By Tom Albrecht | Nov 28, 2019 | Buyers Advice
I’ve lived in Fort Mac for 13 years now, and I wouldn’t exactly say I planned my relocation with precision (more on that later!).
In my career, I’ve seen people come and go (and everything in between). Some people seem happier than others, and for sure some people have softer arrivals than others.
So here it goes. Hopefully, these hints & tips help…
What followed was about 5 years of me getting on my feet. I probably only survived because the boom was on. Needless to say, you should probably do more research than I did. Knowledge is power, afterall...
On our website, you’ll find hundreds of helpful blogs about the community, the housing market, and tips for people thinking of buying a home locally. Click the categories, and search words in the box to get to grips with everything Fort Mac!
Generally speaking, if you’re thinking of moving to Fort McMurray, then your buyer’s agent won’t have a consultation with you just yet. We just pick up the phone and answer your questions for half an hour. We know Fort McMurray and we’ll tell you the good, the bad and the ugly...that way you can decide if it’s right for you.
Later you can choose to have a guided tour of Fort McMurray (without going into homes), and/or to sit down with us for a consultation. We offer this via screen-share if you haven’t relocated to Fort McMurray yet.
We can connect you with all kinds of useful people to give you further information about the town. We will likely know people at your future workplace, for example!
Most people want a REALTOR®️ who will inform them (starting with online research) all the way through until possession. At some point, you will need to let your relocation company know your choice of agent. Who you choose to represent you is your decision, nobody else’s. We’ll all just need to understand what (if any) requirements the relocation company has so we can swiftly navigate the process all together.
It’s not the boom anymore, and while Fort McMurray incomes are still high compared to the rest of Canada, there is unemployment here. Further, the cost of living is extremely high - we’re still up there with some of the more expensive places in the world.
For those reasons, a large number of Fort McMurray residents last year accessed the Food Bank.
If you are planning to move to Fort McMurray looking for work, then anyone working for one of our overstretched non-profit organizations (and your financial advisor) would advise you to come with savings.
Financial risk isn’t the only risk associated with relocating to Wood Buffalo. Fort Mac is amazing for families (seriously), but have you considered the impact of the big move on your family? Moving north is probably the best decision you’ll ever make, but understand that we are 4 hours north of Edmonton, and the winters are long and dark. You’ll want to take necessary provisions to ensure your family’s mental health.
The more people you talk to, the more risks you’ll be able to identify, then you can plan for them!
Prioritizing it doesn’t mean you have to rush, however. And you don’t have to buy, especially if you’re only planning to be around for a year or two.
It’s no secret that we have a high-priced housing market (although prices have fallen significantly - see how much here). This means we’re going to want to be careful with those big decisions.
My message is that there is nothing wrong with renting for a few months so that you can make sure of your decisions of whether to buy, what to buy, and budget, prior to taking the plunge.
With corporate relocations, temporary accommodation is often paid for by your employer (usually 1-3 months). They usually set you up with something that fits your family.
If you don’t have relocation benefits, why not find something temporary yourself? The rental market is quite slack at this time, after all, so there’s lots of availability.
On the other hand, if you’re coming up for a 5-day home-finding trip, we’ve got a history of successfully finding people excellent houses in that timeline. But we’ll need to plan in advance with a consultation.
By the way, every home on the Fort McMurray MLS system can be found by searching here or navigating these popular searches and communities.
Our specialist buyer’s agents can coach you through the process, and are up for anything. You’re the boss, after all - we just provide the sound advice and representation.
- Career advancement - Get out of a tough financial position - Get paid what you’re worth - Fort McMurray is a great family town - Be closer to family
A little secret I’ll let you in on (in case you haven’t heard): People move here, generally on a 5-year plan, and they find it much harder to leave than they had expected.
I came for 6 months and that was 13 years ago, and I’m not going anywhere. My wife came here 7 years ago for 5 years and I don’t think she’s going anywhere either!
So I’m not saying you should necessarily stick to your big plan, but it’s good to have a plan. Perhaps if I had come with a more realistic plan, then I would have had a smoother landing in Fort McMurray. I only found true happiness once I made commitments (home, business), but that might not be true for everyone. There are, undoubtedly, many people who regret commitments that they made during the boom, after all.
It doesn’t have to be detailed, but here are some of the things I would try to figure out if I was you (possibly by coming up for a few days to check it out):
- Employment goals (for you and your spouse, if applicable) - Job first, or move first? - Rent or buy, or rent then buy? - What will you do to stay social? (see our list of things to do in Fort Mac) - Favourite parts of town - Schooling for children - Duration of stay - Do you have enough savings if things go wrong? - What’s your plan B? - Time of year to move?
For personalized advice tailored to you and your situation, please reach out to us. We’re the #1 team in Fort McMurray and our specialist buyer’s agents have tons of experience helping people relocate. If you have questions or concerns about your possible future in Fort Mac, please let us hear them, and we’ll answer them accurately and honestly.