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Crystal Ball?

Wed, 02 Mar by Richard Friesen

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.

My Primary Residence

Wed, 02 Mar by Richard Friesen

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.

Rightsizing Tips

Mon, 09 Mar by Richard Friesen

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.

Why a Real Estate Agent?

Tue, 17 Jun by Richard Friesen

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!








Is a Realtor worth his commission?

Wed, 30 Oct by Richard Friesen

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!

No Agency?

Wed, 23 Oct by Richard Friesen

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.

Boomers: Drain or Contributors

Mon, 07 Oct by Richard Friesen

As older Canadians form an increasingly larger part of the population and, unavoidably, increase medical expenses, critics are reconsidering the perks of seniors.
There are over 14.5 million Canadians over the age of 45, representing 57% of the population.
They account for :
* 60% of consumer spending
* 65% of all homeowners
* 80% of all mortgage-free homeowners
* 60% of all cars
* attend more concerts, theatre, museums,
art galleries, and other public attractions
* improve Canada’s economy through
their spending
* 75% use the Internet & buy more online
than any other age group
* the largest group of volunteers, contributing millions of hours of unpaid work
* 60% of Boomers provided an average of
$3675 per year to help their adult children
* Boomers are acting as unpaid caregivers
to their aging parents and dependent adult
* over 35% of older Canadians are delay-
ing their retirement

“In spite of being major contributors in their younger years to the economic well-being of Canada and rightfully expecting to be cared for if needed in their later years, boomers and seniors continue to contribute. Far from being burdens on the taxpayer, they are valuable contributing members of society.” (Bruce Bird, Vancouver Sun, August 31, 2013)

Back to the PST

Mon, 17 Jun by Richard Friesen

As everyone has become aware, the HST was rejected
by the BC voters, so that the province is reverting to the former system.

How will this affect Real Estate?

For renovations, there should be a considerable savings,
as the major component in a renovation project is the labour.
There should also be a reduction in the price of  materials.

As far as new homes are concerned, there will be savings.
As of April 1st, purchasers no longer paid the 7% provincial portion
of the HST, but a transitional 2% provincial tax may be levied if the home
was partly completed by March 31st.

For sellers, the savings are connected to the services offered in the sale
of their home: Real Estate commissions, appraisal fees, etc. Land transfer taxes
will not be affected by dropping the HST, but first-time buyers
can get an exemption as before.

At the moment, buyers, sellers and renovators have lots of incentives
to encourage them to make their move now, rather than waiting.

Interest rates in 2013

Tue, 02 Apr by Richard Friesen

The Bank of Canada announced on March 6, 2013, that they are holding the overnight rate at 1%.
The Bank sees economic growth in Canada picking up over 2013, as growth in exports and business
investment offset a slowdown in household spending and residential construction.
With low inflation and a lower pace of debt accumulation, the Bank sees that the current levels of
monetary stimulus will remain for a period of time.
Inflation is expected to be just over 1% during the first half of 2013.
The Bank will put a future rate hike on hold for the foreseeable future, with
rates gradually increasing in 2014.
This is good news for those buying property right now.  It looks like rates
will remain low for this year.

First-time Home Buyers’ Savings

Tue, 19 Mar by Richard Friesen

Both the provincial and federal governments have programs that provide incentives for First Time Home Buyers.  The BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ bonus unfortunately expires at end of March, 2013.  Based on the net income of the home buyer, it can equal up to 5% of the purchase price or as much as $10,000.

The BC Property Transfer Tax – the first-time buyers who qualify may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. Check this out at

The federal government offers non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying buyers.  The calculation is the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2011) times $5000.  The maximum credit is $750.  Check this out at under First-time Home buyers Tax Credit.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.