The first step to buying a home is deciding if you are ready to become a homeowner and start building equity for your future. There’s a lot to know when it comes to buying a home in Edmonton. Whether you’re buying your first condo, moving to a bigger house or downsizing, our in-depth 5 step home buyers Guide will take you through all the steps.
- First: Get pre-qualified for a mortgage and choose a financial lender
- Second: Choose the best Buyers Agent or Edmonton
- Third: House hunt like a real estate professional online and in person
- Submit an offer with confidence by understanding Alberta Real Estate contracts
- Fifth: Be prepared for other costs associated with buying a home in Alberta
STEP 1: Financing - Pre-approval and choosing a financial lender
Not all financial institutions are the same. If you choose to use a who works at your personal branch, keep in mind, most persons who work in a bank get paid by the hour, unlike a mobile mortgage specialist who only gets paid when they have completed, processed and get your mortgage application approved. For a list of mortgage brokers, contact us.
The first step to buying a house or condo in Edmonton is finding out how much your bank is willing to lend you based on the lenders' rules. Keep in mind with the change of Canada's new mortgage qualifying rules. You must qualify at two per cent higher than what your current interest rate will be.
Your lender will look at your income, your debts, your down payment and your credit rating. Having a verbal or online pre-approval is a waste of time and is not a real pre-approval. Your lender/Mortgage Broker will ask for a list of items to be provided including a recent bank statement, pay stubs, job letter, last 2 years of T4's for a true pre-approval.
A mortgage pre-approval will be in writing which is normally valid for 90 or 120 days. Pre-approvals will also include an interest rate guarantee - get this in writing from your lender to ensure you have documentation in the event interest rates rise prior to purchasing your new Edmonton home.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MORTGAGES
Our Edmonton Real Estate Agent Team is here to help you. We have several mortgage brokers we deal, feel free to reach out and ask us for a list of mortgage specialists.
STEP 2: Choosing the Right Buyers Agent
If you’re like most people, you want to find a Realtor who is a good fit. Both real estate agents and Realtors have had to undergo a certain amount of training in order to qualify to help you buy or sell real estate. However, in Canada, in order to be considered a Realtor, a real estate professional must be a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). There are several Realtors in Edmonton who choose not to work with buyers, while others choose to work solely with buyers. These Realtors are known as Buyer Agents.
There are several ways to find a buyers agent who will be a good fit. Most Realtors in Edmonton have their own websites. Some of these websites are very generic, while others provide personalized extensive real estate information. Some Realtors will also specialize in a specific part of Edmonton or have a real estates speciality such as condominiums, luxury homes, relocation moves or acreages. Another great way to find a buyer's agent is to visit open houses. However, if you fall in love with the house, it is in your best interest to seek out a different agent.
Interview a few different Realtors before signing a commitment called a "Buyer Brokerage Agreement". Remember this agent will be helping you make the biggest investment of your life and you should make sure they have your best interests in mind. Below is a list of questions which may help in the interview process when buying.
- How long have you been a REALTOR?
- Do you have any other real estate designations?
- How much commission do you charge?
- Will you show properties that are at a lesser commission offered?
- How will you keep me informed on new properties which meet my search criteria?
- What is your real estate niche or speciality?
- Do you have a list of references I can contact?
- How many homes are you willing to show me (If this number is less than ten - move on to another agent)
- If I cancel my agreement, is there a fee?
- When are you available to show me homes (Note* Part-time Realtors may not be able to accommodate your schedule)
To book an appointment for your personalized Edmonton home buying consultation, contact us.
STEP 3: House Hunting like a Real Estate Professional
Let's face it. You have been house shopping for your home online and have seen a few "bad real estate photos", or a property with no photos or wonder why a particular house has been on the market so long. The reality is, there may be great homes, but the sellers chose the wrong agent to market their home.
When you come across those bad real estate photos, try to look beyond the photographer, the horrific lighting and the messy house with clothes on the floor, pets or worse yet, the seller's children in those photos. If the selling agent has not taken the time to properly market a home, the sellers are not happy and want their home to be sold.
When there is only one exterior photo on a property, read the comment section. Odds are, this home is tenant occupied, or not in showable condition (Very messy) or the sellers have chosen really ugly paint colours for the walls. These homes are usually fantastically priced properties that need a little TLC and some cleaning. If you are looking for a home in a particular area, learn to calculate the absorption rate to make the best financial purchase and make a great real estate deal.
Don't be fooled by pretty homes. Both a Seller and the Sellers Realtor want as many potential buyers into their home, but don't be fooled by how lovely it looks inside with that sparkling granite counter-top, cutest little girls rooms or awesome man cave. Take a deep look at the finishings. This is the best indicator for how well the home has been built and taken care of. A great buyers agent will point out imperfections they notice.
Don't overlook homes which have been on the market for a while. These properties may have had several price adjustments, especially in Edmonton's real estate market and may now be below or at the proper market value. Take a second look. There may also be other reasons which factor in a long time on the market which can include the property was "tied up" a few times with other offers which have fallen apart on financing or an inspection. Remember, when a pending offer is on a home, it can be conditional for a few weeks at a time. Another reason, a property may be longer on the market could be due to a "lis pendens", probate, civil enforcement or other government enforcement contingencies.
HOW TO CALCULATE THE ABSORPTION RATE IN ANY NEIGHBORHOOD
STEP 4: Submitting the OfferNormally there are two basic (three when purchasing a condominium or more with rural properties and acerages) conditions or "subject to's" when purchasing a home in Edmonton.
- Financing: Although you have completed your pre-approval, this does not mean you have been qualified to purchase that dream home. Once an offer has been accepted, your financial institution will need to submit your offer to the underwriter and your credit will be checked again. Do not go out and purchase any major items which would require financing such as a new vehicle during this time frame. If you are obtaining a CHMC Mortage, the credit check will be done for a minimum of the last seven years.
- Inspection: Hire a certified residential property inspector with a good reputation and credentials. The cost in Edmonton for a certified residential home inspector usually costs between five to six hundred dollars. No matter what type of home you are buying, including foreclosed properties to new builds. This small fee can save you thousands of future dollars.
- Condominium Documents (Condo purchases): Always double check you have received all condominium documents and review them. If you do not understand the legality or do not have the time, have your real estate lawyer review them for you. There is a lot of information in the condominium documents and you do not want to be surprised with a $30,000 special assessment when you move in.
- Rural and Acreage: Septic inspections are beyond the scope of a standard home inspection but when purchasing an acreage in Alberta, they are crucial. Other conditions you should add to your rural purchase agreement include a satisfactory water well, water flow, water quality tests and pumping equipment inspections
STEP 5: Buyer Beware & Other Closing Costs
Calculating the cost to purchase a home in Edmonton is pretty simple. Calculate your total downpayment plus add one and a half per cent of the total purchase price of your home. For example on a $300,000 home, with a five per cent down payment, you will need a total of $19,500. Your financial institution will ask to see this additional amount to ensure you have enough money for closing costs such as lawyer fees, title transfers, mortgage application, and appraisal fees. Additional mortgage fees like CHMC can be added into your mortgage or can be paid up front.
If you have added certain terms into your purchase agreement, such as "Seller to repair a broken window, steam clean carpets, remove dog faeces from the backyard, etc, you may also want to add an additional clause
"Seller will allow the purchasers to complete a satisfactory walk-through regarding the terms of the property prior to possession"
In Alberta, the transfer of real estate titles is processed a bit different than other provinces and keys do not get released until monies have been received by the Sellers lawyer. In the event and terms were not completed, it is more difficult to remediate this after.
Note* If you are purchasing a foreclosure, keep in mind, that this property is sold "As Is, Where Is".
If you have any other real estate question about purchasing a home in Edmonton or the surrounding area, contact us.
How to Avoid Paying Too Much for a House
Before you offer any seller a price for a property, there are a few facts you should to know. The asking price of a property does not necessarily reflect the "market value" of the home.
Below are a few questions you should check into prior to making an offer.
Is the property tax assessment accurate? If not, find out why
- For the city of Edmonton, you can find out the tax assessment value of any residential property at https://maps.edmonton.ca/map.aspx. Although the amount the city thinks the property is worth does not necessarily reflect the true value. It is only used as a starting point.
Are real estate prices going up or coming down?
- What is the latest real estate trend in that neighbourhood? To determine if an Edmonton neighbourhood's property values are going down or to tell if the neighbourhood is becoming one of Edmonton's hot spots, use the absorption rate tool.
How much was the bank property appraisal?
- Financial institutions base their appraisals on the "Emily System", which is an accumulation of recently sold comparable properties. If there are no relevant sold Edmonton properties or if your home is more unique, independent appraisers can do a "cost to replace" appraisal. A good Edmonton real estate agent will complete a "Sold Comparative Market Analysis", (CMA) for you, prior to submitting an offer to purchase.
Is the property staged to avoid any defects?
- Don't be fooled by the staging in a property. This is one of the biggest mistakes a buyer can make. When viewing a home, overlook the nice furniture and freshly painted walls. Take a close look at the overall condition of the property. An easy way to know if a dwelling is shifting is to open and close the windows and doors.
Do you know what a realistic offer should look like?
- No matter if you are buying a home in Edmonton in a buyers market or a seller's market. Submitting a realistic offer is important. When a home is priced accordingly to the real estate market, don't try to "low ball" the seller, you will end up paying more because you have insulted them. Do your research.
For more information on submitting real estate offers in Edmonton and find an experienced buyer's agent, contact an Edmonton Homes & Gardens Real Estate Agent.
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.
Did your Home Get Stigmatized?
In real estate, a stigmatized property is a property which buyers may shun for various reasons other than its physical condition or features. These reasons can include the death of someone who was occupying the home to a murder which has taken place inside the property. Some buyers believe the house may now be haunted.
- When a death occurs inside a home, it may not always be disclosed to a buyer. Although when there has been a murder, it is usually public information and can be found on the net. According to the Real Estate Council of Alberta, a murder on the property does not need to be disclosed.
- Many jurisdictions recognize several forms of stigmatized property and have passed resolutions or statutes to deal with them. One issue that separates them is disclosure. Depending on the jurisdiction of the house, the seller may not be required to disclose the full facts.
- When a home is considered a stigmatized property, the selling value may be decreased to attract more buyers. These houses are priced accordingly and purchasing one for a lesser real estate cost, financially benefit the buyers.
- Types of stigma may include houses formally used in a crime, such as a drug house or brothel. Foreclosures where debt collectors are unaware that a debtor has moved out of a residence and may continue their pursuit at the same location
- The wrong starting price can also stigmatize a property when selling your Edmonton home. When a residential dwelling sits on the market for long periods of time, buyers assume there is something wrong with it. Learn how to price your Edmonton home properly from the start.
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 favourable result.
- The coverage of Title Insurance is for the buyer only (not the seller).
- If a buyer or their lawyer purchases a lender only policy that is sufficient to close the deal however the buyer still has no title insurance protection.
- 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.
How to use a Comparative Market Analysis
Edmonton real estate agents can provide a comparative market analysis, also known as a CMA, for any property including properties subject to divorce, civil enforcement, foreclosures, estate sales, city tax purposes, etc. It takes time for real estate agents to complete an accurate home evaluation. Unless you have plenty of experience in buying and selling real estate, online home evaluations may be completely misleading and should never be used as a realistic asking price.
Seller Comparative Market Analysis
When working with sellers, a comparative market analysis is used to determine a realistic and accurate asking price. A Seller CMA is based on comparable properties which are currently active (homes for sale), recently sold homes (usually within the last six months), expired (homes which did not sell for various reasons) and the history of these homes. Other factors will include the current Edmonton real estate market, supply and demand, the condition of the property, the location, community absorption rate and many other factors. An experienced, professional Edmonton Realtor will take the time to go through all of this data with you, together determining a true asking price for your Edmonton Home.
Buyer Comparative Market Analysis
When working with buyers, a comparative market analysis is similar to a bank appraisal and is used to write a reasonable offer to purchase. A buyers CMA is based on both current homes for sale and recently sold home price in Edmonton taking into consideration all relevant factors including the condition, size and location. For new builds, this process is a bit different and is based more on the cost to build, economic factors, building quality, and the reputation of the builder.
Free Comparative Market Analysis
If you are thinking about selling your home or if your home did not sell due to other factors, feel free to contact us for a professional no-obligation Edmonton home evaluation. We also service Morinville, Bon Accord, Gibbons, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Beaumont and Devon. Our Homes & Gardens Real Estate Agents will take the time to help, educate and inform you on all real estate aspects of your community to determine the right value for your home, ensuring you receive the highest possible price. Simply CLICK HERE to fill in the form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
EXTRA HOME COSTS FOR BUYERS
Are you ready to purchase your new home? Often, buyers find themselves overwhelmed with the cost of purchasing a home and should be aware of these extra home costs to ensure you won't be struggling at the last moment to find more cash to complete your purchase.
When a home is sold, the buyer incurs various closing costs in addition to the property sale price. Although most of the expenses of the house are paid for by the seller, usually including real estate commissions, the buyers pay a variety of fees such as mortgage origination charges, appraisal fees, title insurance, lawyer, home insurance, homeowner association fees (HOA) and property tax adjustments. Depending on the buyer and the home purchased, there may be additional fees including CHMC Fees, which can be added to your mortgage amount and other costs. agreed upon and not covered by the seller costs.
Don't forget your moving and utility hook-up costs. As a rule of thumb, one to two per cent of the cost of your home will cover all closing costs. Learn more about how to buy a home in Edmonton.
If you would like to know more about purchasing a home, contact one of our Edmonton Real Estate experts today for help and free advise.
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.
How to get Top Dollar for your Edmonton Home
Edmonton is a large municipality which means you will have plenty of nearby 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 to maximize its value. 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 and decorate as though, you are giving it away to your favorite member of your family. Make your home appeal to as many buyers as possible by neutralizing every room of the house.
Declutter as much as possible
- Declutter as much as you can including your kitchen cabinets, linen and coat closets and your garage. 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. This is also a great time to donate everything you haven't actually used in the last ten years or have a "priced to sell" garage sale.
Go on a shopping trip
- Your home deserves a little freshening up and a shopping trip to spruce up your homes is also on your selling checklist. Purchase colour coordinated linen for your bedrooms and bathrooms. This will add both a warm ambience and a fresh, clean feel to your rooms. If your furniture is dirty - clean it or replace it. Don't get carried away by all of the available staging items. Keep it simple.
Clean everything inside and outside
- Serious buyers will be snooping in your home. They will be looking in your oven, fridge, 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, or think your home is not taken care of. A dirty house will be reflected in a buyers offer to purchase. Don't neglect the backyard, garage, and storage sheds. Make your home sparkle!
Have a Pre-sold dinner party
- Celebrate your hard work of getting your Edmonton home ready to sell and invite over your closest friends and open the wine. 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.
If you have any questions about getting your home ready to sell, contact us.
7 Tips to keep your home happy, healthy and long lasting
With home ownership comes house maintenance and spring is the best time to check your home maintenance checklist. 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 clay and topsoil. 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.
Top 5 Questions to Ask Edmonton Realtors when Selling
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. There are over 3500 real estate agents licensed with the Edmonton Real Estate Board, most actively practicing, allowing homeowners several choices finding a Realtor who can properly target market their property. Below are the top 5 questions to ask any Edmonton Real Estate Agent.
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 usually have larger databases, are 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. Real Estate is an expensive business with company fees, licences, photographers, grapic designers, vehicle mainatnces, office tools, conveyancing fees, signage,desk fees, websites, internet sydication systems, etc. and if an agent needs another part time job to survive - that agent may not care whether your home sells or not. Every REALTOR® must be full-time to join our Homes & Gardens team to ensure our clients top-notch service.
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?
Listen carefully to the answer. REALTORS® who are not full time, may not be as motivated to get your home sold. Real Estate is an expensive business with company fees, license, photographers, graphic designers, vehicle maintenance, office tools, conveyancing fees, signage,desk fees, websites, internet syndication systems, etc. and if an agent needs another part time job to survive - that agent may not care whether your home sells or not. Every REALTOR® must be full-time to join our Homes & Gardens team to ensure our clients top-notch service.
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?
Why You Need a Property Title Search
When a real estate agent in Edmonton is working for either a buyer or a seller, a property title search needs to be pulled prior to listing a home or writing an offer to purchase to ensure the saleability of the property.
Basic information on a property title will include:
- The current owners name: In the event of an estate sale, probate may or may not have been completed and your real estate agent will ensure the person selling the property does have power of attorney. In the event, there is only one person on the title in a marriage, a dower consent will also be needed to complete the sale.
- The Legal description: The municipal or mailing address is different from the legal description and includes a block, lot and Plan number.
- The amount of the last mortgage, any second or third mortgages or the original purchase amount at the time of purchase or there may be a nominal fee.
Other things which can be revealed on a property title search may include:
- Outstanding or owing property taxes, special assessments, delinquent condominium fees which have not been paid by the seller.
- Outstanding creditors including other financial institutions and businesses for things like unpaid vehicle loans, furniture stores, construction loans, personal loans, etc
- A lis pendens, which is normally added by a lawyer during 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.
Pros and Cons of Condominium Ownership
Living in a condominium in Edmonton offers the sense of community living. 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 ample opportunities to engage with your neighbors.
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.
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 inquire on prior to purchasing a condominium
- Reserve Fund Study
- Are condo fees reasonable
- Bi-laws - are you allowed pets?
- Financials - Is the complex in the red
- Professionally or Self Managed
- AGM - Annual General Meeting
- Any upcoming special assessment
Today, several banks will request to review these documents prior to releasing your financing. Also, have your lawyer review these documents if you are not comfortable with the lingo.