Finding the Right Place
Now the fun part begins. It’s time to find the perfect home.
- home style—condo apartment, condo townhouse, single family home
- number of bedrooms
- number of bathrooms
- features—garage, yard, basement suite
It’s a good idea to make a list of your needs and your wants so you can better focus your search. What are you must-haves? What are you willing to do without?
Property size is one common primary consideration for buyers. Your real estate licensee is going to talk to you about property size, and the Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) in Alberta. Licensees in Alberta must use the RMS when describing a residential property’s size.
The RMS offers a consistent means of representing the property’s above grade space, and it sets out what parts of a property can be included in its measured-area. If property size is important to you, tell your representative, and take steps to verify the size rather than relying on the seller’s representation.
Keep in mind, though, that a property’s size isn’t the only thing sellers are using to set a listing price for their home. Two homes, with the exact same measurements, are unlikely to sell at the same price. The price of a home also depends on location features, décor, and upkeep.
Beyond the size, location, and specific features of a home – there are additional things to think about and ask about as you look at properties: material latent defects and stigmatized properties.
Material latent defects are defects a person cannot discover with reasonable care during an inspection. They include defects that:
- make a property dangerous or potentially dangerous
- make a property unfit to live in
- make a property unfit for the buyer’s purpose (if the buyer has told their licensee or the seller’s licensee the purpose)
By law, sellers, and their real estate representatives, must disclose known material latent defects to potential buyers.
You may also want to discuss stigmatized properties with your real estate licensee. The term “stigmatized” means an unfavourable quality in a property or one that may make the property less attractive or unattractive to some buyers. Buyers may avoid stigmatized properties for reasons that are unrelated to the physical condition or features. Stigmas may include:
- that a suicide or death occurred in the property
- the property was the scene of a major crime
- the address of the property has the wrong numerals
- reports that a property is haunted
If there are certain stigmas that matter to you, you need to talk to your real estate licensee about them. Because these type of stigma are not material latent defects, the seller is not required to answer your questions, but if they choose to answer – they must do so honestly. If they refuse to answer, you’ll have to decide if you’re comfortable proceeding without the information.
Special listing situations
Some listings may say “as-is, where-is” or “judicial sale/foreclosure.”
In an as-is, where-is sale, there is no guarantee as to the property’s condition. There can be a significant amount of risk in buying an as-is, where-is listing.
A judicial sale is the sale of real property under the authority and supervision of the Court of Queen’s Bench. The property may be offered at a lower than expected price, but there will be conditions attached to the home’s sale. For example:
- you may not have access to condominium documents
- your purchase may require approval through the Courts, which can significantly delay it proceeding – if at all
- there may be a set minimum deposit
- it’s possible in a foreclosure situation, right up until possession day, that the sale can fall through
You’ll need to carefully weigh these restrictions against the fact the property may look like a good deal.