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The Problem With “Stuff

The late comedian George Carlin used to have a routine called, “A place for my stuff.” He was referring to the idea that, besides being a place to sleep and eat, the purpose of a home is essentially to store all the stuff you accumulate over the years.

That may or may not be true. But, if you’re like most homeowners, you probably have a lot of stuff in your home… stuff in closets, and stuff in the garage.

That’s just what happens!

The problem, however, comes when you try to sell your home. What may seem to you like a comfortable home office filled with supplies, office equipment, books and papers, may look to a buyer like an uncomfortable, small and cluttered space.

That’s the problem with “stuff”. Too much of it, and it gets in the way of buyers seeing and appreciating the great features of your home.

So, when you’re selling your home, what do you do with all that extra stuff?

One solution is to have a garage or yard sale. (If you call it a “moving sale” you’ll attract more buyers.) This is a great way to get rid of the things you don’t need anymore – and, perhaps, make a few dollars!

Another solution is to give some of the items you don’t need anymore to charity. There are many local organizations that can make good use of second hand clothing, furniture, and toys.

Finally, for all of the things you want to hang on to, but are cluttering up your home, consider renting a locker at a self-storage company.

One thing is for certain. The more spacious and comfortable each room of your home appears to potential buyers, the more likely it is that they’ll see the true value of your property and become interested.

Should We Buy Before We Sell?

The short answer is NO, not unless you can afford to buy your second property outright, or have a pre-approval that will allow you to carry two properties. Even then, there are some reasons now to do so.

The fear of not finding a new home is common, especially in this market. Everyone who sells goes through it unless they’re moving out of the area, or are planning on renting. But what would happen if you purchase a new home without first having your home sold? In today’s market you cannot go into a purchase subject to the sale of your home. Also, after your home has been sold the right home always seems to come on the market. Call it fate, or whatever you like, but things always seem to work out when you go about the process the right way.

Here is a recent story that stresses why it is so important to make sure that your home is sold before you make a purchase:

Dan had another agent come to him for advise as her client had purchased a townhouse before selling. She paid well above the asking price for the home as she was in multiple-offers. The home she purchased also had a quick closing of a month and a half. This same client then put her home on the market and managed to get an offer fairly quickly; however, the offer on her property fell apart due to financing before subjects were removed. No other offers came quickly, and the house needed a price adjustment. However, with the price the client paid for the townhouse she purchased she was unable to adjust the price of her home as she needs every dollar in order to complete her townhouse purchase.

The client explored financing options with her bank, but they were unable to extend her any financing without her home being sold. She reached out to a mortgage broker and is waiting to find out whether he will be able to help her with financing. If he can’t, the client’s purchase may fall apart and she may have to forfeit her deposit.

Even if things work out in the end, what a headache and a lot of undue stress.

The moral of the story is you should ALWAYS sell your home first.

What We Can Do To Help Relieve Some Of The Fear And Stress Of Selling Before You Buy

There are multiple ways to approach the situation of selling before you buy:

  1. Longer completion and possession dates to allow you time to find a new home
  2. A rent-back clause to allow you to remain in the home for a certain amount of time while paying the new owner rent
  3. A date adjustment clause – this is a custom clause that allows the seller to move the date for completion and possession on a certain amount of notice and up to a certain point

These are just some of the ways that we help to protect our clients.

One final point – even if you are looking online now for a property and don’t see anything, don’t fret. Properties come and go constantly. The most important thing is making sure you are in a position to act on the right property when it does come available.

Our First Annual Wine & Cheese Event

Thanks to all of our clients who came out on Friday night for our first annual Wine & Cheese event. It was a blast and we really appreciate all of you! We went through about 25 bottles of wine…I’d call that a success 

As usual we forgot to take any pictures of the actual event, but here’s some of the “before photos”. Jade did an absolutely incredible job putting everything together. It almost looks as good as the job she does staging our homes for sale 

Looking forward to seeing everyone at our next event!

 

         

Top tips for hiring a contractor

As a homeowner, you’ll likely find yourself in need of a contractor to complete a home upgrade at some point. When that time comes, you will want to find a reliable professional with the necessary skills to bring your project to fruition. Ask the right questions and you will increase the likelihood of a worthwhile investment in your home. Renovations can be a significant expense and hard to reverse once completed, which is why its always best to do your research to bring in the right people to complete your project.

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PLAY Poker Tournament Fundraiser

PLAY IS HOSTING IT’S FIRST EVER FUNDRAISING EVENT AND IT’S A HUGE POKER TOURNAMENT AND GAMES NIGHT. ENTRY TO THE TOURNAMENT IS $50 WITH $30 GOING TOWARDS THE FINAL POT FOR THE WINNERS. THE REMAINING AND BUY INS ARE FOR PLAY.

There will also be lots of fun things for the non-poker players like toonie tosses, bean bag toss, silent auction, 50/50, food, drinks, music and more. If you have a suggestion, let us know we’ll add it!

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2017 Greater Vancouver Housing Market Forecast

What you should expect in 2017 is this: a continued “cooling off” of the single detached market on the higher end, a stabilization (with possible slight increases/decreases) of homes in the middle price point (or your “typical” detached home in your neighbourhood) and continued pressure and price increases on the lower price points (condos and townhouses). With the introduction of the BC Home Partnership Plan and the first time buyer grants that come with it, as well as a claw-back of some of the foreign buyer tax rules, you can expect to see continued pressure on the lower price points for the next several years even with the increases in mortgage insurance premiums. It’s simple supply and demand. The demand for strata properties is at an all time high, with several markets across the lower mainland seeing sales to listings rations in the 80-90’s, meaning that eight or nine of every ten strata properties that are listed will sell.

To read more or to view the full report please click here

Is now the Time to Make a Move?

We all get to a point in life, no matter how much we love the home we’re in, where we need to move on. Maybe you need more/less space. Perhaps you are taking a job out of town. Maybe you’re just dreaming of that next home. The question most people end up asking is whether now is the right time to make a move. Should we wait a few months? A few years?

Here’s a helpful way to assess whether now might be the right time to make a move:

  1. Start by making a list of the practical reasons you’re thinking of moving. This may include requiring more bedrooms as the kids are growing up; a yard that has become too much to maintain or a larger kitchen for hosting your friends and family.
  2. Make a list of the emotional reasons you’re thinking of moving. Those may include having watched your children grow-up in the home, or the emotional attachment of this home having been your first home purchase.
  3. Take a look at all of the financial reasons you’re thinking of making a move. See if you can afford to move up right now. If you’re downsizing and contemplating retirement, then how much would you need to get out of your home and what would you need to purchase a home for to make that a reality. If you’re a first-time buyer, how much of a down-payment have you saved? Have you reviewed all of the costs associated with home ownership?

After you’ve had a chance to go through these three key elements you should have a much clearer picture of where you stand on making a move. If it practically and emotionally makes sense to make a move that you can afford, then you have your answer!

It can be hard to sit down and put a list like this together, especially on the financial side, when you may not know or understand all the costs associated with buying and maintaining a home. That’s where we come in. A large part of what we do is consultation – we sit down with you to help guide you through the decision-making process and determine what is best for you and your family. Consultations are always free and there is no obligation. Feel free to reach out to us anytime to set up your free appointment. We’re here to help.

Selling Your Home In a Crowded Market

When you’re about to sell your home, it may be disheartening to see so many other properties for sale in your neighbourhood. After the intense Seller’s market we have been dealing with for the past year, you may be thinking “That’s a lot of competition! How will our property get noticed?”

Fortunately, there are many proven strategies for standing out in a sea of For Sale signs.

First of all, choosing the right team of REALTORS is crucial. With the number of agents out there, there are several very important things to look for in a REALTOR. Look for someone who is full-time, professional, has a proven track record that can be backed up with testimonials and sales statistics. Most important is to find someone who you can get along with and who treats you like a person rather than a transaction. A REALTOR who cares makes a big difference.

Second, remember that when there are other properties for sale on your street, curb appeal becomes even more important. There are many simple things you can do to make your property look great to those driving around looking at homes. Make sure your property looks as picture perfect as possible.

In a competitive market, it’s also more important than ever to highlight features of your home that are unique and enticing. If, for example, you have a large backyard deck and brand new hardwood flooring, make sure these are mentioned prominently on the feature sheet.

Finally, be as flexible as you can be when scheduling viewings and open houses. Don’t forget that other listed properties in your neighbourhood draw in buyers, who may notice your home. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view a property and then scout the neighbourhood. Many buyers and their agents will also schedule a number of showings in sequence on a given day, so being flexible in order to fit into that schedule is essential. You want buyers to be able to see your home on short notice and at a convenient time for them. After all, when you turn around a buy a home won’t you want the same flexibility? If there are several other nearby properties for sale, it means things are hot from a real estate point of view. You want to roll out the red carpet to buyers.

Looking for help selling your home quickly and for the best price? Looking for a team of REALTORS who just down right care more? Well, call us today for your free, no obligation Comparative Market Analysis and Property Consultation.

Toronto Sales On The Up & Up After BC’s Implementation Of Foreign Buyer Tax

A sales migration after-effect of BC’s new land transfer tax is already being seen in the numbers. Toronto Home sales apparently are soaring in wake of B.C.’s unruly “Foreign Buyer Tax”.

The Toronto area’s real estate industry agencies are reporting new month of August records for home sales together with a 17.2% increase in the average sale price. Toronto agents racked up a record setting 9,813 sales this past August 2016; 23.5% more than in August 2015. The only other factor was that last month’s volume was assisted by two additional working days.

The average price for Toronto homes that sold, for all variations of property details, was $710,440. The average price for “detached homes” in the city of Toronto itself went up 18.3% from a year ago to per cent to $1,200,000.

Industry observers in BC have previously voiced concerns that Vancouver’s new 15% tax on foreign buyers would send investors to Toronto and also perhaps secondly Montreal – driving up prices in Toronto’s market, which is already molten lava hot.

Comparatively, homes sales in Vancouver fell 26% in August from a year ago. The introduction of the tax was implemented on Aug. 2, so the tide obviously shifted fast.

Despite the unruly new tax legislation, and its’ still hidden loopholes, prices in Vancouver have continued to rise despite the drop in the number of sales. The benchmark price for all Vancouver residential properties rose 34% from a year ago to $933K

The Monthly Costs of Buying a Home

We are often asked by clients to do quick calculations at a property of approximately what their monthly house payment would be for a given property. Here’s some quick tips so you have an idea when you are looking at properties:

Mortgage: With current mortgage rates you can calculate your mortgage at (approximately) $450.00 per $100,000 of mortgage. (In other words, a $500,000 mortgage would cost you about $2,250 per month).

Strata Fees: Depends on the property, but every listing should have a disclosure as to the strata fees, and what is included. Generally a two bedroom condo in the Tri-Cities is going to be around $300 and is likely to include your hot water and natural gas.

Hydro: Don’t forget to factor the cost of lighting and heating your home into the calculations.

Property Taxes: There should be a disclosure of the price of the property taxes on the listing. We always break this down to a monthly cost and roll it into our calculation.

Insurance: Don’t forget, you are going to have to get insurance on that new property of yours!

Cable and Internet: Not everyone has cable and internet, but if you do (I mean realistically everyone has internet) you need to factor this into your monthly costs as well.

Lastly, you should consider a “cushion” every month – money to put away in case there is a special assessment (in a strata) or something goes wrong in your detached home (such as needing a new roof). If you can put away $100 a month towards these unexpected expenses it will go a long way in the future.

Hopefully this helps people with understanding the monthly costs that go with buying a home. It isn’t just a mortgage payment – there are a lot of other expenses that come on a monthly basis and you need to make sure you’re ready for the financial commitment that comes with buying a home.

As always, we’re here to answer any questions you have regarding buying a home, or to sit down and help you budget for your purchase.

On a last note, just because you CAN afford a certain mortgage, doesn’t necessarily mean you should go up to that maximum number. It is up to you and what you’re comfortable with spending on a monthly basis. Give us a call today and let’s chat – 604-785-3340.