Property Management and Real Estate Services

Buying a condo in Calgary has become popular for many potential homeowners. In the current housing market, many are setting their sights on them since Calgary condos have become a more affordable option. If you’re one of many who are looking to make a condo your home, learn what you must do with a few handy tips from the professionals at Unison Realty Group. 


I’m Ready to Buy A Condo: Where Do I Start?

Before we start with what to look out for when buying a condo, let’s get you through the preparation steps. That way, you can get your ducks in a row before you find yourself a licensed real estate agent

First and foremost, you will want to find out what you’re pre-approved for by contacting your bank or a mortgage broker. Knowing your financial limits and comfort level will help you make an informed decision. Also, the better you know your budget, the sooner your agent can get the ball rolling with booking you the right showings.

It’s also important to consider extra costs when buying a condo. It could include your condo document review, home inspection, moving costs, lawyer fees and closing costs. Doing your homework first is the right way to avoid any stressful surprises later down the road when you’re trying to close on your next investment property or Calgary condo.


 6 Tips for Buying A Calgary Condo for Potential Homeowners

1. Hire a Real Estate Agent & Stick to Your Non-Negotiables

Have a meeting with your agent to ensure you click and are both on the same page. If you feel well supported and your questions have been answered thoroughly – go for it! Looking for an agent specializing in condos could also be a definite bonus. Now, when it comes to viewing your potential condo, make sure you stick to your non-negotiables. Getting distracted can be easy when you view a property with modern staging; realizing that the den you wanted for a workspace is missing could fly right past you.


2. Parking & Storage

Don’t fall in love with your condo just yet. Make sure you have what you need when parking your vehicle and have enough space for all your sports equipment. Even if you don’t have a car, it’s great for resale value or possibly even renting the space to another tenant or owner needing a second spot.


3. Visitor Options

This one is sometimes forgotten about until you invite your family of 5 over and realize you don’t have enough spaces for them to park. Ask your agent about a visitor parking area and how many spots are available. Maybe there’s a designated guest suite available that you can book in advance for family and friends. These are nice perks you can consider, especially if you like to host.


4. Building Security

Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it’s also a great added value to everyone in the building. Ask your agent about the security features and what kind of hours the concierge works, if there is one. Also, ask if the bottom floors have access to the top floors through the elevator or emergency doors.


5. Talk to a Neighbour

No one has better insight into the building than someone who has already lived there for a few years. See if you can chat with a hallway neighbour to see how they like the building and if they can vouch for their living experience. If they give you two thumbs up, you will likely enjoy it just as much. You can also ask a fellow condo owner what they think of the condo board. If they have any issues, they’ll usually let you know!


6. Condo Document Review

It’s important to have a professional condo document review. That is your opportunity to ask questions about the building and how it’s being run. How much money is in the reserve fund? Are there any important details in the disclosure statement? What do the condo fees include? Depending on the details, its service will typically run you between $300 and $600.


At Unison Realty Group Ltd, we walk you through all the steps to ensure you’re getting great value. If you have questions about purchasing a condo in Calgary or already have your eye on something in the market, give our team a call today and let us help you make the best, informed decision.

For any questions or inquiries, please contact us:

Phone: (403) 219-3000

Email: [email protected]


Before you start with the search, you should understand the process thoroughly and the requisites. This will simplify the entire process of home buying too. In this article, you will learn about important requisites and steps that you should be aware of before buying your own home property.

Continue reading “Understand the Home Buying Process:”

A real estate analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) says the fact that Calgary’s housing prices aren’t budging much shouldn’t come as a shock. “The current Calgary real estate market conditions are disappointing but unsurprising,” said Don Campbell, senior real estate analyst with REIN.

The oil price slide is in its 15th month after all, he says. Previous forecasts stated prices would begin to slide from November 2015 to February 2016 amid mixed signals in the market.

“The drop in oil prices, which brought layoffs and lower consumer confidence, have been the largest factor in today’s market conditions, prices held steady due to a lack of real desperation to sell,” said Campbell.

Uncertainty all around

Add to the mix, Campbell says, is the uncertainty from Rachel Notley’s newly-elected government regarding taxes, regulation, or an economic strategy.

“These two main factors have pushed the listings up substantially while keeping the buyers on the sidelines,” he said.

According to Calgary MLS, the current detached home listings in September were 3,012 — or 17 per cent more — compared to the same period last year. Although the Calgary Real Estate Board reports total residential sales in the city were 1,448 units in September, well below typical activity levels for this time of year.

Year-to-date Calgary sales remained below both the five- and 10-year averages.

But Campbell says two other major factors are keeping a cap on housing prices — the growing population in the region before oil prices went south and the rental market.

“These new citizens have supported both the housing resale market as well as the rental market,” he said, adding this is directly connected to the second factor — high rents and low vacancy rates in the region.

He suggests that if homeowners were thinking of selling their home but wanted to stay in the city, when they did the math, they discovered it was cheaper to stay put.

“This lack of next home lowered the motivation level of those who listed their property and thus many were willing to stand firm on their price which in turn stabilized the average sale price.”

2016 predictions

But Campbell says to expect even lower housing prices to emerge with increased motivation from November to February with more vacancies but oil prices still remaining low.

Looking into 2016, Campbell says mixed signals will continue if oil prices stay consistently below $50 and there’s no pipeline announcement — likely resulting in more downward housing prices, plus a big dive in demand for luxury homes.

He expects vacancy rates will begin to move up, which could bring rental rates down.

“This will free up the ability for more people who have listed their property to make a move into the rental market while they await more surety.”

STEP 1 – Meet agents out in their working environment, not in their offices. Good agents spend very little time at their desks.

STEP 2 – Make sure the agent has closed many properties and has worked a few years at least. You will want an agent that is willing to knock on doors that are not for sale. More closings mean more experience.

STEP 3 – Check out open houses. Don’t worry that you are not interested in that particular property. The agent knows that open houses rarely produce a buyer for that home and use the open house as a tool to find buyers.

STEP 4 – Contact the agent with whom a friend or relative worked. If this agent produced positive results for a friend, there’s a good chance they will do the same for you.

STEP 5 – Make sure your agent is online. Having a web savvy agent is very important today as over 85% of all buyers initially see their homes online. Great agents have laptops and often have moved to mobile technology to assist. A real estate agent in today’s world must email, text, and be available to buyers and sellers alike.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-5

STEP 6 – Interview several agents. Whether you are looking for a buyer agent or seller agent. Remember though, agents will tell you what you want to hear. Make sure they are not selling you a dream partnership… you want to hire a realistic real estate agent. Don’t sign a buyers agreement form before looking for property (you should feel free to build trust with a real estate agent over several hours of looking before signing anything).

STEP 7 – Look for signs that the agent is busy. A hard-working, go-getter of an agent is good. Be careful, sometimes they are too busy. A real estate agent can only effectively work with about a half-dozen buyers and a dozen sellers at any given time to properly give the time needed to a buyer. If they pass you to an “assistant”, move to another agent that will give their time to you.

STEP 8 – Be sure that your agent is knowledgeable. Ask questions about things you have learned through your new-found interest in real estate. If they don’t know more than you – after all, this is her livelihood! – go on to seasoned agent. Local knowledge is particularly critical especially in city settings.
An excellent agent is the most important to you when buying a home for the first time. They should have experience and should be able to guide you through the complexities of the process including lender info that you will have to provide. The loan process has become much more demanding and complex in 2010.

STEP 9 – See how the agent’s MLS listings come up in searches. However if you wish to purchase your dream home that is not for sale it will not show up on the MLS. When listing in today’s market, all listings from small to big should have professional photos – this is the first sign of a professional real estate agent who understands today’s market.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-10

STEP 10 – See how the agent’s MLS listings come up in searches. However if you wish to purchase your dream home that is not for sale it will not show up on the MLS. When listing in today’s market, all listings from small to big should have professional photos – this is the first sign of a professional real estate agent who understands today’s market.

STEP 11 – Check the references that an agent should be able to provide you. Ask the other real estate agents you interview if they know the other agent and if they respect them as a real estate agent.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-11

STEP 12 – Ask your agent where they live. An agent that lives and works locally will have their finger on the pulse of the market and be able to answer important questions about the community. They should at a minimum know the schools where they work. This is especially important in large cities.

STEP 13 – Ask “Can you recommend service providers who can assist me in obtaining a mortgage, making repairs on my home, and other things I need done?” Keep in mind here that a real estate agent should generally recommend more than one provider and shouldn’t receive any compensation (ethical issues tend to arise when this happens).

STEP 14 – Ask how long the real estate agent has been working full time. It is not that newer agents aren’t capable, it just is a factor in making an informed decision. Many “experienced” agents are not always the best choice either. Especially if they haven’t kept up with technology.

STEP 15 – Ask the agent if the real estate agent is a full time agent. Is this her only job? You should demand a full time agent.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-16

STEP 16 – Ask Who the agent is working for in the transaction, the buyer or the seller (a real estate agent selling a house almost always works for the seller and tend to spin things a sellers way)

STEP 17 – Ask “How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently?” Using what media? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but that one reflects your desires.

Don’t expect an agent to call you instantly when you leave a message, but do expect a call back within 24 hours or a reasonable amount of time depending upon the situation.
Don’t call your real estate agent after hours, past 9 pm or so. They have a life too.
This is your most important transaction of your life, a seasoned real estate agent does this everyday and understands the many problems that arise during the process. Try to keep the big picture in mind.
Your house / or the house you are buying is a commodity. Supply and demand within a neighborhood play an important role in pricing and timing of a sale. Try not to become overly emotionally involved in the purchase/sale of the property.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-19

STEP 19 – See a few properties in the same area on open house day, to get an idea about the house prices in your selected neighborhood. This will help to keep you from being completely blind-sided when you go to an agent.

STEP 20 – Work with a Local Market Expert. There are real estate agents who specialize in working within a specific community. Even if you have a real estate agent that you like, you might be best served by a real estate agent who knows the area well, and can advise you about any adverse local market conditions that an outsider might not be aware of.670px-Find-a-Good-Real-Estate-Agent-Step-21

STEP 21 – If you are a buyer, you want to work with a Buyers Agents (also known as a Buyer Broker.) This way you know your interests are protected in the transaction. Likewise if you are a seller, you want to work with someone that is experienced in representing the seller and securing the most qualified buyer at the best net profit for you. Not all agents are experts in working with buyers or sellers, so you need to ask specifics. Continue reading “How To Find A Good Real Estate Agent”

By Manuella Irwin, a moving industry professional, author and writer. Posted on Moving Guides

Read more:

Although we do try to plan almost every step of our life, sometimes things happen all of a sudden. Life surprises us in the most amazing ways.

Relocating is an important event that is often stressful and annoying, especially if you are moving away from home during holidays. Over holidays such as Christmas, Easter, The Independence Day, most people have a few days off. Moving during the holiday season is quite a challenge. So, we’ve prepared for you a complete how to move during holidays tips guide to help you have a smoother relocation experience. You may not have much choice and time as well, but if you are organized things will run smoothly.

Moving during holidays seems a rather frustrating activity, but if you have to do it, then stop wasting your time. Get ready for your holiday relocation!

Find A Holiday Moving Company
While searching for a mover over the holidays, remember to mention about your plans to move during the vacation time. There are a lot of movers out there, but few are performing relocation trips during holidays. The first thing you should take into consideration is that your move is more likely to cost much more than a regular move. Since most of the personnel would take a few days off during the holiday, it is likely that the holiday moving companies run on a short staff.

When booking your moving company, ask them for a written moving price quote. Actually, you should ask your movers to visit you at home for an in-house moving estimate. This way you can discuss every detail in person and you will get a lot more accurate moving cost estimate. Your movers will also be better prepared for the moving day. Make sure you understand all moving fees and expenses included in your final moving costs. Here is a complete list of the most popular hidden moving costs.

Beware that some furniture items can be carried out only through the windows (often referred as hoisting by the professional moving companies). Let your movers know about all specifics around your move in advance to avoid surprises. Set your moving budget right. Be prepared to spend extra money if you are about to move during holidays. Keep in mind that you can hire a full service moving company and book a luxury moving service option, so you can spend the vacation with your family, while the movers do the complete relocation.

Now it is even easier to estimate your moving costs no matter of your desired moving dates. Use our fast and easy moving cost estimator for an accurate cost calculation.

Research Your Holiday Mover

Hire a professional holiday mover and enjoy your smooth trip. Make sure you research your moving company online to avoid unpleasant surprises during and after your relocation.
Hiring a licensed and insured professional mover for your holiday relocation is a must. You might be on a short deadline, but don’t risk booking inexperienced, or even rogue movers. Here are some tips that will help you to choose a reputable holiday moving company and avoid moving scams:

Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to find out if the particular moving company is registered and licensed. The U.S Department of Transportation obliged all registered moving companies to follow certain safety rules and regulations.
It’s a good idea to run a check on your moving company at Better Business Bureau website. Hiring a BBB moving company with accreditation is a plus.
Ask family, friends, colleagues, neighbors if they can recommend you a holiday mover or a professional moving company they’ve used in the past.
You may read some mover reviews online. There are many moving related forums and blogs that you can check for reviews, testimonials and complaints. Be careful when reading moving reviews – here is a complete article on how to avoid fake reviews online.
Holiday Relocation: The Packing
During holidays we usually spend our free time outside – strolling in the park, coffee with friends, going to the movies, shopping in the mall or a family dinner at the local restaurant. But since you are moving you have to do the boring packing job. Cheer up! Invite some friends to help you. It’s a holiday after all, have some fun. Spend some time with your loved ones, take breaks to chill out. Doing the packing by yourself and not by the moving company will save you a lot on the final moving costs. This way you can spend more for presents and the holiday a day to remember.

Remember to label all the boxes. You will save a lot of time and troubles when unpacking. Write descriptive labels on the boxes, the more descriptive, the better. If you have any doubts about packing particular household items, consult your mover. An experienced moving specialist will always find the best possible way to pack delicate items. Moving a piano, antiques or expensive electronics is a tough job, do not underestimate it. Leave the heavy furniture packing for the professional on the moving day. When unpacking, start with the most used items first.

Holiday Relocation With Kids
Holiday relocation with your children is quite a tricky situation. It can be a good idea to move with your kids during holidays, as they won’t miss classes. Yet, keep in mind that youngsters adore holidays. It’s time for games and a lot of fun. So, if you are considering a holiday relocation, prepare your children for the big move long in advance. Kids need time to adjust and especially for teenagers moving is a really stressful experience. However, you can make your holiday move much more pleasant. Encourage your kids to get involved in the holiday relocation. Let them help with the packing. Discuss the new opportunities that are waiting for all of you at the new place. After all, it’s a fresh start.

Moving During Christmas
Christmas is time of the year when the whole family gathers to spend the holiday together. It might be very depressing to move during Christmas. Everybody is planing the perfect Christmas and we usually don’t see it as a packing-loading-moving event. Anyway, you shouldn’t feel bad about your Christmas move. It may turn out that moving is the best Christmas present you have ever received. Remember that this holiday is all about spending time with your family. Engage everybody to help with the holiday relocation. Listen some cheering music, or go out for a walk all together. You can arrange a visit to the new city you are about to relocate to a week in advance. Visit the best notable places around your new home and explore the city.

Moving During Holidays With No Involvement

Kids love holidays. If you are moving during holidays, make sure there is enough time for fun. It is essential that you keep your kids entertained during the relocation.
Another interesting option to explore is hiring a full service moving company to do the end-to-end move of all your belongings. There are many professional moving companies that offer luxury moving services and high-end moving services that requires no involvement on your end, except covering the final bill.

If you choose this option, you can leave everything to the moving company. The movers will relocate all your household goods while you are on a holiday vacation with your family during the holidays. The moving company will do all the packing, loading, moving, driving, unloading and unpacking of all your belongings. If you choose the high-end (luxury) moving option, all your belongings will be positioned and arranged the exact same way as they were at your origin location. In a case like this, movers use cameras to capture the positioning on your furniture, so they can reproduce the same arrangement at your new place, while you are enjoying your holiday with your kids and family.

To sum up, moving during the holidays has its pros and cons. It’s up to you decide what is the best time to move. Moving during the holiday season can be as easy and enjoyable as you make it. It is the people that make our holiday, not the place.

Read more:

CALGARY- It’s no secret that spring sees an influx of activity in the housing market, and if you’re one of the people moving it’s important to do your homework.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says it’s been inundated with complaints about moving companies, due to damage or overcharging.

Calgary’s Mark McNevin hired a company to move items out of his home, and was shocked to find a huge scratch in the hardwood floor after workers moved a washing machine.
“They came out, put it down, dragged it 10 feet, moved it over four inches, and dragged it another eight feet over to the stairs,” McNevin remembers. “As I went up the stairs, I noticed a twenty foot gouge in the hallway leading from the laundry room to the stairs going down. So I’m guessing they had dragged it the whole way.”

He adds that he was forced to spend $2,000 to fix the floor, but City Wide Movers refuses to reimburse him.

“They said ‘you paid too much,’ so I offered ‘let’s go get three quotes, we’ll take the average of the three quotes.’ They basically said ‘your file’s closed.’”

The BBB says such incidents highlight the importance of checking out the company before hiring them, and asking questions.

“Are you insured, are they insured? Make sure that you check into those kinds of issues,” suggests Sandra Crozier-McKee. “Take pictures of those items that are significant to you, that you’re concerned are more fragile.”

She adds it’s important to understand the contract before signing.

“That’s what we often find with moving, that the business thinks the contract means one thing and it’s fairly explicit, and the consumer doesn’t totally understand it.”

City Wide Movers did not respond to several requests for comment. They also have an F rating with the BBB, due to receiving 25 complaints over the past three years, including 13 which were not resolved.


You’ve just closed your house purchase-now what? Buyers have lots to do, besides unpacking and making minor repairs.

They include:

  • Getting names and addresses, payment dates, account numbers and amounts to pay for the mortgage, taxes, condo maintenance and utility charges.
  • Notifying everyone about your change of address-from the post office to credit card companies to the provincial health insurer.
  • And don’t forget the provincial driver’s license and motor vehicle branch; failing to do so could lead to a fine.
  • Where”911″doesn’t exist, obtain the emergency numbers of police, fire, ambulance, hospital and poison information centers.
  • Determine garbage and recycling days.
  • Arrange to get the interest on your deposit, if your offer provides for it.
  • And most importantly, change the locks, or at least the tumblers, on all doors-who knows how many keys still remain in circulation?
  • Consider upgrading the locks to deadbolts, for greater home security.

One of the most confusing areas of real estate is the GST. Most resale homes are exempt from GST, but buyers should still ask the appropriate question and deal with it in their offer to purchase, to be safe.

For brand new homes and condos, the offer should say whether the purchase price is “Plus GST” or “GST Included’; and who gets the GST new home rebate.

Buying a vacant cottage/chalet lot or a hobby farm is even more confusing. If an individual is selling, the sale is GST-exempt, but if the seller is a corporation, 5% GST is payable.

Residential rents are exempt from GST, as are condo maintenance fees. But GST is payable on real estate commissions, legal fees, some disbursements, and the cost of a new survey or home inspection.

If in doubt about the GST, check it out before signing an offer. Because if you’re wrong, it’s a 5% mistake.

Every real estate transaction has three key dates. Each must be clearly spelled out in the offer and adhered to-or the deal is off.

  • The first: the irrevocable date, how long the seller has to accept a buyer’s offer.
  • The second is the requisition date-when any issues arising from the title search must be reported to the buyer’s lawyer.
  • The last is important to both buyers and sellers-the closing date- when money, title and keys change hands.

Agreeing on it may be the hardest part of the negotiations. Whenever possible, avoid closing on Fridays, the end of the month, and before long weekends.

  • Buyers who close then often face delays getting keys, and a higher moving bill.
  • Sellers discharging mortgages can face a financial drain, too.
  • If the funds reach the lender late after a Friday closing, three extra days’ interest is payable-four on a long weekend.
  • Whenever possible, steer clear of rush hour in the registry office when choosing a closing date.

Despite what many buyers of resale homes and condos believe, interest isn’t automatically paid on a deposit in a real estate transaction. They only get interest on their deposits if a clause saying that appears in the offer to purchase.

Then three criteria must be met-the deposit is at least $5,000; closing is at least 30 days away; and the buyer provides his or her Social Insurance Number. A $5,000 deposit and a thirty-day closing aren’t legal requirements, but they’re the minimum to buy a term deposit. And your Social Insurance Number is needed so you can be sent a T5 slip after closing, since the interest earned on a deposit is taxable.

Builders don’t often pay interest on deposits when buying a brand new home-but it can be negotiated into the contract.

When it comes to interest on deposits, remember-if it’s not in the offer, it’s not in the deal.

Deposits serve two purposes-part payment of the purchase price, plus an assurance the buyer will close the deal. Usually an uncertified cheque accompanies the offer; when a deal is finally struck, the cheque is certified and the funds held by the listing agent.

If buying privately, be sure the deposit is paid to the seller’s lawyer in trust; otherwise, if the deal collapses, recouping your money from the seller is no easy task.

How large should the deposit be?

  • Buyers like to pay the smallest amount possible, to avoid tying up too much money; but sellers want a large deposit, as a sign of the buyer’s good faith.
  • Real estate agents prefer big deposits, also, since the larger the deposit, the easier for them to get paid after closing.

While there’s no “legal answer” as to what’s a proper deposit, 5% of the purchase price is not uncommon today.

When buyers and sellers strike a deal, loose ends often need tidying up before the buyer will proceed. Typical examples: financing, a home inspection, and selling the buyer’s home.

When that’s the case, a conditional offer should be signed one made “Subject To” these conditions.

If the buyer satisfies them within the allotted time, the offer becomes “Firm And Binding”. If not, the deal is off, and the buyer gets the deposit back.

  • As a buyer, make sure you understand how to keep the contract alive or kill the deal.
  • As a seller, if you face a lengthy period of legal limbo with an outstanding condition, add an escape clause to the offer.

If another acceptable offer is presented, it’s decision time for the firs buyer-waive the condition and close the sale or lose the deal. Buyers, remember: conditional offers give you flexibility, but unconditional offers always get a better reception with sellers.

Buying and selling real estate has become very specialized the last few years. So when looking for a lawyer/notary, make sure it’s a real estate lawyer/notary-one who spends most of the time closing real estate deals.

And don’t wait until after the deal is struck before choosing a lawyer/notary; then you lose the valuable input he or she can provide scrutinizing the offer before your pen hits the paper.

Since a lawyer/notary’s role is part advisor and part confidant, a good rapport with your lawyer/notary is a must.

How can you find a good real estate lawyer/notary?

  • Ask friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who they’ve used in the past; and get several names from your real estate agent or banker, too.
  • Never choose a real estate lawyer/notary just because their fees are the lowest.
  • As with any other professional, quality and experience are the key, not just price.

If you’re buying a resale home and don’t want to inherit the seller’s headaches, a home inspection is a must. Usually the offer to purchase is conditional on the buyer being satisfied with the inspection-so if the house fails the grade, there’s no deal.

Home inspectors examine the major systems in the house-plumbing, electrical, heating-plus the roof, foundation and insulation- and give the buyer a written report. The cost? Several hundred dollars, a small price to pay for the information provided.

But there’s one problem with the home inspection industry; it’s unlicensed, ungoverned, and unregulated. Anyone can establish a home inspection business with absolutely no training or credentials.

So before hiring a home inspector, check out his or her background and expertise as carefully as a good inspector will check out the house. Ask friends, family or your real estate agent for a referral.

And make sure the inspector has liability insurance, just in case a mistake is made; such as a hole in the roof or a leaky basement being overlooked.

The key to that fabulous house warming gift from the federal government: The Home Buyers’ Plan, better known as the “RSP Program”. It lets first-time buyers, including anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last 5 years, borrow up to $20,000 per spouse from their RSP interest-free to buy a home, to be repaid over the next 17 years. But only funds that have been in your RSP at least 90 days can be withdrawn.

To get that free cash, take advantage of your unused RSP limit Say you’ve got $3,000 in unused RSP contributions, have saved $3,000 for a down payment, and plan to buy a home in the next few months.


  • Deposit that $3,000 into your RSP.
  • Keep it there at least 90 days, and remove it under the Home Buyers’ Plan when you buy your house.
  • If you’re in the 40% tax bracket, you’ll get a $1,200 income tax refund when filing your next tax return, simply by parking your down payment money in your RSP for at least 90 days!

Which comes first-the purchase or the sale-is the greatest dilemma facing homeowners planning to move-up. If you choose to buy first, make sure the offer to purchase is conditional on selling your current house. That way, if you sell your house, both deals proceed; if not, the deal is off, and you won’t be stuck with two homes.

Selling first, though, will give you considerable peace of mind. Knowing how much money you’ll get on the sale will help you establish a price range for the new home. Selling first allows you to negotiate the purchase more vigorously, too, since unconditional offers carry a lot more weight with sellers.

Market conditions are another important consideration in deciding which route to follow.

  • In a seller’s market, you’ll probably do better selling after you’ve bought.
  • But in a buyer’s market, it makes more sense to sell first, and then buy.

A Condominium is more than a “Lifestyle”; it actually describes a form of land ownership.
In both high-rise apartments and townhouses, buyers own a specific residential unit, plus a percentage interest in the “common elements” lobby, hallways, elevators, parking garage and grounds.

Condo units are bought, sold and mortgaged separately; so owners are responsible for their own taxes and mortgage, plus the maintenance and repair of their units.

A monthly fee is also paid to maintain the common elements and to operate the condo corporation. Part of that money goes into a reserve fund, for major repairs and the replacement of major assets.

Townhouse maintenance fees are generally lower than in a high-rise as apartment condos have elevator banks and underground garages that need ongoing maintenance and repair.

Despite the conveniences condominium living provides, rules are enacted to regulate activities-everything from keeping pets to parking cars.

To know more about those restrictions, and the financial health of the project, make your offer to purchase conditional on reviewing the condominium documents.

  • Newly-built homes have enormous appeal.
  • If you decide to buy a new home, you must know, that you can bring your own realtor, because he will be working in your best interest.
  • Buyers are captivated by the enchanting thoughts of a home that’s bright, fresh, clean, modern and, of course, new.
  • Buyers can customize it to taste-interior colors, decor and finishing.
  • Often you can choose from a variety of models and styles, instead of having to simply buy “what’s there”.
  • Unlike resale homes, many brand new homes have a warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship, and leaky basements.
  • And a new survey is almost always available.
  • Buyers can get good value buying from a builder-by including extras, options and upgrades in the price plus, in some cases, special mortgage financing offers.
  • However, before you purchase a brand new home, be sold on the builder; investigate its reputation, its background, and the quality of its work.
  • Check with the local home builders association or provincial warranty program for information.
  • And don’t be afraid to bang on doors and ask other buyers what they think of their builder.

While many buyers shy away from used cars, that’s not the case with “used” or resale homes.

As a resale home exists, you don’t have to visualize what it will look like-you see what you get, and get what you see. Also, resale homes are usually sold in more established communities and neighbourhoods.

That means recreational facilities, transportation links, support services, schools and shopping centres are already in place.

Many people believe they get better value buying a resale home, since appliances, light fixtures, floor and window coverings can be negotiated into the deal. Improvements like fences, paved driveways and landscaping automatically go with the house, too.

The survey needed by both you and the lender often is available from the seller, but make sure it’s up-to-date. You can reduce the risk of being saddled with hidden defects, by having a home inspector examine a resale home before the offer becomes firm.

For buyers on a tight budget, a resale home in move-in condition is always an appealing choice-you even avoid the GST!

Before shopping for a home, every buyer needs a home buying strategy-a game plan-that reflects his or her unique needs and wants. That means developing a pre-determined shopping list of what a house must provide (the needs) and the “would-like-to-haves” (the wants).

To properly prepare a home buying strategy, homebuyers must first examine their lifestyles and budgeting priorities. Then do their homework-asking questions, demanding answers, researching everything from closing costs to mortgage financing, and making all the major decisions-before an offer to purchase is ever signed.

In fact, signing an offer is the climax to the home buying process, not the first step
When buying a home, preparation and planning are the key to success. With a home buying strategy, the house you buy should satisfy all of your needs and as many wants as possible, and be one you can afford to buy and carry each month.

Most people buying a home need a mortgage. Too often, in the past, arranging a mortgage was left to the very end, sometimes even after a house was bought, forcing borrowers to scramble for financing.

How things have changed! Today it’s important to shop for a mortgage before you purchase a home, since most lenders will “pre-approve” buyers for a mortgage. Some lenders will even do it over the phone or on the Internet.

It’s a no-cost, no-obligation deal that lets you know before you go house hunting or sign an offer to purchase, how much you can afford to buy based on how much you can afford to borrow.

When getting pre-approved for a mortgage, see how long the rate commitment is good for; it differs from lender to lender.

With a pre-approved mortgage, you can confidently negotiate the purchase of a home, knowing the mortgage financing is arranged, subject to final property appraisal and a formal credit review.

According to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation study, resale house prices rose faster than inflation in 23 of 27 major Canadian cities between 1971 and 1996-even in years when inflation ran rampant throughout Canada.

The principal residence tax exemption makes the capital gains from that increase in prices tax-free too.

And the power of leverage magnifies that return even more, since you’ve earned those gains on your down payment, not on the purchase price.

If you buy a $150,000 house and five years later it’s up 5%, you’ve made 1% a year; but that assumes you paid all cash for your house. With a 25% down payment, you’ve really earned 4% a year tax-free on the money you invested. And if you buy a house with only 10% down, over five years your annual tax-free return is 10%.

Of course, if you can avoid it, never buy a house with the smallest possible down payment, as mortgage interest is not tax deductible. But when tax-free capital gains are added to the power of leverage, real estate remains a good investment.

When you have decided to buy a home or property, the services of a qualified real estate professional are of utmost importance.

The ideal sales agent will have a good working knowledge of local real estate market conditions and be prepared to deliver a high standard of service to customers. Most importantly, a good agent will save you time and money.

Here are the advantages of working with a sales agent:

When buying a house:

  • Agents are experienced negotiators who will manage your offers and counter-offers.
    An agent is familiar with the neighborhood and can give you information on local real estate values, taxes, utility costs, services and amenities.
  • An agent is familiar with the entire home purchasing process and can advise you of your legal and financial options as well as recommend appraisal, home inspection and contracting services.
  • An agent can pinpoint homes that fit your needs and dismiss those that do not, saving you time.
  • An agent knows the potential problem areas in a home and can guide you away from “lemons.”

Unison Realty Group Ltd. and its agents have over thirty years of combined experience. We will find you what you want and leave you as a satisfied customer. We sincerely hope you will let us use our experience to your benefit.

Terminology in ads can be confusing. Let us help you decipher some of the more cryptic combination of letters that you may come across.

Air Conditioning a/c
Apartment apt
Appliances appls
Bachelor bach
Balcony balc
Basement bsmt
Bathroom ba, bath, bth, bthrm
Bedroom br, bed, bdrm
Building bldg
Bungalow bung
Cathedral Ceiling cath ceil
Central Air Conditioning c/a
Central Vacuum cvac, c/vac, central vac
Condominium condo
Detached det
Double dbl
Exposure exp
Exterior ext
Family Room fam. rm
Fenced fncd
Finished Basement fin. bsmt
Fireplace fpl
Floor fl
Garage gar
Hardwood Fllors hrdwd flrs
Included incl
Kitchen kit, kitch
Large lrg, lge
Luxury lux
Parking prkg
Penthouse ph
Piece pc
Private priv
Renovated reno, reno’d
Room rm
Separate Entrance sep. entr
Solarium sol
Spacious spac
Storey stry
Subdivision subdiv
Suite st, ste
Townhouse twnhse
Wall to Wall w/w
Washer / Dryer w/d
Workshop wkshp
Yard yd, yrd