December 15, 2016
BC government offers down payment loans for first-time buyers
Premier Christy Clark unveiled a new loan program today to help first-time home buyers come up with their down payment.
The BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program will offer qualifying home buyers loans of up to $37,500, interest and payment free, for five years.
The province will begin accepting applications on January 16, 2017.
To qualify, buyers must:
• be buying their first home;
• obtain a high-ratio, insured first mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the purchase price;
• have a combined gross household income not exceeding $150,000;
• have saved a down payment amount at least equal to the loan amount;
• be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years; and
• have lived in BC for at least the full year preceding their application.
The loans will be due in full if the buyer defaults on a payment, ceases to use the home as a principle residence or resells the home.
• The loans will match a home buyer’s contribution to a down payment up to five per cent of the home’s purchase price.
• The maximum purchase price to qualify for a loan is $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees).
• After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at current interest rates.
• Loans through the program are due after 25 years.
“This program will boost sales to first-time home buyers. Without question, they’ll take advantage of it wherever they can,” said Helmut Pastrick, Central 1 Credit Union chief economist.
The province estimates this initiative will help at least 42,000 buyers or households province-wide over the next three years. About half of these buyers will be in the Lower Mainland, according to Pastrick.
July 7, 2016
Number of Foreigners purchasing homes less than many expected
Government data shows foreign buyers make up five per cent of Metro Vancouver market
Foreign nationals make up 5.1 per cent of home buyers in Metro Vancouver, according to the first set of real estate transaction data released by the provincial government today.
This confirms data you’ve provided us for several years through our monthly member market poll.
“We wrote the Minister of Finance earlier this year asking him to again track the residency of home buyers in BC and we applaud the government for taking action on this issue,” Dan Morrison, Board president said. “The housing affordability challenge we face is of critical importance to all of us in the region and it’s important that this debate be based on facts. We look forward to the province releasing larger data sets in the future to further inform this conversation.”
The government will continue to release this data each month. The current set covers transactions between June 10 and June 29, 2016.
The data is collected when owners register their property at the Land Title Office and the Property Transfer Tax is paid. Individuals must disclose if they’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or if their citizenship if not Canadian. Corporations must disclose their directors’ citizenship.
The report is available here.
Additional findings include:
•10,148 residential real estate transactions in BC, totalling more than $7.6 billion.
•337 transactions (3.3 per cent) involved foreign nationals, worth $390 million (5.1 per cent).
•In Metro Vancouver, there were 5,118 transactions worth nearly $5.4 billion, of which 260 involved foreign nationals (5.1 per cent), worth $351 million (6.5 per cent)
•In the City of Vancouver, there were 1,139 transactions, totalling more than $1.6 billion. 47 of these involved foreign nationals (4.1 per cent), worth $64 million (3.9 per cent).
June 12, 2015
Upgrades That Hold Their Value
Do you have a renovation project in mind – and wonder how much value it will add to your home? Remodeling Magazine recently did a study of renovation projects, comparing costs to added value. Here are some of the
Replacing a main entry door has a return on investment of over 95%. After all, the entrance to a home is one of the first things a prospective buyer notices.
Adding a new deck also adds a lot of value. Depending on the materials used, you can expect to get back three-quarters of the money invested.
Another high-payback project is the garage door. This once again demonstrates the importance of a home’s “curb appeal.”
If you’re tackling a big project, such as a basement renovation, you’ll be glad to know that, according to the study, a project like this adds a lot of value.
Finally, minor improvements to bathrooms and kitchens – such as adding new countertops or cupboards, can also be good investments that mostly pay back when you sell your home.
Of course, these figures are averages and can vary widely depending on location, type of property, and other factors.
Need help determining how a particular home improvement might impact the selling price? Call today.
May 13, 2014
4 Home Hazards You May Not Know About
You have smoke detectors. Your doors have good locks. The bathtub has a
slip-free pad. By all accounts, your home is a safe and secure place for your
family to live.
However, there are some hazards that many homeowners don't consider or
even know about. For instance:
1. Blocked eavestroughs. Eavestroughs clogged with leaves and other debris can cause rainwater to overflow next to your foundation and create a basement leak.
2. Clogged dryer vents. High temperature air combined with lint is a near ideal condition for a fire. Check and clear the dryer vent at least once a year.
3. Dirty faucet heads. Kitchen and bath faucets often have built-in screens to spray the water evenly. Unfortunately, dirt and other contaminates can build up on these and, possibly, affect the quality of the water. Clean faucet heads regularly.
4. Tripping hazards. You could step around a loose section of carpet for years and then one day, in a moment of distraction, trip over it and fall. When you see a potential tripping hazard in your home, don't ignore it. Fix it.
Being diligent about home safety takes a little more time. But, if it prevents
one injury or illness, it's worth the effort.
April 2, 2014
Getting the most from an Open House
Have you ever attended an "Open House" advertised in your area or in a community you like? Most people have. Even if you're not serious about moving, viewing a few properties in a neighbourhood you like is a great way to get a sense of the market.
Who knows? You might stumble upon your next dream home!
To get the most out of an open house, follow these guidelines:
•Most open houses will have a handout available containing the list price and other property information. Be sure to keep a copy.
•Don't just view the rooms. Explore the entire property, including the backyard.
•Don't be shy about asking the listing agent (or whoever is hosting the open house) questions about the property.
•Ask about the area. Are there schools nearby? Where is the nearest park or playground located?
•Ask about potential required repairs and renovations. For example, if the furnace is more than 15 years old, it may need to be replaced soon.
•Walk around the neighbourhood. Try to get a sense of what it's like to live there. If possible, chat with a neighbour.
Finally, if you become interested in the home, be sure to advise the listing agent that your own REALTOR® will be following up. Otherwise, the listing agent might assume that he or she will be representing you.
Looking for a good REALTOR® to have by your side? Call today.
March 26, 2014
New Listing and Open House
Come visit my new listing at the Destiny this Sunday March 30th from 2-4pm. This is a one year old 2bdrm and den penthouse unit. 16 ft. ceilings with floor to ceiling windows and a huge deck with natural gas hookup. High end Kitchen aid appliance package including a gas cooktop and wine fridge. Bright and peaceful outlook towards the green belt. If you like quiet and ultimate privacy this is the unit for you. 2 parking and storage locker.
February 18, 2014
Government reduces tax burden on first-time buyers
Great news today for first-time buyers!
"The government has announced, effective February 19, 2014, under the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Exemption program, qualifying first-time buyers can buy a home worth up to $475,000. The previous threshold was $425,000. The partial exemption continues and will apply to homes valued between $475,000 and $500,000."
This change has been long overdue and will be welcome by first time buyers.
December 11, 2013
Light Your Way to a Faster Sale
Remember the last time you visited an upscale furniture showroom? The furniture and fixtures on display probably looked great. The colours and textures jumped out at you. It was a feast for the eyes!
There is a good reason for this: lighting.
Of course, the quality of the products has a lot to do with how appealing they look when on display. But smart retailers know that proper lighting is key to making those products look their best. In fact, some retailers even hire lighting consultants!
What does this have to do with selling your home quickly, and for the best price?
Obviously, when showing your property to potential buyers, you want your home to look its very best. Proper lighting can be a big help.
When preparing your home for sale, review the lighting in each room and make sure the space is sufficiently well lit. You want the lighting to be strong enough to prevent dark or shadowy areas, yet not so strong that it's uncomfortable for the eyes.
As a rule of thumb, the total wattage of lights in a room should equal the room's square footage times 1.5. So, if a room is 120 square feet and has three light sources (ceiling light and two lamps) then the bulbs in each should be 60 watts.
Pay particular att ention to traditionally dark areas, such as the garage, basement, and closets. Make sure those areas are well lit.
If you have a viewing scheduled during the day, take advantage of natural light through windows. Open the curtains!
Finally, one of the m ost important areas is the foyer. Always make sure the entrance has sufficient lighting. You don't want buyers to think they've entered the home of classic TV's The Adam's Family!
Want more ideas for preparing your home for sale? Call
November 27, 2013
Making Your Kitchen More Attractive to Buyers
What's one of the most important rooms in your home? When it comes to selling your property quickly, and for the best price, the answer is clearly the kitchen. In fact, one of the most common
explanations a particular buyer gives for not making an offer is, "I liked the house, but I wasn't too keen on the kitchen."
That doesn't mean you must do a major renovation. However, you should do what you can to make the kitchen as attractive as possible to buyers.
Here are some ideas:
First, clear the countertops. Put away the toaster and other items. You want to make the entire countertop area seem as spacious as possible.
If the cabinetry is old, you can spruce it up by installing new knobs, handles and other hardware. A fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling can also make the kitchen look like it has had a major renovation and it will only cost you a few hundred dollars. According to an article on the website HDTV.com, "The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware."
Replacing the countertops is a more expensive renovation, but it may be worth it if the current counters are old and worn.
Finally, when preparing your kitchen for a viewing, make sure it's clean and tidy. The garbage and recycling bins should be empty. Buyers will open cabinets so make sure items on shelves are neatly organized with the front labels facing forward.
There are many other ways to make the most important room in your home look great to potential buyers. Call today for more ideas.
September 20, 2013
How a Home Inspection Helps You
Whether you're considering buying a particular home, selling your current property – or both – a home inspection can help.
A home inspection is an inspection by a qualified professional who takes a close look at every aspect of a home – structure, wiring, plumbing, and more – and identifies issues you may not have noticed yourself. For example, a home inspection can reveal that a furnace will need to be replaced soon, or that there is a water leak into the basement that needs to be fixed.
You'll definitely want to get a professional home inspection before you buy a particular property. That's why most offers to purchase a home are conditional upon passing a home inspection. (The last thing you want is to buy your dream home only to discover that the wiring needs to be updated!)
You may also want to get a home inspection on your own home before you list it for sale. A certificate from a qualified professional that states that your home passed inspection will make your property more attractive to buyers.
Many reputable home inspectors are members of a professional industry association.
• Canada Association of Home & Property Inspectors.
• Professional Home and Property Inspectors of Canada.
• National Home Inspectors Certification Council.
It's important to note that certification or licensing is not a requirement in many jurisdictions. So select a home inspector carefully.
September 4, 2013
Housing Prices Remain Stable
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver just released its August Stats. Sales remain just below the 10 year average for the month of August. Housing prices over the year remain quite stabel down just 1.3% compared to August 2012. Since the beginning of 2013 prices have actually increased 2.3%. This trend is expected to contunue through the last quarter of the year.
Over the past few months I have seen more properties selling very close to and even over the asking price. Indicating that market prices and sales are slowly improving. Sellers should be reminded that accurately pricing your property is paramount for a quick sale at the highest price.
August 27, 2013
How to Find a Reputable Contractor
There are so many horror stories about disreputable or incompetent home improvement contactors that television shows have been made about them. Unless you want to be a guest on one of those programs, take steps to ensure you find a good contractor.
Here are some tips that will help:
• Ask for references. Speak to the references.
• Get a detailed written estimate of the work to be done, and makesure you understand all the terms and conditions.
• Be wary of contractors who insist on large payments upfront. Thepayment plan should be reasonable and tied to work as completed.
• Ask if the contractor is a member of any professional associations.
• Don't deal with a contractor who offers you a no-tax, cash-only deal.
• Ask the contractor to get the appropriate permits before starting yourproject.
These tips won't guarantee you'll hire a reputable contractor, but they will increase the chances that you do.
July 3, 2013
5 Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly
There are several reasons why you may need to sell your home quickly. For example, a job change may require a speedy relocation to another city, or you may have purchased another property and don't want to be stuck too
long with two mortgages.
Here are some tips that can help get the sold sign on your front lawn sooner.
• Be realistic with price. If you set the listing price higher than the current market value of your home, then you're not going to get many, if any, viewers. You want the list price to be attractive, which means listing at the current market value.
• Get things fixed. You probably don't have time for a major renovation. So just make sure everything in your home is in good working order. Deal with any obvious maintenance issues, such as a leaking faucet or a gate hanging precariously on one hinge.
• Ensure your home shows well, inside and outside. Eliminate clutter. Trim hedges. Make sure every room has adequate lighting, especially the basement. Imagine that a special guest is visiting your home, then clean up and prepare accordingly.
• Be flexible with viewing times. You want as many potential buyers as possible to see your home. So don't restrict viewing times to just Saturdays. Make sure your home is as "available" as possible for showings. This may cause you and your family some inconvenience, but the reward will be selling your property sooner.
• Work with a good REALTOR®. Find an agent who understands the area and the local market well. He or she will be able to recommend a variety of strategies that will help sell your home faster, and for a
Of course, there's no way to guarantee that you'll sell your home within the time frame you want. But these tips will certainly increase the chances that you will.
Looking for a good REALTOR® who knows the area well? Call me today.
May 9, 2013
How to Discourage Buyers from Buying Your Home
If you're listing your home for sale, then of course you’ll want to make the best impression possible on potential home buyers. But, just to have a little fun, say you don't want to sell your property. What could you do to discourage those who view your home?
Well, you could have your pets in the home during viewings. That will certainly make it uncomfortable for some buyers – especially those with pet allergies.
You could also leave personal items around, such as family pictures and trophies. That will make it more difficult for a buyer to imagine himself and his family living there. It might even make him feel a bit like an intruder!
Clutter in bedrooms, closets and other areas of the home will make those spaces feel less spacious than they really are, as well as make visitors feel uncomfortable.
If you really want to turn off a buyer, then put off doing any minor repairs. A dripping tap, flickering light, dent in the wall, or other maintenance issues are certain to gain a buyer's attention.
If all that doesn't shoo away a buyer from your home, then stick around during a viewing and follow him and his family from room to room. That will certainly make him feel uneasy.
Of course, we're just having a bit of fun here. When you put your home on the market, you want to sell it. It’s easy to avoid all the pitfalls described above and ensure potential buyers appreciate the full value of your home.
So when you’re preparing for a showing, think of ways you can make your property appear its best, and make the buyer feel welcomed and comfortable viewing it.
Want more ideas on how to sell your home quickly and for the best
price? Call today.
April 25, 2013
Just Sold 111-1450 East 7th
Happy to announce the sale by court order of my listing at 1450 East 7th. I had a total of three offers presented in court with the highest bid being $246,501.
April 1, 2013
How to tell if a neighbourhood is improving
When you’re looking for a new home, you want to find one in a great neighbourhood – or, at least, in a neighbourhood that is on the upswing. How can you tell if a particular area is improving? Here are some common
• Pride of ownership. Take a walk around the neighbourhood. Do you get a sense that people take good care of their homes? Are the lawns mowed? Is the landscaping trimmed? Are flowers planted? Homeowners are more
likely to look after their properties when they like where they are living.
• Home improvements. Are people investing in their homes? Are they getting their driveways re-done? Their windows replaced? Are there signs of home improvement projects? If so, this is a clear indication that homeowners like the area enough to invest in their properties.
• Real estate sales activity. Do homes tend to sell quickly in the area? Do they sell for a good price? If so, the neighbourhood is probably in demand. If people want to live there, it's a desirable area.
• Business investment. Are businesses investing in the surrounding area? Is there an increase in the number of upscale shops, health clubs, restaurants, and other commercial enterprises that often locate near desirable neighbourhoods?
• Community involvement. Are there signs that the community plays an active role in the look and lifestyle of the neighbourhood? Are there neighbourhood picnics, yard sales and other get-togethers? Check Facebook.com to see if the neighbourhood has a community page.
• City plans. Find out what plans the city has for the area. Will there be road improvements done in the near future? Are there any major construction projects on the schedule, such as a new school or community centre. Although such projects can be disruptive in the short term, they may improve the neighbourhood – and, as a result, boost the value of any home you buy – in the long-term.
Of course, the best way to find out the desirability of a neighbourhood is to
talk to a good REALTOR® who knows the area. Call today.
March 8, 2013
Recognizing potential major expenses in a new home
When you see a new home you like on the market, it's easy to get distracted by all the features you love – the wrap-around backyard deck or the spacious rec room with plenty of space for entertaining. You just need to make sure that in all that excitement you don’t overlook any expensive maintenance issues that could be just around the corner.
Nothing lasts forever. The major components of every home – from the furnace to the roof shingles – need to be replaced eventually. Knowing when such maintenance issues are likely to arise can help you make a
smarter decision about the home you're considering.
How do you do that?
When viewing a property, ask for the age of the major components of the home, such as the roof shingles, furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and appliances. Roof shingles may look merely weathered in spots – and you might think they have years of service left – when, in fact, they're due to be replaced in a year.
Also pay close attention to the backyard deck, fencing, flooring, and windows. Do any of those components look aged, worn, and in need of repair or replacement sometime soon?
Finally, don't forget to check the kitchen and bathrooms. Sinks, faucets, bathtubs, showers, and cabinetry have a life-span of about 10-15 years.
Of course, there are things you can't see, such as wiring, plumbing, venting, and other components of a property that may require maintenance soon. That's why it's so important to make any offer to purchase a home conditional on passing an inspection by a qualified home inspector.
Want more ideas on buying the right home for you? Call today.
February 7, 2013
Should You Buy the "Less Than Perfect" Home?
When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to find a property that has all the features and characteristics you want. A large deck surrounded by picturesque landscaping ... a beautiful kitchen with gleaming marble countertops... a cozy finished basement with fireplace....
You should look for the ideal home. You deserve it! But some home buyers make the mistake of becoming fixated on finding the "perfect" property, and passing too quickly on those homes that don't quite measure up.
Why is that a mistake? Because some of those less-than-perfect properties have the potential of becoming your next dream home.
First of all, a home that is lacking some desirable features, such as a finished basement, will probably cost less. Those savings may be more than enough to cover any needed upgrade or renovation.
Secondly, if you look at a home in terms of its potential, rather than the features it happens to have now, there will be more properties available on the market for you to consider.
If you're determined to have a large wrap-around deck for entertaining, for example, don't cross homes that don't have this feature off your list. At least not yet. Instead, view these properties with an eye on potential. Is the backyard big enough to accommodate a large deck? How would a deck like that look if added to this particular property? How much would such a renovation cost?
There's no doubt about it. You want to find a home that has all the features and characteristics you want. If you work with a good REALTOR®, there is a good chance you'll find a property that has most of them.
But keep an open mind. Sometimes a "diamond in the rough" can – with an
upgrade or renovation – become a home you'll treasure for years.
February 4, 2013
January home sales remain sluggish
January home sales remain below historical averages in Great Vancouver. "The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that residential property sales in Great Vancouver reached 1,351 on the MLS in January 2013. This represents a 14.3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,577 sales recorded in January 2012....."
Home prices are down about 6 per cent from the peak reached in May 2012.
January 15, 2013
How Much Can You Afford?
Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a home?
First, you don't want to buy a property and then find out, only after you’ve moved in, that you can't financially maintain it. That would mean having to resell it under stressful conditions.
Second, you don't want to settle for a property that's less than ideal, when you really could have afforded the "dream home" you've always wanted.
So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next home? The first step is to talk to a good REALTOR®. He or she will help you gain a clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in today's market. That amount, together with other financial resources you might have (such as savings), will determine your down payment. The next thing you’ll need to figure out is your mortgage. Your REALTOR® can help you find a lender who will take a variety of factors into account – income, credit rating, debts, expected down payment, etc. – to calculate the maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.
Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your savings, your expected down payment is $500,000. If the lender authorizes a mortgage of $450,000, then you can afford a $950,000 home. Of course, that doesn't mean you'll need to spend that much. In fact, a home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and neighbourhood, may in fact cost you less. One thing is for sure. A good REALTOR® can work with whatever amount you can afford and show you homes on the market that most closely meet your needs.
Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.