Common Mistakes Edmonton New Build Home Buyers Make

Tue, 20 Jan by Terry Paranych

Mistakes New Build Home Buyers makeWith so many new developments and communities popping up in Edmonton (check out our two part series on the fastest growing Edmonton communities, part one here and part two here) many home buyers are spending as much time looking at show homes in these new up-and-coming communities as they are viewing pre-owned homes.

Buying a brand new home from a developer or builder is a popular choice, especially in a city like Edmonton where we are growing quickly. And there’s a lot to love about buying new: Often you can add customizations and upgrades to an existing plan because your home isn’t completed yet. Newer homes are often built to a higher energy efficiency rating than older homes on the market, come with more modern appliances, and often have lower maintenance costs in the near future.

But it’s important to keep your head and not get distracted by the “WOW” potential of a show home. Just like when you buy a pre-owned home, it’s important to understand what you’re looking at versus what you’re getting. Here are 5 mistakes many homebuyers make when buying an Edmonton new build home, and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Buying (and Believing) the Floor Plan

Sometimes there isn’t even a show home to walk through in the layout you are interested in, so you’re forced to buy from looking at floor plans. This can be tricky, because often the square footage is calculated for the entire space – including closets, balconies, and storage rooms – rather than the actual living space available. Also, keep an eye out for details on artist renderings that may not translate to the real thing: Door or window details sketched out by an artist for marketing purposes may not make it into the final build, or – like many things – may be upgrades and add to your bottom line. It’s a good idea if you’re buying from a floor plan to ask for more detailed breakdowns of room sizes make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.

Mistake #2: Upgraded Show Homes That Dazzle

Most of the time when you’re actually looking at a new build home, you’re looking at a show home or show suite. It’s important to remember that these show homes are designed to impress, and have been extensively upgraded beyond the base price in order to do so. Those stainless steel appliances in the kitchen? Upgrade. The granite countertops? Upgrade. When you’re walking through the show home take a brochure (or a great Edmonton REALTOR) with you to help you spot these “hidden” upgrades that often come with a bigger price tag, so you don’t fall in love with them and then get sticker shock when you see the real price of the home.

Mistake #3: Skipping the Inspection

Just because a home is brand new doesn’t mean you should skip an inspection! Make sure you go with your builder (and take a pro with you) to your pre-delivery inspection, which is mandatory for all new homes under a warranty. And then again, a few months before your warranty expires, hire a professional home inspection to do another round to make sure anything major that may have been missed gets fixed while you’re home is still under warranty protection.

Mistake #4: You’re Moving Into a Construction Zone

This is particularly important when you’re buying a townhouse or condo unit, but can also have a big impact if you’re buying one of the first homes in a new neighbourhood. If you buy into a new development early, you could be signing on to live in a construction zone, possible for a period of a few years depending on what stage the project is in when you take possession. Living in a construction area includes dust, noise, inconvenience when certain entry points are closed off or blocked, parking disruption, etc.

Mistake #5: Taking it Slow on Warranty Claims

If you spot something that needs to be fixed and is under warranty, go after it immediately, and press hard if you get delays or excuses. Builders and developers may try and stretch it out (and sometimes they may have legitimate reasons to do so) which could put your fixes in jeopardy if your warranty expiry date is coming quick. And, if left un-fixed, many things will quickly get worse – especially in Edmonton, where the cold winters and hot summers take their toll on foundations, brick, and landscaping.

Thinking about buying a new build home in Edmonton and want expert advice? Contact The Paranych Team to assist you with buying a brand new home, condo, or townhouse in one of Edmonton’s new and growing communities!

Top Ten Fastest Growing Edmonton Communities, Part 1

Tue, 30 Dec by Terry Paranych

Edmonton's Fastest Growing CommunitiesThe City of Edmonton conducted a city-wide census in 2014 and released the results late last summer. We’ve dug through the data to find out which areas of the Edmonton real estate market are on fire, which are losing steam, and what the fastest growing Edmonton communities are.

In this two-part blog series, we’ll count up the Top Ten Fastest Growing Edmonton Communities, tell you a little bit about them, and try to figure out why these areas of our great city are experiencing so much growth.

What’s the connecting theme? What are Edmontonians looking for in a real estate investment that makes these communities so attractive to buyers?

Let’s get started!

#10 – Charlesworth

2009 Population: 1,394
2014 Population: 4,169
Increase since 2009: 2,775

Charlesworth is located in southeast Edmonton, just north of Ellerslie Road and south of the Anthony Henday. It’s bordered on the west by 66th Street and on the east by 50th Street. At its centre is a large park area with a small lake feature. Here you’ll find Ellerslie Campus Junior High School, providing education from kindergarden to grade nine levels.

In the southeast corner of Charlesworth where 50th Street and Ellerslie Road meet you’ll find the up-and-coming Charlesworth/Harvest Pointe commercial centre, which will bring a wealth of new amenities and services to Charlesworth and the surrounding area. Expect this community to get even more popular as it continues to grow and develop!

#9 – Tamarack

2009 Population: 743
2014 Population: 3,538
Increase since 2009: 2,795

The Tamarack community is located in Edmonton’s southeast, just west of the Anthony Henday and south of Whitemud Drive, stretching south along the east side of 17th Street to 23rd Ave. This is a very new community currently undergoing a lot of new development, but there is already a school within the neighbourhood, and a park-and-ride transit centre which makes this a great access point for downtown commuters who don’t want to drive.

Tamarack is a great location: Very close to RioCan Meadows shopping centre, and with access to both the Anthony Henday ring road and the Whitemud, this is an ideal commuter home-base: It’s easy to get just about anywhere in Edmonton efficiently. The new Meadows Community Recreation Centre and Library is nearby, and the community will have a wide mixture of housing styles, sizes, and types, including single-family homes, attached homes, townhouses, and low-rise condominiums.

#8 – Ambleside

2009 Population: 248
2014 Population: 3,492
Increase since 2009: 3,244

The community of Ambleside is located in southwest Edmonton, south of the Anthony Henday, east of 170th Street, and north of Ellerslie Road. The community includes the large “Currents of Windermere” commercial area along Windermere Boulevard which includes several large big-box stores, groceries, restaurants, a movie theatre, and coffee shops. For such a new community, Ambleside is well-equipped and has a ton of great amenities, and this year it was announced there’s a new school planned for the area.

Designed to be family and pedestrian-friendly, Ambleside already has the beginnings of a fantastic pathway and trail system to ensure each individual neighbourhood has walkable access to the key amenities of the area. This area of Edmonton is still under development: Expect more good things for Ambleside in coming years!

Want to learn more about Ambleside? Read our full profile on the Ambleside community.

#7 – South Terwillegar

2009 Population: 5,098
2014 Population: 8,980
Increase since 2009: 3,882

Terwillegar South is located in southwest Edmonton, just north of the Anthony Henday. It’s bordered to the east by Rabbit Hill Road, and to the west by Terwillegar Drive. The community has a mixture of home styles, including both single-family houses and condos, most of which have been built since 2005. The nearby Terwillegar Towne area provides a ton of great amenities, including the world-class Terwillegar Community Rec Centre.

Terwillegar is a young community, and the demographics are evidence of it’s family-friendly atmosphere. There are lot of young children around, and 4 local schools providing education across all grades, making this a great place to grow up. And residents love having access to the natural greenspace of the Whitemud Creek area, a ravine space that connects the communities of Edmonton’s southwest.

#6 – Rutherford

2009 Population: 6,521
2014 Population: 10,437
Increase since 2009: 3,916

The community of Rutherford is located in southwest Edmonton, south of Ellerslie Road, west of James Mowatt Trail, and east of 127th Street. It’s just a short drive from the QE2 highway leading to Calgary and the Edmonton International Airport, and even closer to the Anthony Henday. It has access to the commercial corridor along Ellerslie Road, where residents will find key services and amenities, including groceries, restaurants, coffee shops, and more. There are two schools within Rutherford already, making it an excellent choice for families with young children.

Even though Rutherford is a newer community, it already has an extensive pedestrian pathway network connecting all areas of the community, and the area contains a mixture of single-family homes, including styles and sizes for all price points and family needs, and condo developments along the arterial roads.

Want to learn more about Rutherford? Read our full profile on the Rutherford community.

There you have it, the first of our Top Ten Fastest Growing Edmonton Communities. So far, we’re already seeing some similarities between these communities: they’re all well connected the the Anthony Henday ring road, all newer communities that either have a good selection of local amenities already or are developing areas very close to existing commercial hot spots in Edmonton.

Stay tuned next week when we finish the count down and provide an analysis of the entire top ten!

Potential Real Estate Scams In Edmonton & How To Avoid Them

Tue, 25 Nov by Terry Paranych

Real Estate Scams To Watch Out For

Despite the large number of trustworthy REALTORS®, agents, brokers, contractors and homeowners in the Edmonton real estate market,  Real Estate scams in Edmonton do happen every year. In some cases, people can be out some money, a project or potentially much worse. Here are the top 4 scams we’ve seen out there and how you can do you best to avoid them.

4. Real Estate Property Investment Seminars and Workshops

We are talking about the Real Estate seminars that sell you on “Getting Rich Quickly”. You go for free, get to eat or drink something, and sit with other folks who know as little about the material as you. They get you in and they sell you without giving you anything of value.

What You Can Do

Avoid them if they seem too good to be true.  If you want to learn about Edmonton real estate investing, be sure to talk to seasoned pros—like our team!

3. Online Rental or Real Estate Scams

You see a deal that’s too good to be true on Kijiji. You check the add and call. The renter says they can’t meet there but books a meeting “off site” to exchange keys and sign off on the agreements. You head to what you think is your new home only to find out that there is still a tenant living there, and it’s not your home.

The way this works is the ads on kijiji are actually “scraped” from real listings and posted to look like ads. Then the scammer pretends to be a landlord, property manager or real estate agent and targets you.

What You Can Do

Be watchful. Any time you see a desperate “must rent now!” with an asking price too good to beat, there is a good chance that it is too good to be true. It is important to always view the rental property prior to renting it out. Be sure to check out Paranych Rentals to view real listings available for rent now.

2. Home Improvement Scam

Not all scams are about purchases or rentals. In fact one of the most common scams throughout Ontario and BC is the door-to-door contractor one. A contractor sizes up a problem with your home and knocks on your door offering amazing deals (and using high pressure sales tactics to win you over). Then they half start your project, take you deposit and run off with your money  leaving a large mess for you to deal with.

What You Can Do

  • If any contractor is eager to work with you, review and sign a formal agreement before any money crosses hands. A contract is good protection against bad work.
  • Check references with any new contractor that you bring aboard. References are your stop gap and they will give you a sense of the type of contractor you have. If they use inflated references, you should be able to tell.

Following up is the key. Ultimately, never agree to anything that gets proposed at your door, no matter how convincing it seems.

1. The “It Could Never Happen to Me” Scam

Technically, this isn’t so much a scam as it is a way of thinking that can lead to being scammed. No one deserves to live in their home paranoid of what lurks out there, but we need to stand guard and realize that real estate scams in Edmonton do happen. You can help to reduce the risk by being cautious, taking your time when deals sound a little too good to be true.

Remember, too that scammers are a small minority of a very active, honest and trustworthy businesses that are here to help.

If you have any further questions about home ownership and how to protect yourself from Edmonton real estate scams be sure to talk to us. The Paranych Team is always here to help you. Get in touch with us today!

‘Skinny Homes’ for Edmonton Real Estate

Tue, 18 Nov by Terry Paranych
Skinny Home, Edmonton Real Estate

One of the many interesting designs available on the market. Image credit:

Next year might be getting a little busier in the downtown core.

Edmonton City Council’s Executive Committee voted last week on a motion to amend our zoning laws.

In this motion, single-residence 50-foot lots (RF-1) could be subdivided into two smaller 25-foot lots.

They voted unanimously.

But they also asked city council to look at this seriously and prepare a report looking at the possible impacts of skinny homes in Edmonton’s mature communities.

Most of the city’s mature neighbourhoods pepper Central Edmonton. The impact could be huge—especially in areas with higher numbers of historical properties and lands.

But the overall benefit to skinny lots and homes can’t be overstated. Our city suffers from a lack of residential density in its core, and erecting skinny single detached homes or even skinny duplexes would go a very long way. We could see dramatic changes to the inventory of affordable detached homes in our city core within a decade by simply opening up the marketplace to them.

Many of us in the industry are excited by this idea—it strengthens the potential mix of families moving into mature neighbourhoods giving them even more new energy and protecting older schools that may have dwindling student numbers.

Skinny Home: Edmonton Real Estate

Another fabulous Skinny Home design from Oregon

Thousands of residents would love to make Central Edmonton home. We know this because they’re already moving here. Building skinny homes is but one of the ways to get that sustainable mix of families and homebuyers into the city core without having to put maturing in-laws into seniors care.

We think it’s a win-win for the city, and we hope that the rest of our fine city understands how good it will be for us.

If you’re keen to get involved in the conversation, here is the list of council and committee meetings throughout the year.

If you have any thoughts or questions about the city council motion, you can read more about it here and here.

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Edmonton real estate market, the Terry Paranych Team is always happy to have a conversation with you. Get in touch with us to get things started.

Outdoor Edmonton Home Ideas for Fall

Tue, 28 Oct by Terry Paranych

Outdoor Edmonton Home IDeasYes, it’s October, and in Edmonton, we know what the fall can be like here. From one minute to the next it could be 15 degrees, or it could be -15 degrees!

But we don’t let a little thing like a number slow us down in Edmonton. October is sweater weather—and if it calls for a second sweater, we just make it happen.

Which is why the Paranych Team thought that now is the time to talk about great last-minute ideas for Edmonton outdoor living, the things that will keep us and our friends and families outside as the days get shorter—even as the snow starts to stick.

1. Lights

Outdoor Edmonton Home TrendsKnowing that our daylight is dwindling, it’s a good idea to have ample lighting. Night comes quickly at a barbecue that runs a little after supper. Tea lights might be nice touches when the weather is gentle, but balanced lighting is important for dining and for safety. Think about how you can mix string lighting and soft patio lanterns with ballast lighting to create the right atmosphere.


2. Seating

Outdoor Edmonton Home Ideas

Benches and installed seating have really made a comeback. Gone are the days that outdoor furniture comprise of a series of the same style chairs and a 42” high table. Ottomans, love seats and recliners have become friendly for outdoor lounging and even dining, so know that it’s safe to mix and match.



3. Edible Plants and Gardens

Outdoor Edmonton Home IdeasPeople are often amazed when they ask about the number of edible plants that can grow into September, October, and even November. From flowers to tubers and even leafy greens and cruciferous plants, there are dozens of edible plants that can give your garden an extra month or two of use.


4. Grills

Outdoor Edmonton Home Ideas: GrillsIn Canada, grills are a year-round thing. If this surprises you, you might want to go to more hockey and football games. Seriously, though a sensible workspace is as important for summer grilling as it is for winter grilling. Access and safety should be considered whenever you grill, but it’s especially important in the season where frost first settles on surfaces.



5. Fire Pits

Outdoor Edmonton Home IdeasThe fire pit is the saviour of the outdoor evening when the temperature drops too quickly. There are limitless designs and types to choose from, and the source fuel is another choice to consider. Some prefer wood for simplicity, others might prefer natural gas (or even running a line from the home to a permanent fire pit. Either way, if you get one your family will thank you for it.

Edmonton really is a great autumn city for those who take the time to think about extending their outdoor living a few months. It’s well worth the investment for many of us who love being able to take the time to sit with our families in the crisp early evenings.

And if you’re hoping to buy or sell your Edmonton home this autumn, or you just want to figure out if now is the right season to buy or sell, get in touch with us. We’d love to have a conversation about how we can help you.


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.