Can a Real Estate Deal Fall Through Due to COVID-19?
In the wake of COVID-19, there has been a lot of uncertainty this fragility has extended to the Edmonton housing market as many were either mid-deal, planning on buying or selling, or had a project underway. As real estate professionals, we have received a lot of questions regarding the pandemic and the housing market, frequently around real estate agreements and how COVID-19 has impacted such agreements. In this blog, we will answer our most frequently asked questions from both clients and REALTORS®, about how the pandemic has affected real estate agreements:
1. Can a buyer cancel an agreement due to COVID-19?
The simple answer is no. If a buyer cannot obtain a mortgage, goes into quarantine or the value of the property decreases, these are not acceptable excuses to cancel a real estate agreement. Either terms of an extension are agreed to, or the buyer can be sued for any deficiency the seller suffers on a resale.
2. Can a seller refuse a pre-closing visit due to being afraid of COVID-19?
If the visit is provided for in the agreement, a safe compromise should be worked out, with perhaps only one buyer visiting the home. Such a buyer would be expected to wear a mask and gloves, and only enter the home for a short time (maximum 20 minutes). During such a visit, a buyer should also be required not to touch anything in the home to ensure maximum safety. Another option is for the buyer and seller to agree to a Zoom meeting where the seller goes around the entire house showing the buyer all areas of concern. A final option we have seen is when the seller arranges to vacate the property early on the closing date and have the buyer enter the property for a final inspection. This option provides both parties with a fair final inspection of the home while also leaving enough time to close.
3. Can the Government Land Registry System close down?
While this is theoretically possible, we have been assured by the Director of Titles that this will not occur since the system is being operated by staff who are working remotely. In the unlikely event that this did occur, most real estate closings could still proceed as long as the buyer had title insurance which provides gap coverage, meaning that the agreements can close as scheduled, money can be paid to sellers, keys released to buyer and registrations occurring once the system is up and running again. Gap coverage means that in the unlikely event, a lien or judgment arises in the intervening period, which could affect the title. The buyer’s title insurance policy will remove it.
4. Can a buyer or seller complete a real estate closing without visiting a lawyer in person?
The answer is yes, but not all law firms offer this service. Technically speaking there is no requirement to meet any buyer or seller in person. All document signings can be done by video conference. If a law firm is registered as a bill payee at major banks, buyers can transfer the closing down payment directly to its trust account online, so that they do not have to line up at a bank branch with a mask for an extended period of time to obtain a bank draft. For sellers, this would mean signing all documents by video conference and automatically transferring closing funds by Electronic Funds Transfer directly to the seller’s bank account after closing, the same way real estate commissions are paid after closing.
5. Do you need special clauses to protect buyers and sellers during the pandemic?
Here are three practical clauses to include in any agreement during the pandemic:
- The Buyer shall pay the balance of the purchase price, subject to the usual adjustments by wire transfer.
- The parties acknowledge and agree that all closing documentation can be signed electronically and forwarded by email or fax in accordance with the Electronic Commerce Act
- The parties agree that the keys to the property shall be left in a lockbox at the property and the code to the same is to be provided to the Buyer’s lawyer in escrow pending closing of this transaction.
Otherwise, no further clauses should be added, as they do more harm than good, especially when they give buyers or sellers the right to terminate an agreement. As stated earlier, even in the remote situation that the government registration system goes down, real estate agreements can still close if there is gap coverage in place through the title insurance. Legal advice should always be obtained before any additional clauses are introduced into any real estate agreement of purchase and sale.
This article was supplied by RealEstateLaywers.ca LLP. It is being posted on the blog for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor an endorsement of the author or his firm. Consumers are advised to reach out to and engage their own legal counsel regarding their specific situation.
How to Hire a Great Edmonton REALTOR® when Selling
Be cautious with any REALTORS® who charge upfront fes! Most Real Estate Companies DO NOT charge up-front fees. All expense will be paid by your REALTORS® from their own pocket. Once your home is SOLD, the REALTOR® will receive the remuneration you have agreed upon in your listing agreement. In the event your home does not sell during the term of the agreement - unless otherwise written - there is NO CHARGE.
There are almost 4000 licensed REALTORS® to choose from to help you sell your Edmonton home. When a municipality is a hot market, anyone can sell a property, but great real estate agents are able to sell in any market.& In a soft market or "buyers market", it is crucial to choose a REALTOR® who knows how to sell houses or you can become an expired statistic. Currently (2018) in Edmonton about 40% of homes are selling.
There are a few questions to ask a listing real estate agent prior to having them in your home, which will eliminate inexperienced agents and save you time and money. When REALTORS® are on a "Listing Appointment", the intention of the agent is to get you to sign the agreement to put your home on the market. After an agent has completed their marketing plan, strong agents will ask for the business. A weaker agent will not.
The three biggest mistakes sellers make when selecting an agent is basing their decision solely on commission, price and the ability to market your home.
Lowest real estate commissions:
Agents in Edmonton have business expenses, which can run into the thousands every month. Part of these expenses is the cost to market your home. If an agent is listing your home for a lesser commission, don't expect them to pay money they don't have to market your property. A good agent will not ask for any money upfront. Why would you pay someone for a job which has not been done? There is always a reason why a broker or real estate agent would discount a real estate fee. Ask yourself why. Is the agent desperate for business or unqualified? Do you want to work with a desperate agent?
Highest Asking Price:
In the real estate industry, there is a term, called "Buying the Listing". This means, an agent has told you, your home is worth more than it really is, just to get you to sign the listing agreement. Expect to reduce or price once or twice during the agreement or worse, be added to the Expired list (Homes which do not sell). REALTORS® already have an idea of what your home is worth, even before stepping into your home. Beware of an agent who is trying to buy the listing.
Ability to Market Properties:
Today, almost every buyer and seller start the home buying and selling process online. You may want to use "Mom and Dads REALTOR®, but are they tech-savvy? There is so much more to marketing a home than putting it on Realtor.ca. Anyone with a real estate license in Alberta can do this, you don't even need to live in Edmonton. Finding a qualified buyer who is ready, willing and able to purchase your home is more valuable to you than generating leads.
If your home is not exposed on the internet, by a tech-savvy Agent, buyers will not find it. Online advertising and property websites are now a basic requirement in modern home buying and selling. REALTOR®’s success also depends on how well they can market homes. Google the agents' website, prior to inviting them into your home. Find out how many listings the agent is carrying. If the Real Estate Agent only has one or two listings, they may be part-time, maybe more comfortable working with buyers or may not know how to market your home. An agent who is carrying too many listings can be overwhelmed and you may end up becoming a number instead of a client. A good rule of thumb is, hire an agent who carries 10 - 20 listings at a time, this is usually an indication of an above-average real estate agent.
The bare minimum marketing you should expect from your agent is:
- Professional yard signage.
- Lockbox with electronic monitoring
- Follow-up reports on buyer showings with feedback to the seller
- Staging advice to make your home more attractive to potential buyers.
- Digital targeted marketing.
- MLS exposure with a minimum of 30 professional photographs
- Virtual tour.
- Distribution to major websites.
- Updated CMAs after 30 days including the recent sales
- The ability to track online buyers
During the listing appointment, there are a few things that need to be noted.
How long was the agent in your home: Eliminate agents who view your home and arrive at a "listing price" within a short period of time. Although their price may be accurate, they haven't taken the time to show you how they arrived at the price or what they do and how they get homes sold. A good listing agent will show you comparable sales, pending sales, actives, educate you on the current market and show you their marketing plan. If the agent has no statistics, home sales are located in a different community or are not prepared, could be a red flag.
A great Edmonton Real Estate Agent will have spent time prior to meeting you, completing research on your home. They will have all the necessary information to price your home accurately. (highest possible asking price to attract reasonable offers) The agent will be prepared for anything including objections or concerns you may have. They will take the time to complete an accurate CMA, community absorption rate, thoroughly go over their marketing plan and address any unforeseen concerns they may have prior to asking for the listing. This is a valuable asset to the hiring experience.
Were all of your concerns addressed: Pay close attention as the REALTORS® goes through their marketing plan. Many of your concerns will already be addressed by a good agent. Pay attention to what is said. If it is mostly about how many homes they personally sold and how quickly, expect them to suggest a lower selling price below the true market value. These agents want to get your home sold as quickly as possible and move on. If the agent has not addressed most of your concerns. This can be a red flag.
Hire a professional: A huge misconception is every agent deals with the same type of buyers and sellers. In fact, there are agents who only list and agents who only deal with buyers. Not all agents work all price ranges. In Edmonton, there are real estate agents who specialize in mobile parks. They know how important it is to have the "criminal check" completed prior to writing an offer. An agent who specializes in luxury homes should have the extra knowledge required for selling a home under a company name, know the differences between the brands and grades of hardwood. If you are relocating, a relocation specialist is the best. They have contacts with other relocation REALTORS® who they have already done business with and can recommend a great agent for you at your destination which will make for a smoother move.
Go with your instinct: Selling a home is a major decision. You need to like, trust and feel comfortable with the REALTOR® you choose. Personality and character traits are also extremely important but don't show on paper. Buying and selling homes in a soft market, can take time and choose the right agent will be a positive experience. Choosing the wrong agent can lead to months of frustration and an unsold house.
Contact us today for your FREE HOME EVALUATION
Choose Wisely - Choose REMAX!
It does not matter which company you choose to represent you on the purchase of your new home. A brand new inexperienced REALTOR® in Edmonton gets paid the same as a veteran REALTOR® with twenty years of experience, expertise and knowledge. This is at no cost to a buyer!
Below is helpful information when purchasing your new home. If you have any question, feel free to contact us! We love to help buyers and sellers! Sign up today to save time house hunting online. We can send it to you automatically.
You can choose to buy a home without a real estate agent, dealing directly with listing agents, or for sale by owners. There are several reasons to work with a licensed REALTOR® in the province of Alberta including.
- The representative real estate agent Fiduciary Duties
- A buyer does not pay commissions. Edmonton Real Estate Agent fees are normally paid for through the sellers' lawyer when under an exclusive Buyers Brokerage Agreement
- Real estate agents will ensure you are getting fair market value and not overpaying through several REALTOR® tools including a "Buyers Comparative Market Analysis"
- Property Titles are pulled to ensure the legitimacy of owners and to determine if dower is applicable, there are no special assessments, lis pendens, creditors, liens and other concerns which could complicate or delay closings.
- Address any concerns or issues with your real property report including any setbacks, easements, restrictions, and compliance with the city.
- Depending on a real estate agent experience and their designations will be a factor in the service you receive which should be outlined in your first meeting. Feel free to ask your real estate agent plenty of questions.
- Your REALTOR® can set you up on an auto-prospecting system which will enable you to view new homes within your personal search criteria within an hour of the property hitting the market.
- Read More on "How to purchase a home"
Make your expectations known: If you expect your real estate agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell them. Many will provide this service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office. Let your agent know how you want to communicate. Do you prefer phone calls, emails, text messages or all of the above? Remember once you are under a buyers agreement, it is our job to provide you with our best service and help you find your best home.
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.
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®
Does Your Bank Require an Appraisal?
Appraisals are an important part of buying and selling homes in Edmonton. Real estate appraisals establish a property's sold market value price. Banks and financial Institutions require property appraisals when buyers require a mortgage on their new homes as security and provide financial institutions with a cost-effective assurance of the properties value for lending purposes. Appraisals are detailed reports compiled by licensed real estate appraisers.
Don't confuse a comparative market analysis, or CMA, with a real estate appraisal. A CMA is a sales report based on data entered into the multiple listing service, or MLS. Real estate agents use CMAs to help their clients determine realistic asking and offering prices.
An appraisal is also not the same thing as a property inspection. Home inspectors test appliances and outlets, check the plumbing and electrical, confirm heating and cooling system are in working order, use inspection tools to look for any moisture issues, missing insulation, etc.. Such information is helpful for the buyer to know before moving in.
If your real estate appraisal comes in low, the bank may not lend you the money you need to satisfy your finance condition. You may need to come up with the difference in cash or re-negotiate the sale price of the property.
What is a Real Property Report?
A Real Property Report (also known as the RPR) is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries. It is a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a written statement detailing the surveyor’s opinions or concerns.
Who needs a Real Property Report?
Part of the standard real estate contracts in Alberta will have a term in the document states the seller will provide a current real property report with the compliance report to the purchaser upon closing. Prior to putting your home on the MLS System and/or Realtor.ca, Sellers should order a new RPR to protect themselves from potential future legal liabilities resulting from problems related to property boundaries and improvements. YourREALTOR® can assist you with this process to ensure your property complies with municipal requirements.
Do I need a Real Property Report for a Condominium?
Bareland Condominiums require Real Property Reports. Conventional Condominiums do not require an RPR.
How does a Real Property Report protect you?
Purchasing a property may be the largest financial investment you ever make. With a Real Property Report, owners are aware of any boundary problems. They know whether their new home is too close to the property line, or part of their garage is on their neighbour’s land or vice versa. Since legal complications may occur if a sold property fails to meet requirements, a Real Property Report protects the seller.
What is on a Real Property Report?
The legal location description of the property and municipal address, dimensions and directions of all property boundaries, any improvements on the property, right-of-way or easements, any visible encroachments, a duly signed certification and opinion by an Alberta Land Surveyor and a permit Stamp where applicable.
How much does a Real Property Report cost?
The amount of work to prepare a Real Property Report varies between properties. Lot size and shape, number of buildings, natural features, age and availability of the property boundary information all affect the cost. However, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, the sooner you order your Real Property Report, the more economical it will be plus any problems can be identified and resolved before a sale is finalized.
Why You Need a Property Title Search
When a real estate agent in Edmonton is working for either a buyer or a seller, a property title search needs to be pulled prior to listing a home or writing an offer to purchase to ensure the saleability of the property.
Basic information on a property title will include:
- The current owners' name: In the event of an estate sale, probate may or may not have been completed and your real estate agent will ensure the person selling the property does have power of attorney. In the event, there is only one person on the title in a marriage, a dower consent will also be needed to complete the sale.
- The Legal description: The municipal or mailing address is different from the legal description and includes a block, lot and Plan number.
- The amount of the last mortgage, any second or third mortgages or the original purchase amount at the time of purchase or there may be a nominal fee.
Other things which can be revealed on a property title search may include:
- Outstanding or owing property taxes, special assessments, delinquent condominium fees which have not been paid by the seller.
- Outstanding creditors including other financial institutions and businesses for things like unpaid vehicle loans, furniture stores, construction loans, personal loans, etc
- A lis pendens, which is normally added by a lawyer during divorce procedures and "freezes" the transfer of a property until all parties are satisfied.
- Easements and Liens from a third party, such as the municipality, utility company or Environmental liens, who may have rights to use part of your property.
- Covenants which are restrictions on the land that can limit what can be built on it, where it can be built and from what materials it may be built. Breaching a covenant can have serious consequences so it is necessary to be aware of any covenants on your property.
If you are not represented by an Edmonton Real Estate Agent, with the legal description and a small fee, the public can pull the title of a property plus details on any registered documents attached to it. Also note, between the time a condition has been removed from an offer to purchase to the time a buyer signs with their lawyer, there may be a change on the land title certificate.
Understanding Buyers Brokerage Agreements
Buyer Brokerage Agreements have been around for several years, and only recently has been mandated for real estate agents to have buyers under the agreement when working in a "client status". This legal change created security for both consumers and real estates in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. This form states the responsibilities of both the buyer and their real estate agent including:
- The mandated Fiduciary Duties, to protect interests of the buyer
- The buyer cannot hire more than one broker or real estate agent to represent them
- The term of the agreement. Depending on the real estate market and how long the real estate agent chooses to work with a buyer, this agreement is normally 30 Days to 1 year and allows enough time for the buyer to purchase a home. If the buyer has not purchased a home during the time frame, they may extend the agreement or sign with another agent.
- The retainer fee (normally $1000 - $2500) which is held in trust by the real estate agent/broker and forms part of the buyers down payment.
- Remuneration is stated in the agreement and can not be changed without written consent from all parties. This protects the agents' commissions and allows the buyer to know how much the REALTOR® receives for their services. (usually paid for by the sellers real estate agent)
- While under the agreement, If the buyer elects to purchase a property without the help of their real estate agent, they will owe the agency the commission set out as per their Buyers Brokerage Agreement.
- This agreement also lays out the obligations and duties of the real estate agent ensuring the agency is working in the buyers best interest. Some of these obligations may include
- Showing you all properties you may be interested in as soon as possible
- The duration of the agreement
- Advertising for properties which meet your search criteria
- Pulling titles to ensure closing capacity
- Setting you up on Auto-prospecting.
- Fiduciary Duties of the real estate agent
- Explaining and helping to prepare the offers to purchase
- Negotiate favourable terms for the buyer
- Provide a Buyers CMA to ensure you are not overpaying
- Inform you on all aspects of your offers including any counters
- Assist you with a chose of mortgage brokers, inspectors, lawyers, etc
- Any other relevant services you may require
For more information on working under a Buyers Brokerage Agreement, feel free to contact us.
What Happens if your Real Property Report does not Comply?
If you are selling a home and have been told that there is no compliance or you have a non-conforming property, don't panic if you have not yet accepted an offer to purchase. Your Edmonton real estate agent can walk you through on how to write or amend the purchase agreement to ensure you will not be penalized. However, if you have sold your home and are just finding out, you have no compliance or non-confirmation, talk to your lawyer.
Residential AREA real estate purchase agreements contain a clause which clearly outlines the factors of the real property report.
"the current use of the Land and Buildings complies with the existing municipal land use... buildings and other improvements on the Land are not placed partly or wholly on any easement ... do not encroach on neighboring lands ... directly on the real property report ...location of Buildings and other improvements on the Land complies with all relevant municipal bylaws, regulations or relaxations ... prior to the Completion Day, or the Buildings and other improvements on the Land are non-conforming buildings as that term is defined in the Municipal Government Act (Alberta) ...current use of the Land and Buildings and the location of the Buildings and other improvements on the Land comply with any restrictive covenant..."
Drawbacks of Non-Compliance or Non-Confirmation:
Knowing in advance that there may be an issue with compliance or non-confirmation on your real property report will save time, money and stress, by dealing with the issues in advance. Depending on the nature of the deficiency
A request to the municipality for a certificate may lead to a requirement for substantial alterations, relocation or destruction of certain structures.
The buyer may choose not to go ahead with the purchase until deficiencies are resolved. Under the AREA contract, the warranties provided by the seller only relate to development issues and not building code issues; and while there is some debate among lawyers on this issue, most take the view that any building code deficiencies including the lack of building code permits are the responsibility of the buyer.
Knowing in advanced provides certainty for both buyer and seller at the time of closing regarding compliance with development issues and provides the opportunity for a buyer to have the seller remedy any deficiencies in this regard prior to or in conjunction with the closing.
It can be used to address the validity of permits which may or may not have been pulled to add, replace or alter a deck, garden shed, gazebo or greenhouse.
Any concerns or questions regarding issues with your real property report, please contact your real estate lawyer. Note* The town of Morinville no longer requires compliance.
Do you really need a property inspection when purchasing a home in Edmonton?
A real estate property home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. It is for the sole benefit of the purchaser and is usually subcontracted to a certified licensed residential real estate inspector, paid for by the buyer and can take one to four hours depending on the size and condition of the property. At the end of your inspection, a standard home inspector’s report will be supplied covering the condition of the home.
A home inspection can identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights which can lead to unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties in the future. Buying a home can be the largest single investment you will make and spending a few hundred dollars for peace of mind is money well spent.
Home inspection components covered include:
- heating system including furnace and hot water tank
- central air conditioning system
- carbon monoxide and fire alarm detectors
- interior plumbing using both visual and water residue tools
- mold issues and water damage
- electrical systems
- the roof & attic
- visible insulation of walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors using a thermal ray tool
- foundation & basement
- other structural components which may need major repair or replacement.
Depending on your chosen property inspector, there may be some things that will not be inspected such as things which can not be seen visually and appliances. You may want to check that these chattels are in working order.
If a home inspection is not allowed on a bank foreclosure, it is still a good idea to have one done, prior to putting in an offer.
In Alberta, builders must supply a new home warranty at closing, however, new homes should ALWAYS have a home inspection done. Building a house takes time and there are always things that get missed. It is easier to address these concerns before you remove your inspection condition.
What if the report reveals problems? No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house. Talk it over with your real estate agent. There are a few options to address any concerns you have.
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.
- 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.