Saturday, March 13, 2010

Regina Investing Lessons Learned

Much of Regina is basically built on clay and old swamp land. Unlike Yellowknife which is on the Canadian Shield... so nice solid rock foundation. Also the city is very old with a tonne of older houses (some 100+ years old). It is very different inspecting property here in Regina than what I'm used to in Yellowknife. (with houses usually only like 30-40 years old at the max and no real shifting apart from regular settling that will occur)

The basement/foundations in Regina that I've seen are mainly concrete or block. (Blocks of poured concrete it looks like) Concrete is preferred as it is one solid piece unlike block where each block can and will move. Concrete is much easier to "brace" using steel bars placed about 4ft apart on each wall. Block basements need to be placed about 2 ft apart and to be safe another concrete pony-wall also has to be poured after bracing (pricier obviously and taking up more of your useable space).

From the sounds of it all houses in Regina will be subject to some movement and foundations will crack so bracing is something that will occur at some point in the life of the house. Some areas are worse than others obviously, but one of the big things to watch out for is Do It Yourselfers trying to make fixes to their foundation. We found houses whose bracing was not standardized... some steel braces were 2 ft apart... others were like 4ft on the same wall... another house looked like they were trying to use 2x4 as a brace which would never hold.

Another thing to watch for is of course the roof. Peeling shingles, missing eavestroughs, icicles being built up do to moisture not probably being dealt with.

If you are an out of town/province investor remember you will need an SK lawyer and you will have to meet with the lawyer in person so they can verify your identity. Remember to bring two pieces of ID that they can photocopy (I used Drivers license and my Visa card). Your Real estate agent will also have to verify your ID. If you are buying remotely and can't see these people in person you will need a Notary Public to sign and verify your identity.

The city of Regina will charge a disbursement of $3 per $1000 purchase price to change land titles, but there is also some other fees that I can't remember ($150 and $100 I'd have to ask my lawyer again what those are) so for a $200K house expect to pay $850 in Disbursements. My own lawyer charges a flat fee of $950 + $95 (GST+PST). So for a $200K purchase legal will be $1895. If the owner has a Real property report (otherwise called an Surveyor's certificate) then you don't necessarily need Title Insurance as it should show all buildings are within the property lines of your property. Though for $200 to $229 it might be a good idea anyways.

Our real estate agent told me that in Regina your deposit amount is key to your sincerity. Remember to bring your chequebook AND have $5000 to $10000 in your account for the deposit. Also budget about $350 for a house inspection. If the furnace is old another $80 to $95 for a furnace inspection. A Septic/Sewer inspection is also recommended for those older properties as tree roots can start getting between the joints of pipes and block up the sewers. Remember to ask for the Property Condition Disclosure Statement (Basically what the owner self declares and knows that there are possible problems with)

Hope that was interesting and educational. Happy Investing ;)

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