Mon, 20 Mar
Some questions to ask when you are buying a condo, either an apartment or a townhouse:
? What is the age of the roof? What is the date of replacement?
? Any water problems?
? Is there an engineering report?
?Are there any age, rentals or pet restrictions?
? What other restrictions are there—BBQ’s, airconditioners, parking, etc?
? Do you have scheduled maintenance?
? Is anything coming up that would require an assessment?
? What is the amount in the contingency fund?
These are a few of the important questions you will want to ask.
Where do you get the answers?
* Read the by-laws.
* Read the minutes for all meetings for the
last two years.
* Talk to the Council President!!
No place is perfect! BUT you can negotiate items such as rugs, paint, appliances, wall repairs, and general repairs.
Mon, 20 Feb
In spite of the changes in mortgage rules and the imposition of the foreign buyers’ tax in Vancouver,
Abbotsford continues to sell. Single family homes and townhouses have had somewhat fewer sales,
but apartment sales have gone even higher over January last year.
What is interesting is that the house pricing index (related to the value of property) has gone up in
Abbotsford. Single family homes have risen 0.6% in one month; townhouses are up 1.1%;
and apartments have risen 2.1%. It looks like it’s still a great time to sell!
Tue, 17 Jan
The new loans — called the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program — would be granted to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have never previously owned a property and only apply to homes worth less than $750,000. A buyer must be able to pre-qualify for a mortgage and have a gross household income of less than $150,000. Applications open Jan. 16, and the program ends March 31, 2020.
The government would put a second mortgage on a property to reflect the amount it loaned, but not require any interest payments or payments on the principal for the first five years. After that, the 20-year repayment plan would be set at the prime lending rate plus 0.5 per cent, leaving the homeowner to pay back both the original mortgage and the down-payment loan at the same time.
Thu, 12 Jan
By now, you will have received your tax assessment for property taxes of 2017. Were you surprised? Too high? Too low? How will this affect your property taxes?
The first thing to do is go to
http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca. Now check out what your neighbors’ properties are assessed at, and decide how they compare with yours. Ideally, you would like it to be lower than your neighbours, as this means your taxes will be lower. If their assessments are much lower than yours and you understand why: smaller lot size, different house size and style, etc., then the price might be justified. But if there is no obvious difference, you might consider challenging the amount. You have a limited time to do this, so go to your municipal office to find out how to make a challenge.
Just a reminder that property taxes are based on the mill rate times your assessment. Mill rate is determined by the amount of money your city budget requires. If your assessment has risen more than your neighbours, your property tax will be higher.
Wed, 02 Mar
Everyone wants to know—what will happen in the near future for Real Estate? A crystal ball might come in handy, but let’s look at the past to help guess about the future.
Over the past 26 years that we’ve been in Real Estate, there have been several cycles of dead and hot markets. In 1990, the market was still hot, but in 1994, when the interest rates were raised, the market died. They kept lowering the rates, until in 2001, the market revived. A good market until 2008, when the world had to deal with the sub-prime mortgage problem. In 2014, the market starting picking up. In 2015, the prices of houses started rising sharply, and now we are in a hot seller’s market.
As you can see, in BC we seem to have a 7-year cycle. We are just into this rising cycle. Of course, anything can change the situation. However, this is the best indication of what to expect in the next few years. If you should sell high, then the next little while is your window of opportunity.
Wed, 02 Mar
If you have more than one property, you may be wondering which one should be declared as your principal residence.
The first issue will be which property (for example, your home or cottage) pays more property tax. The homeowners’ grant in BC is just for your primary residence that you must declare.
The second issue involves the sale of your properties. For this situation, it is best to designate the property with the highest mathematical gain per year owned. This is decided on a yearly basis. Look back over the years the property is owned before making your decision. Both properties can be claimed as principal residences, but for different time periods. If you claim your house as principal residence, for example, from 1986 to 2000, and then your cottage as primary residence from 2000 to 2015, then the gain on the cottage is tax-free, and the gain on the house is taxed as capital gains. The portion of gain on the house is calculated as the number of years as principal residence then divided by the number of years owned. This is the percentage subject to tax.
For more detailed info on your situation, please see your accountant.
Mon, 09 Mar
Making a housing change? Planning on moving to a smaller home? Here are some ideas to help you with this change.
1. Start with the easy stuff. Get rid of anything that is broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Check out the attic, garage, crawlspaces and storage areas to find these items.
2. Ask yourself, “If this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?” If the answer is no, then it’s probably not worth keeping.
3. Don’t be a storage unit for others. If friends or relatives (read children) have left things for you to store, it’s now time to ask them to pick them up. Think a firm deadline, followed by donating these items.
4. Ask for help. Maybe someone can help you make the job more manageable. If you feel it’s beyond you, consider hiring a professional organizer.
5. Decide what’s really important. Pretend you are moving overseas. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter to you.
6. Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want?
7. Schedule a regular time each week to organize. You didn’t accumulate everything overnight, and you won’t sort it out overnight either.
8. Value what you keep. The fewer things you keep, the more you treasure and enjoy them.
These items can be shown instead of tucked into a closet.
9. Prevent new collections from forming. Instead of material gifts, ask for gifts that are new experiences, consumables, etc. – doing the things you love and want but don’t always buy for yourself.
10. Gifting: now is the time to gift items to the family now rather than in the future. This is a great way to free yourself of extra stuff that you’ve been keeping for posterity.
Tue, 17 Jun
When it is time to sell your property, do you wonder if one of the For Sale by Owner companies could do as good a job as a licensed Realtor?
How are they different:
1. Realtors do not charge upfront. You only pay for results.
2. Realtors are held to a code of ethics, and they pay a lot for their liability insurance in case anything goes wrong.
3. These non-licensed companies petition Realtors to sell their homes. Then they take the credit for selling the home.
This really means that serious buyers go to an agent.
4. Private sale websites are just that. They are not licensed to trade in real estate, nor can they give you real estate advice.
They can’t advise you on how to price your property. These fall under an agency relationship, and that requires a license.
These parameters are set for the consumers’ protection.
5. You pay them so that you can do all the work. Because they are unlicensed, they cannot represent you in a real estate transaction.
This means they cannot answer buyers’ enquiries, show your home, host open houses, handle paper work, mediate negotiations,
advise you on market conditions, etc.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
For great representation and service, give Richard a call: 604-807-2200!
Wed, 30 Oct
Let’s look at the work a Realtor does;
• Provides objective and accurate information about the current market.
• Can offer expert advice on staging your home.
• Makes sure the property information is accurate.
• Makes sure the listing info complies with all the provincial and federal regulations.
• Puts the property on MLS.
• Does the most visible things like signs, ads, feature sheets, open houses.
• Puts your listing on several websites.
• The behind the scenes work: qualifying potential buyers, arranging & tracking showings, getting feedback, keeping you up-to-date on your showings.
• Deals with any problems that arise from a sale like an appraisal that’s too low, tenant-occupied properties, estate sales, foreclosures.
• Negotiates to get you the best price and conditions on an offer.
• Writes an enforceable contract that is legally binding.
• Manages the transaction after acceptance: arranging inspections, getting strata documents, confirming payment to seller, timely transfer of keys to the buyer.
• A good Realtor has the training and expertise to help clients achieve their desired result!
• AND the seller pays nothing unless they receive an acceptable offer! What other professional works under these conditions!
Wed, 23 Oct
Listing agents have a legal obligation to their clients, the seller. They have a duty of care to the buyer, but not the same level of obligation. This means that the Realtor will not disclose anything to you. Dual agency means that the Realtor does not disclose anything to either party, and in fact, many Realtor complaints are as a result of dual agency. This is why Richard does not do dual agency.
This means Richard maintains his undivided loyalty to the seller.
How does this affect you? Some buyers think that by using the listing Realtor to purchase a property, they will get a better deal. This is questionable, as the Realtor is not obligated to make sure you do not overpay! If you do not have a Buyer Agency relationship, then the Realtor is working for the seller.
Richard Friesen is a certified Buyers’ Agent. Call him to make sure you don’t overpay, and that you get all the information you need before making your largest purchase.