CREB®’s president for 2015 is owner/broker of Royal LePage Benchmark, Corinne Lyall. Lyall took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with CREB®Now about the changing face of real estate, the first home she ever sold and how she likes to spend a day off in the city.
CN: Tell us a little bit about your background, what brought you to CREB?
Lyall: I grew up in real estate with my parents. My father, Clare, was in commercial real estate for almost 30 years, and my mom Jan started her career in the ’70s, ultimately became a broker/owner and just dropped her license this past year.
Needless to say, I have worked in a real estate company since I was 16-years-old, and that includes working in every position of our company. I completed a Political Science degree at the University of Calgary in 1993, and did some travelling before getting my real estate license in 1997 when I was 25. I partnered with Jan in 2007 and became broker/owner of Royal LePage Benchmark in 2008.
CN: Do you remember the first home you ever sold?
Lyall: The first home I sold was owned by a bartender at the Bull and Finch pub, where I worked after university. It was in Riverbend, and my mom actually had to list it initially because I was two weeks away from getting my license when he wanted to sell it! Needless to say, it was a memorable transaction.
CN: What’s the biggest change in real estate in the last 10 years?
Lyall: Absolutely, without a doubt, technology has changed the landscape of real estate over the last 10-15 years. REALTOR®s can be more productive and efficient with the ability to be mobile and paperless.
CN: What do you think the 2015 market will look like for buyers and sellers?
Lyall: I believe the market will become more balanced than last year. There will be more homes for buyers to choose from, and sellers will have to be more competitive with the pricing, condition and marketing of their properties.
CN: What’s one piece of advice you’d give a first-time homebuyer?
Lyall: I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just one piece of advice. As a first time homebuyer, I would budget and prepare well ahead of purchasing. I would meet with a REALTOR® to obtain advice and consultation and research the communities I would like to live in. I would also buy what I could afford as soon as possible, and let the equity in my property grow a minimum of three to five years before selling again.
CN: What do you think is Calgary’s biggest advantage as a city?
Lyall: Time and again, I hear from people who have moved here from other regions of Canada about how lucky we are to live in a city with such enormous opportunity for entrepreneurs and prosperity. They comment on the tax benefits, the active lifestyle, proximity to the mountains and the young spirit and vibrancy of this city.
CN: If you could change one thing about Calgary, what would it be?
Lyall: Less winter months! I guess that’s why there are three hour direct flights to Palm Springs.
CN: What’s your favourite room in the house and why?
Lyall: We live in a three-story brownstone and my favourite room is the top floor. It’s vaulted and airy with a cozy gas fireplace that separates the third bedroom from the family room. We are surrounded with original Canadian art and an incredibly cool cabinet (filled with my husband’s music collection) that is made from reclaimed oak from bourbon casks out of Louisville, Kentucky. There is also a deck off this floor where we sit in the summer, drinking our coffee with a glorious view of treetops and downtown.
CN: What’s your favourite way to spend a day off in the city?
Lyall: We live close to 17th Avenue, and love to get out and take advantage of the amazing restaurants and culinary adventures close by. There is a reason why it’s called the “Entertainment and Retail District.” I like spending time with my friends and going to lounges, music and social events, and of course, shopping! I am well-known for my love of shoes. I also enjoy fitness, so a perfect day is getting up and heading to the gym or yoga before a later-day indulgence of food and wine!
CN: What do you think the Calgary market will look like in 10 years?
Lyall: I think the downtown vibrancy is going to grow with the recent developments underway in both the East and West Villages. All the new condominium buildings will bring more density to these areas and, in turn, will propagate and attract even more retail, arts, and culinary delights! I am also excited by the amount of ethnic culture and diversity growing in our city. It’s grown so much since living here in the ’70s and I feel lucky to be part of the “international” vibe.