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Are you watching too much HGTV?


I am not talking about the channel as a whole, obviously this is a real estate blog, so we are going to talk about Real Estate Wednesdays on HGTV, Are you watching a little too much??

There are some really great programs on Real Estate Wednesdays, some that I have come to enjoy are Holmes on HolmesMillion Dollar Listing and yes even Flip this House or Flip that House, whatever they are calling it these days! The last two that I mentioned are from the United States, and obviously we all know that Mike Holmes is Canadian. 

With the first two being from the US there is some very distinct terminology that they use such as 'Escrow', or 'Contingencies' or 'Title Companies'. Let's deal with Escrow first, in Canada we do not have Escrow or Escrow companies, as your REALTOR® I handle all of your closing documents, such as the purchase contract, RPR, Condo Documents, Inspection Report, Deposit Check and so on. I forward all of this documentation onto my Conveyance department and they make sure that all of the documentation is forwarded onto the lawyer of your choosing and that the deposit check is deposited into my brokerages trust account.

In the US there are companies that specialize in this; they will handle all of the documents including the deposit check. So when you hear Chad Rogers from Million Dollar Listing say, “Another deal in Escrow!" all that means is that they are in the process of getting conditions waived.

The other term that is often heard is Contingencies, all that this is, is the conditions of the purchase contract, for example financing or a home inspection. Often times you will hear them refer to the title company or being able to clear the title. In the US, like in Canada, Title is very important, it may seem like it is more important in the US or Eastern Canada for that matter, because they have companies that specialize in clearing the title. In the West we do not have title companies; typically it is the lawyer’s responsibility to make sure that the title can be transferred to the buyer. They are going to make sure that there are no liens and if there is that they will be discharged with the proceeds of sale. Any easements or encroachment agreements will also be addressed by your real estate lawyer and they will make sure that there are no major issues going forward.

One last thing I want to address, and this goes out to all of you Calgary REALTORS® as well, the home inspection does not give you license in Canada to go back to the seller of the property and RE-NEGOTIATE the deal that was already made! When you look at a property and its 30 years old and the furnace is original, YOU need to budget for a new furnace when you take possession. If the furnace is in fine working order during the inspection process, you cannot go back to the seller and ask them to replace the furnace or re-negotiate the price! It is the same with the hot water tank being 13 years old or any holes in the walls or marks on the floors. All of these things should be pointed out upon first inspection of the property by you the buyer and your REALTOR®.  It should be worked out at the beginning of the negotiation process to make sure that the cost to fix these deficiencies is reflected in the price.  If there are no major structural issues, no major holes in the roof, no major leaks or other material latent defects within in the property, you should not be going back to the seller and trying to get a better deal. This is a common misconception during the home inspection process and needs to be cleared up for the buyer by the person representing them in the deal, typically a licensed REALTOR®.

I have only addressed a couple of differences here; there are a lot more than three differences in the buying of US real estate and Canadian Real Estate. If you are looking for more information about buying in the US I invite you to visit www.Realtor.comand check out some of the great info that they have online.

Kelley Skar-REALTOR®
Sutton Partners Realty Group

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