Buying on Your HHT with a BGRS REALTOR®
We are here to help. Our HHT REMAX Military Realtors are BGRS approved and here to help you with your Edmonton house hunting trip. We have helped hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces Members move to and from Edmonton and the surrounding area including Morinville, Gibbons, Bon Accord, and St. Albert.. All of our suppliers are on the IRP Global Brookfield Relocations Service list. Book Your HHT to Edmonton with a BGRS Realtor at 780-910-5179 and we will help make your move to CFB Garrison easy.
House Hunting Checklist
Welcome to the Canadian Armed Forces Base Edmonton Garrison.
Below is a list of things you will need on your HHT -house hunting trip. If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to contact us anytime.
- A valid copy of your posting message including your BGRS number. You will need to supply your Brookfield number for one of our BGRS certified property inspectors for your new home.
- Your mortgage pre-approval letter. If you would like to use a local mortgage broker who is familiar with the military buy down, we can help. Having your finance pre-approval already in place will save you both money and time.
- Bring, email, text any MLS #’s of the homes want to view during your house hunting trip and we will have the appointments already set to view prior to your arrival.
- Bring your chequebook. Once you find a home on your HHT, you will need to put down a deposit. If you don't have a chequebook, ensure that your bank is located in Edmonton.
- If your spouse is also coming on your house hunting trip, have them bring their resume and information to register any children in our schools.
- Bring slip-on footwear for spring, summer, and winter jackets - This is Edmonton!
Bring in the "Chi" into your Edmonton Home
Creating a calming ambience in your home is essential when selling. Buyers want to feel at welcomed the moment they step into your home. Below are a few ways to create a welcoming atmosphere.
Declutter, Clean and Organize Everything
Rule of thumb: If you do not plan on using it in the next three months, pack it away or store it.
Clutter reduces the opportunity for feng shui to shine throughout your the entire home. Clear clutter from all rooms, closets, cupboards and drawers.
Clean windows are crucial for good feng shui to flow as they symbolize your eyes to the world and allow light and energy to enter your home. Fix any squeaky doors or floors to create positive energy in each room. Open windows to create a fresh room filled with oxygen. Do not use strong air fresheners.
Provide a Strong Feng Shui Front Entrance
Your home primary gets its flow of chi energy through the front door so it is important to ensure the chi energy is strong and well maintained. "Wow" your guests as they enter your home. Create a welcoming entrance within eyesight of your front entrance with beautiful furniture, decor and color. Maintain the quality of your entrance, keeping it clutter free and sparkling. Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door if needed, and remove old mats. Add a water fountain or a healthy looking plant to your entrance (even if it is fake).
Create a Comfy Living Room
Your living room should feel large, inviting and comfortable. Avoid using furniture in the middle of the room and place your couches and love seats along a solid wall creating a feeling of more space. Add accent color by using small throw pillows. You can also increase energy for activating natural elements by adding plants, flowing water, wood decor and a fireplace throughout the room.
Build Boundaries in the Bedroom
Remove televisions, computers or exercise equipment as these things bring the energy of work and stress into a room that is meant for relaxation and romance. Having enough room for a bedside table on each side is important, as well as avoiding having your bed in line with the door.
Feng Shui Your Bathroom
Water attracts an abundance of wealth in feng shui and lots of water escapes the home through toilets, sinks and showers. Make sure you keep the toilet seat down and the bathroom door shut to keep positive energy from escaping.
Keep the Kitchen Happy
The heart of the home is the kitchen and in a perfect Feng Shui home would be located in the centre of the dwelling. This is an important part of your home to attract health and prosperity. Add a bowl of fresh fruit, flowers or plants bring uplifting life and energy into this important area. Don't forget to keep counters clutter free!
Understanding Real Estate Commissions
Let's pretend for a moment, your Edmonton home sells for $400,000 and you are paying 7% on the first $100,000 and 3% on the balance of the purchase price. The total commissions payable would be $16,000 plus GST. To understand, how much money real estate agents actually make, we need to look at how agents real estate commissions really work.
First - Half of the commission is given to the buyer's agent. Out of the buying side, the buyer's agent does not receive the total $8000. Depending on how the agent splits their commissions between a team or office split, many buyers agents in Edmonton will receive half of the remuneration of $4000. Out of this sum, the buyers' agent will have to pay their monthly desk fee, vehicle maintenance, gas, and insurance. There are also annual licencing fees for Edmonton Realtors, buyer closing gifts, title searches, other fees associated with selling a property and of course Revenue Canadas share.
The other half of the commission goes to the listing agent. Out of the listing side, the Realtor usually has more expenses than a buyers agent including the cost of marketing the property, (which is not cheap!), the cost of hiring a professional photographer, the cost of accurately measuring the property, cost of a third company putting up and removing real estate signs, key boxes, promotional items, website maintenance, property-specific webpages, etc. Same as the buyers' agents, the listing agent also pays for annual licencing fees for Realtors, seller closing gifts, title searches, other fees associated with selling a property and Revenue Canadas portion of the commission.
There are real estate companies in Edmonton who will charge a flat fee or a lesser commission to put your home on MLS, and other Realtors will charge a higher fee. Understanding how much money Edmonton Realtors make will depend on how many homes they sell and how much commission they receive on each property sold.
The net commissions left for the real estate agent is what they get to take home to feed, shelter and clothe their families. Today, in Edmonton's soft real estate market, many agents are now changing companies to a "lesser fee structure" company due to the cost of doing business. Many of these agents can no longer afford to be a Realtor, simply because they are not doing enough business, don't want to work as hard to earn a higher commission, are licenced only to buy and sell real estate for themselves or are on their way out of the business.
Now that you have a better understanding of how commissions work and how much Realtors actually net, let's pretend again for a moment, you are a real estate agent. Although it is against the Realtors Code of Conduct not to show properties based on commissions, it can be a buyers discretion not to view them (read more about buyer brokerage agreements). If you were a Realtor in Edmonton, would you show a property with a lesser commission?
In Alberta, all real estate commissions are negotiable, up or down and when hiring a real estate agent to sell your Edmonton home, a few thousand dollars in real estate commissions can make the difference between selling and not selling your home - Choose your Realtor based on the value they offer and interview more than one. Do they have the tools to market your home? Are they giving you a discount based on services which will be eliminated? Are they asking for money upfront, prior to doing anything? How is their internet presence?
Always interview a few real estate agents, ask lots of questions especially about their marketing plan and how they attract buyers. Find out what they have to offer. Not all Realtors are the same, each agent is different. If you use a Realtor or a real estate company to sell your home, there will be a fee. The big question you need to ask yourself is - "HOW MUCH MONEY WILL YOU NET AT THE END OF THE DAY?"
Most REMAX Realtors in Edmonton have the highest monthly real estate fees and are working hard to help you sell or buy your home, staying on top of their game, a doing what it takes to get your home sold including paying for the costs of marketing your property. Keep in mind, Realtors do not get paid by the hour, their real estate companies DO NOT pay them for working there. Realtors work very hard to earn their commissions and only get paid once your property is SOLD (usually on possession date) and not on the day it is sold!
If you have any questions on real estate commissions in Edmonton or what like an in-home real estate interview with myself, feel free to contact me anytime.
CFB Edmonton Garrison
CFB Garrison is located in Sturgeon County, bounded by the northeast border of Edmonton and covers 2550 hectares of land. The main site is named Steele Barracks after Sir Samuel Steele, an original founding member of the Northwest Mounted Police.
The 3rd Canadian Division Support Base Edmonton, called CFB Garrison is one of Canada's best Canadian Armed forces Bases and a great place to be posted and offers several facilities and services for its members including...
- Arena, Exercise Facility Combat Training to Yoga
- An arena which features an outdoor and two indoor NHL standard rinks.
- A hobby shop, home of the Edmonton Garrison Auto Club and Wood Hobby Club.
- A community centre that offers several facilities including licensed daycare, library, and youth centre.
- A memorial equestrian centre that includes a large indoor and outdoor riding arenas, and a 42 stall barn.
- A large fitness facility r with multi-functional recreation and offers a wide range of programs and services. This facility includes a Cardio/Weight Room, Climbing Wall, Tactical Athlete Room, 4 full-size gym courts, 3 pools, squash courts, and an indoor running track.
- A memorial golf course stretched with championship tees totalling near 7000 yards.
- The famous Edmonton Garrison curling club facilities where you can bring your friends to enjoy some great food and drinks on our patio during the summer or inside during the winter.
- Three distinct messes which members and the public can book conferences, private functions, weddings, parties, events, and other activities.
Learn How to Write a Real Estate Offer to Purchase
As a buyer, when writing an offer on a property, you want to be able to pay the least possible amount for your
home. Sometimes buyers will offer 5-10% off of an asking price for no reason other than they were told to by a "friend" This is so silly You may want to offer more, you may want to offer less. The only way to make a reasonable offer is to do your homework.
REAL ESTATE TIP #1 - What the seller paid for their home is irrelevant.
REAL ESTATE TIP #2 - What the seller is asking for their home is also irrelevant.
Knowing why a seller is selling is always helpful when you make an offer, but this information is protected by the sellers real estate unless it is allowed in writing to be disclosed. However knowing the reason for selling is still irrelevant on the true market value of the home, as is the asking price. There are several things to take into consideration, prior to making an offer on any home.
- Market Conditions: Is it a buyers market or a seller's market? Knowing what type of real estate market you are in will help you choose an initial offer price. Completing a community absorption rate is the easiest way to know.
- Possession Date: Edmonton Real Estate Agents have access to this information and as a rule of thumb, the quicker, the possession date, the more motivated the seller is. Most homeowners in Edmonton have a 30-day negotiable possession date. If a longer possession date or a set date is asked for, this is an indication which the seller needs a specific date and can be more important than price. Keep in mind, if the property is tenant occupied, tenants do have a 90-day tenant-right. Normally, homeowners with tenant occupied properties or vacant property are more motivated.
- History: Your REALTOR® will know the history of this home. How long the sellers have owned the property, how long they have been trying to sell it and if there have been any price adjustments. Your real estate agent is also required to pull the title of the property which will indicate any recent financial debts including the current mortgage to ensure there will be enough funds to close on possession date.
- Condition and Size: Size is a factor of price more in places like China than Edmonton. The value of a home is in the condition. You may want to go back into the home to take a better look at the overall condition. Is the flooring laminate or hardwood? Are the faucets Walmart or Moen? Has the yard been meticulously maintained properly or neglected? Will you be replacing any fixtures, chattels, windows, shingles in the near future? Look at the property through the eyes of your experienced real estate agent. They will notice things you don't.
- Complete a Buyers Comparative Market Analysis: Examine all recent comparable sales. Only use recent properties that are similar in configuration, age, and location to the home you want to buy. Your REALTOR® can complete this for you.
REAL ESTATE TIP #3 - If the property has been staged, don't be fooled by how pretty it looks. Staging a home does not increase property values.
Read more about purchasing a home in Edmonton with our simple 5 step process
What classifies an Edmonton home as luxury?
Luxury home prices vary from city to province to state to country. What classifies a home in the luxury market consists of a few variables. Luxury homes are no longer based on price alone. To classify property into the luxury home category, it mush have desired indulgences. A home can be considered "a luxury property" when it offers these features:
- A grand foyer with soaring ceilings to greet your guests.
- Adequate nanny/guest living quarters which are private and away from the main living area.
- Personal conveniences and amenities such as pools, in-home gyms, Imax movie theatres, arcade rooms, wine cellars, decontamination showers, backyard tennis courts, solarium, and game rooms. There are several homes in Edmonton with personal amenities which can be found in Cameron Heights and Glenora.
- State of the art kitchens. With duel ovens, smart refrigerators to keep track of your food items, wine storage, ample counter space, built-in computer screens.
- Technology. Homes controlled with voice activation or the touch of a bottom from anywhere in the world are now one of the must-haves with elite buyers.
- Privacy. Many elite home buyers require privacy, especially media icons who get accosted by paparazzi.
- A prime location. A view is one of the things that make homes fall into the luxury category no matter where you live. It can be an unobstructed view of a mountain, beachfront, or overlooking the sparkling lights of the city. Beachfront properties in Edmonton can be found in Summerside.
- Premier quality, reputable builders and renowned architect. The construction materials, lighting, finishes, appliances, and design all must be a cut above what's considered standard. Dominate renowned Edmonton communities include Griesbach and Windermere.
A luxury home can mean different things to different people. Bottom line, a luxury home is where you can relax and retreat from the rest of the world, enjoying a dwelling which fits your lifestyle.
3rd Canadian Division Support Base Edmonton
History of Canadian Armed Forces Base, CFB Edmonton Garrison
The third Canadian Division Support Base, CFB Edmonton is a Canadian Forces base located in Sturgeon County north Edmonton and east of St. Alberta municipality. CFB Edmonton Garrison is also known as the Steele Barracks.
The history of this Canadian Armed force Edmonton Base begins the old Blatchford Field airfield, named after Kenny Blatchford who was a former mayor of Edmonton.
During the First World War, this airfield began operating and became vital to the development of the Canadian north, a staging point for the U.S. defence of Alaska and was heavily used by the U.S. military.
During the Second World War, the Blatchford Field was a training station under the British Commonwealth which formed a Royal Canadian Air Force Flying Training School and used the aerodrome.
Since the Blatchford Field airfield could not be expanded due to the proximity of Edmonton, the United States Government built a new air facility at Namao, a hamlet within Sturgeon County located approximately seven kilometres north of our city limits. It was the namesake of RCAF Station Namao, now CFB Edmonton, which is directly south of the hamlet.
The RCAF Station Namao was used by the United States Strategic Air Command, during the Cold War. It constructed a "Nose Dock" capable of servicing the nose and wings of heavy jet bombers and tankers on the south side of the airfield and also hosted the Edmonton Rescue Coordination Center, and served as home base for United Nations Food Aid flights, delivering much-needed aid third world countries, and was a designated an emergency Space Shuttle landing site by NASA.
When Canada's armed forces were amalgamated in 1968, the RCAF Station Namao was re-designated CFB Edmonton and was under command of the new Air Transport Command. Today, both runways are still visible, but they are no longer in use with the exception of helicopters.
Posted to CFB Edmonton Garrison? Book Your HHT Today!
Your relocation package will consist of three components Core, Custom and Personalized.
- The Core component covers items that are considered essential for your move such as cost to sell your existing property or dispose of your rental unit, cost of your House Hunting Trip (HHT) etc.
- The Custom component cover items that enhance your moves such as marketing incentives on your existing property to help it sell, bridge financing and costs associated with your extended family.
- The last component is non-essential but attributable to your move such as a Movement Grant, Posting Allowances and others.
Below is a description of the components, some examples of what each covers, and what happens if they are not used.
Core benefits are essential to a move. All core benefits are funded directly by the Department. A member is not required to use these benefits, however, any unused benefits cannot be exchanged or assigned any monetary value to pay for any other benefits or expenses.
Examples of items covered
- Disposal of your rental unit. Pay for getting out of a lease
- Pay for costs to sell your residence, all real estate commissions and legal fees etc, mortgage breaking penalties, home equity assistance
- Costs associated with your house hunting trips such as travel and hotels
- The cost to purchase a new house including legal fees, inspections
- The cost to move such as moving expenses, travel etc.
- Much more. Ask IRP rep for more details.
What happens if not used
If you don’t use you forfeit them.
Custom benefits enhance a move. Custom funding is based on the factors of the type of accommodation, distance travelled and family size. The custom funding formula is used by the member to pay for these custom benefits only and cannot be used for any other type of benefit.
Examples of items covered
- Building Inspection on your existing property
- Marketing Incentives such as decorating allowances, early closing incentives
- The cost to have someone take care of your children on HHT
- Dependant and Extended Family Travel
- Bridge Financing
- Interest on $25,000 Home Relocation Loan
- Miscellaneous Expenses for Extended Family such as transportation, lodgings, meals and miscellaneous expenses
- Car rental when primary vehicle shipped
- Shipment of – Second Vehicle, Pets, Boats, Antiques, Artwork, RV’s, Trailers
- Miscellaneous Shipping Expenses
- Spousal Employment Search expenses
What happens if not used
Choose it and use it or lose it
Personalized benefits are non-essential expenses but are attributable to a move It is within the member’s discretion to use personalized benefits. The personalized funding formula is available for use in three ways:
- it can pay for any personalized benefits;
- it can pay for additional custom benefits beyond what can be covered by the custom-funding formula; and
- remaining funds can be cashed out and paid directly to the member.
Examples of items covered
- Movement Grant: Members receive a non-accountable grant in an amount of $650. This allowance is intended to offset various losses or expenses incurred but not specifically provided for because of the move. Members must sign a statement verifying that these expenses were incurred. Receipts are not required.
- Posting Allowance: Members who elect not to sell their home receive an incentive equal to 80% of the pre-negotiated corporate real estate commission rate based on the appraised value of the home. It shall not exceed $12,000. Members can generate Personalized Funding as a result of savings on a house-hunting trip. These savings can occur in one of two ways:
- Shortened HHT
- CF Service Air
What happens if not used
Remaining funds can be cashed out and paid directly to the member.
Living in Lewis Estates Edmonton
Lewis Estates was originally developed as a retirement community. When Lewis Estates, also known as "Lewis Farms" began the construction of single-family houses, it was focused around the popular Lewis Estates golf course which features an incredible 6,742-yard 18-hole championship course. Several of the houses in this part of West Edmonton feature large picture windows which overlook the golf course. This is also one of the few areas in west Edmonton which houses are relatively newer and offer many bungalow-style homes. Keep in mind when purchasing one of these Lewis Estates homes to seek out extra glass insurance for those hard hitters! There is also a very popular community focused Seniors Care Living Residence with an aquatic centre and fitness room which features a full-time health and wellness director to inspire and entertain the most discerning and active seniors.
Today, the community of Lewis Estates is changing with the expansion of the city and has added a few schools to accommodate the younger families with a major up-coming Lewis Farms Facility and Park project, currently in the design phase, with anticipated completion in 2020 and will be located within the Rosenthal neighborhood in the open space southwest of 92 Avenue and Rosenthal Way.
Lewis Estates, West Edmonton is comprised of seven communities. The original communities of Breckenridge Greens, Potter Greens, Stewart Greens, and Suder Greens which were constructed after 1990 and the most recently built communities of Rosenthal, Secord, and Webber Greens featuring a mix of single-family and duplex homes.
Everything you will ever need is also within minutes of Lewis Estates including West Edmonton Mall, the Misericordia Hospital, River Cree Casino, Costco, Sobeys Liquor, dental care, physical therapists, lawyer offices, a transit station and plenty of strip malls in the Grange. Lewis Estates is a perfect place to live for children, parents and grand-parents. It is a mixed district catering to both our ageing population and offers all the perks of new community living.
Looking for new homes in southwest Edmonton?
Riverview located at the outer ridges of southwest Edmonton is now building. Similar to the rural West Big Lake district, the Riverview community is nestled away from the big city, south of the Grange and features an urban lifestyle, lined with trees along the Wedgewood Creek ravines. This up and coming community will be filled with the amenities of a modern city including playgrounds, parks, recreation and walking trails integrated with new and modern homes, a variety of restaurants, shops and services.
House prices in Riverview will range from starter home prices to the multi-millions. Also known as River's Edge - the Riverview Area offers some of the cities best country residential homes. The Edgemont community features houses and attached dwellings built in 2016 and later. Residential construction of Uplands and Stillwater is already underway and will be the hottest new home district in Edmonton in 2019 & 2020. View currently listed Riverview homes for sale.
Did your Home Get Stigmatized?
In real estate, a stigmatized property is a property which buyers may shun for various reasons other than its physical condition or features. These reasons can include the death of someone who was occupying the home to a murder which has taken place inside the property. Some buyers believe the house may now be haunted.
- When a death occurs inside a home, it may not always be disclosed to a buyer. Although when there has been a murder, it is usually public information and can be found on the net. According to the Real Estate Council of Alberta, a murder on the property does not need to be disclosed.
- Many jurisdictions recognize several forms of stigmatized property and have passed resolutions or statutes to deal with them. One issue that separates them is disclosure. Depending on the jurisdiction of the house, the seller may not be required to disclose the full facts.
- When a home is considered a stigmatized property, the selling value may be decreased to attract more buyers. These houses are priced accordingly and purchasing one for a lesser real estate cost, financially benefit the buyers.
- Types of stigma may include houses formally used in a crime, such as a drug house or brothel. Foreclosures where debt collectors are unaware that a debtor has moved out of a residence and may continue their pursuit at the same location
- The wrong starting price can also stigmatize a property when selling your Edmonton home. When a residential dwelling sits on the market for long periods of time, buyers assume there is something wrong with it. Learn how to price your Edmonton home properly from the start.
Is it time to Say Goodbye to Your Real Estate Agent
In all relationships, ending a relationship can sometimes be difficult, especially when you are under a signed agreement. Buying and selling homes is more than working with a friend. It is also about making the right choices for yourself and your families best interests. There are expectations when relying on Real Estate Agents to help you Buy and Sell and professionalism should be at the top. If you are unhappy with your real estate agent, there are a few things you can do.
First, communicate your concerns and try to mutually solve the issue with your REALTOR. If you are having difficulty reaching your real estate agent, contact their brokerage. The agreement you entered into is with the Brokerage, not the real estate agent and the brokerage may re-assign a different REALTOR® to you. Most Edmonton Real Estate Brokers are very reasonable and do what they can to help you.
Your agent may also choose to terminate your Listing Agreement or Buyers Brokerage Agreement without any compensation or there may be a clause in your contract with a set dollar amount to terminate the agreement to cover some of the expenses which cost your agent to market the home.
Once you receive the cancellation or termination document, in the province of Alberta, you are free to enter into another agreement with a different real estate agent. Read your termination over before signing. There may be parts in your cancellation agreement that may still be in effect even after the termination.
Below are signs telling you that it may be time to fire your real estate agent.
A breach of Fiduciary Duties (The consumer Relationship Guide) which forms part of your agreement you originally signed with your REALTOR. You have expressed your concerns repeatedly which have not been addressed or worse, have been completely ignored by the other party.
You have no communication with your real estate agent, leaving you in limbo, not knowing what your REALTOR® is doing to sell your home, or the actions being taken to find you a new one. This can be extremely frustrating and you deserve to know what is happening on a regular basis.
Your Real Estate Agent keeps pushing for price reductions without providing the reason. If your home, needs a price adjustment, there will be a reason, whether it is negative feedback from other agents who have shown your home, not enough showings (normally in Edmonton, you should be getting a few showings every week with the exception of multi-million dollar homes), a surplus of recent inventory in your neighborhood, recent economic factors, etc. This information should have been discussed prior to you signing the agreement during the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) stage.
If you are still interested in selling your home and would like an experienced marketing real estate team to work with you in your best interest, contact us.
BUYING A HOME WITH A 5% DOWN PAYMENT
Investing in Edmonton's real estate market is relatively simple. For a small amount of money down, usually, five per cent, (plus closing costs) and can own an asset worth significantly more and build your net worth. Your down payment must be from your own savings or a gift from a family member. You cannot use a loan or line of credit.
To use the 5% down payment option, the following rules apply:
The home must be your principal residence - in other words, you will actually live in the home. So if you plan on buying a condominium or other property for residual income, you won’t be eligible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 5% down payment option.
To calculate your GDS or Gross Debt Service ratio, factor in your monthly mortgage payment, utility costs, property taxes and condo fees, if applicable. This number cannot exceed more than 32% of your gross taxable income. Plus, all your consumer debt, loans, and housing-related payments cannot exceed 40% of your gross taxable income: this is your Total Debt Service ratio or the TDS.
Finally, you must have good credit and a minimum of one year with your current employer.
ALSO SEE: 5 Steps to buying a home
Keep in mind, as of January 1st, 2018, the government has imposed more qualifying restrictions on Canadians and you must now qualify at two-per-cent higher interest than your current rate. Once you have your pre-approval completed. Contact an experienced real estate agent with their ABR designation and start house shopping!
Pros and Cons of Condominium Ownership
Living in a condominium in Edmonton offers a sense of community living. Whether you are taking out the trash, working out in the exercise room, relaxing in the lobby or picking up your mail, there will be ample opportunities to engage with your neighbours.
Pros of Condominium Ownership
No Maintenance. The biggest benefits of condo living are that other people do the maintenance for you. They cut the grass, maintain the common areas including elevators, amenities, windows, doors, and shingles No grass to mow or snow to shovel with the exception of detached condos and townhouse style condominiums.
Cost. Condominiums are less expensive than buying a comparable house in Edmonton. Obviously, the cost of a condo versus the cost of a house depends on the location. Property values in Edmonton vary in each neighbourhood. But typically, you'll spend less on a condo, " Maintaining a single-family house can be expensive. It is your responsibility to keep your home in living standard conditions. When purchasing the first home, going brand new is a smart choice.
Security. Most apartment condos offer gated or locked entries, with special keys or electronic fobs. If you live alone, or security is a concern for you, this can be a major perk. In addition, you’re living in close proximity to other people and in an emergency, this will be helpful.
Amenities. Exercise rooms, Guest suites, swimming pools, underground parking, and courtyards. Many condo communities offer residents amenities that are out of reach for the average homeowner.
Cons of Condominium Ownership
Homeowners Association Fees. Of course, there is a few to live in a condominium. It costs money to maintain a large building. When you buy a condo, you essentially become a business partner in that community. You pay a condominium fee each month (on top of your mortgage) which goes towards the upkeep of the property, as well as future investments. This fee can vary from a few hundred dollars upwards. It will depend on the current condition of the complex, how well the monies have been managed and future expenses.
Less Privacy. You will be meeting your neighbours. Some condominium complexes in Edmonton offer in-house managers and know everyone by name. Depending on how well your complex is built, your neighbour may even know what time you get home every day. Expect to have someone looking at you when you are out on your balcony or sitting in the front yard. Socialites love this!
Less Freedom. Depending on your condominium complex, you may or may not be allowed to have pets, have Bar-be-ques on the balcony, change the flooring to hardwood, have guests stay for long periods of time or rent out your unit. Read the by-laws before purchasing.
Levies and Special Assessments: In Edmonton, Condos have been hit hard by the recession, the oversupply and there are plenty of issues with a few Edmonton condominiums, whereas some builders missed adding building materials during construction, such as water vapours. Also as more people struggle to make ends meet, more condo owners are dropping out of paying their condo fees. This can increase the cost of what you will be paying each month.
Things to inquire on prior to purchasing a condominium
- Reserve Fund Study
- Are condo fees reasonable
- Bi-laws - are you allowed pets?
- Financials - Is the complex in the red
- Professionally or Self Managed
- AGM - Annual General Meeting
- Any upcoming special assessment
Today, several banks will request to review these documents prior to releasing your financing. Also, have your lawyer review these documents if you are not comfortable with the lingo.
Should I get title insurance in place of a real property report?
If possible, it is still best to have a current Real Property Report with compliance when buying or selling a home to ensure all property buildings are within the municipality guidelines. If an RPR is not an option, title insurance is a good substitute.
Title insurance without a Real Property Report and compliance is acceptable to most major mortgage lenders and will often provide coverage for the lender for known defects. Unlike other insurance products, there is only one premium paid at the time of closing which provides coverage to the owner throughout their ownership of the property. It also offers a wide range of protection for issues that are not covered by an RPR and compliance.
Title Insurance Benefits include
- Intervening registrations – Anything registered on the title between the time the lawyer submits to the Land Titles Office and the time of actual registration.
- Unknown Liens, encumbrances, tax arrears or defects in the title to a property.
- Unknown special assessments on condos that were implemented prior to closing.
- If an RPR or compliance is not obtained, it covers any defects that would have been revealed by an accurate up-to-date RPR and compliance.
- The forced removal of an existing structure with the exception of a boundary wall or fence where there is only limited coverage
- Forced compliance with work orders or deficiencies on an existing building permit.
- Loss of priority due to matters such as construction liens, agreements on a title, and other mortgages.
- Another party claims an interest in the property.
- Protection against title defects or encumbrances that were unknown or undiscovered at the time of closing.
- Protection against identity theft, mortgage fraud, and fraud against the title.
- Cost savings. Typically, the cost for title insurance is far less than the cost of an RPR and compliance and is available on short notice
Drawbacks of Title Insurance
- It is an insurance product. This means when an issue arises, it may not be covered by the policy and if there is coverage the insurer can decide the method used to solve the issue which may not be the preferred choice of the insured party.
- There is a lack of disclosure and certainty, especially for the buyer, at the time of closing. If an issue is discovered later, it is more difficult to pursue the seller for a fix after closing.
- There is no coverage for known defects, except for some coverage for the lender only.
- There must be some form of enforcement or government action to trigger coverage in most cases. For example, the previous owner did renovations that do not meet the requirements of the building permit or development permit. The title insurance will only pay for the cost to fix these deficiencies if there is some form of enforcement and not simply due to the deficiencies.
- It does not guarantee that all structures will remain in the current state. For example, if the municipality mandates the alteration or destruction of a certain structure, the title insurance company may pay for the cost of appealing that decision however they cannot guarantee a favourable result.
- The coverage of Title Insurance is for the buyer only (not the seller).
- If a buyer or their lawyer purchases a lender only policy that is sufficient to close the deal however the buyer still has no title insurance protection. /li>
- There is no specific protection or coverage for the seller. If a claim is made and the title insurance company determines it is the seller who created the deficiency, the title insurance company can pursue the seller for recovery of the costs they have paid.
- In most instances, title insurance only defers the need to deal with a particular issue. It does not solve it. The issues will still be there when the property is resold.
- Title insurance cannot be passed onto a new owner. Every new owner must purchase their own policy.
For more information on real property reports and the effects on the resale of your residential dwellings and a free Edmonton Home Evaluation, contact one of Remax Elite Realtors.
Communities for Edmonton Dog Lovers
Edmonton has over 40 dog park and off-leash areas where your best friend can run and play without having you on the other end of the leash. You too can get physical and emotional benefits from exercise and by socializing with other dog owners.
My top 3 places to live for Edmonton dog owners are near
- Buena Vista - Great Meadow: A large off-leash dog park near the valley zoo, north of Laurier Park and south of Melton Ravine in the Glenora area. The Buena Vista Dog Park features an open off-leash area, access to the river valley for those dogs who love to swim, park benches, ample parking and river valley trails with maps for walking and cycling. Note* No smoking or vaping tobacco or cannabis in this park.
- Hermitage Point South located between 129 Avenue and 137 Avenue, 22 Street and the River Valley in northeast Edmonton. It features plenty of natural walking trails, picnic sites, Ambassador, portable toilets, seasonal summer fishing and a large off-leash dog area. Our Edmonton Ambassadors at the Hermitage Park Dog Park help improve the quality of our off-leash areas, and enhance the user experience for human and canine visitors by encouraging positive interactions, and creating a culture of community at the park. Homes near the Hermitage Point South Dog Park are very reasonably priced. Check them out!
- Terwillegar Dog Park in southwest Edmonton accessible via Rabbit Hill in the Riverbend District. Although the Terwillegar Dog Park is a multi-use area, it is most popular for pet lovers with larger canines. This park also has a 262-metre-long footbridge that links the park to Oleskiw River Valley Park on the north side of the river, perfect for long strolls with your best friend.