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Common Pests Affecting Homeowners

July 11th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

 

Situated on the North Saskatchewan river, Edmonton, AB, attracts many pests. Mosquitoes are especially prevalent in the area, drawn to humidity and standing water. Another major problem for residents, ants frequently invade homes in the area. Lured into buildings by spilled grease, sweets, meats, and crumbs, Pharaoh ants will nest inside year-round. Carpenter ants are of more concern, though, as these pests will excavate wood to make their nesting site. Finally, carpet beetles hide underneath carpets and baseboards, as well as in dark closets, and can cause serious damage when left unchecked.

Potential Problems Caused by Home Pests

Like any unwanted guest, their presence can be extremely annoying and inconvenient. Beyond that, these pests cause serious damage to homes in Edmonton, leaving homeowners with costly repairs. Carpenter ants, for example, destroy the structural integrity of buildings because they hallow out wood for nests. And while carpet beetles many not necessarily compromise the structural integrity of homes, they destroy any items made with animal fibers such as wool, hair, and feathers. Wardrobes, furniture, rugs, and curtains are typically the victims of carpet beetle mutilation.

In addition to property damage, some pests are capable of spreading diseases to humans and pets. Mosquitoes have recently been of concern in neighboring provinces, as many have been found to carry the West Nile Virus. These blood sucking pests can also transmit the Zika virus and encephalitis.

Controlling Pests in Edmonton

So what can you do about all these nasty and unwanted visitors around your home? The best way to prevent disease-ridden, destructive pests from bothering you is to take away their access to food and shelter. Cleaning up all spills and keeping food in air-tight containers will deter ants. Caulking exterior holes and securing screens over windows and vents will limit the pests’ ability to get inside. Because carpet beetles and carpenter ants can be more challenging to detect, you can practice regular inspections and housekeeping. However, no matter what measures are taken, pests are persistent in their pursuits. Because of their ability to infect humans and destroy homes, it is best to let the professionals at Orkin Canada manage all pest-related problems.

How to Build a Fence

July 4th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

 

 

Building a fence around your property has many benefits. A solid fence is both decorative and practical as it adds attractiveness, security and privacy to your yard. A fence will provide your family with a safe and secluded outdoor living space for your entertaining, relaxing, gardening and for your children to play in. An attractive fence will also increase your property value and make your home more marketable when it comes time to sell.

 

Hiring a fence contractor in Edmonton will ensure your fence is built properly and that all local regulations and building permits are obtained for the project. Alternatively, you could choose to build the fence yourself. Here are some DIY tips on how to build a fence:

Obtain a building permit.

In most municipalities you will need a building permit to build a fence, but in others you might not. All jurisdiction’s will have a zoning bylaw that puts regulations on the height, material and location of your fence. You can check with your local municipality to see what the local regulations and restrictions are.

You should also check with your neighborhood association, if you have one, to ensure you are compliant with their restrictions as well. The last thing you want to do it tear down a fence after learning it wasn’t compliant with these regulations.

Call before you dig!

Regardless of whether you need a permit or not, you should book a visit with a “Call Before You Dig” organization like Alberta One Call to make sure you are not building or digging near electrical, gas, water or sewer lines. They will send someone out, free of charge, to mark where your utilities are in the yard so you can be sure to steer clear of those areas.

Choose a fencing material.

You have some options when it comes to what you’re going to use to build your fence. The most popular material is wood fencing, usually a durable pressure treated lumber, but you could choose to go with PVC vinyl, aluminum, wrought-iron or chain link fencing. If you are choosing wood, some lumber companies offer pre-cut fencing packages and can give you some tips on construction and design.

Stake out where you will build your fence.

Check your land title and be sure you find your property line so you don’t accidentally build your fence on the neighbour’s yard. Stake out the corners where you want your fence to go and connect the stake’s with twine to ensure your fence is outline is square. Use a level on the twine to ensure your stakes are squared and do the same for your middle posts. You can learn more about properly staking out your fence in this article “How to Build a Wood Fence.”

Dig post holes and install your fence posts.

Your municipality will have let you know how high your posts need to be and how deep your post holes should be too. In Alberta’s climate, you’ll have to dig deeper than the frost line which is 3 feet deep, but some jurisdictions might require you to dig deeper than that. Save yourself the back-breaking work and rent a power auger to dig your post holes.

Then put 3 to 4 inches of gravel at the bottom of each hole before inserting your post. Make sure it’s lined up properly by using a post leveler and check your post height. Either have someone hold it for you or support it with boards nailed to the post near the bottom, supported by the ground. Then pour in your quick cure concrete mix into the hole until it’s about two-thirds full. Keep the boards on to support the fence post until the concrete is cured. Then fill the remainder of the hole with dirt.

Build your fence!

Tie a piece of twine from one end post to another at the same height. This will act as a guide to make sure you line up all your fence boards at the right height along the top. Make sure your fence boards aren’t touching the ground, they should be elevated a few inches. Then screw in your horizontal support boards. You might need 2 or 3 depending on your fence height. Once the horizontal support boards are in place, start installing your vertical boards, spacing them about ½” apart. Use galvanized screws over nails as they last longer.

Stain or paint your fence.

Staining or painting your fence will help it look finished and make it more weather-proof. You can choose a simple stain or paint your fence to match the design of your home and yard. Painting will also help hide blemishes in the lumber, but will require more regular maintenance over the years so be prepared to commit to that if you want to paint.

Happy Canada Day!!!

July 1st, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

 

 

Happy birthday, Canada! And a wonderful Canada Day to you and the people closest to you! Celebrating almost a century and a half of our Canada!

Improve Your Landscape – Increase Your Property Value

June 27th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

 

 

It’s all about curb appeal. Making that first good impression on potential home buyers starts with how your home looks like from the street. A well-designed landscape, green lawn, beautiful trees and maintained walkways will make it more aesthetically pleasing and could boost your resale value.

In the same way that good landscaping can attract buyers to your property, bad landscaping or an unkempt yard can turn them away. Professional landscapers in Edmonton can help you improve your home’s curb appeal, help you get a better return on investment and create an outdoor space you’re going to love using in the meantime.

According to an article published on House Logic about landscaping to increase home value, good landscaping can add up to 28 per cent to overall home value. The article also advises that you shouldn’t embark on a major landscaping overhaul to merely flip a house – but to invest in good landscaping for your personal enjoyment knowing you’ll reap the rewards when it comes time to sell.

That said, you don’t have to break the bank to spruce up your curb appeal if you are planning on selling sooner than later. Here are some things you can do to spruce up your landscaping and create a more attractive curb appeal:

Clean up your yard.

Once the snow melts it is time to get your yard ready to impress! Clean up the yard, remove dead branches from your trees, pick up any mess left by your dogs, rake up leaves and debris and get rid of last year’s dead weeds. Remove or replace dead or dying plants and give your patio and walkways a good pressure wash.

Spend time on lawn maintenance.

If you plan on selling your home in the summer or fall, then spring is the best time to start a lawn maintenance regime. A brown lawn that is full of weeds does not look good on a real estate listing and an unkempt lawn might make buyers believe that the rest of the house hasn’t been properly maintained either. Dedicate some time and money in properly fertilizing, watering and mowing your lawn.

Plant a tree.

Having a tree on your property can raise your home’s value. According to an article in MoneySense, a property with healthy trees can easily sell for more than 5 per cent more than those that don’t have trees. Make sure you choose a tree that does well in urban environments and your climate zone. Slow growing trees, like elm or oak trees, usually offer the most value as they provide more shade and stay healthier longer.

Add some color.

Adding a few plant boxes or flower pots to your home’s landscape will give your property a splash of vibrant color and show buyers that you are proud of your property. Use flowers to spruce up patios and entry ways. If you want to build permanent flower beds, consider hiring experienced landscapers in Edmonton.

Add lighting.

Outdoor lights added around your deck and patio can create a more inviting atmosphere. You should also consider that potential buyers might drive by your home in the evening to check it out, so having good exterior lighting on your driveway and walk ways could help showcase your yard and all the work you’ve done to the landscaping.

Great curb appeal can attract buyers, bring up your listing price and help you sell your home faster.  Learn more about how to landscape your home on the cheap.

 

Happy First Day of Summer!!!

June 21st, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

 

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Why a “Subject to Sale” Condition is Rarely Your Best Option

June 20th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

What do you do when you find the perfect home, but you haven’t sold your current home? Most people consider putting an offer on their dream home, with a “subject to the sale of the buyer’s home” condition. However, this scenario is probably not your best option.

A “subject to sale” condition means that the buyer’s offer is conditional on them selling their own home – if they don’t sell their home by the deadline on the condition, the deal dies. If the seller is agreeable to a “subject to sale” condition, they will typically add a clause of their own, so if the sellers receive and accept another offer, the original buyers will have to remove all of their conditions within a certain period of time (typically 24-72 hours) or the new buyers get it.

So, what’s wrong with a “subject to sale” condition?

From the seller’s perspective, a pending offer – even if it is “only” a “subject to sale” offer – can deter other buyers from considering the home. While you don’t have to disclose the fact that you’re pending until a new buyer is interested, with the amount of inventory on the market right now, this can be enough to make a buyer look another way.

From the buyer’s perspective, this type of condition does not put you in a strong negotiating position. Think about it, you have to convince the sellers to accept an offer that is conditional on another home that they know very little about selling. This means your offer is going to have to be strong in every other way, especially price. They’re also going to want you to remove any other conditions (like financing and inspection) quickly, which means you could easily end up paying for an inspection, only to lose the home to another party. Now you also have to sell your existing home, and your motivation to sell just went waaaaay up. This could mean paying a premium for your new home, and selling for less than you could otherwise.

So why would anyone write or accept an offer with a “subject to sale” condition?

It all depends on market conditions, and the properties in question. Without going into every possible scenario, a seller may accept this type offer because they can negotiate hard on the other points. For one thing, an offer with a “subject to sale” condition is better than no offer at all in most cases. As long as the time clause you negotiate is relatively short, a “subject to sale” offer probably won’t scare away other buyers. With a good negotiator representing you in the right market conditions, a “subject to sale” offer can actually motivate other potential buyers to write better offers.

If you’ve truly find your dream home, and it’s unlikely you’ll find anything else you like, then a “subject to sale” condition may be your only option. You need to keep in mind that the house is really still on the market, as long as your offer is “subject to sale” and you could find yourself with 24 or 48 hours to remove your conditions – can you get financing for two homes in 48 hours? If you absolutely must have the home, and money is no object, then go ahead and put in an offer that is subject to the sale of your current home. But think about this… if it really is the perfect home, and you’d remove your condition if the seller’s get another offer anyway, why don’t you just write a strong offer in the first place, and try and get all the other things you want such as a possession date that works for you and a good price?

An even better scenario, is to get your existing home sold first and then make a strong offer without the risk of owning two homes. Keep in mind of course all this information is very general, not specific to any situation, and will change with the market.

Happy Father’s Day!!!

June 18th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!!!

Estate Sales, 101

June 13th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

When someone dies and they own real estate, the number one question we are asked is: “What about timing? When can we sell the real estate?”

Answer: It depends on several factors.

When land is owned by a deceased person, it can only be transferred after a Grant or Court Order is issued. This process can take many months.

In the meantime, significant steps can be taken to get the property ready for sale, list the property with a realtor and entertain and accept offers. The authorized legal representative of the estate (commonly referred to as the Executor(trix) and now referred to as the Personal Representative), has the authority, responsibility and the duty to care for and manage the property until it can be transferred. These duties extend to ensuring the property is secure, utilities and other expenses paid, and insurance is maintained. If the property is vacant, it is essential the Personal Representative contact the insurance company to request and obtain a vacancy endorsement or you may have no valid insurance.

Once the property is ready for sale, it can be listed with your realtor, provided all necessary consents are in place. This includes the consent of the Public Trustee where there are minor beneficiaries and the consent of all other beneficiaries in certain circumstances. Please note the Public Trustee will not consent to any actual sale until a Grant is issued by the Court.

If an offer is received and accepted before the official Court Order is obtained to allow the transfer, then special considerations apply. Special wording can be inserted in the Real Estate Purchase Contract that acknowledges this is an estate sale and that title can only be transferred once the Court Order is obtained. The parties can then either agree to delay completion and possession until the Court Order is issued, or agree to tenancy possession so the buyers can occupy the property right away and then transfer the title once the Court Order is obtained. Typically, if the tenancy is granted, the buyer will pay some form of “rent”; often by paying the amount they would pay on a new mortgage. In special cases, at an added cost, it is possible to obtain an interim Court Order allowing the actual transfer of the land to take place before the Grant is issued.

From the buyer’s perspective, when buying property from an estate, make sure you ask many questions regarding the status of the Court application. It can sometimes take several months before the actual Court Order is issued. During that time, your mortgage commitment may expire and you will be subject to the prevailing mortgage rates at the time the commitment expires. Generally speaking, if the application for a Court Order has actually been submitted to the Courts, the typical time required for a Grant is 8 weeks or less. However, even this can be prolonged if there are errors in the application.

This article is meant as a general discussion of topics in this area. It is not meant to offer specific legal advice to anyone as individual circumstances can have an impact on each and every situation.

 

Slow Spring Market in Edmonton

June 13th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

We’ve been hearing lots of good forecasts for the Alberta economy lately, but the real estate market remains relatively slow in Edmonton. The real estate market tends to lag behind other economic factors, so I’m not surprised that the market is a little slow, even though the year started off showing lots of positive signs. The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton released their report on the Greater Edmonton Area:

“We are in the middle of our busiest season for real estate,” says James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “More sellers are entering the market and are motivated to move their properties before the summer months, which provides the best selection of properties for buyers who are actively looking and taking advantage of the increased number of listings typical for this time of year.”

New listings and inventory jumped up in May (to the highest levels we’ve seen in ten years), and for the first time this year we finished out the month with more listings than we had on the market last year. For the first few months of this year, we saw lower supply and higher demand than last year, but that trend has now reversed.

Greater Edmonton Area Real Estate Stats

Sales in the greater Edmonton area were in the normal range for May, but down 2.8% from last year:

The average price was down 1% to $379,018 and the median price was equal to last May at $360,000:

The inventory of listings on the market hit its highest level in years; there were 8,385 homes on the market at the end of the month:

The inventory was mostly influenced by the high number of new listings; 1,853 new listings came on the market in May:

Edmonton Real Estate Stats

Single-family home sales were down 6.4% from last May – 871 homes were reported sold in Edmonton in May:

Condo sales were on par with last May, which had the lowest sales of condos in many years – 365 condos were reported sold in Edmonton in May:

The average price of single-family homes was $435,874 in May, down 1.2% from last May, while the median price was up 0.5% to $400,000. The average price of condos was $250,596 in May, down 1.8% from last May while the median price was down 1.8% to $227,250:

The average price per square foot for single family homes was up $1 from last May to $283 while the average price per square foot for condos was down $9 (3.7%) to $233:

Cabinet Re-facing Can Help Sell Your Home

June 6th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

What your kitchen looks like will play a major role in how fast you sell your home. An experienced real estate agent will tell you that the kitchen is the first room a potential buyer will look at when they are investigating your home, either online or during a showing.

 

Kitchen renovations also have a very high return on investment compared to other home renovations. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report for 2016, a minor kitchen remodel will recoup over 83 per cent of its initial cost. That means that if you spend $20,000 on a kitchen renovation, you can expect the resale value of your home to increase by nearly $17,000.

You don’t have to spend that kind of money to fix up the kitchen, boost your resale value and your selling power. If your cabinets are in good shape and just need some aesthetic upgrading, you can save a bundle with cabinet re-facing and still reap the resale benefits of a renovated kitchen.

What is Cabinet Re-facing?

Cabinet re-facing is when you keep your original cabinet boxes but replace your cabinet doors, drawer fronts and any exposed faces of your cabinets. Since you keep your existing cabinet boxes and don’t have to completely remodel the layout of your kitchen, you’ll save yourself the major expense of buying new cabinetry and the labor of costly installation.

There are companies that can help you with cabinet re-facing in Edmonton. They will offer expert advice and everything you would need to reface your cabinets including doors, drawer fronts, veneer or laminate panels, hardware and other accessories. You can change the style, color and even the material of your cabinet faces.

How to Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets

Whether you decide to install kitchen cabinets or reface your kitchen cabinets, an avid do-it-yourself could save themselves the cost of installation by tackling the project themselves. Here are some simple steps for DIY cabinet re-facing:

  1. Remove all existing doors, drawer fronts and hinges.
  2. Clean and prepare cabinet surfaces.
  3. Apply the laminate, vinyl or veneer panels to all visible exteriors of the cabinets.
  4. Trim the coverings.
  5. Install new hinges, doors and drawer fronts.
  6. Install new hardware, moulding or other accessories you might choose

Don’t let your outdated kitchen turn away potential buyers. A minor kitchen renovation with refaced cabinetry is a cost-effective way to improve your home’s aesthetics, make it move-in ready and boost your resale value.

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.
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