Purrfect Properties Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Homebuyer Toolkit’

Should you Buy a Fixer-Upper or a Move-In Ready Home?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” have popularized the idea of buying and renovating the worst house on the best block. Homes that need major remodeling, however, aren’t for everyone. Sometimes a move-in ready house is a better option. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each.


Prepping for a Home Sale or Purchase in Edmonton.

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Spring has sprung, which means the housing market is in full bloom. Each year, roughly 40 percent of real estate transactions occur between the months of May and August. If you’re feeling inspired to buy or sell a home soon, make sure you’re prepared. Use these checklists to catch anything you may have missed.


Is the Grass Actually Greener on the Attached Housing side?

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

What motivates folks to move into row hosing, condos, duplexes and otherwise ‘managed properties’ can range so many reasons.  You could be an empty nester, a senior, not apt to gardening, too busy to mow the lawn or unable to do maintenance around your home altogether.  Perhaps, if you’re really lucky (IMO), you;re off golfing in Scottsdale for a few months of every year, and you’re looking for someone to keep an eye out for your property and help to make sure it doesn’t look vacant.  Whatever your reason, a condo or duplex can be a great fit.  It has possibility, in that nothing is guaranteed.  Row housing doesn’t necessarily mean landscaping included.  So how do you know for sure?  How do you know the grass will be cut all the way to your front door?  How do you know the flower beds will be maintained?  If you plant a Virginia Creeper and it climbs up and into the eaves troughs, who has to clean it up? If landscaping is included, will they come into my fenced yard and cut the grass? All great questions, many of which I am asked on a regular basis.  While, condo documents may be able to tell you some of the information you are looking for, you may just be wasting your time reading them.

Here’s a little cheat sheet guide to help you figure out, which way you should be heading to get landscaping included at your next home.

As always, if you are looking to purchase a multi-family dwelling in the Edmonton area, I’d love to help you reach your goals and set you on the fast track to your next home.  No strings attached, no obligation guaranteed, call Jeanine at 780 916 9739 to start your home search now.

Now, let’s review the types properties where landscaping could be included and look closely behind the scenes…

Remember this: There is no counting for a green thumb or good gardening policies.  Grass needs to be watered (budgeted for = expense). These services and professionals change, over time and managing policies can change with each yearly board. Condo living is under someone elses’ rules and governing.

1. Apartment styled Condominiums and Landscaping Policies

Yes, landscaping will be included. These types of homes will have flow-through exterior lawn designs, allowing quick and easy lawn cutting.  Your balcony, or balcony gardens will not be maintained for you, that’s up to you.  Some apartment styled condos have yards for their main floor condos, designed with community ownership and common expenses in mind; this yard will be your responsibility. It can open you up to gardening options like, ‘I’d like to plant a wisteria’ and your condo board should let you. These yards and balconies are considered exclusive use areas; so READ THE CONDO DOCS to see what the rules are for exclusive use areas. If the condo has a common-area patio or rooftop balcony, the landscaping in these areas will be included.

2. Half Duplexes,  In-fill style, up/down, side/side and Landscaping Policies

No, landscaping is included. Yes, it would be super neighbourly of you, if you worked out a deal with a neighbour you liked for the maintenance of both yards. Oh the possibilities here, is there a RESTRICTIVE COVENANT deciding what you can and can not do? Theses homes have a party wall and they may or may not have agreements.  These homes may or may not have restrictions, restrictions about the exterior or restrictions about the landscaping.  City rules here, city by-laws.

3. Half Duplexes, Community Styled Condos and Landscaping Policies

Maybe, here’s a pretty good home bracket to be in for many folks. Want to go golfing in Arizona, a lot? lol Palm Springs aficionado every spring?  Seniors and Travellers are great fits for these types of homes and managed communities.  A half-duplex bungalow where the landscaping is meticulously maintained, and allows just a wee bit of gardening beds for the avid plant lover is a great combination for lots of scenarios. Some of these duplex communities owners have come together to budget for landscaping and snow removal. Some might have underground sprinklers planned into the smart design. (Architects and Builders, please hear me! lol)

SENIORS LIVING Duplexes: If it is a property where you must be 40, 45, 50, 55,55+, etc… years of age like the Horizons are in Edmonton,  the landscaping is included. There are minimized fenced in areas, partition walls and that easy flow mentioned at the beginning was planned into the property from day one.

4. Row Housing, Attached Housing, Smart styled condos and Landscaping Policies

Yes, this is a great example of a property, where the design and intention from the beginning was to minimize landscaping costs. Easy flow lawn areas, fencing costs minimized, minimal shrubs and trees to replace.  Modern design and budgeting at it’s best, but not much delight for gardeners.

5. Row Housing, Attached Housing, Townhouse styled condos and Landscaping Policies

Policies vary the most in this type of housing, based on the board, their perspectives and the condo management that is in place; alongside their understandings. I have to question that if ‘it didn’t rain for three weeks, would the grass be green?’ Just what is the budget for water on that grass? How many times a week do the managers bring the water truck by?  Can you plant a tree in the common area yard? How often do they cut the grass?  Is it cut into pretty diamond patterns, lol? Fenced in Yards are a fifty shades of grey perspective question indeed! Very grey, is the yard taken care of if it’s fenced?  Well now, that depends on your board, its’ managers, what they push, what they don’t, their level of commitment, etc.  Can you be certain, no. CAVEAT EMPTOR – buyer beware.

You know, the buyer always buys the problems the seller knows about and is selling.  If you’re looking to see if landscaping is included; here’s a great place to start… you can start with taking a look around and asking yourself; does it look maintained now? Ask a neighbour, go ahead, they’ll tell you.

Ready to move when you are.

Jeanine =^..^=

How Safe is that Edmonton Neighbourhood?

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Does it really matter what I think about a neighbourhood?  Maybe a bit, especially if you are new to town.  The hing is, every person on the planet has a different sense and taste for what they find comfortable, safe and even scary.  Never, have I heard the words, I don’t care about the neighbourhood. Okay, maybe once, shout out to Ben here, lol. You still have to invite me over so I can see what you’ve done….

You see, I have found perspective questions and answers very difficult to truthfully answer for another person.  I encourage my clients to decide for themselves, through research and education.  That being said, if you know me, you know I am not afraid to speak my mind and have some definite views on quite a lot about properties and real estate, lol.

I was reading an article where a US citizen had purchased a property and told the Sellers REALTOR® that they wanted to live in a safe and quiet neighbourhood.  They bought from the Sellers using the Sellers REALTOR® and are now upset; they believe there is a meth lab next door and they claim the REALTOR® didn’t tell them the truth.  I’d like to say, there are ways to find out and help yourself.

Ask the neighbours. actually knock on their doors before you buy.  Perhaps if the buyer had gone up to the door and asked questions about the neighbourhood before they bought, they may have noticed something…

A great tool I love to let folks know about is the Edmonton Neighbourhood Crime Map, created by the Edmonton Police.  What an awesome tool, shout out to the Edmonton Police Department for this handy web page:


I’m fairly particular about what colors of dots I want near my home.  It is a given that I don’t want to see any, but the truth is there is crime around the corners in every large city.  I won’t want a yellow or grey dot in my neighbourhood, without a doubt. Folks, you can check any neighbourhood out in Edmonton and it will give you a map break down of what has happened for up to the last 60 days.  If you are looking for a home in a new area, use this tool.  It is very valuable!

Now that’s the Cats Meow in Real Estate!

When will consumers get the relief they need with Condos in Alberta?

Friday, January 29th, 2016

The Importance of Bill 9

Hi Folks, this was such a great article just posted, that I knew I had to send it out directly.  Estefania, thank you for writing this, you clearly articulate what so many consumers have experienced and are working to correct.  Personally, I am involved with the same issues as written in your article and I hope by this reposting that I help to bring awareness to my community and circles.


  By Estefania Cortez-Vargas, Special to the Sherwood Park News

Thursday, January 28, 2016 11:00:00 MST PM

Bill 9, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, 2014, was passed in the Alberta legislature in December 2014. Since then, Service Alberta staff have been developing regulations and the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is developing licensing standards for condominium managers.

Since being elected in May 2015, I have met with many stakeholders and constituents about their concerns and experiences with this legislation. It has been made quite clear that this review is important, as many have felt the impact of the act as it currently stands.

In consultations conducted with owners and buyers, condo boards and organizations, property managers and developers, realtors and lawyers, we heard concerns about the previous government’s handling of this legislation and their stakeholder strategy. In response, we took the unprecedented step of putting draft regulations online for all to see. We received nearly 300 responses to our survey — 75 per cent coming directly from condo owners. These responses indicate broad support for enhancements to protections proposed by these regulations.

The regulations are intended to improve protection for purchasers and existing owners, enhance board transparency and accountability, allow for efficient governance, raise standards in Alberta’s condominium management sector, and enhance dispute resolution.

Regulations are being drafted and will be rolled out in four phases. Phase 1 focuses on developer obligations and enforcement powers. Phase 2; insurance, repair and maintenance obligations, corporation governance and reserve funds. Phase 3 will be conducted by RECA and will address regulation of the condominium management sector. Phase 4 will create a condominium dispute tribunal.

The bill also aims to raise standards in Alberta’s condominium management sector by giving RECA authority to license and regulate managers. RECA is working directly with the condominium management sector and will consult the condominium community at-large, including owners, to determine the appropriate regulatory framework and cost structure.

Our government is committed to strengthening consumer protection, improving consumer confidence and balancing the interests of stakeholders in the condo market. That is why we will continue to take an open, public, and consumer rights-based approach to completing these important regulations.

More regulations are needed to complete Bill 9. I encourage all stakeholders to visit www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/Consumer-condominiums.cfm for information and updates, and to provide feedback. I can also be reached directly through my constituency office.

I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who have spent countless hours discussing this matter with me. I will continue to consult with you and look forward to future conversations and input as we move ahead.

Estefania Cortes-Vargas is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Strathcona-Sherwood Park Constituency. If you have any comments or questions concerning this column or other provincial government issues, please contact Estefania at her constituency office located at #19 – 99 Wye Rd., Sherwood Park, T8B 1M1. Telephone: 780-416-2492 or e-mail: strathcona.sherwoodpark@assembly.ab.ca.

Further resources about licensed property managers and unlicensed assistants in Alberta.

As of December of 2014, Alberta Legislation passed that all property managers must be licensed with and registered to the Real Estate Council of Alberta. https://www.reca.ca/consumers/standards/condominium-manager-regulation.html

A RECA consumer alert regarding unlicensed property managers: https://www.reca.ca/consumers/publications/news-releases/2015/15-01-19-Schuller-Consumer-Alert.html

‘Consumers are encouraged to work only with licensed industry professionals.

Licensed individuals must meet and maintain rigorous licensing requirements, including:

  • providing a Certified Criminal Record Check prior to licensing
  • completing comprehensive pre-licensing education and ongoing re-licensing education, and,
  • maintaining errors and omissions insurance.

In the event of a licensee’s fraud, breach of trust or failure to account or disburse money in accordance with the terms of trust, a consumer may be eligible for compensation from RECA’s consumer compensation fund. Consumers who work with unlicensed individuals are not eligible for compensation from RECA’s consumer compensation fund.’

Is it Time to Stop Renting?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Stop Renting in Edmonton

Renting can seem like a no win situation sometimes; you pay your rent and have not much say over the home you reside in. Stuck on a treadmill paying someone else’s mortgage and not getting any of the equity in the end. Perhaps it might be time to take a look at purchasing a home of your own. Taking the big step to become an owner as opposed to renter is not a decision most people take lightly, and nor should they. Buying a home is one of the biggest emotional and financial decisions you’ll ever make.

The best course of action is to learn about the home buying process and all of the responsibilities of homeownership. There is a very large difference between renting a home and buying a home, and both options have their pros and cons. Before moving forward with the home buying process there are some things that should be considered.

  • Do you have the necessary financial management skills? How financially stable are you?
  • Are you ready to take on the responsibility of all the costs involved in homeownership, including mortgage payments, repairs, and maintenance?
  • Are you able to devote the time required for home maintenance?

These are some big questions that will require some serious thought. Some of my clients find it best to make a list of the pros and cons of both buying and renting. Once you have spent some time and thought it over and you have decided it is time to follow your dreams and buy that home, what’s next? Well now it’s time to find out if your financially ready to buy a home, make a list of your monthly cost and make a budget of how much you can afford towards the cost of homeownership. There are many places to find information, the internet is a good place to start however talking with a Realtor may be more helpful.

Realtors can answer most of the questions you will have and direct you to the people you will need to contact. Then comes the fun part, now that you know your ready to buy a home and have an idea of your budget, it time to see what’s out there. Think about what you will need in your future home, how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and where would you like your new home to be. A realtor will be able to show you the listings that fit your range and perhaps even show you some options you may not have considered yourself. Navigating the home buying process can be a challenge but with the help of a good Realtor, you will see that the process can be one of the best life choices you have made yet. Is it time fore you to stop renting?

That’s the Cats’ Meow.

Homebuyers Road Map – Helping You the Homebuyer

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The Homebuyers’ Road Map is a public information toolkit to help homebuyers make informed decisions and planning when choosing a home. This project is a collaboration between The Canadian Real Estate Association and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.