Home Staging – An Important Marketing Strategy

Fri, 15 Jul by canadianrealestateservice

Getting the best possible price for your home , as quickly as possible, is a common goal of most sellers. Keeping your home in great shape for those critical showings must be seen as a priority by everyone in the family.
1. A dirty and/or untidy home will discourage many buyers because this seems to show how well you have or haven’t maintained the home over the years. Owners could hire a home cleaning service to do the work, or they could do the work themselves and save a few dollars. Make sure that whoever is doing the work is doing it well.
>Cleaning Guidelines
-Dust each room from top to bottom. Vacuuming all surfaces including
the curtains and window coverings.
>Dust all lamps and light bulbs, try to ensure that your light bulbs are as bright
as possible.
>Clean all windows, mirrors and plumbing fixtures.
>Clean all appliances including inside the dishwasher and the oven.
>Pet owners\, you might consider placing your pets outside the home during the sale as well as placing a number of air freshners around the home as pet owners often lose the sense of smell after a number of years.
2. Remove all personal decorative effects.
> By removing all personal items, like photographs, knickknacks, and family heirlooms the buyers may find it easier to visualize the home as theirs.
> Any sports memorabilia, political propaganda, or specific affiliations with groups or clubs should be removed as these items could bias your possible buyers against the home.
3. De-cluttering
> Removing as much “stuff” as possible will be very beneficial in terms of making your home seem larger and more livable. Remove extra clothing from the closets, extra furniture in the rooms.
4. Neutralize the Walls;
> A fresh coat of paint, especially in neutral colors will help to present your home in it’s best possible light.
The above suggestions will go a long way to reducing the time on market, and encourage the largest offers from your potential buyers. Good Luck my friends.

Pre-Mortgage Approval vs Pre Mortgage Qualification

Tue, 31 Jan by canadianrealestateservice

Did you know that there is a substantial difference between a Pre-Mortgage Approval and a

Pre-Mortgage Qualification?   If you are in the process of buying a house it is important that you know the distinction.

A Pre Mortgage Qualification is a very casual look at your employment and salary to determine the approximate value of a home that you could possibly get a mortgage approval for.  In other words the Realtor and/or the mortgage broker are giving their clients a very approximate value of a house that you could get a mortgage for.  It does not however guarantee a mortgage at that amount.

A Pre-Mortgage Approval is a the result of a formal investigation by a mortgage broker or a bank advisor regarding your ability to take on the responsibility of repaying a mortgage.  A Pre-Mortgage Approval essentially guarantees a mortgage up to a certain limit.

In my experience as a Realtor I know how devastating it can be to have your mind set on a specific house that you think you will be approved by the mortgage lender, only to find out at the last minute that the Bank  or mortgage company will not provide the mortgage funds required.

In order to save you and your family from this major disappointment be sure to ask for a Pre-Mortgage Approval.  Be prepared to disclose your Tax Assessment for the last two years, your salary stubs, possibly a letter from your employer as well as a full list of all your credit card debt as well as any loans you might be carrying.  It is always better to be fully prepared when you begin your search for a new home.

Understanding the Real Property Report

Mon, 16 Jan by canadianrealestateservice

A Real Property Report is a critical part of any Real Estate transaction.  A Real Property Report is a document drawn up by a Land Surveyor, registered in Alberta.  The report will show a drawing of the property boundaries and all buildings and other structures that are located on the property.  All RPR’s in this province should contain the following features;

1.    a Certificate of land title, the number and names of all owners

2.    The legal description and the municipal address of the property.

3.    The location and description of all buildings and structures with dimensions, directions and

distances from the property boundaries.

4.   the date of the Land Title Search and the date the RPR was completed.

5.  The identification of any buildings that do not comply with that the Municipal By-laws.

6. Most RPR’s will be stamped by the local municipality verifying that the property is in fact built in

accordance to local bylaws.

7.   The RPR will also identify any easements placed on the property by agreement with the

property owner and the municipality and/or a utility provider.

8.   The location and description of any visible encroachments of buildings, or other structures

that are to close to or beyond the property line.

9.  The identification of adjacent properties, roads or lanes.

10.  The RPR will be signed by the registered surveyor.





Seeking Advice on a Sale or Purchase of Property.

Tue, 13 Dec by canadianrealestateservice

While a Real estate Professional may be the first person you might seek to assist you in the process of buying or selling a home they probably should not be the last. Most sales or purchases require the services of a lawyer to transfer the title and fulfill the sales contract. In fact you may want to have a lawyer review your purchase or sales contract before you sign it.
When buying a property, You are responsible to consult with whom ever you are able to ensure that your contract is appropriate for both you and the seller or the buyer. For example in the case of a structural question a Real Estate Professional is not able to give you reliable advice regarding the structural condition of a property. Only a surveyor can advise you on the proper positioning of a building or other structure on a property. The same is true in relation to other aspects of any purchase including; appraised value, environmental assessor, tax specialist or accountant.
Realtors are advised to refrain from making recommendations which are not addressed by their training. I would not suggest that every buyer and or seller should consult with all of the professions mentioned; but when there is a concern the proper authority should be consulted.

Managing a Multiple Offer

Tue, 13 Dec by canadianrealestateservice

Buyers and sellers may encounter what is called a multiple offer.  A multiple offer is a situation where two or more buyers have submitted an offer on the same property.  Buyers and sellers have choices if such a situation arises and it is the responsibility of the Realtors involved to guide the buyer and seller through the process.

The Buyers

When there are multiple offers on a property on which you have submitted an offer to purchase, your real estate professional will:

  • tell you of the multiple offer situation (if they know)
  • advise you of the seller’s options
  • attempt to personally attend the offer presentations
  • advise you of YOUR options, including:
    • increasing the offer prior to presentation.
    • leaving the offer as it is.
    • withdrawing the offer.
    • reconsidering the fixtures, chattels, terms and conditions of the offer.
  • advise on other considerations that could improve your position including:
    • a term or condition that will compel the seller to deal with the offer at the time of presentation or face withdrawal
    • a requirement that the seller not disclose the price and terms to any other buyer or face withdrawal

Multiple offer situations aren’t uncommon, especially in a hot market. If you are in such a market, to save time (and possibly get your offer read first), you, as a buyer can:

  • consider how much higher in price you are willing to go with your offer should the need arise
  • consider which, if any, terms or conditions you are willing to remove from your offer, and which you would remove first, should the need arise
  • consider your willingness to change the possession date to one that is more favourable to the seller, should the need arise

Your ability to quickly decide on your course of action could be the difference between your offer being accepted or rejected by a seller with multiple offers.


In multiple offer situations, it’s the seller who determines what process will be followed.

When there are multiple offers on your property, your real estate professional should:

  • immediately tell you of the multiple offer situation
  • explain the choices you have and strategies available for offer presentation
  • recommend you look at each offer before making a decision
  • advise you of the buyers’ options and indicate that buyers may, and often do, remove their offer in a multiple offer situation
  • inform you it is your choice whether to disclose the multiple offer situation to the buyers
  • NOT disclose a multiple offer situation without your consent
  • follow your lawful instructions
  • try to present all offers in the same time frame
  • discuss with you any commission adjustments that may be in certain offers, and whether you wish to share this information with all other buyer representatives
  • continue to present all offers to you up to the end date of a previous offer or to the end of the seller representation agreement

It is very important that Realtors involved in a multiple offer situation follow the procedures correctly so as to protect the interests of their clients.

Stigmatized Properties – What are they?

Tue, 06 Dec by canadianrealestateservice

Stigmatized properties are those properties that have an unfavourable quality that may make a buyer uncomfortable.  The stigma is not related to the quality of the property.  For example if a suicide has occurred in the home, buyers may be uncomfortable purchasing it.  The same is true for a home where someone has been murdered or a home where a major crime has taken place.  Reports that a house is haunted may constitute a stigma.

The law does not require a seller to reveal any possible stigmas however if a buyer asks a direct question related to a property the seller or the agent must reveal the situation.

If you are buying a property and if you have serious negative thoughts about a possible stigma, you should ask the Realtor if a death or crime has occurred on the property.  It then becomes the responsibility of the Realtor to inform you of the truth of the situation.  It is likely that the neighbours will freely discuss the possible stigma of a specific property, it might be a very good strategy to talk to your possible new neighbors and a casual question about a stigma may be your best option.

If you are a seller of a stigmatized property you are not obligated to inform buyers of any stigmas that may affect your property.  However if a buyer asks a specific question about the existence of a stigma the buyer is again obligated to answer truthfully.  Whether you answer the question or if you decide to disclose the stigma that may exist around your property you can be reassured that at some point the new owners are going to find out.  In many cases there will be no consequences, however in the event there are some serious objections on the minds of the buyers it is always best to disclose everything to the buyer.  It is these types of situations that can lead to inconvenient lawsuits and  relation ships.

Consumers Are Covered With Reca

Mon, 21 Nov by canadianrealestateservice

Real Estate Council of Alberta
On June 7, 2016, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sheilah Martin sentenced Kevin Kumar and his associate, Derek Johnson, to two months in jail for civil contempt of court for breaching a court-ordered injunction to stop trading in real estate and dealing in mortgages without a licence. In early June, Derek Johnson was arrested and served his jail time.

RECA has issued an Administrative Penalty of $25,000 for unlicensed activity to Kevin Kumar, and previously issued five administrative penalties against Derek Johnson for unlicensed activity, with fines totaling more than $100,000. These penalties remain unpaid.

If someone offers to represent you in a real estate transaction or assist you with securing mortgage financing, ensure that individual holds a licence with RECA. Consumers can search for a licensed industry professional through RECA’s website at www.reca.ca. And remember when encountering difficult financial circumstances, if someone offers you a way out that sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Talk to a licensed industry professional.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is an independent, non-government agency, responsible for governing real estate, mortgage broker, property management, and real estate appraisal industry professionals under Alberta’s Real Estate Act. RECA’s mandate is to protect consumers and to provide services that enhance and improve the industry and the business of industry professionals.

The authority for a positive real estate experience
For more information:
Natalie Scollard, Communications Manager
Real Estate Council of Alberta
T: (403) 228-2954 1-(888)-425-2754
E: communications@reca.ca

Real Estate Council of Alberta

Real Estate Agents Buying or Selling Their Own Property

Thu, 17 Nov by canadianrealestateservice

The following is a reprint of an article published by the Real Estate Council of Alberta, a provincial agency set-up to protect consumer interests. The article presents the procedure which Realtors most follow when Buying or Selling their own property , or property in which they have a direct or indirect interest.

Real estate professionals are consumers too, and they buy and sell property on their own behalf. But when they’re doing so, it can create a conflict of interest and they need to disclose their direct or indirect interest in any purchase or sale as soon as possible and definitely before any offer is made.

What is direct and indirect interest?
Direct interest: when a real estate professional owns or partly owns a property that is being sold or they are the party interested in buying a property.

Indirect interest: when a real estate professional is related to, or has a personal relationship with the person selling or buying a property. An indirect interest in a property has the same disclosure requirement as a direct interest.

When real estate professionals have a direct or indirect interest in a transaction, they must make written disclosures to you or your real estate representative at the earliest practical opportunity and before any offers are presented or considered.

Written disclosures to you when you have no representation
When you are not represented by a real estate professional, and a licensed real estate professional wishes to buy your property or sell theirs to you, they must disclose in writing:
•their direct or indirect interest in the transaction
•the name of their brokerage
•complete details of any negotiations already underway if they have plans to “flip” or re-sell the property to another party
•any information they have that could materially affect the value of the real estate (i.e. they know something about the property that could affect your decision to buy or sell at that time).

Written disclosure to you when you are represented
When you are represented by a real estate professional and another licensed real estate professional wants to buy your property, or sell you theirs, they must disclose in writing that:
•they hold a licence with RECA
•the name of their brokerage

Written disclosures when someone employed by the same brokerage as your real estate representative wants to buy your property or you want to buy theirs
Some brokerages have hundreds of associates, so it’s not unusual to sell to a person affiliated with the same brokerage as your representative. If this is the case, the brokerage must immediately disclose to you:
•the conflict of interest
•the name of the buyer and what their relationship is to the brokerage
•any of your confidential information that the buyer may have already received
•who will be representing the buyer in the transaction

They must also provide you with an opportunity to seek legal and independent advice.

Remember, when a licensed real estate professional has a direct or indirect interest in a real estate transaction, they cannot represent the other party to the transaction. If you want to continue with the transaction, you won’t have representation unless you hire another brokerage.

1.A real estate professional is selling a house he owns through a private sale. The professional’s neighbour expresses interest in the property and wants to write an offer. They know the owner of the property is a licensed real estate professional and they ask him questions about what they should include in a purchase contract. The real estate professional cannot give the potential buyer advice as that may unintentionally be representing the buyer, which he can’t do so because it’s a personal trade in real estate.
2.A real estate professional is making an offer on a property that they plan to resell as soon as a land assembly for a large retail complex comes together. When making his offer, the real estate professional discloses he is an associate with ABC Realty and that he may resell the property later. This is not an adequate disclosure, as the real estate professional must disclose there is a land assembly for the development of a possible retail project, which could make the land worth much more at a future date if the project goes forward. This disclosure helps prevent real estate professionals from using “inside information” for their own benefit or for the perception that they are doing so.
3.A real estate professional with ABC Realty owns 25 per cent of a company. The company wishes to purchase a property listed with XYZ Realty. The real estate professional has an indirect interest in the purchase through her ownership in the company and must provide proper disclosures in writing. The buying real estate professional must disclose she is a real estate professional registered with ABC Realty. This disclosure needs to take place before the seller considers the offer.
4.A real estate professional’s mother-in-law wants to buy a commercial building that is listed with the real estate professional’s brokerage. The brokerage must disclose to the seller, in writing:,
◦there is a conflict of interest because the buyer is the mother-in-law of a brokerage professional
◦disclose what, if any, of the seller’s confidential information the buyer already has
◦disclose who represents the buyer.

The seller should have an opportunity to seek legal and independent advice.

Building a Nest Egg To buy a Home

Tue, 08 Nov by canadianrealestateservice

With the new income and down payment regulations in Canada it is very important to “think out” the process of buying a home. The first step is to be aware of the financial requirements as well as your own financial situation.

Number one priority is to speak to a mortgage broker, or your bank. Discuss the requirements for a mortgage given your family income and expenses. If you are capable of sustaining a mortgage then you will have a starting point for determining a price that you can afford to pay. Again your mortgage broker or financial advisor can help you determine the down payment and the closing costs that you will face with the home purchase. Remember to include the recent limit placed on down payments. The Canadian government has established the need for individual home buyers to qualify for home purchases based on an interest rate of 4.61%. This is an attempt to ensure that home buyers will not be short as the interest rates rises to higher levels.

Another significant consideration is the plan to eliminate the need to pay for mortgage insurance with CMHC. If home buyers are able to raise a down payment of 20% or more the buyers will not be required to pay the 2-3% insurance fee added to their mortgage payments. Reaching this goal will add to your protection against the inevitable increase in mortgage rates.

If you have arrived at a figure that will enable you and your family to purchase a home that will meet your needs your task becomes one of planning a way to achieve your goal – raising the funds necessary to make an offer on home purchase.

There are many strategies that will help you reach your saving goal. The following are only some of the possibilities.
1. Regular deductions from your pay check into a savings account. You can determine this
amount by setting out a household budget and following it.
2. No amount should be considered too small as “new money” or “unexpected money” enters your
household income. This approach will assist you in remaining focused on your goal over time.
3. Take a picture of a home similar to the one that is comparable to your “dream home”.
Paste this picture in our bedroom above a slotted container that you can deposit coins, You
will be surprised how much a good sized container is able to add up to a few hundred
4. From time to time review your lists of wants and needs; by cutting down on wants you will
be able to save a few more dollars each month.
5. Again speak to a financial advisor to determine which financial investment tool to save the
bulk of your nest egg.

One last suggestion to those of you looking to purchase your own home. Try not to obsess over this task at the expense of your family and social relationships. Try to remain focused on the quality of life issues that in the end are the real priorities for you and your family.

Attached and Unattached Goods – A Clarification

Mon, 07 Nov by canadianrealestateservice

Understanding the difference between attached and unattached goods is an important distinction to understand when buying or selling a home. A clear definition and some examples is a good place to start.

Unattached goods are movable items like wall art, drapes placed on curtain rods, movable kitchen appliances, movable kitchen islands or furniture, or appliances that are not physically attached to the home i.e. counter top microwaves, portable dishwashers, built -in vacuum power heads or attachments, garage door openers, fireplace tools, screens or area rugs. Sellers usually take unattached items when they sell a house. Buyers therefore must include them in their offers. Sellers would then have to approve of these inclusions if the goods are to be left behind. It is always best to review this item with your Realtor, he/she is there to help you.

Attached goods are defined as items that you cannot remove without causing some damage. these would include garburators, water softeners, chandeliers, curtain rods, and brackets, built in appliances, kitchen cabinets, garage door openers, carpet glued or stretched on, and built in vacuum canisters. All attached goods must stay with the property unless there is a specific exclusion identified in the sales contract or agreement.

if upon possession of the home the buyer identifies that there is a difference in the attached or unattached goods as per the contract, then the buyer must inform their Realtor of this difference and he/she will address the issue with the selling realtor. If no agreement can be reached then buyer or seller may have to sue to get compensation.

The Costs of Buying a Home

Thu, 03 Nov by canadianrealestateservice

Buying a home these days requires that people exam the overall costs thoroughly prior to making an attempt to purchase a home. The first requirement is that you must have reliable and secure employment. Mortgage lenders and banks will not consider you eligible for a mortgage without this basic requirement.
Mortgage companies and banks will want to be reassured that you have the money to make the ongoing payments on a monthly and consistent basis. In addition there are a number of other financial requirements that must be addressed, things like; initial deposits, property taxes, insurance costs, and the occasional emergencies like the cost of roofing, purchasing a new appliance or furnace, etc.

In terms of actual cash the first requirement will be an initial deposit. This is an amount of money which you deposit with the selling Realtor in trust to show your good faith in presenting an offer. Such deposits vary given the amount of the sale price, the state of the market, or the desire of the seller. At the present time a deposit of $1,000.00 to $20,000.00 on a home is the range of practice. Keep in mind that the amount of the initial deposit indicates the seriousness of your offer. The higher the initial deposit the stronger the offer.
This initial deposit must not be confused with the down payment, which is the amount of money required to allow the buyer to purchase a mortgage. This down payment does however include the value of the initial deposit.
The second concern is the percentage of the down payment in relation to the cost of the home. By law, in Canada a buyer must put down a minimum of 5% od the full cost of the home. In addition the buyer must buy mortgage insurance unless the buyer increases his/her down payment to 20% or more of the purchase price of the home. This mortgage insurance will increase the cost of the home by 1-3% over the life of the mortgage.
The final cost of a home purchase will include the lawyer’s fee, property tax adjustments, pre paid utilities , if any and any other fees as outlined in the purchase agreement.If you are able to finance these initial and ongoing costs and if you can be preapproved to purchase a home by a mortgage company or a bank then you are ready to seek the assistance of a Realtor to assist you in buying that dream home you have been thinking about.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.