Edmonton Real Estate Blog

Why You Need a Property Title Search


When a real esate agent in Edmonton is working for either a buyer or a seller, a title search needs to be pulled prior to listing a home or writing an offer to purchase to ensure the saleablity of the property.

 

The 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 marrige, 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 mortages or the original purchase amount at the time of purchase or there may be a nominial 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 finacial 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 a 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.



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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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How to get Top Dollar for your Edmonton Home

Edmonton is a large municipality which means you will have competition and making your home the prettiest will bring the highest offers. Especially in a slower or buyers real estate market and an undesirable location, it is very important to show your Edmonton home at it's very best. Below are the top 5 actions you can take.

Disassociate Yourself With Your Property:.
No matter how long you have lived at or how much love you put into your home, look at your home as a real estate commodity. Make your home appeal to as many buyers as possible by neutralizing.

Declutter as much as possible:
As a rule of thumb, if you won't use it in the next three months, pack it away. Yes, this includes those boxes in your basement which have not been opened since your last move.

Go shopping:
Purchase color coordinated linen for your bedrooms and bathrooms. This will add both a warm ambiance and a fresh, clean feel to your rooms. If your furniture is dirty - clean it or replace it.

Clean everything inside and outside:
Serious buyers will be snooping in ovens, fridges, cabinets, and closets. Make sure these are clean, neat and tidy. You don't want buyers to think there is a shortage of storage space. Make your House Sparkle.

Have a Pre-sold dinner party:
Invite over your closest friends, offer them wine and ask them to walk around your home, point out any imperfections and for their honest opinions. Bring a notebook. You will be amazed by the feedback.

 

Check out our exclusive REMAX Top 10 Mistakes in Preparing Your Home for Sale

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How to find a QUALIFIED buyer

Finding a QUALIFIED buyer for your home is not easy. Everyone wants to own real estate, but not everyone can qualify. If you have been trying to sell your property and are finding it difficult to find a buyer for your home, there are some tricks to the real estate trade.

 

Open Houses

Open Houses in Edmonton can be hit and miss. You can't put up signs and expect a buyer who is in a position to purchase, who thinks your home is perfect and is qualified to purchase to walk off the street and put an offer on your home. It is not that simple. Keep an open mind. Most buyers attending Open Houses are still in the "looking stage". Open Houses can receive constant foot traffic if done right. Read more on how to have a productive open house.

Adjust your expectations

Not everyone who enquires on your home is really interested. There is no such thing as a perfect home. You may love your home, but the reality is, your home is only a tangible commodity. Appraisers, inspectors, lawyers, financial institutions, and BUYERS can appreciate the effort of any upgrades, but it really comes down to money. Even if you find a buyer who is willing to pay more for your home because it staged, does not mean it will be appraised at the agreed upon price, therefore cannot sell.

Talk to REALTORS®

Expect calls from Edmonton Real Estate Agents. Listen carefully. You will know in the first few minutes if they are looking to help you sell (list) your home or have a qualified buyer who has enquired through them. Buyers who are working with real estate agents in Edmonton, are under a signed Buyers Brokerage Agreement and must fulfill their obligations if interested in your home. The real estate agent will be asking questions, lots of them. The agent is working in the best interest of THIER client buyer and is working in the best interest of their client.

 

The agent may be looking for more business and is calling to list your home. Take the time to talk. You may not want to list your home at this time, but if you are the one asking questions, you may learn something which will help you sell your home on your own. There are many real estate agents do not deal with buyers and specialize in listings only.

Marketing

There is more to marketing a home than putting your property on the MLS ® which impacts Realtor.ca, putting a sign in the front yard and adding a key box to your entrance. Advertising by word of mouth is a big advantage. There are almost 4000 Real Estate Agents Associated with the Edmonton Real Estate Board who talk to each other. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, doctor, dentist and everyone you meet. Marketing your property to attract buyers who are qualified and in a position to purchase a property takes work and experienced, tech-savvy REALTORS® have the know-how. This includes knowing the absorption rate in your neighborhood.

 

Find out how great Edmonton Real Estate Agents market homes to find the right buyers

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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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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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What is a Real Estate Absorption Rate?

During listing appointment and the CMA process, sellers often ask "How long will it take to sell my house?" Although there is no magic way of knowing the answer, know what is currently happening economically and using a real estate absorption rate here in Edmonton will give us a good indication of how long a property will be on the market. An absorption rate will also tell us if it is buyers market or a seller's market and is often used by real estate investors.

 

 

An absorption rate is a rate at which homes sell in a given area during a given time period. Absorption rate is calculated by dividing the number of sales in a given month by the number of available homes for sale. It is the inverse of months of supply.

For example, if there are 100 houses listed for sale in a certain area, and 10 houses sold over the last month, the absorption rate is 10/100=10%. Which means, assuming no other house listing are put on the market, it would take 10 months for buyers to purchase enough properties to absorb the real estate demand.

As a rule of thumb, an absorption rate of 20-25% or higher means that homes are selling quickly and the market favors sellers. Lower absorption rates mean that homes are not selling quickly and supply is much greater than demand, favoring buyers.

 

If you are thinking about selling in Edmonton or the surrounding area and would like to know the absorption rate in you community, contact us.

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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 the 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 an 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.

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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.
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Top 10 Mistakes in Preparing Your Home for Sale

Another great exclusive "Fit to Sell" home selling video couresy of RE/MAX. The top Edmonton Real Estate Agency in Edmonton. Whether you are selling your first home or your home ended up on the expired list, watch and learn.


 

 

Read more quick tips on getting your Edmonton Home ready to Sell

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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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