What Happens if Your Home Closing is Delayed?
The majority of closings happen on time or within a few days if issues need to be addressed. If closing is not completed, and buyers can be left homeless. This is a terrifying thought, however, it does happen. Below are five reasons which can lead to a delayed or canceled possession date.
REASON ONE: UNREALISTIC CLOSING DATE
Don't expect to write an offer and be in your home the next day. It takes time for lawyers in Alberta to clear and transfer the title to you. The actual registration process can take a day or two or a few weeks depending on how busy the Land Title Office is and the transfer of land process takes about 3-7 days. An experienced real estate agent will know whether the contract dates are realistic or not.
REASON TWO: REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL ISSUES
When buying or selling real estate you need to understand that a large piece to a successful home sale is the bank appraisal. A bank appraisal is part of a real estate transaction anytime a buyer is obtaining a mortgage. It is normally completed prior to a buyer removing the finance condition. If the property does not appraise out, the bank will not forward the mortgage.
REASON THREE: TITLE PROBLEMS
Your Realtor should be doing their due diligence by pulling the title prior to you writing the offer. However, between the time you have satisfied and removed conditions, it has been known to have items placed on the title. These items can include a second or third mortgage, a lien from a collection agency, or a lis pendens. (A Lis pendens is the Latin term for a Notice of Pendency of Action. It means that a lawsuit is pending against the title of a property. The lis pendens is a public notice letting buyers know there is a dispute over the ownership of the property and is commonly used in divorce situations).
REASON THREE: REAL PROPERTY REPORTS
Another task that a real estate attorney will perform is a review of an instrument survey or real property report (RPR). An RPR can be defined simply as a drawing of the land a home is situated on. Real estate closings can be delayed in the event there is a discrepancy in line encroachments such as a neighbor's fence or there is an addition added to the property such as a deck or storage shed without compliance.
REASON FOUR: YOUR BANK DID A SECOND CHECK
When a buyer receives their mortgage commitment, it means the funds have been approved and the closing can occur, right? In most cases it does mean the funds have been approved, however, there are times when a lender will require additional documents at the last minute or a buyer has made a large purchase and their debt ratio qualifying has changed.
REASON FIVE: TERMS OF SALE
There are many reasons why home buyers have home inspections to ensure the property they are purchasing doesn’t have any major deficiencies that can cost a large amount of money in the future. After a home inspection is completed, the buyer can request repairs be completed at the seller's cost. If a seller agrees to make repairs, it’s important that these repairs are done prior to the buyer moving into the new home. These terms can range from the replacement of shingles to picking up dog feces.
THERE ARE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO MINIMIZE THIS RISK BEFORE REMOVING YOUR CONDITIONS
In the province of Alberta, the real estate contracts which Realtors use have several safeguard clauses for both the buyer and the seller. In lament terms - If a delay is caused due to the fault of a seller, the seller is responsible for compensating the buyer. This can include all costs accrued until the property has been transferred. Some of these costs can include, interest rates, storage, hotel rooms, and meals. The real estate contracts also work in favor of the seller and if for any reason, the buyer has delayed the closing, the buyer will be liable for compensating the seller.
- Ask for a copy of the real property report. The seller should have this in their possession within 10 days of putting the property on the market.
- Have your financial institution send you documentation that all financing requirements have been met
- Don't make any big purchases
- Ensure you have the dower signed if needed. This is a standard document Edmonton RE/MAX Agents use often.
- Complete a walk through prior to possession when required
- Ensure all paperwork including addendums are at your lawyer's office (With Remax Elite, we have a complete conveyancing department to ensure, there are no delays and help make the real estate sale process seem seamless.
- If you have questions about buying a home in Edmonton or the surrounding area, we are here to help. Contact us today!
What is a Housing Bubble and How Does it Affect You?
You have heard the term "housing bubble", but what does it actually mean, and is Edmonton experiencing one? Whether you already own a home and waiting for the right time to sell, or are considering buying another property in the near future, it is valuable to know whether to buy and sell in a housing bubble and how it may affect you.
A housing bubble happens when the price of homes rises quickly, at an unsustainable rate. Typically, a price-growth rate that’s in the high single-digits is considered to be healthy and sustainable. Under healthy conditions, homeowners continue to earn equity over time, sellers can make a profit on resale, and buyers can still afford to get into the market. This has been the trend in most Canadian provinces except for Alberta over the last decade where Alberta house prices have plateaued and in some places dropped dramatically.
What Usually Happens When a Housing Bubble Bursts?
During a housing bubble, homes become overvalued. When the bubble bursts, prices fall. Homeowners who have no intention of selling are unlikely to feel the direct impacts of the bursting bubble. However, these market conditions often indirectly impact other aspects of the economy, so to call homeowners who aren’t selling “free and clear” would be misleading. The Homebuyers who purchased a home during a housing bubble likely paid considerably more than it is worth.
Is Canada in a Housing Bubble?
The Canadian housing market took a surprising upward turn during the COVID-19 pandemic, after coming to a grinding halt in mid-March. The slow-down was short-lived, and what followed through the remainder of 2020 was a spike in demand for homes met by a shortage of supply. With 2021 well underway, there appears to be no end in sight. There are a number of factors that indicate we’re not experiencing a bubble caused by market speculators, contrary to some media reports.
A recent online survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents in Western Canada, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada found that speculators are not a factor in the Canadian real estate market at this time. In fact, more than 96% of RE/MAX brokers and agents supported this finding, confirming that the majority of homebuyers are end-users. Speculators tend to wait out hot markets, buying when prices are down and selling when they’re up again. The short-term investment opportunities they’re generally looking for are hard to find under current market conditions. Bully offers and bidding wars are commonplace, and we continue to see demand outpacing supply with the release of the monthly housing market data. These factors are generally inhospitable to speculators and investors.
For a housing bubble to burst, there needs to be a steep incline in inventory and new listings, and a decline in demand – neither of which is likely to happen any time soon.
The Canadian housing market is still feeling the impacts of the pent-up demand from 2017 when the government introduced the foreign buyer tax and the mortgage stress test as a means to cool the overheating market. These policies prompted many homebuyers to move to the sidelines, opting to wait and save, with plans to re-engage in the housing market in a few years.
Now fast-forward a few years to 2020. COVID-19 had a similar impact on the market, whereby many homebuyers delayed their purchase plans due to pandemic-related uncertainties. That pre-existing pent-up demand for homes continued to swell. With Canadians subject to stay-at-home orders with nowhere to go and spend their hard-earned money, they collectively saved historically high sums, which was injected back into the housing market once consumer confidence returned. The spending came in the form of record-high home sales and for those who were unwilling to face the competitive resale market conditions, renovations to existing dwellings. In fact, Canadian real estate was said to be the driving force behind the Canadian economy in 2020. Savings, low-interest rates and low inventory continue to put pressure on the housing market.
What is Happening to Edmonton's Real Estate Market?
A housing bubble can happen as a result of non-organic growth like it did in January 2006 to June 2007 and the average single-family detached house rose by $200,000. This happened due to our job surplus and supply and demand of real estate. Basically, people were moving to Edmonton and the surrounding area for work and there was a shortage of houses to buy.
Edmonton house prices hit the high point at the crash of economic stability in the summer of 2007 and the real estate market crashed fast when the bubble burst and the ripple effect of a bursting housing bubble flooded Alberta. Several homeowners were holding more than one property which resulted in lower asking prices and foreclosures. There were fewer buyers to due to the loss of jobs, economic instability, and uncertainty, a surplus of housing choices, and anticipation of a more housing prices drop.
Is Edmonton in a Housing Bubble?
The answer is "no". Edmonton is one of the few places in Canada, where house prices have not changed for the last decade, making it a great place to a home. Although in the last few months, Edmonton's real estate market has picked up a bit and there have been a few more multiple offers, we are not anywhere close to our last real estate bubble. Edmonton's increase in real estate activity has been due to the low-interest rates and not the economic factors. We currently have some of Canada's best-priced real estate making Edmonton a great choice for investment.
Is now a good time to buy in Edmonton?
The answer is yes. With low house prices, low-interest rates, and an inviting international real estate market, Edmonton is a fantastic place to buy a home.
Is now a good time to sell in Edmonton?
It depends. If you are a condominium owner, expect to take a loss on your property if you have purchased it in the last ten years. If you are selling a luxury home, the demand is beginning to increase especially near Canmore and country residential. For those who are selling detached houses in Edmonton, prices are stable, and asking prices need to be at "fair market value" to receive an offer within a reasonable time period.
If you would like to know more about Edmonton's real estate market, feel free to contact our experienced, professional Edmonton Remax Realtors who can guide you through the buying and selling process.
"Home Sweet Home" & Covid 19
During the pandemic, Canadians' homes became offices, movie theatres, classrooms, gyms, and "staycation" destinations. As Canadians spent more time at home out of necessity, renovations, additions, moves, and upgrades soared.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada, 40 percent of respondents renovated their property or intended to during the pandemic. And 30 percent intended to purchase significant items for their home
Here is how we have reinvented our houses in Edmonton indoors & outdoors:
Home offices became essential workspaces and online schools. Backyard sheds, spare bedrooms, and attics were remodeled into home offices and schoolrooms. Garages and basements were converted to home gyms. Gardening became a new trending hobby for many Edmontonians and RV became a hot item for nearby camping.
The demand for new homes with potential basement suites and side entrances skyrocketed. Houses with triple garages and acreages within a half-hour of our city also became hot items with the trend still continuing. Another increase in Edmonton home sales is near our river valleys in the Riverbend, Terwillegar, and Riverview districts.
Condominium owners fell short to make a profit in this pandemic in Edmonton and unless your condo was priced to sell, it sat on the market for a long period of time. Many Edmonton condo owners chose to rent out their units and take advantage of the low-interest rates to purchase a single-family detached house with still acquiring some residual income.
Top Benefits of New Home Buying
From lower upfront maintenance costs to design flexibility, new construction can provide opportunities for homebuyers navigating a low inventory market. While some homebuyers are holding out for the right house to become available – one with historic charm, outdoor space, square footage, or whatever they’re seeking – others are skipping the search and going straight to new construction. Not only can buyers customize the home to meet most or all of their needs as well as their wants, negotiating the contract can be less complicated. For Edmonton new home buyers struggling to find their dream home in a current low inventory market, Our RE/MAX real estate agents share the top benefits of new construction home.
Less bidding wars when purchasing an Edmonton new build
One of the biggest advantages of new construction is that homes are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. That means no bidding wars – and no need to waive an inspection, appraisal, or other contingencies to make an offer stand out. Appraisers often look at what similar homes in the area have sold for in recent months to help determine a home’s value. That means if it’s been a while since another home has sold in a particular neighborhood, an appraiser may be using outdated information to price a listing in the resale market. Because multiple units are often sold in a new build development section at once, appraisers typically have several recent comparable properties to consider when setting a price for a new construction home.
New constructions homes are more energy-efficient and require less maintenance
An important consideration in any real estate purchase is how much maintenance the buyer is interested in taking on. DIY-enthusiasts may enjoy making an older home their own, while some buyers would prefer something more turnkey. Although all homes in Edmonton will require maintenance at some point, new construction usually requires less upfront work when it comes to upkeep. A new built should come with an Alberta home warranty.
New construction can also offer the advantage of new technology and energy efficiency. Some enhancements can be added to older houses, but it may take more time for the homeowner to recoup the cost of the updates.
Your new Edmonton home will check all the boxes
What I love about new construction is that for the most part, clients get exactly what they want and don’t have to settle for the resale dwelling that didn’t have that extra room or the countertop the way they wanted. Many builders offer a base model with several options for customizations and enhancements. Sometimes buyers may be able to change a layout of a room by moving a wall or adding windows for more daylight.
Although most Alberta builders don’t negotiate the price of design elements, a Realtor can advise which features are worth paying for upfront, and which ones can be upgraded at a later date. Builders will rarely allow buyers to bring in their own contractors during the construction process, but it still may be less expensive to update features – such as flooring – after closing.
You can still leverage the guidance and expertise of our Remax Realtors
A new construction project can differ from purchasing a home on the resale market in several ways – but the value our experienced Realtors can bring to the transaction remains the same. The benefit of having an experienced Edmonton Realtor in new construction is having someone to fight on your side when construction isn’t going like it should and knowing your real estate agent is working on your behalf and NOT the builders. A new build purchase has many of the same milestones as an existing home purchase – such as the appraisal, inspection, and, of course, closing date.
The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing new construction is patience. Although some builders have completed properties ready for move-in, buyers looking for a custom new build home should plan on at least 8 months to a full year for construction completion. But while a buyer is waiting, their current home could be already growing in value. Once a new development sells out one section of homes, they often sell the next group for a higher price.
Fixed mortgage rates are on the rise
After months of rising housing prices and record-low mortgage rates, the Bank of Canada issued a warning that the real estate market may be starting to overheat. After hitting record lows this summer, some mortgage brokers are warning that fixed mortgage rates are starting to climb back up a little.
Just as the housing market gears up for the traditionally busy spring season, financial institutions across the country are announcing fixed-rate increases of between 0.1 and 0.2 of a percentage point, according to James Laird, co-founder of financial product comparisons site Ratehub.ca and president of CanWise Financial, a mortgage brokerage.
The rate hike would translate into a $32 monthly mortgage payment increase for someone buying a $500,000 home with a 10-per-cent down payment and a 25-year amortization, according to calculations provided by RateHub. With a 1.39 per cent interest rate and a mortgage amount of $463,950, which includes the cost of mortgage default insurance, such a homeowner would pay $1,831 a month. With an increase of 0.15 of a percentage point to a mortgage rate of 1.54 per cent, the same homeowner would be paying $1,863 a month, or $384 per year.
Anyone shopping for a home who does not yet have a mortgage pre-approval should get one as soon as possible because it will hold today's rates for 90 to 120 days.
Darren Sharko RBC Tips:
RBC Royal Bank Mortgage Specialist Darren Sharko / February 27th 2021 UPDATE / up to $2500 CASH mortgage bonus for clients on now
Zero lot line homes mean zero compromise on square footage, design and location
Edmonton homebuyers are moving up to larger, single-family homes for less by building zero lot line homes.
Happy Planet Zero Lot Line, Rear Attached Garage Home in Arbours of Keswick. PHOTO BY ROHIT LAND DEVELOPMENT
Edmonton homebuyers are moving up to larger, single-family homes for less by building zero lot line homes.
A zero lot line option means zero compromises on the square footage and style of the home and significant benefits in price and lifestyle. It can also put living in a popular Southwest Edmonton Community, like Arbours of Keswick and Ridgecrest at Glenridding Ravine, within reach for most buyers.
“The difference between a zero lot line and a standard lot is how the house is positioned. It’s the same house when compared to other front-attached or rear-detached homes in the area,” says Doug VandenBrink, senior project manager for Rohit Land Development.
A typical home has a four-foot yard on each side. A zero lot line home is right on the property line on one side, with a five-foot side yard on the other. That three-foot net difference means the home takes up less land, saving the buyer thousands of dollars on the price of the lot.
This article is Sponsored by Rohit Land Development
Currently, we have several zero lot line new homes for sale in our city and they are selling fast! To view these great properties - start your online Edmonton house hunting in Keswick and Glenridding.
How Realtors help Edmonton 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". A 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 has 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 and address 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.
This means you can obtain legal 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 fiduciary 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
How to Write a Real Estate Offer the Right Way!
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 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.
Is it a buyers market or a seller's 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.
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 vacant property are more motivated.
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 the 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 CMA:
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 a buyer's comparative market analysis (CMA) 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.
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 from 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 a 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. All REMAX Realtors® are full-time agents.
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. the 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 that 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?
Again - a very important question. (especially with new homes). When a concern arises during your home inspection, your agent will be there, as a professional working in your best interest, to ask the inspector the right questions to help you make an informed decision about the property.
Do you really need a property inspection when purchasing a home in Edmonton?
A real estate property home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. It is for the sole benefit of the purchaser and is usually subcontracted to a certified licensed residential real estate inspector, paid for by the buyer and can take one to four hours depending on the size and condition of the property. At the end of your inspection, a standard home inspector’s report will be supplied covering the condition of the home.
A home inspection can identify the need for major repairs or builder oversights which can lead to unpleasant surprises and unexpected difficulties in the future. Buying a home can be the largest single investment you will make and spending a few hundred dollars for peace of mind is money well spent.
Home inspection components covered include:
- heating system including furnace and hot water tank
- the central air conditioning system
- carbon monoxide and fire alarm detectors
- interior plumbing using both visual and water residue tools
- mould issues and water damage
- electrical systems
- the roof & attic
- visible insulation of walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors using a thermal ray tool
- foundation & basement
- other structural components which may need major repair or replacement.
Depending on your chosen property inspector, there may be some things that will not be inspected such as things which can not be seen visually and appliances. You may want to check that these chattels are in working order.
If a home inspection is not allowed on a bank foreclosure offer to purchase, it is still a good idea to have one done, prior to putting in an offer.
In Alberta, builders must supply a new home warranty at closing, however, new homes should ALWAYS have a home inspection done. Building a house takes time and there are always things that get missed. It is easier to address these concerns before you remove your inspection condition.
What if the report reveals problems? No house is perfect. If the inspector identifies problems, it doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t buy the house. Talk it over with your real estate agent. There are a few options to address any concerns you have.
What is the difference between a garage suite and 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 apartment-sized living space, with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living space, on the second floor of your garage".
The city 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 community because they allow 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 ageing 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 is all about creating more flexible living options so every Edmontonian can choose the community that suits them best. For more information on Garage and Garden suites, visit the city of Edmonton's Infill website.
Understanding Buyers Brokerage Agreements in Alberta
Buyer Brokerage Agreements have been around for several years, and only recently has been mandated for real estate agents to have buyers under the agreement when working in a "client status". This legal change created security for both consumers and real estates in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. This form states the responsibilities of both the buyer and their real estate agent including:
- The mandated Fiduciary Duties, to protect the 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) is held in trust by the real estate agent/broker and forms part of the buyers down payment.
- Remuneration is stated in the agreement and can not be changed without written consent from all parties. This protects the agents' commissions and allows the buyer to know how much the REALTOR receives for their services. (usually paid for by the sellers real estate agent)
- While under the agreement, If the buyer elects to purchase a property without the help of their real estate agent, they will owe the agency the commission set out as per their Buyers Brokerage Agreement.
- This agreement also lays out the obligations and duties of the real estate agent ensuring the agency is working in the buyers best interest. Some of these obligations may include
- Showing you all properties you may be interested in as soon as possible
- The duration of the agreement
- Advertising for properties that meet your search criteria
- Pulling land titles to ensure closing capacity
- Setting you up on Auto-prospecting.
- Fiduciary Duties of the real estate agent
- Explaining and helping to prepare the offers to purchase
- Negotiate favourable terms for the buyer
- Provide a Buyers CMA to ensure you are not overpaying
- Inform you of all aspects of your offers including any counters
- Assist you with a chose of mortgage brokers, inspectors, lawyers, etc
- Any other relevant services you may require
For more information on working under a Buyers Brokerage Agreement, feel free to contact us.
Welcome to our Open House!
When real estate agents host an open house, the ultimate goal is to sell the home. The agent who is hosting the open house is representing the seller, has already spent time and money making the property show its best 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 real estate agent know as soon as you walk through the door. We have Rules, Regulations and a code of Ethics, whereof, we are not allowed to interfere with other REALTORS® Clients. However, if you are not currently working with a real estate agent, REALTORS® are always looking for new business and will be able to answer questions you may have.
If you are interested in the property under a buyer brokerage agreement with another agent and would like more information on the home, call your current agent. Anything you tell the hosting real estate agent may 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 the 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.
If you are just starting your new home search and would like a list of upcoming open houses in Edmonton or need a real estate buyer representative to help you through the process (for free), contact us. If you are like most home buyers today and want to do more research on buying a home in Edmonton, be sure to check out our blogs on "Buying Houses in Edmonton".
Also, see "HOW TO HOLD A PRODUCTIVE OPEN HOUSE"
Buying a Condominium in Edmonton?
When deciding between purchasing a single-family house or a condominium, one of the largest factors is the price. Currently, in Edmonton, there is a surplus of condominiums for sale and are a great real estate investment whether you are a first-time buyer or are looking for residual income as a rental property.
Purchasing a condominium in Edmonton comes with both perks and downfalls, especially if you are not familiar with the history of the condominium. When you buy a condo, you are buying a share in the complex, similar to other investments, you will own a portion of the common area - both capital gains and loses. If you are familiar with what you need to know before purchasing an Edmonton condominium, you are leaps ahead. The first thing you need to know is your money (condominium fees) will be spent.
The bylaws may also play a key part in purchasing a condominium. Bylaws overall are pretty standard, but read them anyway or take them to your lawyer to read. There may be items in there which can be important to a buyer which may have been overlooked. A few examples are: No pets allowed, Extra costs occurred as a rental property, or no bar-b-ques allowed on a balcony. If you have any concerns with the bylaws, feel free to contact the management companies and ask questions.
Depending on the type of condominium you are purchasing, will depend on what the condo fees cover. Sometimes these fees only cover exterior maintenance. Complexes with more amenities such as exercise rooms and pools will always have higher fees due to the maintenance cost of purchasing a condo with several units is, in the event, there is a special assessment on the building, the cost is shared by a larger number of people.
Reserve Fund Study
A Reserve Fund Study is one of the most important documents. With every condominium complex in Alberta, it is now mandatory to have a new Reserve Fund Study completed every five years (New condos are exempt until they are five years). The reserve fund study is a physical study completed on the building and indicates any foreseen structural issues with the building. It is laid out in the same manner as any business plan with predictions of structural deficiencies and repairs and how they will affect condo fees.
There are several documents to review prior to purchasing a condo in Edmonton Alberta. Like any investments, it is extremely important to view the financials of the complex. Below is a list which you should add as a "Satisfactory Review" condition to your purchase to offer.
- a statement setting out the amount of any contributions due and payable in respect of the unit
- the particulars of:
- i. any action commenced against the corporation and served on the corporation
- ii. any unsatisfied judgment or order for which the corporation is liable
- iii. any written demand made on the corporation for an amount in excess of $5,000 that, if not met, may result in any action being brought against the corporation
- the particulars of, or a copy of, any subsisting management agreement
- the particulars of, or a copy of, any subsisting recreational agreement
- the particulars of any post-tensioned cables located anywhere on or within the property that is included in the condominium plan
- a copy of the budget of the corporation
- a copy of the most recent financial statements, if any, of the corporation, including the most recent year-end and month-end statements
- a copy of the bylaws of the corporation
- a copy of the most recent approved and most recent draft minutes of the annual general meeting
- a copy of the minutes and draft minutes of meetings of the board of directors of the corporation for not less than the past 12 months
- a statement setting out the amount of the capital replacement reserve fund
- a copy of the reserve fund report
- a copy of the reserve fund plan
- a statement setting out the amount of the monthly contribution (commonly referred to as condominium fee) and the basis on which that amount was determined
- a statement setting out any structural deficiencies that the corporation has knowledge of, at the time of the request, in any of the buildings that are included in the condominium plan
- a copy of any lease agreement or exclusive use agreement with respect to the possession of a portion of the common property, including a parking stall or storage space
- a copy of the registered condominium plan
- a copy of the condominium additional plan sheet certificate (CADS)
- a copy of the insurance certificate
- the amount of any homeowner association fee
- a copy of any proposed special resolution awaiting a vote
- a copy of any easement, covenants and restrictions (ECR) agreement
- a copy of any other building or site report such as a building assessment report, building envelope report, geotechnical report, technical audit, performance audit
- any other relevant information
We know that buying a condo in Edmonton is a bit more complicated than purchasing a single-family home, that is why, here at RE/MAX, we want you to feel confident with the ins and outs of buying a condo. Never hesitate to call us at 780-237-7074 if you have any questions or concerns during your buying process we are here to help.
How to get Mortgage Pre-Approvals
Depending on who you have chosen, for your Edmonton Realtor, the brokerage may have several in-house mortgage brokers or you can make an appointment with your current financial institution with a mortgage specialist.
A mortgage pre-approval is the mortgage underwriting approval process, which consists of gathering all necessary paperwork, prior to house shopping. This paperwork will consist of the last two years of your T4's or last 3 years if you are self-employed, most recent paystub, confirmation of downpayment and closing costs, all debts including support payments, charge card debts and vehicle payments, other income, and any other relevant documentation.
Once all of the paperwork is gathered, it is sent to the underwriter who will review it, check your credit and take into consideration any other factors which will affect your debt ratios.
REAL ESTATE TIP: When you have completed your pre-approval process, this does not guarantee you will be approved for your home. If anything changes or if a "surprises" arrives prior to possession of your new home, your financial institution can still pull your mortgage pre-approval.
If you are putting less than 20% down you will need to pay a CHMC Fee. This is an insurance fee for your financial institution and can be rolled into your mortgage. Rule of thumb. The higher your down payment, the lower the CHMC Fee.
If your credit is border-line, it is great to have a mortgage broker who has personally met you and is willing to vouch for you to the underwriter if needed. All mortgage lenders have, at least internally, a turn time." That is simply the time from submission to underwriter review and their decision. The turn time can be affected by a number of factors big and small. However, if you go to a big bank you can expect a more lengthy approval process and may not make your condition deadline. It is what they do. Let your agent know whether you are using a mortgage broker or someone at your financial institution.
Once the underwriter has had time to review the documents, they will typically issue one of three dispositions - approved, denied or suspended - to your application. If approved underwriting will typically assign a set of conditions you will need to clear to obtain full approval. Clarification on a late payment, a large deposit, past life transgression or simply a missed signature here or there is normal requests. If suspended, which is not completely unusual, underwriting is confused and needs clarification on something.
REAL ESTATE TIP: Once you have approval from your bank, ask them to send you and your real estate agent something in writing and remove your finance condition. Congratulations, you are now a real homeowner.
Why You Should Always Pull a Land (Property) Title Search
Basic information on a property title will include:
- The current owners' name: In the event of an estate sale, probate may or may not have been completed and your real estate agent will ensure the person selling the property does have power of attorney. In the event, there is only one person on the title in a marriage, a dower consent will also be needed to complete the sale.
- The Legal description: The municipal or mailing address is different from the legal description and includes a block, lot and Plan number.
- The amount of the last mortgage, any second or third mortgages or the original purchase amount at the time of purchase or there may be a nominal fee.
Other things which can be revealed on a property title search may include:
- Outstanding or owing property taxes, special assessments, delinquent condominium fees which have not been paid by the seller.
- Outstanding creditors including other financial institutions and businesses for things like unpaid vehicle loans, furniture stores, construction loans, personal loans, etc
- A lis pendens, which is normally added by a lawyer during divorce procedures and "freezes" the transfer of a property until all parties are satisfied.
- Easements and Liens from a third party, such as the municipality, utility company or Environmental liens, who may have rights to use part of your property.
- Covenants 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.
Are You Paying too Much for Your Edmonton Home?
Before you offer any seller a price for a property, there are a few facts you should know. The asking price or the city assessment 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 community? To determine if Edmonton community property values are going down or to tell if it 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, overlooking 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 Remax Agent.
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. Your REALTOR® 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.
Should I get title insurance in place of a real property report?
If possible, it is best to have a current Real Property Report with compliance when buying or selling a home to ensure all property buildings are within the municipality guidelines. If an RPR is not an option, title insurance is a good substitute.
Title insurance without a Real Property Report and compliance is acceptable to most major mortgage lenders and will often provide coverage for the lender for known defects. Unlike other insurance products, there is only one premium paid at the time of closing which provides coverage to the owner throughout their ownership of the property. It also offers a wide range of protection for issues that are not covered by an RPR and compliance.
Title Insurance Benefits include
- Intervening registrations – Anything registered on the title between the time the lawyer submits to the Land Titles Office and the time of actual registration.
- Unknown Liens, encumbrances, tax arrears or defects in the title to a property.
- Unknown special assessments on condos that were implemented prior to closing.
- If an RPR or compliance is not obtained, it covers any defects that would have been revealed by an accurate up-to-date RPR and compliance.
- The forced removal of an existing structure with the exception of a boundary wall or fence where there is only limited coverage
- Forced compliance with work orders or deficiencies on an existing building permit.
- Loss of priority due to matters such as construction liens, agreements on a title, and other mortgages.
- Another party claims an interest in the property.
- Protection against title defects or encumbrances that were unknown or undiscovered at the time of closing.
- Protection against identity theft, mortgage fraud, and fraud against the title.
- Cost savings. Typically, the cost for title insurance is far less than the cost of an RPR and compliance and is available on short notice
Drawbacks of Title Insurance
- It is an insurance product. This means when an issue arises, it may not be covered by the policy and if there is coverage the insurer can decide the method used to solve the issue which may not be the preferred choice of the insured party.
- There is a lack of disclosure and certainty, especially for the buyer, at the time of closing. If an issue is discovered later, it is more difficult to pursue the seller for a fix after closing.
- There is no coverage for known defects, except for some coverage for the lender only.
- There must be some form of enforcement or government action to trigger coverage in most cases. For example, the previous owner did renovations that do not meet the requirements of the building permit or development permit. The title insurance will only pay for the cost to fix these deficiencies if there is some form of enforcement and not simply due to the deficiencies.
- It does not guarantee that all structures will remain in the current state. For example, if the municipality mandates the alteration or destruction of a certain structure, the title insurance company may pay for the cost of appealing that decision however they cannot guarantee a favourable result.
- The coverage of Title Insurance is for the buyer only (not the seller).
- If a buyer or their lawyer purchases a lender only policy that is sufficient to close the deal however the buyer still has no title insurance protection.
- There is no specific protection or coverage for the seller. If a claim is made and the title insurance company determines it is the seller who created the deficiency, the title insurance company can pursue the seller for recovery of the costs they have paid.
- In most instances, title insurance only defers the need to deal with a particular issue. It does not solve it. The issues will still be there when the property is resold.
- Title insurance cannot be passed onto a new owner. Every new owner must purchase their own policy.
For more information on real property reports and the effects on the resale of your residential dwellings and a free Edmonton Home Evaluation, contact one of Remax Elite Realtors.
How much are closing costs in Edmonton Alberta
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.
If you would like to know more about purchasing a home, contact one of our Edmonton Real Estate experts today for help and free advice.
If you are waiting to purchase a home - Keep up to date on the proposed HST tax which will be an additional cost when purchasing a home in Edmonton.