How To Become A Real Estate Agent In Alberta

Those of you who live north of the border with a passion for real estate have the opportunity to turn that passion into a career by finding out how to become a real estate agent in Alberta. As with every jurisdiction there are a few hoops to jump through, and a bit of learning to be done before you can qualify for a real estate license, but that is to be expected. Alberta actually has a very efficient and comprehensive system in place for people new to the industry to get qualified, registered and employed.

Before you get started though, there are a few basic requirements that you must meet before you get started on the road to becoming a licensed real estate agent. You will need to have a Canadian High School Diploma (or equivalent), be fluent in English and be at least 18 years of age. If you can tick all those boxes, then you are set to go and start looking at Alberta real estate with view to sales.

How to become a real estate agent in Alberta
Brief Case © by Pikturewerk

How To Become A Real Estate Agent In Alberta: the theory

The next step involves enrolling in and completing the Real Estate Associate’s Program (REAP), which is designed to introduce you to the industry and how it works at a basic level. This part of the course is called Phase 1 and not surprisingly must be completed before you move on to the next part, Phase 2. There is no assignment or exam or anything like that for Phase 1, although it will cost you just over $120 (including taxes and fees) for the online delivery of Phase 1.

Phase 2 involves the fundamentals of real estate practice and discusses the laws, responsibilities and obligations which are part of everyday life as a real estate professional. This part of the course is available either through face to face teaching or by online course delivery. It is at this stage that you must provide a copy of your High School Diploma or equivalent as well as your certificate of proficiency in the English language (if applicable).

The cost for Phase 2 differs depending on your choice of method of delivery and location, but generally hovers around the $1500 mark. The material taught in this phase is examinable, with a pass mark of 70%. This is to ensure that a good standard of professionalism and proficiency is maintained across the board. Once the candidate has successfully passed Phase 2, they can move on to Phase 3.

Which Module of Phase 3 you choose to complete is entirely dependent on what sort of position you are pursuing in real estate. If you specifically want to work in property management, then complete the first two phases and only the property management module of Phase 3. If you do not wish to be a qualified property manager, then there is no need to complete that part of Phase 3. It is that sort of flexibility that I really like about learning how to become a real estate agent in Alberta.

Note that once you have completed the REAP training course, you must also undertake the Understanding Designated Agency and Transaction Brokerage course, which the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) administers. Once you have completed these training requirements you will then be able to complete an application form for a real estate license and begin employment in the real estate industry. Also note that you will be required to complete a criminal record check and supply the results to RECA before you will be able to begin employment as a real estate agent in Alberta.

Where To Find A Home Payment Calculator With Taxes And Insurance

A home payment calculator with taxes and insurance is vital to figuring out whether you can afford not only the initial payment, but also ongoing payments you will be liable for the property you are considering purchasing. There are many hidden costs in buying property, so it is best to avail yourself of techniques and tools to gain as much knowledge as possible about the costs involved. Doing something so simple can mean the difference between the purchase being a financial success or a failure.

home payment calculator with taxes and insurance
Calculator and Coins © by Images_of_Money

The last thing you want your home or investment property to be is a drag on your finances. If you are a new home owner, you may not have considered all the costs involved in not only making the initial purchase of the property, but also its continued upkeep. So making use of a home payment calculator with taxes and insurance really helps you out in that regard. It is important to calculate taxes and insurance together with your total costs in order to maintain a good perspective of the true cost of owning real estate.

The best calculator that I’ve come across for this purpose is available at the CNN website, and provides national average prices and charges so you can get a general idea of the charges involved in the purchase you are considering. The best thing about this one is that it is at once a real estate tax calculator and a real estate payment calculator in terms of any finance on the property. Naturally the results of the calculation that you make will not be an exact figure, and do not take into account your own personal position or local area. Therefore the calculation results seen through this or any of the other payment calculators should be taken as a guide only.

Remember too that you can get various deals on mortgages, in the post GFC world there is a new wave of competition in what had become quite a narrow and stagnant market. So shop around for the best deal for you in your own personal circumstances. Remember that private mortgage lenders offer good deals too if you are purchasing for investment rather than for your own home.

Use the home payment calculator with taxes and insurance wisely – it can open your eyes to the true cost of buying your home, and may even contribute further to the argument of whether it is best to purchase or lease the property that you live in. I have good friends of mine that swear by either way – but that is another matter for another day.

How To Become A Real Estate Agent

If you want to know how to become a real estate agent in your state you may have to do a little research – but in all cases the first step to getting a license is just a quick search or a phone call away. To get a real estate license you will first have to do an accredited course and take an exam. Once you have passed that exam, then you may apply for a real estate license through the state regulating authority. There are different ways to go about all of the above, but that’s it in a nutshell. Becoming a real estate agent is a great step into a fantastic new career, it’s up to you to get started.

We have started to research on a state by state basis the exact requirements and steps you need to take to get a license to start your career in real estate. So if you want state specific information, try the search bar to the right of your screen. Simply search your state and see if we’ve addressed that one yet. If we haven’t, feel free to ask us directly: “How do I become a real estate agent in my state?” and we’ll soon find out the exact steps for you!

What do real estate agents actually do?

The role of real estate agents is to act on behalf of a property owner and market their property for sale. Their job is to advertise and show the property to prospective buyers, and obtain the highest possible price with the best possible terms of sale. Keep that in mind – you act for the seller, not the buyer. If you want a job finding a property for people to buy then you should look into becoming a buyers agent – they are usually a real estate agent, but with extra training.

how to become a real estate agent
Jennifer Baughn © by / // /"

Real estate agents sell a property through various means – mostly revolving around advertising. Having a network of personal relationships will also help you to meet people who are looking for a property to buy. A good real estate agent will also keep a record of people that they meet, and what they are looking for so that if they meet someone who wants just that sort of property then they can show and hopefully sell it.

What sort of money to real estate agents make?

The pay real estate agents receive differs – from state to state and from agency to agency. See, a real estate agent is employed by a real estate agency to sell properties listed with them. Depending on your skill and experience, you may expect to be paid little or a lot. Some real estate agents are paid little or no salary – and receive only commission payments based on the property they sell.

The percentage of the commission may differ in scale as well – and most of the time these factors are negotiable with the agency. So in summary, the pay can be good and bad – depending on your employment conditions and how much property you sell. Slowdowns in the economy like we have seen recently make it difficult for agents to make a living, but periods of growth mean that the market increases, meaning sales increase, meaning your commissions increase.

So my suggestion is to make an enquiry with your local community college – they generally run a course for people who want to become real estate agents. They will also help you apply for your license. All that is left for you to do then is find a real estate agency willing to take you on. Be competitive with this – work hard and long and you will make a success of your real estate career.

Real estate is certainly a great industry to get into – you meet great people, and have a great career for you and your family. Learning how to become a realestate agent is the first step – the next and most important one is getting out there and actually doing it.

Log Cabins For Sale: the pros and cons

Log cabins are back in style – not only do they look great and provide a homely atmosphere, but they are energy efficient as well! So with more and more people looking for log cabins for sale, it can be very competitive to find a property with a decent log home which is good quality. There are a few tips to finding a good log cabin for sale in your local area, and things to keep in mind when you are choosing a home to buy.

Log cabins do not just look good, but they provide excellent natural insulation due the materials they are constructed from. Maybe that’s why log cabin sales are on the up and up when compared to other building types. Most log buildings are built of sustainable farmed timber so if you think that buying log cabin logs results in a forest being felled, you’re wrong. Better than that, the sustainability continues long after the building is erected. This is because of real savings in energy costs due to the magnificent thermal qualities of the logs that make up the construction of your home.

log cabins for sale
Log cabin in Colorado © by Matt Cunningham Photography

Energy consumption benefits

The naturally sustainable nature of your log cabin can be improved out of sight by implementing sustainable energy from the beginning. It doesn’t matter if you buy one of the many log cabins available for sale, or buy a log cabin kit, or build yourself from scratch – energy savings are important and easy to plan for. Some things like the pitch of a roof can have thermal energy retention impacts, but that’s not something that you can have much of a say over once the roof is actually on your home.

Something you can adjust and improve relates directly to energy consumption, and that is implementing other methods of gathering your own energy. The most common method will be using solar power, and the advantages of solar power are many. But what you need to be mindful of is cost, and how that relates to your new solar cabin.

Lifestyle benefits

A log cabin says ‘home’ and exudes a sense of real warmth and luxury. This is amplified when a log cabin is fitted out with a tastefully designed finish and decor. A log cabin is a great, relaxed home to bring up a family, or life the quiet life. The versatility of the log cabin really lends itself to living both in town, and on a property. A sustainably built home making use of sustainable energy is really taking a great step ahead in the search for environmental responsibility.

If the wood that makes up your log cabin is dried and finished properly, then you will be able to avoid the issues of moisture and cracking, which befalls some log homes. However, properly treated wood will lend itself to a home which is well insulated and therefore both warm in winter and cool in summer. In addition, a fact that may surprise you is that log cabins are remarkably fire resistant – and the thicker the logs that comprise the walls, the better the resistance.

Finally…

The decision to buy a log cabin is a good one, and one which you will not regret. The only thing to do is to find log cabins for sale! You have a few options… in some areas it is not difficult to find log cabins for sale as most of the houses are log cabins – but in other areas it is different. You could approach a regular agent and tell them of the specifics of the home you want – or you can approach one of the many listing agents that specialize in listing log cabins. If you are in the market to build a log cabin, then I would recommend buying a kit – it comes with most of the materials you will require, is adaptable, and comes with instructions so you can assemble your own log cabin on your dream home site. There are good and cheap log cabin kits which offer a good alternative to looking through lists of cheap log cabins for sale. A kit log cabin will mean that you know what you are getting, and you can be the proud owner of a new log home for your family for a very reasonable price – just look around for log cabin kits for sale in your local area and you’ll soon see what I mean

Nothing beats the versatility and homeliness of a log cabin – in all terrains and environments. Do yourself and your family a favour – consider log houses for sale in your local area when looking to buy a new home.

How To Find Cheap Houses For Sale

Finding cheap houses for sale is both a skill and an art form – but you do not have to do it all yourself. Many people are taking advantage of the current environment of low prices to either jump into the real estate market for the first time, or to build and consolidate existing property holdings. The key to value is not always to buy houses cheap, but it can be a great way to get a foothold into the real estate market. These days a lot of cheap homes for sale are distressed properties (short sales, foreclosures, REOs and the like) – but there are still cheap houses to buy that don’t fit into that category.

Finding a house for sale cheap is not all about driving around looking for ‘house 4 sale’ signs on front lawns. You’re going to have to do better than that if you really want to grab yourself a bargain. If it was that easy to find real estate we would all be in cheap housing that we owned outright – or perhaps we would even have upgraded. But if it is a start you want, then you will have to get creative if you want to find houses for sale at the right price.

Foreclosures

These are a popular way to source cheap properties, and basically involves the purchase of properties which the previous owners have not been able to keep due to the property being repossessed by the lending institutions. After repossession, the lender then sells the property to try and recoup some of the money they are owed after the loan was defaulted on.

cheap houses for sale
DSC00621.JPG © by Willrad

Obviously these homes are cheap due to the misfortune of the current environment and the former owners – and for that reasons some investors are reluctant to purchase them. However to disregard these properties off hand just because they are foreclosure properties is not smart. Remember that someone else’s misfortune can be your gain, and that is the way the market works. However there are other ways to find a house for sale.

Real Estate Agents or private sale?

Many investors do not do business if it involves going through a real estate agent. I find that limiting, and will certainly result in missed opportunities. There are many properties listed with real estate agents that are cheap and provide excellent value. However if you limit yourself only to those properties which can be found under big ‘houses for sale’ signs, then you are doing your property search a disservice. Alternatively, the option of a private sale has also produced great results – and not just when you are looking for a cheap house for sale. This is largely due to not having to factor agent’s fees in the price.

Another benefit of a private sale is that the property will not be advertised as widely or through the usual means as if it were through an agent. This effectively reduces your competition for the properties that you find. Of course you will have to become a little more creative in your methods of finding properties, but that’s up to you. Personally, I find that two methods work very well – internet searches, and door knocking (both agents and of prospective properties).

A niche idea in a lot of areas which is growing in popularity is engaging a buyer’s agent to find suitable cheap houses for sale. In exchange for a commission, the agent will source properties that fit your specific criteria. If you are short on time, or just don’t want to do this yourself, then a buyer’s agent may be just what you need.

The thing to remember with cheap real estate is that the property is cheap for a reason. That may be due to the misfortunes of the previous owners, resulting in foreclosure. Alternatively, it may be that the property is in need of significant and costly repairs or upgrading in order to bring it up to standard. Whatever the reason, it is important to take your time with any real estate deal and ensure that you are aware of any extra costs that may be involved in the property after your purchase. Always remember too to look at recent housing sales in the area of the property you are considering buying, these can give you a reasonably good idea whether the housing for sale in the general area is declining in price – and if so, then avoid it unless there is a great reason for pursuing it – like excellent rental yield for example.

Three Reasons To Use Private Mortgage Lenders

Private mortgage lenders are often overlooked by investors looking to finance their next real estate purchase – but there are real advantages in using them. The difference between regular mortgage financiers and private mortgage lenders is that the former is made up of banks or other general financial institution, whereas the latter provides specialist lending services, generally to real estate investors. Private lenders often provide the flexibility that real estate investors need in structuring their loans – allowing more flexibility for investors who have access to funds through private mortgage lending.

There are a number of key differences when you look at a private mortgage lender compared to a regular lender – some are positive and some negative, but they are incredibly handy to know about. That is because there are some instances where a regular mortgage lender just will not provide finance – but a private mortgage lender will. Depending on your lender mortgage insurance may also be a necessary consideration, but this is totally dependent on who your loan is with. Let’s take a closer look at how it all works.

30-Year Fixed, FHA Loans, VA Loans

private mortgage lenders
mortgage document © by TheTruthAbout

Speed of closing

I know that when real estate investors decide to purchase a property, they will generally want the deal to close immediately, or for it to take a longer time – sometimes a year or more. The key to a quick close is having your finance set up quickly to close the deal and have contracts exchanged. That is where private mortgage lenders really come in handy.

Unlike traditional money lenders, a private firm will be able to complete a transaction within about a week. This compares to the 2 to 3 month wait for conventional mortgage providers. That is because they have so much less to do before they issue the funds. For some of the reasons for this, read on below regarding the qualification process. The speed also translates to the approval process, which is generally within 24hrs. A traditional lender such as a bank may claim to have approvals back within 24hrs, but they are usually conditional, and not final.

Issues around qualifying

The key difference between private mortgage lenders and other sources of finance is the qualification process. Traditional mortgage providers concern themselves with your credit history, your debt level, tax returns and financial statements and much more. All this information takes time to compile and ensure is up to date, then they need to be checked and decided upon. All of which contributes to delays you just do not want.

In contrast, a private mortgage lender is not concerned with those details, they are concerned with the appraised value of the property – that is the main criteria for loan approval. In addition to the property, another consideration is the income that the property produces – these two elements provide the security for the loan. The value of the loan will generally be no more than 70% of the appraised value of the property, and you will receive less of a percentage if the property produces no income – say a block of land.

Terms of the loan

A loan with a private mortgage lender will have very different terms that you will be used to from your experiences with regular lending institutions. Remember that these loans are geared towards professional real estate investors. They are generally for short periods of time, usually no more than two or three years and have a higher interest rate. The rate is usually around 5% higher than the prime rate, and is thus considerably higher than conventional loans.

Despite these sometimes seemingly onerous terms, a loan with a private mortgage lender can really help you advance your interests in real estate. It is all well and good to have a loan with a conventional lender ready and set to go – and that is advisable, but not always possible. There are good reasons to go with one of the many private mortgage companies. These include privacy, where it is important to keep your financials under wraps, and speed – where you want to close a deal ASAP.

Either way, private mortgage lenders are a fantastic resource for professional investors to obtain the finance they need to conduct their business. These private mortgage loans offer great flexibility and opportunity to investors – and not just private mortgage investors either. The traditional view with mortgages is that the lender is the one who profits from the arrangement – but real estate investors who take out private mortgage finance also stand to profit from finding quick solutions to their need to access funds at short notice.

So, next time you are shopping for finance options for your next investment purchase, look at private lenders for mortgages. Or on the other hand you could consider using a private mortgage broker to help narow your search a little.