Archive for October, 2014

40 Years Young: The Stony Plain Farmers’ Market – Providing Local Families with Alberta Produce Since 1974

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

40 Years Young - The Stony Plain Farmers Market - Providing Local Families with Alberta Produce Since 1974 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Residents of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region regularly make the trip to Stony Plain to shop at one of Alberta’s oldest official farmers’ markets. The market is celebrating its 40th year in 2014 and shows no signs of stopping as its popularity refuses to die down. All residents of Stony Plain and Spruce Grove owe it to themselves to spend at least one Saturday shopping at one of the best farmers’ markets in the region.

40 Years of Offering Quality Produce

Everybody wants to eat healthier, but it can be really hard to find food that is up to the standards needed. Thankfully the Stony Plain Farmers’ Market has a long history of offering farm fresh food and produce so their shoppers can guarantee their food will be going from farm to table. Fresh food and produce is becoming more popular and harder to find, which is why farmers’ markets are gaining popularity all across Canada. The Stony Plain Farmers’ Market has no shortage of farmers willing to provide good and fresh food to the residents of Parkland County. However, food isn’t the only thing to be found at the market.

Over 50 Rotating Vendors

Farmers’ markets are now known for more than just fresh food. Unique vendors selling hand-made crafts, jewellery, clothing and gifts fill the market stalls to sell their products to shoppers. Shopping at the market has become an all-day event for families as they browse some of this year’s big vendors which include Sammy’s Sweet Shop, which sells homemade chocolate and muffins, and Wandeis Doggy Delights, which makes doggie treats for the four-legged friends visiting the market. A full list of vendors is always available online on their official site so people don’t have to go in blind if they don’t want to.

Runs Every Saturday Right up Until Christmas

Most farmers’ markets in Canada fall victim to the winter weather. Some markets don’t even last through the fall before they shut down for the year. The Stony Plain Farmers’ Market doesn’t close down for the season until December 20, 2014, giving residents and visitors the chance to do some Christmas shopping right up to the last minute. With the number of vendors they have there are many great gift opportunities, making sure everybody gets crossed off the Christmas list. The market takes on a new light around December and is a great way to spend a Saturday during the holidays.

Find the Market

Every Saturday, 9 AM to 1 PM, at the Stony Plain Community Centre, 5008-51 St, Stony Plain AB T7Z 1Y1; Phone 780-962-3993

I know the unique offerings of the many farmers’ markets in the Parkland County and Edmonton region are part of what has made these communities sought after by first time home buyers. Anybody looking to buy in Spruce Grove or Stony Plain who wants to talk to an experienced professional about opportunities in the area should not hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m always available to help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Lights Out: Five Reasons to Consider Installing a Backup Generator for Your Home

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Lights Out- Five Reasons to Consider Installing a Backup Generator for Your Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBackup generators provide peace of mind in the event of extended power outages. Installed directly on homeowners’ properties, backup generators are connected to the electrical panels and supply needed power whenever the utility power is interrupted. Having backup power is particularly important during extremes in temperature when an inability to use furnaces or air conditioning units can lead to dangerous in-home conditions. People living in or thinking of moving to the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region would do well to contemplate the issue. As such, here are five reasons to consider installing backup generators.

Frozen Pipe Headaches

While installing backup generators will cost thousands of dollars per household, the cost could end up being quite the bargain for homeowners in Spruce Grove real estate when considering the headaches and costs associated with damaged pipes. If the power goes out during the dead of winter, for example, Stony Plain real estate owners who do not have backup generators might run the risk of frozen pipes that could burst and lead to costly repair-related expenses.

Hotel Rental Expense

Extended power outages that occur when the temperature is either too hot or too cold may, if backup generators are not installed, force homeowners with Parkland County real estate to flee to hotels. The costs can certainly add up for power outages that last for weeks at a time. Recent cases of natural disasters across North America have demonstrated that lengthy power outages are a real possibility.

Keep Food Fresh

People with Edmonton real estate who lose power for even a few days can end up losing everything stored in fridges and freezers. They would not only have to dispose of hundreds of dollars worth of spoiled food, but would also have to replace what was lost as a result of the power outage.

Unhooking the Tether

One of the best advantages of installing backup generators is that they automatically turn themselves on whenever there’s a power outage. What this means is that people with Parkland County acreages won’t have to be tethered to their homes. Whether they’re out of town and can’t get back quickly or have to go to work, homeowners can rest assured that their backup generators will provide their homes with the power they need to operate as per usual.

Peace of Mind

Having the power shut off with no warning can be a disheartening experience. Installing backup generators will help to alleviate anxiety or worry in the event of extended power outages. This benefit is all the more important if children or elderly people living on Edmonton acreages are home alone when there’s a power outage.

There are many good reasons for homeowners to consider installing backup generators, and the aforementioned are just five of them.  Please also read my blog post “Should I Buy a Generator?”

I’d be honoured to provide you with any advice on your real estate needs in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, and Edmonton. For a free consultation, please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here. I look forward to helping you with your real estate needs!

No Permits or RPR? How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing

Friday, October 10th, 2014

No Permits or RPR?  How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSelling your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area or elsewhere is stressful enough, but what happens if you’re missing some critical documentation about the property?

“What documents should I have for my property?”

• If you own your home with or without a mortgage, you’ll have a Title Certificate showing this information. Service Alberta is the source for information about land titles in Alberta. Your REALTOR® will order your property title certificate as part of the process to list your property for sale.
• Most municipalities require building and development permits for a wide variety of activities on a piece of property. Please read my post entitled “Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want!” for information about permits in the City of Spruce Grove.
• Another document you’ll need is a Real Property Report, or RPR, which is basically a survey of your property showing the property boundaries and the location of all the structures built upon it. Purchase Contracts in Alberta have a clause requiring a seller to provide a current Real Property Report showing the current state of improvements with evidence of compliance or non-compliance with municipal guidelines. Please read the City of Spruce Grove’s webpage on Compliance Requests.  Here you’ll find the procedure for applying for a new Real Property Report, followed by seeking compliance from the City.

“I’m planning to sell my home and I know I don’t have permits for my basement development, my garden shed or hot tub. Why would this be a problem?”

From a buyer’s perspective, missing permits might indicate something defective about the property. This could mean your property takes longer to sell and for a lower price. Even worse is that the City could force homeowners who are missing permits to tear out the development and start over with the proper permits in place. (This rarely happens, unless the situation is a clear public safety issue or an overt violation of city bylaws impacting properties beyond yours.)

If you know you’re missing permits, it might be in your best interest to contact the City and apply for new permits before you apply for a new Real Property Report. That way, you’re much more likely to receive full compliance from the City. Full compliance means that everything on your property meets current standards – and potential buyers may be more willing to offer the best price.

***HOWEVERThere may be times when applying for missing permits is not a good idea!*** Let’s say you own an older home in Spruce Grove. You had your basement professionally developed 25 years ago and you’re pretty sure no permits were issued. If you were to apply for permits now, the building inspectors might need to tear into your walls to see that the gas, electrical and plumbing installations were done correctly. If that isn’t bad enough, the work must conform to today’s building and safety codes, not those of 25 years ago, in order for it to pass inspection.

Applying for a new RPR and then getting a letter from the City indicating some issues of non-conformance to current standards do not necessarily mean a big problem. Most of the time those issues won’t require you to take any action unless you decide to upgrade. For example, it may be that your deck is too close to the property line. You will likely be allowed to live with this situation until or unless you (or subsequent owners) decide to rebuild or modify the deck. Any renovations will have to comply with current standards. (A more serious situation occurs when the letter states that deficiencies must be corrected within a certain time frame, meaning expense and inconvenience for you as the owner.) The real problem for sellers is that many buyers see non-conformance as a red flag.

“Okay, this isn’t looking good! Am I going to be unable to sell my property?”

Luckily, not having the proper permits or compliance doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell your home; it just means greater cooperation may be needed among all parties involved in the sale, and your REALTOR® can help with that!

  • No permits?

Consider the situation. Would new permits be an easy fix, or would this mean greater disruption, hassle, time and expense than anyone cares to deal with? It might be best to admit the error to potential buyers and request that they accept an existing RPR with compliance (or non-compliance). In addition, you would offer to fund Title Insurance for the buyers. (Please see my blog article entitled “RPR or Title Insurance?”)  Be aware that it may be difficult to get some buyers to agree to this arrangement, and that may mean a longer wait to find buyers for your property. Your REALTOR® can advise you.

  • No up-to-date RPR?

Again, get advice from your REALTOR®. The best action may be to follow the procedures as per the City’s webpage on Compliance Requests: order and pay for a new RPR. Or, your REALTOR® may suggest other options, especially if you know your property will not conform to the standards. (For example, you could offer to supply an old survey of the property together with Title Insurance).

  • Received a letter from the City of Spruce Grove indicating some level of non-conformance?

• If the letter says things must be fixed, fix them!
• If the letter simply points out the issues but doesn’t require repairs, you might want to correct them anyway, if the problems are easy fixes, because your house is likely to be an easier sell, and at a better price.
• “Non-conforming” items on your property that aren’t easy fixes? One solution to the problem of lack of compliance that your REALTOR® might be able to provide is to “write around” an issue. For example, if a garden shed is too close to the edge of the property and it would be more trouble than it’s worth to move it (and the City has indicated the non-conformance can stay as is), a clause can be inserted into the Purchase Contract stating that the buyer agrees to accept the shed in its current location. Your REALTOR® may also recommend that you offer to fund Title Insurance for the buyer.

Of course, these solutions require potential buyers to agree to a situation that may be less than ideal or optimal, but at least you won’t be stuck unable to sell your property.

Questions about RPRs, compliance, title insurance, or building permits? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want!

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Just Because You Own Your Spruce Grove House Doesn’t Mean You Can Do Whatever You Want! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSometimes it comes as a surprise to people living in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the city of Edmonton or any other Alberta municipality that there are strict rules as to what they can and can’t do or build on their property. This surprise can be especially rude when it comes time to sell a property and the owners discover that they were supposed to have permits for certain things.

“Why would a municipality care about what goes on inside private property? Aren’t all those permits just a cash grab?”

The City of Spruce Grove’s webpage dealing with building and development permits says this:

“Building Permits deal with structural stability of buildings and the health and safety of the building’s occupants. Development Permits deal primarily with a development’s impact on surrounding properties.”

Permits help a municipality ensure that all structures and activities within municipal limits meet the standards for health and safety of people and the environment. Yes, there is a cost for the processing of permits, but wise homeowners should see this cost as a good investment for the future and insurance that their home and property are secure.

“What sorts of things require permits?”

The City of Spruce Grove’s webpage on building permits has a long list of things requiring permits, along with the cost of the permits, for items inside your home and on the piece of land your home occupies. Some common interior items include

• developing and finishing a basement
• installing a wood-burning stove or fireplace
• installing, replacing or altering materials or equipment regulated by the Alberta Building Code (such as replacing a furnace).

Outside your home, you’ll need a permit to

• add a deck that is higher than 2 feet above the ground
• cover an existing deck
• install a hot tub or swimming pool
• construct any building on your property, such as a detached garage or shed.

These permits not only specify the safety measures to be followed but also mandate the distance structures must be from property boundaries and rights of way. Demolitions may require permits too.

If you want a firepit on your property, you’ll need a fire permit.  You may also need permits for gas installations, electrical installations, plumbing installations, and lot grading.  Please see the City’s webpage for the complete list of items requiring permits.

***If you are unsure about whether you need a permit or not, contact the City’s Planning and Development Department and ASK! Do this BEFORE you begin the work!***

“What happens if I want to sell my house and I don’t have the proper permits?”

For the answer to this question, see my blog post entitled “No Permits or RPR? How to Sell Your Spruce Grove Home When Something’s Missing”.

Questions about  building permits, RPRs, compliance, or title insurance? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.




Life in Spruce Grove, Alberta: A Brief Look at October Events Throughout the City

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Life in Spruce Grove Alberta - A Brief Look at October Events  | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThroughout the CityWhen the fall weather rolls around it usually puts a stop to any big events that would normally be planned. That is not true for the lucky residents of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region who have these great events to look forward to taking place in Spruce Grove this October.

A Trip Down The Vegas Strip

The Horizon Stage Performing Arts Centre will be presenting a showcase of the top Vegas acts on October 16. This is an opportunity for people to see Spruce Grove transformed into a Vegas showroom and enjoy a night of Vegas acts like Elvis, Roy Orbison, Tom Jones and Neil Diamond without having to travel to Nevada. Tickets run $40 each for the night of entertainment.

The Annual Mini Monster Bash Celebration

October 25 will be a scary day in the city as the kids of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County will gather together at the Heritage Park Pavilion for a fun day of activities. The event is for kids under the age of 8 and they are asked to dress in their favourite Halloween costume. Although entry is free, donations will be taken for the Parkland Food Bank at the entrance.

TANGO: A Passion of a Lifetime

South America’s biggest dance is being brought to Spruce Grove by some of its biggest and most successful names. On October 24, the Romulo Larrea Tango Ensemble will perform TANGO: A Passion of a Lifetime at Horizon Stage. They are a small group, comprised only of one vocalist, 2 dancers and 3 musicians, but their power and energy are enough to sweep audiences away.

Relive History With The Man in Black Show

The life of Johnny Cash comes alive in this tribute show at Horizon Stage on October 23 starring Shaw Barker as The Man in Black. The goal of the show is to give the audience a glimpse into what it was like listening to the man as he performed in 1960, taking them on a journey about the man through his music. Tickets can be purchased online for $44.95.

Every month brings more events to the city and this is just a sampling of what can be expected. The City of Spruce Grove does everything it can to provide great entertainment to its residents and that’s just one of the things making it one of Alberta’s best cities.

I take great pride in representing Spruce Grove and keep myself available to anybody who wants more information about the city. Any home buyers looking into Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region are welcome to 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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