Edmonton Real Estate Blog

If you own a house in Edmonton, there are a few natural elements to be aware of depending on your Edmonton community. Edmonton has areas where we have soft soil and higher water tables. Below is a perfect Edmonton House Maintenance checklist to prevent major future water concerns. 

 

  • Downspouts and gutters: Pull debris and leaves from downspouts and gutters. Repair any gutters that have pulled away from your house. Run a water hose on the roof of the house and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use an epoxy to seal the leak.
  • Siding, Stucco, Wood: Remove the dirt off your siding or stucco with a pressure wash. If your house has wood siding, ensure that all surfaces are covered by a weather friendly paint. This is also a great time to update the exterior color of your home and fill in any broken stucco (usually found near window edges).
  • Cleaning: Spring is a perfect time to wash windows sills, exterior doors, and screens. Replace, tighten or paint any broken, missing or worn hardware and replace screens with holes. Using your old towels will also be a great reason to buy new ones.
  • Grading: Take a walk around your house to see if all grading is sloped away from the foundation. If not, add some soil. This is one of the best and cheapest maintenance jobs you can to in your home.
  • Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Replace boards as needed. Don't forget to purchase pressure treated ones. Spruce this area up and create a warming curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint.
  • Landscape: This is a perfect time to trim back overgrown tree branches and bushes. Rotitil your gardens, remove pet stained spots and fertilizer to your grass.
  • Tool Check: Check all your spring tools are in working order and all together. Check your lawnmower, oil & gas refills, Water hoses, Rain buckets, etc.
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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 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 downpayment.  
  • 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 recieves for their services. (usually paid for by the sellers real estate agent)
  • While under 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 thier 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 duation 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 favorable 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 choses 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.

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Questions to Ask an Edmonton Real Estate Agent when Selling

What is your Real Estate Target Market?


With so many types of residential real estate, Edmonton agents are beginning to specialize in a wide range of residential fields. Over the last decade, there have been ample changes in the real estate business and specializing has become the norm. These fields can range from buyer agency, infills and new builds, relocation, luxury homes, seniors, military, condominiums, foreclosures, etc.

 


How long have you been in the business?


You may have found an agent online, because they are extremely tech-savvy, but may lack experience. An "old time" REALTOR® may have several years of experience but lack the marketing knowledge they need to expose your property to qualified buyers. A longer time in the real estate business is always a benefit because it creates the experience. Agents who have been in the real estate business for a few decades have the experience in both good and bad markets and will know how to adjust. These real estate agents are also the most creative and think outside the box.

Do you have another part-time job?


Listen carefully to the answer. REALTORS® who are not full time, may not be as motivated to get your home sold. One of the perks of choosing an Edmonton REMAX Real Estate Agent is that agents must be full-time to join this brokerage. The agent may also have other full or part-time obligations such as a dependant.

How do you prefer to communicate and how often?


This is a two-way question. As licensed real estate agents in the province of Alberta, we are obligated to work in our clients best interest. Which means, if you prefer to be notified of showings via phone calls, emails or text messages, your agent will need to know this. Some agents will only send you a text and assume you received it. Ask how and how often you will be notified of feedback from other agents who have shown your home. Ask how they plan to stay in touch with you. You do not want an agent to list your home and you don't hear from them until either your receive an offer or your home is about to expire. Select an agent who communicates well to eliminate confusion.

Do you do Open Houses?


Many agents do not do open houses for various reasons. Do not take this as a reason not to hire them. If you want open houses done, there will be plenty of agents in a good real estate agent's office who would be more than happy to do an open house. If an agent does open houses every weekend, you may wonder if this is the only way they get more business. Most people who visit open houses are buyers who are just starting their home buying journey, people looking for staging ideas and the neighbors, so they can compare your home to theirs.

Other Questions you may also want to ask include

Education. Ask about degrees and certifications.
How many transactions have you been involved with in your entire career?
How many transactions have you handled year-to-date?
Have you ever been subject to a disciplinary action?
Are you a listing agent or a buyer's agent?
What price range do you generally work in?
Do you have a network of other productive agents which you work with?
What would you say are your strongest attributes as an agent?

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Step back in time with the rich and famous. This year, Edmonton's historical Rutherford House welcomes you and your family to and learn about dyes and how they were used to color Easter eggs.Watch out for this year's Easter Bunny!


Edmonton Rutherford House

 

In 1910, Alexander Rutherford, and his wife Mattie moved into the Rutherford House, located at 11153 Saskatchewan Drive, the red brick mansion at the University of Alberta, which has been open for public snooping as a provincial historic site since 1974.

Visitors can sit in the breakfast nook where the Rutherford family ate most of their meals and soak in the atmosphere. This Easter, there will be freshly baked cookies and a spring-themed craft you are welcome to participate on April 9, Noon - 4:00 pm.

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Pros and Cons of Condominium Ownership

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.

 

Sense of Community. 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 opportunities to engage with your neighbors

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 neighborhood. 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 neighbors. Some condominium complexes in Edmonton offer in-house managers and know everyone by name. Depending on how well your complex is built, your neighbor 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 a 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 vapors. 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 enquire on prior to purchasing a condominium

Reserve Fudy Study
Are condo fees reasonable
Bi-laws
Financials
Professionally or Self Managed
General Meeting

Any upcoming special assessment

 

Have your lawyer review these documents if you are not comfortable with the lingo.

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Let's get those buyers into your home!

When hosting open houses for your home, you will need to do more than a simple advertisement in the local paper, putting it on the Realtor.ca website and put out yard signs. There are several other real estate marketing tools you can use to attract people who may be looking to buy into your home.

 

 

Take the time to knock on your neighbors' doors and personally invite them. You never know if they have family or friends who may be looking to purchase a home in your community or maybe they want their family to move closer.

Become tech savvy - Put your Open House on as many websites as you can. If possible, search engine optimize all of your website traffic to ensure buyers who are looking online will be able to find your home.

Blog it! Add a blog link to all of your traffic including facebook and ask your friends to share it.

Pictures say 1000 words. Make sure every photo you use on the internet is clear, in the right format and has the proper pixels. Do put on photos which are dark, have bad curb appeal, etc.

Facebook Ads - Facebook ads are great! Just choose your search criteria, upload your photos, add the dialogue and input your payment. You may want to do this a week in advance. NOT the day before.

Sell your community! Add information about your community to your feature sheets. Give the reasons why a buyer would want to live in your area. Do you have a dog park nearby? Neighborhood Events? Ravine walking trails? Add some more photos.

Build a website for your home and add it to your feature sheets for the buyers to look at your home at their convenience. Add as many links as you can. Don't forget to have them open in new windows. You will want to keep them on your page. Add a video: Videos are easy to make and can be uploaded online. Make them fun and entertaining (No more than 2 minutes)

Flyer! Drop off flyers with your neighbors. This is also a great way to meet your neighbors, find out more about your area and is great exercise. Ask them to drop in for coffee, the more strangers you have in your home, the safer you will be.

Create a sign in sheet! Have your Open House guests sign in once they arrive. You will be able to follow up with them later to see if there is any interest. It may seem like a lot of work, but holding an Open House in Edmonton takes time to make it effective.



Have fun and good luck with your Open House!

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There are several reasons why buyers prefer to work with real estate agents when buying a home, even when a buyer has sold their existing home via "For Sale by Owner". The few of these reasons include knowledge of the ever changing markets, expertise in both negotiations and communities, experience and exclusive real estate tools.

 

 


A large portion of Canadian Real Estate Agents have earned their ABR - Accredited Buyers Representation designation, which means, these REALTORS® have completed the education needed to service buyers with a higher standard.

REALTORS® who are representing buyers expect to get paid for their services at some point in time. It is usually within a few weeks of the buyer taking possession of their new home. In the province of Alberta and to ensure real estate agents' are compensated for their services, a mandated agreement by RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta) will need to be signed. It explains how much, the term of the agreement, what services will be provided and other relevant information.

If you have questions - ASK. Never sign anything you do not fully understand. Real Estate Agents deal with forms on a daily basis, and most of us can explain listing and purchase agreements without even looking at them. A good REALTOR® should have gone through each agreement thoroughly and address and, questions or concerns you may have had.

Near the bottom of both the Buyers Agreement and Sellers Agreement, there is an acknowledgement clause prior to signature placement. In an Exclusive Buyer Representative Agreement it states...

14.1 You acknowledge that:
(a) you have read this agreement.
(b) you have received and read the Guide.
(c) this agreement creates a sole agency relationship with us, as the Guide describes.
(d) you had the opportunity to get independent advice from a lawyer before signing this agreement.
(e) this agreement accurately sets out what we and you agree to.

Which means you can obtain legal information prior to signing or you may want to take the agreement home to read over more thoroughly

These agreements are not rocket science, but knowing what you are signing is important.

REAL ESTATE TIP#1: "The Guide" is referring to the Consumer Relation Guide which explains how the professional relationship and the real estate agency will interact with each other.

 

REAL ESTATE TIP#2: Buyers Real Estate Agents, normally do not charge an extra fee above what is offered by a seller, unless otherwise agreed in writing.

 

Great Real Estate Tips on Buying a Home

Choosing Great Real Estate Buyer Agents

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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 agent 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 sellers' 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 a 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.

 

Great Real Estate Tips on Buying a Home

Choosing Great Real Estate Buyer Agents

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Are your home shopping expectations realistic?

There is no such thing as a perfect house. If you are pre-qualified and have been looking for a home for a long time, there will be one of four reasons you haven't found your dream home

 

 

  • You can't afford the homes you like. Either stop looking until you save enough money to purchase your dream home or be realistic with what you can afford. Your first home does not to be the forever home. Purchasing your first property is the first step to getting your dream home by building equity.
  • You have chosen the wrong real estate agent to help you. The majority of Real Estate Agents in Edmonton and the surrounding area have access to the same MLS Data, but if there hasn't been anything which has caught your attention, you can either fire your agent and find one who will work harder for you, which may include knocking on doors in a specific area or making community phone calls to find you a suitable property. Or maybe you are just too picky.
  • You have no motivation. There are many people who prefer to rent. Every month, they pay for someone else's mortgage, helping the homeowner build equity. Or you have signed a long lease and are not in a position to buy. Or you may have a reason for not purchasing yet. If this is the case, stop looking until you are really ready.
  • You are TOO cheap. What the asking price of a home is, is irrelevant to the purchase price. For example: if two identical homes are listed at $400,000 and the other at $375,000 and you are still "Low Balling" the less expensive one, you will never get a good price. A good real estate agent will complete a buyers CMA for you, which will indicate a fair value market price and if it is below, you've already made money.


BEST REAL ESTATE TIP: No matter what type of market we are in, the longer you postpone your purchase, the more money you will loose. Eventually house prices will go back up in Edmonton, but so will interest rates!

 

Great Real Estate Tips on Buying a Home

Choosing Great Real Estate Buyer Agents

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Come in, Welcome to our Open House!

Open houses are great for the listing real estate agents because it gives us an opportunity to meet the neighbors who may be thinking about selling their home and to pick up new buyers.

 



When real estate agents host an open house, the ultimate goal is to sell the home. The real estate agent who is hosting the open house has already spent time and money and anyone who walks through the door needs to understand, the agent will be asking you questions.

If you are only looking for decorating ideas or you are already under a Buyer's Brokerage Agreement, let the hosting agent know. We have Rules, Regulations and a code of Ethics, whereof, we are not allowed to interfere with another REALTORS® Clients. However, if you are not currently working with a real estate agent, REALTORS® are always looking for new business.

If you are interested in the property and would like more information on the home, call your current agent - DO NOT tell the listing agent. Anything you tell the hosting real estate agent will be disclosed to the sellers and in the event, you write an offer on this property, information can be used against you in negotiations. It is our job to work in the best interest of our clients which would include informing the sellers of all interested parties.

Real Estate Agents are also responsible for ensuring proper care of the home while showing. If you have children, please hold their hands and don't be offended if the REALTOR® is following you everywhere.

 

More tips on "How to Buy a Home"

More tips on "How to Hire a Real Estate Agent when Buying"

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 SELLER CLOSING COSTS

Before you sell your home, do your homework and estimate your closing costs to ensure you have enough money to make your move. There is nothing worse than sitting with your lawyer and not having enough funds to close your sale.

 

Remax Sold Sign

 

When a home is sold, the seller incurs various closing costs in addition to paying out the remaining balance on their mortgage and payout penalties. Typical closing costs for a seller may include any property taxes which are in arrears, encumbrances, the cost of a real property report with compliance and/or title insurance, any permits which were not obtained earlier, real estate commissions, any provincial, GST revenue, agricultural or business taxes, liens and legal fees. If the property is a condominium, the seller may also have costs of condominium documents, unpaid condo fees, levies and the estoppel certificate. When selling a house, the seller's costs vary from a few thousand to several thousand.

 

If you are not sure if you have enough equity in your home, contact one of our real estate experts for a free home evaluation.

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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 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.

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What is the difference between a garage suite & 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 an apartment-sized living space, with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living space, on the second floor of your garage".

 

The city’s 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.

 

 

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 neighborhood because they allow a 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 aging 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’s all about creating more flexible living options so every Edmontonian can choose the neighborhood that suits them best.  For more information on Garage and Garden suites, visit the city of Edmonton's Infill website.

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Questions to Ask a Buyers Real Estate Agent


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 to 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 full-time real estate agent? All REMAX Real Estate Agents are full-time REALTORS®. This is not the case with other real estate companies. 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 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. 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.

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With so many choices, it's hard to choose a perfect "stone" countertop. Before you rush out and buy the prettiest one, you make want to consider resale value. When choosing a new countertop, base it on your lifestyle, not on price.  If your kitchen looks dated, replacing your counter tops and backsplashes will make a huge impact and it is less expensive than replacing a whole kitchen.

 

 

Quartz countertops are a hard natural mineral. They are resistant to scratches, stains, heat, easy to clean are becoming the trend in luxury Edmonton houses. Depending on the grade, quartz countertops are about the same cost as granite. 

Granite countertops are one of the most elegant materials that can be used for a kitchen work surfaces. When sealed properly, it is stain and heat-resistant so it continues to look beautiful in the years to come. Granite countertops are a popular choice in our Edmonton homes due to its wearability and color choices.

Corian countertops are a mixture of binding resins and minerals and comes in over a hundred colors. Corian is a flexible material when heat and can appear seamless once installed leaving a smooth, unblemished finish. It takes on a sandblasted stone look.

Marble countertops are stylish, elegant and drop-dead gorgeous. A countertop made of marble is usually less durable than granite, Corian or quartz and less resistant to stains and scratches. It is also more expensive to get installed. Marble Countertops are all about the look.

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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 neighbor’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.

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Real Estate Agents 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.
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Is still possible to purchase 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 percent, (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, utilitiy 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. 

 

Once you have your pre-approval completed. Contact an experienced real estate agent with their ABR designation and start house shopping!

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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 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 ‘as is’. 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 favorable 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.  
  • 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.
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