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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.


Market Conditions:


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.


Possession Date:


Edmonton Real Estate Agents have access to this information and as a rule of thumb, the quicker, the possession date, the more motivated the seller is. Most homeowners in Edmonton have a 30-day negotiable possession date. If a longer possession date or a set date is asked for, this is an indication which the seller needs a specific date and can be more important than price. Keep in mind, if the property is tenant occupied, tenants do have a 90-day tenant-right. Normally, homeowners with tenant occupied properties or vacant property are more motivated.


History:


Your REALTOR® will know the history of this home. How long the sellers have owned the property, how long they have been trying to sell it and if there have been any price adjustments. Your real estate agent is also required to pull the title of the property which will indicate any recent financial debts including the current mortgage to ensure there will be enough funds to close on 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.


Read more on writing a real estate offer in Alberta

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How to Fire Your Realtors®

There are a few reasons to fire your Realtor. If you feel you made a mistake by signing a selling agreement with the wrong Realtor, the best thing to do is to correct it and move on. If your Lawyer or Doctor was not working in your best interest, would you fire them too?


Your listing agreement is usually for a period of three to six months (sometimes longer) and you are entitled to cancel at any time. This can be done with a standard Alberta real estate form. A Realtor (depending on the agency designation) also has the option of terminating your agreement at any time without your consent, but this rarely happens.



If you have hired the wrong real estate company or agent to represent you, fire them. Do it professionally and do it in writing. There are a few things to consider prior to firing your Edmonton Realtor. All of these contingencies will be set out in your original listing agreement.


Who owns the listing?


A: The listing is owned by the brokerage, not the Realtor. If you have a problem with the agent, call the broker. If you have a problem with the broker, call consumer affairs and the Edmonton Real Estate Association.


Is there a fee to cancel your listing agreement?


A: There may be a cancellation fee in the standard agreement. This fee is usually the cost to cover expenses already paid by your Realtor prior to your cancellation. The service fee amount will be set out in the agreement you signed. However, if you paid a fee upfront, there usually is no cancellation fee.


Will I still have to pay a commission after I fire my agent?


A: If a buyer was introduced to your home during the term of your listing agreement and you sell it privately (during a specified time in the agreement) to that same buyer, commissions will be payable.


Can I hire another agent immediately?


A: Yes. Once your home is off of the market, you are free to list your home with any licenced real estate agent.


When you are ready to fire your Realtor, simply inform your agent that you would like to cancel the listing and ask him to provide you with the cancellation listing form. There will be two choices on this form. Make sure you have a property termination end date, the broker (not the Realtor) has signed and you have received a copy.

  • 1. Unconditional termination
  • Which allows no further obligations for either the seller or Realtor
  • 2. Conditional Termination
  • Your agreement will end on the termination date but your obligations will continue under the terms of Section 10 of the Exclusive Seller Representation Agreement. There may also be an additional term.

If your Realtor fails to provide this form within a timely matter, contact the brokerage and tell them about your grievances with the agent.


Can you fire a Buyers Agency or Buyer Realtor?


Yes. It is a different form, but you are free to fire your Realtor when buying. There may or may not be a small fee to get out of the agreement. This fee would have been set out in the original buyers' agreement which states: If you change your mind about looking for a property, you must tell us in writing. You must reimburse us for our reasonable expenses up to the time you tell us. Reasonable expenses will include: (If this section is blank - no penalty will be payable). However, this does not allow you to approach a seller that has been introduced to you while working with your realtor. If you do this, you will have to pay a full commission as set out in the original buyer brokerage agreement.


If you have any questions, both RECA (the Real Estate Council of Alberta) and EREB (the Edmonton Real Estate Board) have plenty of great information to help you make the best decision for you!


Have a Question? Feel free to reach out.


Top 3 reasons to fire a real estate agent

3 more reasons to let your agent go

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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.

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Retired or Retiring Soon?

The truth about a Reverse Mortgage

Financing your home is probably one of the least fun aspects of homeownership. Nevertheless, it is essential. And when it comes to a reverse mortgage, things get a little more interesting. With a reverse mortgage, you can take advantage of the value of your home without selling it. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Before you call your bank, here are all the facts about how reverse mortgages work.



What is a Reverse Mortgage?


A Reverse mortgage refers to an equity release. It allows a homeowner to borrow a percentage of the current value of your property. This percentage is based on certain criteria which include your age, the appraisal of your home, financial institution, and current market trends in your municipality. All of these factors will contribute to the amount of money you will be allowed to access.


Can a Reverse Mortgage Be Paid Off?


The reverse mortgage loan is not usually required to be paid off until the time of death. This is one of the things that appeal to older homeowners, especially if they plan to live for a long time. However, if you are planning to leave your property for your children at your time of death, equity takes out maybe a better option. Reverse mortgages do not have regular monthly payments. Keep in mind, interest will be charged to the original loan amount until your loan is paid in full and will continue to increase the loan amount over time. When you sell your home, or you no longer use your home as your primary residence, you will be expected to pay the entire amount owing.


Who is Eligible for a Reverse Mortgage?


In order to apply for a reverse mortgage, you must:

Own your home, which must be your primary residence
Be at least 55 years old if you are single
Both must be at least 55 years old if you own the home with a partner/spouse
Both must be on the mortgage application if you own the home with a partner/spouse
Pay off your mortgage once you receive a reverse mortgage


How Do I Access My Money Once I Qualify?


Once you qualify for a reverse mortgage, you are required to pay off your mortgage as well as close outstanding loans or lines of credit that are secured by your home, which includes your mortgage as well as a home equity line of credit. That might sound scary, but you use the money from your reverse mortgage to pay everything off. The balance of your reverse mortgage can then be used for whatever you like. There are also other fees which include a high-interest rate, home appraisal fee, setup fee and legal fees.

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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.

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