Edmonton Real Estate — Question and Answer

Hello and welcome to my new Medium Blog. I am Wally Fakhreddine, a top performing Realtor® in Edmonton Alberta. I also run the website www.TopEdmontonRealEstate.com, a MLS® Edmonton search site to help you Buy and Sell real estate in Edmonton and surrounding Areas. To help you get to know me and the Edmonton Real Estate market, I’ve prepared a Question and Answer session for you! Sit back and watch the video, or scroll down to read the transcript! Enjoy!

Who are you?

Hi, I’m Wally Fakhreddine of RE/MAX real estate, Edmonton, and TopEdmontonRealEstate.com. I’m one of Edmonton’s top realtors®.

What got you into real estate and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve been selling real estate for over 14 years, now. My father was a realtor® before me and I have a real passion for it. There’s nothing like negotiating deals and taking care of clients and finding home buyers the home that’s perfect for them. This is not a job for me, this is a passion. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not 9 to 5, it’s when I wake up until I go to sleep and taking care of my clients above and beyond their expectations is of the most importance to me.

What is the real estate market like in Edmonton?

Well, the Edmonton real estate market is different than other markets in Alberta. We’re not 100% oil-reliant in Edmonton. We’re a government town and there are a lot of people that don’t rely on oil for a living, and so, we have a very diverse market and very diverse buyers and sellers. And at the end of the day, we have a very stable market. Again, pricing is everything when it comes to real estate. Price points are everything. But we held our own during this 2016 run-down and we seem to be getting back up into a stable market.

Is there a best time of year to buy or sell a home in Edmonton?

Well, not really. Buying and selling, you know, it’s all year-round. 12 months of the year there are people who are transferring for work, there are people that are moving to Edmonton for work, there are people that are getting divorced, unfortunately, estate sales, etcetera. So, buying and selling real estate’s all year-round in Edmonton. It’s not really a seasonal market. It does peak in the spring, but 12 months of the year, you have people looking to buy and looking to sell. There is no really great time to buy or to sell, you know, it’s all about marketing and price points, again.

What is the average day like for a full time realtor® like yourself?

Well, I get up at 4:30 every morning. I start work and I get ready for my day before my daughter gets up. I’m prepped, and get her off to school. I come to the office, I’m taking care of files, communicating with lawyers, setting up showings for the evenings, etcetera. So, the days are pretty full. Weekends are great, as well, but this is such a thrill to be able to constantly go… whenever I wake up in the morning, I’m always looking for work because this is a commission business, and when you’re commissioned, you’re looking for a new job everyday and that’s whether it’s a buyer, whether it’s a seller. You’re constantly prospecting.

Why would someone choose a full-time realtor over a low-commission or commission-free agency?

And that’s a very good question. Number one: I’m not a post-and-pray realtor®, where I post the sign on the lawn and pray to god that it sells. By the grace of god, I have the ability, the knowledge, the experience, and I have techniques that work better than others. You get what you pay for. If you’re going to pay somebody a thousand dollars to list your home, they’re going to post on the MLS® and I’d be with you, but when you get a full service realtor®, you get the best marketing in the city. TopEdmontonRealEstate.com, the best site in Edmonton. You get social media marketing, you get open houses, you get a whole wide variety, a full package, full meal deals. And it’s top-line. We don’t — I believe that I’m only as strong as my weakest link and I have no weak links in my business. We go above and beyond and we try desperately to go above and beyond every client’s expectations and by doing so, we succeed because nothing beats hard work.

Can you help me understand how commissions work?

Well, commission. People think that we make seven to ten thousand dollars a deal and you put it into your pocket. Not necessarily true. When I list a home for example, I spend money on my listings because if the home is not marketed properly and brought out to the general public, people won’t know about it. It will be lost in the MLS® system and there are thousands and thousands of homes that are posted to the MLS® on a monthly basis. You need to set yourself apart and by setting yourself apart, you need to do stuff that other people don’t do.

In regards to the commissions. Out of the seven thousand dollars, a portion goes to the real estate brokerage, a portion goes to my marketing, and a portion goes to daily expenses, my office fees, so, at the end of the day, if I take 25% of the gross commissions home, I’m very fortunate. Now, not too many people will work for 2,500 dollars per listing, right? So, it’s constant business. You’ve got to constantly keep doing and constantly keep rotating inventory, constantly keep working with buyers… So, there’s a lot more to it then people think. That 7 thousand dollars or 10 thousand dollars doesn’t go directly into the realtor®’s pocket. A lot of people take a cut, then the realtor®, at the end of the day, gets their portion.

What’s the first thing someone should do when they are looking to sell their home?

Well, definitely, you contact a realtor®. And I don’t necessarily mean contact one realtor®, I recommended that anyone looking to list their home, interview at least three realtors®, and then that way you’ll see who’s the best fit, because at the end of the day, there’s a lot of communication going on between a seller and their agent, and the agent and the seller have to be comfortable working with each other. Not all realtors® are alike. Some are part-time, some are full-time, some work for teams, some don’t work for teams. You have to look for the realtor® that is best suited for you and your property. That’s number one.

What’s the first thing someone should do when they are looking to buy a new home?

Well, number one is contact an agent. Again, do your homework. Ask if the agent is full-time. Ask how many years of experience the agent has. Ask how many homes the agent has sold. Ask if the agent is competent and knowledgeable in the Edmonton area because some agents are from outside of Edmonton, and they like to work the Edmonton area because they don’t have enough work in their little towns. And so, it’s extremely important that you find out that the person that’s working for you is best qualified to do the job for you.

Are Edmonton foreclosures a good deal?

Edmonton foreclosures in general are not a good deal. Most people think that they’re a great deal and they chase them. So, what a foreclosure is, it’s very simple, is somebody hasn’t paid their mortgage. The bank has lent X amount of dollars on the property. The property, in general, is probably not in good shape because people don’t like it when things get taken away from them, so it’s not taken care of. Now, after the 2006–2007 increase in prices, a lot of people were underwater in their mortgages. So, what that means is their mortgages were more than their homes were worth. Now, the result of that is people walking away from their mortgages, giving the keys back to the bank and saying, “Well, thanks, but no thanks.”

So, the banks who have billions and billions of dollars don’t worry about how long it takes to sell the home. They can sit for years and years if they need, too, right? They want their money back or at least 80% of their money back. So, when you’re looking for a foreclosure in general, they are not good deals.

Is there a specific market in Edmonton that you are really excited about?

Well, my specialty’s the resale market and the resale market, to me, is a special market because you’re looking at, number one, first-time home buyers, people that are downsizing, people that are looking to maybe upgrade and the resale market affords you the ability to get into a home that’s reasonably priced without paying GST, without worrying about builder cost, because remember, Edmonton builders are not licensed and we are licensed, so they can do whatever they want and get away with it, whereas wherein you’re working with a brokerage and working with a licensed realtor, there are rules and regulations that we have to follow and that we must abide by. And people think, well, “Why did they give me a five-year home warranty on new bills?” There’s a reason why because they know something’s going to go wrong.

Do you have any tips for a home seller wanting a quick sale?

Well, for a quick sale, definitely, listen to what the market is telling you. The real estate agent is not the market. The real estate agent’s not a magician, can’t wave a magic wand and put a sold sticker on a sign. At the end of the day, condition of the home is of the upmost importance. Price point is of the upmost importance and location. So, these three things, if any one of these three things is missing, your home simply won’t sell. Condition, price, location.

Can you help me understand the difference between attached goods, and inclusions and exclusions?

Okay, well, your attached goods are your light fixtures, for example, cabinets, closets, etcetera. Unattached goods are your stoves, your dishwashers, your fridges, your washer and dryers, and those, the necessities of life, we need those in our homes in order to live. And so, those are items that we ask for when we’re putting an offer to purchase on a home. And any other items that the buyer would like, we can always ask for them. They can’t do anything but say no. But the necessities, the washer, the dryer, the fridge, the stove, the dishwasher, those are unattached goods that go with the home.

When you are listing a home, how do you establish the proper price point?

Well, when I’m working with sellers, I don’t say, “You know what? You should list your home at X price.” I give you four different price points that you can choose from. At the end of the day, remember that we work for you, you don’t work for us, and we follow your lawful and legal instructions as per our fiduciary duties. Now, price point is dictated by comparables. Condition of the home has a lot to do with the price point. Some people over-do it when regards to renovations and so, please ask before you list your home, before you do those renovations, ask a qualified, experienced realtor® what their thoughts are on it.

Location of the home is important. So, again, everything — price sells ugly. Everything rotates around price, but you don’t necessarily have to be below market value. Fair market value is important. If homes are priced at fair market value in good condition and good location, they’re going to sell in no time at all for top dollar.

What is “dual agency” and what is your opinion on it?

At the end of the day, dual agency, or transactional agency, as it’s known in our documentation, I don’t like it at all. How can you represent a buyer and seller in probably the biggest transactions of their lifetimes and represent both sides fairly? You can’t, it’s impossible. Each side has to have their own representation. Would you go to court if you were charged with drunken driving, god forbid, would you go to court and use a prosecutor as your defense? Obviously, you’d get your own representation. The same thing in real estate. People tend to not think about this, but the reality of it is, get your own representation. I avoid duel agency, or transactional agency, as much as I possibly can unless both sides insist upon it and I’ll reluctantly do it, but if you can avoid it, it’s not good for both sides.

There are so many realtors® in Edmonton. How can I choose the right one?

In regards to choosing a realtor®, it’s extremely important that you do your research. Last year in Edmonton, out of over 3,300 realtors®, 1,700 realtors® sold one home or less. Approximately 70% of realtors® are part-time. It is of the upmost importance when you’re entrusting your home or the purchase of a home to a real estate agent that they must be qualified, they must be experienced, and they must be knowledgeable. When you’re working with me, those three traits are instilled in the way I do business. Going above and beyond and getting you what you need is of the upmost importance.

You recently revamped TopEdmontonRealEstate.com. Can you tell us about some of the features that make this the best place to search for real estate online?

Well, you know, we put a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of time, and a lot of money into this website. This website is as close as you can get to a realtor® MLS® search without having a real estate license. The great thing about TopEdmontonRealEstate.com is that you can search by neighborhood. It’s live all the time, somebody is watching the site at all times. You get up-to-date listings, you don’t have to wait two or three days for the listings to be posted. As soon as a listing hits a market, it automatically goes on TopEdmontonRealEstate.com. It’s user friendly, it’s high-tech, it has Google Maps, it has so many tools necessary for a home buyer or home seller to use when using this web site that it gives you an advantage over other home buyers and home sellers.

Home sellers have a big advantage by listing on the site because you go onto hundreds and hundreds of real estate-related sites. When you’re own TopEdmontonRealEstate.com, home buyers have a major advantage when using the site because they have my search from the MLS® and they can also do their own searches, which is of the upmost importance. In regards to this site, it’s hard to find a site that will beat TopEdmontonRealEstate.com.

Why should someone choose you as their realtor®?

I think that you should choose me as your realtor® because of a wide variety of reasons. The number one reason is I care. My clients are of the upmost importance to me. I have experience. I’ve been in all sorts of situations and I’ve sold tons of homes. I have knowledge. I know the real estate act frontwards and backwards and I know how to take you down the right path. I’m a strong negotiator. I work in your best interest, not in the interest of the buyer seller, that we’re competing against. And I try to go above and beyond all of your expectations. Choosing me is the right choice when it comes to Edmonton real estate because you have someone who really cares about what you’re purchasing or what you’re selling.