Living Next To Transmission Lines: Will I Get Sick?


The internet is great. It facilitates access to essentially all of the accumulated knowledge on Earth. The open source architecture of the internet allows anyone to create content, which for the most part is in the public interest. However, as most people are aware, there is content on the web which is created either for malicious intent (ie. to sell you something), or simply out of plain old ignorance. This brief blog aims at dispelling a certain myth perpetuated by both of those latter circumstances.


That myth is: Transmission lines cause, among other ailments, cancer and neurological disorders.


Transmission lines are so commonplace that most people are simply immune to their presence within their field of vision. However, when you are purchasing a house, they stick out like a sore thumb. Other than the obvious aesthetic drawbacks to a large transmission line neighboring your backyard, there is a worry about the negative health effects which accompany them.

The debate around the harmfulness of transmission lines is fueled directly from a fundamental misunderstanding of what “radiation” is. There are two types of radiation, non-ionizing and ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation does not possess the energy required to strip electrons (or ionize) from atoms. Ionizing radiation carries enough energy to knock electrons from their orbit, thus being able to change molecular compositions, which in turn may alter cellular DNA.

Transmission lines, microwave ovens, cellular telephones, FM and AM radio, and all household electrical appliances emit non-ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation can come from many sources, which may include cosmic radiation, medical imaging, industrial sterilization, and smoke detectors.

At this point, the debate should be over. Transmission lines do NOT emit the type of radiation necessary to impact humans in any negative way.


However, as this common misconception is still alive and well, below is further discussion on the subject.

Here are some excerpts from sources asserting that electromagnetic fields (EMF) from transmission lines are a direct cause of health ailments in humans.

From safespace (

“Strong, artificial EMFs that radiate from power lines can scramble and interfere with your body’s natural EMF, affecting everything from your sleep cycles and stress levels to your immune response and DNA!”

There is no evidence to suggest that the EMF propagated from transmission lines have any causal relationship with anything stated above. A 2002 study commissioned by the WHO (World Health Organization) titled “IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans” says the following:

“There is little experimental or theoretical evidence that mutations could be directly caused by ELF [extremely low frequency] magnetic fields… There is little evidence that ELF electric or magnetic fields can cause malignant transformation of cells in culture.”

A convenient graphic is also shown, which based on your proximity to the transmission line, puts you at risk of many illnesses and disorders.

This graphic, while hilariously incorrect, does raise an important question: what exactly is the field strength based on the proximity to transmission lines?


Well, this is easily determined with a high amount of accuracy, and is shown by the below graphic.

Source: Atco Electric

A typical 240kV transmission line right-of-way is about 60m in width. This means that if you are standing directly adjacent to the right of way, the highest magnetic field you would be exposed to is about 8 milligauss. For reference, standing a foot away from your electric stove or a fluorescent desk lamp would expose you to over three times that amount.

From Life Energy Designs (

“Another, well researched, way in which EMF interacts with our bodies is through the pineal gland and melatonin reduction… Cancer and other serious conditions are possible results of interrupting this bodily repair cycle.”

Again, this statement is easily refutable. A study produced in 2013 by Elliott et al (, came up with the following conclusion:

“Our results do not support an epidemiologic association of adult cancers with residential magnetic fields in proximity to high-voltage overhead power lines.”


Of course, as per the scientific method, it is impossible to prove that there is anything on the planet which is correlated with no known health risks. Research can only tell us that no observable correlation to negative health effects exists in any one study. After that, it all comes down to a simple risk/reward approach.

Transmission lines do not cause cancer or any other illness as some may suggest.

They may however, block a tad bit of your view.


Daniel Lang, P.Eng.


Connect with Daniel here!







Why Use a Realtor to Buy a New Home?


Many people think that when you are purchasing a new build, you might not need a Realtor. However, I highly recommend you have a Realtor to represent you – there are so many factors that go into buying a new home! As your agent, I can help with all aspects of your transaction, including:

  • The location, design, layout, and features of your new home – I have a unique aspect and can help you see what qualities are better for resale value in your new home
  • I can help you understand all that paperwork – what it all means, what can go wrong, and what to expect
  • I have so much experience in negotiating, and I can help you get the right price, the perfect upgrades, and the contract terms that suit you
  • I will be facilitating in the buying process from beginning to end – going through step by step and what to expect after each phase, including who to call and talk to, and when
  • I can give you objective professional advice and insight during all phases of the process, such as contract, construction, walkthrough, and closing
  • While the sale representative will always give the appearance that sales prices are non-negotiable, I am able to use recent and historical sales data to aid in the negotiation, data that is not available during new construction.
  • I have knowledge of and the ability to leverage contracts, real estate law and the real estate community when/if things go awry with the builder
  • Working with me will give you access to my contact sphere of vetted professionals who I have spent many years building relationships with, including mortgage brokers, bank managers, builders, contractors, tradesmen, lawyers, and home inspectors
  • I can help you with information on Alberta New Home Warranty

When buying a new home, it is easy to forget that the salesperson is working for the builder. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and trained to make you feel comfortable. When working with a Realtor you have someone who is legally mandated to look out for you and your best interests before, during, and even after your transaction!

Just the other day I had a client who had purchased a brand new Brookfield home. He spotted a foundation crack with water leaking in to his basement. He was obviously panicked. He sent me a text at 10:00 pm at night, and because I am a bit of a workaholic I was up and working and jumped at the chance to help. I connected him with his warranty partner, explained how the process will work, and within 24 hours he had all he needed to start the process of fixing the issue.

Buying a new home is a very emotional and exciting time, and sometimes this can cause some “blindness” in buyers. My ten years of experience selling homes (old and new) has made me immune to the emotion when buying. This allows me to be unbiased and because I always align myself with my client’s goals I am able to see things from your point of view but as a professional realtor.

Still have questions about buying a new home? Let’s chat! Click here to send me a quick email.

What To Bring To A Mortgage Broker Appointment



I am very particular with the referral partners I work with. Sending my clients to a mortgage broker who will educate, understand, and go the extra mile for my clients is so important.  Lisa Last from River City Financial has proven herself to be one of the best mortgage brokers I have had to privilege to work with over the last 9 years. Here is Lisa letting us all know what you can expect during your first meeting with an experience mortgage broker like herself.


We understand how exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, it can be once you decide you want to buy a home – especially if it’s your first time.


First and foremost, we recommend working with both a real estate agent and a mortgage broker that you can trust. Both do very different, yet very essential, jobs when it comes to finding and financing your dream home.


Before you start shopping, it is best to book an appointment with a qualified mortgage broker to determine your budget for purchasing a home. There is no point in looking at gorgeous houses that are nowhere near your price range.


“Why would I work with a mortgage broker when I can just go to my bank?” you might ask.


Working with a mortgage broker benefits you as the homebuyer in so many ways!


For instance, it’s free; the lender compensates us. We also have years of experience and tons of knowledge to offer you as we plan for your purchase as well as other long-term financial goals.

Also, unlike the bank, we have access to a variety of lenders, rates, and flexible options that make getting the mortgage you actually want a whole lot easier.


A good mortgage broker will work with you at your first appointment to cover the following:

* Answer any burning questions you may have about the financing process or home buying in general.

* Determine your budget for purchasing your home – this is unique for everyone, as we all have different financial circumstances that will come into play when applying for a mortgage.

* To get you a pre-approval so you and your agent can go shopping with the peace of mind that you know exactly what your budget is.

Typically, most professional real estate agents will send you to get a mortgage pre-approval before they shop for homes with you anyway.


Either way, if you have mortgage on your mind – it’s time to book an appointment with a mortgage broker!


While this first meeting is kind of a meet and greet, you’ll want to get down to business right away. To do so, there are a few documents that you’ll want to have at the ready so that your mortgage broker can take a holistic look at your unique financial circumstances, offer personalized service, and truly connect you with the best-fitting mortgage from a variety of lenders.

Here is a comprehensive list of the documents and information that you should bring to your mortgage appointment:

  1. Job Letter – This must be on a company letterhead, and should state your position, start date, guaranteed wage, and be signed by a direct manager or human resources. This letter must be dated within 30 days of your home purchase.
  2. Current Paystubs – Please bring two consecutive paystubs that are dated within the last 30 days.
  3. Notice of Assessments – Please bring your tax assessments from the past two years.
  4. T4’s – If you have been at your job for less than 1 year or have worked part-time, please provide us with T4’s from the past two years.
  5. 90-day Bank Statements – Please bring a 90-day bank statement from the bank or investment account that is holding your down payment. This statement must show both your name and your account number.
  6. Identification – Please bring a copy of your photo ID, either your Driver’s License, Passport, or another form of government issued photo ID.
  7. Details of Liabilities – If you carry a credit card balance, have vehicle financing, or other consumer loans, please bring your statements from the last 3 months.
  8. Void Cheque – Please bring a void cheque for the account that you want the mortgage payment to come out of. A stamped, pre-authorized direct debit form from your bank is also acceptable.
  9. Realtor® Contact Information
  10. Lawyer Contact Information


Are you self-employed?

In addition to the documents above, please bring the following:

  1. Complete T-1 General – We require this for the past 2 years, and if you are a sole proprietor, please include a Statement of Business Activities as well.
  2. Company Financials – If you are a professional corporation (PC), incorporated (INC), or limited (LTD), please provide us with company financials from the past 2 years.


Do you own an existing property, second home or rental property?

In addition to the documents above, please bring the following:

  1. Current Mortgage or Home Equity Line of Credit Statement
  2. Property Tax Assessment – Please bring your most recent copy.
  3. Lease Agreement – You only need to provide this if you currently have a tenant.


We know exactly what it feels like to be scrambling at the last minute to find essential paperwork. Let our list take the stress out of the process, and get organized before you meet with your mortgage broker.


Have questions or concerns about the required documents? Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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Image Source: Units –

Moving in Together? Get Educated!

Thump…. Thump…. thump…your heart is thumping, you know it’s coming…he’s about to pop the big questions. You know it. It’s been long enough. You. Are. Ready.

He leans in and pops the question…”So…wanna live together?”



So you are moving in together, congratulations! That is such a huge step for couples of all ages, especially couples in love.

Selfishly, I enjoy working with first time home buyers the most! They are happy, excited, and eager to listen to make sure the job is done right, and always have a smile on their face.

But even with all the excitement and love (that is so strong you can smell from blocks away) there are practical issues that all couples need to discuss when buying a home together. And as your REALTOR®, a women, and an educated buyer I feel it’s important I give you my two square feet…I mean my two cents.


I have seen this often over my eight years in real estate:
A couple will go to purchase a home but because one party makes more Money than the other they are the ones with the down payment and they are the ones legally buying the home. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that’s fair! My concern lies when the other party is paying the same monthly costs to keep the home running and believes he/she has legal stake in the home. For example they are paying for utilities, home repairs, groceries, furniture, etc. If this sounds like you then keep reading!

It’s important to know your options and to understand what the best route is for you, to do this you must understand the fundamentals.
What is A Title?
The title is a legal document that tells us who and what type of legal ownership someone has to the land. It is provided by the Government of Alberta Registries Office and states who owns the land, if there are any caveats, liens, mortgages, etc. on the property.

How does purchasing a home work?
Once you have found that dream home with a REALTOR® you trust it is time to write an offer. Once the offer is accepted you proceed with your conditions (financing, a home inspection, and if buying a condo you must review the condo documents) if you are satisfied with your conditions you can go ahead and close the deal. About two weeks before possession day you meet with your lawyer to transfer title. Meaning that on the day you move in the title will have your name on it instead of the old owners.

It’s important to know that whoever signs the offer to purchase and the mortgage documents is who’s name will be on title.

What is common law and how does it work?
A common law relationship, aka an Adult Interdependent Relationship, is a committed personal relationships between people that are not married to each other, where they agree to share emotional and economic responsibilities. Almost all boyfriend and girlfriend relationships will fall in to this category.

To legally be considered as an interdependent relationship when it comes to real estate you have to have been living with the other person for three years or have both chosen to enter in to an agreement and put it in writing.


For the sake of this blog I am only speaking about the matter of adult interdependent relationships and its relation to real property aka your home!

Janet and Ben moved in together four years ago. Janet was a student and didn’t have funds for a down payment, but Ben did. So together they found a house and put it in Ben’s name. Ben paid for the down payment, mortgage and property taxes while Janet paid for all the house hold repairs, groceries, and utility bills. Now they are breaking up and Janet has to move out. How is Janet protected now that Ben has asked her to leave? She just spend $44,000 on household bills over four years and now she has moved out…she has no equity and no claim to the property she just spent four years paying towards!

Sure, Janet can sue Ben but lawyers are extremely expensive with typical retainers of $3,000 to $10,000 (not including hourly costs).
Here are two easy ways Janet could have secured some claim to the home she just spend four years building.

  • Ben and Janet could have discussed the terms of an adult interdependent relationship in regards to the house and what happens if the relationship goes sour. A lawyer will help you write one together so all parties are happy for only an hourly fee.
  • They could have added Janet to the title, giving her legal right to the property, a year after they took possession of the home. After a year of ownership you can add or take someone off title as long as both parties agree.

Here are the three common types of ownership:

  1. Sole Ownership – either a person or a registered company is the sole owner of the land
  2. Tenancy-in-Common – in this type of ownership there are two or more owners called tenants-in-common; when a tenant-in-common dies, that person’s share in the land goes to his or her estate, not automatically to the other co-owner(s)
  3. Joint Tenancy – this type of ownership also involves two or more owners but each owner has the right of survivor-ship; when one owner dies, that person’s interest automatically passes to the other owner(s)

How can you prevent yourself from getting in to a similar situation as Janet?

  1. Saving up for your own down payment and buy the home legally with your partner or purchase your home and rent it out – this gives you a backup plan.
  2. Entering in to an adult interdependent relationship agreement with your partner.
  3. Talking to your partner about what they see the living situation being? Is it a landlord tenant situation? If so outline a rental agreement so both parties know what is expected.
  4. It is always a good idea to keep receipts for money spent on the house whether its house hold repairs, utility bills, and even groceries/furniture! This is the only way to prove what you have actually spend on the home.

Talking about the nitty gritty topics like this can be tough. But when it comes to one of the biggest investment you may ever make it has to be done.
It is also important to work with an experienced and knowledgeable team that understand your situation inside and out. I often joke that I am half councilor-half REALTOR®. I ask my clients what their plan is and where they see themselves in five years. This may change the style of home we look at and what type of mortgage agreement they sign. A good lawyer will also ask these questions and recommend signing an adult independent relationship agreement if they feel it is needed. Of course, the decision is always up to you, but choice wisely.


Got questions, let’s chat!

First-Time Home Buyer Programs


Buying a home, especially for the first time, is an absolutely thrilling, frightening, and slightly overwhelming task. Your home is the biggest purchase you will ever make, and it’s imperative to your continuing financial health that you do it right!

While many of us would rather avoid the stresses of home ownership altogether and continue renting, there are some serious perks to owning a home. The biggest being that owning your own home is an investment in your future.

Rather than depleting your bank account every month to pay rent and having that money go nowhere, paying off your mortgage every month is getting you that much closer to total homeownership. Once you retire or decide to sell again, you’ll have that sweet little nest egg already set up!

If you are considering buying your very first home, there are some fantastic incentive programs that will make it just that much easier for you! Below we outline the first-time home buyer programs that apply to those purchasing in Edmonton or its surrounding areas.


One of the biggest struggles that many first-time home buyers face is coming up with a down payment to purchase a home. CMHC-insured financing is available for first-time home buyers allowing you to purchase a home with as little as 5% down.

This is a huge deal, considering that when you buy a home you also need to cover closing costs, which can push home ownership out of the question for many who are buying for the first time.

A good example could be a purchase price of $400,000 – a common price of a single-family home in Edmonton. It can be difficult to have $40,000 to $80,000 on hand, and this doesn’t even account for closing costs. CMHC takes on 95% of the total purchase price of your home, allowing you to put down only $20,000. This truly makes buying a home far more accessible for everyone.

The slight downside to this is that CMHC has recently increased their mortgage insurance premiums by 15%. This applies to any down payment of less than 10%.

To access more information, check out this CMHC Fact Sheet.

In order to be considered, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Your home must be located in Canada and considered your principal residence.
  • You must have a down payment of at least 5% of the purchase price.
  • Your home-related expenses must not exceed 32% of gross household income, which may include utilities, property taxes, and condo fees if applicable.
  • Your total monthly debt load must not exceed 40% of gross monthly household income. Debt such as personal loans, car payments, and credit cards would need to be factored into this percentage.
  • You must be able to pay closing costs equal to at least 1.5% of the purchase price. Closing costs may include lawyers’ fees, GST, land transfers, and more.

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

It is likely that your friends or family who already own homes have told you about the CRA’s Home Buyers’ Plan or HBP. This incentive allows you to withdraw $25,000 from your RRSP’s without a tax penalty. This was recently expanded from $20,000 to $25,000.

There is one caveat – once you withdraw your $25,000, you must pay it back into your RRSP’s over a period of time. You generally have 15 years to make repayments and they begin 2 years after your original withdrawal. A quick side note – repayments do not affect your RRSP deduction limit.

In order to participate as a first-time home buyer, you must meet the CRA’s HBP eligibility and RRSP withdrawal conditions.

For more details, please visit the CRA’s HBP webpage.

First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

Since 2009, the CRA has offered a non-refundable tax credit based on $5000 to home buyers who qualify.

“The HBTC is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2009) by $5,000. For 2009, the credit will be $750,” according to an excerpt from the CRA website.

In order to qualify for the tax credit, you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • You or your spouse/common-law partner purchased a qualifying home (which includes both existing homes or new builds, single-family homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or an apartment.)
  • You did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse/common-law partner in the year of acquisition or the previous 4 years.

For more details about how to claim your HBTC, please visit the CRA’s webpage.

Edmonton’s First Place Program

For those who are finding it tough to break into Edmonton’s housing market, which happens to be one of the most expensive in Canada, there is a new affordable housing program available called the First Place Program.

Edmontonians who have never purchased a home before now have the option to participate in the First Place Program that gives first-time home buyers a variety of options to make buying a home more affordable.

A big perk includes a 5-year land payment deferment, which according to their example could save you $33,000 right off the bat. That’s more money to put towards paying off your mortgage, saving you interest, or giving you access to extra money that you can invest. For more details, visit the First Place Program website.

In order to participate you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be able to qualify and obtain pre-approved financing.
  • You must provide a minimum of 5% down payment, and have a suggested maximum gross debt service ratio of 32% or total debt service ratio maximum of 42%.
  • You must be a first-time home buyer in Alberta.
  • You must agree to be full-time occupants and residents of the home for at least five years.
  • You must have a personal net worth less than $25,000, excluding a primary vehicle, lock-in or group RRSP, and the down payment required for the home.
  • You must be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status.
  • You must be employed and have a combined household income of no more than $117,000.
  • You may use a co-signer to qualify for and obtain mortgage approval.

Need help understanding the ins and outs of purchasing a home for the first time? An experienced REALTOR®, like Nichola Elise Ryhanen, can help simplify the process for you.

Learn more about what Nichola does for First-Time Home Buyers or simply call her today to get started! 780-504-1182