Archive for April, 2012

It’s Time to Buy a House!

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

It’s Time to Buy a House! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSpring time in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region just feels like the right time to make all kinds of changes and start new things, doesn’t it?  If you’ve been thinking of changing your residence or maybe getting into the housing market for the first time, there’s no better time than now.  Prices are stable, the inventory of homes on the market is high, and mortgage rates remain at all-time lows.  But it’s such a big decision and where do you start?  What do you need to know to buy property?

The Real Estate Council of Alberta has produced a handy little brochure called The Buying Process that answers a pile of questions you may not even know you had.  Some of the many topics covered in a few short pages include:

Decision to buy

Contact a Real Estate Professional

Know Your Options (regarding the relationship you have with a real estate professional)

Your Mortgage (getting pre-qualified and pre-approved and what the difference is)

Costs (besides the purchase price of the home)

Contact a Lawyer

Timing (various deadlines set by the Purchase Contract)

Looking at Properties

Disclosures (sellers are obligated to reveal any defects in their property)


Purchase Contracts (the document that presents your offer to the sellers)

Multiple Offers

Terms and Conditions

Property Insurance

This brochure is well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it and should give you a good basic understanding of the process.

If you have further questions, I am always happy to answer them!  Please phone or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Spring Run-off

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Spring Run-off | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAh, spring.  Warm sunny days, robins returning, snow disappearing – and water everywhere.  As a home owner in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, you do everything you can to protect your property.  Would it surprise you to learn that the leading cause of damage to property is not break-ins or fire or wild winds, but water?  In fact, more than half of all insurance claims, about 1.3 billion dollars’ worth in Canada, are due to water damage.  This type of claim is likely to increase as infrastructure ages, the climate changes, and home owners finish every square foot of their dwellings.

We’ve all seen the stories in the media about flood damage in Manitoba and parts of the US, but that type of large-scale catastrophe is less common than all the other ways water can ruin a home.  And most of the everyday type of water damage, caused by a leaky roof, backed-up sewer or spring run-off, is preventable.  Here are a few things you can do to minimize water problems:

  • Walk around the entire outside of your home, keeping your eyes open for all the places water could get in.
  • Does the grade slope away from your home without any dips where the ground has settled?  There should be no area where water drains back toward the house.
  • Do the downspouts from eavestroughs extend at least 6 feet from the house?
  • Do all doors and windows fit snugly without any cracks where water could seep in?
  • As spring approaches, are you diligent about clearing snow and ice away from your home?
  • On the roof:
  • Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles and repair any problems.  If your roof is older than 15 years, it might be time for a whole new roof.
  • Are the eavestrough gutters free and clear of debris so that water can flow freely off the roof?
  • Check seals around chimneys, skylights and vents to ensure they are water-tight.
  • Inside your home:
  • Regularly check all plumbing (including your hot water tank) and appliances for leaks, and for trouble signs such as rust around a faucet or corrosion around the washing machine hose.  One trick for testing whether a toilet is leaking:  Add food coloring to the tank.  If the color seeps into the bowl after about 20 minutes, you have a leak.
  • Burst pipes can cause a major mess.  Besides checking for leaks, check that insulation in these areas is adequate.
  • Consider installing a sump pump, backwater valve or water sensor, if you don’t already have these items.
  • Examine all ceilings for stains which could indicate spots where water has gotten in.
  • If you store valuable items in the basement, put them in plastic bins up off the floor.
  • Don’t run appliances such as dishwasher or washing machine when nobody is home.

A few other suggestions:

  • When you leave on vacation, even for a long weekend, have someone do regular checks of your residence.  Check all taps and faucets before you leave (turn off the water to the washing machine!), and consider even turning off the main water valve.
  • Review your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for water perils such as sewer backup and the like.
  • If your home is starting to show its age, consider hiring a home inspector to go over your home with you, looking specifically for problem areas before they develop into full-blown trouble.

I love to hear your comments or questions!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.





That Perfect House

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

That Perfect House | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLooking for a home, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, is a lot like looking for a mate.  Each specimen you find has its own unique features, some great, some not so great – and the trick is to find one you can live with!

When clients give me a long list of things they absolutely have to have in a home, I know we might be looking for a long time, unless those clients have deep pockets!  This is equally true if clients are looking for a particular feature that is not common or standard in the average newer home these days.  For example, it is rare these days to find new homes, unless they are high-end models, with separate dining rooms.  It is more common today for new homes to be built in the open concept style, with a kitchen, dining area and living room that flow together instead of being surrounded by walls.

I usually counsel my clients to make a list of everything they’d like in a home and then to cut that list down to 10 prioritized items.  I also encourage my clients to differentiate between needs and wants.

  • What are things you absolutely have to have based on family configuration, activities, possessions and so on?  For example, a family with two parents, three kids and a grand-parent living with them is going to need a different kind of home than a single person living with his dog.
  • What are things that would be nice to have but you could live without if you had to trade off one feature for another?  For example, would a laundry room in the basement rather than on the main floor work if it means that some more critical feature is present in a home being considered?
  • Are there things that could be changed in the future?  For example, an unfinished basement can be a positive or a negative depending on the point of view of prospective buyers.  Sometimes a home’s potential counts at least as much as its current condition.
  • Notice I haven’t said a word yet about price.

Once a reasonable and well-edited list of must-haves is on the table, I caution my clients that compromise is a word they are probably going to hear a few times before the deal is done.  If you have ten must-haves on your list and we are lucky enough to find a home that has seven of your desired features, I consider that a big success.

Let me help you find a home that’s just right for you!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.



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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