Every time realtors work with offers they are dealing with many issues that affect both the Buyer and the Seller. The contract is complex and many believe it is just fill in the blanks. If you've been around contracts as much as I have in the past 23 years, you'll know that is very far from the truth.
When your realtor represents you as the Seller, and you are completing the listing contract, there is a section discussing what chattels you are leaving. The section looks like this:
1.1 including the following goods not attached to the land and buildings: This section is important for you. You are agreeing to leave items like a fridge, stove, washer, dryer, etc!!! These are called chattels.
and all goods attached to the land and buildings, except: This section is the section too often missed, but is highly important. You need to decide are you leaving items like a water softener, a chandelier, cabinets, etc!!! These are ATTACHED GOODS.
Have this discussion with your realtor. When the offer gets negotiated, you cannot forget items like your water softener. If you think you are going to take it when you move, you may have a buyer leave their legal options open to sue you for the taken items.
The same goes for the Buyer, On the Offer to Purchase, make sure you include all chattels, and anything you want that is deemed attached. If you don't tell your realtor, then you may be upset on possession when it's all gone.
Attached & Unattached Goods
Attached goods are items you cannot remove from the property without causing damage or that are physically attached to the property via pipes, screws, bolts, or nails. Attached goods stay with the property unless there is a specific exclusion in the listing agreement or in a buyer’s offer to purchase. These include:
- water softener
- kitchen cabinets
- built-in appliances
- central vacuum system
- garage door opener
Unattached goods are movable items. Sellers usually take unattached goods from the property before the buyer takes possession. These include:
- wall art
- area rugs
- drapes hooked on curtain rods
- attachments for central vacuum system
- remotes for a garage door opener
- movable kitchen island
Attached goods are typically included with the property while unattached goods are not.
A good example of how attached/unattached goods can be confusing is a wall-mounted TV. The wall mount is attached to the property, and is an attached good, but the TV itself is only attached to the wall mount, and is an unattached good. In the absence of specific inclusions or exclusions indicated in the listing agreement or in a buyer’s offer to purchase, attached goods are typically included in the property while unattached goods are not. If a buyer wants an unattached good included in the purchase of the property, such as the garage door opener or the attachments for the central vacuum system, they need to list it as an inclusion in their offer to purchase. As the seller, you would have to agree to such an inclusion as part of your acceptance of their offer. If you plan to take the unattached good, you need to put that in a counter offer to the buyer.
NOTE: In commercial transactions, everything other than the four walls is typically “unattached” (e.g. equipment, hoists) and should be specified in a Purchase Contract.
Issues at possession
If a buyer is worried about inclusions and exclusions as the possession date nears, they can ask their real estate professional to include a term in the offer to purchase where the seller agrees to let them do a walk-through of the property before possession. This would give the buyer an opportunity to see the condition of the property and ensure inclusions or exclusions meet the terms of the agreed-upon contract. If they see a problem, they can negotiate a mutually satisfactory resolution before possession.
When there is a problem with attached or unattached goods after possession, and the seller does not cooperate, the buyer’s only remedy is legal action. You need to think about the value of the missing goods in relation to the costs of legal action to decide if it’s worth pursuing.
Your real estate professional will help you consider and write exclusions and inclusions when drafting agreements and offers to purchase. If you’re ever in doubt about whether something is attached or unattached, include it in the agreement or contract anyways. When in doubt, write it out.
I had a call the other day, it was a young man trying to see a home before Calgary's December 2020 lockdown Government of Alberta's website.
He said he needed to see two specific houses before Sunday or he would have to wait until after the lockdown was over.
Real Estate is considered an Essential Service, during Covid 19 Greater Calgary Realtors® will proceed with showing homes in Alberta. The latest measures Realtors® will be following are:
- No in-person open houses for REALTORS® as professional service providers.
- Masks are mandatory
- Face-to-face interaction should be avoided whenever possible and when not possible, extreme caution should always be exercised.
- Ask your agent if they utilize online meeting tools such as Zoom and Skype to interact with you.
- Ask your realtor if they have online tools which allow you to explore the market from the comfort of your home.
- Realtors® and yourself, prior to going into a home will be required to complete Covid assessment forms determining if you have the onset of a fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, conjunctivitis, gastrointestinal symptoms, or any other cold or flu-like symptoms, stay home for 10 days. Should you continue to feel unwell after 10 days, continue to self isolate. Use Alberta Health Services online assessment tool to determine your next steps.
- The Government of Alberta has released a mobile contact tracing app called ABTraceTogether, learn more on their website.
Teams are definitely an option when you are considering a real estate career. There is something positive to be said about working with a quality team.
Each team should be broken down to specialites. After all, you can't all be doing the same job every day. Having an inbound process with customers perfecting Marketing, Sales or Service is key to success. This will tune your team like a well oiled engine.
When interviewing teams here are 5 Key Questions to be asking.
#1. The contractual agreement you are going to sign to be on the team.
- Of course agreements can be tricky, and for someone who has never worked with a self employed team, there are many factors to consider.
- Get agreement in writing, know the intricacies of what you are agreeing to.
- Team break ups can be very disappointing for you, and you may come out of it not owning any of the business you brought in, or worked hard on.
- Know your role and the expectations that go with it
- Break down your costs
- What are you paying the broker (flat fee or commission splits and deal fees)?
- What are the extra fees for being part of that brokerage?
- What are you paying the team leader (flat fee or commission splits)?
- What are you paying out of pocket to do the teams business (vehicle, gas, insurance, time, signs, costs for mls use, marketing costs, business cards....?
- At the end of the day, what is in your pocket? I've analyzed some costs of teams and have been able to break down the team members wage to $17.50/hr. A lot of work for little to own nothing to pay your bills
- Or, is there profit sharing?
- Who owns the ability to work with the client once you leave the team? Remember, most of the time you will be doing double the work for the same amount as an individual realtor, with hopefully knowing you will receive more leads.
- What are the possibilities someone on the team can sue you? This has been known to happen.
- Do listings go in your name, or the team leads or both?
- Who is paying you? Is the brokerage responsible for paying you? Or the team leader?
- Brand awareness
- Are you able to market yourself?
- Or just the team?
- Or just the team leader?
- Is there someone on the team to train you? What does this training include?
- What technology are they using? Are you going to learn the technology?
- Are they using a proven system?
- Is the brokerage or team leader in control of a CRM (Contact Relationship System) that you have no access to? Or you have access to but they control all the access?
- are you learning all aspects of the team, or are you just doing your job?
#2. How many hours are you expected to work?
- Some teams are very structured and expect you to be at the same location daily doing your job. So it's best to be very clear what hours you are expected to work depending on what part of the inbound process you are in ie. Marketing, Sales or Services
#3. What if you want to go on a holiday?
- Most teams are structured to realize that everyone needs a holiday, but best to make sure this team is running smoothly, even while you are gone. And how many weeks of holidays do they feel is appropriate for the team?
#4. Online agent reviews
#5. Call the team members, ask what are the best and worst eperiences they face on the team.
- Take the time to read the reviews about the team. Are they good reviews, fake reviews, handle complaints professionally.
Before Cannabis legalization, the real estate industry was always on high alert for what we used to call a “grow operation” in homes we took part in selling. At the time, we were told “once a grow op, always a grow op”. This meant that at any time, spores could grow and spread throughout the home, even if “remediated”. It was highly recommended we discuss disclosure with the owner, in case this were to happen in the future. Mainly because, on the offer to purchase, including the contracts of today, the owner is to disclose known material latent defects. Material Defect means a defect in the property that is not discoverable through a reasonable inspection and that will affect the use or value of the property.
At the time, we were taught that due to Alberta having no regulation around remediation, so there was no certain way to say each remediation company did the same work.
As of October 17, 2018, adults were allowed to grow cannabis at home; up to four plants per household (not per person) for personal consumption. the https://www.alberta.ca/cannabis-legalization.aspx
A realtor today should be using a schedule for both parties to a contract asking for disclosure:
ILLEGAL DRUG MANUFACTURE/MARIJUANA GROW OPERATION
the Seller(s) hereby expresses, to the best of my/our knowledge and belief, the premises and property have not been used for the manufacture of illegal drugs or used as a marijuana grow operation.
Marijuana Grow Operations (MGO’s) are not always disclosed. Ideally, the seller will know, but not always. An MGO premises is usually subject to an order and a Notice of Health Hazard registration or maybe a police registration on title. It is best to pull the historical title. But this is not necessarily so either. Sometimes a google search can help. Or, just knocking on a door and asking a neighbour. Now, obviously most do not knock on doors, but, if something may be suspected, then yes, knocking on neighbours doors and asking if they know anything may be your best bet.
Are remediated grow ops safe to live in? Many say they are better than a re-sold home. Alberta, to this day, does not have a remediation regulation in place for MGO’s. Alberta Health Services has a detailed list of requirements for repair/rehab/remediation.
***The risk will still be, like a nagging worry in your mind, did they get it all out.***
Residential Measurement Standard
YES, Alberta has a Residential Measurement Standard (RMS).
This is a benefit for the Seller and the Buyer!
The RMS gives consumers, real estate professionals, and other industry professionals accurate and consistent property measurements
RECA - Property measurement is the process of identifying and quantifying the physical area of a property. A measurement standard is a consistent methodology to determine an area; such standards are based on transparent, uniform principles and protocols. The Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) contains nine principles, which licensed real estate professionals must follow when measuring residential properties. The RMS does not apply when real estate professionals measure non-residential properties, such as commercial, industrial, or retail premises. RECA does not require sellers or their real estate representatives to represent a property’s size when marketing it. However, if they are including property size in their listing information or marketing materials, it needs to be an accurate representation of the RMS area.
Although the Seller is not required to market the size of their home when for sale, many Real Estate Board’s require the Realtor® to market your home showing the RMS.
Benefits of marketing the RMS:
- property size is often important to buyers and other real estate professionals
- there is a standard all agents must follow
- sellers want their property size accurately described
- real estate appraisal professionals need comparable property measurements for appraisals
- it details what exactly is being measured
When a Buyer is purchasing a home, size may be a factor, or at least a guide for them to use. There are many other factors, RMS is just one.
Benefits of marketing the RMS:
- how property size factors into the buyer’s decision to purchase
- the relationship between property size and selling price
- the RMS: - what is included and excluded in the measurements - how professionals will take measurements and calculate them
- if the property is a condominium: - the difference between the RMS area and the condominium unit registered size - what is included and excluded in the RMS area - what is included and excluded in the condominium unit registered size
- the buyer’s options to determine property size, and their instructions
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