Purrfect Properties Blog

Archive for August, 2016

Changes to the rules, leaves sellers with more liability.

Monday, August 29th, 2016

In this industry the changes come quick and sweep across the market with force.  Recently the Real Estate Council of Alberta made changes to a simple aspect of selling your home, and with that change came increased responsibility and liability for both Sellers and Real Estate Professionals in Alberta.  For a very long time now, the province has operated on a standard measurement system (BOMA) for commercial and industrial measurement; while ignoring the needs for a standard measurement system with regards to Residential measurement of homes for sale.

The size of your home matters much less to your sale than what you think.  In fact, sellers are not required to put the size of their home on any advertising at all.  However, if you are listing your home on MLS®, you will need to enter a size on the MLS® listing for it to be complete and active on-line, within the Edmonton Real Estate Board.  If you’ve ever printed off an MLS® report, you will most likely have noted the small print wording; “the information found herein is deemed reliable but does not form a part of any future contract.” The question being, ‘what is reliable?’

REALTORS® are a part of a professional organization and we are monitored by ethical boards and committees of our peers.  We are deemed to be reliable and our work and advertising should be marketed truthfully and responsibly. Should be…. Yet, there are so many lawsuits over square footage.  Why is that?  Simple mistakes, inaccurate representation and even worse, plain old lying are all parts of an industry that has been paying out for years over inaccurate misrepresentation.  Not only have REALTORS® and brokerages been taken to task, now the public has.

What I mean to say is that, due diligence and seller/buyer responsibility is always increasing as time moves forwards.  What used to be a one page contract is now eight.  Buyers and Sellers now both have to sign a contract to work with a REALTOR® or their brokerage.  Information and privacy laws are changing all the time and with those changes less information is available to the public about items that used to be common knowledge, like square footage.

Edmonton is an example of a community that used to list the sizes of all its’ homes as a part of its’ taxation information.  Fireplace, air conditioners and basement permits were listed on a property summary, but now, there is none of that.  In fact, any member of the public could look up the size of a house and quickly deem if the size of house they thought they bought was correct.  Not anymore.  Moving forwards, you’ll need to measure the house yourself as it won’t be able to be verified from any third party source, and certainly not easily.

Home owners would buy from a builder, believing they got one size and then years later re-list with their REALTOR® only to be told they had to advertise their home much smaller than what they thought it was, because builders were able to measure homes in a different way than how resale homes are marketed.  Well, that’s not fair is it?

Is the new measurement standard tricky? Let me give you this as an example:  If you are in a semi-bungalow with loft like area upstairs, you would measure the upstairs area if the room at some point has a 7 foot clearance, but only that part of the room that measures above 5 feet high. (that will drastically change a lot of homes square footage for years before 1960.)  YUP… that can be tricky for professionals to ‘remember’.

Or how about this example..If you have a bay window in the room that goes all the way to the floor it is to be included as a part of the square footage, but if that bay window has any toe-kick at all, it is not to be included in the square footage.  Sure, folks will remember that one too.

In fact there’s a 36 page guide just to be certain of what you should measure.

Is it something you should leave up to your REALTOR®? Can you still be sued over square footage? All good questions, and yes, as a seller, anything you let your REALTOR® advertise; you are responsible for.  Ignorance for the rules will not help you in court, you’ll still be deemed as a part of the problem.  In the end you, as the Seller are entirely responsible for all the aspects of your sale, including what your REALTOR® does, so trust with and in your REALTOR® IS IMPERATIVE.

I won’t be measuring any listings from herein, I will call the professionals to do so. Watching the changes as they take effect and noting what some of my fellow colleagues are doing, I see all too well that this is another area in which corners will be cut and most sellers won’t be told the implications of changing rules in our industry and the better REALTORS® who wish for accurate and professional representation will keep rising to the top.  Cutting corners on home measurment is what got us here in the first place.

Alongside title insurance, the real property report, your lawyer and your REALTOR®, sellers wishing to avoid lawsuits and protect themselves as much a possible in the biggest transaction of their lives, should hire a professional to measure their homes according to the Residential Measurement Standard, which is now the law in Alberta as of July 2016.

Here’s a look at the chief principals:

1. Real estate professionals must use the RMS.

2. Identify if the measurement system is metric or imperial, and apply it consistently.

3. For detached properties, measure the property using the exterior wall at the foundation.

4. For properties with common walls, such as half-duplexes, townhouses, and apartments, measure the interior perimeter walls (paint-to-paint) at floor level. An additional area representation may be made assuming exterior measurements.

5. Include floor levels that are entirely above grade and exclude floor levels if any portion is below grade. Below grade levels may be measured, but the area must not be included in the RMS area.

6. Include all additions to the main structure and conversions of above grade areas within the structure if they are weatherproof and suitable for year-round use.

7. The property must have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 2.13 metres (7 feet). If the ceiling is sloped, the area with a floor-to-ceiling height of at least 1.52 metres (5 feet) is included in the RMS area, provided there is a ceiling height of 2.13 metres (7 feet) somewhere in the room.

8. Include extensions from the main structure that have a minimum floor-to-ceiling height of 1.5 metres (5 feet), such as cantilevers, bay and bow windows, and dormers.

9. Exclude open areas that have no floor, such as vaulted areas.

Due diligence with client representation
Seller and buyer representatives must explain to their clients:

  • the relationship between property size and value
  • all the factors that influence buyers when they decide to purchase a property
  • the different measurements such as RMS area, living space, above grade, below grade, registered condominium plan size, RPR measurement, etc.
  • if required, the different measurement approaches for detached and attached properties

Real estate is a service based business and over the years, the services of Real Estate Professionals has changed.  Consumers have been advocating for lower rates in commissions and certainly the offerings of discount brokerages has changes our contract wording as well as perception of the industry.  Did your comfree representative talk to you about the RMS, your liabilities and their responsibilites?  Probably not.  In fact, they probably also didn’t explain to you that all buyers are under contract now and if you wish to sell you’re probably going to have to pay the Buyers agents commission anyways.  But CAVEAT EMPTOR folks, you get what you pay for.

I see it all the time in this industry, cutting corners, REALTORS® working a lot of angles to get the business, but what happens AFTER you list. HA!  If only i could tell you all the things I’ve witnessed. #thingsThatMakeYouGoHmmm …lol

Do yourself a favor, hire a professional REALTOR® and get your house professionally measured.  Contact me to save thousands on your next home sale.



School is around the corner but did YEGRE fail the grade?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Edmonton Real Estate Market Reports for August 2016

School is right around the corner and with that, comes the end of the push for Edmonton families to get into their new homes by the start of the school year.  The last little bit of holidays and vacations are coming to a close, but is the Edmonton Real Estate market fading?  No, not so much. lol. If you watch the news, local or national you will get some supporting stories and some contradictory stories, but in the end, they are all stories.  Thoughts coming out of someone elses’ imaginations, studies, education and opinions.  However, there’s one thing you can’t change and that’s the facts.  Is Edmonton doing as poorly as they say it is?

Judge for yourself!

If you, your friends or family are looking to buy or sell Real Estate, please refer them to me.  Your referral is the best compliment I can receive.

Last July (2015) we had 2,895 new listings come on the market and a total of 7,226 properties for sale.  This is continuing last years trend with an abundance of properties for sale, at 5.31 months of inventory.

Last July (2015) a total of 1,889 homes sold in the Edmonton area.  This February 1,515 sold.  About the same number of sales.

Average Days on Market – 56, down 8.9% from last year, down 5.4% from last month

Odds of Selling – 1,515 out of 8,048 listed, down 29.14% from last year, down 18.82% from last month

Average Selling Price:

     Condo Apartment: $257,482, down 1.91% from last month and up 0.5% from last year.

     Condo Townhouse: $348,050, down 1.39% from last year and 2.29% less than last month.

     Single Family Dwelling: $450,366, up 3.07% from last year and up 3.51% from last month and the

     Average selling price in the City of Edmonton is $384,504, up 3.33% from last year and up 188% from last month.

Home Sales by Price Range: The highest percentage of properties are and have the tendency in Edmonton to sell in the $300,000-$399,999 price range, and this year 34.17% of homes have sold in this price range. Second position goes to the $400,000-$499,999 price range at 21.10%.  Third place is the $200,000-$299,999 and 20.36%. These haven’t changed very much from month to month as this works in with Edmonton average earnings per family.

53 Years average of price increase for the City of Edmonton is 6.87%.

Prices have gone up for this year by 0.77%. Give it a few months and I predict we will see the same prices as last year, with a small reduction in the high end luxury market in Edmonton

Want market information about listings in your area or a free market anaylsis for your home?  Sign up here.

To download your full copy of this report – click here.

Cheers and chat soon,  Jeanine