Archive for the ‘House hunting’ 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.

 

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.

Five Key Considerations That Will Help You Choose Which Neighbourhood You Might Want to Live In

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Five Key Considerations That Will Help You Choose Which Neighbourhood You Might Want to Live In | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhether you’ve been eyeing Edmonton, Parkland, Spruce Grove or Stony Plain real estate, there are a few key considerations to factor in before choosing the home or property that is right for you and your family. Seeking out Parkland County acreages or Edmonton real estate can be done by first considering the factors that are important to you before selecting a neighbourhood as your new home.

Neighbourhood Popularity

Before moving to an unfamiliar area, consider the popularity and population of the neighbourhoods you are most interested in. Whether you prefer a quiet location or if you are looking for a booming town, having an idea in mind is a way to expedite the process when you begin comparing homes and properties.

Property Value and Future Outlook

Consider the average value of the properties in the neighbourhoods you are interested in as well as the future outlook of the area. Researching each neighbourhood individually – whether you are looking for Parkland County real estate or Spruce Grove – is a way to ensure you find a location that is most suitable for your current lifestyle, career and future goals.

Taxes and Living Expenses

Research taxes and living expenses of each of the homes and neighbourhoods you are eyeing. As each location will come with its own set of costs and expenses, it is important to assess which areas are suitable for you and your income range. Don’t just think about now; give some thought to both your earning power and future costs. For example, if you’re part of a newlywed couple, are you planning on having children later? These are the types of living expenses you need to keep in mind.

Local Amenities, Resources and Shops

Whenever you are looking into real estate for your family, it is imperative to consider the surrounding shops and resources that are available within the neighbourhood itself. If you have children, be sure to research the locations of nearby schools as well as the school ratings and rankings. If you prefer local markets and shops, finding a neighbourhood that meets your needs can be done with a bit of research online to get a feel for the atmosphere of each location you are searching in. Comparing surrounding resources and locations in each neighbourhood can help to eliminate those that are simply not right for your preferred way of living.

Finding the perfect Spruce Grove real estate options or Edmonton acreages can be done with a bit of research and an assessment of your own needs and the needs of your family before selecting a neighbourhood that is the most suitable for you. Conducting a bit of background research on various areas you are most interested in living in is a way for you to ensure you have made the best decision for both you and your entire family or household.

When you are ready to make a move to a new home, give me a call for more information and I’ll be happy to help you begin your search!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

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.

Why I Just Talked You Out of the House You Wanted to Buy

Friday, January 4th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhy I Just Talked You Out of the House You Wanted to BuyYou and I have been looking at lots of homes in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region, and we finally found one that you decided was just right.  You know I’ll work hard to get you into the house of your dreams so why am I suddenly throwing cold water on your enthusiasm?

There are several reasons why I might suggest to clients that they step away from a deal: 

  • I think the asking price is much too high for the condition and location of the property, and it appears that the sellers are not willing to bargain a more reasonable price.  New listings come on the market all the time and I’m sure we can find another property that meets your requirements without forcing you to over-pay.
  • The property inspection report turned up some fairly major structural damage.  It’s not unusual for inspections to reveal all kinds of items needing attention and repair, especially in homes with a bit of experience, but generally these are cosmetic items that are easily remedied.  Sometimes sellers can even be persuaded to lower the selling price by a few thousand dollars to cover the cost of attending to these.  But when the number of these items becomes too great, or when there is an unexpected major issue, such as a roof in imminent danger of collapse, or a foundation weakened by severe water damage and the like, it may be time to walk away.
  • Your personal situation has suddenly changed.  Maybe you lost your job; there’s been a serious illness or even death in the family; family dynamics have changed (marriage breakdown, an elderly parent moving in, etc.); money you’d earmarked for the home purchase is no longer available….  Let’s put the house-hunting on hold until your life is back on track.
  • I think your eyes may be bigger than your stomach, financially speaking.  I’ve gotten to know a bit about your financial situation, and the time may not be right for you to jump into home ownership, or at least not a home as expensive as the ones we’ve been looking at.  Your debt load may be a bit too high, your credit may be shaky, you may not have considered the large number of costs associated with home ownership, such as legal fees, insurance, taxes, moving expenses, home maintenance costs and the like.  I want you to be happy with your purchase without worrying about how you will be able to pay for it over time and without compromising your standard of living. 

Yes, my business is helping people buy and sell homes, but I like to emphasize the “helping” part!  Sometimes that means saying no. 

Looking to buy a home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here. 

House Shopping = Lifestyle Shopping

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

House Shopping = Lifestyle Shopping | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamYou may have seen the ad on TV about the couple who bought what looks like a nice house, only to discover it has numerous flaws, such as being shaken off its foundations every day by the passage of the 11 o’clock train!  If you’re shopping for a new home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area, you’re going to want to consider more than just the features of the house itself.

You probably have a long list of things you want in a home:  the number and size of bedrooms, the set-up of the kitchen, modern fixtures in multiple bathrooms, amount of storage space, parking, cosmetic features such as paint colors and flooring, and much more.  You may have considered the style of residence that would work best for you, such as a 2-storey home for a growing family or a bungalow for people with reduced mobility.  You’ve probably also given some thought to landscaping features, such as patios and decks, trees and shrubs in the yard, walkways, driveway space, fences, and so on. 

But almost as important as the house and yard is the neighborhood in which your potential new home is located.  Yes, there’s that real estate cliché again – location, location, location – showing up over and over again as a very important element in the whole home buying and selling experience. 

Because, when you shop for a home, you’re really shopping to meet the needs of your lifestyle, and that always extends beyond the walls of the building in which your family sleeps at night. 

If you have a young family, you probably are interested in a neighborhood close to a school or adjacent to a park with a playground.  If you are a senior, you might look for a neighborhood where the amenities you need or want, such as shopping, recreational activities, medical facilities, fine restaurants, are in convenient reach, perhaps even walking distance.  Maybe you spend long hours at your job or other activities, so a home within an easy commute would be good for you. 

This isn’t all.  Consider the things you want or don’t want to live near.  Some people like corner lots, for example, while other people detest them.  Many people would love to live in a home that backs onto green space or a water feature (and often, as a seller, you can command a higher price for a home like this).  Most people would prefer that their dream home not be located on a busy and noisy thoroughfare, or next to a high-crime area.  As you shop for your new home and new neighborhood, it doesn’t hurt to think about the resale value of the homes you’re looking at, and realize that the value comes from more than the building on its lot.   Remember too, that there are things you can change, such as kitchen counters and cupboards, and things you can’t, like that train I mentioned earlier!  The home, its surroundings and your lifestyle become a package deal. 

I’m always happy to respond to your comments and questions!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

House Hunting Tips

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHouse Hunting TipsWhether you are seriously in the market to buy a house in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region, or just like to look at pictures and dream, you might find an article about the HGTV show House Hunters informative and entertaining.  

HGTV show inspires tips for real-life seekers(published in the July 28, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal, and other newspapers, as well as online) is a tongue-in-cheek commentary by columnist Mary Beth Breckenridge about her addiction to the TV show House Hunters, in which she notes that buyers seem to toss their common sense when viewing property for sale.  Here is what she advises would-be home purchasers:

“-Granite countertops do not make a kitchen. Yes, they’re lovely, but maybe you should open the drawers to make sure they don’t require the kind of force that dislocates elbows, and turn on the faucet to verify that the water flows in more than a trickle.  Oh, and by the way, there are other kinds of countertops. Very nice ones, in fact.

– Location, location, location. It didn’t become a real-estate cliché without good reason. You can replace carpet and reconfigure rooms, but that freeway noise? You’re stuck with it.

– For the love of God, price a couple of cans of paint before you reject a house over the blue in the baby’s room.

– You might want to think twice about going right from an efficiency apartment to a McMansion. Furniture costs money, you know.

– Five bedrooms for two people? Really?

– Two-storey great rooms look dramatic, but check the heating bills if you live in Minnesota.

– Don’t give the yard short shrift. It takes hours to knock down a wall but years to grow a tree.

– After a few months of two-hour commutes, you’re going to kick yourself for choosing the sparkly new Colonial on the outer reaches of exurbia over the fixer-upper 10 minutes from your job. Even if it does have hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.

– And remember what I said about countertops? Ditto appliances.” 

So, what do you go for when you’re searching for new digs?  Are you one of those people who falls for something shiny, or can you look beyond what’s pretty (or, for that matter, what’s not so pretty) to find what’s practical?  Home stagers exist for a reason, and it’s the wise buyer who is able to resist their tricks!  Learn to distinguish what you absolutely must have from what would be nice to have.  Separate things that can be changed (paint color, counter tops, appliances, other decorative items) from those that can’t (street on which the home is built, its orientation on the property, other permanent construction details).  Do this and you’re sure to find the right home that you’ll be happy to live in for a long time.   (See also my blog article from April 5, 2012 entitled “That Perfect House”.)

Still a little confused about what to look for?  Let me help 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
© Copyright 2011, Real Estate Websites by Redman Technologies Inc. | Privacy Policy | Sitemap
The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton
MLS® MLS REALTOR® Realtor
Trademarks used under license from CREA