You asked, we answered
The people have spoken! We asked you for your most pressing real estate questions, then threw them to our expert panel of experienced REALTORS®: John Hripko (Royal LePage Benchmark), Laura O’Connell (RE/MAX House of Real Estate), Sam Crick (RE/MAX Realty Professionals) and David P. Brown (The Real Estate Company Ltd.).
How do you determine a fair price for my home?
Crick: Through analysis of the features and condition of your home, recent comparable sales in the area, and the current active homes you will be competing with in the market place. I will suggest a list price to present your home in the best position to sell, for the best price, in the quickest time frame.
If you want to flip a home what kind of things should you be looking for?
Brown: A lot of people buy these type of properties with the intention to flip without knowing the full costs and what’s expected. You will want to find a good quality home in an area where you understand what homes are sold for, get a full inspection done, and really stick to the budget you’ve set.
Can I buy a home and sell my current one at the same time?
O’Connell: You can, but you want to check with your bank that you can carry two mortgages if you had to.
What communities are an excellent value right now?
Brown: I believe there’s value in every single community out there. But instead of looking at communities, look at the price point of the home. Higher-priced homes can be a good value, as people in that price point generally have higher equity in their home and could be more willing to negotiate softer prices.
What portion of my income should be spent on a mortgage?
Brown: I’m a strong believer in what the government has set. I recommend that no more than 35 per cent of your income should be spent on mortgage and taxes on your property.
Can you explain the value of a REALTOR® in real estate transactions and what the commissions pay for?
Brown: The expertise is our greatest value. Anyone can access the MLS® System. Anyone can keep track of what is selling. What we have are the negotiation skills, and the understanding of the market and all the documentation required to buy and sell a home. We also handle the home inspectors, lawyers and banks.
What are some of the red flags that I have chosen the wrong REALTOR®?
Brown: Number one is lack of communication. If your Realtor isn’t communicating with you on a regular basis, you have to ask, “why not?” The second is whether you’ve done homework in asking the proper questions to your Realtor to avoid those red flags in the first place. The Real Estate Council of Alberta has a list of questions you should always ask before selecting a Realtor.
Which home improvements should I consider to return the most at resale?
Crick: That depends on how long you are considering living in the home. Buyers like new windows, roofs, furnaces and water heaters, so if these are old or in poor condition, consider changing them. If these are newer or mid-life, then kitchen and bathrooms increase saleability and appeal, while fresh paint in neutral colours makes the cheapest update and changes the look of a home instantly.
If I want to buy a new home from a homebuilder, should I still use a REALTOR®?
Crick: Yes, having a Realtor beside you, even with a new home purchase, can help you avoid pitfalls, such as picking a bad lot, and can negotiate on your behalf for the best deal on upgrades and finishes.
Why should I use a REALTOR® when I can list a home on my own?
Crick: A Realtor is a professional trained in contracts and negotiations. We are there to present your home in the best possible way, manage emotions throughout the sale process, protect your interests in the sale of your largest asset, and ensure you have met the requirements of the purchase contract. Negotiating on your own behalf is tough to do when emotions are involved and you have a less-than-objective view of the situation. Listing yourself opens you up to potential legal action down the road if anything has been misrepresented.
How much do condo fees affect the resale value of my home?
Crick: High condo fees are off-putting to buyers and can signal a mismanaged condo corporation. Buyers have to consider what is included in the fees and the size of the unit to fully understand if the fees are high or not. This is where a Certified Condominium Specialist can guide them through the process. Fees that are too low can also be a red flag of an inadequate reserve fund and the potential for special assessment in the future.