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Common Misconceptions About Real Estate

April 23rd, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

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The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO, similar to RECA in Alberta & regulates the real estate industry) recently surveyed Ontario homeowners and found some surprising results; the average homeowner doesn’t know very much about the process of buying and selling a home. Ok, maybe it’s not that surprising, but there are definitely some basic points that you should understand before buying or selling a home.

Over 40% of the people surveyed wished they’d done something differently when they bought or sold their home including:

  • having a better grasp of the process
  • seeing more houses before buying
  • having a home inspection
  • spending more time researching
  • interviewing real estate professionals before selecting one
  • understanding the contracts involved better

When it comes to buying or selling a home, as with many things in life, a little extra preparation goes a long way.

So what are the most common misconceptions about buying and selling real estate?

1. The terms and conditions in contracts are standardized. Over half of the people surveyed believed buyer and seller representation agreements have standard terms like the length of the contract or the services offered. In Alberta, it is now mandatory to sign a buyer representation agreement when being represented by a real estate agent. There is certainly a lot of confusion about these agreements in Alberta, mostly because the requirement to sign one is so new. They have actually been around for a long time, and there are different types of agreements (exclusive and non-exclusive). It’s important to understand that there is no standard length of time, fee, or set of services that is included in a representation agreement whether it be for buying or selling a home.

2. After a contract is signed, there is a trial period where the contract can be cancelled. There is most certainly no trial period when it comes to contracts; once you’ve signed a contract you’ve agreed to everything that is written in the contract. Purchase contracts frequently have conditions that must be met in order for the deal to proceed, but you can’t back out just because you feel like it. For example, you’ve agreed to purchase home A, and have a condition subject to a home inspection. Another home comes on the market that you like better. You decide to make an offer on the new home, and just tell the owners of home A you didn’t like the results of the home inspection. That’s “not acting in good faith,” and if the sellers decided to sue you they would have a very good case. Don’t sign a contract you don’t intend to follow through on.

3. If you place a conditional offer on a home, and don’t proceed, you automatically get your deposit back. Many buyers don’t know there is a deposit required when buying a home – in most cases an initial deposit is given with the offer, or within a few days of the offer being accepted, and an additional deposit is given when conditions are removed. In most cases if you don’t remove your conditions, you get your deposit back, but that’s not always the case (see point 2 for one example). The holding and releasing of deposits has a complex and ever-changing set of rules, so make sure you ask before giving a deposit.

4. Signing an agreement with one agent doesn’t limit you to working with that agent. This one really depends what you’ve signed. For example, if you’ve signed a non-exclusive buyer representation agreement, you have the option of working with other agents under non-exclusive agreements. If you’ve signed an exclusive agreement and chose to work with other agents, you’re at risk of owing more than one agent a commission when you decide to buy.

How do you avoid making these mistakes when buying or selling a home?

1. Do your homework. Reading this blog post is a great start, but there is certainly more to know. Check out the tips and tools on the RECA web site, and make sure you read this Consumer Relationships Guide. You’ll notice the very first sentence in the guide states: “Real estate professionals have a regulatory requirement to present and discuss this Guide with you.”

2. Find an agent you trust. Don’t just work with the first person you meet – interview agents, ask friends and family for recommendations. Check customer satisfaction ratings, don’t just read testimonials. If you’re thinking of working with a particular agent, Google their name and see what you find, have they been sanctioned or disciplined by RECA or other regulatory bodies? Also remember, everybody makes mistakes, if you find complaints about an agent or brokerage, ask them about them. The way an agent handles problems will tell you more about them than any testimonial.

3. Understand the contracts you’re signing. Most people think finding the right home, or the right buyer for their home, is the most complicated and difficult part of buying or selling real estate. Trust me, things get a lot more complicated when you don’t understand what you agreed to when you signed on the dotted line. Many agents will offer free consultations or seminars to explain what you’re going to need to know, before you need to know it. Contact us today to schedule a no obligation, one-on-one, “buying a home” consultation or “getting ready to sell” consultation with one of our awesome agents.

A little preparation goes a long way. Get prepared, find awesome representation, and the whole process of buying and selling real estate can actually be fun!

 

Article by Liv Real Estate

What you need to do for a Long Distance Move

April 21st, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

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Moving to a new home can be tough. Moving to a new home that’s in a new city can sometimes feel overwhelming and – admittedly – impossible! But have no fear. Even though there is a lot involved with moving to a new city across the country, it’s manageable. Follow these tips to learn five essential things you need to do in order to move long distance:

  • Stay organized. If you’re going to accomplish this feat without a ton of stress, you absolutely must establish a timeline. Begin by listing everything that needs to be done before the move. Then, consider how far in advance each of these list items must be completed. Finally, place each item on the calendar and mark them off as you finish them.
  • Anticipate delays. Part of staying organized is having a Plan B in case your Plan A doesn’t work out. Remember, sometimes things take much longer than you think they should. Build padding into your schedule so you are not working down to the wire – that only causes stress! Furthermore, make sure that each member of your family packs an essentials bag filled with necessary toiletries, food, and clothing.
  • Build a budget. Moving can be costly, but it’s possible to move without breaking the bank. Begin thinking about your budget by considering what it would cost to do everything the way you want. Look for moving calculators online and get quotes from a variety of moving companies to decide how much certain things would cost.
  • Realize you need help. From packing to getting your belongings from Point A to Point B, moving is a lot of work. That’s why you shouldn’t do it alone. Organize a packing party so your friends and family can come assist you with packing up your stuff. Or consider hiring a moving company to pack your belongings, as well as provide extra services like assembly/disassembly, transporting, unpacking, loading/unloading, and more.
  • Prep the entire family. If it was just you moving, things might not be so complicated. But if you’ve got kiddos moving with you, it’s likely you’ll have some pushback – and more complications in general. The best thing you can do is have a sit-down with everyone in your family and chat about your moving plans. Allow the kids to ask questions so they fully understand the reasons for moving, how the move will work, etc. Finally, give each family member a job so everyone can feel invested in the move.

Moving long distance doesn’t have to be hard. Stay focused, do your research, and get organized – and you’re sure to have a successful move.

 

Article by Liv Real Estate

Four Legal Forms Every Landlord Needs

April 19th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

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With Edmonton having the lowest tax rate in Canada and a steady increase in wages, it is no wonder investors are looking toward Edmonton’s lucrative real estate market. Unfortunately being a landlord is not as easy as one may think. Many actions have to be followed in accordance to the Residential Tenancies Act. Failure to act in regards to this law can have dire consequences.

We have put together a list of 4 legal documents that every landlord should have and when they should be appropriately used.

1. Residential Rental Application

A Residential Rental Application is used by landlords to collect information on potential renters. This document is very important as it helps screen possible tenants. Landlords can see the renter’s employment history, income, references and get written consent to do a credit and criminal background check. Some skip this step since it requires extra time and money; however not doing these screenings can result in getting the wrong tenant that is late on their payments or cause costly damages to the property.

*Tip: Many people put their friends as references so that they will give them a good word. Instead, try to get references from the renters past landlord. This will allow you to get a real glimpse of what type of tenant they are and if they are right for your property.

2. Residential Rental Agreement

Once you have found the right tenant, the next step is having both parties sign a Residential Rental Agreement. This contract clarifies the expectations for both parties during a residential tenancy and lowers the likelihood of any disputes or misunderstanding at a later date.

A Rental Agreement should include:

  • Landlord, Tenant and Property Information: Contact information for both parties, as well as a description of the rental property.
  • Lease Length: How long the tenancy will be, including whether it will automatically renew or if it is a fixed term, and notice details.
  • Rent Price: How much the rent price will be per month, and if utilities are included. Also, if there is a fee for late payments and if the landlord requires a damage deposit.
  • Permissions: This includes whether the landlord will permit certain things, such as smoking, pets, home businesses, or improvements to the rental property.
  • Rules and Responsibilities: The responsibilities for the tenant and landlord, such as care and maintenance of the property, and overall expectations from both parties during the course of the lease period.

*Tip: Go through the lease with your tenant to ensure that they understand the terms and to answer any question they may have. Once signed by both parties give your tenant a copy of the agreement.

3. Rental Inspection Report

After the Residential Rental Agreement has been signed by both parties, landlords should do a walk-through of the residence with the tenant. This allows you to record the condition of the rented residence before the tenant moves in. When the tenant moves out you will have a reference of how the place looked and if any new damages have occurred you can deduct it from their damage deposit.

*Tip: Make sure you do the walk through with the tenant and have them sign the report. This will make the Tenant responsible if they caused any damage.

4. Eviction Notice

Even after doing your due diligence you may still be faced with a bad tenant that you have to evict. In cases where the tenant has severely damaged your property or physically assaulted you, you can give them a 24 Eviction Notice to vacate your property. In other cases such as late payment, the eviction process becomes more complex. In this case you will have to give the tenant a 14 day notice. When filling out the Eviction Notice for late payment ensure that you list how much rent was due, when it was due and property information.

*Tip: Evicting a tenant can be costly from the $75 filing fee for a hearing to hiring a bailiff to escort your tenant off your property. Plan ahead in case this happens to you by setting aside some extra money to cover these expenses.

Getting Started

Real Estate investing can be risky however in the words of Andrew Carnegie the wealthiest man in America during the early 20th century, “90 percent of all millionaires become so through owning real estate.”

Investing always has some risk to it, but being prepared by having these 4 legal documents will alleviate some of this risk. There are many resources that can get you started such as LawDepot the leading publisher of online legal documents. Whichever resource you choose, ensure you have these legal forms handy as you never know when you might need them.

 

Article by Liv Real Estate

7 easy tips on how to clean screens and window glass

April 17th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

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There’s nothing like natural light to illuminate your home … until the sun’s rays start to highlight all of the dirt, spider webs and fingerprints built up on your windows. Don’t start wishing for clouds and rain just yet, though — it’s easy to keep your screens and window glass clean year-round. Read on to learn seven simple tips that’ll have you looking forward to sunny days and open windows.

Save Yesterday’s News

This one might come as a surprise, but it turns out yesterday’s newspaper can come in handy when it’s time to wash and dry your windows. A black-and-white sheet of newspaper is surprisingly wonderful at wiping your windows dry. Of course, you could also use a squeegee if you want to be professional about it.

Screen Queens

Your screen is vital when you want to open your windows, but they tend to get super dirty over the winter when they’re not in use. Fortunately, you don’t have to take them out and scrub them like you might’ve already done in the past. Instead, grab your vacuum, stick on the dust-busting brush, and clean your screens from the inside out.

Keep the Spider Webs Away

Are you tired of not wanting to open a window because of spiders that reside between the glass and screen? There’s a super simple way to keep those bugs away! Spring is a perfect time to finally open that window to clear out the webs and vacuum the screen. Afterwards just spray the corners of the screen where spiders seem to go with a mixture of 8 oz water and 5-10 drops of peppermint essential oil.

Welcome Fresher Air

You just cleaned that window last week, right? So why is it so dirty? Don’t blame yourself — it turns out your heating and air-conditioning system might be to blame. Try replacing the filter in order to ensure it more efficiently cleans pollen, dust, dander and other free radicals from the air. Your windows will stay cleaner for longer and, as an added bonus, you’ll be breathing fresher air. Now that’s a win-win.

Fight Tough Stains

You might live in a hard-water zone or you might just have an unlucky mix of regular rainfall and metal panes. Regardless, you’ve now got mineral stains and streaks on your windows. One of the best ways to tackle them is with steel wool, which scrubs them away with ease. You could also try gritty cleaning solutions that rub away stains with abrasives and easily rinse away.

Seal the Deal

You’ve also got to worry about your blinds, since they cover your windows. Blinds made of cloth are particularly notorious for collecting unwanted dust. This is another problem that’s no big deal to overcome. Simply spray them with Static Guard or another spray with similar antiseptic qualities. Make sure you do it right after you clean them, so as to not lock in any lingering dust bunnies.

Sill the Deal, Too

Finally, you’ve got to get your windowsills sparkling to complete the picture. This is one task that can be frustrating because your exterior windowsills are clearly exposed to the elements. In order to aid them in repelling dirt and dust from piling up, brush on a thin layer of floor wax. Voila.

You might even find yourself dreaming of a house with even more windows now that you know how to maintain them in a flash. Now, go enjoy the sun — you’ve got a good view from the inside and out.

3 Tips to Prepare to Sell Your Home

April 15th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

submitted by Metro Creative Graphics

 

According to realtor.ca, spring is the busiest and best season to sell a home. While a good home can find a buyer any time of year, homeowners might find the buyers’ pool is strongest in spring and into summer. The reasons for that are many, ranging from parents wanting to move when their children are not in school to buyers wanting to move when the weather is most accommodating.
Because spring is such a popular time to sell a home, homeowners who want to put their homes on the market should use winter as an opportunity to prepare their homes for the prying eyes of prospective buyers. The following tips can help homeowners during the pre-selling preparation process.

 

ADDRESS THE EXTERIOR OF THE HOME

 

Winter can be harsh on a home’s exterior, so as winter winds down, homeowners who want to sell their homes should make an effort to address anything that might negatively affect their homes’ curb appeal. A study of homes in Greenville, South Carolina, from researchers at Clemson University found that the value of homes with landscapes that were upgraded from “good” to “excellent” increased by six to seven per cent. If it’s in the budget, hire professional landscapers to fix any problematic landscaping or address any issues that arose during the winter. Homeowners with green thumbs can tackle such projects on their own, but hiring professionals is akin to staging the inside of your home.

CONQUER INTERIOR CLUTTER

Clutter has a way of accumulating over the winter, when people tend to spend more time indoors than they do throughout the rest of the year. Homeowners who want to put their homes on the market in spring won’t have the luxury of waiting until spring to do their “spring” cleaning, so start clearing any clutter out in winter, even resolving to make an effort to prevent its accumulation throughout winter. Just like buyers are impressed by curb appeal, they are turned off by the clutter.
The Appraisal Institute suggests homeowners clear clutter out of their homes before appraisers visit, and the same approach can be applied to open houses. Buyers, like appraisers, see cluttered homes as less valuable. In addition, a home full of clutter might give buyers the impression, true or not, that the home was not well maintained.

ELIMINATE ODORS

A home’s inhabitants grow accustomed to the odors that might be circulating throughout the house. Pet odor, for instance, might not be as strong to a home’s residents as it is to guests and prospective buyers. Because windows tend to stay closed throughout the winter, interior odors can be even stronger come late-winter than they are during the rest of the year. A thorough cleaning of the house, including vacuuming and removal of any pet hair that accumulated over the winter can help to remove odor. In the weeks leading up to the open house, bathe pets more frequently, using a shampoo that promotes healthy skin so pet dander is not as prevalent. Open windows when the weather allows so more fresh air comes into the home.
Spring is a popular and potentially lucrative time to sell a home, and homeowners who spend winter preparing their homes for the market may reap even greater rewards.

Buying a Home with Help from your Parents

April 13th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

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Over the years I’ve been involved in hundreds of sales where parents were helping their kids buy a property, and I’ve seen that “help” come in many different forms. There are some good ways for parents to help their kids by a home, and some things that should definitely be avoided. So, here are my tips for the best ways for parents to help their kids buy a property:

  1. Don’t make assumptions based on previous experience. The most dangerous thing I see parents do is to make decisions for their kids, based on what worked for them.  Real estate has changed considerably over the years and so have the trends.  Basing an important decision on outdated information could be a major misstep.  When I bought my first property, my dad told me not to buy a condo; at the time condos were much less common than they are today. I couldn’t afford a single family home so I bought a condo that turned out to be an excellent starting point (and that my parents eventually bought from me)!
  2. Don’t short-cut the process. Make sure the kids are involved and learn the process and what’s involved now, for their future benefit. Our process is to sit down with our first-time clients and explain the entire process of buying a home including contracts, costs, and what to expect for the type of property they are buying. I call this the ‘no friggin surprises’ method.  We also review some of the important information I could provide to help their decision-making process. For example, I wouldn’t buy a property without reviewing these documents:
    • Titles and instruments related to the title
    • A History of the property on MLS®
    • Comparable sales and much more depending on the type of property.

    If it’s important to me, it should be important to you.

  3. Attend the showings where possible, but know your limitations. Many parents will send their kids out to look at properties then show up after the offer is written. Most often this is too late.  Nothing is more frustrating than the “it’s not good enough mom” who decides at the inspection that there must be something better out there. When young people have done their due diligence – they know what’s for sale in the areas they are choosing, they know what has sold and have had thorough discussions about it and the information around it – and papa shows up knowing more than everybody, having seen none of the other properties… it’s frustrating for everyone involved. If parents don’t see at least some of the properties available in the price range you can afford, even the best option can seem like a dump.  Parents don’t need to see everything, but they should at least get a feel for what is out there.
  4. Protecting your children doesn’t mean keeping them locked in the castle. I remember one property in Westmount I showed to a smart, young, paralegal who had been looking with me for quite awhile. It was by far the best property for the price, condition and area she was considering.  As we walked through the property it was obvious her parents hated it (they lived in the ‘burbs). By the time the showing was done, she was in tears and there was no point explaining that we had looked at everything close to downtown and it was the best available listing. The next day I got a call from my client who was quite distraught saying she wanted to put in an offer, but her father had told her to go in significantly lower than list price.  This young confident women was now a wreck, and the property was already pending anyway – two other parties wrote offers the night before and it eventually sold over list price.
  5. Estate planning is imperative. Will you be on the title with your children? What implications does this hold if you should pass away?  What if they are married?  Should you be joint tenants with them or tenants in common.  In joint tenancy the survivors automatically get your share, but what if its tenants in common? Is your intent to gift the property to your children should you die or grant an interest to someone else? What if they are married or get married? Is this a gift to them? What if they get divorced? What if your current spouse gets remarried?  These are just a few of the questions I ask in these situations.  Often no thought has been given to this whatsoever when a good deal of thought must go into this. A discussion with your lawyer before your write an offer is highly recommended.

Helping your kids buy a home can be an excellent investment and a great way to help your kids as adults, a little planning and preparation are important steps in making the best decision for your family.

 

Article by Liv Real Estate

Unrepresented Sellers: What you need to know

April 11th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

Are you selling your home, but you aren’t being represented by a licensed real estate professional? You may be a “mere posting” seller. A mere posting is when a real estate professional puts a seller’s listing on a Real Estate Board’s listing database, but the real estate professional has chosen or agreed not to provide services to the seller other than to submit the listing for posting on a listing database.

If you are a mere posting seller, you need to make sure you understand the role of the buyer’s representative. You need to know the services you will receive from the buyer’s brokerage (real estate professonal) and just as importantly, what services you won’t receive from the buyer’s brokerage.

What you need to know

  • the potential buyer is using the services of a real estate professional
  • the real estate professional is the agent of the buyer and must act in the buyer’s best interest
  • the buyer’s representative does not represent you
  • the buyer’s representative may provide administrative services to facilitate the sale of your home. They may act as a scribe for you to complete documents but cannot give you advice
  • the buyer’s representative will ask you to pay a fee for selling your home
  • the buyer’s representative will ask you to sign a Sellers Customer Acknowledgement and Fee Agreement prior to presenting the offer
  • if you do not reach agreement on a fee, the buyer’s representative may have to talk to the buyer prior to presenting any offer
  • the buyer’s representative cannot give you advice on the value of your home
  • the buyer’s representative may give you information on homes similar to yours for sale and those that have sold

Consumers with no representation
You may wish to work with a real estate professional for a particular real estate transaction and not want a real estate professional to represent you. Examples of this include:

  • the real estate professional represents a landlord of a large shopping centre and a potential tenant has an interest in a space in the mall
  • the real estate professional has a written buyer brokerage agreement in place and attempts to sell a property where the owner is representing themselves
  • the seller has chosen a mere posting option without representation to sell their residential property
  • a real estate professional represents a new home builder exclusively and a potential buyer shows interest in the builder’s property
  • a real estate professional is a tenant representative and approaches a landlord on behalf of a potential tenant

A client is a person that enters into a service agreement with a real estate professional. A customer is a person who has made contact with a real estate professional but does not engage them to provide services.

In the situation where the real estate professional represents the buyer and the seller is selling their home through a mere posting listing, the buyer’s real estate professional will treat the seller as a customer and provide sole agency representation to the buyer. This means they will give administrative services to the seller and full representation services to the buyer.

Disclosure of role and administrative services to the unrepresented seller
It is important for a buyer’s real estate professional to disclose to you that the buyer’s brokerage:

  • does not represent you, the seller
  • represents the buyer
  • must be loyal to the buyer and always act in their best interest
  • does not owe any agency obligations, and in particular, any fiduciary obligations, to you
  • will not give you any services that require the exercise of discretion or judgement, or the giving of confidential advice, or the brokerage advocating on your behalf
  • will communicate to the buyer all information from you, whether or not it is of a confidential nature. The exception is for confidential information the brokerage receives from you through a prior agency relationship with you
  • will not give you information or advice that is not in the best interest of the buyer

Obligations to the seller
The buyer brokerage’s responsibilities to you, the seller, are:

  • exercise reasonable care and skill in relation to the brokerage services
  • not negligently or knowingly give you false or misleading information
  • hold all monies the brokerage receives in trust in accordance with the provisions of the Act
  • comply with the provisions of the Act, Rules, Regulations, and Bylaws

Administrative services to the seller
When it is in the best interest of their buyer client, the real estate professional may give administrative services to you, as a customer. Real estate professionals will give these services to a customer because doing so would be for the benefit of their client and the transaction. Administrative services are at the option of the real estate professional, without creating a client relationship. The brokerage, at its sole discretion, may give you, the unrepresented seller, the following information or services:

  • real estate statistics and information on properties including comparable property information available through listing services or other local databases
  • standard form agreements of purchase and sale and other relevant form documents and act as scribe in their preparation in accordance with the instructions of the seller
  • the names of real estate service providers, but the brokerage will not recommend any particular service provider
  • present, in a timely manner, all offers and counter-offers to and from the buyer and seller
  • convey, in a timely manner, all information the seller wishes to communicate to the buyer
  • inform the buyer and seller of the progress of the transaction

Organizing Your Garage

April 9th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

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Organizing the Garage in Zones

Most of the time, few of us actually know where to put and where we have put things in the garage. This makes it even harder to find things after the organizing is done. Implementing specific zones in the garage can make finding your items and tools easier. Here are few ideas and simple steps to help take your garage to the next level.

Plan the zones. Before starting to organize anything, plan zones specific to your family’s needs. Your garage could have a mudroom zone, beach zone, snow removal zone, etc. This is a wonderful customized plan that is entirely based on what you actually use.

Start simple. As with anything, don’t stress yourself out so badly that you lose your taste for organizing. There are so many different ways to organize the garage and none of them are wrong, or even right. To find your perfect garage zone organization plan, you are in the driver’s seat. You know better than anyone what your family actually needs when it comes to your garage. Zone your garage in a way that will benefit your family best.

One step further. Take the zoning up a notch by trying the following tips: Start the zoning process by dividing items into piles (or areas) that would make sense together. You have boogie boards and pool noodles? Put them in the beach zone. Don’t try having food storage mixed with the garden tool area. That can cause you an organizing headache in no time. When dividing items, remember to put things together that make sense. Are there loose rakes and brooms? Put them in the yard tool section with your brand new leaf blower.

Place yard and garden items where they are most easily accessed. This is will be one of your highest traffic zones. Place lawn mowers, cleaning supplies and even golf clubs in this area. Placing bins in the same area is a great idea for loose garden and yard items.  Consider hanging your yard tools such as weed eaters, bush trimmers, edgers and leaf blowers.

Try a garage mudroom. Sometimes you don’t have room for a built in mudroom in house. Why not fashion one in the garage? Try having a garage mudroom to make where the garage and your home meet a little less mess and less stressful on the people who clean it. Children and adults can remove their shoes and coats and place them on shoe racks and easily accessed hooks.

Long term storage is a must.  Long term storage is a must have because we all have items that are seldomly used, but we still want them around. Consider your holiday decor in this category. We all love good holiday decorations, but they are really only appropriate within the season. We love this idea for stowing your stuff for the long haul.

Working space needed. The garage is a place for a lot of things, but in reality a lot of our best and largest projects happen in the garage. Don’t forget to leave a little space for you to use for projects. Consider installing a workbench to add more space when it’s tight.

Implementing these simple steps will help you get your garage zoned in a weekend. This will simplify the “finding time” of your items.

Post by Cortney Agren of Monkey Bars Storage.

 

 

 

Types of Real Estate Practice: What consumers need to know

April 7th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

In Alberta, real estate professionals can have a licence that allows them to work in a type – or multiple types – of real estate practice.

The four practice areas are:

  • residential real estate
  • rural real estate
  • commercial real estate
  • property management.

A real estate professional’s area(s) of practice depends on their pre-licensing education. Industry professionals can be licensed to practice in one of these areas, or in any combination of these areas, depending on the education they completed and the licence they hold. If RECA receives a complaint about a real estate professional acting outside of the scope of their licence, RECA will review their conduct. You can check your real estate professional’s licence by searching for an Industry Professional on the RECA website. The areas of practice attached to the industry professional’s licence will display when you click on their name after finding them in a search. Their areas of practice are listed beside the word “Sector.”

It may seem obvious what type of real estate professional you need (for example, if you’re selling a single detached house you need a residential real estate professional), but sometimes the line is blurry. For example, if you have an acreage property located outside of a city, is it residential or rural? Here is detailed information to help you figure out what type of real estate professional you need.

 

Residential Real Estate:

Real estate is residential, when:

  • the building and the land are intended for residential purposes
  • the building has four units or less intended for residential purposes
  • the land intended to be the site of a residential building or buildings will eventually have four units or less

What can residential real estate professionals do? 

They can represent buyers and sellers of residential real estate, including

  • single-family homes
  • residential acreages (country residential) not intended for farming
  • duplexes
  • four-plex
  • townhouses
  • condominiums (single units only, not entire condo buildings with more than four units)
  • a cabin at the lake used for recreational purposes

 

Rural Real Estate:

Rural real estate refers to:

  • property outside a city, town, etc. that has farming as its primary purpose

What can rural real estate professionals do? 

They can represent buyers and sellers of rural real estate. Typically, rural properties that are intended for farming have a designated land use that reflects that. The rural definition does not include “rural residential” properties. Residential real estate includes rural residential properties, which are also known as country residential properties, such as acreages. These properties have a residential dwelling or are intended for a residential dwelling, and their primary purpose is not farming. Individuals whose license only includes rural real estate cannot represent the buyers and sellers of rural residential or country residential.

 

Property Management:

Property management is:

  • leasing, negotiating, approving or offering to lease real estate
  • collecting or offering or attempting to collect money payable for the use of real estate
  • holding money received in connection with the rental of real estate
  • advertising, negotiating or any other act, directly or indirectly for the purpose of furthering the above activity

What can property managers do?

Property management professionals can work with landlords (property owners) and/or tenants (potential tenants) in the leasing of real estate. A license to provide property management services allows an individual to do so for all types of properties: commercial, residential and rural real estate.

 

Commercial Real Estate:

Commercial real estate means property intended to generate income. It includes property used for:

  • retail
  • office
  • industrial
  • investment
  • institutional
  • multifamily residential property comprised of more than four units

What can commercial real estate professionals do?
They can assist in the purchase, sale, or lease of office buildings or space, industrial sites and retail.

 

 

How to Protect Yourself from Shoddy New Construction

April 5th, 2017 by remax-realestate-stonyplain

 

New-Construction

A recent article in the Calgary Herald brought up a rather scary situation for some Calgary homeowners. The couple in the article bought a new home, from a builder, and moved in last spring. They decided to move to a new home, on “higher ground” because they were hit by the 2013 floods in Calgary and didn’t want to face the same problem again. Since moving in, they’ve found significant deficiencies in the basement (in the $500,000 range) that violate the Alberta building code and are allowing water to leak into the basement.

On the surface this is a horrible situation and I would suggest that ultimately someone has screwed up, whether it’s the builder or the city of Calgary, or a little of both, or maybe there is more to it. Caveat emptor (buyer beware) applies when buying a home, but not in a situation where the buyer would not have the ability to inspect the problem, and since this problem appears to have been below grade, the buyer most likely wouldn’t have been able to inspect it. The article suggests that the city inspector indicated damp proofing was required, and the house was backfilled the next day. My reason for addressing the article is not to find or suggest fault, but to give suggestions on how to avoid this situation yourself.

Here are my top tips for working with a builder:

  1. Remember the person in the show home is an employee of the builder. This means they have no fiduciary duties to protect your best interests as a buyer. They are also likely an independent contractor so if they screw up, the builder will say they aren’t responsible.
  2. Work with a REALTOR® who specializes in new home construction or at least has extensive experience in new construction. The insight and value this type of agent can provide you with is priceless.
  3. Hire your own consultant/inspector. This is not very expensive and practically invaluable. If you are buying a spec home (one the builder has already constructed) then a typical inspector can spot lots of issues for you; many of our clients have made the money they spent on hiring an inspector back many times over on the deficiencies they uncovered during construction or before taking possession of the home. If you are building, and have no little or no experience, having someone who can offer you in depth advice at the various stages can save lots of money and headaches, and prevent problems from being missed or covered up.
  4. Use your own lawyer. I don’t know how many times I’ve have met with people over the years, who have thought they would save money by using the builder’s “free” lawyer, only to end up learning it cost them far more than it saved. Why do you think builders include this service? The builder’s lawyer represents the builder, not you. Enough said.

If the builder you’re considering working with is not comfortable with any of these steps, then don’t deal with them. There are lots of builders in Alberta whose workmanship and processes stand up to scrutiny, and that’s what sets them apart from the riff raff.

 

 

Article by Sheldon Johnson, Liv Real Estate

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