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Unique Situations That Face Secondary Suite Landlords

October 15th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Thanks to recent changes in Edmonton’s zoning and rental laws, more and more homeowners have the chance to rent out parts of their homes or properties for added profit. Making the switch from homeowner to secondary suite landlord, however, comes with some unique situations that are different from regular landlords. Whether you’re renting your basement suite or lane house, these are some situations to look out for when you are a secondary suite landlord.

1. Shared Space

Whether it’s a kitchen or just the laundry room, many secondary suite landlords end up sharing some amount of space in the home. This can prove difficult if you’ve been living in your home alone for awhile, especially if it’s more than just a laundry room. If you end up sharing space, be sure to keep the area clean. If it’s a kitchen, establish clear rules that outline your expectations for the space, who does what, and how it’s expected to look. If it’s more utilitarian, like a parking space or space to do laundry, understand that you are more responsible for its cleanup, but that you have the right to outline your expectations for that space as well.

2. Complaints

Complaints for secondary suite landlords come in two forms: your tenant and your neighbours. Statistically, homes with a secondary suite attract more complaints. Both can be solved, once again, by clear standards outlined before the tenant moves in. With your expectations laid out, your tenant will know what they can do and what they simply cannot get away with. With these expectations made clear, you’ll also experience less complaints by neighbours because things won’t change drastically.

3. Improper Screening Processes

Renting to someone with whom you’ll be sharing a space requires a lot of added screening. After all, a regular property mostly requires a responsible tenant who can pay their rent on time. A tenant in a secondary suite needs to also match your personality, and you should take the extra time to see if you will be compatible together. Be aware, however, that your personal preferences may unknowingly conflict with a person’s rights and, despite you deeming some information important, you are not privy to everything. Be respectful during your screenings and take care to learn the information you need and not necessarily the information you want.

Renting out a secondary suite is an excellent way to make some extra money. Many people use it as a strategy to pay down their mortgage in near-record time. But renting out your own home comes with unique challenges and situations.

The Checklist For New Homeowners

October 11th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

Moving into your very first home is an exciting time. You finally have a place that you can truly call your own, and that means you do things you couldn’t in a rental. But before you get too excited, it’s important to note that you’ll need to fill your home with the right stuff. Here are the major things you’ll need to get for your new home. Some are major purchases, others are things people often forget, but each will make your new house feel more like your new home.

1. Window Coverings

Believe it or not, people forget to buy window coverings all the time, making their first night in their new home a little brighter, and a lot less private, than they first imagined. One of the first things you should do when you get the keys to your new home is to measure all of the windows that need coverings. With those measurements in hand, head to the store and buy curtains, blinds, or whatever you need. There’s no shame in buying temporary cheap coverings to give you some privacy in those first few months, either.

2. Electronics

Our world is more connected now than it has ever been, and we make bigger demands on our personal electronics more today than ever before. Setting up a new home means setting up new electronics and, naturally, an internet connection. It’s best to have your internet ready either the day you move in or before so that your aren’t relying on mobile data to keep you connected in your first few days. It will also make setting up your electronics much, much easier, especially since many are practically useless without an internet connection.

As for new electronics, you can often buy and ship them on the same day but look for a delivery service that will bring it within a reasonable time frame. Moving can be an all day affair, so it’s often best to have the electronics moved in either before, when nothing will be in the way, or after, which lessens the chances of it getting damaged.

3. Furniture

There’s a dirty secret about furniture that almost no one will ever tell you about furniture and a new home: you only need three things. They are, in no particular order, a place to sleep, a place to eat, and a place to relax. That means, at the bare minimum, a mattress, a table and chairs, and a couch. Moving into a new place is extremely expensive and there is no point in breaking the bank to fill it with furniture right away. Make yourself comfortable and save up some money for the really nice stuff you crave. In the mean time, don’t sweat all the furniture.

Moving is stressful, especially for new homeowners, but it’s important to take care of the basics before everything else. These three things are probably some of the most important. Take care of them and the other things will be much easier.

Simple Tips For Turning Your Garage In To A Selling Point

October 5th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

The garage. Oftentimes, it invokes visions of old cars, stained spots, and messy disorganized tools. It often invokes the smell of gasoline and oil too, and all of this is never great for selling points. This ins’t necessarily true, however. With the right attitude and the right adjustments, you can turn your garage into something people will want to see. Here’s some such projects that can turn your garage into a major selling point.

1. Make the Exterior Look Great

Garages, especially detached ones, are often left to get rundown over the years. The exterior paint can peel, the wood can start to rot, and the roof can all but collapse. Even a garage that’s great on the inside can often be unsightly on the outside. One of the first things you’ll need to do for your detached garage is be very honest about its exterior. Is it the type of place people will want to look in? Assess the outside and consider giving it a new coat of paint or perhaps brand new siding. This increases the curb appeal of your home and makes the garage look much, much better.

2. Get New Walls

Most garages have exposed walls where you can see the framing. This is pretty unsightly even if it means the mess doesn’t look as bad. The problem with unfinished walls, besides the look, it that they’re also pretty useless. Since a garage is a place where people usually do some work,. the right walls can turn an unsightly garage into a great workstation, complete with tool racks and more. New walls can also help you stay organized and cut the clutter, making the area look bigger and more inviting.

3. Get it Wired

The man-cave phenomenon is making more men look to their garage as their hideaway and own personal space. People are now dedicating part or all of their garages space to man-cave endeavours, including big-screen TVs, beer fridges, pool tables, and more. The one thing most detached garages lack that’s essential for making a man-cave is electricity, so consider hooking up your garage for more electricity than a few sketchy lights. This will help you install better lighting, which makes the space look better, and makes it more versatile for anyone interested in the property.

Garages don’t have to be the embarrassing secret you leave until the very end of your open house. In fact, they can easily become a selling feature of your home. All it takes is some quick adjustments and some small projects and your garage could be the first place people want to see.

Edmonton’s Real Estate Waiting List

September 27th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

With The Oilers’ new home almost ready, Ice District is only a few weeks away from its glorious debut. And while the stadium has many people excited, the boom of developments are what will bring people to the area more permanently. Here are our favourite developments happening in Edmonton right now, either in the midst of construction or about to begin, and why they represent the next stage of development for Ice District, and Edmonton in general.

1. The Edmontonian

With an amazing name and an even more amazing location, The Edmontonian is a proposed at 105th Ave and 101 St. The combination condo building, hotel, and office tower is expected to reach 71 storeys tall, making it the second-tallest building in Canada when it’s finished. Residents in the condo are abel to take advantage of the hotel’s amenities and its expected to become the new shining tower for Edmonton’s downtown. As of right now, it’s still a gravel parking lot, but that’s expected to change in the near future.

2. Strathearn Development

Across the river, at 95 Avenue and 87 Street, an ambitious property development is about to break ground and inject some new into Strathcona. With the Valley Line LRT heading right past the proposed development, it could prove to be a completely new way to think about Edmonton south of downtown. Strathearn Development was originally envisioned as four “high-rise towers and more than a dozen smaller buildings on nine hectares occupied by aging walkup apartments.” The plans have changed somewhat thanks to the 2008 recession, but 1,900 condo and rental units should be going up in the near future.

3. Massey-Harris Redevelopment

The block of the old Healey Ford dealership is about to be transformed into three 40+ storey buildings. It was originally roadblocked because of potential problems involving solar panels, but City Council moved forward anyways. Ground is expected to break in mid-2017 now, with plans to incorporate the old 1947 Massey-Harris Building.

Edmonton’s real estate is experiencing a boom in development for a number of reasons, and every one of them is also a reason to be excited. From the developments that will redefine our skyline to the smaller projects that will revitalize our neighbourhoods, the next few years will have an interesting impact on our city, and on our real estate industry.

U of A Offers New Training Initiative with The Real Estate Council of Alberta

August 29th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

 The Real Estate Council of Alberta is teaming up with the University of Alberta to develop new courses about industrial and commercial real estate sales. The course, which will be taught to everyone who wants to be involved in the commercial real estate sector in the province as a mandatory requirement.

The program was born from a frustration within the industry itself, where it wasn’t getting the proper information into the hands of newcomers to the industry. Since commercial real estate differs from residential in many different ways, it was becoming more and more obvious that training needed to happen in the certification phase of a real estate agent’s education, not after they’ve entered the industry.

Council registrar Joseph Fernandez told The Edmonton Journal that the council “wanted to make sure that real estate professionals who are going to be practising in commercial real estate are as competent as they can possibly be.”

As for the course itself, it will cover everything from the basics up to more complicated assignments and analyses. Developers are hoping case studies and assessing complex leases will be part of the assessment for every student. “They’ll learn the basics of what is actually required to practise in commercial real estate,” Fernandez says, “The intent is to give them all the education that they need so that when they complete the course, they’re work ready.”

Classes on commercial real estate are already offered at colleges and universities across the province, but these are usually for students doing business degrees, not real estate agents working on the ground, as it were. Hopefully, the new requirements will help real estate agents and business people come to better deals and better understandings of how to create and sustain mutually beneficial arrangements. And, in doing so, help Alberta’s commercial real estae sector flourish.

Expect the new classes in commercial real estate to start up in the fall, when the new school year at the University of Alberta gets underway.

Edmonton’s Chief Economist Says Edmonton’s Growing

July 31st, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

In early July, Edmonton’s Chief Economist, John Rose, took the stage at the Shaw Conference Centre to impart some good news. The event was the annual Edmonton Real Estate Forum and he came to quiet fears about Edmonton’s future, and impart the reasons why he’s optimistic about the future of Alberta’s capital. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect for such news, with building projects already affecting the Edmonton skyline just down the road.

Naturally, the oil industry’s impact on the Alberta economy was at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but Rose had some stats and figures that gave the audience confidence in Edmonton’s future. Here are some of the highlights of what Rose had to say:

People are Staying

Contrary to popular belief, Edmonton’s population is still growing. People aren’t running back to their home provinces, which is a common belief in town. Rose pointed out that the city gained just over thirty thousand new residents in 2015, including 4,300 immigrants from other countries. This shows that while people are worried about the state of Edmonton, it’s still a city that attracted new people.

Edmonton’s Economy is Growing

Yes, you heard that right. According to the city’s top economist and the man with access to the best information, Edmonton’s economy is continuing to grow. Perhaps not at the rate its citizens are used to, but the city is growing economically as well as in population. In fact, the average household income remains above the national average by a healthy percentage: $111,942 compared to a national average of $90,536.

There are Jobs

While many people who worked up north and lived in Edmonton have lost their jobs, there has been a fairly steady growth in Edmonton’s jobs. The job growth in Edmonton has jumped 3.6% year-over-year, with many of the jobs coming appearing in the construction business. Over $2 billion in building permits were issued in the first quarter of this year alone, meaning the city’s skyline is continuing to bring jobs to the city.

Edmonton’s chief economist shared some good news at this year’s Edmonton Real Estate Forum. With the economy, jobs, and population growing, Edmonton is in a much better position than people think. And that’s good news for the city, the province, and the country.

Edmonton’s Remand Centre Future Uncertain

May 4th, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

When it comes to notorious properties in Edmonton, the remand centre is high on the list. The downtown facility was well-known for its overcrowding and other issues, but it has now been almost completely empty since the new remand centre opened in 2013. Since that time, the building has sat, and the city has been at a loss when it comes to the building. At 12 storeys and nearly 200,000 sq. ft., the building has a lot of potential, but also a lot to overcome.

Speaking to the press, Mayor Don Iveson wants to be careful in how to approach the future of the building. “Generally, I don’t like replacing buildings if they have useful life left in them, and structurally it’s got lots of life,” he said last Friday, “But it’s really hard to imagine a good use for that building that doesn’t come with a ton of cost to repurpose and a lot of issues of trauma for people who’ve been in that building previously.”

Essentially, there are three options for the former correctional institution: demolition, conversion for residential space, or conversion for retail space. All three of these options have their own obstacles that need to be overcome.

Demolition, while seemingly the simplest solution, and certainly one of the most popular, could come with a price tag of millions of dollars. According to Iveson, demolition could carry a price tag of over seven million dollars. “I understand the demolition costs would be many, many millions of dollars,” he said, “…And I don’t have several million dollars at the city to demolish provincial assets.”

Residential conversion comes with many different challenges as well, since the building was designed to house inmates, not condo loft dwellers. Executive director of the Downtown Business Association, Jim Taylor, has said that developers don’t believe the building can be converted, citing issues like the windows and structural issues. Of course, the idea of living in a former prison doesn’t help when one is trying to sell loft apartments either.

Finally, retail, or a combination retail and residential space, is also a problem, since the space once again isn’t convertible like other buildings. If it was going to be turned into this kind of property, the hurdles would be almost as expensive as the demolition process.

As it stands, the site itself is not only valuable, but well-positioned for any number of uses, which means the building itself is the problem. And if the city wants developers to consider it, they may have to sweeten the deal. Jim Taylor believes a decent price is necessary. “I think governments have a duty and a right to fire sale a building so it can be developed,” he said, “As long as there’s an agreement with whoever gets it at a very minimal price, that it will be developed in quick succession.”

4 Signs that You Should Sell Your Old Home Before Buying a New One

April 3rd, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

When it comes to buying a new home, one of the first decisions you have to make is about the one you are currently in. Should you sell it first? Try to have the two overlap? Or should you risk it and maybe balance two homes for a few months. Here are a few situations where looking for a new home and selling your old one at the same time might not be the best decision.

1. You Already Have A Lot on Your Plate

Selling a home is stressful and time consuming. So is looking for and buying a new one. Combining those two together in the same span of time, along with work and the rest of your life, can be a very stressful move. If you already have a lot on your plate, it may not be a good idea to do both of these things at the same time. It can only get worse if the timing doesn’t work out perfectly on the possession dates, too.

2. Your Home Has to Sell for a Certain Price

Especially in Edmonton’s current market, getting the price you want can be a long and arduous process. And while it is possible to get the price you want, it will certainly take some time, something you won’t have if you’ve already bought another home. If you want to sell your home for a certain price, then you should hold off buying a new one. For every month you try to balance both homes, it will become more difficult to stay firm on your asking price.

3. Money is an Issue

If your monthly budget is already tight, then taking on the extra risk of having two homes at once could ruin you financially. So, instead, try to divide and conquer. Finding temporary housing, after all, isn’t as expensive as paying twice your regular rent, plus utilities and bills. Opting instead to have some extra money in the bank while you go searching for a new home is a much better decision than borrowing extra on an unnecessary risk.

4. You Have a Place to Stay

While it’s never an ideal circumstance, finding temporary housing or moving back into your parent’s basement may be the more prudent decision, especially if money is tight. But if you have a place you can stay for a few months while house hunting, be sure to take advantage of the situation if need be. That way, you can make better financial choices, and possession dates won’t be a ruling factor in either transaction.

Finding the perfect home can be a challenge, especially if you are already a homeowner. There are times when looking for a new home and selling the old at the same time can work out great, but there are also times when it can work against you. Be sure the decision you make is the right one for you and your family.

New Housing Rules are Now In Effect

March 23rd, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

As of yesterday, February 15, 2016, the newest housing laws by the federal government have passed, fundamentally changing how home buyers, and home sellers approach the housing market. Today, being the first business week in Alberta after the laws have come into effect, it’s a good idea to get brushed up on what’s changed, how it affects different people in the Edmonton real estate markets, and what the laws are designed to do. Here are some answers to common questions about the new law changes.

1. What are the New Laws?

The new laws are mostly about minimum down payments on homes. Before this law, the minimum down payment for a home sale was 5%. So a $750,000 home, for example, would require a minimum down payment of $37,500. But the new laws change the amount for homes that are over $500,000, changing the system into a blended scale. Anything up to $500,000 still only requires a 5% down payment, but for any price that goes above the half a million mark, that difference in price requires a 10% down payment. So, using our $750,000 home as an example, the minimum down payment under these new laws is now $50,000. Half of the down payment is 5% up to the full amount of $500,000. The other half is the 10% down payment required for the remaining $200,000. The new laws, in essence, are increasing the amount you’ll need as a down payment for homes over a half a million dollars.

2. How Does this Affect Home Buyers?

The basic consequence of this new law, at least when it comes to home buyers, is that they’ll need a little more in the bank if they’re going to be buying a home that costs more than $500,000. Of course, it’s recommended that you have more than the minimum amount anyways, by as much as you possibly can, so most home buyers will be less affected by the new laws than they may imagine.

3. How Do the New Laws Affect Home Sellers?

These laws will certainly cause some problems for people who want to sell their homes for around the $500,000 mark. Home buyers would rather go for the home that’s up to $500,000, especially if they’re on a strict budget, rather than bother with the additional down payment for anything priced above. So those sellers with homes around the half a million price tag may depreciate their homes slightly to stay competitive.

4. Why Did the Government Change the Laws?

The laws were passed to prevent people with very little equity from biting off more than they can chew, and to protect the economy from housing crises as a result of multiple foreclosures. It makes people with less equity less able to buy more expensive homes, especially in the vast majority of the housing markets in Canada. The new laws could hurt Canada’s most notorious housing markets, namely Toronto and Vancouver, but most homes will be sailing under the $500,000 price point anyways.

With the new laws in place, it will be interesting to see how they affect the home buying and selling process, especially in Edmonton.

Edmonton Events: March 2016

March 3rd, 2016 by gurpreetghatehora

As spring starts to make its way through Edmonton this year, a number of different events are starting or just finishing for the year. Edmonton has a wide range of activities that are great for families, couples, groups, and individuals this March, here are just a few of the highlights.

 1. Edmonton Freezeway

If you love skating and the outdoors, the Edmonton Freezeway is for you. The 400m ice track is right next to the Victoria Skating Oval. Obviously weather-dependent, it’s best to get to the Freezeway sooner rather than later, lest it becomes the Puddleway.

 2. Out of the Woods: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Perhaps Canada’s most celebrated groups of artists, the Group of Seven have had a lasting and tangible impact on Canadian artists and Canadian art lovers. The Art Gallery of Alberta is currently hosting a Group of Seven exhibit with a particular focus on Tom Thomson. The works move beyond the Ontario woodlands, a popular subject for the Group, and into other landscapes and seascapes, showing a diversity of talent that many people do not associate with Tom Thomson and his artistic friends. The event runs until April 17.

 3. The Glenn Miller Orchestra

The legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra has a tour date set for Edmonton on March 6, and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the best jazz orchestras in the history of the artform. Playing jazz and swing music, this event is sure to get you dancing in the aisles of the Winspear Centre.

 4. The Edmonton Home & Garden Show

From March 17 to 20, homeowners and garden lovers will be converging at Northlands for the Home & Garden Show. Whether you’re looking for new recipes or a way to upgrade your deck, there will be vendors and people there to help you out. One of Edmonton’s most important events, it’s sure to dazzle you and leave you inspired.

 5. The Slush Cup

This is probably one of the most “Edmonton” events to ever happen on an annual basis. Taking place near the Muttart Conservatory, skiers and snowboarders will throw themselves down the river valley and try to make it across an Olympic-sized slush puddle at the bottom. The goal is to stay dry, but it rarely works out. Bring some hot chocolate and watch as brave Edmontonians say goodbye to the ski season in the wettest way possible.

 6. Dark Matters-Robots

On March 10, the Telus World of Science will close its doors to kids and turn itself into an adults only event. Featuring exclusive access to galleries, tasty food, a bar, and live DJ, this is the best time to enjoy the science centre without having to pick your way through crowds of kids. This month, the theme is robots and will feature experiments and demonstrations that are sure to amaze.


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