In Need of Mortgage Advice?

Fri, 29 Dec by edmontonhomepros

5 Tips for Finding the Right Mortgage Professional for Your Needs

Finding the perfect Edmonton home is only the first step in the journey towards home ownership. The next step is a financial one and comes with many questions: Is the home being bought with cash or is a mortgage needed? Will the buyer be using a mortgage broker or going to a bank? If those questions don’t have definitive answers then maybe it’s time to turn to a mortgage professional for help. Here are five things to think about when searching for the right mortgage professional.

Talk to Recent Homeowners about Their Experience

Some people have negative experiences when buying a home, but most of them loved the team they assembled and would recommend them to anybody who asked. One of the best ways to find a mortgage professional is to talk to friends and family members who have bought a home in the last few years about their experience. It’s the easiest way to get honest feedback and everybody who loved their Edmonton mortgage professional will be more than eager to share that information.

Meet with a Wide Variety of Professionals

The best way to get to know somebody is to meet face to face. Websites, ads and personal recommendations can only reveal so much about a person and nobody can know how much they connect until meeting firsthand. Make sure not to jump the gun and settle after the first meeting, it’s important to talk to as many professionals as possible to make sure the right choice is being made.

Ask for a History of Lenders They do Business With

Mortgage brokers receive a fee from the bank or financial institution where the mortgage is set up. This is to be expected but it can lead to a broker giving preferential treatment to a lender that gives out a larger fee. A professional who does business with many different banks will probably look out for the client’s interest more than one who only does business with one or two financial institutions.

Look for a Professional with Years of Experience

The real estate market across Canada has gone through a massive boom in the last ten years, which resulted in plenty of people switching their professional focus to capitalize on the increased work. This is why mortgage brokers are so popular across the country now, which has benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is that the buyer has more choice.

Make Sure They Have Experience in the Community

Make sure any mortgage broker is local and has experience in the community, just because it’s the buyer’s first time doesn’t mean it should be their broker’s first time. Buying a new home can be scary and stressful, but if you’re surrounded by the right team it can be the seamless experience that other people brag about.

Getting to Know the Types of Condos… Yes there’s more than one!

Fri, 22 Dec by edmontonhomepros

Bare Land vs Conventional Condos

The term “bare land condo” may be unfamiliar to you, so first let’s break the two definitions down, as defined by the Condominium Property Act.

  • Conventional Condos are what come to mind when most people think of a condominium. It’s an apartment-style structure where each unit is the private domain of its owner. The boundaries of the unit are the walls, floors and ceiling, and the owner claims the area within these boundaries. Outside of that individual unit, the entire building is considered “common property,” owned by the owners of all the units. Real Property Reports are usually not drawn up for conventional condos. Instead, a Condominium Plan serves as a survey of the entire complex of condominiums. While the owner of a unit is responsible for the interior boundaries of his/her unit, he/she also shares the common responsibility for the entire complex, along with other unit owners.
  • Bare Land Condominiums are actually defined by the size of the lot the building is situated on. A bare land condo, like freehold land, is identified by a Real Property Report from a surveyor, which will include the structure, landscaping, yard and garage. Like a conventional condo, areas outside of the free-standing structure are common property owned by all unit owners. In other words, a bare land condo isn’t much different from a house or duplex, since the real property includes the entire lot and not just the structure itself. In fact, a single-family house can be considered a bare land condominium.

As part of an entire condominium community, restrictions will apply to a bare land condominium; an owner doesn’t have carte blanche to do whatever he/she might want with the property. Bare land condominiums do have the advantage of enhanced privacy, however, and usually have lower condo association fees. In addition, builders can build units on an on-demand basis rather than having to wait until the entire complex is near completion before any units can be sold.

Condominiums offer a real attraction for many property owners, especially busy professionals who may not have the time to commit to yard work, maintenance, repair work and everything else that goes along with owning a conventional home.

How to Craft an Offer That Will Ensure You’re the Winning Buyer

Fri, 15 Dec by edmontonhomepros

Buying an Edmonton Home?

With today’s Edmonton real estate market, it’s not uncommon for a family to find the perfect home only to find out that their offer was not selected. It can be devastating, but especially frustrating if there is no way to discover why the offer wasn’t accepted. What was it that made the difference? Some buyers are really crafty when they submit an offer and use some tiny tricks that make their deal hard to ignore. Here are some ways to make sure any real estate offer is the first one considered.

Keep it Simple for the Seller

When the real estate market is slow and there aren’t many offers rolling in, the buyers have their pick of homes and can make deals or add clauses to the contract that benefit themselves. It wasn’t uncommon for a buyer to make an offer for a home that included a term dictating that they would need to sell their own home first. In some cases, any requests like this will automatically disqualify a potential homebuyer from a bidding war. Why would a seller agree to this if somebody else is willing to buy right now?

One-Up the Competition with a Pre-Approved Mortgage

There is nothing worse than agreeing to sell a home only to discover the buyer does not get approved for a mortgage and then it’s back to square one. As a buyer, a quick way to move to the top of the list is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This proves to the seller that if they accept the offer the home will more likely change hands and the deal will go through, it also has the added benefit of allowing the buyer to know exactly how much they can put down in advance.

Discover and Include the Seller’s Needs

Everybody has a reason for selling their home and some are more time-sensitive than others. A real estate professional will be able to find out exactly why the home is being sold and see if there’s any helpful information that can help when crafting the deal. For instance, some sellers have a closing date that they desperately need to hit and may be willing to accept a lower offer if it is guaranteed to meet that date.

Some Extra Incentives Won’t Hurt

Sometimes the seller will end up looking at multiple offers that are all for similar amounts. At that point, some tiny incentives might make the difference between a winning or losing bid.
Every community is different and every seller has different criteria that need to be met in order for them to accept an offer. By teaming up with a professional REALTOR® you will have somebody working with you to find out what the seller is looking for and what you can do to sweeten the deal and put it above any competition.

The Pros and Cons of Home Warranties

Fri, 08 Dec by edmontonhomepros

How to Assess Whether or Not You Need One

Home warranties are used to protect new owners from the costs associated with unforeseen repairs in their new house or condo. Like most costs associated with buying a new home, a warranty is one people don’t discuss until afterwards and is one nobody can agree on whether or not it’s necessary. There are benefits and drawbacks to buying a home warranty, for both buyers and sellers, and the decision changes drastically based on circumstances.

Peace of Mind When Buying an Older  Home

Old homes may be less expensive than new homes, but older homes will also have older appliances and foundations. Every warranty company and plan is different, but these are the things a home warranty will protect against. The cost of replacing all the appliances in a home is something that most people could never afford right after paying for the house, so the idea of a significantly cheaper warranty helps them rest easy at night knowing they are covered if something breaks down.

Don’t Expect Complete Repairs

While a home warranty looks good on the surface, especially considering how expensive brand new appliances can be, there are catches. Some people are shocked to learn that when their appliance breaks they will only be receiving a repair and not a new machine. Every company has different criteria for what warrants a new appliance, but in most cases they will do whatever they can to get the old appliance back in running order so that they won’t have to pay for a new one.

Warranties are not Just for Buyers

Home warranties are also available to sellers to cover any unexpected costs associated with the sale. Everything may appear like it’s going smoothly, but sometimes sales fall through at the last possible second or the closing is delayed for unforeseen circumstances. A home warranty can cover the seller for all the costs associated with this disaster, including legal fees, accommodations, moving and storage as well as bank, mortgage and interest payments.

Some Homes Will Have A Warranty Included

In order to make their home stand out and be more attractive to potential buyers, some sellers will make a deal with a warranty company to include the coverage in the cost of the home. Additionally, some REALTORS® may include the cost of warranty as a bonus when the home closes. Before shopping around with different insurers, all buyers should double check that the cost of the warranty isn’t already being covered by another party. This is especially true for new homes.

If the idea of home warranties has you confused and you really aren’t sure whether or not you need one, it will be best to speak with a professional real estate agent. We can tell you more about home warranties and why they may be right, or wrong, for your new home. Every situation is different and if you provide us with more information we can help you decide whether or not a home warranty is right for you.

Space Saving Upgrades

Mon, 20 Nov by edmontonhomepros

Giving a Smaller Home a More Roomy Feel

Smaller rooms can create a decorating challenge for homeowners. While some may be dealing with a space that is smaller overall – such as an condo or apartment – others may have just a couple of smaller rooms that look and feel cramped. While enlarging these rooms may not be an option, there may be a few upgrades to consider that can give these rooms a more spacious and open feel.


Light Paint Colours

Dark colours can add dramatic flair to a room, and they certainly will make a bold statement. However, they also can create the feeling that the room is smaller than it is. It is best to paint with light paint colours on the walls or even to choose a lighter colour for the ceiling. In addition to these colours, a lighter floor colour can also add the feeling of depth to the space. If the use of bolder, brighter hues is preferred, consider adding a pattern in combination with lighter colours to the ceiling. Another idea is to use stripes with alternating darker and lighter hues on the walls to create the illusion of space.


Shelving Installed Close to the Ceiling

Storage space is often a concern with smaller rooms, and cabinets and bookshelves can take up valuable floor space in any room. A smart idea for smaller rooms is to install shelving or even cabinetry closer to the ceiling. This can enable the space below it to be kept open or to be used for other purposes, such as for other furnishings that must be kept on the floor.


Recessed or Flush Lighting

Lighting is an important element in any room, and brighter lighting can make a space look larger in many situations. Darker shadows cast about a room can make the space feel closed off. More than that, overhead lights that hang down, such as pendants or chandeliers, can create a visual illusion that makes the room feel smaller than it is.

To achieve the goal of casting light throughout the room more evenly while removing these hanging light fixtures from the space, install recessed or flush lights into the ceiling. These can be combined with small table lamps if necessary to brighten up any areas that may still be dark or shadowy. Avoid tall, imposing lamps when decorating a smaller room.

Decorating a smaller room is rarely easy to do, and there are many things that homeowners can do when decorating that actually may make a smaller room appear to be even smaller. These are a few tips that can be followed to make the space appear to be more roomy and spacious, but there are also other ideas for decorating as well as built-in upgrades to consider. Ideally, the fully decorated room will be stylish and functional as well as appear to be spacious.

With proper research and planning, a homeowner can achieve the desired results. 

Are Edmonton Homes Becoming More Affordable?

Tue, 25 Nov by edmontonhomepros
Edmonton Homes More Affordable

Homes like these energy efficient Oxford area homes are becoming more affordable in Edmonton Photo credit: CTV

This week, RBC Economics released a report that states that overall, Canada’s real estate has become slightly more affordable.

Even with the fast-rising prices in Vancouver and Toronto (and to a degree Calgary), the country is still in relatively good shape.

RBC Economics says that rising household incomes, lowered utility costs and low interest rates are making it easier for people to enter the market.

As you might have seen in our last post, there are many factors at play that can influence affordability and pricing of real estate. The Canadian Real Estate Association quoted a 7.1% year-over-year increase over October 2013. The MLS home price index posted price gains of 5.5% over last year (which is quite a bit lower than CREA’s numbers).

Either way, with the big three markets influencing our national landscape, it may seem easy for some to believe that home affordability is slipping away.

It isn’t.

Across the western provinces, homes have slightly risen in price—once we remove Calgary and Vancouver from the equation. Both cities’ markets have witnessed growth far beyond the national average. In many other markets, we’ve seen only slight to moderate growth at rates that are very comfortable for those markets.

We call the prices respectable because the drop in fixed mortgage rates is keeping the market strong. Also, the gradual rising incomes in the west are also helping to keep homes affordable.

So many of us are preparing to hear panic about the market, but the price conditions of Edmonton homes—as well as other western cities—are robust with a firm foundation.

We have settled into a solid growth trend, and affordability for Edmonton home buyers is improving. It’s never been a better time to get into the market.

If you are thinking about buying or selling your Edmonton home, get in touch with the Edmonton Home Pros team.

We’ve got the experience to help you make sense of the market and find the home that’s right for you and your family.


More First-Time Edmonton Homeowners Are Young Couples

Wed, 04 Dec by edmontonhomepros

Thinking of Becoming A First-time Homeowner?

Are you and your partner Edmonton residents who are thinking about becoming first-time homeowners? Purchasing an Edmonton real estate property before tying the knot is becoming increasingly common among young couples. An article released by The Real Estate Magazine states more and more couples will purchase a home for sale before getting married. The information was collected through a study, and reveals a strong shift of mindset when it comes to homeownership among younger generations. Other interesting numbers in the article include:
Young Couple Moving House

  • — Over 1 in 3 married homeowners bought their first home together in time for their second wedding anniversary.
  • — A small 16% of married adults in the survey had not purchased a home together with their spouse.
  • — 80% of participants said that buying a home with their spouse strengthened their relationship as a couple and family. More than any other purchase they made together.
  • — 35% of married homeowners confessed they regret not entering into homeownership sooner.

“About one in four married couples between the ages of 18 to 34 purchased their first home together before their wedding date, compared to 14 per cent of those ages 45 and older….While life goals and expectations continue to weigh on young couples, their views of homeownership are transcending their plans of marriage and starting a family, creating a direct effect on the patterns of buying a home altogether,” Click here to view the full article.

If you’re thinking about becoming a first-time Edmonton homeowner, get in touch with the Edmonton Home Pros team. Stephen Lau and his team of professionals have extensive experience in successfully helping couples take the plunge into homeownership. Through a complimentary Home Buyers Consultation, they can determine you and your partner’s needs then help you find an Edmonton property perfect for you. Curious about homes currently on the market? Use this interactive search map to browse through listings. Once you find what speaks to you, give the Edmonton Home Pros team a call!

Mortgage Repayment Tips

Fri, 25 Oct by edmontonhomepros

Supersize Your Mortgage Payments with the Edmonton Home Pros

Do you want to become mortgage free? It is easier than you think! Let Stephen Lau and the Edmonton Home Pros team show you how. Together they’ve developed some interesting tips that can help you make smarter choices when it comes to your mortgage; which can save you money and take years off your mortgage:

Mortgage Repayment Tips

Get pre-approved. The last thing that you want is to purchase a property that you cannot afford. Getting a mortgage pre-approval will not only help you better balance your budget, but will also help you understand your limits when house hunting.

Pay often. Once you’ve purchased your home, consider making bi-weekly payments rather than monthly. These payments help your overall credit rating and will add up at the end of the year.

Pay Double. At least once per year, pay twice the amount that is necessary. You would be surprised how much money you can remove from your amortization period with it.

Pay more. It is recommended that you pay more than the minimum amount required on a property’s mortgage. Homeowners who pay only the minimum amount on a mortgage typically take longer to pay it off due to the interests.

In a 2012 survey conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada, over 65% of Canadian homeowners are concerned with their mortgage rates and over 50% confess that their mortgage is much higher than anticipated. Before you take the step towards homeownership, educate yourself and take the guesswork out of mortgages. This will save you stress, time, and money down the road.

The Edmonton Home Pros team has a large number of business affiliates who are ready and willing to work with Edmonton homeowners. These professional associates include: lawyers, mortgage specialists, and financial institution representatives. For more information contact Stephen Lau today.

Hiring A Contractor

Fri, 18 Oct by edmontonhomepros

Do you want to renovate your Edmonton home, but lack the patience and knowledge? To save time and stress: Ask a contractor for help. Their experience, access to materials, and technical knowledge set them apart as expert home renovators. Many home improvement contractors operate in Edmonton; however, not all of them are true professionals. So take some precautions when hiring a contractor: 

Hiring A Contractor

Contractors work with you to enhance your Edmonton home.

  • 1) Do your research. Ask around for referrals, your neighbours might know of a professional contractor! When you find someone, make sure they are licenced to work in Edmonton, bonded, and insured.
  • 2) Interview potential contractors. Once you have narrowed the list down to a few potential contractors, setup some interviews. Ask questions such as: What is the project cost? Are you doing the work yourself or subcontracting? Do you have any work samples I can see? What other projects have you done that are similar to this?
  • 3) Review the contract. It is the contractor’s responsibility to provide you with a written contract detailing the work to be done. Go over the contract carefully it should state: What materials they are using, detailed payment schedule, and what you are obligated to pay for. Consider putting some Terms and Conditions into your contract, such as: times the property is open to them, requirement for them to cleanup at the end of each day etc…
  • 4) Remember: You get what you pay for. You may end up with low quality materials, rush jobs, or unreliable workers if you hire a cheap company in an effort to save money. Cheaper is not always better, so always put everything in writing and schedule a walkthrough after the work is completed.

The most important thing to remember is to choose a contractor that you feel comfortable with. Being mindful and confident when hiring a contractor can empower you to make educated decisions and have a smooth home renovation process.

For more great tips and advice, stay tuned to the Edmonton Home Pros real estate blog.

What Type of Edmonton Home Can Suit Your Needs?

Fri, 04 Oct by edmontonhomepros
Edmonton House

Photo by: Miken32

The City of Edmonton has a home for every family and a long list of options for current house hunters. But do you know what type of Edmonton home can suit your needs? As you prepare to purchase a For Sale property, the Edmonton Home Pros recommend that you know how to recognize these types of homes in the Edmonton Real Estate Market; as it will help keep your home buying experience stress-free. Some of the Edmonton homes you will encounter are:

Bi-Level Edmonton Homes
Typically, Bi-level homes have steps leading up to the entrance or veranda. Basement rooms of a Bi-level home can accommodate big windows and are well lit compared to other basements.

4-Level Split Edmonton Homes
These homes are similar to a Bi-Level house, except they are bigger. These types of homes are common in Edmonton Suburbs among larger Edmonton families and homeowners looking to start a family.

Edmonton Duplex
A property large enough for 2 families under 1 roof is known as a Duplex. An Edmonton Duplex can have side by side units, or units similar to a 2-Storey home. Each unit operates like a self-contained home.

Edmonton Townhomes
These are also known as row houses or townhouses. Perfect for first-time homeowners or young couples, Edmonton townhouses are placed side-by-side and share common walls.

This knowledge combined with the help of the Edmonton Home Pros real estate team can help future home owners make a well educated decision. There is also an Edmonton community perfect for every family. When you contact Stephen Lau he will pair you up with the Right Agent that specializes in the area of the city you are interested in.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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