Edmonton Real Estate FAQs



General Questions

I need a real estate agent. How can I trust that Bev is right for me?

Choosing an agent based on what you've seen on a Web site or a bus bench is not a great idea – you're right to require more information before you trust an agent you don't know. Checking out Bev's site may help you understand Bev's expertise and her listings better… but the best way to know if Bev is the right REALTOR® for you is to learn what her customers/clients say about her. So read her unbiased client reviews by clicking here – and then give Bev a call at (780) 445-8267 to 'interview' her yourself.

Is it better to buy before selling or sell before buying?

It depends on the market, but a good rule is to get the hard part over with first. So, if there is a surplus of listings on the market – often called a "buyer's market" – then it is usually best to sell first, given that selling will be more difficult, unpredictable and time-consuming than buying will. If there is a shortage of listings – or if you’re in a "seller's market" – it is best to buy first. In a balanced market, Bev recommends that you put your house up for sale and start looking for a new home. When you put an offer in on a property, be sure to make the purchase conditional on the sale of your current home.

Questions about Buying a Home

 What is a "buyer agent"? 
A "buyer agent" is someone who represents buyers either exclusively or more than she/he represents sellers; a "seller agent" is, of course, the reverse. Bev O'Shea is an experienced agent for both buyers and sellers, with high client satisfaction rates and great testimonials from buyers and sellers she's helped.

As a first-time buyer, what should I know before I start shopping for a home?

Congratulations on your decision to buy a home! Becoming a homeowner is a great choice to make in even the toughest real estate market – as long as you buy a property you can comfortably afford with strong potential resale value. Begin by assessing your financial situation. Make a list of your monthly and annual expenses, and be honest about everything you spend money on so that you don’t underestimate; then, go to the bank or to a mortgage broker and pre-qualify for financing, if you require it (most people do!). Once you’ve got your financing in place, you can start the actual process of looking for a home. Start by reading these tips for homebuyers

Why do I need to offer a deposit with my offer to purchase?

You don't necessarily need to include a deposit with your offer to purchase – but it can definitely set you apart as a buyer. A deposit is a showing of good faith. It indicates that you are serious about the property. In scenarios where there are multiple offers on a property as well as in cooler real estate markets where yours may be the only offer, a deposit can help put you in a favorable light in the eye of seller.

How much of a deposit should I put down?

The higher the deposit, the more serious the seller knows you are. That said, you do not need to put down an amount over 10% in most markets – and, of course, the deposit will be dependent on the price of the property. Your agent can help you determine the best number.

Do I get my deposit back?

Providing that you do not waive the conditions and if you choose not to proceed with the purchase, you will get your deposit back. If you proceed with the purchase, the deposit is applied towards your total down-payment.

When it comes to closing costs, what elements are included? What do I need to budget?

Closing costs typically include the following:
   -Legal fees & disbursements
   -Tax adjustments, including the balance of property taxes owed to the City or to be paid back to the seller, if the seller has paid the taxes for time beyond the closing date
   -The balance of the down-payment (outside of your deposit)

When you're choosing your real estate lawyer, be sure to ask for an estimate of fees & disbursements you'll be paying. For tax adjustments, just ask your real estate agent to help you find out what the property taxes are; you won't actually know how much the seller has paid towards their taxes, but it may help to prepare yourself to pay the entire tax amount at once – then it's a nice surprise if you don't have to pay that full amount.

Should I have my financing in place (be pre-approved) before going to look at houses?

That's up to you, but getting pre-approved does give you at least 2 advantages:

   1.  It caps the interest rate. So, if you get pre-approved at, say, 5.5% interest and you take two months to shop around, when you’re ready to put an offer in, your interest rate is still locked in at 5.5% – even if the current interest rate is, say, 6%. If the rate drops, you'll get the lower rate up to 60 to 90 days, depending on your bank.

  2. It puts you in a better buying position. Imagine you're putting in an offer on a home and another person is putting in the same offer on the same home. Would you, as the seller, be more likely to accept the offer with financing in place… or would you take a risk and choose the offer with no financing in place? Trust me: Most sellers will choose the offer with financing in place. It's very nice to say and hear, "Yes, they've been pre-approved."

How much would I need for a down payment?

As of October 15, 2008, "zero down" mortgages are no longer available to Canadian homebuyers applying for a CMHC-insured mortgage, which most homebuyers need. A minimum of 5% to 20% is sufficient for a CMHC-insured mortgage. If you have a down payment of 20% or above, you would likely have a conventional mortgage with no CMHC fees added onto it.

Should I put conditions on my offer to purchase?

Absolutely. Put the conditions in place that will make you feel confident in your decision.

In what case should I have a home inspection done?

You should have a home inspection done in all cases. In hot markets, heated buyer activity, multiple offers and bidding wars cause many buyers to feel they cannot put a condition of home inspection on their offer – but you should never compromise on a home inspection. A quality home inspection can protect you from being stuck with an unsafe home that becomes a money pit in the long run.

How long after my offer is accepted can I move into my new home?

This depends on the date of possession, which is part of the negotiations you and your real estate agent will undertake when your agent presents your offer. The minimum is usually two weeks from the date of acceptance of your offer; the maximum is usually 90 days.

What extra costs should I take into consideration apart from a mortgage?

If you're renting right now, prepare yourself to budget in additional costs that you may not currently have, such as:

-Natural gas
-Condo fees or homeowners' association fees

If you move from an apartment to a home with a lawn and sidewalk, you may need to factor in landscaping – including buying a lawn mower – and snow removal services. Depending on how new your new home is, you may also need to pay to have a fence installed, a deck built, a garage built and/or your basement finished. Of course, not all of this needs to happen in the first two weeks of moving in!

How long do the sellers have to back out after accepting my offer?

Once conditions have been removed from an offer, the offer is an interim agreement, which is, for all intents and purposes, a legally binding acceptance of your offer. If the seller does not abide by this agreement, you, as the purchaser, are entitled to pursue legal action for a broken contract. If you, as the purchaser, break your end of the interim agreement and choose not to purchase the property, the seller has the right to sue you.

Do I have to pay all of the city taxes when buying a home?

No, you will not have to pay all of the taxes - you will however have to pay for a portion of the taxes depending on when you take possession of your home. For example, if you were to take possession of your home on August 1, a five month credit to you (the purchaser) would be adjusted at the time of closing. However, if the closing was on May 1 - the lawyers would then adjust a three month credit to the purchaser on closing and would then be the responsibility of you the purchaser to pay the taxes that would be forthcoming in June.

Questions about Selling a Home
What is a "seller agent"?

A "seller agent" is someone who represents those who are selling the property either exclusively or more than she/he represents buyers; a "buyer agent" is, of course, the reverse. Bev O'Shea is an experienced agent for both buyers and sellers, with high client satisfaction rates and great testimonials from buyers and sellers she's helped 
How important is it to stage my home when I'm trying to sell?

First, it's very important. (We'll get into that more in a second.) Second, it's important to stage before you even list your home – not when you're already in the midst of trying to sell. So start looking at your house from a buyer's perspective early. That said, here are some statistics about the importance of staging a home: According to 2005 & 2006 Maritz Research, 63% of buyers are willing to pay more money for a house that is move-in ready, and 79% of buyers are willing to pay a premium for a home with an updated kitchen According to a 2004 Coldwell Banker survey, homes that were staged sold nearly 20 days earlier than homes that were not You shouldn't need to spend a lot of money on staging. Check out a few tips for staging on your own by clicking here

How much should I list my property for?

Ah, the million dollar question! (In some cases, it literally is a million dollar question.) Your listing price is dependent on numerous factors, but these are the big ones: The current state of the real estate market The location of your home The condition of your home It is important to separate out your personal feelings about your home before you try to determine a number. Be as objective as possible. Think about the current market rather than what was happening a year ago. …That's where a quality, experienced REALTOR® can help.

Can I do anything to help my house sell quicker?

YES! Check out these tips for selling your home, and contact Bev directly at (780) 445-8267 to start forming a strategy for a rapid home sale.

I just sold. When do I get my money?

If you've made money off the sale of your home, your lawyer will provide you with a cheque from their trust account for the full amount of the money you earned, usually less the legal fees & disbursements and other associated costs.

What's the best time of year to sell my home?

In the past, homes typically sold quicker in the spring/summer because open houses and lawn signs were the primary marketing tools to get people in your door. However, today, with all the marketing tools that we have at our disposal – including online listings and notices of open houses – how quickly your home sells is not so dependent on the season as on how effective your REALTOR® is.

Should I be present when my home is being shown?

No. Potential homebuyers should feel as comfortable as possible in your home. They should be allowed to point out elements they like as well as those elements they don't like without feeling that they're praising or insulting your personal tastes. You, your family, your friends and your pets, if you have them, should be absent every time your home is shown.