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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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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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.

Joint Ventures, RRSP Mortgages, Due Diligence, & More!

Podcast Episode 92:
A Few Quick Tales.”

Here’s some great stories about people buying and selling real estate in Alberta. These five quick Tales from the Trenches are short, but they show a wide range of different issues, problems, and successes.

In a joint venture, it’s always nice when a more experienced investor can help out someone who’s just getting started, which is the subject of the first Tale. The second deals with rules surrounding RRSP mortgages. Did you know that the money needs to be at arm’s length from the person whose RRSP it is? The third Tale is about Alberta Health’s Minimum Housing & Health  Standards. I’d recommend anyone looking to buy real estate in Alberta take a look at these (available HERE), especially if they want to rent out the property. The second last Tale is about seller’s warranties. They can be hard to enforce, and so due diligence with things like fire safety searches is important before committing to buy. Finally, a real estate deal that is too good to be true can have hidden problems. It might still be a good deal, but it’s best to look a gift horse in the mouth by still doing your due diligence.

Download the audio file HERE.
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If you’re buying or selling real estate in Alberta, get yourself an experienced Edmonton lawyer. Use the contact form below!

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

When to Remove Conditions on a Purchase Contract

Podcast Episode 90:
Diligence Pays Off.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when you’re buying a property, never remove conditions on the purchase contract until you’ve done due diligence. A real estate lawyer like me can protect your interests and help you negotiate a better deal, but I can only work with the documents and evidence available. In this Tale, our investor was working on buying a multifamily rental property. Unfortunately, there were many discrepancies with the contents of units as well as with the estoppel certificates (aka rental confirmations forms). Good thing they didn’t remove conditions before they finished their diligence!

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Use the form below to contact Barry McGuire, real estate lawyer, Edmonton, Alberta.

Exercise That Diligence” image by Alan Levine used under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Personal Responsibility in Cooperative Investing

Podcast Episode 86:
Joint Venture Blues.”

Partnering up can be a good way to buy more property, but you still have to be careful. As with everything in real estate, due diligence is essential in joint ventures. In this Tale, you’ll hear about the all-too-common mistake of not getting an inspection. You’ll also hear about how not vetting the finder/manager properly cost an investor big time.

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Buying and/or selling Alberta real estate? Contact Barry now!

“3D Realty Handshake” image courtesy of Scott Maxwell. Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0.

Worst Case Condo Investment

Podcast Episode 68:
Disaster at Penhorwood: Update.”

In a previous Tale, we reviewed the calamitous and stomach turning events at the Penhorwood Condominium complex in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Our review looked at events occurring in 2011, but in 2014 things really came to a head. I thought this was serious enough to reprint some our previous Tale, and then follow-up with a discussion of how the circumstances evolved. Read on and be very aware that some condominiums have ultra-serious issues.

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Buying Foreign Property

Watch Out Buying In Mexico…

A few years ago my sweetie pie Donna and I spent a lot of time in a little Mexican town called Melaque. We stayed in a beachfront Mexican hotel called the Santa Maria, at the time inexpensive and very friendly. Lots of other Canadians and Americans came down and stayed there for the whole winter. The non-operating hotel restaurant was right on the beach. All the hotel residents used it for their own cooking and for regular fantastic nights of potluck and entertainment. It was paradise!

Frequently the talk turned to, “wouldn’t it be great if we had a place down here.” Some people actually bought property going through a completely unfamiliar buying process. There was property also called ‘ejido‘ land. Continue reading

Bidding Wars

Buying Real Estate

Beware The Real Estate Boom.

Bidding wars are again getting to be the rule rather than the exception in Toronto and Vancouver. Recent articles in the Globe & Mail (1, 2) describe multiple offers resulting in properties going for more than $100,000 over list!!

In the event of a real estate boom,
here are two major, serious issues to watch out for.

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