Concerned About the New Mortgage Changes?

Mon, 17 Oct by Home Tribe

Truhome mortgage specialistOver the last week, we have spoken with a few of our mortgage specialists to gain a better understanding of how the mortgage changes may affect you.   Due to the updates, a homebuyer may not qualify for as high of a mortgage as they previously could.

Now “the average home buyer will have to pass a financial stress test and qualify for the 4.64% interest rate which is about 2% over the rate they are qualifying for right now.” Suzette Hawkes from RBC explains that “this test measures whether the buyer can still afford to make payments if the mortgage rates rose to the Bank of Canada’s posted five-year fixed mortgage rate. In some cases, this means homebuyers will be able to spend $20,000.00 less on a home that they were originally pre-approved for on a prior date.”

Homebuyers that are applying for a conventional mortgage with 20% or more down will not be affected by this change.  For the home buyers that require an insured mortgage (less than 20% down) will have to go through this process.

Our recommendation: be sure to talk to a mortgage specialist to learn more about your current buying power.


Are You Concerned About Edmonton Restaurant Violations?

Thu, 29 Sep by Home Tribe

How many violations does an Edmonton restaurant need to receive for you to stop going there, or do you even care?

In our province, Alberta Health Services is in charge of monitoring and regulating restaurants to ensure they comply with the public health legislation and standards in Alberta.

While each restaurants violations are tracked online at, it is unlikely that you as a consumer are visiting this website prior to go out to eat each time. More than likely, you probably have never even visited it.

At present time, we often do not consider the risks involved with eating out and that these risks may be far greater at certain establishments then others. How risky is eating out? Are certain restaurants worse or better? Or more so, do I even want to know? Perhaps, ignorance is bliss…until one day, your kneeling over the toilet bowl experiencing a terrible case of food poisoning.

According to a recent poll by Open Data Edmonton, 43% of people do want better access to the Restaurant Inspection data. This indicates that access to this type of data is important to the public.

At TruHome, we are all about enhancing our clients (and the people of YEG) lifestyle through more open and transparent data. We also, just happen to be curious folks who ask a lot questions…..which is why we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the restaurant inspection data.

Through Alberta Health Services, restaurants may encounter 4 different types of inspections:

  • Initial / Approval – an inspection performed before a restaurant opens or if there is a new owner to determine if the facility will be able to prepare food safely and complies with applicable legislation.
  • Monitoring / Routine – an inspection performed without notice to ensure food is being handled safely and complies with applicable legislation. Restaurants usually have 1 to 3 monitoring inspections per year.
  • Risk Management / Re-inspection – an inspection performed to ensure that unsafe practices and violations noted in previous inspections have been corrected.
  • Demand / Complaint – an inspection performed to follow up on complaints from the public or another agency alleging an unsafe condition or violation.

In our Edmonton Restaurant Inspection visualization, we felt that critical violations would be the most important measure for #yegfoodies, as this really touches on public safety concerns. Through our visualization, we soon discovered that while some Edmonton restaurants had virtually no violations, others obtained over 53 in the last 3 years alone (2014-2016).


According to the AHS:

Monitoring inspections are conducted unannounced and are considered “complete” inspections, meaning the inspection involves Environmental Health Officers observing and documenting compliance under fifteen categories:

1. General Sanitation/Structure
2. Water Supply – Public or private supply
3. Sewage System – Public or private
4. Food Handling Practices
5. Cold Food Storage/Display
6. Hot Food Storage/Display
7. Staff Hygiene
8. Equipment and Utensils (Condition/Storage/Display)
9. Dishwashing Equipment
10. Washroom (Public & Staff)
11. Dry Goods Storage
12. Pest Infestation/Control
13. Safe Food Certification
14. Sanitation Procedures/Pest Control Record
15. Valid Food Handlers Permit

It makes us wonder, will the knowledge of the number of violations a restaurant has received impact your decision to eat there? Or more importantly, is there a better way that the province or the city of Edmonton can communicate a restaurants track record more openly to the publicly?

The city of Toronto has taken significant steps to making their inspections more transparent. The Toronto DineSafe program grades each restaurant through a colour coded system:

  • Green for Pass
  • Yellow for Conditional Pass
  • Red for Closed

These grades are required to be visibly posted at each restaurant. Since, implementing this program, Toronto went from 78.2% of restaurants passing to 92.4% by the end of 2012. According to the Food Service Packaging Institute: In 2010 DineSafe won the Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for providing outstanding food protection services – the first time an organization outside the United States has won this prestigious award.”

Based on this, it does show a direct correlation of how accessible data has improved the quality of the restaurant industry in Toronto.

Can Alberta restaurants improve and reduce the number of violations? How can, we as a province move forward and be recognized as a leader in this capacity?

At TruHome, we believe in opening up the data, but, more specifically on the how the data is communicated to the public. How do you think Restaurant Inspection data should be displayed (online or off)?

New to Market: Callingwood Condo

Tue, 27 Sep by Home Tribe

Callingwood Condo Priced to Sell at: $199, 900


Callingwood Condo LIsting


There are various benefits to choosing the neighbourhood of Callingwood as your home when it comes to this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo. Freshly painted and boasting over 998 sq ft, this condo in Mainstreet West is located close to major routes including the Whitemud freeway and the Anthony Henday. Explore the neighbourhood with your family at the ever popular weekly farmers market that has been operating for over 32 years. Only a few minutes away you can benefit from the close proximity to grocery stores, schools, daycares and many other businesses and services.  Explore the community of Callingwood and listings here.

If you’ve been waiting for an exceptional value in Callingwood, here it is! Talk to the TruHome Team today!

Downtown & Oliver, Edmonton Market Stats – July 2016

Mon, 15 Aug by Home Tribe

What Is Happening In Your Area – Stats Wise?

Interested to understand what has happened in the Edmonton Real Estate market last month? Check out our most recent stats pertaining to the communities of Oliver and Downtown. Don’t live in the core? Contact us to get updated on what’s happening in your hood.

Does Your Edmonton Neighbourhood Have A Community League

Fri, 29 Jul by Home Tribe

Author: Trevor Prentice

It was always our intention to be involved in our community in some way once our family settled down.  In fact, an active community was one of the things we were looking for when deciding where in the city to live.  The neighbourhood we have since moved to has an official community league that manages a community hall, ice rink, sports, runs events throughout the year, and a number of other projects.  This, and a recent conversation with a co-worker who lives in a newer neighbourhood in the city, has led me to wonder which neighbourhoods in the city have official community leagues, and how new leagues are created.

The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues website informed me that there are apparently 157 community leagues in Edmonton!  Given how many people are involved in keeping my league running relatively smoothly, it’s hard to imagine how many people are working (primarily as volunteers, in my understanding) all over the city to make our communities better places to live!

157 community leagues is pretty great, but the 2014 census showed 239 neighbourhoods in Edmonton with over 1000 people living in them.  Many people must live in areas without these great opportunities to get to know their neighbours, interface directly with city officials, and create and take advantage of extra facilities, at least in the capacity of a community league.

If you are in such a situation, where you live in a neighbourhood that has yet to establish an official community league, you may be interested to know that the city offers a $5000 Emerging Community League Grant to help get things started.  Additionally, on an annual basis, community leagues in Edmonton are eligible for an Operating Grant from the city, the amount of which is based partially on the size of the neighbourhood.

An even easier way to get started, to test the waters, and to generate some interest in a new community, is to plan and host a “block party”.  With the city’s permission, a street, park, or back alley can be closed off for you and your neighbours to have a BBQ or other event.  The City of Edmonton website has lots of information and advice on getting started.


So get involved and take some initiative; build or help grow a community, your neighbours may be cooler than you think!


Edmonton Real Estate Market – A Recap for June

Fri, 15 Jul by Home Tribe

Hello Edmonton Real Estate – What Is Going On? (A Recap From June)

  • 1,785 properties were sold in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (up 0.8% from May)
  • 1,117 single family detached homes were sold in the Edmonton CMA (equal percentage from May)
  • 465 condos and 173 duplex/rowhouses sold (up 11.5% and down 15% from May, respectively)
  • $435,366 was the average all-residential price for June (down by over 1% from May)

“Although June’s residential unit sales are up slightly over May, we did not see the numbers set in June of 2015. Also notable is that the sustained lull in sales we have seen over the past two years has not been reflected in average price. Continued sales of higher priced properties in the region have helped keep average prices strong,” says REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Steve Sedgwick.

What Is Happening In Your Area – Stats Wise?

We are excited to annouce that we are now launching monthly stats based on region. Central Edmonton Dwellers (Downtown & Oliver) – check out your stats below. Don’t live in the core? Contact us to get updated on what’s happening in your hood.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.18.41 AM

Technology & Innovation At The ForeFront Of Building Alberta’s Economy

Wed, 06 Jul by Home Tribe

Earlier this month, the TruHome team was honoured to be included in discussing how entrepreneurship and job growth are paramount to the success of building up the Alberta economy. By the government funding organizations like TEC Edmonton, you will see greater mentorship and small business growth, which will in turn help propel our economy forward. 

As part of this celebration, our team was invited to speak about the work TEC Edmonton did with us and meet the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Deron Bilous. It was a crazy week, as not only were we participating in this, but I (Elisse) personally, just celebrated the birth of my son, Harrison, who got to partake in this journey at 5 days old.

Elisse Moreno-TEC Edmonton

Entreprenur and TEC client Elisse Moreno said her experience with the incubator backs up the encouraging statistics in the report. She’s the founder of TruHome (formerly HomeTribe), a technology-based startup that uses data and analytics to help match homebuyers with suitable properties.

“We worked with other consulting companies and we felt like we were sometimes a number,” she said. “Here, we came in the first day and met with almost everyone in TEC Edmonton and they listened to our story. … They’re on board, so you build confidence and you feel better about everything.”

But Moreno said startups in Alberta still face major hurdles. “It’s funding and mentorship that are the two things that we’re facing.”

Edmonton Real Estate Market – A Recap for May

Thu, 16 Jun by Home Tribe

Hello Edmonton Real Estate – What Is Going On? (A Recap From May)

  • 1,771 properties were sold in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (up 18% from April)
  • 1,119 single family detached homes were sold in the Edmonton CMA (19% percent increase from April)
  • 449 condos and 203 duplex/rowhouses sold (up 5% and 37% from April, respectively)
  • $382,695 was the average all-residential price for May (up by over 1% from April)

“While new listings coming onto the market were down this May compared to 2015, inventory continues to remain strong with more than 8,000 residential properties on the market at month’s end,” REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair Steve Sedgwick said. “The fact that we haven’t seen a significant decline in prices is giving buyers more assurance. They are making purchases based on market stability and good selection.”

What Is Happening In Your Area – Stats Wise?

We are excited to annouce that we are now launching monthly stats based on region. Central Edmonton Dwellers (Downtown & Oliver)  – check out stats specific to this area below. Don’t live in the core? Contact us to get updated on what’s happening in your hood. 2

Real Edmontonians Speak Out About Edmonton City Growth

Wed, 01 Jun by Home Tribe

See Our City Grow-

When we designed our Edmonton Building Age Map and wrote about Edmonton’s Urban Sprawl, we did not anticipate all the feedback and thoughts we would receive from Edmontonians and other great people through Twitter. Rather than just keeping the conversation there, we thought it would be useful to further share some of the thoughts and ideas here. Keep the #yegurbansprawl conversation going, by further sharing your thoughts on this heated topic.

  • @adgelessness – “We have city’s to manage and service those effects to satisfy our choice of lifestyle.”
  • @salcomm – “So many thoughts on sprawl. #1 dense suburbs still car centric. #2 Amenities in power centres, strip malls separated by big roads. #3 Neighbourhoods pw.o. alleys have to demolish hses and add more driveways crossing sidewalks to densify. #4 people still leaving to breed in the burbs. Weak connection between high density builds & less sprawl or affordability. Suburbs may be dense but still very car centric. Amenities a drive away across big roads. Street design 60yrs old. First, [we need to] stop building new developments using failed patterns.”
  • @tstewarts – “My thoughts are we need to start building up.”
  • @RobMeekel – “There’s a few things I’d say, first of all “urban sprawl” is designed as a negative term. No matter what side of an issue there’s usually more to it than people know and/or want to share. All cards on table needed. Which is OK if you are from that point of view but greater density has its own set of negative issues, conversation needs balance. Building codes have not kept up with Higher density, we now build zero property line 4 feet apart wrapped in combustible plastic siding. One house starts on fire its guaranteed that surely neighbouring properties will too, older 50s & 60s residential driveways were barriers. Smaller streets, more people, cars stacked on top of each other create streets its dangerous for children to be out on. In we have issues with 2nd scary suites (catch my POV?) people who buy R1 to live don’t want them, but property investors (which I am too) wanna buy on the low end and have re-zoned for profit (rentals). It doesn’t help that  for years neglected to have sufficient multi-unit & multi family requirements in new residential areas. So when rental is tight (boom years) they use it as excuse to “need” more rental re-zoning. This leads to anger amongst property owners with different views. I don’t want anything but R1 where I live, my biggest investment was by choice in R1. My other properties (by specific choice) have been zoned multi from the start.”

These are all great points. The key to enhancing our city is conversation to allow for new possibilities to emerge regarding the needs of Edmonton’s urban planning.It is up to all of us to design and build places we love living in and our proud of! By re-looking at design concepts for urban planning and shifting our perspectives, we will find the right balance between “urban vs. suburban” “growing up and out” and making this city of ours even greater.


Edmonton Property Assessment Comparison 2015-2016

Thu, 12 May by Trevor Prentice

Questions to think about when it comes to property assessment changes?


Buying a home is likely one of the biggest decisions of a person’s life from a financial perspective. For this reason, Home Tribe aims to help people use data and science to make better and more informed decisions related to buying a home. In addition to our Home Tribe Match function, which relies heavily on numerous datasets related to real estate, we will be expanding our blog to bring some of this data out from behind the scenes, and to showcase other cool information that is relevant or just plain awesome.

With property taxes in the news over this past month, we thought it would be a great time to release our latest data visualization map. Similar in appearance to the building age map we published in March, this map highlights the areas of the city of Edmonton where property assessment values have either increased or decreased in the last year. You can view our Edmonton property comparison visualization of 2015-2016 here.

You may have also come across the City of Edmonton’s amusing videos that attempt to illuminate the process the City uses to determine the value of every property in Edmonton on an annual basis. Even after watching the videos, I still had questions about how these assessment increases or decreases vary from place to place within Edmonton. Our Assessed Values map does a great job of illuminating how the assessed values changed in the past year, using open data from the City’s Open Data Catalogue.

One feature of this data that jumped out at me right away is the distinctive barrier in northern Edmonton, 137 ave. On the north side of this road property taxes almost all increased significantly (one notable exception being Londonderry Mall), on the south side they decreased. In fact, the neighbourhood in the city with the greatest decrease in assessment values, Athlone, is on the west side of this zone. Use the search bar in the top right of the map to pinpoint Athlone, or other

Another interesting pattern that I noticed is the tendency for houses on the edge of a neighbourhood to have the opposite trend as the houses on the inside of the same neighbourhood in some areas of the city, most notably in the south west. Is this effect partially due to nice river valley views, or, in the case of decreases, river valley land slide danger (such as along Whitemud Rd)? In the most expensive neighbourhood in town, Westbrook Estates, there is an interesting inner row of houses that decreased their assessed value in contrast to the rest of the neighbourhood. Is this due to the fact that they border onto the Derrick Golf Club, and there could be more stray golf ball danger now than last year?

As you can probably tell, more often than not, looking at data in this way can raise more questions than it answers. This certainly isn’t a bad thing though, without a great visualization of data like this, it’s hard to even determine what questions to ask!

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.