School of Business already offers real estate courses as part of its Bachelor of Commerce and MBA programs. Its experience in these areas makes it the perfect partner to develop RECA’s new leading-edge, university-level commercial real estate course.

Edmonton commercial real estate professional Chad Griffiths, who was Council Chair when RECA and the University of Alberta signed a Memorandum of Agreement, strongly supports the partnership and the new course. “From what I have seen of the planned course content, this truly is going to be the pre-eminent commercial real estate course in Canada.”

The new Practice of Commercial Real Estate course offered by RECA will launch in phases, beginning in Fall 2016. As each phases launches, RECA will incorporate it into the current Practice of Commercial Real Estate course.

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation, a funder and supporter of the Real Estate Program, has provided the Alberta School of Business with a $150,000 grant to partially fund the development of the new course.

To read the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) announcement please visit their website here.

Top 5 Questions by Brokers

Where do I find this form?

You will find this form on the Alberta Real Estate Foundation website www.aref.ab.ca. Click on the Brokers heading and you fill find the form on this page under Step 1: Download Broker Form.

Why do I have to fill this form out?

In accordance to the Real Estate Act, Section 25(1)(b) requires general trust accounts to be interest bearing and section 69(2) directs any interest earned on these trust accounts to be paid to the Alberta Real Estate Foundation.

Who signs the bottom of the form?

Your bank contact will sign the bottom of the page highlighted in blue and will also fill out the top section with the banking information.

What do I do with an unclaimed security deposits?

Unclaimed deposits, or unclaimed interest on deposits, must be remitted to the Foundation after:

a)      at least two (2) years have passed since your client was entitled to receive the funds back.

b)      reasonable efforts have been made to locate the beneficial owner of the funds.

There must be some type of letter or memo as to why these funds are being sent.

What if I am only a rental property brokerage?

If you are a rental property you do not remit interest to the Alberta Real Estate Foundation. The interest collected on security deposits should be given back to the tenants upon termination of their lease agreement.

Alberta Real Estate Association’s Service Excellence Program

Aimed at enhancing the professionalism of Alberta REALTORS®, the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA)’s Service Excellence Program is a comprehensive professional development opportunity helping to align the services Alberta REALTORS® provide with what today’s consumers expect. Using extensive consumer research, the program provides REALTORS® the knowledge of how those expectations have changed, and then provides the tools to help ensure the REALTOR®’s service meets or exceeds clients’ expectations.

The advent of the Internet has resulted in more online resources becoming available to consumers. This, in turn, has lessened the REALTOR®’s role in finding neighbourhoods and properties that pique a client’s interest. However, the relatively high cost of property and a more complex and litigious contract environment are two reasons why clients value the REALTOR® as guide and advisor more than ever before. The Service Excellence Program is all about this reality and how REALTORS® can effectively adapt their services in order to better serve today’s consumers. 

The program comprises three parts:  first is The Art of Service Excellence, a high-quality, interactive online course packed with tips, tools, downloadable resources and customizable templates. Following completion of the course, REALTOR® can gain access to the second part of the program: The Measure of Service Excellence, an independent third-party client satisfaction survey that correlates with the course material and that REALTORS® can use with their clients. The third part of the program:  The Proof of Service Excellence, still under development, is a provincial certification process that will allow Alberta REALTORS® to become Service Excellence certified.

Click here to watch a video about the program and read testimonials from REALTORS® who’ve completed the online Service Excellence course. Contact AREA with any questions at pd@areahub.ca or by phone at 1.800.661.0231. AREA wishes to thank the Alberta Real Estate Foundation for their generous sponsorship of this initiative.

Century Homes Calgary receives the Governor General’s History Award

Centure Homes CalgaryDecember 4th Calgary – Century Homes Calgary receives the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming

The Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Community Programming was created by Canada’s History Society (http://www.canadashistory.ca/) to recognize programming developed by volunteer-led heritage, community and cultural organisations at the
grassroots level, the award judges considered a variety of criteria when evaluating the submissions, including audience reach, historical research and innovation. According to Joanna Dawson, community engagement coordinator of Canada’s History Society, Century Homes Calgary stood out because of its significant impact on the community, both in terms of the number of participants in the project, and the number of those benefitting from the legacy of the research in future years.

As you may be aware, 508 historic homes in 30 communities participated in Century Homes Calgary. The project focused on homes constructed during Calgary’s first building boom, which peaked in 1912, with people celebrating their home’s 100th birthday in a citywide event.

The projects intention was to increase awareness and appreciation of Calgary’s heritage homes by engaging the people who live in them. The number of people who signed up to do research and display their passion for their Century Homes with signs and banners was overwhelming.

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation is proud to have supported this project in its first year.

Executive Director Cheryl De Paoli commends the award by saying “Century Homes Calgary is an innovative project that got communities and the public engaged with the history of homes and neighbourhoods in Calgary. A well deserved recognition indeed.

Plans are underway for a 2013 round of Century Homes in Calgary.