Archive for June, 2014

New Paperwork for Real Estate Buyers: The Buyer Representation Agreement

Monday, June 30th, 2014

New Paperwork for Real Estate Buyers:  The Buyer Representation Agreement | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re planning to buy a home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region, or elsewhere in Alberta using the services of a REALTOR®, expect to be asked to sign several documents during the process. You already know, if you’ve bought property in the past, that your Offer to Purchase states the price you are willing to pay, any conditions on the offer, and the date on which you’d like to take possession of the home. You’re also asked to provide proof of your identity and probably your financial ability to enter into a purchase agreement.

Beginning July 1, 2014, all property buyers in Alberta working with a Realtor will be required to sign a Buyer Representation Agreement.

What is the Buyer Representation Agreement?

This document formalizes the relationship you’ll have with the Realtor. You and your Realtor will agree to a number of things, including:
• when the relationship begins and ends;
• what the responsibilities of the Realtor and the real estate brokerage he or she represents are to you;
• your responsibilities to your Realtor;
• what services your Realtor will provide;
• what is to be done in situations where a conflict of interest arises;
• what fees and expenses, if any, you might be required to pay;
• how your personal information will be handled;
• methods of communication between the parties;
• contact information for both parties.

Why are buyers now required to sign this document?

The concept of this agreement is not new. What is new is its use in all Realtor-buyer relationships. Its purpose is to provide clarity and protection for both parties by clearly setting out the requirements and expectations for the relationship. You as a buyer will know exactly what your rights and responsibilities are, and what services you can expect from your Realtor. Having trust and confidence in the person helping you with the most important purchase of your life, and knowing that your interests will be promoted and protected can only be a good thing!

When will buyers be expected to sign the Buyer Representation Agreement?

Most Realtors will likely explain the Buyer Representation Agreement to their clients and request that it be signed near the beginning of the relationship, usually before the buyer’s needs and wants are discussed in great detail and before properties are visited. Clarity and protection!

As a buyer, I’m worried about all the fees mentioned in the Agreement.

Nothing has really changed. In Alberta, Realtors representing sellers and Realtors representing buyers generally split the fees offered by the seller of the property. Payment for Realtors occurs when a property is sold, with the Realtors’ fees being paid from the proceeds of the sale. Usually, a client buying a property does not pay a Realtor directly for realty services. If a given Realtor charges a retainer for helping a client in buying a property, that retainer will be applied toward the fees due from the sale of the property, and this will be clearly stated in the Agreement. Note that all terms of the Agreement, including fees, are negotiable. The Agreement is a legal document, and my best advice is to read it carefully and completely, and ask any questions before you sign it.

Does signing a Buyer Representation Agreement with a Realtor mean I can’t work with any other Realtor?

While the Agreement is in effect, usually…but! When your Realtor signs this agreement with you, he or she is committing to assisting you in all the ways outlined in the agreement. As time goes on, and your Realtor becomes more attuned to your needs and wishes, he or she should be in the best position to help you find just the property you’re looking for. If for some reason you want to end the relationship, note that your contract specifies an end date, and it is also possible to end it early under certain conditions in the contract. In addition, special conditions can be written into the agreement before it is signed.

Comments or questions about the Buyer Representation Agreement, or any other aspect of buying and selling property? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Buying a Home? Here’s How to Determine Exactly What Price Range You Can Reasonably Afford

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Buying a Home_ Here's How to Determine Exactly What Price Range You Can Reasonably Afford | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re looking to purchase a home in Parkland County, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove or the Edmonton area, you might be wondering how you can reasonably determine what your price range is. Though you may have the ability to afford up to a particular amount, you should also ensure that you don’t overextend yourself. Make sure to leave room for the “just-in-case” expenses, and follow these tips to ensure you are remaining within your reasonable and affordable budget.

Get Expert Advice: Talk With Your Mortgage Specialist

First things first, before you begin your property search, whether you’re looking for Parkland County acreages, Edmonton acreages, or surrounding area, you should ensure you have an open and honest discussion with your mortgage broker or the mortgage specialist at your bank. When you are preparing for your meeting, ensure that you have your employment and income documentation to bring with you, as well as your previous year’s tax return. You should also have a list of any monthly expenses, and supporting documentation, such as information on car payments, student loans, and other monthly expenses.

Be sure you are honest and provide complete information to your mortgage broker regarding your income and monthly expenses, as this will help them determine what your affordable and realistic purchasing budget is.

Don’t Forget the Extras: Factor In Additional Expenses

When you are planning your affordable budget for your Spruce Grove real estate, either with or without your mortgage broker, you’ll want to ensure that you consider additional expenses on top of the basic mortgage costs. Discuss any additional mortgage insurance costs with your broker, as well as expenses such as maintenance fees and property taxes. Each of these aspects should come together to help you ascertain what you can reasonably afford, and, when considering these additional factors, your actual home budget may be tightened. Therefore, be sure not to forget the extras!

Have Foresight: Consider Closing Costs From the Start

Since your down payment amount on your mortgage for Parkland County real estate can significantly affect your monthly mortgage costs, you’ll want to ensure that you consider the amount of closing costs well before you get to that point in your real estate transaction. A possible problem arises when these costs aren’t factored into the equation from the start, and the buyer has to pull away from his down payment lump sum to come up with the money, thereby increasing his monthly expenses and perhaps overextending him financially. Therefore, ensure you are well prepared for the closing costs on your Stony Plain real estate, and get the figures from your mortgage broker or REALTOR® at the start.

As long as you’ve done your research on the matter, and factored in all of the aspects of your income and monthly expenses, as well as the additional fees of the real estate transaction itself, you will surely arrive at a number that is reasonable and affordable. Get your expert advice, do your research, and have foresight, and you should be in great shape!

If you’re still unsure, I am always willing to answer your Edmonton area real estate transaction questions! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Three Home Automation Technologies That Will Increase the Resale Value of Your Edmonton Area House

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Three Home Automation Technologies That Will Increase the Resale Value of Your Edmonton Area House | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re in the process of listing your Spruce Grove real estate, Parkland County real estate, Stony Plain real estate or other Edmonton real estate for sale, it is important to make property improvements that buyers are looking for and that will increase resale value. There is nothing worse than making a home modification or a property upgrade that will not offer you any return on your investment in the form of a larger offer. Some of the more popular upgrades to consider when you want a return involve modern home automation. Here are three home automation technologies that will bring your home into the 21st century while attracting buyers.

Appeal to a Buyer’s Desire for Safety with a Home Automation Security System

Home buyers who are looking to buy highly valued Parkland County acreages or other Edmonton acreages want to know that they will be safe and secure on their property. When you are selling a property, it is all about appealing to the buyer’s emotions, and all buyers want comfort and safety. The first home automation system all sellers should consider installing in their home is a security system. With the right home automation monitoring equipment, including alarms and security cameras, you can give all buyers setting foot on the property a feeling of relief as you show them how you can control, arm, disarm and view the property from a remote device installed with the home automation app.

More Dramatic and Efficient Lighting Systems

Selling your home or your acreage is all about making that first impression. Not only does your property need curb appeal, it needs to appeal to the growing market of energy efficient buyers that exists today. Home automation lighting systems are becoming the new craze, and these systems will offer you a return in two very different ways. The dramatic lighting dimming effects that you can dress your home with will set a mood to capture attention, and the energy efficient qualities of the system will reinforce just how great the home automation technology is.

Decluttering The Property With Whole Home Entertainment

More and more households are ditching the wires and the clutter of electronics and remote controls that once lined cabinets and cluttered tabletops. Cables have become eyesores and speakers needed in every room have become an unnecessary expense. If you are targeting a tech-savvy buyer who wants a whole-home automation entertainment system that allows them to ditch the wires and all of those remotes, this is a technology to add to your home. The speakers will be hidden in your ceiling, screens will be cleverly mounted, and buyers will pay attention to your tech-savvy listing.

Every seller wants to set a sales record and get the best offer on their home. To make this happen, you need to choose to invest in upgrades and updates that will bring your dated property into the 21st century while still ensuring it has character.

If you need help deciding which updates are best, I am always willing to help answer any home-related questions that you might have.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Looking for a Summer DIY Project? Building a Beautiful Wooden Fence in Seven Easy Steps

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Looking for a Summer DIY Project_ Building a Beautiful Wooden Fence in Seven Easy Steps | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

 

Looking for an easy and fun way to add some sweat equity to your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region? Building a wooden fence is a great way to add beauty and value to any home. Here’s your DIY guide to building a wooden fence for your yard in seven easy steps.

Decide What Type of Wooden Fence You Want

There are many types of wooden fences to choose from, and each requires different building methods. The best way to make your decision is to focus on what the main purpose of your fence will be. If you simply want to add some character to your property, a white picket fence might be just the ticket, but if you’re concerned about keeping out street noise or keeping a large dog in your yard, you’ll want to consider building something much taller.

Make Sure Your Fence Complies With Local Bylaws

Before you start building your fence, it’s important to ensure that your fence complies with local government regulations. If you build a fence that’s declared illegal by the local government, your fence could be torn down. Many municipalities require that you apply for a permit before building anything along your property line. It’s also important to check with the local authorities to make sure you won’t be coming into contact with any water, gas, or electrical lines when you dig your post holes.

Find the Right Materials

Your choice of fence style should help you determine which materials you’ll want to use. Be sure to pick something strong as well as stylish, as you’ll want to ensure that your fence is able to stand up to just about anything Mother Nature can throw at it.

Find and Mark Your Corners and Support Posts

When it comes time to build your fence, the first thing to do is mark where your corner and middle posts will be. Stake your corners and use a square level to make sure your corners are 90 degrees. Then tie strings between your stakes and measure out where your support posts will be. Generally you’ll want your support posts to be 8 inches or less apart. Measure so that you have an equal distance between each support post and each corner post if possible.

Dig Your Post Holes and Secure Your Posts

Once you’ve got your post positions marked you can start digging. You’ll want to bury at least one third of the length of each post underground, so you’ll need some fairly deep holes. Use instant concrete to hold your posts in place, and cover the remainder of the hole with dirt once the concrete has dried.

Build Your Fence Frame

Now you can attach horizontal support rails to your fence between each post. These are typically constructed using 2x4s. Depending on the size of your fence, you’ll probably want at least two or three support rails per section.

Add and Treat Your Privacy Boards

The final step is to add your vertical wooden strips or “privacy boards.” These boards are what will give your fence its final look. Choose a style that suits your property and pick a colour or stain that you think will complement the look of the fence.

There you have it! A brand new fence in seven simple steps. Of course you’ll want to do some careful measuring and planning before getting too carried away, and you might want to talk to a builder or property expert if you’ve never built a fence before.

If you’re wondering about what type of fence would best enhance the value of your property, or if you’d like to know anything else about Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, Parkland County acreages, or Edmonton acreages, I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

The First Time Landlord Guide: The Five-Minute Rundown of Your Obligations and Rights

Monday, June 9th, 2014

The First Time Landlord Guide- The Five-Minute Rundown of Your Obligations and Rights | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re about to become a landlord in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, it’s important to get your ducks in a row. Under the law, landlords and tenants both have certain rights that must be respected and certain responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. Not knowing or understanding the laws that affect you as a landlord can bring legal problems down the road. It doesn’t matter if you own Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, or Edmonton acreages—knowing your rights and responsibilities as a landlord is vital. Here’s what you need to know about the laws that influence landlord-tenant relationships.

Landlords’ Obligations Toward Tenants: Privacy, Prompt Repairs, and Eviction Notices

If you are the landlord of a rental unit in the province of Alberta, you have certain obligations toward your tenants that you must fulfill. Though you own the rental unit, you must give your tenants their privacy. You may enter your rental unit uninvited if you give your tenants 24 hours notice, and if you have a valid reason for being in the rental unit. Valid reasons include inspection, repairs, and showing the unit to potential new tenants if your current tenants are moving out. You may enter the unit between 8 AM and 8 PM, but not on holidays or on a day the tenant considers a religious day of worship.

You must also keep the rental unit in good condition. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to repair anything that breaks as a result of normal use or wear and tear. You are also responsible for any plumbing and heating repairs that are needed during a tenancy. You must make sure that your rental unit’s heater can keep the unit at a minimum of 22 degrees Celsius at all times.

If you decide to evict your tenant, you must give your tenant early notice. Notices of eviction or rent increases must be given to tenants in writing. When you serve an eviction notice, you must serve it either in person, by certified or registered mail, or (if the tenant is avoiding you) by posting the notice somewhere the tenant is highly likely to see it.

Landlords’ Rights in Tenancy Agreements: Timely Rent Payments, Respectful Tenants, and the Right of Eviction

As a landlord, you have several rights in dealing with tenants. You have the right to receive rent payments on time. You also have the right to rent your suite to tenants who act respectfully toward you, who do not cause damage, and who do not create noise issues. If your tenants fall behind on the rent, you can evict them with a 14-day notice; there is no required grace period for late rent. You can also use a 14-day notice to evict tenants who are causing noise problems. If your tenant has caused significant damage to the rental unit or has attacked you, you may evict them with a 24-hour notice. You are allowed to evict tenants during the winter months.

Consequences for Failing to Meet Expectations

If you fail to meet your expectations under the law, your tenant may take you to provincial court or open a case with the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service. The RTDRS is a faster and less expensive option than filing a lawsuit, and it can award amounts up to $25,000. As the RTDRS is a provincial government branch, any decision that is made in dispute resolution is legally binding. Your tenant may complain to the Alberta Ministry of Health or a government health inspector if you do not take care of bug problems, heat outages, and other health threats once you become aware of them. Your tenant can also complain to Alberta Health Services if they find you are using (or have used) the rental unit for illegal drug production.

If you’re looking to rent Parkland County real estate or a property in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, or Edmonton, it’s important that you know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. Being informed is the best way to make sure that you follow the law and avoid the problems that come with violation of tenancy rights.

For more expert advice or to list your property, call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, 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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