Archive for October, 2010

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 1: Working with a REALTOR®

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 1: Working with a REALTOR® |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMy clients in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area have lots of questions, and I’m happy to answer them!  This article is Part 1 of a series that addresses the most common questions I get from home buyers.

How do REALTORS® get paid?

REALTORS® work on commission, a percentage of the selling price of a property.  This commission is specified in the Listing Contract signed by the seller and the REALTOR® who lists the property.  When a property is sold, the REALTOR® who listed the property for the seller shares the commission with the REALTOR® who sells the property to the buyer.  The buyer is usually not required to pay a commission directly (unless the buyer is under contract; ask your REALTOR® if you are not sure).

When should I start actually looking at homes with a REALTOR®?

As soon as you are pre-approved by your bank or a mortgage broker, you can begin looking at homes.  I would not recommend looking at homes prior to getting pre-approved because you may find something you fall in love with and then find out you do not qualify to purchase it! 

Do I have to call the REALTOR® who has the house listed to view the house?

No.  In Alberta, any REALTOR® can show you any house that is listed on MLS®.  If you have chosen to work with a REALTOR®, your REALTOR® would prefer to show you the property rather than you calling the REALTOR® who listed the home.  Remember, REALTORS® are paid based on a commission so if you are working with multiple REALTORS®, the only REALTOR® who may get paid is the one who writes the offer with you.  If you are looking for a REALTOR®’s full attention, you need to show you can be loyal. 

How do I choose a REALTOR® to work with?

Choosing a REALTOR® can be a difficult task.  REALTORs®, like people in any profession, are not all created equal!  Here are a few tips for picking a REALTOR®:

  • Think about what you are looking for in a REALTOR®. Personality is a large part of this profession so think about what type of personality you are compatible with.
  • Ask friends or family if they can recommend a REALTOR® to you. If not, start searching on the Internet or in the newspaper.
  • Look through websites and see if there are testimonials posted. Do the testimonials give you an indication of the type of personality the REALTOR® has, and is this a fit for you?
  • Interview more than one REALTOR® to get a feel for what different people have to offer.
  • Find out if the REALTOR® is part-time or full-time and how often you will be able to get in touch with him or her.
  • Find out what types of technology the REALTOR® uses: Internet, email, text messaging, social media, etc.
  • Send an email to the REALTOR® and see how long it takes for that person to respond. This could be an indication of how attentive the REALTOR® will be to you.
  • Ask how many clients the REALTOR® works with at one time. More can be less in this business. Do you feel the REALTOR® will have enough time for you?
  • You want a REALTOR® who is client focused. That is, YOU need to be more important than the commission the REALTOR® will earn. The REALTOR® will earn his or her commission after all your needs have been met.

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 1: Working with a REALTOR® |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

If you don’t see your question here, it might be answered in the Buyers Guide section of my website.  Or, feel free to contact me any time by email at or by phone 780-910-9669.

Getting Rid of Stuff

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Getting Rid of Stuff |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, you’ve de-cluttered your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area.  You’ve thrown out the real trash, and the things you’re keeping are neatly stored away in an appropriate place.  But what do you do with the stuff that’s left, the items that are too good to just throw away but no longer needed or wanted in your home?  Here are a few suggestions beyond giving things to friends and family members, or holding a garage sale:



If you have anything in good condition (clean, undamaged, meeting current safety standards, etc.), chances are there’s a person or an organization that will accept it.  Be sure to educate yourself about an organization’s guidelines for accepting gifts, however, since not all items will be welcomed by everybody.  Google “donate goods in Edmonton”,  and a very long list of charity websites comes up.  Here are just a few possibilities for passing on your unneeded items to someone who can use them:


You can still pay for advertising in the local paper, or put up notices around town about things you have to sell or give away, but there are easier and cheaper ways!

  • Kijiji  Edmonton will advertise for free almost any item that people want to sell, give away or trade.
  • Craigslist Edmonton will do likewise.
  • EBay

What Other People Have to Say About the Subject:

Moving and Packing – Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff Before You Move

Where to Donate All Your Unwanted Stuff – The Good Human

Questions or comments about this article or anything else to do with homes and real estate?  Contact me here, email me at, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn my business, as I travel around Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, Parkland County and the Edmonton area, I see a lot of homes.  Very few of those homes, if they are currently being lived in, resemble “show homes”.  That’s because, let’s face it, living is messy.  Evidence of everyday life is everywhere, from wet towels flung over the shower in the master ensuite to children’s artwork clipped to the fridge with magnets given away by local businesses to untidy piles of unread mail atop the dining room table to empty bottles waiting to be taken to the recycle centre, along with the smells of this morning’s breakfast bacon and a cat litter box overdue for cleaning….  You get the picture!

***Given the competitiveness of today’s real estate market, it’s not enough to hang the towels neatly on a towel rack and spray the air with room deodorizer.  The fact that professional home stagers even exist suggests that having your home sell quickly and for a good price requires much more these days.*** has this to say about Home Staging:

“Home staging is about illusions. It’s how David Copperfield would sell a house. It’s beyond decorating and cleaning. It’s about perfecting the art of creating moods. Staging makes your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more loving and, best of all, it makes home buyers want to buy it.

 “Contrary to what you might think, it’s about more than preparing the house for sale. Staging is what you do after you’ve cleaned, de-cluttered, painted, made minor repairs; it’s all about dressing the house for sale.

 “It’s about adding the small details: the lipstick, mascara and, for simplicity, a stunning, single strand of Tahitian pearls.”

So, how do we get from the lived-in look I described in my first paragraph to the artistry of a staged home? 

Home Staging Starts With De-cluttering |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLet’s start with de-cluttering.  If the very word makes you shudder, you are not alone!  But we all know it’s a worthy activity for many reasons, even more so if the home we’re living in is about to be put on the market.

In a perfect world, de-cluttering is something we do as part of our regular routine, along with sanitizing the bathrooms and vacuuming the carpets.  For example, mail gets opened over the shredder and the trash can, with just the essentials kept for future needs (stored somewhere handy and inconspicuous).  Daily newspaper goes into the recycle bin after being read.  And so on.  But clutter has an insidious way of building up to overwhelming proportions.  Yesterday’s perfectly acceptable possessions – take VHS videotapes, for example – are, all of a sudden, today’s clutter, no longer needed, wanted or useful.  How did that happen?!

And, more to the point, what do we do about it?  Where to start?   It may help to read books and magazine articles on de-cluttering and getting organized, or to visit some of the thousands of websites that tell you why and how to do it (see a few below), or even to hire a professional organizer, but at its simplest and yet most difficult, de-cluttering is about making hard decisions.  It’s about focusing on the life lived in the space, rather than the stuff in the space.  

We are the only ones who can decide what items are trash (throw them away!), what things we no longer need or want but still have value (sell them or give them away!), and which few items we really love and need and use on a regular basis (keep them!).

Ideally, we end up with just the things that contribute to the life we want to live in small enough numbers that our home appears tidy and spacious, yet still reflects the life of the occupants.  Then, maybe, our home is ready to be staged for selling.

De-cluttering Websites:

15 Great Decluttering Tips

100 Reasons to Get Rid Of It (from Martha Stewart)

Declutter, declutter, declutter!

Declutter Forever: Home Organize It!

Decluttering for Home and Head  How to Declutter [this is an excellent website for all kinds of home management tasks]

Green Interior Decluttering Process

Living Gently Quarterly: Spring Decluttering

Pitch, pile or file?

The Super Easy Approach to Decluttering Your Home

Tips for Decluttering Your Home When Downsizing

Why Declutter? 

Ready to put your newly de-cluttered home on the market?  Contact me here, email me at, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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