Purrfect Properties Blog

Archive for April, 2014

What Not to Look at – When Buying a Home

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

When you start the search for your new house you may find that some people have a much different idea of what “style” is than you do.  The key is to not get wrapped up in the downfalls of the home you’re looking at but at the potential of what that home could be.  Walking through homes with clients this Realtor has heard many of the same items come up time after time and some people seem to put to much weight on these items.  So what are the things you should try to ignore when shopping for your next home?

Paint; Paint colours can add or subtract from the perceived value we place on a room, however we must remember that paint is often one of the easiest and cheapest ways to change the entire look of a room.

Wallpaper; Wallpaper may not be as easy to change as paint but with just a little extra work, and some elbow grease, wallpaper can generally be easily removed.

Appliances; The kitchen may be the heart of the home, however a yellow fridge in the kitchen can greatly detract from the appeal of said kitchen.  With a little extra room in your budget, or perhaps a long term plan that yellow fridge could be replaced.  Don’t let older or off coloured appliances take away from the inner beauty and potential of the kitchen.  The same can be said about clutter and small appliances on the counters, they make make the kitchen look smaller, but when the old owners move so will their small appliances.

Carpets;  Let’s face it after about 10 years most carpet should be replaced, perhaps sooner if their are pets in the house.  If the current owners of the house your viewing decide to change the carpet before they sell they may choose something that doesn’t appeal to you, and they generally look for a replacement product at a lower price point.  Wouldn’t you rather have the option of choosing what’s under your feet in your new home.  Don’t let old orange carpet ruin the chance of finding your dream home.

Popcorn ceilings;  What were once all the rage, have gone the way of shoulder pads, and neon clothes.  Let’s face it not too many people like the look of a popcorn ceiling these days.  Most of the time a ceiling can be scraped down and restored to a beautiful flat ceiling.  If you are looking at removing or having someone remove a popcorn ceiling you may want to get it done before you move in to your new home as this can be a very messy job.

Smells;  For the most part smells can be dealt with by a good deep cleaning of the home.  Do be careful about some smells as they may point to water damage or possibly mold, however this is generally not the case.  So roll up those sleeves get some bleach and before you know it those smells will be gone, or if you would rather there are many cleaning services that will do the dirty work for you.

Window Coverings; Yes window coverings can be expensive but they don’t have to be, many hardware stores cary blinds in stock that can be cut to fit most windows, or often times a less expensive option is curtains.  Whatever you do choose, you can have the option to customize the window coverings to your taste.  The main thing you should be noticing when you look at the windows in a potential home are the windows themselves as they are the real big ticket items to replace.

Curb Appeal;  If you’re not taken aback by the curb appeal of the house your view, perhaps it’s something that can be easily changed.  A coat of paint, a new colour for the front door and some landscaping can have a drastic change on the curb appeal of your new home, and with an added bonus of making you the envy of the neighbours.

These are just a few of the top things that this Realtor has heard through out the years, so next time you looking at a house, make sure not to get to caught up on the cosmetics of the house and focus more on the potential that your new home has.  Some of these items may be easier to look past than others.  The main things to think about when you’re looking for a new house are: Is this the home for me?  Will it meet my needs now and in the future?

And that’s the Cats’ Meow

Do you Know what these Common Real Estate Terms mean?

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Navigating the process of buying or selling a home can be a little overwhelming to some people. Having a Realtor to guide you through the process helps to make the process much easier. Even with the help of a Realtor you may still be lost in some of the terms used when it comes to talking about real estate. Lets take a look at some of the more common terms used in real estate, and help to clear up some of the confusion.

AGENCY A relationship which arises out of a contract, where an agent is authorized by a client to engage in certain acts, usually in dealing with one or more third party(s).

APPRAISED VALUE An estimate of property value written by a qualified individual. Appraisals performed for mortgage lending purposes, may not reflect the market value of the property, or the purchase price.

ASSESSED VALUE An amount assigned to taxable property, for the purpose of equalizing the burden of taxation.

CMHC The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation a Canadian Crown Corporation which administers the National Housing Act. CMHC services include the insuring of high ratio mortgage loans for lenders.

CONDOMINIUM The ownership of a separate amount of space in a multiple dwelling or other multiple-ownership of common elements used jointly with other owners.

CO-OPERATIVE The ownership of a separate amount of space in a multiple dwelling or multiple-occupancy building with proportioned tenancy in common ownership of common elements. Used jointly with other owners, however, the owner does not have clear title to a specific unit, but becomes a shareholder of the corporation which owns all the property and occupies by way of a tenancy agreement subject to shareholders agreement administered by an elected board of directors.

HALF DUPLEX Refers to a structure used for residential purposes and consisting of two living units with a common wall.

DUPLEX SIDE BY SIDE Refers to the entire structure of a duplex unit, consisting of both living units

ENCROACHMENT The act of building a structure which is in whole or in part on a neighbor’s property.

EQUITY The value of real estate over and above the mortgage(s) against it.

FREEHOLD The ownership of a tract of land on which the building(s) are located. The oldest and most common typed of ownership of real estate.

LEASEHOLD A type of interest in a property that is certain only for a specified period of time granted by contract.

LEGAL DESCRIPTION A written description by which property can be definitely located, and which is acceptable for registration in a land registry system.

LIEN A legal claim against a property for money owed.

MORTGAGE The legal pledge of real estate as security for a loan.

MORTGAGE BROKER A person who originates real estate loans and allocates mortgage funds. These funds are placed on behalf of others, through negotiation of lenders and borrowers for the best possible arrangement and satisfaction of all concerned.

OFFER TO PURCHASE A written proposal to purchase real estate that becomes binding upon acceptance of the vendor

PROPERTY Refers to the rights which an individual enjoys by virtue of his/her ownership.

REALTOR A real estate broker holding active membership in a local real estate board.

TERM The length of time which a mortgage agreement covers. Payments made may not repay the outstanding principal by the end of the term because of a longer amortization period.

TOWNHOUSE/TOWNHOME A style of housing unit generally built in a vertical as opposed to horizontal plane, sharing one or more common wall.

VENDOR A seller of real property.

ZONING The public regulation of the character and intensity of the use of real estate. This is accomplished by the establishment of districts in each of which uniform holding restrictions related to use, height, are, bulk, and density of population are imposed upon the private property.

Well this short list may not teach you all the terms you will need on your purchase or sale of your home, it should help to educate you on some of the aspects of the real estate process. If you feel yourself getting lost in terms like the ones listed above it may be time to ask for the help of a professional Realtor, to asset you in navigating this sometimes tricky language. Realtors have the knowledge and resources to maximize your time and limit your hassles. Should you need more help with your property search please let this Realtor help you to navigate the enjoyable process of buying or selling your next home.

And Thats The Cats’ Meow

The Canadian Dollar and You.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

With the Canadian dollar’s value trending lower, and industry analysts expecting it to continue to trend lower to approximately the .90$ level, you may wonder how this affects you. Depending on your field of employment you may be affected very differently. Since the main economic engine in Alberta and Edmonton in particular, is the the energy sector; Alberta is poised to profit from a lower loonie.

As the price of the canuck buck drops, the cost of our oil and gas is lower to our neighbours to the south, and as such most energy companies from the south have more capital to invest in projects. If the loonie does drop to the expected .90$ that would result in a 10% savings for US companies doing business in our country, versus doing business at par.

If you’re a small business owner you could find profit in the lower dollar as well, with a lower dollar our goods are more attractive to foreigners, so if your business does a lot of export a low loonie is great news for you. The main downfall to the lower loonie comes when you start looking at importing goods, for the business that imports goods you may have to take a closer look at your profit margins and decide on the best course of action.

One other positive spin off from a lower loonie, is in the tourism sector, with the lower dollar some Canadians may chose to keep their vacations confined to our beautiful country, as well as more of our souther neighbours. As a whole Alberta generally benefits from a lower loonie, as has been represented in the past fluctuation of the Canadian dollar. So lower loonie, good or bad? This Realtor sees it as a positive way to keep the Alberta economy moving forward.

And That’s The Cats’ Meow

Edmonton Real Estate Market Report – Spring 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton, released their first quarter report on April 2nd 2014, the report points towards a very busy spring quarter for the Edmonton real estate market. Sales of all types of residential properties saw growth of 5.8% in the first quarter of 2014 versus the first quarter of 2013. Single family detached sales saw an increase of 5.1%, but the most staggering increase was seen in condo sales with an increase of 11% in the first quarter of 2014. The overall inventory for residential properties was about the only figure on the report to show any negative growth when compared to last year. So what does this all mean for you the consumer? With higher sales and lower month end inventory levels compared to last year we should expect to see an increase in the movements of homes in good neighbourhoods that are priced appropriately. As a seller this is good news, however if you’re a first time home buyer in this market you might have to extend you search area or spend a bit more time looking for that purrfect property. The overall month to month sales prices haven’t seen much change and do seem to be remaining stable, keeping Edmonton’s hot real estate market still in the grasp of most buyers. With most analyst expecting the Bank of Canada lending rates to stay relatively stable well into 2015, this may be just the time you’re looking for to get into the Edmonton real estate market, or maybe its time to upgrade your current house for something that will continue to fit your needs into the future.

And That’s The Cats’ Meow

The Two Seasons of Edmonton

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

It has long been joked about that there are only two seasons in Edmonton, winter and road construction. With the snow starting to subside and the weather warming up it’s time that Edmontonians brace for the ensuing season of major road construction. The City of Edmonton has some large transportation projects on the books for 2014. So how will these projects effect you?

That all depends on the area of the city you spend your time in. Some of the largest projects are taking place in the cities southeast area, with the addition of an interchange at The QEII and 41 Ave, complete reconstruction of 41 Avenue SW to a four-lane divided urban arterial. The projects planed for this area are in direct relation to the population increase of the sounding area. The south side of the city has continued to see growth over the years, and shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Another project on the south side include, Ellerslie Road between 50 Street and 62 Street being upgraded to four lanes, to accommodate growth and increased traffic from future subdivision developments, this project is a developer project. The advantage to a developer project is that it is paid for by the developer and not by the tax payers. The 102 Avenue over Groat Road Bridge, will also be replaced with expected bridge closure July 1, 2014, with completion anticipated for fall of 2015. 34 Street, 23 Avenue, and 38 Avenue will be widened as part of the City’s Arterial Widening Program, the project will widen the arterial routes from 2 to 4 lanes and increase pedestrian accommodations with completion of missing sidewalks and shared-use paths.

All this construction located with in a small sector of the city may be disruptive to the general public, but the overall improvement to the area will last for decades to come. The planned projects for this area only serve to highlight the increasing demand for this very livable sector of the city. So I guess its short term pain for long term gain, or at least that’s the motto this Realtor is sticking with.

And That’s The Cats’ Meow

Fun Facts Friday – Siamese Cats

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The Siamese Cat is one of several breeds of oriental cats, and the one this Realtor is very familiar with, let me share some of their history. The Siamese is one of several breeds native to Thailand (formerly known as Siam),  (100 Best things to do in Thailand – thanks for the link Joey @ JenReviews.com) they have become extremely popular in North America and Europe. Defined by their blue eyes, slender body and triangular head shape, the siamese is a very intelligent and playful bread. The first siamese to reach the shores of North America came here way back in 1878 when U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, received one as a gift from the American Consul in Bangkok. Named “Siam” this was the first documented siamese on North American soil. These very affectionate and intelligent breed of cat, are very well known for their social nature. Many, like my two babies, enjoy being with people and are often as “extroverts”. Some Siamese are extremely vocal, with a loud, low-pitched voice—known as “Meezer”, from which they get one of their nicknames. The vocals of the siamese have been compared to the cries of a human baby, and persistent in demanding attention. These cats are typically active and playful, even as adults, and that’s why they are this Realtor’s top choice of pet.

And That’s The Cats’ Meow

Why Live in Hodgson

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The Hodgson neighbourhood was named after John Hodgson (1888-1969) who was the city comptroller and financial commissioner for the City of Edmonton for nearly 40 years.  John Hodgson came to Edmonton from England in 1913, where he had worked as a chartered accountant.  The neighbourhood began to experience the bulk of its residential development in the early 2000s, and the housing mix is split between low and medium density housing forms.  Prior to urban development in the early 2000s the land was used primarily for agricultural purposes, but there were also limited residential uses, a few woodlots and a natural wetland located within the plan area.

Here’s your Guide to Home Buying and Living in Hodgson.

Tips for Selling a Pet Occupied Home.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Selling your home can be a fun process, however it can sometimes also be a little stressful. Selling your home when you have pets offers some extra challenges, what to do with your furry family members while the home is being shown is one of the many questions this Realtor gets asked frequently. Unfortunately, not everyone loves our pets as much as we do. It is important to consider why people may have a negative reaction to our pets so that we can remove any possible barriers in order to sell your home. There are many reasons that some buyers may have such reactions, allergies, fear of certain animals, and smells generally top the list. Here is a list of things to consider when selling your, and your pets home.

What should I do with my pet during the showing?

Some homeowners will get a pet sitter, or bring their pets with them when they leave to allow showings in their home. If this is not an option for you, you may consider putting your furry friend in a crate, in a quiet room to keep them safe and out of the way of the potential buyers. The other advantage to this is that you as a pet owner won’t have to worry about your pets making a mad dash for the door. If your pet is absent then it will not be a distraction for the buyers as they walk through the home.

What should I do with my pets toys during the showings?

The best practice is to remove your pets toys and other accessories that we all have to keep our pets happy. If buyers have to step over toys and have to watch out for water dishes and pet food, this could distract them from seeing the whole potential of your house. Don’t forget to remove those pet beds as well as some buyers may see them as dirty.

What about any smells?

Dealing with pet smells can be a bit tricky. A vacuum will help, but a professional steam cleaning is the most effective way to get rid of smells in the carpet. Stains in the carpet may detract from the overall beauty of your home, use a pet spot remover to help with this, or consider replacing carpet. Bedding is also another place that pet smells tend to linger. If you’re like this Realtor and your pets sleep on the bed don’t forget about cleaning the bedding before a showing. A wash of the walls will also help to give your home a nice clean smell, and don’t forget about those windows. Cat and dog nose prints on the sliding glass door may be just another part of your daily life but it may discourage buyers from seeing your house as their home. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily and puppy training pads should also be removed.

A few final things to remember is to clean up any messes your pets may have left outside, having animal droppings in the backyard will make it seem less welcoming, so don’t forget to clean up the outside as well as the inside of your home. Selling a house with a pet can bring a little extra work, but in the end your extra effort will pay off with the successful sale of your home and hopefully the purchase of a new home for you and your furry family members.

And That’s The Cats’ Meow.

Why is Blatchford in Edmonton considered a cutting edge community?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Edmonton’s newest community will soon start to take shape, using the land that was formally assigned to the City Center Airport, this new community is billed as a ground breaking departure from other communities in Edmonton. This new community will have an estimated population of 30,000 residents and is expected to create 11,000 places to work for Edmontonians.

Billed as a carbon neutral, The City of Edmonton expects 100% of the power used by this community to come from renewable energy through a district heat and power plant. Containing up to 600 community garden plots, this green community will also contain a large stormwater lake, with natural landscaping on the west side, and a boardwalk on the east side. NAIT is also looking to lay claim to some of the 217 hectare (536 acre) site, with plans for much needed student housing in this new community. With close ties and access to public transit this community aims to connect with the rest of the city through vital links in transportation and its central location with in the city. With this long arduous process that has been ongoing for several years, the master plan for Blatchford was completed in early 2013 with construction slated to begin in 2014, for possible occupancy in late 2016.

This one of a kind community is poised to be one of the most desired communities in The City of Edmonton, and this Realtor is looking forward to seeing the Blatchford community come to fruition.

And That’s The Cats’ Meow

Pets in the City

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

Are your pets licensed? The City Of Edmonton has started a campaign called ‘Pets in The City’, the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the licensing requirements for pet owners. Being a responsible owner is much more than just giving your pet adequate care, food, water and shelter. You are also responsible for their actions.

All cats and dogs older then 6 months of age require a valid pet licence and tags from The City of Edmonton. Even your indoor cats need to be licensed as they can slip out open windows or doors from time to time. Having your pet identified with either a microchip or a tattoo is a great way to ensure that you can be contacted in the event your pet goes missing, however these are not replacements for a proper pet licence. So why should you license your pets? It’s the law for one but there are other reasons behind licensing your pets.

Licensed Cats Come Home

Even indoor cats can slip away and become lost in the city, since most cats in Edmonton are not licensed, few unlicensed cats are returned to their homes. Ensuring that your cat wears a valid license, will allow the city to contact you when your cat is found. The license cost for a spayed/neutered cat, is only $20. The cost to you for not having a valid pet licence stands at $250.

They are Safest at Home

Allowing your cat to wander could lead to overturned garbage and irritated neighbours. Far more seriously, your roaming cat could get lost, hurt or even killed. Roaming cats face many dangers, including vehicles, other people’s pets, animal cruelty and wildlife. Keeping your cat indoors, safely confined to your property or walked using a harness and leash will help keep it out of harm’s way. It will also save you money; the fine if your cat is caught on private property is $100.

For more information on pet licences you can contact The City of Edmonton by calling 311 or by emailing your questions to 311@edmonton.ca. Pet licences can also be purchased online through The City of Edmonton’s website edmonton.ca .

And that’s the Cats Meow.