Posts Tagged ‘edmonton real estate’

Edmonton Real Estate 101: the Most Common FAQ’s About Secondary Suites

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Edmonton Real Estate 101- the Most Common FAQs About Secondary Suites | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn the hunt for a new home so far you’ve covered Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages. That’s quite a bit of land to cover, but for good reason. There’s one feature in particular you’re looking for in your new home: a secondary suite.

What Is a Secondary Suite?

A secondary suite is a section of a single detached house that contains all of the features of an apartment, like a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom and a living space that remains separated from the main house. Basement apartments are a common example of this type of living space.

What Size Should It Be?

According to Edmonton bylaws, a secondary suite should be at least 30 m² (about 325 square feet) and no more than 70 m² (about 750 square feet). In total, the main house and the secondary suite should be at least 360 m² (3875 square feet).

What Are the Advantages to Owning a Home With a Secondary Suite?

The biggest advantage of purchasing a home with a secondary suite is being able to rent out the unit. Depending on how the space has been divided, most suites can accommodate one or two people. The rent collected on the suite can serve as additional income for homeowners, which is a fantastic way to supplement mortgage payments. Adding a secondary suite can also be beneficial when it comes time to sell your home. Houses with secondary suites usually have a higher property value compared to other houses of a similar size. With a secondary suite, you’ll earn more on the sale.

Are There Any Restrictions to Be Aware Of?

As with most major renovations, zoning restrictions and certain bylaws act as guidelines for building and maintaining a legally sound secondary suite. Check zoning policies for your location to determine how they will impact your situation. In general, there are a few standard rules with which a secondary suite should comply. First, only single detached homes may contain a secondary suite. Second, the suite must fulfill all fire code regulations upon inspection.

Does Owning a Secondary Suite Impact My Taxes?

The short answer is, yes, it does. If you chose to rent out the suite and take on tenants, the rent money collected must be documented with the CRA as earned income when it comes time to file your income taxes for the year.

Is City Funding Available for Suite Renovations?

There are certain grants and funding options available for homeowners seeking to either add a secondary suite to their home or renovate an existing suite. Upon receiving approval and funding, renovated suites will be subject to inspection by city officials to confirm that fire code and building code regulations are met.

Secondary suites are the next wave in creating affordable housing solutions for homeowners and renters.

Have more questions about secondary suites that need answering? Bring them to me! I would be more than happy to discuss any issues related to home ownership and Alberta real estate. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Don’t Get Towed This Winter! Pay Attention to Winter Parking Regulations in Edmonton

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Don't Get Towed This Winter! Pay Attention to Winter Parking Regulations in Edmonton | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamEdmonton is home to a number of fantastic neighbourhoods filled with great homes and many amenities. If you’re planning on moving to areas like Stony Plain, Parkland County acreages, Spruce Grove, or any other area in the Edmonton region, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the neighbourhood that you’ll soon be calling home. One issue you might want to learn about is parking enforcement, especially in the winter when snow tends to take over the roads. If you want to avoid getting ticketed or towed on a regular basis, here is the low-down on winter parking regulations in Edmonton.

Edmonton Offers Blading Services to Clear Roadways

Those who own a piece of Edmonton real estate know how harsh winters can be. It doesn’t take long before mounds of snow start covering the roads and walkways, making it tough not only to drive, but also to find a parking spot. The City of Edmonton offers a 24-hour ploughing operation for blading the streets. Every time a bus route or road has been fully bladed, the City informs residents. The city makes a new snow blading schedule after every major snowfall.

Windrows Take Up Parking Spaces and Create Parking Bans

Ploughing is necessary to clear the roadways and bus routes, but the end result is usually huge mounds of snow, called “windrows”, sitting on the sides of the roads and in parking spaces. After the city clears the driving lanes, the next step is to widen the narrowed roadways. In order to do that, cars need to steer clear of parking along these roadways to make room for city workers to get rid of these windrows and open up this much needed space.

Seasonal Parking Ban During Winter

In order for city workers to be able to get rid of these massive snow piles on Edmonton city streets, a seasonal parking ban is placed on designated bus routes after a big snowfall. Residents will be notified at least 8 hours in advance through a news conference, radio announcement, postings on Twitter and Facebook, email messages, and on the City of Edmonton’s Transportation webpage. Once this seasonal parking ban is in effect, cars that are parked where “Seasonal Parking Ban” signs are placed must be moved right away.

Targeted Parking Ban After Major Snowfall

A targeted parking ban is slightly different from a seasonal parking ban. These parking bans are put in effect in Edmonton areas only during times when specific roads need immediate ploughing. ‘No Parking’ signs will be temporarily placed on targeted routes 24 hours before the ploughs come out. This targeted parking ban will be enforced with tickets or towing if vehicles aren’t moved between 7 AM and 7 PM.

Parking Tickets Issued During Winter Parking Ban

A parking ticket isn’t the best to wake up to in the morning in your Edmonton home. Yet hundreds – if not thousands – of drivers get slapped with a ticket during every winter parking ban. The City of Edmonton does everything they can to get the message out there to motorists about the parking ban, including its schedule. But for those who don’t comply, parking tickets and even car towing will be enforced. Parking enforcement usually comes in the form of a $50 ticket. If you don’t move your illegally parked vehicle after a certain amount of time, it could be towed, at a further expense.

The winter parking regulations in Edmonton are just a fraction of what there is to know about this great city and its suburbs. I’m happy to help you sort through any queries you might have about Edmonton acreages, or any other real estate queries. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Housing Market Boom or Bust in Alberta?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHousing Market Boom or Bust in Alberta?My clients in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area often ask me if “now” is a good time to buy a new home.  My answer to that question usually involves telling them that the best time to buy is when they feel ready to do so, no matter what the market is doing.  That may sound like a weasel answer but I believe people’s own finances and their needs and wants in housing are better for decision-making than any attempts to time or predict the market.

But “now” is an interesting time to be dealing in real estate in Alberta.  You’ve probably seen the gloomy news reports that the Canadian housing market is due for a major correction with house prices set to fall by about 20%.  That is not the case here!

In a recent article in the Edmonton Journal entitled “Alberta’s housing market still hot, whatever the media say”, Gary Lamphier reports on a conversation with Don Campbell, senior analyst and founding partner with the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN).  Mr. Campbell advises would-be sellers and buyers to “chill out”, suggesting that there is no such thing as a Canadian real estate market, but rather that each locality has its own unique market and conditions.  He goes even further when commenting about the Alberta market, saying that economic and demographic factors here are ripe for another housing boom, not bust.  He notes Alberta’s population continues to grow as workers come into the province while apartment vacancy rates shrink.  Many of these workers will decide to make Alberta their permanent home and that means they’ll be buying houses sometime in the next 2 to 7 years, fueling demand for houses and the subsequent rise in prices.

You may have heard or read that prices in Alberta have flat-lined so how can the dream of a new housing boom be true?  Mr. Campbell says Alberta’s boom-bust economy and the accompanying anxiety in people’s minds is to blame for this skepticism, along with tougher mortgage qualification rules and the negative national news.  He points out that Alberta’s population growth in 2012 was nearly triple the national average, putting a strain on housing capacity.  This situation tends to cause prices to rise.  While the average price of a house in Edmonton (about $401,000 in February) is still not as high as the peak prices in 2007, prices are definitely on the rise, according to another article entitled “Home prices flirt with record highs of ‘07”.

All of this suggests to me that now is indeed a good time to buy!

Let me help you find the home that’s just right for you.  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Good Time or Bad Time To Buy a Home?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Good Time or Bad Time To Buy a Home? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMost people considering the purchase of a home, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region, or elsewhere, get around to asking the important question:  “Is now a good time or a bad time to buy a home?”  It sounds flippant or evasive if I respond with “Yes” or “That depends”, but both answers are correct!  For most people, buying a home is one of the most significant events in their lives, and it naturally comes with many positives and negatives based on individual situations.  Once people have made the decision to invest in a home, the best time to buy becomes “now”, no matter what the market is doing.

But the market at the moment in the Edmonton area is making the decision to buy much easier.  An article in the January 5, 2012 Edmonton Journal entitled “Real estate market healthy, agents say” contains some very encouraging news.   In spite of crises elsewhere (Europe’s money woes, the US housing market), prices and sales in our region remain steady.  The article quotes a statistic from the Realtors Association of Edmonton:  the average price of homes sold through MLS in 2011 was $325,457.  This is down slightly from $329,019 in 2010, but prices are not undergoing the wild swings we’ve experienced in the past or the ups and downs felt elsewhere.  The article also points out that 827 properties were sold in December 2011, compared to just two more the previous December.

Is right now, just after New Year’s, a good time to buy?  Sure, why not?  The article mentions that the market usually picks up in the summer, with April and May being peak months, but there is always an inventory of homes waiting for the right buyer, and the current market stability, combined with continuing low mortgage rates, all suggest the time is never better!

I’d love to help you find that perfect home!  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

House Painting 101

Monday, July 25th, 2011

House Painting 101 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSummer in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton areas of Alberta is a great time to tackle projects to refresh your home or acreage.  Painting is one of the best things you can do because it adds value to your home without costing much money and is relatively easy to do.  This is especially important if you are looking to sell your home.   A fresh coat of paint is one of the few renovations where you have a chance to recover all of your investment.

If you’re a beginner, where do you start?  With so many brands, types and colors of paint to choose from, and so many books, articles and internet sites giving all kinds of advice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

An article that’s been sitting in my clipping file for awhile now is one of the best I’ve seen for a quick introduction to the mysteries of painting a room.  “How to paint like a pro” was published in the March 13, 2010 edition of the Edmonton JournalIf you are a novice painter, I advise you to study every word of this article before you ever start thinking about finishes and colors!    

Then you may want to learn a little more about painting:

  • One way is to check out the self-help section in a quality paint store or a large hardware store like the Home Depot.  Don’t be shy about asking the people working in these places for advice.
  • A Google search on “How to paint a room” turned up a number of YouTube videos.
  • Some other practical websites:

Bob Vila: How to Paint a Room

How to do IT: Painting a Room!

How to Paint a Room [from the About.com series of websites]

How to Paint a Room Like a Pro – Fine Homebuilding [series of videos]

Painting & Wallpapering – for Dummies [many articles from estimating how much paint to buy, to the proper use of a paint roller, and much more]

TLC Home “How to Paint a Room: Tips and Guidelines”

  • The best way to learn to paint?  Just get in there and do it!

Comments or questions about this article, or any aspect of home buying and selling?  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

Build Your Home Around Your Passion

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Plenty of people in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area operate businesses out of their homes.  I’ve written before about the need to sometimes modify a home in order to pursue personal activities that go beyond what a standard house can accommodate (see my article entitled “Hobbies and Your Home” ).  I saw this principle in action recently.

Last Christmas, my daughter Devan gave me a gift certificate for a cooking class, and on Sunday June 12 the two of us spent 4 very enjoyable hours at the home of Kathryn Joel in southwest Edmonton taking part in the preparation of an Italian farmhouse feast.

Kathryn’s commitment to good food goes well beyond mere nourishment, as her website Get Cooking Edmonton.com  points out:

“Kathryn Joel is a passionate foodie whose love of cooking has taken her around the globe exploring diverse culinary traditions.  A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise of global cuisines and cooking methods.

 Kathryn has combined her culinary expertise with her commitment to uncomplicated, approachable cooking, by bringing Get Cooking to Edmonton.

 During her years working with food, Kathryn realized that with some basic cooking skills and a good local knowledge of where to source the right ingredients, anyone can bring flavours from around the world into their own kitchens.  And as a member of Live Local Eat Local Kathryn aims to support Edmonton’s local producers and suppliers by focusing on the use of fresh and local ingredients in her classes.”

Build Your Home Around Your Passion | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Crostini with Roasted Sweet Peppers

Four other students joined Devan and me in listening to Kathryn’s passionate and rapid-fire explanations, stories and instructions, watching as bread dough was miraculously transformed into heavenly smelling and delicious tasting Crostini with Roasted Sweet Peppers and Foccaccia with Sage, and participating in the creation of a marvelous meal from appetizers through dessert.  My job was to stir the risotto (Risotto with Asparagus), a chore that required a little more patience than I have, so I was happy to hand my spoon off to another student.  I watched with some anxiety as Devan wielded Kathryn’s razor-sharp kitchen knives chopping the roasted sweet peppers.  We learned a number of cooking tips, like how to tell with the stretch test if bread dough is ready (you should be able to stretch the dough until it is nearly translucent but doesn’t tear), or the poke test (poke a finger in and the dough should spring back), or just where to break the tough end off an asparagus stalk, or how to keep the bright green in cooked asparagus by plunging it into ice water, or where in Edmonton and area to buy the best ingredients like the freshest chicken and highest-quality balsamic vinegar.

Build Your Home Around Your Passion | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Risotto with Asparagus

After several hours, the feast was ready:  Crostini with Roasted Sweet Peppers; Caprese Salad; Foccaccia with Sage; Risotto with Asparagus; Chicken Roasted with Porcini Mushrooms and Potatoes; Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar, and we were delighted to enjoy the results of our work, along with some very good wine.

All of this activity took place in Kathryn’s beautiful purpose-built kitchen, designed to accommodate up to 8 students around an enormous granite counter that housed a sink and fridge.  Her kitchen contained other items not normally found in an average kitchen:  2 ovens, a warming tray, a sub-zero refrigerator, and more.  I know that kitchens sell homes, and I know many buyers who would be thrilled to have a kitchen like Kathryn’s.  In her case, the kitchen is a requirement of her business, and just happens to also be an incredible addition to a lovely home.

Build Your Home Around Your Passion | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Operating a home-based business often means finding novel ways of blending home and work equipment and activities so that one doesn’t disrupt the other.  You may also find that your business requires special permits and licensing from your municipality, as well as special insurance.  Should you decide to renovate your space, as Kathryn did, to accommodate your business needs, you may want to consider the impact of such a renovation on the ultimate resale value of your home.  In the end, if your business is your passion, your home may naturally evolve into a unique extension of this.

For more information about Kathryn Joel’s cooking classes, or to book a class, visit her website.  

Interested in property that could accommodate your home-based business?  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here

Who’s Who in a Real Estate Transaction

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Who's Who in a Real Estate Transaction | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBuying or selling your Parkland County acreage or your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, or Edmonton area home is likely to be the biggest financial transaction of your life.  Many different professionals may be involved, and it can be confusing to you, the client, as to what the roles of all these people are and how they can be helpful to you.

A short but very useful and informative video on YouTube entitled “The People to Know in a Real Estate Transaction” explains such things as:

  • the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent (and to whom they owe loyalty);
  • the difference between a mortgage broker and a mortgage banker;
  • what things a home inspector looks for, and how the role of a home inspector differs from that of a home appraiser;
  • why it pays to use a real estate attorney to complete your sale (required in Alberta when REALTORS® are involved).

Although the video is aimed at an American audience, the information is still mostly applicable to our situation in Alberta.

Need more information?  I’ll do what I can to find the answers to any of your questions.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Spring Cleaning the Natural Way

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Spring Cleaning the Natural Way |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAfter the long hard winter we’ve had, most of us can’t wait to open all the windows in our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area homes and acreages to let in that great spring air and clean out the mustiness of winter.  But before you rush off to the store to stock up on the latest expensive chemical cleaners that promise to make your home cleaner and fresher than last year’s products, consider going green this spring, just in time for Earth Day on April 22.

Long before commercial cleaning products were available, people cleaned their homes with a few simple but effective ingredients.  These products are readily available, much less toxic to people and the environment, and easy on the wallet too!  A little caution though:  These products may be (mostly) “natural” but that doesn’t mean you can go nuts with them!  Vinegar and lemon juice, for example, being acidic, will not be kind to marble; use plain water instead.

A couple of dirty little secrets about cleaning that the makers of chemical cleaning products don’t want you to know:

  1. There is no magic formula or product that will make things clean.  Most cleaning comes from friction; that is, the application of good old elbow grease.
  2. If you clean as you go, wiping up spills as they occur, washing off grime before it has a chance to build up, you can leave those expensive and toxic chemical cleaners on the store shelves.

Here is what you’ll need to clean green:

Baking Soda

White Vinegar

Salt

Borax

Lemon Juice

Club soda

Olive oil

Toothpaste

Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol

Castile Soap [a plant-based soap, containing olive, palm and/or coconut oils; available from natural foods stores.  Look for Dr. Bronner’s brand.]

Microfiber cleaning cloths, sponges, lint-free rags

Glass and mirrors:

  • Slightly dampened microfiber cloths work better than the blue stuff!
  • Or, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle.  Wipe with clean, lint-free rag.  (Some eco-cleaners suggest using newspaper for wiping but our experience says this just makes a mess!)
  • Or, spray windows with club soda; wipe with clean, lint-free rag.

All-purpose cleaning:

  • Mix vinegar with salt; scrub with sponge
  • Or, pour some baking soda and vinegar on a damp sponge to clean and deodorize kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Plain full-strength vinegar is a great defense against mildew and its odors.  Works well on grease too.
  • Another recipe:  Combine ½ cup of pure soap, such as Castile, with one gallon of hot water and ¼  cup of lemon juice
  • Or try this:  Combine 1 tbsp Borax, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 cup hot water in a spray bottle to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Furniture polish:

Combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup vinegar and 2 tsp lemon juice in a spray bottle.  Spray liberally on wood surfaces and wipe dry with a soft cloth.

Sinks and bathtubs, including tile:

  • Combine equal amounts of salt and baking soda; scrub with sponge.
  • Rust and other stains on porcelain can be handled by rubbing with a mixture of lemon juice and salt.
  • Spray vinegar full strength on soap scum and crusted scale from hard water.  Let soak and scrub off.

Faucets: 

  • Clean with toothpaste and an old toothbrush.  Rinse and wipe dry.
  • Or, spray with full-strength vinegar to remove soap scum and hard water stains.

Drain cleaning:

Pour ¼ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup vinegar.  Cover immediately, or close drain, and let sit 15 minutes.  Flush with hot water.

Toilet bowl cleaner:

  • Pour 1 cup vinegar into the toilet bowl; let stand for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle baking soda onto toilet brush and scour.  Flush.
  • To keep the bowl fresh, pour 1 cup of vinegar (or 1 cup of Borax) into the toilet bowl once or twice a month and let stand overnight.

Floors of all types:

Add ½ cup vinegar to a gallon of hot water.  Dirty floors may need to be scrubbed with a brush; most will only need to be mopped or wiped with a rag dampened in the mixture.  If cleaning hardwood or laminate floors, make sure your mop or rag is only slightly damp, as these types of floors don’t love excess moisture.

Hardwood floor cleaner:

Mix ½ cup lemon juice, ½ cup rubbing alcohol and ½ cup olive oil into a gallon of warm water; wipe with slightly dampened mop or rag.  This mixture also works great on wood furniture and kitchen cabinets.

Laminate floor cleaner:

Combine 1 cup vinegar, ½ cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp. mild dishwashing liquid and 1 gallon hot water; wipe with slightly dampened mop or rag.

Tips for appliances:

  • Run an empty dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar to remove food residue, limescale, built up detergent and grease.
  • Equal parts water and white vinegar boiled in a kettle or run through a coffee maker will remove limescale build-up.  Run another cycle using plain water to remove any trace of the vinegar.
  • Burned on food, whether on pots and pans or on the floor of an oven, can be removed with baking soda.  Make a paste of baking soda and water, spread it liberally over the area to be cleaned, let sit for at least 30 minutes.  Scour and rinse.  Or, try mixing 1 part cinnamon with 6 parts salt; pour on oven spill as soon as it occurs.  Wipe clean when oven is cool.
  • Oven cleaningMix together 2 tsp. Borax, 4 tbsp. white vinegar, 2 cups water and 2 tbsp. castile soap in a spray bottle.  Spray all over the oven walls and floor.  Cover the wet surface with baking soda.  Follow with a second layer of your homemade cleaner.  Let sit overnight and wipe clean in the morning.
  • Spills on glass stove-tops can be scoured off using baking soda and a slightly dampened sponge or non-scratching plastic scouring pad.
  • Clean your microwave by combining 2 tbsp baking soda or lemon juice or vinegar with a cup of water in a bowl.  Microwave for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and condensation builds up onside the microwave.  Wipe down.
  • Freshen the inside of your refrigerator by wiping it down with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water.

Comments or questions about this article?  Please phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca or contact me here.

A Useful Website for Home Buyers

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

When it’s time to buy a house or acreage in Alberta, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, do you choose a pre-owned home, or do you work with a builder to create a brand new model, modified to your custom specifications?  Whichever way you go, a great resource for all buyers, not just those thinking about building a home, is the Alberta New Home Warranty Program .

If you are looking to build a new home, this website can guide you through the entire process.   Click on sections entitled:

  • Choose the Right Builder
  • Understanding the Building Process (with emphasis on the building inspection)
  • Your Warranty Coverage (explains the various consumer protections for new home buyers) and
  • Finding Solutions & Settling Issues.

A Useful Website for Home Buyers |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam

 

While the primary focus of this website is on brand new homes, all buyers can benefit from several of the publications:

  • Clicking on Single Family Guidebook takes you to a publication entitled Your Purchase to Possession Guidebook.   This guidebook is loaded with details and answers every question a new home purchaser might have.
  •  If your new home is a condo, click on The Way Home Condominium Guide for a road map to the purchase process from first notion, through construction, possession, and after you move in.
  • The Care and Maintenance Guidebook provides a very comprehensive tour of the physical structure of a residence and what you can do to keep your home looking like new.
  • For information on every aspect of the acceptable standards for “bricks and mortar” of home construction, click on the Workmanship & Material Reference Guide – great for new home buyers, but also an excellent resource for home renovators.

Questions or comments about this article, or about any aspect of purchasing a home?  I’d be happy to help.  Contact me here, phone me at 780-910-9669, or email me at barry@barryt.ca

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 3: Writing an Offer

Friday, November 5th, 2010

My clients in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area have lots of questions, and I’m happy to answer them!  This article is Part 3 of a series that addresses the most common questions I get from buyers.

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 3: Writing an Offer |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHow much do I offer?

This really depends.  Five factors to be considered include:

  • what the current asking price of the property is and how well it is priced
  • if there are other offers competing with your offer to purchase the property
  • how important the property is to you
  • whether the market is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market
  • how long the property has been on the market

This is where the expertise and honesty of your REALTOR® comes in.  You must trust your REALTOR® and feel confident that he or she is providing reliable information.  As part of the services I provide to my clients, we assess the asking price based on comparable sold properties for the area.

Although every REALTOR® will have his or her own negotiating style, there are a few general concepts you should understand:

  • An offer is a combination of these things: Price; Conditions (financing, inspection, etc.); Chattels (unattached goods); Possession date. This combination has value to both the buyer and the seller.
  • There is no magical percentage for offers. For instance, not every offer should be 5 to 10% below the asking price. Some may be less and some may be more; it depends on how reasonable the asking price is.
  • Not every seller HAS to sell his home. Some sellers will be more motivated than others. There are sellers who list their property just to see how much they can get for it, and they may not be willing to negotiate much lower than their asking price. There are other sellers who have to sell, and these may be more willing to negotiate the price.
  • Be prepared to walk away. It is important to decide ahead of time the highest price you are willing to pay for the property, and then be prepared to say no to anything higher.
  • Competing offers require a much different strategy. You will need the advice and experience of your REALTOR® to know how to handle this type of situation.

If my offer is too low, can my offer insult a seller?

In my opinion, yes, it can.  If your offer is too low, a seller may decide that he or she will not even counter your offer.  I do not recommend a low offer if you really want the property.  You do not want to push a seller’s insult button, because then you risk attaching emotion to the transaction.  If you insult a seller, you risk that person refusing to sell you the home at any price.  If you decide to drastically change your offer, the seller could interpret this as desperation and you could end up paying more for the property than if your offer had been more reasonable the first time.

What if I don’t find anything I like in my price range?  Should I look at houses over my price range in case there is a reduction in the price?

Normally, I suggest that it is reasonable to look at homes that are $5000 to $10,000 over your price range, but not more than this.  You will be very disappointed if you find a house that is more than you can afford, and the sellers will not budge on price!  For example, if you are approved up to $350,000, and you are looking at houses in the $365,000 price range, it could be that the houses at $365,000 have already had $30,000 in price reductions.  It could then be difficult to negotiate the price down to $350,000.  My suggestion to my clients is that we assess these properties on a case by case basis.

If I find a house I like, how do I make an offer?

This is where the expertise and experience of a REALTOR® is required.  You can expect to spend approximately one hour getting the paperwork together and signing the “Offer to Purchase”.  Once your offer is made, your REALTOR® will normally present your offer to the seller and the seller’s REALTOR®.  Negotiation typically begins here.  It is important that you are available by telephone or in person in the event a counter offer is made from your offer.  Once the offer is accepted by the seller, any changes to the contract must be initialed by all parties.  All offers must be accepted IN WRITING to be legally binding.

What happens after my offer has been accepted?

Assuming you have placed conditions on your offer, you will have timelines to fulfill these conditions before the property is sold.  The type of condition will determine what is required.  Remember:  conditions must be removed in writing prior to the expiry of the timelines, or you risk losing the property.  Here are some general conditions:

  • Financing condition: Your mortgage broker or bank will need to have the information for your purchase immediately! As a service to my clients, I can fax a copy of the offer, along with a copy of the MLS® listing, to your mortgage broker or bank on your behalf.
  • Home Inspection: A property inspection will need to be booked if a certified home inspector is going to be used. The buyer’s REALTOR® will attend the home inspection.

What are conditions in an offer?

Conditions allow for a set amount of time for the buyer to get things in order.  Conditions also ensure that the buyer’s deposit is protected.  If you cannot fulfill your conditions (for example, your bank will not provide you with financing), then your deposit will be returned to you.

What are some of the standard conditions?

  • Financing Condition: This gives time for the buyer’s mortgage broker to confirm that the lender will provide funds for the purchase.
  • Property Inspection Condition: This gives time for the buyers to have an inspector review the property.
  • Condo Document Review Condition: This ensures the buyers receive the condo documents from the seller and gives time for the buyers to read through these documents and seek specialized advice if needed.
  • Sale of a Buyer’s Home Condition: This allows the buyers time to sell their current property.

How much time do I get to deal with conditions and finalize the offer to purchase?

Typically, you will have 5 to 7 business days to get your finances in order (so make sure you are pre-approved with a lender BEFORE you write an offer!), have a property inspection completed, or review condo documents.

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 3: Writing an Offer |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIs there more paperwork after I make the offer?

Usually there is.  If you placed conditions on your offer, you will have to remove those conditions once you have fulfilled them by signing a “Condition Removal” form.  If you have a variety of condition dates, then you may have to sign several condition removals.  Amendments to the contract may be needed as well, such as a change to the possession date agreed upon by the seller and the buyer.

If you don’t see your question here, it might be answered in the Buyers Guide section of my website.  Or, feel free to contact me any time by email at barry@barryt.ca or by phone 780-910-9669.

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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