Is your City of Edmonton Property Assessment Accuarate?

Property assesments in Edmonton are only a base point. Your home could be worth a lot less or a lot more. The city uses a computer system to generate an estimated guess of your homes value without physically seeing it. There are several reasons why your property assessment is not accuate.

Should I dispute my tax assesment?

Every year, edmontonians recieve thier city assesment and if you feel that assessed value is incorrect, you do have the option to dispute it. If you win, your property taxes will go down. However, if the city says your home is worth more, they will increase the amount of taxes you owe every year. Before disputing the value of your home, it is best to reach out to an experienced REALTOR® for a more accurate selling value.

Tax assessment vs selling house prices

What is the difference between a property assesment and your tax assesment?

A tax assesment is what the city of Edmonton says your home is worth. A property assesment is the current market value of what your property is actually worth in today's real estate market.

There are many factors which come into play when there is a discretion in the price of your homes value. Mainly because the city is only guessing whats going on in your neighborhood by looking at sales data. Below are reasons why the city of Edmonton assessment is different from the true value of your home?

What buyers think when they check out your tax assesment (And they do)

If your assesment is higher than your selling value, buyers may feel like they are being ripped off. If it is lower, they can feel like they are getting a great deal. An experienced REALTOR® will explain why there is a discression, however, if buyers are not educated, the sale of your home can go sideways.

Reasons not to rely on your City of Edmonton property assesment

  • They don't go into your home (unless you dispute it and invite them in)
  • Several foreclosures in your neighborhood (this will decrease your homes value)
  • Several permits taken out for renovations (this will increase your homes value)
  • A few nearby properties sold 1.5 to 2 years ago which were much higher or lower
  • The condition of your home is worse of better than most in the neighborhood
  • The square footage of your property
  • The size of land your property sits on 

If you are considering selling your home, please contact me for a free no-obligation accurate market analysis of your home. Call my office at 780-910-5179


How to Accurately Use the Residential Measurement Standard

Alberta REALTOR® must use the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) when measuring residential properties. This measurement standard helps consumers easily and accurately compare different types of residential properties.

The RMS offers a consistent means of representing the property above grade space. Among other things, the RMS sets out what parts of a property can be included in its measured-area. For example, if a room has a dormer with a ceiling height of only 4 feet, is it included as floor space? What about finished basements that are entirely below grade? 

When stating the area of a residential property, your REALTOR® must follow the RMS principles:

  • Alberta REALTORS® must use the RMS.
  • Identify if the measurement system is metric or imperial, and apply it consistently. Measurements must be calculated to within 2% of the RMS size.
  • For detached properties, measure the property using the exterior wall at the foundation.
  • For properties with common walls, such as half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments, measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level.
  • Include floor levels that are entirely above grade. Below grade levels must not be included in the RMS area. If you have a split level, this may include two or three levels depending on where the grade sits.
  • Include all additions to the main structure above grade areas within the structure if they are heated and insulated.
  • The property must have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 7 feet. If the ceiling is sloped, the area with a floor-to-ceiling- height of at least 5 feet is included in the RMS area, provided there is a ceiling height of 7 feet somewhere in the room. This can eliminate bay window sitting areas.
  • Exclude open areas that have no floor, such as vaulted areas.

Your REALTOR® also has a responsibility to ensure you understand the RMS and its implications, and is required to discuss it with you. This discussion will help you make informed decisions about the size and suitability of properties.

For more information about the RMS, you can read the Consumer Guide to the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta.

In Alberta real estate purchase agreements, there may be a clause placing the onus on the buyer to verify the property size. 

As a buyer, if you want to verify measurements, you can hire a property measurement company or your REALTOR® can measure the property. 

Throughout this process, as a buyer, keep in mind that the size of the property is not the only thing sellers are using to set a listing price for their home. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of a home will also depend on features, décor, state of upkeep.

As a seller, your real estate representative must explain the relationship between property size and price, the role of the RMS, what it entails, and information about details like above grade and below grade measurements. Your Edmonton REALTOR® is required to discuss the following with you:

  • the relationship between property size and asking price
  • the correct RMS, including what is and what is not included in the RMS
  • sellers are not required to represent the size of their property, however the listing service/property database may have a mandatory property size field
  • if the real estate professional will measure the property or engage another qualified person to measure it based on the RMS and usually pay the cost

Throughout this process, as a seller, keep in mind that a property size is not the only thing buyers are concerned about. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of your home will also depend on features, décor, state of upkeep.

Discrepancies between RMS when you first bought and your new RMS

  • If you own a condominium, the builder may have added the balcony to the square footage
  • It was measured incorrectly
  • It was based off of the blue prints
  • bay windows, vaulted ceiling, uninsulated sunrooms may have been added to the size

How Concerned Should You Be With Radon in Your House?

What is Radon?

Radon is an odourless, tasteless, colourless radioactive gas that is the by-product of uranium decay. Uranium occurs naturally in soil and rock formations, and creates uranium deposits, some Canadain provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, have higher radon levels.

Radon seeps through the earth and into basements, where it can become trapped because of the efficient way our homes are sealed from the outside elements. Prolonged exposure to radon can lead to health problems, including lung cancer. In fact, after smoking, radon gas is the leading cause of lung cancer.

The Alberta Building Code 2014 included new requirements to protect homes from radon. The requirements came into effect in late 2015, and include, among other things, that new homes require a properly located radon rough-in or passive pipe in the basement, which can make it easier (and cheaper) to install a radon mitigation device in the future if it’s needed.

Does your Edmonton house have Radon?

It is important to know that homes anywhere in Canada can have dangerous radon levels. However, some of the homes in the prairie provinces have the highest average level of radon. 

Radon Gas Map for CanadaRadon Gas Map, Canada. Source: Radon Environmental Management Corporation. 2011

How to test for radon

There are a few companies in Edmonton which will test for radon. This is becoming a more common contingency for home buyers. Long-term testing: tests of at least 90 days during the heating period (fall, winter, and spring) or during the height of summer when you may have air conditioning running provide reliable for determining radon levels.

Short-term testing: in Canada, some entities market and recommend short-term testing. Health Canada states short-term tests are not acceptable to assess radon levels as radon levels can vary significantly over time. Do not be misled, short-term tests do not provide buyers and sellers with an accurate indication of the likelihood of adverse radon levels.

Advice for Sellers

  • consider doing a 90-day radon test before listing your home; ensure you hire a certified professional for the test (the do-it-yourself kits are less reliable)
  • if the radon level is 200 Becquerel or higher, you need to disclose that to potential buyers UNLESS you install a radon mitigation device before listing and the 90 day long-term test indicates the new radon level is below 200 Becquerel
  • if the results from the test are less than 200 Becquerel, share the low test results with potential buyers as a potential selling feature
  • if you don’t do a radon test before listing, be open to negotiations with a potential buyer that may include a holdback relating to the cost of radon testing and/or mitigation

Advice for Buyers

  • ask the seller if they have conducted a 90-day radon test
  • if so, ask for the results of that test (if the result was 200 Becquerel or higher, the seller must disclose)
  • if the seller has not conducted a radon test, talk to your real estate professional about reducing your offer by the approximate cost of radon mitigation
  • alternatively, ask the seller for a holdback on your offer to purchase that will be released upon low radon test results OR in the event of a high radon test, the holdback funds will be used for radon mitigation with any funds remaining released to the seller after the mitigation device is installed
  • if you buy a home that hasn’t had a radon test done, we encourage you to proceed with a radon test within 90 days of possession. This is health issue, and radon testing and mitigation is money well-spent. For more information about radon, go to Health Canada’s website and search “radon.”

The good news when it comes to radon is it’s a solvable problem. Even if you fall in love with a home that hasn’t had a radon test or the results are high, a radon mitigation device can be installed to vent radon gas outside the home from the basement. There are several proven methods to reduce radon in your home, but the one most used has a vent pipe system and fan, which pulls radon from beneath the house and vents it to the outside. This system, known as a soil depressurization system, does not require major changes to your home.


What is an upside down mortgage?

An upside-down mortgage is simply a mortgage in which is more money is owing than what the property is worth. An upside down mortgage can happen to anyone. With real estate markets in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver where house values are decreasing, many homeowners will find themselves in this position today.

If you find yourself in this situation and can afford your monthly mortgage payments, the best thing to do is stay put and keep paying down your mortgage until you have built some equity.

Can You Sell Your Home With an Upside Down Mortgage?

You may want to or need to your home in a downward market, knowing next year, your home will be worth less. The answer is yes you can, but will need to take into consideration the ability to pay the debt you acquired between closing costs, mortgage penalties and mortgage payouts. If you are able to find the funds, sometimes it's just best to take the loss and move on to avoid going further into an upside down mortgage.

If you are struggling to make payments and your mortgage is upside down, talk with your bank. Your financial institution can allow you to sell your home and provide you with a personal loan to cover the shortfall, saving your credit.

The simplest solution for homeowners with upside-down mortgages is to continue making payments, if possible, and wait for home prices to rise again before selling their homes.

Are there any other options?

Sometime you will see an owner selling half of a house (yes it is possible). This is usually due to a civil enforcement and a lack of equity in the property. If you choose to keep your home and are will to sell half to a stranger, this may also be an option for you. 


What's a Zero Lot Line?

A zero lot line house is where the property structure comes up to or very near the edge of the property line. Townhouses are good examples of zero lot line structures. Over the last few decade, most houses for sale in Edmonton will have been built with a zero lot line. These houses offers buyers more square footage for indoor living space and smaller yards for less exterior maintenance.

These houses are popular due to the cost saving of a parcel of land within the city which is handed down to the purchaser via the cost of the house. Zero lot lines are also popular where builders able to construct duplexes and infills on land where revitalization has taken hold of our city. These dwelling encourage a sense of community among neighbors.

Other than cost benefits, there are drawbacks to living in a zero lot line property. Some of these drawbacks include limited parking, privacy, smaller yards, visitor parking and your neighbors getting to know you through your windows.

Have a question about real estate? Contact us


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. Avoid extra closings costs due to a delayed closing

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 have questions or would like to know more about purchasing a home, email us.

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.


How Realtor® Commissions are Divided

When an agent lists a property on, usually half of the commission is for the buyers agent and half is for the selling agent. Once the REALTOR® has sold the property (all conditions removed). They normally recieve their paycheck with a fews to a month after closing (possession day).

Unless you own your own brokerage, there are fees to be paid to your office, depending the brokerage contract, the brokerage can take up to 50% of the total payable to the agent. There are also other expenses (buy side & sell side). Once all costs are payed out, the real estate agent will need to pay their share of taxes to revenue Canada on the remainder. There are additional cost as well including licencing fees.

As a buyers agent, there may be another agreement in place, where the REALTOR® who brought in the has recieved the client from a referral and a refferral fee is payable. Normally this is between 25% - 30%. Other than time, gas, vehicle maintance, maybe a gist basket, the buyers REALTOR® will receive what ever is left.

The other half of the commission goes to the listing agent. Out of the listing side, the Realtor usually has more expenses than a buyers agent including the cost of marketing the property, (which is not cheap!), the cost of hiring a professional photographer, the cost of accurately measuring the property, cost of a third company putting up and removing real estate signs, key boxes, promotional items, website maintenance, property-specific webpages, etc. Same as the buyers' agents, the listing agent also pays for annual licencing fees for Realtors, seller closing gifts, title searches, other fees associated with selling a property and Revenue Canadas portion of the commission.

  • MYTH 1: REALTORS® Make alot of money. The average Edmonton REALTOR® does less than one transaction per month.
  • MYTH 2: Brokerages do not pay REALTORS® - REALTORS® pay the brokeragae to work there.
  • MYTH3: Putting your home on our MLS sells your home - this couldn't be further from the truth.

The net commissions left for the REALTORS® is what they get to take home to feed, shelter and cloth their families. Today, in Edmonton's soft real estate market, many agents are now changing companies to a "lesser fee structure" company due to the cost of doing business. Many of these agents can no longer afford to be REALTOR®, simply because they are not doing enough business, don't want to work as hard to earn a higher commission, are licenced only to buy and sell real estate for themselves or are on their way out of the business.

There are real estate companies in Edmonton who will charge a flat fee or a lesser commission to put your home on MLS, and other REALTORS® will charge a higher fee (or more equivilant to other provinces). Understanding how much money Edmonton REALTORS® make will depend on how many homes they sell and how much commission they receive on each property sold.

Now that you have a better understanding of how commissions work and how much REALTORS® actually net, let's pretend again for a moment, you are a real estate agent. Although it is against the REALTORS® Code of Conduct not to show properties based on commissions, it can be a buyers discretion not to view them read more about buyer brokerage agreements). If you were a Realtor in Edmonton, would you show a property with a lesser commission?

In Alberta, all real estate commissions are negotiable, up or down and when hiring a real estate agent to sell your Edmonton home, a few thousand dollars in real estate commissions can make the difference between selling and not selling your home - Choose your REALTORS® based on the value they offer and interview more than one. Do they have the tools to market your home? Are they giving you a discount based on services that will be eliminated? Are they asking for money upfront, prior to doing anything? How is their internet presence?

Always interview a few real estate agents, ask lots of questions especially about their marketing plan and how they attract buyers. Find out what they have to offer. Not all Realtors are the same, each agent is different. If you use a REALTORS® or a real estate company to sell your home, there will be a fee. The big question you need to ask yourself is - "HOW MUCH MONEY WILL YOU NET AT THE END OF THE DAY?"

Most REMAX REALTORS® in Edmonton have the highest monthly real estate fees and are working hard to help you sell or buy your home, staying on top of their game, a doing what it takes to get your home sold including paying for the costs of marketing your property. Keep in mind, REALTORS® do not get paid by the hour, their real estate companies DO NOT pay them for working there. REALTORS® work very hard to earn their commissions and only get paid once your property is SOLD (usually within a few weeks after possession date) and not on the day it is sold!

If you have any questions on real estate commissions in Edmonton or what like an in-home real estate interview with myself, feel free to contact us at 780-237-7074.


Closing Delays and How to avoid them

Whether you are buying or selling a property, it’s important to understand that there can be delays in a real estate closing. A closing delay is something you want to avoid. There are several reasons possession may not be possible on the date you have on your purchase agreement. Sometimes upexpected or negleted items occur and nobody wants to be left homeless on their possession date.

REALTORS® are aware of these delays (because we don't get paid until after possession day), we help our clients avoid closing delays for a smooth transaction and a happy buying and selling experience. Below is a list of possible closing delays.

You choose the wrong lawyer

Not all lawyers are familiar with real estate transactions and this can cause delays in the transfer of title. At EdmontonHousesAndHomes, we encourage our clients using real estate lawyers.

Unreal closing dates

Unlike other provinces in Canada, Alberta's land title transfer process begins prior to you meeting with your lawyer. In the province of Alberta, it takes time to process a the title of a property to another person. This time frame will vary according to the market and land titles processing time. As a rule of thumb - a good closing date is 1-2 months after you write your offer to purchase.

Your bank revokes your mortgage

Yes. This does happen. The bank has the right to secure their mortgage and in the event that something changed, such as a job loss or the buyer also purchased a vechicle, changing their debt-ratio, the bank can pull your mortgage. REALTORS® will remind their clients not to make any big purchases until they recieve their house keys.

Real Estate Appraisal Issues

Sometimes (usually in a busy market), the bank did not send out the appraiser prior to telling you your mortgage has been approved. If the property does not appraise out at your offer price or higher, the bank can refuse to forward funds, the seller will need to reduce the price of the property or the buyer must come up with the diffence between the offer price and the appraised value.

Terms or contingiencies of the contract

If you have a walk through term written into your agreement and you find out the terms after the contract have not been fullfilled, this can be considered a breach of contract. These items could be as simple as the seller removing the dog feces in the back yard to more substantial issues such as a builder not finishing the completion or repairs. It is always best to have a walk through clause written into the offer prior to the buyer removing their conditions.

Problems with the title

Edmonton REALTORS® are obligated to pull title when they are writing an offer to ensure the persons selling the property is correct as well as ensuring there is enough equity in the property to be sold. Sometimes, prior to closing, after conditions have been removed, the seller has taken out a second or third mortgage and there is not enough equity to close. If this happens, there is major liablity issues that your lawyer will discuss.

The RPR does not have compliance

In the REALTORS® purchase agreements, there is a cluse reguarding the real property report and compliance which the seller has signed and agreed to. In the event the seller does not have compliance, there is an issue. A common one is when the seller has change the deck or a non-movable shed had been added to the property.

Homeowner insurance is not secure

The buyers lawyer will ask the buyer to bring in the insurance binder. This is basically a peice of paper saying the buyer has insurance on the property. If there is no insurance, the bank can not forward the mortgage funds.

Closing costs

If either the buyer or the seller does not have enough cash to close, there's a problem. Read more on closing costs.

Unclear terms

When writing an offer to purchase, the terms, conditiond, amendments and addendums must be crystal clear to avoid misunderstandings. The interpatation of the buyers lawyer may not be the same as the sellers lawyer. If the written phrase is not cytal clear, have your REALTORS® re-write it in lamens terms.

The buyer changes their mind

During the last Edmonton real estate crash, we seen this happen often due to the crashing real estate prices and buyers did not want to pay the agreed amount when the value of the property had substantially decreased. In our REALTORS® contracts, there are items put in place with the consequnces of such action. To avoid this in a soft market, be reasonable with your negotitaions. - The buyer can walk away.

The seller is unable to vacate on time

Alberta REALTOR® purchase contracts state that the property must be vacant by noon on the day of possession. However, sometimes the seller is still in the property due to circumstance beyond their controll. If this happens, it is a breach of contract. The best thing do is take your lawyers advice, there is some conpensation.

Not working with a qualified REALTOR®

The majority of Edmonton Remax REALTORS® have closed hundreds and hundreds (some have closed thousands) of real estate transactions. Using an experienced REALTOR® can be the differnce between being homeless and a seemless closing.

We pride ourselves on helping our clients with a smooth real estate transaction and a great buying and selling experience. If you or thinking about buying or selling and need experienced Edmonton Remax REALTORS®, email us. We are here to help.


What is an Edmonton Luxury Home

Luxury home prices vary from city to province to state to country. What classifies a home in the luxury market consists of a few variables. Luxury homes are no longer based on price alone. To classify property into the luxury home category, it mush have desired indulgences. A home can be considered "a luxury property" when it offers these features:

  • A grand foyer with soaring ceilings to greet your guests.
  • Adequate nanny/guest living quarters which are private and away from the main living area.
  • Personal conveniences and amenities such as pools, in-home gyms, Imax movie theatres, arcade rooms, wine cellars, decontamination showers, backyard tennis courts, solarium, and game rooms. There are several homes in Edmonton with personal amenities which can be found in Cameron Heights and Glenora.
  • State of the art kitchens. With duel ovens, smart refrigerators to keep track of your food items, wine storage, ample counter space, built-in computer screens.
  • Technology. Homes controlled with voice activation or the touch of a bottom from anywhere in the world are now one of the must-haves with elite buyers.
  • Privacy. Many elite home buyers require privacy, especially media icons who get accosted by paparazzi.
  • A prime location. A view is one of the things that make homes fall into the luxury category no matter where you live. It can be an unobstructed view of a mountain, beachfront, or overlooking the sparkling lights of the city. Beachfront properties in Edmonton can be found in Summerside.
  • Premier quality, reputable builders and renowned architect. The construction materials, lighting, finishes, appliances, and design all must be a cut above what's considered standard.

Dominate renowned Edmonton communities include Griesbach and Windermere.

A luxury home can mean different things to different people. Bottom line, a luxury home is where you can relax and retreat from the rest of the world, enjoying a dwelling that fits your lifestyle. View our Edmonton luxury homes for sale by the district. Relocating to Edmonton and interested in living in a luxury community, give us a call at 780-910-5179.


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. 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. Popular communities in Edmonton with garage suites are located in the University Area, Griesbach and the Westmount Area.

Copyright 2023 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.