Posts Tagged ‘parkland county real estate’

Garbage Disposal in Parkland County

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Garbage Disposal in Parkland County | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhether you call it waste management or taking out the trash, disposing of your garbage when you live on an acreage in Parkland County or elsewhere is not usually as simple as leaving it at the curb as you would in Spruce Grove or Stony Plain or Parkland County’s hamlet of Entwhistle.

Luckily, country residents are not left entirely to their own devices. The days of burying or burning your garbage are, thankfully, long over. Parkland County has systems in place along with strict guidelines as to what you may or may not do, and how and where unwanted items are to be disposed of.

Parkland County residents are provided with a Solid Waste Disposal Access card  that allows them to drop off their regular household waste and recyclables at no charge at any of the County’s transfer stations. Charges apply for items not considered regular household waste (such as demolition or construction materials, commercial waste, large appliances and the like). Parkland County no longer maintains landfill sites or dumps. Instead, in 2008, these sites were converted to transfer stations which provide a wide range of waste disposal services. For a full list of the County’s transfer stations, their locations and hours of operation, what they’ll accept, charges, and the like, visit the webpage Transfer Station Locations & Information.

For people who don’t have the time or ability to take their waste and recyclable items to a facility, curbside pickup is available for a price through private contractors in some areas of Parkland County. Contact Public Works at 780-968-8448 for more information.

The County also maintains a Take It Or Leave It facility at the Parkland County Transfer Station and Recycle Centre (located at 52514 Range Road 11, South of Hwy 16A on Range Road 11). Residents of Parkland County can bring items that they believe other people might have a use for, or take possession of items other residents have donated. Read about this unique service, and what items are acceptable, on the webpage Take It Or Leave It.

To learn about all aspects of living in Parkland County, browse through their website.

I’m always happy to help you with questions related to acreage living. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

The River Valley Alliance

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

One of Edmonton’s nicknames is River City, and the River Valley Alliance is working hard to make that much more than a catchy phrase.

The River Valley Alliance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHaven’t heard of the River Valley Alliance?  If you are someone who enjoys spending time outdoors and who is concerned about preserving the natural beauty around us for generations to come, this is something you’ll want to learn about and get involved in.

The goal of the River Valley Alliance since 1996 has been to “Preserve, Protect and Enhance” the valley of the North Saskatchewan River.  Seven municipalities within the valley (Town of Devon, Parkland County, Leduc County, City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County and City of Fort Saskatchewan) collaborate to create a continuous river valley park system connecting the 22+ parks and numerous trails in Alberta’s Capital Region, stretching all the way from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan.  The end product is a continuous span of 88 km, longer than any other urban park in North America. At 18,000 acres, it is also one of the largest, making it 22 times bigger than Central Park in New York City. 

The official River Valley Alliance brochure points out that “the River Valley is a defining symbol of Alberta’s Capital Region, a green corridor along the North Saskatchewan River that offers:

      • a preserve for wildlife and native vegetation
      • an escape to nature for residents and visitors
      • opportunities for year round outdoor recreation, family fun and community events
      • a place to connect to others and with yourself”

The River Valley Alliance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamRVA’s main role is to coordinate planning and development along the river valley and to access financial and public support for the project.

RVA’s brochure also suggests several ways each of us can get involved in this very worthy undertaking:

“Visit the river valley – share the experience with family and friends

Show your pride – tell people about this unique feature and RVA’s work

Participate – share your river valley stories, photos and videos

Donate – donate to RVA’s work through Canada Helps, corporate giving, or in-kind donations

Connect – contact us or subscribe online to RVA’s e-newsletter:

River Valley Alliance, P.O. Box 2359, Edmonton AB T5J 2R7

Thanks to the fine folks at River Valley Alliance for allowing me to quote from their brochure and use their content! 

Comments or questions about this article or about real estate near the river?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

This is the Dream Home You’ve Been Looking For

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Every once in a while, a home comes on the market that is so outstanding, it deserves to be highlighted in a special way.  If you are in the market for an acreage home in the Spruce Grove-Stony Plain-Edmonton region, this incredible property needs to be seen to be appreciated.This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam44, 53305 Range Road 273, Parkland County is a 4-bedroom (2 up, 2 down), 1,991 sq ft custom-designed bungalow (built in 2006) situated on a 1.14 acre lot in the prestigious subdivision of Atim Creek Springs 12 minutes west of Edmonton.  Adjectives like stunning, gorgeous, breathtaking, incredible sound like clichés but in this case every one of them fits!  There is nothing lacking in either the superb finishing of the home or the spectacular landscaping of the park-like lot. 

Here are just a few of the features of this home that make it extraordinary:

Kitchen and Dining Areas:

Beautiful kitchen with tons of space, pot drawers, pecan-colored cabinets, glass-doored pantry, granite counter tops, breakfast bar

Stainless steel appliances

Dual-fuel stove, gas cooktop, gas convection oven

Beautiful backsplash, under-cabinet lighting, subtle above-cabinet lighting

Garden door to deck from dinette; 3-zone audio system in kitchen, basement and deck

3-sided gas fireplace separates dinette from living room

Intimate alcove formal dining room can seat 12-14 people; hardwood floor

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMaster Suite:

Huge main floor master bedroom (more than 18’x13’)

Large walk-in closet

Luxurious master bath has 2-sided gas fireplace, Bain Ultra Air Deep 2-person bathtub, rain shower, 4-piece body spray and hand wand in shower, his/hers sinks

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam 

Flooring, Finishing, Comfort Features

Extensive use of ceramic tile, hardwood

Beautiful earth-tone colors throughout

11’ ceilings in entryway and living room, 9’ everywhere else including basement

In-floor heating in main floor ceramic tiles and throughout basement

Air conditioning

Security system

Low E windows and screens

Low-flow dual flush toilets in all 3 bathrooms

Main floor laundry room with upper cabinets, full-size sink with spray

Bench and large coat closet in mudroom access off garage

3700 gallon cistern; septic system to code

Easy Living Features in Basement:

Entertainment/media room (18’x30’) with grand entertainment unit and surround sound, plus games room or exercise room

Large wet bar with full-size fridge and sink, under-counter lighting

Basement bath has private shower with rain shower and hand wand, 2 sinks, ample storage in 2 banks of drawers and 2 very large upper mirrored cabinets

2 large bedrooms

Huge utility room with craft table and storage

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam Yard, Lot, Exterior Amenities:

Very private, beautifully landscaped natural treed lot with native and planted evergreen and seedlings

Loaded with trees, shrubs, perennials

Lovely greenhouse, raised herb garden

Stone walkways, fire pit, large stone patio, wood deck with maintenance-free decking

6-person hot tub and pergola

Huge shed and ½ shed for storage

Exposed aggregate walkway to front entry and stairs

4000 sq ft asphalt driveway and extra long RV parking

Fully fenced chain link with double gate for vehicle access to back yard

Cedar and lattice fence on neighbor side

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamGarage:

1200 sq ft insulated triple attached garage with 2 large windows for lots of light

Natural gas to garage; hot and cold water taps and floor drain

You’ll have difficult decisions to make about where to spend your time.  Do you whip up stellar meals in the gourmet’s delight kitchen?  Host elegant dinner parties in the formal dining room?  Have your friends over to watch sporting events and enjoy the hospitality of the wet bar in the magnificent downstairs entertainment room?  Soak up the beauty and serenity of the glorious backyard from the deck or patio, or in the hot tub under the pergola?  This home truly has everything you could ask for – the perfect place for family living and entertaining.

I would love to show you this wonderful home, or any other property in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton region.  Please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, 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, or contact me here.


Well Water Testing

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Well Water Testing |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you live on an acreage in Parkland County near Stony Plain or Spruce Grove, you may get your drinking water from a well on your property, and you know how critical maintaining the health of that well can be.  But did you know that you can (and should) get your well water tested regularly for free by the provincial government through Alberta Health Services?  It is recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis once per year.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary.  But you don’t have to travel to either of those locations for this service.  Spruce Grove is home to an Environmental Public Health Office located at 205 Diamond Avenue where you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and to drop them off.  Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday mornings.  Call them at 780-342-1380.

The following is an excerpt from the brochure published by Alberta Health Services (no longer available online) entitled “Evaluating Private Drinking Water Supplies and Sampling Instructions”.

A full evaluation of a private water supply involves sampling for both bacteriological and chemical analysis.

Bacteriological and chemical analysis and the evaluation of results against established standards are essential for determining the initial and ongoing safety of drinking water.  Other factors such as appearance, odor and field knowledge also assist in determining the presence of potential contamination or existing pollution.

A bacteriological analysis should be performed quarterly, or when contamination of the water supply is suspected.   Bacteriological analysis includes the presence of total coliforms and E. coli.

A chemical analysis should be performed on all new, redeveloped or unregistered wells and re-sampled annually.  Chemical analysis includes seventeen parameters as outlined in the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.  It is recommended that parents with newborn babies or young children submit drinking water samples for both analyses.

Note that this free service is available only for drinking water for human consumption from a raw water supply.   Alberta Health Services includes the following cautions in their brochure:

“Well water samples are NOT accepted for mortgage purposes, livestock consumption, Giardia analysis, fish disease or algae analysis, or to check the effectiveness of water treatment equipment.”

“Chemical analysis WILL NOT be performed on the following sources:

  • Municipal (licensed) water supplies
  • Water for mortgage approval
  • Bottled water
  • Water from private contractors (including water well drillers)
  • Water collected outside of the Province of Alberta
  • Water from other Government agencies”

You can, of course, hire private companies to test your water for the purposes which Alberta Health Services exclude from their free testing service.  DynaLifeDX Diagnostic Lab Services is one such company performing bacteriological analyses.

In addition to the above information about well water testing, it should be noted that:

  • If you have a shallow well that is close to a surface water body, such as a dugout, river, etc., it may require treatment to ensure its safety.
  • If you store water in a cistern, it should be pumped clean and disinfected with a bleach solution at least once a year to control bacteria and algae.  If a water hauler is used to fill the cistern, ensure the hauler is approved by Alberta Health Services.  Water should be tested for bacteriological quality twice per year.
  • Water from a dugout should not be used for drinking unless filtered and disinfected.  Treated water should be tested for bacteriological quality every three months, and for chemical quality once per year.

I always welcome your comments or questions!  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Smartphone Apps for Home Buyers

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Smartphone Apps for Home Buyers |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTechnology has changed the way we do almost everything, including home buying, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton area or elsewhere.  Here are a few smartphone apps home buyers and investors might find useful.  (Many are available free for all types of smartphones; check with your app store.)


Google Maps and Google Earth for mobile can show you where homes are located, but you can learn much more about a property, giving you a feel for the neighborhood, the quality of other housing, accessibility, distance from busy streets and more.

Yelp Mobilewith its reviews of businesses can give you some idea about what a neighborhood has to offer (shopping, restaurants, gas stations, etc.).

Realtor.cais the official mobile app of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) with access to about 350,000 Canadian properties for sale on the website.  Search using your smartphone’s built-in GPS for properties near your location or a specific address; receive listing details, photos and agent contact info.

Zoocasa[iPhone; free].  Similar to  Search for properties based on your current location and receive full descriptions of properties.  This app also allows users to email listings from within the app.

Home Tracker [iPhone; $3.99].  Keep track of all the details of the homes you visit with your REALTOR®.  “HomeTracker allows you to document each property in detail as you visit it. Properties are grouped into a Tour, which is a set of homes you visited with your real estate agent, or homes in a specific area. In addition to storing property information, HomeTracker can easily take Photos, Map a property, E-mail property information, and perform a Google search!”


There are plenty of mortgage calculator apps out there but most are not Canadian.  One with some limited application to Canadian situations is Canadian Mortgage Calculator.

CIBC Home Advisor app provides mobile access to mortgage tools, advice, neighborhood information.

The CIBC Home Advisor App for iPhone and BlackBerry lets home buyers:

* Track and compare properties visited by taking and storing photos and completing a home buyer’s checklist for each home

* View neighborhood maps and get immediate access to average property valuations and trends

* Request detailed neighborhood reports for properties of specific interest

* Post, tweet, text or email details of the properties and neighborhoods you are considering to share them with family and friends in real-time

* Access four different built-in calculators to help determine what the customer can afford, if they should rent vs. buy, the equity in their home, or mortgage payment options

* Request a CIBC pre-approved mortgage certificate for financing to lock in an interest rate

* Contact the nearest CIBC Mortgage Advisor and arrange to meet to get advice on mortgage options.”

RECalc – Real Estate Mortgage Loan Calculator [iPhone; free]  “RECalc is a Real Estate Mortgage Loan Calculator that is also a traditional Mathematical Calculator.  You can use RECalc to calculate the Monthly Payment, Term, Interest Rate or Loan Amount for a loan, as well as standard mathematical calculations as you would in any other calculator. Once you modify any of the Calculation variables you can re-calculate any of the other values. You can also figure in Annual Property Tax, Homeowner’s Insurance and Mortgage Insurance, as well as a Down Payment amount/percentage.  RECalc supports semi-annual compounding (Canadian Amortization) in addition to normal monthly compounding.”


Flashlight [iPhone; 99¢].  Turn your iPhone into a flashlight!   This app allows you to choose from a variety of styles and colors.  For even more features, try Flashlight+ [also 99¢]

Evernote [free; available for all smartphones and computers].  This handy app allows you to create and save all kinds of documents:  text notes, web pages, video clips, your digital photo scrapbook, and much more.  Text-recognition software makes for easy searching.

Awesome Note (+ToDo) [iPhone; $3.99].  Get organized with this versatile and customizable app that allows you to create regular notes, notes with photo attachments, To Do notes, Post-It style Quick Memo for quick jotting, daily diary, travel diary checklists, shopping lists, schedules, and more.  You can send notes as email and even synchronize your notes with Google Docs and Evernote.

Do you know of a great app that should be added to this list?  I’d love to hear from you.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, 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



Lemon Juice

Club soda

Olive oil


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.


  • 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 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

Things That Could Go Wrong With a Real Estate Sale

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Things That Could Go Wrong With a Real Estate Sale |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam


You’ve just sold your house or acreage in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County.  That is, you’ve accepted the Offer to Purchase, and now all you have to do is wait for the proceeds to be deposited into your account, right?  Not so fast!  There are many things that could undo a sale.


Buyers’ Circumstances:

  • Buyers not pre-approved for a mortgage.  After making an offer, they discover they can’t get a loan for the amount they need.  (Mortgage approval is influenced by
    • buyers’ source, size and stability of income;
    • their debt load, or “debt to income ratio”;
    • credit history;
    • size and source of down payment;
    • value of the property being purchased, and so on.  Watch for a future blog entry on this topic.)
  • Interest rates increase; buyers no longer qualify for a mortgage
  • New government legislation.  Ottawa has just announced a decrease in the length of time a mortgage can be amortized, from 35 to 30 years, making monthly payments higher and therefore out of reach for some buyers
  • At closing, buyers are short of cash for the down payment and closing costs
  • Change in life circumstances:  job loss, illness, injury, divorce, death, anything that affects the desire and means to purchase the property
  • Buyers change their minds about the property:  family members don’t like it; buyers are unhappy with home inspection report; on “final walk-through” they discover damaged or missing property or agreed-upon repairs not made; etc.
  • Buyers’ conditions, such as sale of their current home, cannot be met

Sellers’ Circumstances:

  • Sellers change minds about selling:  job transfer falls through; marriage reconciles; suitable replacement home cannot be found; etc.
  • Financial concerns:  proceeds from the sale will be less than anticipated; sellers discover they owe more than they will net from the sale; sellers learn their mortgage differential or penalties are much higher than expected; etc.  (Not sure what mortgage differential means?  See my blog entry entitled “Interest Rate Differentials”, August 2010).
  • Unable to meet contract terms such as move-out date
  • Problems with the property:  title not held free and clear; sellers short on cash and unable to clear up liens on property; sellers unable to complete agreed-upon repairs; undisclosed defects come to light; etc.  (Sometimes property problems are even more severe.  It’s rare, but occasionally an inspection reveals that a property is uninsurable or even unsaleable due to being structurally unsound, infected with mold, and the like.  And the ultimate problem affecting a sale:  destruction of the property before the final sale goes through!)

Circumstances Involving Other Parties:

  • Buying and selling real estate is a complex business involving not just buyers and sellers and their REALTORS®, but also lawyers for each side of the transaction, mortgage specialists, appraisers, home inspectors and others.  If any one of the individuals is unavailable when needed, misses a deadline, or fails to complete accurately all the required paperwork, this could be enough to cause a sale to fall through.

A REALTOR® can often salvage a negative situation.  For example, if the buyer complains that the home is not in the condition in which he viewed it, the first step is for the REALTORS® on both sides to confer about how to make things right.  And – don’t tell anyone – I admit that I’ve taken it upon myself on occasion to personally make required repairs so that a sale will not be lost.  I also recently dealt with a situation where I knew that a buyer’s home was not going to be sold by the specified date or for the price required to get the buyer into the home he’d made an offer on.  Negotiating a later possession date for my client (the buyer) was easy.  Getting the sellers and their REALTOR® to recognize that the sale would be lost unless they were willing to renegotiate the selling price and accept less for their property was much harder, but ultimately, this allowed both buyer and sellers to reach their goals.

While it’s impossible to prepare for every eventuality, it is possible to minimize the potential for problems.  My best advice is to choose your REALTOR® carefully and leave the lines of communication open.  A successful end to a real estate transaction almost always occurs when everyone involved proceeds with good faith, patience and good will.

I would be pleased to help you achieve the  successful sale of your property.  Contact me here, email me at, or phone me at 780-910-9669.

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 5: Legal Stuff

Friday, November 19th, 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 5 of a series that addresses the most common questions I get from buyers.

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 5:  Legal Stuff |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamLawyers

Do I have to use a lawyer to complete my transaction?

Yes, you will require the services of a lawyer to complete your transaction.

When do I sign the papers with the lawyer?

Be prepared to meet with your lawyer about one week before the agreed-upon possession date to sign the important documents that will allow the transfer of funds for the sale of your property and allow you to take possession.

Who sends the paperwork to the lawyers and when does it go to the lawyer?

The real estate office that listed the property will send all the paperwork to both the seller’s lawyer and the buyer’s lawyer, and this will be done after all conditions have been removed.

What do I need to bring with me to the lawyer?

The lawyer will usually require of you:

  • 2 pieces of identification (one with photo) for each person listed on the mortgage documents:  driver’s license or passport, major credit card, social insurance card, etc.
  • a void cheque:  to arrange with your lending institution for automatic withdrawals of mortgage payments
  • a certified cheque or bank draft with the cash to close.  “Cash to close” is the rest of your down payment, lawyer’s fees and disbursements, title insurance and any property tax adjustments
  • proof of insurance on your new home

Utilities, Insurance, Property Taxes

When should I get the utilities set up for my new house?

As soon as your offer becomes unconditional, call the city or town for water, sewage and garbage services, as well as each utility company for electricity, natural gas, telephone, cable TV and Internet service.  For specific companies and contact information in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County, check out the Community Connections business directory on my website at  under Utilities and Services, or see my Moving In Package.

What do I need to do with insurance?

Arrange for home and property insurance as soon as your offer becomes unconditional.  Before you can take possession of the property, your lawyer will require proof of insurance prior to your lending institution releasing your mortgage.  Ask your insurance company to fax your insurance information to your lawyer.

How are my property taxes paid?

This is an important conversation to have with both your mortgage broker and your lawyer.  There are several ways property taxes can be paid.  Most people make one payment in full once per year at the end of June, meaning you pay 6 months in arrears and 6 months in advance.  Depending on when you take possession, you may owe tax already due, or you may get a credit.  It is also possible to make monthly or other installment payments in most Alberta cities and towns, provided the appropriate paperwork has been filled in.

 Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 5:  Legal Stuff |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamPossession Day

 Can I get back into the house before the possession date for things like taking measurements, photos, etc.?

Technically, no.  There is no provision in the contract for you to re-enter the property until you take possession.  If you must re-enter, you can have your REALTOR® write this into your contract as a term of the offer.  My recommendation is that you take measurements, etc. before removing all conditions.  The closer to the possession date, the more chaotic your new home will look as the sellers pack to get out in time.

What time will possession happen?

According to the standard purchase contract, possession is to occur at noon but, given the complexity involved in the transfer of funds, this rarely happens.  I tell my clients not to expect to take possession before 2 PM.  You should keep in close contact with your lawyer’s office the day before possession to ensure everything will be completed on time.

What happens if something is broken when I take possession?

Section 4.2 of the Purchase Contract states:  “When the buyer obtains possession, the property will be in substantially the same condition as it was in when the Contract was accepted.”  If there is a problem, the first step is for the REALTORS® to work with their clients to find a mutually beneficial solution to resolve the issue.  If this is not possible, the problem escalates to the lawyers who will attempt the same thing.  If this doesn’t work, the buyer has the legal right to sue the seller.  Most times, the seller is reasonable and prepared to take responsibility for any problems found on the day of possession.  It should be expected that, if a seller has listed his property with a REALTOR®, the REALTOR® has educated his or her client about the responsibilities of a seller.  As a part of the services I provide to my clients, I give my sellers a checklist of items to have completed by possession day (“Moving Out Checklist“).

Does the house have to be clean when I take possession?

No.  There is no provision in the contract to force the sellers to ensure the house is cleaned before you move in.  You can expect that, on possession day, the house will be in much the same condition as when you viewed the property.  Everyone has a different definition of clean so you may want to spend the first day cleaning rather than unpacking!

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 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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