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I have listed a new property at 149 Starling WAY in Fort Saskatchewan. See details here
Under construction. Brand new 2074 square two storey with 33’ x 24’/26’ attached triple garage. Super Homes most popular floor plan. Large mud room with closet and bench to walk through pantry. Kitchen has 7’ island to adjoining full sized dinette with coffered ceiling and patio door to 15’ x 10’ rear deck. Huge 15’ x 18’ family room with gas fireplace and stone surround. Open to below stair case. Large bonus room. Three bedroom up. Upper level laundry room. Huge 15’ x 13’ master bedroom with 5 piece ensuite featuring, 6’ jet tub and two sinks. Full sized walk in closet. 9’ basement and main floor. Location in popular Southfort Meadows. With no homes directly behind you and future utility green belt. Path way on one side. Pie shaped east facing back yard. For More information visit the Showhome at 558 Meadowview Drive. Comes with full set of appliances.
The harnessing and distribution of electricity has improved our lives in ways that cannot be understated. In our homes today, you are inconvenienced if one of the eight outlets in your bedroom is six inches further than your smartphone cord can reach from your bed. We take for granted this marvel that delivers almost unending power on demand to every corner of our homes and lives, but a discovery of aluminum wiring in a home causes people to gasp and faint in horror. While I am not an electrician, I will explain the issue from a real estate practice perspective for easy digestion.
Copper is widely known as one of the best electrical conductors readily available to the marketplace and has been used in wiring applications since the discovery of electricity. During the 60s, the demand for copper as well as its price was skyrocketing, making the use of copper wiring cost prohibitive. There was an alternative already approved for use in wiring applications, and that was aluminum, a much cheaper alternative with ample supply at the time. Although aluminum is not as conductive as copper, this could be compensated for by using larger gauge wire to move the same current safely and that is what was done. Between the early 60s and the late 70s, aluminum became widely used as wiring material for homes throughout North America.
Aluminum had some differences in installation which were not always followed strictly by the installers. Aluminum required more care to prevent nicking or breaking of the wire itself or the sheathing, and special plugs and switches were designed to use aluminum wire. Especially in the early and late years of use, when the industry was transitioning into and out of aluminum wire use, the specialized plugs and switches weren’t readily available, or more expensive and anti-oxidization compounds were not widely used.
So, what is the deal with these extra requirements that copper didn’t need? Aluminum is not as good of a conductor and the resistance in the alloy produces more heat than copper naturally, which is why the larger gauge wire was used to compensate. When copper oxidizes its oxidation is also a good conductor of electricity, but unfortunately when aluminum oxidizes, its oxidation is not a good conductor leading to increased resistance and more heat. To add to the problem, aluminum oxidizes not only in the air but mainly in contact with other metals so as basements were developed in the 80s and 90s and wired with copper, those junction connections between aluminum upstairs and copper downstairs also caused this oxidation heat issue. If that wasn’t enough, aluminum also expands and contracts at a different rate than copper and brass, so when twisted with copper in a junction box, or screwed down on a brass terminal for a plug or switch, the expansion and contraction of the aluminum with its heat resistance issues cause the aluminum to work its way out of these connections over time. This condition is called “Cold Flow” and will eventually cause arcing as the electricity tries to jump from the loosened wire to the connection with can cause heat, sparking and fire to surrounding flammable building materials.
The AREA standard purchase contract goes on to specify some specific items expected in a buyer default that would require the seller to be made whole. Depending on the point of the default, the lawyer may have already triggered the transfer of title which would need to be reversed to regain the title, enforce any liens against the property, or even regain possession of the property in the case of tenancy at will or other arrangements anticipated in the agreement. These are only examples of allowable cost claims but do not limit the seller’s ability to pursue other remedies either. Additionally, the deposit section of the agreement states that in the event of a buyer default the deposit is disbursed to the seller without prior notice, a portion of which deposit may be owed to the seller’s brokerage through the listing agreement, but the balance of which will almost certainly be used to retain legal counsel to file claims for remedies related to the buyer default.
Well, now you know the problem so the solution must be to rewire the whole house, right? Not at all, aluminum wire in the walls and ceiling is not the issue as I explained. The issue is primarily in the connection to other metals such as incorrect receptacles or joined to copper connections, so the simple solution is to correct those connections. The most common form of this remedy is a practice called “pig-tailing” which should be done by a licensed electrician. Basically, all the plugs and switches in the home are removed from the wall and a short piece of copper wire is connected between the aluminum service in the wall and the plug or switch itself. The connection between the aluminum and copper wire is made using a specialized wire nut and an anti-oxidizing compound. Then the new copper-rated receptacles can be placed back in the wall and are safe. A licensed electrician will also determine if junction boxes contain copper and aluminum connections which also require correct wire nuts and anti-oxidation compound.
How to tell if you have aluminum wires
Well, vintage should be your first hint. If the home is built between 1960 and 1980, or close to that, you should take a quick peek at the electrical panel. The wires coming out of the electrical panel will typically have printing on them every 12 inches and if they are aluminum will often have the abbreviation AL or ALUM or some variation of that. If you can’t tell that way, an electrician or licensed inspector can determine for you by opening the panel or checking certain receptacles.
At the time of writing this article, I have yet to hear of an insurance company that requires a house to be rewired from aluminum to copper. The main reason is that there is nothing wrong with aluminum wiring when installed properly and using the correct receptacles. In fact, the current electrical codes still recognize both copper and aluminum wiring as acceptable, although aluminum wire in household gauge is not manufactured anymore because of the stigma attached to it. It is normal however for an insurance company to require pig-tailing to be done within a certain number of days of the possession of a property to protect against the possibility of poor installation or bad connections.
Aluminum wiring has been largely unmarketable since the 70s and therefore not profitable for manufacturers to make it, or its specialized receptacles. The existence of aluminum wiring in a home is not a poison kiss, but an opportunity for a REALTOR® to educate their buyers and sellers about the facts surrounding this, and to know enough about the subject to determine when a licensed electrician should be consulted. If the fix has not already been employed, it is relatively cost-effective, quick, and hardly inconvenient so there is no reason to wait on getting it done.
There can be no doubt that pets are a significant part of our lives today. A recent study by the National Association of REALTORS® showed that 70% of households have a pet, but only 40% have a child under 18. Moreover, 20% of all buyers said they factored their pets into their real estate buying decision! As a former REALTOR® myself who has chased my fair share of escape-artist cats down the street in slip-on loafers, I think it is important to highlight some pet tips for buyers and sellers.
Sellers With Pets
The most important thing to consider when selling your home is how potential buyers perceive it. The ideal presentation of a home is clean, decluttered, and free of distractions, so a buyer can slip into the land of make-believe and start to imagine themselves in the space and begin placing furniture in their mind. Although your pet is wonderful and well-behaved, some buyers are terrified of animals, and some pets act differently when their owners are not around. For this reason, the ultimate course of action is to remove the pet from the home for showings or at least kennel them when showings are possible.
Additionally, be aware that nose blindness is real, and the smells you are used to don’t register to you anymore simply, so remember the smell of clean trumps the smell of pets every time. Take extra steps to ensure you have washed, wiped and deodorized all pet areas to remove that objection by the buyer.
Finally, pet accessories can also get run down or ugly, such as beds, scratch poles, or stuffed toys that have seen too many tugging matches. Remember, the idea is to help the buyer mentally move in, and all these things can distract from that goal when you simply don’t know who will ultimately buy the home.
Buyers With Pets
People love their pets, and, in many cases, they are considered as close as the human family. For this reason, there are considerations for buyers looking for a home for themselves and their pets. There are the obvious ones, such as access to a yard, proper fencing, and proximity to walking trails of off-leash parks, but are there other considerations? Yes, each municipality can set its guidelines on licensing pets, noise bylaws, and limits on the number of pets in the home, so you should check with the municipality to ensure they align with your plans.
Additionally, suppose you are considering a condominium property. In that case, the condominium corporation can also set its bylaws on the number, type, and even size of the pets permitted in the unit as well as noise controls and penalties. Most condominium corporations will require buyers to seek written approval from the board for their specific pets, and that approval is both conditional and revokable by the board if violated. Since condominiums are common ownership, the corporation can enforce their pet bylaws within the law. Some cases have even required owners to sell their units by court order in extreme circumstances! If pets are a big part of your property decision, be sure you have considered municipal regulations and condominium bylaws when applicable before making your decision.
I have listed a new property at 47 8602 SOUTHFORT DR in Fort Saskatchewan. See details here
Southfort Villia adult community. Fully Finished bungalow with attached garage. Relax on the front veranda with the view of the pond. Spacious front foyer leading you to the great room with vaulted ceilings featuring gas fireplace. Vinyl plank flooring, garden door leading to the deck and solar tubes making this room nice and bright. Great size kitchen with corner pantry. Loads of counter space, which will accommodate extra sitting. All appliances included. Master bedroom suite includes large ensuite with walk in shower. His and her closets. Finishing the upper level off with laundry & front den. Lower level includes extra bedroom with walk-in closet, 3 piece bath and plenty of storage. Huge Rec room for all your family functions. The Villia has access to all amenities in Southfort Bend Complex. Meals, tours, concerts, pool table room, craft room and the administration. Best of both worlds with your independence without doing the lawn or shoveling the snow. Pets are welcome with approval from the board.
I have listed a new property at 58 RED CANYON WAY in Fort Saskatchewan. See details here
Perfect family half duplex. Affordable 1421 sq. ft. Fully finished 2 Story. Easy access to Hwy 21. Spacious front foyer with access to attached garage. Main floor den/dining area. Great room concept cozy gas fireplace with side windows. Family kitchen with large eat in island. Plenty of cabinets. Sliding patio doors to landscaped, fenced, deck backyard with shed. Upper level includes bonus room! Master bedroom suite will supports any size bedrooms set. Walk-in closet and 4 piece ensuite. Great size second bedroom. Gather your family to the lower level rec. room with second corner gas fireplace for those cool nights. Three piece bath and 3rd bedroom. Plenty of extra storage. Single attached garage finishes this home right off! Don't Hesitate, Great for investors or for a personal revenue property.
I have listed a new property at 25 Elliott WYND in Fort Saskatchewan. See details here
Welcome to South Pointe a family community. Brand new 1765 square foot two storey. Main floor features side entry for possible future suite. Great room and decretive electric fireplace. Dinette has garden door to south facing back yard, walking distance to parks and South Pointe school. Good sized kitchen with island and corner pantry. Unique floor plan has main floor, four piece bath, den or fourth bedroom. Perfect for parents coming to stay for a while to visit the kids - they would have their own bathroom. Upper level has bonus room. Separate laundry room. Three bedrooms. Master bedroom has coffered ceiling five piece ensuite and walk in closet. Comes with stainless steel appliances - white washer and dryer. For More information visit the Showhome at 558 Meadowview Drive
I have listed a new property at 66 Wynn RD in Fort Saskatchewan. See details here
Beautiful brand new walk out basement two story boasting 2245 square feet. Large spacious foyer. Huge mud room with coat rack and bench. Walk through pantry with butler kitchen. 9’ island adjoins full sized dinette large enough to accommodate any sized table. Massive family room with electric fireplace. Sliding patio door to 26’ wide rear deck. Upper level has huge bonus room three bedrooms. Master has five piece ensuite with double shower two sinks and a jet tub. Largest walk in closet in its class. Upper level common bath has two sinks. Separate upper level laundry area. 24’ deep garage. West facing sunny back yard. Walking distance to our treasured river valley trail system, ball park, play ground and dog park. Property comes w/ stainless steel appliances w/ white washer and dryer. For More information visit the Showhome at 558 Meadowview Drive
Best prices in Fort Saskatchewan!
Visit our Show Home 558 Meadowview Dr. Fort Saskatchewan.