Is Your RRSP Mortgage Legal?

Podcast Episode 108:

“RRSP Mortgages and the CRA.”

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) mortgages, the supposed Holy Grail of private lending. I hear it all the time. Borrowers of all stripes believe there is a vast pot of money held in RRSP accounts just waiting to be lent to them. And, to some extent, that’s true. There are lots of folks with lots of RRSP money tucked away. Maybe you’ve thought about leveraging your RRSP to become a lender yourself.

But, like everything else run by the government, there are rules to follow if you want to lend your RRSP money as a mortgage.

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How to Lose a Deposit: Unmet Conditions Can Sink a Real Estate Deal

Podcast Episode 107:

“Conditions, Lost Deposits,
and Collapsed Deals.”

In other Tales from the Trenches I’ve talked about the importance of accomplishing sufficient diligence on any property purchase to say that you have done ‘Due Diligence.’ It’s worth repeating here because it’s so important. The notion of doing or accomplishing your own Due Diligence is what allows you to make a buying decision. Will you buy or not buy? In this Tale, a deal falls through because of a lack of diligence regarding financing conditions.

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Secondary Suites and Real Property Reports in Alberta

Podcast Episode 106:

“A Real Property Report
with Municipal Compliance Doesn’t Prove a Suite is Legal.”

Are you looking to buy a property with a secondary suite? Ideally, you want to buy properties with legal secondary suites. But guess what? A Real Property Report doesn’t prove a suite’s legality in Alberta.

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Legal vs. Illegal Rental Suites in Edmonton

house with cash register

“Basement Suites and the Abominable Snowman.”

Why are basement suites like the Abominable Snowman? Because they don’t exist, at least not in the City of Edmonton, Alberta.

My client Jane was excited when she saw the advertisement, “beautiful, 3-bdrm bungalow with spacious 2-bdrm basement suite.” As part of due diligence, Jane went down to City Hall in Edmonton, and visited the Planning and Building department.

“Tell me about basement suites,” said Jane to the friendly development officer. Continue reading

Legal Suites and Airport Vicinity Protection Areas in Alberta

Podcast Episode 101:

“Deep Diligence Saves
Half A Million Dollars!”

I heard from a Calgary investor recently about dodging an expensive bullet.

Houses with legal suites or houses zoned for legal suites are all the rage in Alberta. What’s not to like about adding a secondary suite to a single-family home effectively turning it into a duplex with amazing positive cash flow? Everyone likes that. Tougher to do in Calgary, though. I hate to say it, our Calgary cousins are not nearly as advanced as we Edmontonians on the secondary suite issue. The City of Edmonton has amended bylaws to allow secondary suites all over the city and in most zoning situations.

City of Calgary, not so much. In Calgary, secondary suites are only allowed in certain areas. Calgary City Council is divided on whether to expand the areas where they allow secondary suites.

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Home Inspection Liability

Faulty Furnaces and Inspection Issues.

It’s always a good idea to get a professional building inspector to assess any property you’d like to buy. But it doesn’t guarantee 100% that you won’t have problems with your real estate purchase! Whose responsibility is it if there are issues that the inspector doesn’t find? The following is a story about a client, an inspection, and a rusty old furnace.

My client hired a reputable home inspector to check a potential house purchase in Calgary, Alberta. After what appeared to be a thorough inspection, which included the 17-year-old furnace, my client decided to purchase the 1960 bungalow.

Days before occupancy, the natural gas furnace died, apparently from a rusted out heat exchanger. My client thought the home inspector should have caught this. The two estimates for repair were $4,000 and $10,000. Continue reading

Avoiding Joint Venture Regrets

“Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.”

Two of our clients at RMLO Law LLP decided to do a Joint Venture on an apartment building in Edmonton. The ‘real estate expert’ client had a lot of experience and already owned a number of apartment buildings in Alberta—all running very successfully. The ‘money partner’ client was relatively new to the real estate business. Projections were made, some data exchanged, and the Joint Venture went ahead.

Unfortunately, this particular apartment building did not work out nearly as well as the other apartment buildings already owned by our ‘real estate expert.’ Once things were not going according to expectations, both clients were unhappy with each other. Continue reading

Hidden Problems After Real Estate Purchase

Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware.”

What can you do if you discover major problems with a property after buying real estate in Alberta? There are a number of legal and practical issues. First let me tell you about a situation that a client brought to me, and then I’ll explain what I advised. Continue reading

How to Avoid Mortgage Fraud

mortgage fraud

Podcast Episode 97:
“Mortgage Fraud.

The simplest way to avoid committing mortgage fraud is to fully disclose everything about a deal to your lender. If they are satisfied, then you’re probably okay. But what happens if someone else is defrauding you? In Tales from the Trenches, you usually hear second-hand accounts of the trials, tribulations, and successes of Canadian real estate investors. In this Tale, you’ll hear it from the “horse’s mouth.” Special guest Valden Palm tells us how he narrowly avoided getting sucked into a mortgage scam. An unscrupulous guy in Edmonton was buying houses, doing shoddy renovations, and then flipping them between shell companies to get more and more money in refinanced mortgages. Lucky for Valden, due diligence and a gut feeling saved his bacon!

 

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If you’re buying or selling real estate in Alberta, you need a lawyer.
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“Mortgage Fraud” image courtesy of  www.cafecredit.com used under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Due Diligence Fails

Podcast Episode 95:
“A Couple on Due Diligence

I talk a lot about due diligence because it is one of the most important aspects of achieving success with real estate. This is a two-part Tale, showing a couple different examples of problems to look out for when doing one’s due diligence. The first example is about what happened when someone bought a property that was scheduled for renovation, but didn’t look into the plans. The buyer thought everything was taken care of—until things went wrong with the contractor. The second example is about someone who bought a bunch of condo units. The buyer got hit with a special assessment shortly after closing, which was a surprise because there was no deferred reserve study available. In this podcast, I draw important lessons from these examples and make suggestions about how to avoid similar problems.


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For an experienced and reliable Alberta real estate lawyer in Edmonton, contact Barry now!

House/Home Inspection” image by Mark Moz used under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic.