Questions to Ask a Buyers Real Estate Agent

Below is a great question list for all Edmonton new home buyers. Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime. Choose your REALTOR carefully. Don't be afraid to ask questions. 

Real Estate Questions & Answers Image

What type of properties do you mostly sell?

  • Purchasing a single-family detached house is different than buying a condominium, new builds or luxury properties. It is important that the Edmonton Real Estate Agent you choose has in-depth knowledge of the type of property you are planning on purchasing.

What is your negotiation style and experience in multiple offer situations?

  • Even in a buyers market, you may be in a multiple offer situation and great negotiating agents have personalized techniques for winning bidding wars. Some agents can be too aggressive and will lose due to their unlikeability, other agents can be too passive. Choose a real estate agent who is creative and on your side.

How many homes did you sell last year?

  • This is a very important question. The average real estate agent in Edmonton sells about 8 properties a year. Some agents will sell over 100 properties per year. If you want a REALTOR® who will spend time with you, is knowledgeable and experience, choosing a real estate agent who sells 25-50 homes a year is your best bet.

Do you have other professionals you work with on a regular basis?

  • Again, another very important question. Agents have relationships with other real estate providers and depending on how this question is answered, it will give you an insight on how long they have been in real estate, but more importantly on how they conduct their business.

Are you a full-time real estate agent?

  • Not all Real Estate Agents are full-time REALTORS®. You don’t want someone doing this part-time or as a hobby. Looking at properties for fun is not the same as having fun when looking at homes. When viewing homes, great Edmonton real estate agents will point out the flaws of each home and they all have them, not commenting on how pretty the bedroom is set up.

Do you normally work in my price range?

  • Most Edmonton real estate agents work a wide range of prices, but if they usually help home buyers purchase million-dollar homes, you might not be a top priority. Similarly, if you want to purchase new build homes and they normally work on older properties, the agent may not have the right connections for Edmonton home builders.

Will I be required to sign a buyers brokerage agreement?

  • If any Edmonton Real Estate Agents answers "No", find another REALTOR®. The Canadian Real Estate of Alberta has mandated to work with all residential buyers under an agreement. There are 2 types of agreements - Exclusive & Non-Exclusive.

Do I have to work with your recommended service providers?

  • If the agents say “yes”, it’s illegal. Find another REALTOR®. Good real estate agents in Edmonton should have solid recommendations for other service providers, but you should never feel pressured to use their recommendation. A good agent doesn’t do everything on their own. They have a team of other professionals including mortgage brokers, home inspector, contractors, Conveyancers, real estate lawyers, etc.

Can I review all documents before I sign them?

  • A good real estate agent will take the time to explain the documents and provide you with ample time to review important documents. Never feel pressured into signing. Real Estate Contracts are a binding agreement and it is important you understand them thoroughly prior to signing.

Do you use e-signature or DocuSign?

  • An e-signature is an electronic signature and gives you an indication of how internet-savvy the real estate agent is. the electronic signature also eliminates the need to print, fax, scan, and ship documents and are time documented. During this conversation, your agent will also mention auto-prospecting, which is a system to keep you updated the moment a new home which meets your criteria arrives on the Edmonton or surrounding area market.

How long have you been a licensed real estate agent?

  • This question is one that cannot be missed. Experience in the real estate industry is important. The longer a real estate agent has been selling real estate, the more transactions they have likely completed.

Do you attend the inspections?

  • Inspections are a contingency or buyers condition when purchasing a home. If any real estate agents in Edmonton or the surrounding area, tells you don't really need one, find another REALTOR®. You may think an inspection for a condominium or a brand new property is a waste of time and money, but have an inspection can save you thousands of future dollars and find unforeseen issues. New Home warranties have limitations.

How will I know how much to offer when I find a home?

  • Listen carefully to how the real estate agent answers this. If the REALTOR® pulls title and does a buyer's Comparative Market Analysis or CMA, congratulations, you have found yourself a great Buyers Real Estate Agent.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need help with purchasing your dream home.

Read full post

The first step to buying a home is deciding if you are ready to become a homeowner and start building equity for your future. There is a lot to know when it comes to buying a home in Edmonton. Whether you are buying your first condo, moving to a bigger house or downsizing, our in-depth 5 step home buyers Guide will take you through all the steps.

  • First: Get pre-qualified for a mortgage and choose a financial lender
  • Second: Choose the best Buyers Agent or Edmonton
  • Third: House hunt like a real estate professional online and in-person
  • Submit an offer with confidence by understanding Alberta Real Estate contracts
  • Fifth: Be prepared for other costs associated with buying a home in Alberta

STEP 1: Financing - Pre-approval and choosing a financial lender

Not all financial institutions are the same. If you choose to use a who works at your personal branch, keep in mind, most persons who work in a bank get paid by the hour, unlike a mobile mortgage specialist who only gets paid when they have completed, processed and get your mortgage application approved. For a list of mortgage brokers, contact us.

The first step to buying a house or condo in Edmonton is finding out how much your bank is willing to lend you based on the lenders' rules. Keep in mind with the change of Canada's new mortgage qualifying rules. You must qualify at two per cent higher than what your current interest rate will be.

Your lender will look at your income, your debts, your down payment and your credit rating. Having a verbal or online pre-approval is a waste of time and is not a real pre-approval. Your lender/Mortgage Broker will ask for a list of items to be provided including a recent bank statement, pay stubs, job letter, last 2 years of T4's for a true pre-approval.

A mortgage pre-approval will be in writing which is normally valid for 90 or 120 days. Pre-approvals will also include an interest rate guarantee - get this in writing from your lender to ensure you have documentation in the event interest rates rise prior to purchasing your new Edmonton home.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MORTGAGES

Our Edmonton Real Estate Agent Team is here to help you. We have several mortgage brokers we deal, feel free to reach out and ask us for a list of mortgage specialists.

STEP 2: Choosing the Right Buyers Agent

If you are like most people, you want to find a REALTOR®who is a good fit. Both real estate agents and REALTORS® have had to undergo a certain amount of training in order to qualify to help you buy or sell real estate. However, in Canada, in order to be considered a REALTOR®, a real estate professional must be a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). There are several REALTORS® in Edmonton who choose not to work with buyers, while others choose to work solely with buyers. These REALTORS® are known as Buyer Agents.

There are several ways to find a buyers agent who will be a good fit. Most REALTORS® in Edmonton have their own websites. Some of these websites are very generic, while others provide personalized extensive real estate information. Some REALTORS® will also specialize in a specific part of Edmonton or have a real estates speciality such as condominiums, luxury homes, relocation moves or acreages. Another great way to find a buyer's agent is to visit open houses. However, if you fall in love with the house, it is in your best interest to seek out a different agent.

Interview a few different REALTORS® before signing a commitment called a "Buyer Brokerage Agreement". Remember this agent will be helping you make the biggest investment of your life and you should make sure they have your best interests in mind. Below is a list of questions which may help in the interview process when buying.

  • How long have you been a REALTOR®?
  • Do you have any other real estate designations?
  • How much commission do you charge?
  • Will you show properties that are at a lesser commission offered?
  • How will you keep me informed on new properties which meet my search criteria?
  • What is your real estate niche or speciality?
  • Do you have a list of references I can contact?
  • How many homes are you willing to show me (If this number is less than ten - move on to another agent)
  • If I cancel my agreement, is there a fee?
  • When are you available to show me homes (Note* Part-time REALTORS® may not be able to accommodate your schedule)

LEARN MORE ABOUT BUYER BROKERAGE AGREEMENTS

To book an appointment for your personalized Edmonton home buying consultation, contact us.

STEP 3: House Hunting like a Real Estate Professional

Let's face it. You have been house shopping for your home online and have seen a few "bad real estate photos", or a property with no photos or wonder why a particular house has been on the market so long. The reality is, there may be great homes, but the sellers chose the wrong agent to market their home.

When you come across those bad real estate photos, try to look beyond the photographer, the horrific lighting and the messy house with clothes on the floor, pets or worse yet, the seller's children in those photos. If the selling agent has not taken the time to properly market a home, the sellers are not happy and want their home to be sold.

When there is only one exterior photo on a property, read the comment section. Odds are, this home is tenant occupied, or not in show-able condition (Very messy) or the sellers have chosen really ugly paint colors for the walls. These homes are usually fantastically priced properties that need a little TLC and some cleaning. If you are looking for a home in a particular area, learn to calculate the absorption rate to make the best financial purchase and make a great real estate deal.

Don't be fooled by pretty homes. Both a Seller and the Sellers REALTOR® want as many potential buyers into their home, but don't be fooled by how lovely it looks inside with that sparkling granite counter-top, cutest little girls rooms or awesome man cave. Take a deep look at the finishing. This is the best indicator for how well the home has been built and taken care of. A great buyers agent will point out imperfections they notice.

Don't overlook homes which have been on the market for a while. These properties may have had several price adjustments, especially in Edmonton's real estate market and may now be below or at the proper market value. Take a second look. There may also be other reasons which factor in a long time on the market which can include the property was "tied up" a few times with other offers which have fallen apart on financing or an inspection. Remember, when a pending offer is on a home, it can be conditional for a few weeks at a time. Another reason, a property may be longer on the market could be due to a "lis pendens", probate, civil enforcement or other government enforcement contingencies.

HOW TO CALCULATE THE ABSORPTION RATE IN ANY NEIGHBORHOOD

STEP 4: Submitting the Offer

Normally there are two basic (three when purchasing a condominium or more with rural properties and acreages) conditions or "subject to's" when purchasing a home in Edmonton.

  • Financing: Although you have completed your pre-approval, this does not mean you have been qualified to purchase that dream home. Once an offer has been accepted, your financial institution will need to submit your offer to the underwriter and your credit will be checked again. Do not go out and purchase any major items which would require financing such as a new vehicle during this time frame. If you are obtaining a CHMC Mortgage, the credit check will be done for a minimum of the last seven years.
  • Inspection: Hire a certified residential property inspector with a good reputation and credentials. The cost in Edmonton for a certified residential home inspector usually costs between five to six hundred dollars. No matter what type of home you are buying, including foreclosed properties to new builds. This small fee can save you thousands of future dollars.
  • Condominium Documents (Condo purchases): Always double check you have received all condominium documents and review them. If you do not understand the legality or do not have the time, have your real estate lawyer review them for you. There is a lot of information in the condominium documents and you do not want to be surprised with a $30,000 special assessment when you move in.
  • Rural and Acreage: Septic inspections are beyond the scope of a standard home inspection but when purchasing acreage in Alberta, they are crucial. Other conditions you should add to your rural purchase agreement include satisfactory water well, water flow, water quality tests and pumping equipment inspections

STEP 5: Buyer Beware & Other Closing Costs

Calculating the cost to purchase a home in Edmonton is pretty simple. Calculate your total down payment plus add one and a half per cent of the total purchase price of your home. For example on a $300,000 home, with a five per cent down payment, you will need a total of $19,500. Your financial institution will ask to see this additional amount to ensure you have enough money for closing costs such as lawyer fees, title transfers, mortgage application, and appraisal fees. Additional mortgage fees like CHMC can be added into your mortgage or can be paid upfront.

If you have added certain terms into your purchase agreement, such as "Seller to repair a broken window, steam clean carpets, remove dog faeces from the backyard, etc, you may also want to add an additional clause

"Seller will allow the purchasers to complete a satisfactory walk-through regarding the terms of the property prior to possession"

In Alberta, the transfer of real estate titles is processed a bit different than other provinces and keys do not get released until monies have been received by the Sellers lawyer. In the event and terms were not completed, it is more difficult for remediation this after.

Note* If you are purchasing a foreclosure, keep in mind, that this property is sold "As Is, Where Is".

If you have any other real estate question about purchasing a home in Edmonton or the surrounding area, contact us by email.

Read full post

How to Avoid Paying Too Much for a House

Before you offer any seller a price for a property, there are a few facts you should to know. The asking price of a property does not necessarily reflect the "market value" of the home.


Edmonton Real Estate Prices Image

Below are a few questions you should check into prior to making an offer.

Is the property tax assessment accurate? If not, find out why

For the city of Edmonton, you can find out the tax assessment value of any residential property at https://maps.edmonton.ca/map.aspx. Although the amount the city thinks the property is worth does not necessarily reflect the true value. It is only used as a starting point.

Are real estate prices going up or coming down?

What is the latest real estate trend in that community? To determine if an Edmonton neighborhood's property values are going down or to tell if it is becoming one of Edmonton's hot spots, use the absorption rate tool.

How much was the bank property appraisal?

Financial institutions base their appraisals on the "Emily System", which is an accumulation of recently sold comparable properties. If there are no relevant sold Edmonton properties or if your home is more unique, independent appraisers can do a "cost to replace" appraisal. A good Edmonton real estate agent will complete a "Sold Comparative Market Analysis", (CMA) for you, prior to submitting an offer to purchase.

Is the property staged to avoid any defects?

Don't be fooled by the staging in a property. This is one of the biggest mistakes a buyer can make. When viewing a home, overlook the nice furniture and freshly painted walls. Take a close look at the overall condition of the property. An easy way to know if a dwelling is shifting is to open and close the windows and doors.

Do you know what a realistic offer should look like?

No matter if you are buying a home in Edmonton in a buyers market or a seller's market. Submitting a realistic offer is important. When a home is priced accordingly to the real estate market, don't try to "low ball" the seller, you will end up paying more because you have insulted them. Do your research.


For more information on submitting real estate offers in Edmonton and find an experienced buyer's agent, contact an Edmonton Homes & Gardens Real Estate Agent.

Read full post

What is the difference between a garage suite and a garden suite?

The official city description a garage suite is "a self-contained accessory dwelling above or attached to a rear detached garage, on a single detached lot which usually comes in the form of apartment-sized living space, with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living space, on the second floor of your garage".

The city description of a garden suite is "an at-grade self-contained, accessory dwelling located in a building that is physically separate from the principal dwelling." Typically, garden suites are single-story structures built in the backyards of single detached homes and must have their own kitchen, bathroom, and living space.

Edmonton Garden Suites Image

There are several benefits of purchasing a house with a garage or garden suite or building on an existing house in Edmonton including ...

  • Garage and garden suites are great ways to add some rental income to your property to help pay down your mortgage. It eliminates the shared interior space the way you would with a basement suite. These smaller living spaces are also a great way to add some diversity to your community because they allow different demographic access to housing options on your street.
  • Garage and garden suites can keep family members nearby, yet allows for more personal space. It can be a great option for keeping your parents or your children close, while still maintaining some privacy by ensuring everyone has their own space. Alternatively, some ageing empty nesters have decided to downsize into their own garden or garage suite, and allow their children’s family to live nearby, in the main house.
  • As with any good infill project, it is all about creating more flexible living options so every Edmontonian can choose the neighbourhood that suits them best. For more information on Garage and Garden suites, visit the city of Edmonton's Infill website.

Popular communities in Edmonton with garage suites are located in the University Area, Griesbach and Westmount Area.

Read full post

Real Estate Agent Fiduciary Duties

Real Estate Agents in Edmonton and the province of Alberta who is in an agency capacity for buyer or seller clients have duties mandated by the legal system called fiduciary duties. The position of the REALTOR® is a fiduciary capacity, acting in the best interests of the client.


Alberta Real Estate Contracts


  • Obedience:  Your real estate agent must obey your instructions as long as it is legal and in accordance with your brokerage agreement.
  • Loyalty:  Your real estate agent must be loyal and keep your best interests ahead of those of any other party, including themselves.
  • Disclosure:  In the province of Alberta, the law requires real estate agents, whether in an "agency" capacity or not, to disclose material facts to their client. Material facts are those that, if known by the buyer or seller, might have caused them to change their purchase or sale actions. In a signed agency agreement, your real estate agent must disclose more than the material facts. They must disclose all known or suspected information regarding the purchase of the property.
  • Confidentiality: A real estate agents fiduciary duty of confidentiality means that nothing learned about you can be disclosed including your business, financial, personal affairs or motivations. This confidentiality fiduciary duty must be maintained for eternity.
  • Accounting: Your real estate agent is accountable for all documents and funds in the transaction. Accurate reporting of the whereabouts of all monies pertaining to the transaction and the ultimate disposition. All documents are to be kept for at least six years.
  • Reasonable Care: The words "reasonable care" are only finally fully defined in many cases by a judge or jury when it's too late to change your actions. Most Edmonton Real Estate Agents, as a rule of thumb, go by the ethics code "What we know, you know" when acting in an agency relationship.
Whether you work with a real estate agent  in Edmonton under a "customer status" or a "client status", before signing any other paperwork, REALTORS® in Edmonton and the surrounding areas have a regulatory requirement to present and discuss our Consumer Relationship Guide with you which includes the real estate agency relationship you have chosen to work under. A copy of this form can be found at the Real Estate Council of Alberta. 
Read full post
Beds (Min)
Any
1
2
3
4
5
Baths (Min)
Any
1
2
3
4
5
Priced between $ & $
Copyright 2022 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed 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. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.