I have listed a new property at 303 2825 SPRUCE ST in Vancouver.
Beautiful and UNIQUE 2 level PENTHOUSE with large ROOFTOP DECK. From the moment you walk in your front door, you will feel like you are HOME. This spacious condo has all the charm of the mid-century era when it was built: original hardwood floors and art deco built-ins, plus the modern conveniences of a renovated kitchen with dishwasher and tons of counter & cupboard space. Spread out over 2 levels, this corner PH with lots of light boasts the m/bedroom, ensuite and gorgeous 313 sq ft rooftop deck on the top level. Open concept kitchen, dining & living room on the main floor plus 2 big bedrooms & full bathroom. Steps to VGH, l'ecole bilingue elementary, shopping, restaurants & transit. Open house Sunday, Nov. 12th 2:00 - 4:00
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I have listed a new property at 38 889 TOBRUCK AVE in North Vancouver.
Stunning 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath corner townhouse. Completely renovated in 2015 including a designer kitchen with custom cabinets, counters, backsplash and s/s appliances. Spa like master bath boasts walk in shower with marble tiles. Keep cozy with radiant heated floors and a gas fireplace. TONS of closet space and generous sized rooms make this an ideal family home. Buy with peace of mind. Building was completely rain screened in 2014 and also got a new roof, new windows and doors. Still under the Building Envelope Warranty until Oct. 2019! Convenient location close to Capilano Mall, groceries, restaurants, cafes and shops. Open houses Saturday, Sept. 30 & Sunday, Oct. 1 from 2:00 - 4:00. Come see your new home!
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I have listed a new property at 303 2825 SPRUCE ST in Vancouver.
Every once in a while a truly UNIQUE property comes on the market. From the moment you walk in your front door, you will feel like you are HOME. This spacious condo has all the charm of the mid-century era when it was built: original hardwood floors and art deco built-ins, plus the modern conveniences of a renovated kitchen with dishwasher and tons of counter & cupboard space. Spread out over 2 levels, this corner PH with lots of light boasts the m/bedroom, ensuite and gorgeous 313 sq ft rooftop deck on the top level. Open concept kitchen, dining & living room on the main floor plus 2 big bedrooms & full bathroom. Steps to VGH, l'ecole bilingue elementary, shopping, restaurants & transit. Open house Sept 21 6-7pm, Sept 23 & 24, 2-4PM
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I have listed a new property at 202 2466 3RD AVE W in Vancouver.
Top 8 reasons this is the one. #1 LOCATION. It doesn't get better than this. Walk to the beach and your fave shops and grocery stores in the heart of KITS. #2 INTERIOR. Spacious, open concept. Beautiful engineered H/W maple floors throughout, s/s appliances, custom kitchen cabinets and a real wood burning fireplace. #3 SPA like bathroom boasts heated floors and marble counter. #4 RELAX on your private South facing balcony. #5 TRANSIT. So easy to bike and bus wherever you need to go. #6 Parking and storage included. #7 WELL maintained building with pro-active strata. #8 PRICE. All of this for under $600k in KITS! Sneak peek Thursday, Sept. 14th 5:30 - 6:30, Open houses Sept. 16 & 17 2:00 - 4:00. Come meet your new home!
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Please visit our Open House at 202 1676 PENDER ST E in Vancouver.
Open House on Thursday, September 7, 2017 5:30PM - 6:30PM
Top 10 reasons this is the home for you. #1 ROOFTOP DECK. Your friends will love to attend your awesome BBQ's. #2 VIEW. Mountains & downtown from the deck. #3 LOCATION. Walk to everything you need: groceries, restaurants, breweries, cafes and lots of cool shops on Hastings and Commercial Drive. #4 TRANSIT. Bike routes and buses make commuting a breeze. #5 INTERIOR Gas stove, granite counters, hardwood floors, s/s appliances, California closet built in, vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms. #6 PET FRIENDLY Dogs & cats welcome! #7 RENTALS welcome #8 PARKING 1 spot for a car plus a bike room. #9 FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURS #10 PRICE. All of this for under $850k. Sneak peek Sept 7th 5:30- 6:30. Open houses Sept 9th 2 - 4 & Sept. 10 2:30 - 4:30
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Please visit our Open House at 202 1676 PENDER ST E in Vancouver.
Open House on Saturday, September 9, 2017 2:00PM - 4:00PM
Top 10 reasons this is the home for you. #1 ROOFTOP DECK. Your friends will love to attend your awesome BBQ's. #2 VIEW. Mountains & downtown from the deck. #3 LOCATION. Walk to everything you need: groceries, restaurants, breweries, cafes and lots of cool shops on Hastings and Commercial Drive. #4 TRANSIT. Bike routes and buses make commuting a breeze. #5 INTERIOR Gas stove, granite counters, hardwood floors, s/s appliances, California closet built in, vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms. #6 PET FRIENDLY Dogs & cats welcome! #7 RENTALS welcome #8 PARKING 1 spot for a car plus a bike room. #9 FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURS #10 PRICE. All of this for under $850k. Sneak peek Sept 7th 5:30- 6:30. Open houses Sept 9th 2 - 4 & Sept. 10 2:30 - 4:30
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Please visit our Open House at 202 1676 PENDER ST E in Vancouver.
Open House on Sunday, September 10, 2017 2:30PM - 4:30PM
Top 10 reasons this is the home for you. #1 ROOFTOP DECK. Your friends will love to attend your awesome BBQ's. #2 VIEW. Mountains & downtown from the deck. #3 LOCATION. Walk to everything you need: groceries, restaurants, breweries, cafes and lots of cool shops on Hastings and Commercial Drive. #4 TRANSIT. Bike routes and buses make commuting a breeze. #5 INTERIOR Gas stove, granite counters, hardwood floors, s/s appliances, California closet built in, vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms. #6 PET FRIENDLY Dogs & cats welcome! #7 RENTALS welcome #8 PARKING 1 spot for a car plus a bike room. #9 FRIENDLY NEIGHBOURS #10 PRICE. All of this for under $850k. Sneak peek Sept 7th 5:30- 6:30. Open houses Sept 9th 2 - 4 & Sept. 10 2:30 - 4:30
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Last month, I wrote an article for REW.ca called Don't Run Out of Hope When Buying a Home. It should probably have been more aptly titled, "Don't Run Out of Hope When Buying a Home in Vancouver", but well, that was implied if you were reading in on REW.ca.

 

So for my next article for them, I wanted to interview two real life clients of mine, and get their thoughts and feelings about their personal experience while trying to buy a condo in Vancouver as first time home buyers. I've changed their names for privacy, but read on for my interview with them. And don't run out hope if you too are searching for a home to buy in Vancouver.


Meet “Cynthia” and “Jordan”* – a professional couple in their mid-thirties with a toddler son. They were looking for a two-bedroom condo in their beloved neighbourhood of Hastings Sunrise. Their must-haves were location, some outdoor space, and a solid building. Here’s what they told me.


First time home buyers Vancouver

What made you start looking to purchase?

A few things: the financial ability, because I got an inheritance from my grandfather; wanting more security because of Oscar (we want our son to grow up in a stable environment); fear of losing our current rental because rent prices have gone up substantially in three years; and fear that we wouldn’t be able to find an affordable family-friendly rental in the city.

How did you feel after you saw a few places you liked?

We felt hopeful for a while. We felt like we could “get in” – and we had never felt like that before. We felt like it was actually possible.

 

But then everything kept selling for way over for what things were listed at, and we felt disheartened. We would see places we liked and then they would go for seventy thousand over asking. That was disheartening. You think you can buy something and then you can’t.

How did you feel when you lost out the first time?

So hard. It was devastating. We wanted to offer more money, but my parents (we needed their support to buy because they are holding the inheritance) didn’t understand this market. They’ve always bought houses being able to negotiate. They asked, “Why would you go in so much over asking on your first offer?”

How did you feel when you lost out again?

You get attached… even with the second place ,which was the least exciting for us, you start to kind of see it as your place, you envision yourself there, you write a letter to the owner, which makes you feel even more attached to it. By the third time, though, we had learned not to get our hopes up.

 

After their third offer – and their third time losing out in a multiple-bid scenario – Jordan was laid off from his job, which forced him and Cynthia to take a break from their search. This time, the decision not to buy a home was suddenly being made for them by something beyond their control, and they were understandably upset.


Over the next few months, however, they regrouped. And more than seven months after their search had begun, they found a condo in their neighbourhood that more than ticked off every one of their “must have” boxes. We prepared for battle once again.


This time, just 20 minutes before the offer deadline, we finally got a break and some good news: somehow, ours was going to be the only offer.


This meant that, as their REALTOR®, I got to do some good old-fashioned negotiating. And Cynthia and Jordan were finally able to buy the family home they had been craving.

How do you feel now that you have purchased your condo?

We are feeling excited about getting to make the space our own and relieved that the search can now end! A bit sad about leaving our street, where our immediate neighbours are our greatest friends. Worried that the market will crash tomorrow. Thankful to be able to afford to own in Vancouver– and to have had an agent who made it even more affordable! And really happy to have a place of our own to raise our son. 

 

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I have listed a new property at 113 550 6 E in Vancouver.
INCREDIBLE OUTDOOR space with SOUTHEAST exposure; 640 sq ft wrap-around patio and garden awaits you at Landmark Gardens. Feels like your own private oasis. Bright CORNER UNIT has been freshly painted, new flooring throughout, updated light fixtures, gorgeous bathroom w/subway tile, new toilet, vanity & sliding barn door. Remodeled kitchen w/breakfast bar opens to dining & living areas with gas fireplace. 2 good sized bedrooms, plenty of windows/light, insuite laundry (Bosch full-size) & large storage shed. Includes parking & separate storage locker. Tranquil Mt Pleasant location–cool spot perfect for indoor/outdoor living. Bike/commuter friendly close to schools, Hi-tech workplaces, VCC, Skytrain and craft breweries.
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Finding the perfect home can be exhausting and emotional - just like training for a marathon.


When I was in my twenties, I spotted an ad that invited me to raise money for a charity by running a “destination” marathon. The idea was that you’d train with a group in Vancouver and raise a minimum amount for a good cause, and then you’d travel with the group to a destination like Honolulu to participate in a 26.2 mile (42 kilometre) marathon.


I had never run a day in my life.


How buying a home is like running a marathon


I told my then-boyfriend I was considering running a marathon. He immediately told me I couldn’t do it: “That’s like running from here to Hope! You think you can do that?”


(He was wrong, of course. Hope, BC is 154 kilometres from Vancouver. I only wanted to run 42 kilometres.)


So after I dumped Mr. Negativity, I signed up with Joints in Motion to raise money for the Arthritis Society while training for my first marathon. I showed up for our first group run of five kilometres, determined to do this.


It wasn’t easy. I was slow, I was out of breath, and at times I wanted to stop putting one foot in front of the other. But I did it. I ran five kilometres! That accomplishment felt like I had run a marathon already!


During the course of my four months of training and then running the actual marathon itself, I learned that marathons are often more of a mental challenge than a physical one.


The same can be said for buying a home in Vancouver.


Many people either think they can’t do it, or when they start to consider it are told by others that it’s impossible.


Once they decide to try, looking at dozens of properties can soon become exhausting.


You may get confusing advice from ill-informed sources, such as parents who may live in a small town far from Vancouver and don’t understand this market.


You may fall in love with a place that that you can’t buy because it’s already sold.


You will probably lose out on a bidding war (or five!) because your offer wasn’t strong enough to beat the other twelve offers on the condo that you imagined as your first home.


You are going to look at sale prices that are thousands of dollars over asking prices.


I compare buying real estate to training for (and running) your first marathon. In either scenario, you are going to go through the following emotions:


  • Despair. You’re going to feel overwhelmed. You’ll think “I can’t do this.” You’re going to get excited about a place, only to get disappointed. Other people are going to tell you that you can’t do this, or give you their opinion about why you shouldn’t do this.

  • Hope. At other times, you are going to feel very confident in your decision. This might occur after your mortgage broker informs you that you qualify for more than you expected. This may happen after you fall in love with the perfect condo in the perfect location and start planning your housewarming in your head. Or it may happen after you talk with a coworker who recently sold their first condo for $175,000 more than what they paid for it three years ago. (Or, depending how you look at it, this one might just lead you back to “I can’t do this.”)

  • Fear. Taking on the responsibility of home ownership is going to feel scary. Having mortgage payments, along with paying property taxes (and usually strata fees) feels a lot more scary to some people than paying rent. And you might be nervous about the thought of living in the same place without the ability to give 30 days’ notice and move on.

  • Excitement. Finding the perfect home in the right neighbourhood, the place where you know you would be very happy living, is exciting. Actually buying that home is even more exciting!

  • Disappointment. Finding that your perfect home was also perfect for other people and losing out in a multiple offer for it can be a crushing experience. If you’re lucky, (and have the right realtor), you won’t have to experience this multiple times.

  • Frustration. Not being able to find your perfect home in your budget and having to make allowances in location or features can be intensely frustrating. So can finding your perfect home again and again and losing out again and again.

  • Nervousness. When you finally purchase your home, you’ll probably start feeling seriously nervous. You might be worried about making higher monthly payments than you did previously. The thought of packing and moving may feel daunting. Being the one responsible to fix your own toilet (or pay for the plumber), instead of calling the landlord, can be an unnerving change.

  • Guilt. You may feel guilty about moving from being a renter who once viewed the Vancouver real estate market as “a game I don’t want to participate in” to being on the other side as a property owner.


At every emotional stage you go through on your journey to buying real estate, remember what motivated your decision to do so in the first place. Allow yourself time to deal with the feelings that will inevitably come up—the positive ones and the negative.


You don’t wake up one day and run a 42 kilometre marathon without spending months training for it. During your months of training, there will be days when you want to stop putting one foot in front of the other, when the goal seems too far away and too difficult to achieve.


But once you cross that finish line and finally purchase your own piece of Vancouver real estate, you’ll have an incredible sense of accomplishment—and your very own place to call home.


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I have listed a new property at 50 19448 68 AVE in Surrey.
Finally! A TOWNHOME with a FLOOR PLAN that MAKES SENSE. Open concept main floor boasts cozy gas fireplace in living room, dark laminate floors, proper dining area plus room for bar stools at kitchen counter. S/S appliances, granite counters and large custom built island make this kitchen an entertainers dream. Fully covered deck off the kitchen makes BBQ'ing a breeze and beyond is your fully fenced yard. Upstairs features HUGE master bedroom w/vaulted ceiling, big enough for a king sized bed, ensuite, large 2nd bedroom and 4 piece bath and laundry. Attached garage for parking and storage. Wonderful family oriented complex within walking distance to schools (Katzie elementary), parks, shopping & transit. Open houses Sat & Sun 2 - 4. Come see your new home!
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I have listed a new property at 209 440 5TH AVE E in Vancouver.
Looking for a fantastic 1 bedroom in a fabulous location? Look no further! The space: renovated & functional layout including butcher block counters and white subway tiles in the kitchen with s/s appliances (including a dishwasher!), dark laminate floors, cozy gas fireplace, and modern bathroom with rainscreen shower. Good sized balcony for your BBQ with awesome mountain views. The building: new roof in 2014, exterior paint in 2015, pretty common rose garden, pet friendly, excellent strata. The location: walk to trendy Main Street, breweries, cafes, restaurants, shopping, VCC, Emily Carr, parks, transit and Olympic Village. Comes with 1 parking and storage locker. Open houses April 20 5:30 - 6:30, April 22, 1 - 3 & April 23, 2 - 4.
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I have listed a new property at 110 8651 ACKROYD RD in Richmond.
This beautiful 2 bed, 2 bath corner unit is the LARGEST in the complex at almost 1100 sq ft. Spacious living area with cozy gas fireplace and lots of natural light with windows on 3 sides. Nice laminate flooring throughout, updated kitchen cabinets, counters and lighting and the added bonus of window screens. Lots of closet space, plus a storage locker, gives you plenty of room for your things. Large balcony for your BBQ and entertaining. Rainscreened building in an excellent location close to Lansdowne Mall, Richmond Centre, Save-On-Foods, Kwantlen College and the Canada Line. Sorry, pets are not allowed. Comes with 1 parking spot. Open houses Saturday & Sunday, April 8 & 9 from 2:00 - 4:00. Come check out your new home!
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Please visit our Open House at 110 8651 ACKROYD RD in Richmond.
Open House on Saturday, April 8, 2017 & Sunday, April 9, 2017 from 2:00PM - 4:00PM
This beautiful 2 bed, 2 bath corner unit is the LARGEST in the complex at almost 1100 sq ft. Spacious living area with cozy gas fireplace and lots of natural light with windows on 3 sides. Nice laminate flooring throughout, updated kitchen cabinets, counters and lighting and the added bonus of window screens. Lots of closet space, plus a storage locker, gives you plenty of room for your things. Large balcony for your BBQ and entertaining. Rainscreened building in an excellent location close to Lansdowne Mall, Richmond Centre, Save-On-Foods, Kwantlen College and the Canada Line. Sorry, pets are not allowed. Comes with 1 parking spot. Open houses Saturday & Sunday, April 8 & 9 from 2:00 - 4:00. Come check out your new home!
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One of my clients texted me recently to share a story about her co-worker. She said her co-worker was in a bidding war with 12 other people for a condo in Yaletown and it’s the 5th place that she hasn’t successfully bid on. She is getting really frustrated because they are selling for way more than the asking price and more than she can afford. She is losing sleep and has decided to take a two month break.


A nice couple recently came through my open house for a two bedroom condo downtown. We got to chatting and they told me that they had lost 3 times in 3 weeks in multiple offers and that they were left feeling emotionally drained. They currently live in a one bedroom condo and are expecting their first baby but have decided to wait until after the baby is born to continue their search for a bigger home.


This phenomenon has a name. It’s called Buyer Fatigue.


In a Seller’s market, where bidding wars and properties selling for significant amounts over asking are the norm, it’s tiring. It’s tiring for buyer’s. It’s tiring for their agents. It’s emotionally draining, frustrating and often hard to understand, when you continue to find, and then lose, the perfect home. Over and over again.


One of my colleagues whose client wanted to buy a one bedroom condo for his daughter, which would then be used as a rental property down the road, has given up after months of searching. He said, “this market is ridiculous, there is no way to get any sort of a deal.” He feels the asking prices are high, never mind what things are actually selling for. For him, the numbers, as a rental, just weren’t making sense.


Another colleague recently listed a 2 bedroom townhouse in East Vancouver that received 3 offers. The winning bid came from someone who claimed to have lost out on 12 previous properties. And yet another colleague, in North Vancouver, had one buyer who put in 14 offers on properties before she was successful.


I have been in multiple offers where the winning bid (out of 6 or more offers), was so far over asking, that my clients have just shaken their heads, not willing to pay what the condo/house/townhouse has sold for. In one instance, the realtor with the successful bid, whose client looked extremely pregnant, said they had been looking for 10 months and were so tired of losing and feeling so desperate, that they were willing to go beyond market value, just to finally secure a home. I have even seen tears from both buyer’s and seller’s in emotionally charged, and at times, long drawn out multiple offer situations.


The media these days is filled with multi-million dollar homes that sell for a million dollars over asking, but I want to give you an example of one that is more common, and more relatable.


Last month, my first time home buyers, a lovely young couple, fell in love with a one bedroom and den condo in Fairview. It needed some work, as it sported some botched DIY reno’s, but the layout and location were great and they felt that 664 square feet would fit their lifestyle. The asking price was $336,000.


The last two comparable sales in the building were May 2015 and August 2015. Sale prices of those were $341,800 and $345,000 respectively.


The sale price of this one? $438,000 with 6 offers. That is $102,000 over the list price!


Even accounting for the market increase, which was approximately 11% for one bedroom condos in Fairview since summer 2015, that is beyond reasonable market value. And over many first time buyers budgets.


Which is the other extreme of Buyer’s Fatigue. Some people take a break or quit looking altogether, while others, who have lost too many times, are willing to pay extreme prices to finally “win”.


So what can you do as a buyer in this crazy market? Stay calm, offer on and don’t over pay (unless you are planning to live there for the next fifteen to twenty years…)

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You’ve been here before.


You’re not totally sure how things are supposed to happen. A million questions are bubbling on your lips. You know your goal, but you need some guidance on how to get from A to Z.


Only this time, you aren’t a first-time buyer. You are on the other end of the equation: you are a first time seller.


Here’s what you need to know.


  1. Do I really need a Realtor to sell my home?

  2. How do I pick a Realtor?

  3. What do I have to disclose?

  4. How does the Listing Contract work?

  5. What do I need to do to get my home ready for sale?

  6. How does the offer process work?

  7. Once I have a firm sale, what are the next steps?

  8. What are the costs associated with Selling my home?

Do I really need a Realtor to sell my home?

Nope. You don’t. You can take photos, post a listing on Craigslist, host open houses, and then negotiate a contract by yourself.

How do I pick a Realtor?


Don’t want the headache and potential lawsuit of selling your own place? Hire a professional! That’s what we are here for. We know the things that create the most hassles and headaches and how to avoid them. We know the market and the best ways to ensure that you get the best possible price for your home. And we know how to minimize your exposure to the financial and legal risks that come with negotiating a contract to sell what is almost certainly your largest asset—your home.


If you enjoyed your experience with the Realtor who helped you buy your home, give them a call. If they did a good job for you once, they will likely be happy to help you sell now.


Unfortunately, not everyone has a positive experience the first time around. If that’s the case and you are looking for someone new, start asking around. Ask your friends and family who they used. Find the names of Realtors who did a fantastic job for people you know. Interview two or three of them and see who would be the best fit for you. You need to pick someone you like and trust, someone who knows the market in your neighbourhood. And be sure to use a Realtor who really knows your area. Using your friend’s aunt from Maple Ridge will not give you the results you need when selling your condo in Vancouver.


If you can’t get a decent referral out of anyone you know (or if you just couldn’t relate to your mom’s friend’s brother’s girlfriend who sells ten-million dollar houses in West Van), check the for-sale signs around your neighbourhood. If you see a few signs with the same name, give them a call and interview them; they probably specialize in your neighborhood. Check out some open houses in your area. You will meet lots of Realtors and you will see how different we are. Chances are you will click with one of them.


Once you have chosen your Realtor, you will sign a listing contract with them. The two most common types in BC are Exclusive Listings and Multiple Listings, the latter being the most common as it puts the listing on the MLS. The contract will set out many things:


  • Your name and the name of the brokerage you have chosen to work with (Realtors are licensed under a brokerage, such as RE/MAX or Sutton)

  • The address of the property you are selling

  • Effective date and expiry date of the contract (two months is the minimum amount of time)

  • Description of services to be provided by your Realtor (marketing services, how offers will be presented, etc.)

  • The asking price (listing price)

  • The remuneration (commission) you agree to pay

  • The commission you agree to offer to the cooperating brokerage (buyer’s Realtor) out of the total commission agreed to above

What do I have to disclose?


The more you tell your Realtor, the better! But there are some things that you absolutely must disclose. These include any material latent defects, which also must be disclosed to all potential buyers.


A material latent defect is something that is not visible through a reasonable inspection of the property. These include, but are not limited to, structural damage, water ingress, underground storage tanks, termites, and use as a marijuana growing operation (“grow op”).

What do I need to do to get my home ready for sale?


Start by decluttering! Most of us have too much stuff and not enough space for all of it. Buyers want to picture themselves living in a home, and that’s hard to do when it’s full of someone else’s personal items.


Your Realtor or a professional home stager can give you lots of tips specific to your space, but generally speaking, decluttering and cleaning go a long way. If the paint is really dark, a fresh coat of Cloud White might be in order. But don’t think you need to renovate your kitchen just to get the sale. Buyers may have their own ideas about renovations they’d like to make, in which case any money you spend on renovating the place yourself may be wasted.


De-personalizing your home a bit is also quite helpful. For example, take down family photos that remind potential new buyers they’re in someone else’s home. Help them envision themselves living there and you’ll be more likely to get an offer.

How does the offer process work?

Your property is on the market, your Realtor has hosted open houses, and now you’ve got an offer—maybe even more than one. So now what?


With any offer you receive, you can either accept it, reject it, or counter it. If you counter the offer, the buyer can counter back, accept your counter, or reject it, and so on.


As the market stands now in most of the lower mainland, it is common to receive more than one offer. Before offers are presented, you and your Realtor need to decide if you will receive them by email (so that just you and your Realtor are present while reviewing them) or if you want to let the buyers’ Realtors present to you in person.


If you choose this scenario, your Realtor will arrange for each offer to be presented at a different time. For example, if there are three offers, the first one will be presented; they leave and the next Realtor comes and presents; after they leave, the final Realtor presents. Then you discuss all three offers with your Realtor. You may choose to accept one of them, reject all of them, or counter one of them. If all offers are close, you can also give all parties the opportunity to come up in price. Your Realtor will discuss all scenarios with you.

Once I have a firm sale, what are the next steps?

Congratulations! You’ve sold your first place! Now what?


You will need a real estate lawyer or notary to handle all the financial stuff. This includes ensuring your old mortgage is properly discharged and that all payments you are responsible for have been made (property taxes, strata fees, etc.).


Your lawyer or notary will do a statement of adjustments for you. For example, if you sell your place at the end of November, but you’ve already paid your property taxes for the year, the buyers will be responsible to pay for the month of December, and you will be credited for that month on your statement of adjustments.


Your lawyer or notary will disburse the money from the sale and ensure you receive the net proceeds.


If you are in a strata property, you will need to notify the property manager. Most stratas have a move-out fee. You will also need to notify your home insurance provider, cable, internet, hydro, and so on, and forward your mail.

Costs of Selling

Costs of selling include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lawyer or notary fees

  • Costs of clearing title (which can include paying a mortgage penalty to your bank)

  • Real estate commissions (plus GST)

  • Cost of movers or move-out fees, if applicable.


Now that you’ve sold your first place, you’ve got one under your belt and hopefully had a positive experience from A to Z. You will never be a first-time seller again. Congratulations!

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Every strata has different bylaws and rules. These affect the strata lot owners’ rights and responsibilities, and apply to tenants and visitors as well -- and they have a major effect on what it’s like to live in a building.


Bylaws provide for the administration of the strata corporation, allowing it to control, manage, and maintain the use and enjoyment of the strata lots and common property. Stratas can create or amend their bylaws, typically by a ¾ vote at their annual general meeting.


Rules can be created to govern the use, safety and condition of the common property and assets, but not individual strata lots.


Strata corporations must enforce their bylaws and rules, often by fining strata owners and residents who don’t follow them. Here are a few examples of typical bylaws:


  • No smoking allowed

  • Age restrictions

  • No pets allowed

  • Pets allowed with restrictions (these can limit the number of pets, or only allow cats but not dogs, or restrict the size of the dog, among other options)

  • No rentals allowed

  • Rentals allowed with restrictions (this usually limits the number of strata lots allowed to rent out at any one time, or it may specify a minimum rental term to discourage short-term AirBNB-type rentals).


So how do different bylaws affect your property’s value?

Age restrictions

Age restricted buildings, whether they are 19+ or 55+, almost always sell for substantially less than those without age restrictions. The reason is pretty simple: these restrictions severely limit the number of potential buyers if children aren’t welcome to live there.


Pet restrictions

This is a big one, especially here in Vancouver where people really love their dogs. People are always willing to pay more for a place if it allows their furry friend. This applies to rentals as well as owned property.


If dogs are not allowed by owners or their visitors, this will limit the number of people who will want to buy into the building -- not only dog owners themselves, but their relatives as well. If the grandparents can’t welcome their grand-dog into their home when their daughter visits (or dog sit for her when she’s away), that’s a deal breaker.


Of course, some people prefer buildings with no pets (for example, those with allergies or a fear of animals). Overall, though, properties sell for significantly more in stratas that allow pets compared with properties in stratas that do not. For example, in the last 60 days, one-bedroom condos in Vancouver’s West End that allow pets sold for 28% more than those that don’t.

Rental bans and restrictions

Buildings that don’t allow rentals at all have significant appeal to some people, generally older folks who are more settled. They don’t want people moving in and out regularly, and also prefer the building to be strictly owner-occupied.


Buildings that allow rentals usually appeal to younger people, who might plan to rent their places out while travelling or working out of town and don’t want to be locked into owning a place that they aren’t allowed to rent out.


Buildings that allow rentals without any restrictions tend to have a lot of renters in them, as they are often bought by investors.


In some buildings, rental restrictions limit the number of units that may be rented at one time. This can feel restrictive to some buyers, but of course will appeal to others. Buildings with a longer minimum rental period (such as six months to a year) can appeal to people who are worried about the “what ifs” of the future and want to have the option of being able to rent their place out in the future.


Neighbourhood demographics play a major role in determining whether a higher price will be fetched by buildings that do not allow rentals or by those that do. We are seeing a change in some older buildings, as the demographics swing to a younger batch of owners. Bylaws are changing and becoming less restrictive, reflecting the wants of a younger generation.

Smoking bans and restrictions

Some buildings ban smoking entirely, anywhere on the property, including in your own suite. Others just ban it on common property, including balconies, but allow you to smoke in your suite.


It’s difficult to put an actual price tag on a smoking ban, but it is definitely restrictive to those who smoke. I’ve had clients walk away from a building because it doesn’t allow smoking, I’ve had clients who were occasional smokers who didn’t have a problem with not smoking in their unit or on the balcony, and I’ve had clients who are very happy there is no smoking allowed in a building. It obviously depends on personal preference.


One very nice perk of non-smoking buildings is that the hallways don’t smell of smoke. I’ve also seen lovely suites sit on the market for much too long because they had smokers living in them and non-smokers are turned off by the odour.


Does it affect your property values? It is harder to sell properties that have a strong and unpleasant odour, so in that way it does. But there are still plenty of people who are not bothered by it and who do want to smoke in their homes.

Enforcement and fines

There are many different bylaws that a strata can make. Whether they can actually enforce them (and fine people who violate them) is another story. Some stratas make upwards of $40,000 a year from fining people for bylaws infractions from not cleaning up dog poop to not stopping and watching until the parking gate has closed. This money helps build a contingency fund or goes to cover other expenses the building may have.


So how do bylaws affect your condo’s value? It’s not a simple answer. In the end, if your building attracts the biggest pool of potential buyers possible, (which may change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood), you have the best chance of achieving the highest price. If your building restricts everything from age to in-suite laundry to pets to rentals, you may find yourself waiting a long time for the rare buyer who actually finds all those restrictions appealing.


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There comes a time in every parent’s life when the home they have loved for years suddenly feels too small.

It may happen with the birth of their first child, or it might not happen until baby number two or even three makes an appearance. But at some point, it does happen. These small bundles of joy require a surprising amount of stuff, which can suddenly make the space you are living in feel too cramped. You start daydreaming about more bedrooms, a second bathroom, maybe even a yard.

 

When the time does come to upsize your family home, here are some things you should definitely consider.

Bedroom Placement

You know you want a three-bedroom home, but what’s also important is where those three bedrooms are located within the home.

If you have young children, you’ll probably want to have all those bedrooms located on the same floor. If the master bedroom is located on the top floor and the other bedrooms are located on the main, you will have to contend with stairs in the middle of the night, and possibly your children’s fears of sleeping on a different level than you. And if one of the bedrooms is located in the basement and yours is two floors above, forget it. You won’t be able to hear young children if they wake up in the night. However, if you’re a family with kids in their teens, a bit of separation between bedrooms could be a great solution for you.

Proximity to Work

When you have a family, you want to spend your time with them. If your commute to work takes an hour and a half each way, you are spending three extra hours per day away from your kids for a total of 15 hours per week. That’s a lot of time.

 

If you can manage it, buying a place a little closer to work, or more conveniently located near transit, could mean many more happy hours spent with your family instead of sitting in traffic.

Neighbourhood

You can change the flooring in your home, but you can’t change your location. It’s important that when you step outside your front door, you are in a neighbourhood you and the rest of your family really like. Whether you’re looking for a sense of community, convenient transit, proximity to amenities and parks, or anything else, it’s important to choose a neighbourhood that will feel like home for you and your family for years to come.

Schools

You probably didn’t think about this before having kids, but now that you do, of course you want them to go to a good school. Perhaps you want a specialty school that focuses on a certain interest. Or a school that offers French immersion, Mandarin, or another language that is important to you.

Before you buy a home, spend some time learning about the catchment and the schools in it. What you learn may confirm just how awesome the neighbourhood really is – or it could lead you to decide that this just isn’t the right neighbourhood for your family.

Outdoor Space

Not every young family can afford a house (or even a half-duplex) in a hot urban real estate market like Vancouver. If you’re in one of these markets, a great alternative is a condo or townhome – and with a little luck, you may score one with a large balcony or patio.

 

Some complexes have a shared yard or courtyard large enough for your kids to run around and kick a ball, but regardless of whether yours does or not, it never hurts to look for something located a short walk from a public park.

Restrictions and Bylaws

If you are looking at buying an old house to tear down or renovate substantially to make it fit your family’s needs, be sure to check with the city first to make sure that your plan is feasible and won’t be prevented by any local restrictions or bylaws.

These are some of the key considerations for families looking to upsize, but of course there are many others. Discussing your needs, desires and preferences with your partner and your kids, and then with your Realtor, will help you choose the home that’s best for you and your family now and for years to come.

 
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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver just released this:


It continues to be a competitive spring market for Metro Vancouver* home buyers. This competition continues to put upward pressure on home prices, particularly in the detached home market.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 4,056 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May 2015. This represents a 23.4 per cent increase compared to the 3,286 sales recorded in May 2014, and a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to the 4,179 sales in April 2015.


Last month’s sales were 16.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.


“We continue to see strong competition for homes that are priced right for today’s market,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “It’s important to remember that real estate is hyper local, particularly in a seller’s market. This means that conditions and prices vary depending on property type, neighbourhood, and other factors."


New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,641 in May. This represents a 5 per cent decrease compared to the 5,936 new listings reported in May 2014.


The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the region’s MLS® is 12,336, a 23.2 per cent decline compared to May 2014 and a 0.8 per cent decline compared to April 2015.


“While the supply of homes for sale remains below what’s typical for this time of year, our region continues to offer a diverse selection of housing options at different price points,” McLeod said. “This diversity within the housing stock is part of what’s driving today’s home sale activity.”


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $684,400. This represents a 9.4 per cent increase compared to May 2014.


The sales-to-active-listings ratio in May was 32.9 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since June 2007.


Sales of detached properties in May 2015 reached 1,723, an increase of 18.6 per cent from the 1,453 detached sales recorded in May 2014, and a 42.2 per cent increase from the 1,212 units sold in May 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 14.1 per cent from May 2014 to $1,104,900.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,600 in May 2015, an increase of 24.4 per cent compared to the 1,286 sales in May 2014, and an increase of 40.8 per cent compared to the 1,136 sales in May 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.6 per cent from May 2014 to $396,900.


Attached property sales in May 2015 totalled 733, an increase of 34 per cent compared to the 547 sales in May 2014, and a 37.3 per cent increase from the 534 attached properties sold in May 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 6.4 per cent between May 2014 and 2015 to $501,000.


*Note:  Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

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Is it better to buy a move-in-ready home, or to buy a place with “potential” and renovate it? This is a question I’m often asked by clients – and it’s one one my husband and I asked ourselves when we were shopping for our own house.

While hunting in our favourite East Van neighbourhood, we found our “dream” home and fell in love at first sight. The catch? It needed a complete renovation, from a new roof to updating all the electrical and plumbing to a new kitchen to completing the unfinished basement.

 

Faced with the question of whether we were up for the challenge of such a huge project, we started by coming up with the following list of pros and cons to help us make the decision.

Buying a Place That Needs Renovations: Pros

  • Lower initial cost. You are paying less for the property initially, although of course you’ll have to weigh the initial savings against a realistic estimate of what you’re going to spend on renovations.
  • You add value. You aren’t paying for the work someone else did to improve their home. If you are getting the property at a lower price (which you should be), then you are adding the value to the property and making it worth more. Hopefully more than you spent on the renovations!
  • Control over renovation budget. You generally end up paying less for your own renovations than if you’re buying an already home, when you’re paying for someone else’s renovations (people want to make a profit off their own).
  • Quality control. You choose the contractors (or do it yourself!) and you get to approve materials. So when the project is finished, you’ll know the quality of the workmanship.
  • Finished product is exactly what you want. You get to pick finishes, fixtures, colours, and everything else. Your home will be to your tastes and not someone else’s.

Buying a Place That Needs Renovations: Cons

  • Renovating costs money. It can cost a lot of money. Many renovations come with costs that people who haven’t done this before might not know about, including land surveys, architectural drawings, engineering reports, building permits, disposal fees and more. If you don’t have the cash, you may be able to use a Purchase Plus improvement program to get a mortgage that includes money to put toward the renovations you want.
  • Can you live in a reno zone? They don’t call drywall dust “divorce dust” for nothing. Okay, that may be a little extreme – but living without a working kitchen or bathroom can be very stressful. Depending on the scope of the renovation, you may even need to live somewhere else until they are finished. I know a couple who lived without their only shower and toilet for weeks. Weeks! They would visit a coffee shop every night before bed and go to a gym or community centre every morning. What happened if they had to go during the night? Well, they had a bucket...
  • You might have to pay a mortgage and rent. If you need to move out and don’t have somewhere to stay for free, you’ll be paying rent as well as your mortgage while the reno is happening.
  • You might not be allowed to do the renos you want. Some stratas do not allow specific materials, such as hardwood or laminate floors. If you are purchasing a strata property, you need to read through the bylaws and rules before you purchase. When it comes to houses, the city can be a fickle beast. City permits often require negotiation, which comes with uncertainty. If you want to make structural changes, you may need to consult a structural engineer to find out the feasibility and costs.
  • Finding a trusted team is challenging. Finding and hiring an honest and knowledgeable builder and designer takes time. Reputable builders are often booked many months or even years out. Are you prepared to live in your place as-is until they’re ready to start?
  • You’ll probably spend more than you expect. What starts out as a modest reno can quickly snowball into something much bigger. This can happen when you decide to add more features to your original plan, but it can also happen for reasons beyond your control. For example, the City may require that something like your current stairs will also need to be redone if they don’t meet requirements in the current building code. This can easily bump your renovation cost up by $10,000, depending on the scope of the work.

Are You Ready?

Another question you will want to ask yourself is “How handy am I?” If you can pitch in with things like demolition, painting, or installing floors, you will save yourself some money. If you aren’t handy at all, that’s okay – just know that you’ll pay for everything you don’t do yourself.

 

TV renovation shows make the process look romantic and fun, but remember that weeks (and sometimes months) of work are edited down to a half-hour show.

 

In the end, my husband and I ended up not buying the “dream home” that needed a major reno, and instead chose a house in the same ’hood that only needed a few things done. We did renovate the functional but dated kitchen, but haven’t had to do much else. We paid a little more initially for this house than we would have for the other one, but we only had to put up with a few weeks of cooking on the back porch and washing dishes in the bathtub while the kitchen was out of commission.

 

So when you’re deciding what’s right for you, listen to your heart – but also to your head.

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