What to Look For In an Investment Property

Looking to invest in a rental property or house to flip? Here is our shortlist for the most important features to consider for a profitable property:

Where are you buying?

The reason you're buying this property is for capital investment and return. The biggest questions to ask yourself is where is the property located and what is around? Is there plenty of other houses for rent and sale? Does the demand for the area exceed the supply?

Depending on the answers to those questions, you might want to expand your search into other neighborhoods, even if the property itself seems to be a steal. 

What features does it have?

Whether your vision is a rental property or a flip, you need to consider which features the property already has that will appeal to consumers. Does there need to be any upgrades in order for you to be able to rent? How much will it cost you to add a second bathroom(for example)?

What is the market like?

If you are buying with renting in mind, you are probably expecting to be in it for a longer haul than a flip. Either way, it is important to consider what the current state of the real estate market is. Will you make money if you flip and sell in six months? If you sell in 5-10 years, what does the projection look like? 

Pro Tip: Expect the unexpected.

Be sure you have saved enough money to cover unexpected damages and hiccups that arise because they are bound to happen. 

Still not sure where to start? We are here to help! Contact us today and we will give you all the answers to questions you might have and lead you through the process of finding the perfect property for your situation! 


Save $$$ On Your Bills This Summer

Summer is coming in hot...literally. Just hearing the word 'summer' might have you daydreaming of running through the sprinkler with the kids, basking in your air-conditioned room, or harvesting your fresh veggies for dinner tonight. These are just a few of the joyous delights of summertime. And we want you to enjoy them ALL.

We also want you to save some cash so you can enjoy the summer that much more this year. That's why we've outlined some easy adjustments you can make to optimize your days and your wallet. 

How to save on your water bill

Use a Rain Barrel

If you're a green thumb you may already know how advantageous this is. If you're just getting into gardening, however, you might not have thought of how you will water your seed babies. 

You can buy a rain barrel at any home improvement store, hide it in the corner of your yard or alongside your house, let rainwater drain into it, then water your plants with the water. You will save tonnes of water and money by not using a garden hose or filling up your can with tap water. You will also be kind to the environment by doing so, which we can all agree on is more important than ever,

Optimize Your Sprinkler

If you have kids, they probably love jumping through the sprinkler stream on a hot day. Hey, even if you’re an adult you might still love it! Make sure you’re placing your sprinkler in a spot where the droplets are landing on the grass or in your garden, and not wasting water on the pavement.

Go a step beyond that and place buckets along the outskirts of your sprinkler’s perimeter to collect some of the stray droplets. Use this water to fill water guns, hydrate the dog, clean your patio furniture…the possibilities are endless. 

Tank Bank

This suggestion has nothing to do with summer, as you can utilize it all year round, but we think it's pretty clever. Your toilet doesn’t need all the water in its tank to flush your business. Place a tank bank in your toilet tank to take up some surface area and trick it into thinking it is full. On average, save 0.8 gallons per flush. Depending on the number of people in your household, the savings can add up quickly!


How to save on your energy bill

Blackout Blinds

Are you a basement dweller in the summer; avoiding heat like it’s your day job? By replacing your curtains with blackout curtains, you could have access to the rest of your house at a comfortable temperature. Blackout blinds will block suns rays and heat throughout the day, helping keep your rooms cool into the evening. This could cut down on your air-conditioning use or need for a fan.

Air Conditioner Presets

Air conditioning…one of life’s luxuries on a sweltering day. If you’re lucky enough to have a unit in your house, you know how good it feels to open your door to a crisp temperature when the outside thermometer is reading 35 degrees.

We aren’t about to take that away from you. We’re just going to suggest that you can do it smarter-both for the environment and your bank account. During days that you are away at work, pre-set your air conditioner to turn off when you leave and turn back on an hour before you plan to arrive home.

If the average person works away from home for forty hours per week, the savings are exponential if you add up all those hours throughout the summer.


Our Top Reno Tips

Sooooo, you want to renovate!? You might have bought yourself a fixer-upper or are looking to give your property a facelift before listing it. Whatever your renovation goals and inspiration are, our tips will help you get there! 

Overestimate Your Time

It's easy to fall into the thinking that you can renovate your entire bathroom over the weekend. While that might end up being true, it's always better to overestimate how long it will take you to complete your vision. This allows you to focus on the end result without rushing the process.

A wrench might get thrown into your timeline when you lift up the flooring to find some water damage or realize the plumbing needs to be rerouted for your double vanity. 

Plan & Track Your Budget

This might seem obvious, but once you get started, it's easy to forget to track where your dollars are spent. This makes it way more likely that your project will come in over budget once it is complete.

With that being said, it is also a good idea to allocate a bit of extra cash for unexpected expenses, like dealing with the water damage or plumbing issues mentioned above. If you don't have the cash to give yourself a bit of wiggle room, wait until you do. There is nothing worse than feeling forced to buy cheaper materials or not completing your vision 100% because your bank account says so.  

IKEA For the Win

We LOVE IKEA. The showrooms make it easy to envision the products in your own home. Need some inspiration? Head to IKEA. 

You don't have to be a professional to install anything IKEA, which is wonderful when you're wanting to do the renovations yourself. IKEA's price tag is also a nice surprise.

When looking for cabinets or countertops, it's worth mentioning that the "As-Is" section can be a gold mine. Often times showroom models or discontinued pieces are sold there for a fraction of the price. Use IKEA pieces as the "bones" of your project and personalize them with unique or more expensive finishings. 

Repurpose & Use the Leftovers

Hate the color of your cabinets? Paint them! Are your hardwoods floors a bit outdated? Sand and stain them! You don't need to replace these features of your house with all-new-everything...unless you want to. A new coat of paint on your wooden cabinets adds character and can also revitalize your kitchen at a fraction of the cost. 

You can also use the leftovers of your new installs in interesting ways. For example, create floating shelves in your closet with the ends of your butcher block countertops. 

Stay updated on home inspiration, renovation tips & more by following us on Facebook and Instagram, or by signing up for our monthly Edmonton's Realtors newsletter.


5 Ways You Benefit From Hiring a Realtor

With spring approaching quickly, many buyers and sellers are beginning their journey of either finding their dream home or selling their property. With so much information seemingly available on the internet, people begin to wonder if they can do it themselves.

While yes, there have been people who have bought or sold their house themselves or through discounted service providers, many don’t succeed at all, or as quickly as they imagined. On average, properties that are sold without professional Realtor services close for considerably less which leaves the sellers feeling discouraged and burnt out. We’ve put together an outline that will help you to understand why hiring a Realtor is advantageous for you.

No Up-Front Cost

The biggest concern people often have is the cost of hiring a Realtor to sell their house. What many people don’t consider is the upfront costs that go into listing a property. Expenses such as professional photos, required measurements, MLS listing fees, and marketing resources are up-front costs that a Realtor will take on, with no obligation to the seller.

They Understand Market Values

The real estate market is in a constant state of change and a Realtor’s job is to stay on top of the market. Yes, there are overviews of monthly and yearly statistics online, but a Realtor has more in-depth access to market information and a deeper understanding of the effects it will have on your situation.

Many factors are taken into consideration when helping clients reach their ideal selling or buying price. Data such as the average cost-per-square-foot, median sale prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices are all calculated and impact the final number.

Knowledge & Experience

Hiring a Realtor with many successful sales and many years of experience gives you access to expertise that otherwise you most likely would not have. Having seen hundreds of properties every year, they have a trained eye to assess the outstanding features of a home, as well as the ability to point out potential concerns for the future.

Agents also have in-depth knowledge, or at least know where to obtain the information, about your neighborhood. They can investigate comparable sales as well as provide data about nearby amenities, schools, crime rate, and other important demographics.

They Represent Your Best Interest

Your Realtor’s main job is to be your advocate along your buying or selling journey. This means negotiating the best possible price and terms for your situation. They know what is ideal and settle for nothing less.

Not only do they have relationships with the best inspectors in town, but they also have an index of other professionals they can refer you to. Everyone from mortgage brokers, lawyers, contractors and anyone else you might need along the way.

Peace of Mind

The purchase and sale of your house are among the biggest transactions you will make in your life. With this in mind, a Realtor adheres to a strict code of conduct which ensures you will receive honest and ethical treatment throughout the entire process.

Lastly, most people these days are crunched for time. Paperwork, legalities, and acting as a buffer for property showings will be your Realtor’s responsibility. Take back your free time!


What Would YOU Like Most for 2018? 
The beginning of a new year is almost always a period of refection and redirection. We feel energized to move forward with a year ahead full of promise and opportunity. Often though, after a few weeks, things go back to normal. Old habits run deep and sometimes we bite off so much more than we can chew in our eagerness of the New Year. 
For 2018, what if you took a minute and really asked yourself, “What do I want”? And instead of coming up with a list of 10 things, just narrow it down to 1 or 2? 
For many of us busy people, because really who isn’t busy these days, a goal may to be reign things in a bit and enjoy the simplicities of life while focusing on the positive. Here are a few suggestions for ways to achieve some positive peace in your life: 

Start to De-Clutter: If the space around you is disorganized chaos, guess how you’ll feel? Get rid of the junk and the excess. Lots of less fortunate people will appreciate your “junk”. 
Spend Time Outside: Get some Vitamin D on that skin and soak up the peacefulness of nature. A trail is never far away! 
Put Your Phone Down: Make some time for yourself that is free of your devices. Leave your phone in a drawer for a bit or give it to your spouse for the evening so you aren’t tempted. 
Be Choosy About How You Spend Your Time: If you say “yes” to everything your body and mind will soon scream “no”. Before accepting every invite and over-extending yourself, decide if it is something you really want to do. Plotting events on a calendar and not overscheduling more than 2 events a week can be helpful. 
Count Your Blessings: Carve out a few minutes each morning or at bedtime and reflect on the positives. Positive thinking can have such an impact on how we see the world around us. 
What are some of your ideas for making 2018 your best year yet? 


Lorraine "Edmonton" Mah & Jodi Dahl
Associates, RE/MAX River City Edmonton 


We are full of Christmas Cheer this year and are so lucky to live in an area with a plethora of Christmas Events, all December long! Here is a list of some exciting Christmas Events in the Edmonton Area. Which ones will you attend?

Christmas events in Edmonton

Christmas Lights

The Magic of Lights- A 2 KM drive through beautiful light displays. Stay warm in your car! Runs until January 6th, 5-10pm. Castrol Raceway by Nisku $25/car. Details here.


The Enchanted Forest- Walk through a winter wonderland in Fort Saskatchewan! Runs until Jan 7, free, details here.


Luminaria- Candle lit paths, apple cider, bonfires, music and more! Devonian Botanic Garden, Dec 1-3, tickets.


Candy Cane Lane- An Edmonton tradition! Dec 8-31, free (donations appreciated), 148 Street & 100 Ave to 92 Ave.


Country Christmas Lights- An entire acreage is transformed into a magical Christmas display! Some nights Santa makes an appearance and you can enjoy free hot chocolate. Leduc, free (donations appreciated). Details here.


Alberta Legislature- Enjoy the lights, carollers & hot chocolate. Dec 7-23, Free.


Zoominescence- Festival of Lights- Light installations, skating, DJ, fire dancers & more! Edmonton Valley Zoo, Dec 1-31, $7.50 adults $5 child. Details here.


Festival of Trees- Over 100 decorated tress and displays, kids activities and more! Shaw Conference Centre, Nov 30-Dec 3. Pricing can be found here.


Christmas events in Edmonton


A Jann Arden Christmas- December 1-2, Winspear Centre, tickets here.


George Canyon Acoustic Christmas- December 2, Dow Centennial Centre Fort Saskatchewan, tickets here.


Martin Deerline’s Green Christmas- Santa pictures in a tractor, crafts & treats! Free! Information here.


Christmas at Fort Edmonton Park- Celebrate Christmas the old fashioned way! Various dates and prices, details here.


St. Albert Children’s Theatre, It’s a Wonderful Life & Elf production- Nov 23-Dec 3, tickets here.


Festival of Carols- December 9 at The Winspear, in support of the Salvation Army, free tickets here.


Edmonton Singing Christmas Tree- December 14-17 at the Jubilee Auditorium, tickets here.


A Christmas Carol at The Citadel Theatre- December 1-23, tickets here.


Santa Shuffle Fun Run & Elf Walk- December 2 at Hawrelak Park, register here.


Holiday Magic Coral and Handbell performances by Edmonton School Choirs- December 4-8 (10am-2pm), Edmonton City Hall, free.


Whyte Wishes Shop in Old Strathcona and enjoy a sleigh ride & visit with Santa. November 16-December 15.


The Nutcracker Ballet- December 7-10 at the Jubilee Auditorium, tickets here.


A Christmas Past- Music, history, cookies & cider. December 9 (12-4pm) at Rutherford House, regular admission.


Candlelight Christmas- Music, treats and 19th Century history homes. December 7-22 at the John Walter Museum, tickets here.


A Prairie Christmas- Celebrate the season at the farm! December 9-10, Prairie Garden Adventure Farm, details here.


Fiddler on the Roof- December 15-30 at Festival Place Sherwood Park, tickets here.

Happy Holidays!

Lorraine "Edmonton" Mah


RE/MAX River City

Edmonton Realtor



New mortgage changes are coming down the pipe, and it can all be a little confusing. Here's what the experts are saying.... 

Insured Mortgage / High Ratio Mortgage  = Less than 20% down payment
Non Insured Mortgage / Conventional Mortgage = 20% or greater down payment / equity
Bank of Canada Rate = the 5 year fixed posted rate (currently 4.99%)
Contract Rate = the actual rate offered by the lender to the consumer
Benchmark Rate/Qualifying Rate = Stress Test: Bank of Canada Rate OR Contract Rate +2%, whichever is greater
LTV (Loan To Value) = the size of a mortgage compared to the value of the property
securing the loan
3 new mortgage rule changes starting January 1, 2018:
Non insured mortgage consumers (buyers with a 20% or greater down payment) must now qualify using a new minimum qualifying rate. The minimum rate will be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada OR the lender contractual mortgage rate +2.0%.

How does this affect the mortgage consumer with a down payment of 20% or more?
The biggest impact will be on the amount in which the homebuyer will be able to qualify. Previously, the homebuyer qualified at the rate offered by the lender. Now, the homebuyer must qualify at the benchmark rate which is the higher of the Bank of Canada Rate (currently 4.99%) OR the rate from the lender plus 2%. This applies to all terms, fixed and variable rates.
Do I still have the option to refinance my home?
Yes, homebuyers will still have the ability to refinance up to 80% of the value of their property. You will have to pass the same stress test which is the higher of the Bank of Canada Rate (currently 4.99%) OR the rate from the lender plus 2%.
Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) must establish and adhere to appropriate LTV ratio limits that are reflective of risk and updated as housing markets and the economic environment evolve. We are awaiting more details on this policy from lenders. As we have new information, we will update this document.

Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) are prohibited from arranging with another lender: a mortgage, or a combination of a mortgage and other lending products, in any form that circumvents the institution’s maximum LTV ratio or other limits in its residential mortgage underwriting policy, or any requirements established by law. This is often referred to as “bundling” or “bundle partnership”.

What does this mean?
For example: a consumer applies for 80% LTV mortgage and the lender can only approve 65%. The lender then partners with a second lender for the additional 15%. The original lender then “bundles” the 15% LTV mortgage with the original 65% mortgage to form the complete 80% LTV loan. This will no longer be permitted. 


Questions? Contact us and we will put you in touch with the experts! 

Lorraine Mah

RE/MAX River City



We love finding new and better ways to conserve energy and save money! One of the best ways to be in the loop with what Energy Efficiency Alberta is up to is by subscribing to their newsletter.

In the newsletter you will find tips and tricks about:


You can sign up at and have all updates come directly to your inbox!


Brough to you by

Lorraine Mah of RE/MAX River City 




Have you heard? With Energy Efficiency Alberta’s (EEA) Residential and Commercial Solar Program you can save up to 30% of eligible costs when installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems!

According to the Government of Alberta, by 2019, the program is expected to:

  • Support the creation of 900 jobs in Alberta’s solar sector
  • Cut solar installation costs by up to 30 per cent for residences
  • Cut solar installation costs by up to 25 per cent for businesses and non-profits
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province by about half a million tonnes—the equivalent of taking 100,000 passenger vehicles off the road

For more information on how you can start converting to solar powered energy in your home you can visit this link: ( There is even an information session in Edmonton at the University of Alberta on July 19th.


Lorraine Mah, RE/MAX River City Edmonton




As part of the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (MNO) Review, the City of Edmonton has made changes to MNO regulations after holding multiple public consultation events with residents, community leagues, and the home building industry. These new rules provide clearer direction for residents living or building in mature neighbourhoods, including making it easier to determine front setbacks (the distance between the home and the street), driveway access and privacy regulations.

Click here to read the full article


Lorraine Mah, RE/MAX River City


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