Archive for the ‘Home Buying’ Category

12 Tips for Buying the Best House

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

RealEstateAdPhotos 269Looking for a new home this spring in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region and elsewhere?  You won’t be alone in your search as we head into the busy season in real estate with more homes on the market, and more people looking for homes.  With so many things to consider when shopping for a new home, how can you make sure you end up with the best house for you?

I’ve written before on this topic, and the advice in these blog articles is still solid.  It applies equally well to experienced home buyers as to those looking to get into a first home.  Take a look at these articles and then see more tips below:

Buying Your First Home?  Start With Your Lifestyle

Buying Your First Home?  8 Tips to Guide You Through the Process

More Tips:

  1. Saving a down payment is just the start.  Remember that you’ll need money for much more:  legal fees, home inspection, property taxes, home insurance, utility hook-ups, maybe some fixing up of the new house (or your old one), purchase of furnishings, moving costs (not just transportation of your possessions but also fuel costs, meals while en route, possible hotel stays and so on).
  2. Buy the home you can afford, the one in the middle of your price range.  Calculate the total of your monthly mortgage payment, home insurance, property taxes and mortgage insurance (required if your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of the home).  This total should be less than 35% of your gross monthly income.  More conservative advisers suggest this amount should be less than 25% of your take-home pay (equal to one week’s paycheck).  Whichever calculation you use should leave you with a comfortable amount of money for everything else in your life.
  3. Buy the house with good bones but ugly finishing.  Dirt can be scrubbed off, holes in walls can be patched, hideous wall colours can be painted over.  Chances are good a tired and shabby home will be 1000s of dollars cheaper than the house that is loaded with glitz and glamour with everything finished.  Look beyond the surface aesthetics for a house that is structurally sound, well constructed and with its systems (roof, furnace, plumbing, electrical, etc.) in good shape.  The time and money you invest in cleaning up the place, re-painting and even adding new flooring and the like will almost always be less than the price you would pay for a home with everything done.  And your hard work will dramatically increase the value of the home.
  4. On a related note, buy a modest house in the nicest neighbourhood rather than the best house in a not so great neighbourhood.  The home in the good neighbourhood will always be worth more than the exact same house in a lesser neighbourhood, and it will retain a higher value because of its association with more extravagant homes located nearby.  What’s more, its value to price ratio will almost certainly be greater than that of the more expensive homes in the area.
  5. Keep firmly in mind the difference between your needs and your wants.  What are the things you absolutely have to have that can’t be changed by renovating (such as a quiet neighbourhood)?  Your needs are the things you can’t compromise on, but maybe there can be some leeway in things that would be really nice to have but which you could live without.
  6. Pay close attention to the report of your home inspector.  It is sometimes possible to use certain things in a report (such as structural damage or items not built according to code) to reduce the price even after negotiations have been completed and the Purchase Contract signed.  In any case, the report gives you a detailed list of items to fix after you take possession of the home.
  7. Study your mortgage options carefully.  To start with, having a great credit rating will allow you more choice.  You can save a lot of money by:  putting a minimum of 20% down (to avoid paying for mortgage insurance), opting for a shorter amortization period (if you are able to afford higher payments), paying weekly or bi-weekly instead of monthly, paying property taxes yourself instead of having them added to your mortgage payment.  There is some disagreement about whether it’s best to lock in a fixed rate on a mortgage or opt for a variable floating rate.  A fixed rate might give you more peace of mind, knowing what your payments will be for the term of the mortgage, but a variable rate could save you money in certain circumstances.  Ask your lender lots of questions!
  8. Know the market.  Questions to ask your realtor:  What have houses sold for in the area you’re considering?  How competitive is the market?  Do houses routinely sell well below the asking price?  Or could you end up in a situation where houses sell for more than the asking price?
  9. Research the neighbourhoods you’re interested in. Look for things like crime statistics, type of housing in adjacent areas (high density housing or mobile home parks typically decrease the value of nearby single family homes), proximity of commercial development, traffic patterns, type of land houses are built on (you don’t want a reclaimed landfill or bog), income and occupations of residents, and so on.
  10. Condos and housing cooperatives are a good fit for many people but their Homeowner Associations almost always have extensive rules and accompanying fees and fines.  These never go away, frequently go up, and can sometimes come with nasty surprises when additional fees are levied.  Make sure you educate yourself thoroughly before you commit to this type of home.
  11. Could you use this home to create revenue?  Does the home have an in-law suite or room you could rent out if you needed extra cash?
  12. Distance from the neighbours and lots of space in the yard are great, but think about maintenance and its cost.  A long driveway means more snow to shovel in the winter, and a huge lawn means a lot more time spent mowing instead of enjoying our too short summers on the deck.

 

I’m always happy to help my clients find just the right home for them!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Why Wait for Spring to List Your Home? 9 Reasons to Sell During the Holidays

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Why Wait for Spring to List Your Home? 9 Reasons to Sell During the Holidays | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou might think that putting your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton area home on the market at this time of year is a bad idea. But there are actually many good reasons to list your home during the holiday season.

  1. People shopping for a new home during the winter months tend to be more serious about a home purchase than those looking at other times of the year. They may be in a situation where moving is not an option since January often marks the start of a new job. Buyers are not only more likely to make an offer, but also more likely to meet your list price, especially as people are apt to be in a good mood at this time of year!
  2. Generally, fewer houses are listed at this time of year. This means less competition for your home now than later in the spring when more homes will come on the market.
  3. Many businesses reduce their hours during the holiday season, meaning employees may have time during the work week, not just evenings and weekends, to shop for a new home.
  4. Some buyers may find themselves in a financial situation where it is advantageous for tax or incentive reasons to make their deal before the end of the year.
  5. You’ve probably spent a fair amount of time cleaning, decluttering and decorating your home for the holidays. Why not take advantage of this natural staging when your home is looking its best?
  6. Your home being on the market does not have to interfere with your holiday plans. You always have the option to specify when showings may or may not occur.
  7. Selling now does not necessarily mean you’d have to move now. It is possible to negotiate a later date for buyers to take possession, or to allow you to remain in your home for a longer period of time.
  8. But, if you sell and move to a temporary residence now, with the intention of buying later in the spring, you can do so with money in the bank and without the pressure of having to write an offer that is conditional upon the sale of your current home.
  9. Mortgage rates remain at record lows so there are still many buyers for whom your house just might be the perfect home.

 

Whether you are looking to buy or sell at any time of the year, I’m here to help. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Should You Buy a New Home, or Sell the Old One First?

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Should You Buy a New Home, or Sell the Old One First? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamYou need to leave your current home and move to a new town for work, or your family has outgrown your current residence in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere. Should you buy a new home before selling your current home, or is it better to sell the old one first? This is a complicated question with pros and cons on both sides of the issue.

Buy First

Pros:

  • You can take your time to shop for a new home and make it ready for your occupancy.
  • With no one waiting to move in to your current home, you’ll feel less pressure to move out and you’ll have more time to prepare for the move.
  • The biggest advantage is the security of knowing you have somewhere to live, whether that is your current home or a new one.

Cons:

  • It may be necessary to carry two mortgages for a time (assuming you can even get one on a new dwelling), as well as maintain two homes, and this could be problematic and costly.
  • An Offer to Purchase a new home that is conditional on the sale of your current home may not be acceptable to many sellers because it ties up their property while everyone waits for your current home to sell. If it doesn’t sell, you then risk having the deal on your new home fall through.

Sell First

Pros:

  • You’ll have money in the bank and will know how much you can spend on a new home.
  • Your Offer to Purchase a new home would not need to be conditional on the sale of the old one, making your offer more likely to be accepted.

Cons:

  • Selling your current home before buying another one could leave you homeless! You might find yourself quickly buying a less than satisfactory home just to put a roof over your head, or having to rent temporary accommodations until you can buy a suitable home (and having to move twice, or place your belongings in storage).
  • If the sale of a new home goes through before you sell your old home, you may be short of cash for down payment and closing costs, and this could require “bridge financing”.

Ultimately, your family situation and especially your finances will determine which scenario will be your choice.

I often deal with clients in this situation and can usually help people find a workable solution. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Fall 2015: Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home?

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Fall 2015:  Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLots of people in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region are nervous about the Alberta economy and the impact of the upcoming federal election. If you are one of those people, and are holding off on buying a new home or putting your current home on the market, recent statistics from the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton might ease your stress a little.

Selling prices are down somewhat, the number of homes on the market is up a fair bit, and homes are taking a little longer to sell than a year ago, but there is still plenty of room for optimism on both the buying and selling sides. Here’s why.

In September 2014, the selling price for an average single family home in the Edmonton area was $436,429. In September 2015 the price had dropped to $432,150, a decrease of just .98% from the previous year. This seems to suggest that value is there for buyers, while sellers can still expect to receive a fair dollar.

In September 2014 a single family home stayed on the market for an average of 47 days; this year the time has increased, but only slightly, to 51 days. Last September saw 1,568 residential units being sold; this year that number dropped by 6.76% to 1,462. A slower market this year, but still plenty of movement.

A year ago, there were 4,812 units in the residential inventory for the Edmonton area. By September of this year, that number had increased to 7,108, a jump of 47.71%. This means that buyers have considerably more choice when considering their purchase. Sellers have more competition and so may have to put more time and effort into getting their properties ready to sell. But home owners who keep their property well maintained and have reasonable expectations for a selling price should not find this to be a problem. A seller was once the buyer of the property they now have on the market. I continually tell my buyers to consider the resale value of whatever property they are thinking of purchasing. Once they own that property, they should never forget that eventually they will want to sell, and a home that is well maintained and offered for the right price will find a buyer, even if the market seems to be less than ideal.

No matter what the housing market is doing, the best time to buy or sell is when the time is right for you! I’m always available to help you buy or sell. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThe kids are grown, the grandchildren are coming along, and soon you’ll reap the rewards of your lifetime of work. It’s called retirement. But even though you’ve planned for this major change in your life, there are still important decisions to make – including where you’ll spend your retirement years.

To make an informed decision about a future home, whether it’s in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, here’s a brief guideline courtesy of Investors Group:

Location

Will you stay in the home where you raised your children? There may be a deep emotional attachment to the home and the neighbourhood.

Size of home

A smaller home is easier to maintain, with lower utility costs and taxes. But, consider a new home purchase carefully. Perhaps that money is better off in investments that increase your cash flow and your estate.

Buy or rent?

Downsizing to condos or apartments can be an attractive lifestyle choice. The costs of major repairs at condominiums are shared among owners, and repairs are the building owner’s responsibility. On the downside, you may find you’re living too close to neighbours or that condo fees are too steep.

Summer and winter homes

Many Canadians decide to winter in warmer southern climates. If you choose to follow these snowbirds, will you own or rent your residences in Canada and the United States? This decision depends on your personal situation, so you should consult a tax advisor.

Your health

If you have no current health problems, maintaining your present home may be practical. But if health concerns are a consideration, you may want to look at housing options that offer various levels of assisted living.

Your income

Before you begin to make decisions, you’ll want a clear picture of your overall financial situation. You need to review your projected income levels from all sources, including pensions and investments.

Most of all, choose a home where you will be happy in your retirement. Additional information about the varied financial options is available at www.investorsgroup.com and be sure to talk to a financial advisor for professional assistance.

Helping my clients find the right home for whatever life stage they’re in is what I do best!   Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Contents of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Editor Note: This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact an Investors Group Consultant.

January May Be the Best Time to Buy a New Spruce Grove or Stony Plain Home

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

January May Be the Best Time to Buy a New Spruce Grove or Stony Plain Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamUsually I tell my clients in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region who are looking to buy a home that the best time to buy is when they’re ready, regardless of what the market is doing. But some new statistics from TheRedPin.com suggest a certain time of the year is better if you want the lowest price, while another time during the year offers the best selection.

The infographic “5 Year GTA Breakdown – The Best Time to Buy and Sell Your Home”  contains some interesting data. The infographic is based on Toronto home sales, but there is reason to believe things are not so different in our part of the country.

You’ll find the best housing prices in January.

In Toronto at least, the price difference was huge: $16,000 less than the next least expensive month (July) and a whopping $60,000 less than the most expensive month (May). There may be several reasons for this:

• Fewer people are looking to buy a home in January, maybe due to the cold weather or to after-Christmas bills. Fewer buyers = less competition and therefore lower prices.
• Sellers who list their homes in the winter usually do so because they have to sell and may be willing to negotiate a lower price.
• January listings may have been on the market for a while and sellers may feel pressure to sell for a lower price.
• Much smaller inventory of homes on the market means lower prices for buyers.

Highest prices (and best selection) in May.

Reasons for this?

• Better weather means it’s easier to get around, more pleasant to view houses, and easier to move one’s belongings. That means more people shopping for a new home.
• Buying a house in May means a move can happen during the summer, which is generally the choice for families with children needing to change schools. This is equally true for sellers with children and is certainly one of the reasons so many people list their home for sale in the spring.
• More buyers, more homes on the market, more competition all spell higher prices.

House prices correlate inversely with days on the market.

Months that show the lowest prices also generally show the longest time on the market. This can mean good news for buyers; a house that’s been on the market for many months may be owned by someone desperate to sell and willing to look at lower offers.

House prices also correlate with the number of homes on the market.

This almost seems counter-intuitive but the data show that the greater the competition (that is, the more homes there are on the market and the more people looking for homes), the higher the price. Conversely, fewer homes on the market = lower price.

I still recommend to my buying clients that their first consideration should be their personal circumstances, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of trends such as these!

I’m happy to help you find your new home at any time of the year. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Buying Your First Home? 8 Tips to Guide You Through the Process

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Buying Your First Home? 8 Tips to Guide You Through the Process | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHome ownership, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area or elsewhere, is a dream of nearly everyone. Buying that first home can be an exciting but stressful process with many, many things to consider and do. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to be sidetracked by emotional issues instead of focusing on what is practical and long-term.

If you haven’t already done so, please read my previous article “Buying Your First Home? Start With Your Lifestyle” as a sort of “prequel” to the best advice I can give you for making the purchase of a lifetime!

1.  Analyze your lifestyle

Based on your analysis of your lifestyle, make a list of everything you need and want in a home and its location. Split this list into features you absolutely have to have (needs) and features you’d really like to have but could live without (wants). As you create these lists, take special note of things in a home that could be changed. Let’s say you have your heart set on hardwood floors. Once you start actually looking at homes, don’t exclude those that have carpet; flooring is a feature that’s fairly easy to change. On the other hand, if peace and quiet is one of your must-haves, be aware that you can’t change a home’s location on a busy street. You’ll be revisiting these lists often as you start reconciling your needs and wants with what you can afford to buy!

2. Get your finances organized

  • Take a look at your debt situation, because rest assured, potential lenders certainly will! Whatever you do, DON’T make any major changes during the home-buying process, such as changing jobs, buying a new vehicle, or even applying for a new credit card.
  • Any lender is going to want to see a stable employment record and evidence of ongoing steady income, as well as evidence of the amount and source of your down payment.
  • As a first-time buyer, you have the option to use the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan to increase your down payment. This program allows you to take $20,000 out of your RRSP tax-free with 15 years to pay it back. This sounds like a good way to get into a home when money for a down payment is tight but consider this move very carefully. Not only must you pay the money back (and if you don’t, you’ll get a tax wallop), but taking the money now could affect you adversely in your later years.
  • Although it’s possible to get into your own home with much less, it’s recommended that you save a down payment of 20% (that equates to about $50,000 to $100,000 for most people) and that you have an emergency living fund equivalent to 3 months’ income because….
  • Buying a home goes well beyond the purchase price you’ll end up negotiating and your monthly mortgage payment. Aim to buy the house you can afford, which may not be the same as the house you’d like or the house your mortgage broker will lend you money for. Don’t let yourself be house poor. Let’s say you learn from your mortgage broker or specialist that you are approved to purchase a home valued up to $500,000, so … you immediately start looking at houses in that price range. Bad idea! The actual purchase price of your new home is only one of many, many factors that determine its affordability and how that fits into your life. Besides your monthly mortgage payment (which is in a class of its own in terms of complexity since different interest rates, time periods and other terms of your mortgage can make a huge difference in both your monthly payment and the total amount you’ll pay by the time the loan is done), you’ll need ready cash for a long list of things:
        • fees of all kinds, including legal, home inspection, utility hook-ups, etc.
        • moving expenses
        • purchase of furnishings, appliances, home accessories, equipment and tools
        • cost of any changes you’ll want or need to make to your new home (such as removing ugly wallpaper, changing paint colors, repairs of various kinds,landscaping,  even adding things like wall-hung shelves or towel racks)
        • property taxes
        • home insurance
        • utility costs: water, sewer, garbage pickup, recycling, power, gas (renters, especially of apartments, typically don’t pay for many of these things separately from their rent)
        • condo fees, if that is the type of home you’re buying
        • ongoing maintenance costs
        • and, of course, basic living, such as food, clothing, entertainment…!

3. Talk to a lender

This might mean a mortgage specialist at your bank or a mortgage broker. (A REALTOR® can recommend someone to you.) This person will advise you on what you need to do to be pre-approved for a mortgage and will let you know how much house you can afford to buy. Set your upper price limit well below the maximum your lender tells you that you qualify for – about 15 to 20% below. That way, if – no, when – mortgage rates rise, you’ll still be secure in your home instead of scrambling to make the payments. You can thank me later when you find you actually have a bit of money each month to live on!

4. Educate yourself about the local market

Learn about what’s out there in the housing market and location you’re considering. There are two ways to approach this step. In the old days, you would contact a real estate agent and that person would start showing you homes based on what you tell him or her about your needs and financial situation. In this day and age, the search for a home often starts by looking at homes online, either through a site such as realtor.ca, or through the website of a real estate agent (such as mine).  Learn what properties are available, what features they have, and what prices are being asked.

5. Contact a REALTOR®

Look for someone who is experienced, trustworthy and reliable, and who will represent your best interests in order to get you the right house for the right price. (You may have already done this!)

6. As you look at houses with your REALTOR®:

  • Your Realtor should be able to help you see the best features in the homes you view. Even more important is that person’s ability to point out any shortcomings and steer you away from potential problems. How confident are you in your own abilities to see these things? If there’s someone in your life who knows how important buying a home is to you and has the experience to see property clearly, it’s OK to bring that person along!
  • Remember your lists of have to haves, would be nice to haves, and especially things that can be changed. Do not allow glitz and glamour, or the lack thereof, to colour your view of a property. As with people, what’s on the inside may be far more important than surface looks. A good roof, solid construction, a dry basement, and a good neighbourhood count for far more than fancy decorating, finishing and staging. Likewise, don’t allow yucky paint colours, other people’s furniture and ho-hum landscaping to prevent you from getting a good house.
  • Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your financial stomach! It’s not a good idea to even look at homes beyond your price limit (your Realtor can give you some advice here regarding homes new to the market that might have some price wiggle room vs. homes whose prices have already been reduced, and so on). Sure, reality bites, but at least you’ll be able to have steak once in a while instead of wieners and beans!
  • Consider bringing along a camera, making notes about the details of the homes you see, and rating the homes on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • This is the biggest purchase of your life. It’s perfectly OK to take your time in looking and even to ask to view a home that interests you a second time.
  • Funny thing to consider at this time, but also an important thing: Think long-term and think resale. Eventually, you’ll leave this house. Will it pay you back?
  • When you find the right house, stop looking! Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it.
  • BUT… Don’t fall in love with that house just yet.  Be prepared to walk away from a deal if things don’t fall into place. There will always be another property.

7. Make an offer

Listen to your Realtor’s advice in making an offer that will be agreeable to the seller. It is almost always wise to write in a home inspection as a buyer’s condition. (Your Realtor can help you with interpreting the home inspector’s report and any necessary follow-up.) Read the Purchase Contract and other documents all the way through before you sign anything, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

8. Get your financing approved and get ready for moving day!

 

I’m happy to help get you into your first home! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Buying Your First Home? Start With Your Lifestyle

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Buying Your First Home? Start With Your Lifestyle | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBuying a first home is one of the most exciting yet daunting decisions young couples or single people in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region and elsewhere make. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the thousands of things to consider. It’s also easy to be swayed by emotion instead of focusing on the practical.

But, to begin the process, go ahead and dream a little! What does your perfect house look like? What kind of home is it? What features does it have? What do you need to live the life you want to live? What does your home have to have so that you can show the world how mature and responsible you are, what great personal style you have?

But…  Stop right there and step back for a minute. Before you settle on type of home (single family, duplex, townhouse, condo, etc.) or style of home (2-storey, bungalow, bi-level, etc.) or the number of bedrooms or the style of faucets in the bathrooms or the color of paint on the walls… The list of features is endless and every single house, like every person you’ll ever meet in your life, is unique. You can no more order the exact house you believe you want (unless you’re a trust fund baby and I’m assuming you’re not!) than you can order the perfect mate. So let’s approach this from a different angle.

Let’s talk about lifestyle and how it impacts your home, as well as how you foresee your lifestyle evolving over time. Which home buyer are you? Young and single, likes to be in the centre of things, no vehicle? You’re going to need a different style of home and probably neighbourhood than a family of two working parents with kids involved in school and many activities, or an older retired couple who like to travel. Some things to consider:

  • Your occupation (work space needed at home?)
  • Your leisure time pursuits (space for working on hobbies? storage for leisure time equipment? entertaining at home?)
  • Sociability (do you enjoy having many people living close by or do you need space and quiet?)
  • Access to amenities (do you want things like restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, health facilities, parks to be in close proximity, maybe even walking distance?)
  • Your vehicle situation (public transit user or someone who drives everywhere?)
  • The number of people (or pets) you envision living with you (how do you see your life changing in the next few years?)
  • The length of time you expect to live in this home (if less than 6 years, buying a home might not be the best option financially)
  • Your “handiness” level (do you need a home where everything has been done, or are you willing to take on a home that needs some fixing up? What about your skill in maintaining the property?)

I’m sure you can think of many things to add to this list. The point is that the person you are today and the person you see yourself becoming have a huge influence on the type of home that is just right for you.

Notice I haven’t said a word about the financial requirements for getting into home ownership. That aspect will follow in due course once you have a clear idea about what you need and want in a home. Once you have completed your lifestyle analysis, please read my companion blog article “Buying Your First Home? 8 Tips to Guide You Through the Process”.

Ready to start looking at homes to make the purchase of a lifetime? I would be pleased and honored to help you! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Brand New Vs. Resale: How to Choose Between New and Used When Buying a Spruce Grove Home

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Brand New Vs. Resale- How to Choose Between New and Used When Buying a Spruce Grove Home | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re looking to purchase a home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton region, you may have come across a common question, which leads to a big decision: Should I purchase a brand new or used home? This is a common question that virtually all homebuyers have, but it leads to two processes that are significantly different. When making this decision for yourself, be sure to consider these key differences in the purchasing process when it comes to buying brand new versus used real estate.

The Presale Process: Buying New Before Completion

One of the key differences when it comes to looking at brand new properties across Edmonton’s sought-after neighbourhoods, such as Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages, boils down to one thing: options.

Many times when searching for a brand new home you will find that you have many options to purchase a home in a development or subdivision that is not yet complete. This is referred to as purchasing a “presale” because you are buying the home before it is actually complete. Benefits to this purchasing decision are that the buyer often has more control over the finishes and customization of the home’s interior and gets to be the first owner of the home, while some drawbacks revolve around the legalities of the contract with the developer, as well as how much work you as the new owner will have to do (e.g., finishing a basement or adding landscape features, such as a deck, driveway, fence, trees, etc.). Often the completion date of unfinished developments is delayed significantly due to a number of factors, and market conditions can shift drastically during this time.

Brand New Versus Used: Consider the Taxes

Another key factor to keep in mind when looking for brand new Spruce Grove real estate is that taxes are applicable. Sometimes the sales price quoted to you from the builder or developer will include the GST, but just be sure to confirm this with them, and get the bottom line. Also be sure to consider your applicable tax rebate; most homebuyers purchasing a brand new home qualify for a rebate of 36% of the GST for a purchase price of up to $350,000, with a sliding scale between $350,000 and $450,000. An advantage of used homes is that there is no GST.

Maintenance on New Versus Used

When comparing your Stony Plain real estate with your Parkland County real estate, and considering new versus used homes, you should also consider the upkeep and maintenance of each. Under Alberta’s New Home Buyer Protection Act, all new construction comes with a warranty that covers the labour and materials of the home for one year, the plumbing and electrical for two years, and the building envelope for five years. Warranty won’t be one of the benefits of buying a used home, but a comprehensive understanding of the home’s general upkeep over a longer range of time might be one benefit unseen in buying brand new.

Keeping in mind the various benefits and drawbacks of each of the options, you should be able to make an educated decision on what route fits you best. Once you’ve made your choice between new and used, you’ll simply have to choose your area, and get shopping!

I am always happy to answer your Edmonton real estate purchasing questions, and can certainly help you clarify the new versus used buying process. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Hands Off! When Buyers and Sellers Need to Leave It to the Pros

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Hands Off!  When Buyers and Sellers Need to Leave It to the Pros | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAn incident occurred recently involving one of my buyer clients, providing another good reason for buyers and sellers to be represented by REALTORS®. There are lessons here for all buyers and sellers of real estate in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere.

My client’s purchase of a home was nearly complete. All the documents had been signed, conditions removed, keys ready to hand over. My client was very happy with the home. It was in top-notch condition, being exceptionally clean and well-maintained, with a beautifully landscaped yard.

My client happened to be driving past the property when he spotted the current owner in the garden apparently digging up shrubs and handing them over to a friend. This is, of course, a no-no in real estate transactions. Once a deal has been done and a contract in place, anything attached to the property has to stay.

When I represent the sellers in a real estate transaction, I usually warn my clients who are selling their home to make sure they remove everything they want to keep that would normally be considered permanent attachments to the home before we even place the listing on the market. Once a home is on the market, potential buyers have every right to assume that what they see is what they will get. That means sellers can’t take away items such as wall-hung shelves, kitchen cabinetry, drapery rods, plumbing or light fixtures, or parts of the landscaping, nor can they swap out appliances with cheaper or older models, unless those things are specifically mentioned in the contract.

So, if you were the buyer in this situation, what would you do?

I urge people involved in something like this to contact their REALTOR® and have him or her confer with the other REALTOR® to resolve, and possibly defuse, the situation. Buying and selling real estate can be an emotional, nerve-wracking experience, and nothing constructive can come out of a direct confrontation between buyer and seller. Instead, the two agents can determine whether there has been a breach of the contract, and then establish the best way to settle the issue. That way, no one should feel hurt or ripped off, no one loses face or good will, and the end result is what we all want: a successful and positive conclusion for all parties.

Questions or comments about what a REALTOR® can do for you? 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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