CREB® president David P. Brown says buying a home is a personal decision, but waiting too long creates risks. CREB®Now photo

Real estate veteran to take reins of member organization

The New Year will welcome a new president for CREB® and its 5,200-plus members as local real estate veteran David P. Brown takes the reins during what’s expected to be a year of transition for the industry.

CREB®Now caught up with Brown to talk about everything from his financial background to what advice he has for prospective homebuyers.

CREB®Now: What advice do you have for homebuyers, prospective or otherwise?

Brown: Homeownership is the best thing we have in this country. Still, it has to be a personal choice. My advice to homebuyers is to use a real estate professional. Buying a home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Yes, there is a lot that goes into it, but a real estate professional who has done it time and time again can help buyers make the right choice.

CREB®Now: Do you feel timing out the bottom of the market is a good strategy?

Brown: Real estate is a good time whenever you are ready. If you wait, you might miss opportunities. As CREB® economist Ann-Marie Lurie has said before, things change. Variables change conditions, such as mortgage rules. And some of those changes mean some people can’t qualify for the homes they could previously. So it’s really to say, make the decision that’s right for you.

“The key for renters to make that jump this year will be no different than any other year: they need to come up with a plan for that down payment. It won’t happen overnight.”

CREB®Now: Do you feel renters will make the jump into homeownership this year, or continue to take advantage of high vacancy rates?

Brown: Calgary’s rental market is going through a dip right now, but it won’t last. The toughest part for renters will be coming up with that down payment. It’s only gotten tougher over the years as the federal government has changed lending rules to protect buyers and the banks. The key for renters to make that jump this year will be no different than any other year: they need to come up with a plan for that down payment. It won’t happen overnight.

CREB®Now:  Are first-time buyers strictly looking at condos, or have competitive prices in the attached and detached markets created new opportunities?

Brown: It comes down to what they need, not what the price may or may not be. A young couple with no children who are just starting out doesn’t need to worry about proximity to schools or transportation to work. An apartment-style condominium or townhouse might be perfect for them. If anything, current conditions will give buyers an opportunity to jump into the market sooner.

CREB®Now: Your members have been through a lot over the past two years. How will they collectively respond to 2017?

Brown: REALTORS® will again have to work harder to find qualified buyers, or, on the selling side, in marketing those homes. Sure, some will likely face tough times and transition to other opportunities. But others will be coming to real estate from previous careers. That explains why membership levels have been fairly consistent over the last several years, even growing if you look at numbers from last year.

CREB®Now: Will the right property in the right place always sell?

Brown: There are two things that sell a property: how it looks and how it’s priced. If it looks good and is priced good, it will sell.