A blog cannot deal with all aspects of a subject and is not intended to replace professional advice. It's purpose is to highlight information and identify areas of possible interest. Anyone wishing to discuss this blog or to make any comments or suggestions about this blog is invited to do so by either posting comments or emailing me directly.


Holding a Successful Open House

Most real estate agents that take home listings will suggest a number of ways to market your home for sale. One of many effective ways of getting people talking about your home is through an open house. Infrequently an open house attendee is the party to actually buy the home, but there are still some other really good reasons to hold open houses. Oftentimes, the buyer ends up being someone who heard about the open house on the Internet, through the marketing done for the open house, or most often through someone who actually did attend the open house. Word of mouth advertising has always been highly effective in the marketing of homes. One of those "nosey neighbours" may actually know of someone they could recommend that might be interested in your home - if only they were asked.
There are four basic steps to follow for a successful open house. The first three are planning, promotion, and presentation. Once you've done all that, the fourth step is...
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The Top 10 Common Sense Real Estate Negotiating Tips for Buyers

Buying residential real estate is a complex and multi-faceted process. There are challenges and opportunities for negotiation at nearly every step in this process. Using persistence and a great deal of calmness in discussion to reach an agreement may be an unfamiliar skill to many buyers and even with the assistance of an experienced real estate agent, a buyer's emotions may get the better of them since they have a personal stake in the outcome. As a result, it is important for buyers to be armed with some commons sense tips to make the process go more smoothly.
For buyers, effective negotiating skills for buyers is something that can't be taken for granted as a known skill in a real estate agent. They often need additional training in this complex task, especially if they haven't worked in an executive level of a company or are newly licensed since the licensing program focusses mainly on seller and their needs. Buyers...
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Alberta Health Services: Marihuana Grow Operation Repair, Rehabilitation, and Remediation Requirements


Marihuana Grow Operations (MGOs) have been found to operate with little or no regard to the immediate or future safety of the occupants or neighbours. Buildings that have been used as MGOs may contain significant health and safety hazards. Substantial damage and hazardous conditions found in these buildings can include structural problems, electrical tampering, chemical contamination, increased levels of combustion gases, and abundant growth of visible and hidden moulds. An MGO premises is usually subject to an order and a Notice of Health Hazard registration on the land title pertaining to the property.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) Environmental Public Health, in partnership with the Alberta Green Teams, local law enforcement, and local Safety Codes Officers, is actively involved in the assessment and remediation of these marihuana grow operations.


The purpose...
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A grow op is any property owned or leased by persons in the drug trade who turns the property into a hydroponic operation to grow marijuana plants. A grow op operation could be located in any residential property, which is normally located in the basement. Some grow op operations may also include one property or may include a number of neighbouring properties on the same street and have been known to operate in virtually every province and territory across Canada. Grow op operators are becoming sophisticated where they may have placed interior lights with timers to make it appear that someone lives in the property.

Damages Caused by Grow Op Operations

Marijuana crops require large amounts of water in order for the crops to grow successfully. A number of renovations may need to be completed in order to grow marijuana plants, which includes a ventilation system to handle the excess moisture generated, which may include modifications to the drain system, or venting through the roof. As a result...
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Who a real estate agent actually works for is one of the most misunderstood topics in real estate. I learned this one through personal experience, one of life’s toughest teachers.

Years ago, my wife and I were driving around looking for one of our very first homes, we came upon a raised rancher with wonderful trees and a spacious yard in our ideal neighbourhood. It was love at first sight and we couldn’t stop thinking about living in that home! We wanted to see inside it so we called the real estate agent who’s name was on the sign to make an appointment. We just made the Number One mistake home buyers make! The agent whose name is on the real estate sign works for the seller. They are called the Listing Agent and their job is to get the best deal for the seller, not you!
We ended up writing an offer with this agent, not knowing that we could have had our own Buyer’s Agent at no additional cost to us. We did not have an advocate looking out for our best interests...
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Why rent? We recognize not everyone should buy a home right now. For some, it’s better to rent for a while before taking the plunge and buying a home.


You shouldn’t buy a home if:

  • You don’t like fixing things. When you rent, you get a built in maintenance plan!
  • You don’t plan on staying in a home for at least 5 years. Houses increase in value, over time. In the current economy it’s going to take several years before most areas appreciate in value again.
  • You don’t have enough cash for a down payment or at least 3 months worth of mortgage payments saved up. You want to give yourself the best possible chance to succeed in homeownership.

TIP: Buying a home is most everyone's dream, but if you’re not personally & financially ready, it can be a nightmare.

  • You’re not sure your job is secure.
  • Your credit is damaged. You’re better off taking six months to a year to improve your credit before buying.
  • You’re not ready to commit...
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Everyone cares about how much crime there is in an area that you want to buy a home in, but it's always been difficult to find consistent sources for data on crime. The Calgary Police Service has come out with a Crime Map that not many people are aware of. This could very well be the solution we’ve been looking for. Check it out!
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What would you do if you had an income tax or legal question regarding $200,000?

Who would you contact? Yes, most of us would find the best accountant or lawyer we could find! A home purchase often far exceeds $200,000 and many buyers don’t take it as seriously as they would a legal or tax concern.
Finding a Buyers Agent should be one of the very first steps you should take before you go finding a home. Let's look in more detail at what an exceptional Buyers Agent will do for you:
  • Represent you and your best interests, not the sellers
  • Respond honestly and accurately to your questions
  • Help you create a plan based on your wants and needs to find you the perfect home
  • Refer you to a lender or mortgage broker that has access to either first-time home buyer programs and/or trade-up buyer programs to find the most favourable loan for your particular situation
  • Using the criteria you provide, they search all possible listings and properties
  • With their experience they can point out the...
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Most consumers know that if they want to “hire” a real estate broker/agent to sell their home and represent their interests, they are going to sign a contract. REALTORS® are not allowed to list a property for sale without one. The contract clearly spells out the terms of the agreement including the duration of time, the compensation the agent will earn and when, who the agent represents and each party’s responsibilities.
While buyer brokerage is not a new concept – it has been legal in Alberta since the mid-1990s and a few years ago (in 2006) real estate laws that govern agent-consumer relationships were updated to further ensure consumer protection – many buyers and some agents still don’t understand the benefits to both parties that a written Buyer Brokerage Agreement affords.
In Alberta, an exclusive representation is only permitted with a written agreement. So until the agent has a written agreement with a client, they (the Buyer)...
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Calgary Foreclosures - Are they Worth the Risk?

Last Monday, 30 of the top REALTORS® working the Calgary area attended the Advanced Foreclosure Course for Real Estate Industry Members at the Calgary Real Estate Board.
The course was led by Lubos Pesta and Gary Befus – both real estate lawyers with significant experience in foreclosures and the foreclosure process. They both made the statement that echos our view, "Foreclosures are not for first-time buyers."
Prior to the session beginning, I commented how many real estate agents in the city still confuse Bank-Owned sales with Foreclosures. The instructors made it clear to the group that Foreclosures are a legal process whereby the bank or other creditor petitions the court to offer a property for sale. The court is considered the Seller in a foreclosure action. When a foreclosure is complete oftentimes the bank becomes the new owner and in turn will begin the process of selling the property. This sale (by the bank)...
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