Edmonton Homes for Sale

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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.
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. 
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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 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.


READ MORE ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REAL PROPERTY REPORTS AND TITLE INSURANCE

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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 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 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

For more information on working under a Buyers Brokerage Agreement, feel free to contact us.

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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 neighbouring 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 amongst 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.
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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. 



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 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. 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.

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How real estate agents help home buyers

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 including fiduary duties, 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.

Have a real estate question? We are here to help. Contact us anytime

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Learn How to Write a Real Estate Offer to Purchase

As a buyer, when writing an offer on a property, you want to be able to pay the least possible amount for your

home. Sometimes buyers will offer 5-10% off of an asking price for no reason other than they were told to by a "friend" This is so silly. You may want to offer more, you may want to offer less. The only way to make a reasonable offer is to do your homework.


REAL ESTATE TIP #1 - What the seller paid for their home is irrelevant.

REAL ESTATE TIP #2 - What the seller is asking for their home is also irrelevant.



Knowing why a seller is selling is always helpful when you make an offer, but this information is protected by the sellers real estate 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.


Read more about purchasing a home in Edmonton with our simple 5 step process

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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.  


How to fire a Realtor
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.

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.