Why You Should Buy Rather than Rent

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton Real Estate | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Rent vs. buyIf you think you’re going to live somewhere for several years, and you want to “settle down,” it makes sense to buy rather than rent. In larger cities, especially, it’s cheaper (by 10 – 35%) to buy than rent.

When you rent a place, you’re spending money that you won’t get back. If rent is $1,000 a month, that’s $12,000 you’re saying goodbye to in one year. If you buy a place, though, you can pay a mortgage toward owning it, and should you stay there a long time, eventually you’ll own the place. Then, if you choose, you can re-sell it, and, if the market conditions and neighborhood are “good,” you can potentially make a profit. A $100,000 home today could be worth $200,000 in ten years. Is it a bit of a gamble? Yes. But it’s better to own something and possibly make money selling it later on, than to just spend, spend, spend for rent, only to have to leave eventually and be forced to find another place to live.

Consider this: you rent an apartment for $1,000 a month and stay there ten years of your life: you’ve spent $120,000. Wouldn’t it make sense to have bought a place instead? Yes.

If a city has extremely expensive houses for sale and fairly cheap-but-nice apartments for rent, then consider renting a place. This, however, is the exception in most places. Generally, rents are quite high in most places, making it cheaper to buy.

Realtor Alexis Hlady can answer any questions you have about buying versus renting in the Greater Edmonton area. Call her today at 780-483-4848 to discuss your real estate needs.


Avoid Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Agent in Edmonton

Posted: March 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton Real Estate | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Selecting the right realtor Choosing a realtor is like choosing someone to date. You will spend a lot of time on the phone, emailing, and in-person with them. It won’t be a romantic relationship, but it will involve trust, kindness, respect and other elements of a dating relationship.

It can be hard finding the right realtor, just like it can be difficult to find a true friend or romantic relationship. Mistakes can be made in the process.

For those of you who are thinking of buying or selling a home, there are some things to avoid when choosing a realtor to work with.

First, part-timers aren’t usually as good as full-timers. It’s not their fault—they just don’t have their head in the game 24-7-365 like full-timers do. Would you want to go on a cruise ship with a captain who only commandeers ships ten days out of the year versus one who is at the job 300? Exactly—and the same goes for real estate agents. Full-timers live and breathe what they do. Part timers don’t.

Next, you need a realtor who’s willing to give you tough love rather than be your enabler. You may think your place is worth $100,000, but the realtor might say it’ll sell for $75,000. Sure, you could go with the realtor who’s willing to list at the price you insist on, but you’d be smarter to go with the realtor who will look at the comparable places in the neighborhood, and based on their professional judgment of the market, “tell you like it is.”

Maybe there’s a realtor’s name seemingly on every other real estate sign you see in town. Your first thought is to go with them because they’re ubiquitous. Think again—to them you may just be a little fish in their big ocean. You may be handed off to a sub-agent. Your property may not get the attention you’d like it to, because the “big name realtor” is dealing with too many clients.

Finally, the best advice in choosing the right realtor to work with is this: he or she needs to actually care about you and your property. If you’re just a commission to them, that’s not good. If you can connect on a personal level, whereas the realtor has your best interests at heart, they seem committed and confident in being able to assist you, and they truly care about you, then he or she should be your realtor.

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The Importance of Working with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Posted: March 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton, Edmonton Real Estate | Tags: , , | No Comments »

If you had a Mercedes, who would you rather have valet park it— a 16-year-old teen who just got his driver’s license or an experienced driver some twenty years older? When it comes to things we cherish most in life, we want the peace-of-mind that comes from working with people who have experience dealing with the things we have to deal with.

Buying and selling homes is not child’s play. It takes an experienced real estate agent to know the ins-and-outs of the business to help you make wise decisions that are in your best interest. Ideally, you want to feel comfortable with the agent you work with, as they’re acting on your behalf in many ways, helping find the “right” property for you and negotiating the price and dealing with the mountains of paperwork involved.

Imagine you’re working with a brand new agent, and they show you one built house for $100,000 as-is, and then take you to see a furnished model of a house that is to be built in the future by a local builder. You think the un-built house’s price is about $130,000, but you—and your agent—don’t realize that’s the base price. You’re seeing lots of amenities in the model home that makes “that version” about $200,000. In your head, though, you keep thinking, “What a deal!”

An experienced real estate agent would know not to play mind games with your head—he or she would not show you a palace you couldn’t afford only to take you to a less attractive, cheaper place you can afford where you’d be like, “I guess this is okay. It’s not as nice as that other one.”

Experienced sales agents are excellent at guiding your buying/selling process so that you avoid disheartening experiences as much as possible. Their job is to steer you in the right direction for your budget and specific interests, making it a less stressful experience overall.

In Edmonton, Alexis Hlady is an experienced real estate agent you can trust to help you when buying or selling a home. Her many years of experience come in handy when dealing with real estate transactions in Edmonton and surrounding communities.

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The Nuances of a Home Inspection

Posted: February 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Home Inspections | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Information about a Home InspectionBuying a house is one of life’s most important investments, and with that in mind it’s smart to have a home inspection done by a professional so you know what you’re “getting into.” If, for instance, a home inspector finds a major problem with a home’s furnace or pipes or roof, this is valuable information to help you determine whether or not to proceed with the purchase.

No property is perfect. However, some are better than others, and as a potential home buyer, you need to figure out in your own mind what you’re willing to deal with versus what could be a deal breaker. Oftentimes, after a home gets inspected, the current owner of the house will agree to fix up/replace/improve problems before you take ownership of the house—and that’s a good thing.

Inspectors look for problems such as pests in the walls, leaky roofs and cracks in the ceilings and foundation. Paying an inspector is worth the money, because it’s better to spend a couple hundred dollars to find out a home’s “secrets,” rather than buy it outright for a couple hundred thousand (without an inspection) and then discover costly repairs are needed.

Homes need to pass some basic tests (for lead, smoke detectors, etc.) in order to be legally sold, but the true test to pass is with you—the buyer. Once you know what needs improvement or replacing, you can negotiate with the seller to see if he or she will contribute to or complete the needed repairs. Should the repairs be too costly for the seller and you, then you always have the option to walk away from the deal and let that house be someone else’s headache.

Connect with real estate associate Alexis Hlady when you’re thinking of buying real estate/property in and around Edmonton—she can help you figure out the inspection process and if/how it’s possible to get out of a deal should repairs be too expensive.

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Tips for Decorating a New Home

Posted: February 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton Real Estate | Tags: , | No Comments »

Decorating Your New HomeOne of the great pleasures of buying your first home is it’s all yours to decorate. Rather than worrying about the landlord getting mad at you for painting a wall, you get the freedom to do whatever you want to your walls—you could paint them bright pink with purple polka dots if you wanted.

When you move into a new place, you probably have an idea of what goes where. For instance, you know where to put your bed, your TV, and your table and chairs. It’s instinctive. What about adding decorations that turn it from a house into a home?

One of the first things you can do is add a paint color to a wall or two that you think you’ll love. If all the walls are off-white, get a friend or two to help and paint a wall light blue or chocolate brown or maroon red. Do this to one of the less public rooms, like a spare bedroom, as a way to “test the waters before jumping in.” Over the course of the next year or two, you can paint more walls in more rooms, as needed. Or—and this is a smart tip—hang colorful artwork on otherwise plain-looking white/tan walls. That way you get splashes of color in a room that can easily be changed on a whim.

Another interesting idea to decorate a home is to visit garage sales and estate sales in nice areas near you, and look for interesting, affordable pieces of furniture and art. You can also find bargain-priced lamps to illuminate your new rooms, and “knick-knacks” to place on shelves.

Finally, realize that your new house does not have to be perfect the day you move in. Part of the fun of having a new house is taking time to “make it your own” not in a day or a week, but over the course of many months, and, in most cases, years.

Take some photos of the home before you move in, as well as a month after you’ve been there. Then, take some photos a year later—you’ll be amazed at the transformation!

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Tips for Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Posted: January 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Canada Real Estate, Edmonton Real Estate | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Choosing a real estate agentWhen searching for “the right” real estate agent to work with for selling a home, there are several questions to ask.

First, ask, “How long have you been working in residential real estate sales?” Follow that question with, “Is real estate your full-time job?” Look for agents with several years of experience, as well as those who are fully committed to their job.  

You’ll want to know that the agent is ready to work on your behalf, representing you. Consider this: how will they specifically help you accomplish your goals? Do you think you can have a decent working relationship with this person or team?

Next, inquire how many homes he/she (and/or his/her brokerage) sold last year. How many days did it take them to sell homes as compared to the overall market? And how close to the initial asking prices were the final sale prices?

It’s also important to figure out if your potential real estate agent lives and/or regularly works in the actual area where you’re thinking of selling (or buying) a home. The more “local” the agent is to the property you’re interested in, the more expertise they bring to the table, knowing detailed information about area schools, amenities, zoning laws, and more.

In today’s computerized world, it doesn’t hurt to connect with a tech-savvy agent. Ideally, they should have an attractive, functional website with key information and several photos showing various listings. It also helps if they have (and use) email, Facebook, and/or Twitter, so you know they’re “up-to-date” when it comes to modern communication.

Finally, ask for some names and phone numbers of their recent clients, for references. These clients can tell you details (good or bad) about their experience.

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What are the Benefits of Living in a Condominium?

Posted: January 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton Condos | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Condos are a smart way to live if you don’t want to deal with cutting grass and shoveling snow.

Buying a condo in a complex means living in a social setting where several condo owners agree to pay an “association fee” to take care of things like cutting the grass, pulling weeds, and general exterior maintenance.

A condo is a low-cost alternative to buying a house. It’s ideal for first-time buyers, such as newlyweds, or single adults (or empty nesters) who don’t want the burden of property, but still want a nice, safe place to live with some shared amenities.

Some condo complexes have their own community tennis courts, fitness center, and/or pool. It’s a good feeling to have these amenities within walking distance, “just steps away” from your condo. In addition, complexes may have professional management, support staff, activities directors, and, in some locations, doormen.

If you don’t mind having neighbors close by, and you’re not into yard work, then a condo can be an ideal place to live. Neighbors see each other often enough to at least exchange a “hello,” or, in some cases, form close friendships since they share common spaces such as hallways and parking areas. Condo developments allow for social interaction and a sense of community.

Ideally, condominiums are typically located in lively locations, near stores, offices and entertainment. Public transportation, including bus stops, may be nearby. Perhaps people can walk across the street to a restaurant or grocery store. And it’s not uncommon for condo complexes to be smartly located near highway interchanges for those who travel for a living.

If you’re looking for a condo in Edmonton, contact Alexis Hlady at Realty Executives Challenge. Her number is 780-483-4848, and she can help you find a condo that fits your taste, budget and location needs.

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The Benefits of Buying a Home When It’s Cold and Snowy

Posted: December 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton, Edmonton Real Estate, Home Buyers, Selling Home | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Homes for Sale in WinterIf you asked the average person the month they first listed their home for sale, they’d typically say April or May. In addition, the prime time for people to move into their new place is often July and August in order to move during the warmer, better weather months. After all, it is easier to move stuff when it’s sunny and warm instead of snowy and cold. For those who are parents, they like to move during the summer months to take advantage of their kids having time off from school, so they don’t have to interrupt their education.

What about winter? Did you ever consider buying a home in the colder winter months? The winter months are real estate’s “off season,” which means you can get great deals.

Think about it: since most people don’t buy a home in, say, January or February, those are great times to negotiate a money-saving deal. You’ll have less competition to deal with in order to “get” the house you’d like to buy. Sellers might be more willing to give you a deal in the cold months since they don’t have many offers coming in, yet they want to sell the place and move into their new abode.

One major advantage of buying a home in the winter is that you’ll see how the house handles winter weather—you can check for drafty windows, leaky roofs, and water in the basement. Take time to notice how the gutters are handling rain, snow and ice, and see where water pools in the yard.

If you’d like to see homes for sale in Edmonton this time of the year, contact Alexis Hlady of Realty Executives Challenge. Her number is 780-483-4848 or email alexishomes@shaw.ca.

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Tips For Passing Your Home Inspection

Posted: December 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Selling Home | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

How to Pass Your Home InspectionThinking of selling your home in the Edmonton area? It’s a wise move to have a home inspector come check your place, professionally, before you list it to sell. It’s better to have your home inspected and repaired before you sell it, rather than having prospective buyers “discover” problems that may turn them off from buying the home and/or closing the sale.

A home inspector checks several things, looking for more than 30 physical problems with the home. They’re aware of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters.

Some of the common things you and/or your home inspector can check include electrical wiring, plumbing, the foundation/house frame, and the roof.

In older homes, wiring may not be “up-to-code.” If it’s considered a fire hazard, it will need to be replaced with a more modern system. Inspectors look for ungrounded outlets, frayed wiring, and wires tangled in a messy ball in the electrical panel.

As for plumbing, it’s important to check for water damage in the ceilings. You could have a leaky upstairs bathtub or sink. Also, look around toilets and inside kitchen cabinets to check for wet floors or wet wood. Whether external or internal, water leaks need to be fixed before you sell a home.

Over time, the ground below a house can shift, so inspectors need to check a home’s foundation and framing to make sure it’s not cracked, rotted, full of termites, or about to cave in.

Finally, a roof is typically replaced about every 20 years. If you notice bare spots or any places where water is leaking in (often near a chimney), either a section of the roof needs patching up, or, if the roof is old and worn, a new roof would be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, too.

Remember, buyers are looking to do as little work as possible on their new home. Having your home inspected and repaired before you sell it is a smart idea.

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How to Sell Your Home Regardless of the Season

Posted: November 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Edmonton Real Estate | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Selling Your Home in the Fall and Winter When it’s winter in Edmonton, Alberta, the weather outside is cold, and some people choose to delay the home selling process until spring/summer, when there is often a spike in home sales.  However, working with an experienced realtor, and being creative with your home staging techniques can help you sell your home regardless of the season.

Depending on when you put your home on the market, there are some things to consider to project “maximum curb appeal” during the weeks or months it’s for sale. Obviously, you’d like to sell the house for the highest price possible, which means you have to optimize the appearance of your home.

Generally, no matter the geography or weather, homes sell well in the spring, with people moving in and out during the summer. Spring’s a great time for people to look at houses, as the trees are getting back their leaves, flowers are sprouting up on the property, and there’s a shared sense of “new beginnings” in-the-air after a cold, snowy winter.

If you do decide to sell a home in the spring or summer, invest in your front yard landscaping to make it look its best. If there are any dead trees or plants, remove and replace them before putting the “for sale” sign up. Add pretty flowers to the yard if possible, with some tastefully placed flowerpots spread around to make your home look inviting. Cut the grass, make sure the gutters are cleaned out and secure to the building, and perhaps do some touch-up painting, too. Treat your house’s exterior like a first date—“dress to impress.”

During the cooler fall months, like October and November, add seasonal decorations outside your home, like pumpkins and gourds. In December, some smartly-placed holiday lights and seasonal front lawn decorations can beautify your place. Even though the weather is colder, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the front yard—rake up leaves when possible and dispose of them. If you have stuff accumulating on the driveway or in the yard— like mud, toys, car parts, machinery, garbage or wood—clean it up, move it out, throw it out, or store it elsewhere so the driveway doesn’t look dirty and the yard doesn’t look messy upon first glance.

In the Edmonton area, real estate agent Alexis Hlady can help you figure out how to “seasonally improve” your home’s exterior to look its best and get it sold.

 

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