Welcome to information on purchasing your home for Buyers
Buying or thinking of buying a home can be an extremely overwhelming time. This section will discuss a few topics that you should know before starting or during the buying process. If you encounter any concerns or questions about homes for sale in Calgary or any general Real Estate questions, please feel free to call and we would love to assist you with any queries you may have! 
 
 
BUYERS

 


DEALING WITH OFFERS

The Offer to Purchase

When you have found your new Calgary home for sale, it's time to make an Offer to Purchase. The Offer form is standard and will help lay out the terms and conditions of your purchase. Of course, every purchase is different, and the Offer to Purchase will vary accordingly. Never assume anything when making an Offer - if something was verbally stated and you want that included - make sure it is on the form. We have a standard "Addendum" to attach to all Offers to Purchase that will help to close some of the "loopholes" in the standard agreement.

 

Basic terms include a Completion Date, deposit amount, balance of down payment amount, a list of chattels included, any exclusions, total price additional terms and conditions. A condition is a "subject to clause" meaning that the Offer is made subject to the Buyer's approval of or being approved for something or possibly the confirmation of a detail pertinent to the Offer. Conditions can be for the benefit of either the Home Buyer or the Home Seller although they are usually for the Buyer. Conditions my include mortgage approval, professional inspection or any volume of items that may be critical to a transaction. A deposit cheque of $1,000 to 10% of the purchase price will need to accompany your Offer.

Once the Offer to Purchase form is completed, your Calgary Realtor will need to present it to the Sellers. It is sometimes best to go and wait in your Realtor's car while the presentation is made. That way, if questions need to be answered, you are available immediately. Upon presentation, the Sellers will have a few options: they can accept & sign your offer, they can reject it, or they can make changes to it and return it (make a counter-offer). If they reject your Offer, you can decide to find another house for sale in Calgary or submit another Offer. If they counter your Offer, you can either accept the counter-offer by initialing the changes or you could further counter their Offer by making additional changes and sending it back to the Sellers. An Offer can be countered several times before final acceptance but remember that there is no obligation for a Seller to accept or counter, they can always reject without making a counter-offer. At any point, either party has the right to terminate negotiations. However, do not change an offer without careful consideration. Once a change is made, the Offer is voided and must be initialed to be valid once again.

After acceptance of the Offer on your Calgary home for sale, your deposit cheque must be deposited to the Listing Real Estate Company's trust account within 2 business days of the acceptance. The deposit is "earnest money" that will hold the home until you actually move in. If the Offer to Purchase is not accepted, your cheque is returned immediately.

Once you have an accepted offer, immediately follow through on any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. Conditions have definite deadline dates associated with them, and if you miss a date, you may have to arrange for an extension, which a Seller is not obligated to give. A missed condition date could mean losing the Calgary property for sale.

As each condition is met, your Calgary Realtor will have you sign a "waiver." This document states that the condition has been satisfied and is no longer part of the agreement. Waivers must be delivered on time, usually prior to 9 p.m. on the final Condition Date.

A copy of the signed Offer to Purchase is sent by the listing company's office to your lawyer immediately after all conditions have been removed. The lawyer will begin the process of structuring the transaction and preparing documents to register you as owners as well as registering your mortgage on the title of your Calgary home for sale.


CLOSING DAY

On closing day (also known as "possession day"), usually your Calgary Realtor will do a walk-through inspection with you to ensure that everything is all right. Your Realtor should take care of making arrangements for a key and if there are any problems releasing them, he/she should have the lawyers working on it. There are many circumstances that could lead to a holdup; incomplete paperwork, documents not delivered on time or an uncertified cheque for closing costs. (A telephone call in advance to your lawyer will often head-off a moving day nightmare.) If this occurs, hopefully it can be remedied without causing too much inconvenience.

 

The walk-through is not intended to be as thorough as an inspection. You have bought the Calgary home for sale at this point and you are checking to ensure that it is in the same state as when you previously viewed it. Following is a brief checklist of what you should cover:

 

Walk-Through Checklist:

  •  Turn on dishwasher so it cycles while you see the rest of the house.
  • Turn on stove burners - let them glow to check for cold spots in the elements.
  • Turn on hot water to check if tank is heating.
  • Inspect upper floor of home for problems that were not there previously.
  • Go back to stove - confirm that elements are O.K. and check oven element and broiler.
  • Turn furnace thermostat up to check furnace.
  • Inspect basement and confirm that the furnace is working.
  • Confirm that all chattels have been left as on the Offer to Purchase.
  • Confirm that dishwasher has cycled and that there are no leaks.
  • Turn down thermostat, turn off stove, dishwasher, etc.
  • Check outside around the perimeter of the house.
  • Call your lawyer to inform if home is O.K. or if there is a problem.

Congratulations - you are now ready to move into your new Calgary home! Welcome!

 



BUYER BROKERAGE

We Can Do It! Together.

Chances are that finding your Calgary home for sale will be unique to any other purchasing experience that you have had. Firstly, your new home could be the most you will ever invest in one single purchase. The success of your purchase will rest heavily on your willingness to be diligent and committed to the task. This determination and sacrifice can be the crucial element that determines your ultimate success in finding your new home.

At this point you may be thinking, "what are you going to be doing as my realtor if I’m doing all of the work?" The truth of the matter is  that in order to have the very best chance of finding the very best Calgary home for sale we need to be working together as a team; each of us are doing our parts. As your realtor, I need to be just as committed to the task and even more accountable for the skills that I bring to the table.

In order to be effectively represented in your Calgary home for sale purchase, there needs to be a team member that has a variety of rounded skills to ensure the best possible result. Someone needs to be intimately familiar with the local real estate market. Also, up-to-the-minute industry knowledge can make or break a transaction. The Calgary real estate industry changes almost daily with new contract clauses being implemented and others modified. And it doesn’t stop there; inspection techniques and issues such as toxic mould, grow houses, and pine shake roofing are just a few more challenges that the industry is facing. Keeping pace is one thing, mastering the system to a client’s benefit should be your Calgary realtor’s target.

Many say that "Pit-bull negotiating is what every buyer wants." The reality is that the best transaction often leaves a bit on the table. You don’t want to be planning your move while the seller is looking for a way to get out of the transaction. Negotiating has been called an art and it truly is. It’s like most skills, practice holds the edge and the sharper you become. When negotiating, the one with the most skill oftentimes makes the best deal for his people. Invariably, the most highly skilled negotiator has a combination of experience and determination.

The third attribute of a winning team is trust. Without it a team is crippled into being only half as effective as it could be but with it true synergy will immerge. Mutual trust is critical for a number of reasons. Timing is probably the most important reason that comes to mind when finding your home, let us explain. When you are looking for a Calgary home, there are always other buyers doing the same thing. Even in a slow market it can be difficult to find a clean well priced property. When a property comes to the market that is exceptional it can sometimes take weeks or even months to find one that compares. I’m sure that you’ve heard the expression that you don’t need to become a mechanic to drive a car, well the same thought holds true for real estate. You see, the home that is right for you might be the twentieth home that you see. At that point you will have seen nineteen homes and you will have a good "feel" for the market. But what if the right home is the second or third. Now you see what I mean by trust. Trust is something that should never be assumed and cannot be demanded, it must be earned. The reality in these situations is that people do the best when they trust their Calgary realtor.

Being a qualified, professional agent demands dedication and integrity. My desire is to help you to find the very best property possible. I am ready to commit my knowledge, experience, and time to the task. My desire is that you would mutually commit to me so that I can focus my efforts towards finding your home.

At this time, we need you to be aware that as a Calgary Realtor, Rob work solely on a commission basis. Rob does not get paid anything until a transaction is complete. In fact, Rob pays all of his own expenses and office bills, rent, and service fees.

Rob's commitment to his clients is genuine and sincere. If you choose to work with Rob, he will protect and loyally promote your interests. He will be responsible to your confidentiality and dedicated to the full disclosure to you of details in your transaction. He will also be accountable for representing you to the utmost of his ability.

My long-term success as an agent is linked directly to my performance. It only makes sense that it would take a truly satisfied client that trusts my ability completely to refer me to friends and family. In the past ten years over 80% of my business has come from repeat clients and referrals. I have a large network of people that rely on me for their Calgary real estate needs and who trust me with their friends and family. My goal is to have you become another client that will return in the future and that you will refer me with confidence to your friends and family.


YOUR LAWYER

 Be sure to select a lawyer properly. Although price should be a factor, do not let it rule your decision. You will get what you pay for! I've had clients use bargain basement lawyers and everything has gone fine, but be prepared for minimal service. Usually you will not even meet your lawyer, only his assistant. The assistant oftentimes will point to where your signature is required and that's about it. It can be O.K. if you are very comfortable with the process and if there are no problems. I've found that the large firms definitely have real estate specialists but they usually work only within a narrow field and they are not usually too interested in a home purchase transaction. That is the attraction of a large firm - very specific advice and quality counsel, and believe me you pay for it. Usually the best lawyer is in a small to medium-sized firm

and is well versed in real estate transactions. I have several that I use and you are welcome to call or e-mail if you would like my list.

 

What your lawyer will do...

Your lawyer will contact the Seller's lawyer with any questions or issues regarding title and costs that have to be resolved before closing can take place. The lawyer will also ask you how you want to be registered on the title to the property.

You should contact utilities, phone and cable companies to have services put in your name and confirm that the Seller has arranged for final meter readings. If the Seller has not, notify your lawyer.

 

Meanwhile, your lawyer will be busy gathering a number of different reports, certificates and clearances from various offices. The lawyer will be making sure that property taxes on the house are up-to-date, and that any caveats or liens (outstanding obligations) registered against the property are satisfied and removed from title. Your lawyer will make sure that what you've agreed to buy is what you'll get - nothing more and nothing less.

Your lawyer will review & verify the title transfer documentation, prepare a statement of adjustments, review other closing information provided by the Seller's lawyer and help you deal with any problems if they arise.

Five to ten business days prior to closing, you'll meet with your lawyer to review and sign the closing documents. Bring certified cheque(s) with you to cover the costs involved. Your lawyer will let you know what the amounts are before your meeting. If your cheque is not certified, it could easily hold up the transaction.

 

Note: Make sure you arrange for house insurance prior to your meeting with your lawyer. If it is not in place on the closing date, the mortgage will not be funded to complete your purchase


Understanding the Real Property Report (R.P.R.)

How does a Real Property Report protect you?

A current Real Property Report (RPR) provides accurate, clearly presented, formal information about one of the largest financial investments most people ever make. Sellers who can provide a Real Property Report with Compliance from the city protect themselves from liability and provide solid reassurance to Buyers that they are not investing in future trouble.

 

A Real Property report tells owners and potential buyers about:

  • Accurate locations of buildings, improvements and boundaries of the property.
  • The rights-of-way and encroachments relative to boundaries of the property.
  • Any boundary problems with neighbours or the municipality. For example, they know whether the home is too close to the property line, or part of their garage is on their neighbour’s land, or vice versa. "Good boundaries make good neighbours!"

In cases of dispute, your Surveyor is an expert witness in court and assumes full professional responsibility for the accuracy of your survey. Only a Real Property Report that "reflects the current state of improvement on the property" can fulfill Section 4.12 of the standard purchase contract. If decks, fences, garages etc. have been added, deleted, or changed since the existing RPR was prepared, then the seller will need to have a current RPR prepared as per the terms of the contract. The cost of the Real Property Report is a small percentage of your total investment and a reasonable price to pay for peace of mind.

 

What Does a Real Property Report Include?

A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of above ground structures, significant visible improvements and registered easements in relation to property boundaries relative to property boundaries. It takes the form of a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a written statement detailing the surveyor’s opinions or concerns.

 

A Surveyor's Real Property Report Shows...

  •  Legal description and municipal address.
  • Dimensions and directions of all property boundaries.
  • Date of the title search and the survey.
  • Certificate of title number.
  • Registered owner.
  • Location and dimensions of buildings relative to property boundaries.
  • Location and description of all relevant improvements situated on the property together with dimensions and distances from the property boundaries.
  • Location of right of ways or easements registered on the title.
  • Designation of adjacent properties, roads, lanes, etc.
  • Location and dimensions of any visible encroachments onto, or off of, the property.
  • A duly signed certification and opinion by a certified Land Surveyor.
  • Copyright.
  • Permit Stamp (where applicable).
  • Parcel designations of adjoining lands.
  • How much does a Real Property Report cost?
  • The amount of work to prepare a Surveyor's Real Property Report varies from one property to another. Factors that affect the costs are:
  • Travel expenses of the field crew.
  • The size, shape and natural features of the property.
  • The number, size and location of buildings and improvements.
  • Availability and location of survey monuments on or near the property.
  • Age and availability of the property boundary information (some subdivision surveys are more than 120 years old)

An average RPR in Calgary would cost about $525 + GST. In many cases, it is more economical to update an existing Real Property Report. Most surveyors will update an RPR from their files at a fraction of the cost to prepare a new one. Average updates can cost between $300 – $400, depending on how many and how big the changes from the original might be. Sometimes one can end up paying up to full price for an update of an RPR over 10 years old.

A Real Property Report does not include replacement of any property corner posts. Arrangements can be made to have property boundaries visibly marked on the ground. It is most economical to have this additional service performed at the time of the survey. Neighboring landowners occasionally share the cost because of the mutual benefit of the Real Property Report and marking of boundaries.

 

 

 

How Long is a Property Report Valid?

The Real Property Report is a "snap shot" of the property on the date of the survey. Subsequent improvements are often made to a property or to adjoining properties. These may be new or modified fences, decks, driveways, garages or other features. Old documents may appear to reflect current conditions, but neighbors may have built additions that are over the property lines or easements may have been registered against the property. Only an updated Real Property Report can show their location relative to property boundaries. Changes to 

your title will also be shown.

 

What does Compliance mean, and how much does it cost?

Once a new or updated Real Property Report is obtained, it must be sent or taken to the City of Calgary for "evidence of municipal compliance" as required by Section 4.12 of the purchase contract. This evidence is called a "Certificate of Compliance" and currently costs under $100. 

If the improvements (buildings, fences, decks, etc.) on the property do not comply with the City of Calgary set-back rules, the City will advise that a Development Permit is required at about double that cost.

If any improvement encroaches onto City land, then an Encroachment Agreement is required at a cost of about $500.00. The Encroachment Agreement becomes registered on the title.

These are one-time fees. They do no

t have to be paid again each time the property is sold. It is possible that both a Development Permit as well as an Encroachment agreement is required. For these reasons, one is well advised to obtain the proper development permit prior to any construction work being done.

As a general rule, all of the following set-back requirements must be met in order to obtain a Certificate of Compliance. There are some exceptions for most older properties when the City often grants an Advisory Stamp (in lieu of a Certificate of Compliance) even though the improvements do not comply:

1.       The House- the foundation wall of the sides of the house must be 1.2 metres or more from the side yard property line. Only 1.16 metre clearance? No problem! The City will likely round up in this case to 1.2 metres. The rear foundation wall must be at least 7.5 metres from the rear property line.

2.       A shed (or outhouse) - any shed that is not attached to the house and is less than 10 square metres in size can be located anywhere on the property. A shed of any size, small or large - that is attached to the house must be at least 1.2 metres from the side property line.

3.       A deckif a deck is less than .6 metres in height, can be located anywhere on the property. The City then regards it as a patio. If the deck is .6 meter or greater in height, it must be back at least six metres from the rear property line and 1.2 metres from the side property lines.

4.       A detached rear garagemust be set back at least .6 metres from the rear property line. If the garage has a maintenance free exterior such as metal or vinyl siding, stucco, unpainted cinder block etc., then it can be built right up to the side property line. If the garage does not have a maintenance-free exterior, it must be set back at least .6 metres from the side property line. The City doesn't permit eaves or eaves troughs to extend on to the neighbour's or the City's land.

5.       Fences - Make sure the fences, decks and retaining walls do not encroach on to the neighbour's land. The purchaser’s lawyer may insist on an encroachment agreement because it gets registered on his title as well as the seller’s title. This becomes a serious problem because according to the purchase contract, Section 5.1(e), the Seller has warranted to the buyer that the improvements "do not encroach onto neighbouring lands. Title insurance will not solve this problem, as it does not cover fences. Can the buyer walk from the contract? Perhaps. It might take a very good lawyer to keep this one together without anyone getting sued.

 

 

If the lot is pie-shaped, the odds are better than not that at least one of the fences will not be on the property line. The fence may be several feet on the neighbour's land, which gives the purchase the impression that the lot is significantly larger than it really is. An RPR (Real Property Report) should be ordered immediately upon listing the property and prominently displayed with the feature sheet so there is no doubt where the fences are located, etc. It may very well prevent lawsuits later.

An RPR with Compliance is also a handy tool in measuring the size of the house as well as the lot. Delaying obtaining an RPR may very well cause problems further down the road, when you find out too late that there is an issue.

 

The above information is provided as a guideline only and is not intended to give legal advice. Please consult your solicitor for his/her opinion on your own particular situation.

What are Easements and Rights-of-Way?

The Alberta Land Surveyor’s Association has a very comprehensive answer to this on their web site .

 

What is the difference between a Surveyor’s Certificate and a Surveyor's Real Property Report?

Real Property Reports first came into existence in Alberta in October of 1987. Prior to that date, we had survey certificates that didn't satisfy the requirements of a Real Property Report as set out in paragraph 4.12 of the Alberta Real Estate Association's current Residential Real Estate Purchase Contract.

How is a Real Property Report prepared?

A registered Alberta Land Surveyor is the only individual who can legally prepare a Real Property Report in Alberta. A valid Real Property Report must bear the original signature and permit stamp of the Alberta Land Surveyor.

In preparing a Real Property Report, an Alberta Land Surveyor will:

  •  Search the title of the subject property.
  • Search all pertinent encumbrances registered against the title of the subject property.
  • Search all plans related to the location of boundaries of the subject property.
  • Perform a field survey to determine the dimensions of the property and location of improvements. It will be necessary for the Alberta Land Surveyor to access property markers on the subject and nearby properties.
  • Prepare a plan (diagram) reflecting the results of the field survey and title research.



SELLERS

Welcome to the Selling your home section. There are a few topics that we suggest you read in order to make this time as stress-free as possible. If you encounter any questions or concerns about new Calgary listings or general Real Estate questions, please feel free to call us and we would be happy to assist you with your queries.


YOUR LAWYER

Be sure to select a lawyer properly. Although price should be a factor do not let it rule your decision. You will get what you pay for! I've had clients use bargain basement lawyers and everything has gone fine, but be prepared for minimal service. Usually you will not even meet your lawyer, only his assistant. The assistant often times will point to where your signature is required and that's about it. It can be O.K. if you are very comfortable with the process and if there are no problems. I've found that the large firms definitely have real estate specialists but they usually work only within a narrow field and they are not usually too interested in a home purchase transaction. That is the attraction of a large firm - very specific advice and quality counsel, and believe me you pay for it. Usually the best lawyer is in a small to medium-sized firm and is well versed in real estate transactions. I have several that I use and you are welcome to call or e-mail if you would like my list.

What your lawyer will do...

Your lawyer will contact the Seller's lawyer with any questions or issues regarding title and costs that have to be resolved before closing can take place. The lawyer will also ask you how you want to be registered on the title to the property.

You should contact utilities, phone and cable companies to have services put in your name and confirm that the Seller has arranged for final meter readings. If the Seller has not, notify your lawyer.

Meanwhile, your lawyer will be busy gathering a number of different reports, certificates and clearances from various offices. The lawyer will be making sure that property taxes on the house are up-to-date, and that any caveats or liens (outstanding obligations) registered against the property are satisfied and removed from title. Your lawyer will make sure that what you've agreed to buy is what you'll get - nothing more and nothing less.

 

Your lawyer will review & verify the title transfer documentation, prepare a statement of adjustments, review other closing information provided by the Seller's lawyer and help you deal with any problems if they arise.

Five to ten business days prior to closing, you'll meet with your lawyer to review and sign the closing documents. Bring certified cheque(s) with you to cover the costs involved. Your lawyer will let you know what the amounts are before your meeting. If your cheque is not certified, it could easily hold up the transaction.

Note: Make sure you arrange for house insurance prior to your meeting with your lawyer. If it is not in place on the closing date, the mortgage will not be funded to complete your purchase.

 


PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SHOWINGS 

Getting ready to sell? Discover the little tricks that the pros use. Home builders have been doing this for years and for only one reason: it makes money. If you want the quick home staging "Boot Camp" condensed version read 12 Top Tips for Showing Your Home and 12 Best Ways to Host Showings. These two sections are the meat & potatoes of being ready to sell when the Buyers arrive. It you feel you are ready and want to go the extra mile then venture into the Guerilla OverAchievers section

 

Three Great "Get-Your-Home-Ready" topics on one page!

  1.  #12 Ways to Make Your Home Ready for Showings
  2. #12 Best Ways to Host Showings
  3. #Guerilla Home Staging for Overachievers

12 QUICK WAYS TO MAKE YOUR HOME READY TO SHOW

We don’t get a SECOND chance to make a GOOD first impression. Most buyers look for homes that are well cared for and bright.

Curb Appeal

Remove clutter, cut grass, edge walks, trim hedges, weed gardens. Paint, fix or wash railings, steps, storms, screens and doors. Tuck away any children’s toys, gardening tools, etc. If it is winter, make sure the walk and steps are clear of ice and snow.

Kitchen

Should be clean and free of clutter. All appliances including the hoodfan should be spotless, inside and out. Clear all work space (ie put away small appliances and knick knacks). Remove fridge magnets, decals, children's drawings, messages and catchalls. Stash scouring pads and dish drainers under the sink.

Bathrooms

Need to be neat and spotless. Grout and caulking must look fresh. Bleach the stained grout, replace any missing tile, and be sure all surfaces sparkle. Stash toiletries in drawers or cupboards. Keep the most necessary items neatly in a basket or on a tray on the counter. Hide or remove garbage cans

Follow your nose

Pet, cigarette or cooking smells can put buyers off no matter how attractive the house is otherwise. Look into having your pets visit someone else during the showing period. Consider professional steam cleaning for carpets and drapes and a professional cleaning crew for the rest of the house. Air out the house frequently and make sure the garbage is empty.

Clutter

Go for a minimalist approach with wall-hangings and personal items. Remove collections of family photos from the walls and mantels, posters from kids' rooms, and certificates from the den. Start packing now. Pack extra books so that book shelves look sparse and open. Pack out-of-season clothing, sports equipment and other excess items and stash them in a mini storage locker. Don't strip the house bare, however. Arrange ornaments and knickknacks attractively in groups of one, three or five.

Create more space

In small dining rooms, remove the leaves in the table and the extra chairs. If the dining room is large, leave the leaves in the table to show buyers how nicely a large table fits in the room. Tidy hutches and buffets.

Closets

Neat and tidy closets help your home to feel more spacious.

Plumbing & Hardware

Make sure everything works. Repair dripping faucets, leaky toilets and unclog drains. Oil hinges, tighten door knobs, cabinet doors, faucets. For sliding doors that stick in their tracks, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax.

Lighting

Ensure that every room is adequately lit and appealing. Replace all burned out bulbs, faulty switches. Install high wattage bulb in dimly lit areas. Don't forget to clean the windows. Clean windows can make a house seem 20% brighter.

Ceilings

Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the cause of the damage, repair the ceiling and repaint. Sometimes lightly applying diluted bleach will save a paint job. If repainting the walls, stick to off-whites or neutral colours.

Garage

Straighten up, sweep floor, fix or wash doors and windows. Ensure the garage door is clean, attractive and in good working order. Remove everything but the essentials from the garage interior and arrange tools neatly.

General Condition

Dust, wash, putty holes and paint walls, fix defects, as required. Store unneeded items to "enlarge" room size. Shampoo all carpets so they are odor free and look their best.


12 BEST WAYS TO HOST SHOWINGS

 

It is always best to leave your home during showings. Children, pets and adults can keep prospective buyers from feeling at ease while they look through a home. Keep pets well out of the way, preferably out of your house during the showing. Barking dogs can create a negative emotion and those potential purchasers who are afraid of or allergic to pets will not wish to view your home. If you’re out during the showing, it allows the Buyer to comfortably view your home and to speak openly about it. This gives their Realtor an opportunity to overcome objections.

  •  Turn off the television and stereo, even background music can be distracting.
  •  Turn on all lights for the entire showing. Open drapes in the daytime, close them at night.
  • Strong cooking, smoking, or pet odors can ruin a sale. Make sure your home is fresh for showings.
  • Have a lockbox installed and leave your home ready to show whenever possible.
  • Buyer’s Realtors are working for the Buyer. Do not give them any information that would effect your bargaining position.
  • Proofread your home's feature sheets, and notify us of any errors. Make sure the detail sheets are left in a conspicuous place.
  • If there are features in your home that you would like to bring to the Buyer’s attention, have your Realtor prepare feature cards.
  • Use an answering machine or voicemail messaging service so messages can be left regarding appointments.
  • Remove and replace items not included in the sale of your house (e.g. chandelier, water conditioner, etc.)
  • Often it is difficult for Realtors to schedule appointments precisely. Expect Realtors one half hour either way of the appointment.
  • If your sign is vandalized or dislodges, please let us know right away and we will have it corrected.

GUERILLA HOME STAGING FOR OVERACHIEVERS

Want to go above and beyond the 12 Quick Ways to Get Your Home Ready? Do you want Buyers to write an offer right now? Here are some more suggestions for making your home irresistible.

You need to try to pull back and be objective about your home. Think of your house as a marketable product. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.

The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to make it buyer friendly, stage it. Try your best to look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.

Home builders spend thousands of dollars when preparing show homes. The reason that they do is simple – IT WORKS! Buying a home is very much an emotional decision & we want to get buyers excited and feeling good about moving into your home.

The following is a comprehensive "to do" list to maximize your return on your home investment. There is an extensive amount of information. Let us know if you would like a pre-listing appointment to get advise on preparing your home for sale. It can make a substantial difference to your bottom-line.

 

Outside:

A first impression is crucial in selling a home. Remember that when a prospect comes to look at your home, the first impression (curb appeal) is vital. Seventy percent of the time a potential buyer will drive past your home to see the outside before they will make an appointment to see the inside. Take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby houses, too, and see how yours compares.

  •  Paint, fix or wash railings, steps, storms, screens and doors.
  • Replace any missing shingles.
  • Clean out gutters & wash windows.
  • Install large, visible number and mailbox.
  • Replace & repair fence and deck boards, hinges, gate locks, etc.
  • Repair loose siding or pavement
  • Replace any cracked or broken windows.
  • Consider power-washing or painting the exterior of your home to spruce it up a little.
  • Keep the yard mowed, raked, weeded, fertilized and watered.
  • Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows and cut down on light.
  • Use plants and flowers on porches and front walk way - create curb appeal! Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
  • In the winter, remove ice and snow from the walk and steps.
  • Remove dying plants or keep them out of sight.

Is your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is not, buy a few bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your investment. Also, immature trees do not really add much to the appearance value of the home.

  • Hoses and garden equipment should be kept neatly out of sight.
  • Dog owners should constantly keep the area clear of "debris."
  • Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unattractive patio furniture, trash, etc., from the yard.

If you have swing sets or anything elaborate for your kids, it probably makes more sense to remove them than to leave them in place. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible.

  • Display patios and decks with a few pieces of matching furniture and some well-tended pots of flowers, or add a few ornaments.
  • Outdoor furniture should be kept clean.
  • Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept and in good condition.
  • Keep trashcans deodorized, covered and out of sight.
  • Highlight your pool area, water garden, etc. with lighting, benches, planters, flowering plants, etc. Create an outside living/dining area with furniture and plants.
  • Put a fresh coating on your driveway.

When you look at your house from across the street, does it look tired and faded? A fresh paint job can spruce up the appearance of a house, adding dollars to offers from potential home-buyers. Choose a color that is not garish or unusual, but one that fits well in your neighborhood.

  •  Buy a new doormat.
  • If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move.
  • The front door should be especially sharp, since it is the entryway into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to get that don't
  • If your doorknobs don’t look new and shiny, replace them.

Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a home buyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs, this sends a negative first impression to prospective homebuyers.

  •   Put a seasonal wreath on your door.

Inside:

If there is a new home sales tract near your home, go visit. It doesn't matter what size the homes are. What you will find are some wonderfully (but sparsely) furnished homes that anyone could live in -- with the emphasis on "anyone." They are anonymous. There may be a baseball glove in the boy's room, but no family photos on the walls. There may be "personality" - but no person.

The reason you want to make your home "anonymous" is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a potential homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the wall, it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily shatters their illusions about living in the house themselves.

Put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put them in a box. Do not just put the box in the attic, basement, garage or a closet. . Rent a storage area for a few months and put the box in the storage unit. Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove "clutter," and that is the next step in preparing your house for sale.

Do not do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use savings to pay for any repairs and improvements – do not go charging up credit cards or obtaining new loans. Remember that part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your next home. You do not want to do anything that will affect your credit scores or hurt your ability to qualify for your next mortgage.

Entrance

Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorating accents, mirrors, rugs, etc. and by removing all unnecessary clutter.

Kitchen

  •  Stove, refrigerator, hood fan and sink should be spotless.
  • Your counters become display centers when selling. Create a presentation based on visual appeal, not functionality. Remove countertop appliances and add decorative baskets with fruit, dried flowers etc...
  • Clear all work space. Remove fridge magnets, decals, children's drawings, messages and catchalls.
  • Dish cleaning tools, scouring pads and dish drainers go under the sink.
  • Pack away any spare cleaning supplies, only keep the most necessary items.
  • Bathrooms
  • Neat and spotless is the rule here. Again remember that counters are display areas when selling.
  • Grout and caulking must look fresh. Bleach the stained grout, replace missing tile, and be sure all surfaces sparkle.
  • Take down dusty ceiling fan covers, wash and replace.
  • Look for condensation stains around the fan. Repair any damage re-paint or touchup. Sometimes lightly applying diluted bleach will save a paint job or using ceiling stain-block aerosol paint.
  • Repair dripping faucets, leaky toilets and unclog drains. Clean any calcium build-up. "Gel-Gloss" synthetic marble counters & sinks.
  • Empty, hide or remove garbage can.
  • Create a presentation based on visual appeal. Use a fresh set of towels and wash cloths for showings.
  • Pack away any spare toiletries and cleaning supplies, only keep the most necessary items.
  • Bathrooms should be kept clean, toilet lids down, no hair in the sink. Do not leave dirty towels out; wipe down the shower areas after each use.

Closets

  • Neat and tidy closets help your home to feel more spacious. Be ruthless – This too is a good place to start packing in advance.
  • Remove seasonal clothing, unused children’s toys, extra books etc.
  • You're going to move anyway -- start now!

General Condition

  • Dust, wash, putty holes in walls, as required.
  • Paint inside walls with a neutral colored paint. This will brighten the home and make it look bigger and cleaner.
  • Depersonalize teenager's rooms and decorate in a more neutral manner.
  • Where necessary, repair or replace doors, closet doors, and/or windows and screens so that they open with ease.
  • Remove or hide any excess extension cords and exposed wires.
  • Clean exterior of air-conditioner, furnaces and replace dirty filters.
  • Install high wattage bulb in dimly lit areas.
  • Replace all burned out bulbs, faulty switches.
  • Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the cause of the damage, repair the ceiling, re-paint or touchup. Sometimes lightly applying diluted bleach will save a paint job or using ceiling stain block aerosol paint.
  • Oil hinges, tighten door knobs, cabinet doors, faucets. For sliding doors that stick in their tracks, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax.
  • Professional steam cleaning for carpets and stripping yellowed floors can rejuvenate a home.
  • Clean or repair any marks on vinyl and wood flooring.
  • Re-grout ceramic floors where required.
  • Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
  • Remove all smoke odors, pet odors, and odors resulting from hobbies.
  • Remove and replace items not included in the sale of your house (eg. chandelier, water conditioner, etc.)

 

Pets:

Apologies to pet owners, but pets come with odors. You may have become used to them, but they are oftentimes noticeable to Buyers visiting your home. The very best solution is to give pets a holiday away from your home while you are selling.

If you just can’t give your pet a vacation then;

For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily and use plenty of baking soda.

For dog owners, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible, even smaller dogs. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet on a periodic basis.

Fireplace:

Wood Burning: Clean out old ashes & any soot stains on brick & ceiling. Put in unburned logs for appearance.

Gas Burning: Turn the burner up to high for the best presentation. Wipe off any handprints & dust. Be sure to clean buildup on the inside of the glass.

Garage:

Straighten up, sweep floor, fix or wash doors and windows.

Ensure the garage door is clean, attractive and in good working order. Remove everything but the essentials from the garage interior and arrange tools neatly.

If You Have Tenants:

Arrangements will have to be made with them to keep the property looking good for showings, as well as to allow Realtors with Buyers to show the home.

If Your Property is Vacant:

Show homes have furniture in them because it makes it easier for Buyers to envision their own possessions in the space. If you can leave some furniture behind to showcase the rooms, it will seem more inviting.

If you like, there are home staging services who will bring in furniture for the specific purpose of and helping the home look it’s best for showings.


MOVING CHECKLIST

Pre-Move Checklist

Rob Johnstone is fully committed to helping you with every apect of your Real Estate Transaction - including helping you prepare for your upcoming move. Please feel free to print & use the checklist below.

 Banks and/or Investment Companies:  Have accounts transferred and order new cheques. Arrange to transfer contents of safety box.

Mortgage Companies - if you own revenue property       

Schools: Arrange to have your children’s school records transferred to their new school(s).

  • Notify Doctors, Dentist    
  • Obtain all medical, dental, birth baptism and marriage records.Obtain or arrange to transfer all pharmaceutical and eyeglass prescriptions. Transfer government or private healthy and hospital plans.
  • Arrange to have your mail forwarded and obtain change of address cards.
  • Transfer vehicle registration and insurance. Check into auto licensing requirements.
  • Credit card companies
  • Notify Accountant
  • Notify Clubs and Associations
  • Get estimates from moving companies
  • Obtain boxes/containers for packing
  • About 1 week before moving, take down permanently attached items, eg. curtain rods & shelves

Life Insurance:  If you will have a mortgage on your new home you need to consider mortgage insurance. You should compare the advantages and differences in regular term insurance to what the banks and trust companies offer.

House Insurance:Call your insurance agent and cancel your existing policy. The effective date for the cancellation should be one business day AFTER your actual possession date, (the purchaser’s and vendor’s policies should overlap each other to protect both parties on the possession day.)  Have a policy set up for your new home.  If you are purchasing a home and either placing or assuming a mortgage, you will be required to provide "Proof of Insurance" to your lawyer, in order to have possession - so make arrangements with your insurance company to get a copy of the "Cover Note" to your lawyer.

If you do not have an Insurance Agent/Broker I would recommend Bishop & Morrow.   

Bishop & Morrow 245-8743

  • Contact your lawyer approximately two weeks after the conditions have been removed from your offer to purchase agreement. If you have not met, introduce yourself and confirm that their office has received copies of all documents.
  • Two weeks prior to your move-in date call your lawyer again if you have not heard from him/her. You will need an appointment to sign your transfer and mortgage documents.
  • The City of Calgary offers a direct monthly payment plan called T.I.P.P. Check the policy of your bank regarding property tax. If you feel that you may go with the direct payment option you can assume a T.I.P.P. account from a previous owner or you can establish a new account if you notify the city. If your existing tax account is paid by T.I.P.P. be sure to put a stop payment on the automatic withdrawal. Be sure to call as soon as practical.                    

City of Calgary Assessment 234-7480

  • 3-4 weeks before your move, tour the house and decide which items should be discarded or donated to charity. Consider a garage sale.
  • Make sure your car is prepared for the trip.
  • Return everything borrowed, retrieve everything loaned out. Don’t forget to return library books.
  • Approximately 2 weeks before you move, try drawing up a floor plan of your new home. To make moving twice as easy, decide on your furniture placement now. If you have children or pets, consider arranging for a baby-sitter or kennel for moving day.
  • Notify neighbors of when you are moving.

Packing Tips:

  • Get packing paper, felt pens, heavy twine or packing tape.
  • Mark box contents, room to be put in, and order of loading/unloading.
  • Mark or point out fragile items
  • Empty gas from lawn mowers, etc.
  • Remove batteries from toys or appliances
  • Take telephone book with you
  • Carry jewelry, currency & valuable papers yourself
  • Books should be packed on edge in small boxes. Pack Blankets in large boxes.
  • Box weight should not exceed 60 lbs.
  • Large power tools should be dismantled & secured for moving

Cost Checklist:

  • Net revenue from current home
  • Legal fees
  • Mortgage fees (Broker, Lender, etc.)
  • Mortgage interest adjustments (check with lawyer), and payout penalty
  • Property tax adjustments
  • Movers fee
  • Penalty if rental lease is broken
  • Realtor’s fee
  • Moving fees for kennels, sitters, etc.
  • Check date for first mortgage payment.
  • Renovation or purchase costs.
  • Deposits required for set up/transfer of phones, utilities, electric, gas.
  • Appraisal fees
  • New real property report/survey fees. (including city compliance stamp)
  • Home inspection company fees

Closing Day

The Buyer's Realtor will want do a walk-through inspection just before or on closing day itself, to ensure that everything is all right. Your Selling Realtor should take care of making arrangements for a key and if there are any problems releasing them, he/she should have the lawyers working on it. There are many circumstances that could lead to a holdup in closing; incomplete paperwork, documents not delivered on time or an uncertified cheque for closing costs. If this occurs, hopefully it can be remedied without causing too much inconvenience.

The walk-through is not intended to be as thorough as an inspection. The Buyers have bought the home at this point and they are checking to ensure that it is in the same state as when they previously viewed it.

Please make sure that you observe the "Seller's Golden Rule", in leaving the home as you would like to find it. It is always best if you leave your property clean, with all unattached goods mentioned in the contract present and in good working order, and all unattached chattels not mentioned in the contract removed.


Understanding the Real Property Report (R.P.R.)

How does a Real Property Report protect you?

A current Real Property Report (RPR) provides accurate, clearly presented, formal information about one of the largest financial investments most people ever make. Sellers who can provide a Real Property Report with Compliance from the city protect themselves from liability and provide solid reassurance to Buyers that they are not investing in future trouble.

 

A Real Property report tells owners and potential buyers about:

  • Accurate locations of buildings, improvements and boundaries of the property.
  • The rights-of-way and encroachments relative to boundaries of the property.
  • Any boundary problems with neighbours or the municipality. For example, they know whether the home is too close to the property line, or part of their garage is on their neighbour’s land, or vice versa. "Good boundaries make good neighbours!"

In cases of dispute, your Surveyor is an expert witness in court and assumes full professional responsibility for the accuracy of your survey. Only a Real Property Report that "reflects the current state of improvement on the property" can fulfill Section 4.12 of the standard purchase contract. If decks, fences, garages etc. have been added, deleted, or changed since the existing RPR was prepared, then the seller will need to have a current RPR prepared as per the terms of the contract. The cost of the Real Property Report is a small percentage of your total investment and a reasonable price to pay for peace of mind.

 

What Does a Real Property Report Include?

A Real Property Report is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of above ground structures, significant visible improvements and registered easements in relation to property boundaries relative to property boundaries. It takes the form of a plan or illustration of the various physical features of the property, including a written statement detailing the surveyor’s opinions or concerns.

 

A Surveyor's Real Property Report Shows...

  •  Legal description and municipal address.
  • Dimensions and directions of all property boundaries.
  • Date of the title search and the survey.
  • Certificate of title number.
  • Registered owner.
  • Location and dimensions of buildings relative to property boundaries.
  • Location and description of all relevant improvements situated on the property together with dimensions and distances from the property boundaries.
  • Location of right of ways or easements registered on the title.
  • Designation of adjacent properties, roads, lanes, etc.
  • Location and dimensions of any visible encroachments onto, or off of, the property.
  • A duly signed certification and opinion by a certified Land Surveyor.
  • Copyright.
  • Permit Stamp (where applicable).
  • Parcel designations of adjoining lands.
  • How much does a Real Property Report cost?
  • The amount of work to prepare a Surveyor's Real Property Report varies from one property to another. Factors that affect the costs are:
  • Travel expenses of the field crew.
  • The size, shape and natural features of the property.
  • The number, size and location of buildings and improvements.
  • Availability and location of survey monuments on or near the property.
  • Age and availability of the property boundary information (some subdivision surveys are more than 120 years old)

An average RPR in Calgary would cost about $525 + GST. In many cases, it is more economical to update an existing Real Property Report. Most surveyors will update an RPR from their files at a fraction of the cost to prepare a new one. Average updates can cost between $300 – $400, depending on how many and how big the changes from the original might be. Sometimes one can end up paying up to full price for an update of an RPR over 10 years old.

A Real Property Report does not include replacement of any property corner posts. Arrangements can be made to have property boundaries visibly marked on the ground. It is most economical to have this additional service performed at the time of the survey. Neighboring landowners occasionally share the cost because of the mutual benefit of the Real Property Report and marking of boundaries.

 

 

 

How long is a Property Report Valid?

The Real Property Report is a "snap shot" of the property on the date of the survey. Subsequent improvements are often made to a property or to adjoining properties. These may be new or modified fences, decks, driveways, garages or other features. Old documents may appear to reflect current conditions, but neighbors may have built additions that are over the property lines or easements may have been registered against the property. Only an updated Real Property Report can show their location relative to property boundaries. Changes to 

your title will also be shown.

 

What does Compliance mean, and how much does it cost?

Once a new or updated Real Property Report is obtained, it must be sent or taken to the City of Calgary for "evidence of municipal compliance" as required by Section 4.12 of the purchase contract. This evidence is called a "Certificate of Compliance" and currently costs under $100. 

If the improvements (buildings, fences, decks, etc.) on the property do not comply with the City of Calgary set-back rules, the City will advise that a Development Permit is required at about double that cost.

If any improvement encroaches onto City land, then an Encroachment Agreement is required at a cost of about $500.00. The Encroachment Agreement becomes registered on the title.

These are one-time fees. They do no

t have to be paid again each time the property is sold. It is possible that both a Development Permit as well as an Encroachment agreement is required. For these reasons, one is well advised to obtain the proper development permit prior to any construction work being done.

As a general rule, all of the following set-back requirements must be met in order to obtain a Certificate of Compliance. There are some exceptions for most older properties when the City often grants an Advisory Stamp (in lieu of a Certificate of Compliance) even though the improvements do not comply:

1.       The House- the foundation wall of the sides of the house must be 1.2 metres or more from the side yard property line. Only 1.16 metre clearance? No problem! The City will likely round up in this case to 1.2 metres. The rear foundation wall must be at least 7.5 metres from the rear property line.

2.       A shed (or outhouse) - any shed that is not attached to the house and is less than 10 square metres in size can be located anywhere on the property. A shed of any size, small or large - that is attached to the house must be at least 1.2 metres from the side property line.

3.       A deck- if a deck is less than .6 metres in height, can be located anywhere on the property. The City then regards it as a patio. If the deck is .6 meter or greater in height, it must be back at least six metres from the rear property line and 1.2 metres from the side property lines.

4.       A detached rear garage- must be set back at least .6 metres from the rear property line. If the garage has a maintenance free exterior such as metal or vinyl siding, stucco, unpainted cinder block etc., then it can be built right up to the side property line. If the garage does not have a maintenance-free exterior, it must be set back at least .6 metres from the side property line. The City doesn't permit eaves or eaves troughs to extend on to the neighbour's or the City's land.

5.       Fences - Make sure the fences, decks and retaining walls do not encroach on to the neighbour's land. The purchaser’s lawyer may insist on an encroachment agreement because it gets registered on his title as well as the seller’s title. This becomes a serious problem because according to the purchase contract, Section 5.1(e), the Seller has warranted to the buyer that the improvements "do not encroach onto neighbouring lands. Title insurance will not solve this problem, as it does not cover fences. Can the buyer walk from the contract? Perhaps. It might take a very good lawyer to keep this one together without anyone getting sued.

 

 

If the lot is pie-shaped, the odds are better than not that at least one of the fences will not be on the property line. The fence may be several feet on the neighbour's land, which gives the purchase the impression that the lot is significantly larger than it really is. An RPR (Real Property Report) should be ordered immediately upon listing the property and prominently displayed with the feature sheet so there is no doubt where the fences are located, etc. It may very well prevent lawsuits later.

An RPR with Compliance is also a handy tool in measuring the size of the house as well as the lot. Delaying obtaining an RPR may very well cause problems further down the road, when you find out too late that there is an issue.

 

The above information is provided as a guideline only and is not intended to give legal advice. Please consult your solicitor for his/her opinion on your own particular situation.

What are Easements and Rights-of-Way?

The Alberta Land Surveyor’s Association has a very comprehensive answer to this on their web site .

 

What is the difference between a Surveyor’s Certificate and a Surveyor's Real Property Report?

Real Property Reports first came into existence in Alberta in October of 1987. Prior to that date, we had survey certificates that didn't satisfy the requirements of a Real Property Report as set out in paragraph 4.12 of the Alberta Real Estate Association's current Residential Real Estate Purchase Contract.

How is a Real Property Report prepared?

A registered Alberta Land Surveyor is the only individual who can legally prepare a Real Property Report in Alberta. A valid Real Property Report must bear the original signature and permit stamp of the Alberta Land Surveyor.

In preparing a Real Property Report, an Alberta Land Surveyor will:

  •  Search the title of the subject property.
  • Search all pertinent encumbrances registered against the title of the subject property.
  • Search all plans related to the location of boundaries of the subject property.
  • Perform a field survey to determine the dimensions of the property and location of improvements. It will be necessary for the Alberta Land Surveyor to access property markers on the subject and nearby properties.
  • Prepare a plan (diagram) reflecting the results of the field survey and title research.
Required Field

SELLERS

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. 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.