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Buyers Tips

What Are Millennials Housing Needs?

As we know each generation has different tastes in life and this includes the Vancouver homes we buy.More...

As we know each generation has different tastes in life and this includes the Vancouver homes we buy. The 18-35 age group is the new type of homebuyers and unlike the generation before them they have simple needs.

Mellennials homebuyers are looking for purposeful properties equipped with the technology capabilities they have grown up with and they're quite prepared to handle home renovations.

Based on a recent survey by Wakefield Research for Better Homes and Gardens.

One third of those interviewed said they'd prefer a 'fixer-upper" to a house with minimal repairs needed and they consider themselves handy.

What's important to them? A tv in the kitchen and entertainment in every room of the house! They're also minimalists and would prefer an essential home compared to a luxury home.

Technology raned high and included energy efficient washer and dryer, security system and smart thermostat. 64% said they wouldnt consider a home without the above features.

Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer to Close the Transaction?

Buyers sometimes ask do they need a real estate lawyer if the documents are pretty standard?More...

Buyers sometimes ask do they need a real estate lawyer if the documents are pretty standard? Or, in what cases should they hire a real estate lawyer or when is it unnecessary to hire a real estate lawyer.

My advice to them, is they ALWAYS need to hire a real estate lawyer once they have a firm and biding contract with the seller.

What does the lawyer do? He ensures the title of the property you are buying is free and clear of all financial encumbrances, ensures the seller is current in property taxes and strata maintenance fees, special assessments if any. He also provides a Statement of Adjustment and ensures the property is registered in land titles office on time and that your funds are paid to the seller on time. In addition, he makes arrangements with your bank to draw your mortgage.

I would never suggest buying a Vancouver property without hiring a real estate lawyer.

What Buyers Should Know About Real Estate Development Marketing Act

Some buyers who purchase pre-sales find themsleves buying condos above market value from when they wrote the contract.More...

Some buyers who purchase pre-sales find themsleves buying condos above market value from when they wrote the contract. As well, mortgage rates and rules may change. Worst case scenario, the buyer may no longer qualify for the mortgage. Result - litigation to rescind the contract and get the deposit back.

Recent cases have found in favour of the buyer because the Developer has extended the completion date without amending the Disclosure Statement.

Under REDMA developers may change anything that affects the price, value or use of the property but they must file and deliver an amendment to the disclosure statement identifying those changes and it must be done immediatly. If carried out in a proper manner, buyers have no right of rescission.

In summation REDMA provides protection for consumers and developers but the rules must be followed.

Vancouver's Homeowner Grant Increases

British Columbians who own homes worth up to $1.285 million may be eligible to receive the entire homeowners’ grant this year.More...

British Columbians who own homes worth up to $1.285 million may be eligible to receive the entire homeowners’ grant this year. The threshold was raised to accommodate rising property values.

BC Assessment Authority estimates the value of all homes based on their market value on July 1 each year. The Province then reviews the information and adjusts the threshold of the homeowner grant to make sure at least 95.5 per cent of eligible homeowners receive the full amount. Those with homes valued above the threshold may still be eligible for a partial grant.

The homeowner grant provides a maximum reduction in residential property taxes on principal residences of $570 in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts and $770 elsewhere in the province.

An additional grant of $275 is available to those who are age 65 or over, permanently disabled or a veteran of certain wars.

Condition or Covenant?

When a Vancouver real estate buyer writes a contract of purchase and sale they will have a number of subject clauses or conditions in the contract.More...

When a Vancouver real estate buyer writes a contract of purchase and sale they will have a number of subject clauses or conditions in the contract. This item should not be confused with covenants.

What is a Condition?
A condition or "subject clause" is a future event or action on which the existence or the extent of a contractual obligation depends. If the condition is fulfilled, then that obligation under the contract becomes binding. (e.g. subject to finalization of the mortgage ).

What is a Covenant?
A covenant on the other hand, does not depend on a future event or action, it is an enforecable promise (seller to have house professionally cleaned prior to completion date).

If a party to the contract breach a covenant, then the lawyers will determine whether it is an essential or non-essential term of the contract. If it is non-essential the non defaulting party has action for damages. If it is essential, they may end the contract or seek damages, or both.

Make sure you discuss with your Buyer Agent whether the terms of your contract should be a condition or covenant.

Homeowner Protection Act Tips

When you buy a new property in British Columbia, you should be aware of the Homeowner Protection Act regulatiions.More...

When you buy a new property in British Columbia, you should be aware of the Homeowner Protection Act regulatiions.

  • all new homes must be built by an HPO licensed residential builder
  • all new homes must be covered by home warranty insurance or there must be an exemption from these requirements pursuant to the Act
  • to legally offer for sale a new and never occupied home, a developer (owner0 must be a licensed residential builder
  • obtain a copy of the home warranty insurance policy
  • obtain a copy of HPO and disclosure notice (for homes built pre 2007)
  • for further info www.hpo.bc.ca

What Repairs Are the Strata Corp Responsible For?

The Standard Bylaws divide responsibility to carry out repair work on a strata lot between the strata corporation and each owner.More...

The Standard Bylaws divide responsibility to carry out repair work on a strata lot between the strata corporation and each owner.

Standard Bylaws specifically require a strata corporation to repair the following parts of a buuilding if they form part of a strata lot:

  • the structure of the building
  • the exterior of the building
  • chimneys, stairs, balconies and other things attached to the exterior of a building
  • doors, windows and skylight on the exterior of a building or that front on the common property; or
  • fences, railings and similar structures that enclose patios, balconies and yards

N.B. the strata corp may amend this provision in the standard bylaws to expand or reduce its duty to carry out repair work on particular portions of a strata lot.

Tips on Avoiding Vancouver's Home Buyers Remorse

Ever Had Buyers Remorse Before Buying your Vancouver Home?More...

Ever Had Buyers Remorse Before Buying your Vancouver Home?

When you decide to buy a new home, you’re forced to step outside your current comfort zone and confront the unknown. Your mind may try to compensate psychologically for feelings of uncertainty by mentally undoing the event.

In other words, you may try to talk yourself out of buying your dream home. Add feelings of uncertainty to the fear of making a long-term commitment, and it’s easy to understand why home buyers can suffer from bouts of anxiety.

Top 8 Tips

  1. Prepare yourself

    The best way to cope with buyer’s remorse, and minimize its destructiveness, is to make sure that you are well informed.
    You should find out as much as you can about the home buying process, local home prices and home mortgages.
    It’s a good idea to study a sample purchase agreement before you buy
    Read the contract carefully to make sure that you understand it
    If you have any questions about the purchase agreement, talk to your agent, or real estate attorney.

  2. Choose the right agent

    In order to make sure that the purchase transaction goes smoothly it is important that you choose the right agent to represent your interests
    The right agent will be someone whose experience, knowledge and personality is trustworthy and will allow you to feel comfortable with the whole transaction
    Try to find an agent that is familiar and knowledgeable about the neighbourhood and community that you plan to move into

  3. Make sure the property meets your needs

    Get out that list of wants and needs you made back when you first started the home shopping process. Does the home you selected include the important features that you want?
    Provided that you saw a number of homes and thoroughly evaluated what each home had to offer, it’s likely that house you’re about to buy is the best choice for you

  4. Is the price right?

    Feeling certain about the price you are paying for a home is one of the most important factors that can reduce uncertainty and increase your comfort level
    If your agent didn’t prepare a comparative market analysis for you on the home you are buying, have him or her prepare one for you now

  5. Consider the resale value

    As you look at houses in a particular area, think about what all of the houses have in common
    Most neighbourhoods are usually built at the same time by the same construction company and will have similar floor plans and similar amenities (excluding possible owner upgrades)
    Before you consider buying the house with the most upgrades, consider whether or not you want to tackle a remodel
    Don’t just consider the cost of the remodel, but also think about the amount of time and headache you can handle. No remodel goes smoothly!
    If a house with a newer kitchen cost $20,000 more than a house with an older kitchen, and you do not have the time to renovate, it may be still worth buying the house with the new kitchen

  6. Ask questions

    No one knows the home better than the seller of the property. If you can find out the seller’s motivation for selling you might be able to negotiate a better deal on the house. Try to find out the last time service was performed on the roof, furnace, plumbing and water heating system. Asking the right questions upfront can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

  7. Get a home inspection

    Save yourself a lot of time in future litigation and renovation by bringing in a licensed, professional home inspector to inspect the home before you buy
    If any major problems are found, it will steer you away from a bad decision and/or it will help you negotiate a better price at the negotiating table

  8. Review your finances

    You may want to review your finances to confirm that you can afford to make the purchase
    Your feelings of remorse are probably unfounded, so the more rational things you can do to put your decision into the proper perspective, the better

  9. Discuss your concerns with your agent

    Your agent has seen plenty of cases of home buyer’s remorse and he or she can help put your fears and doubts into perspective
    Remorse is a common feeling during the home buying process. Following the above tips will help you make an educated decision and reduce any remorse you may have.

Six Strata Documents Vancouver Buyers Should Ask For

Fifty per cent of annual MLS sales are now strata properties in Greater Vancouver.More...

Fifty per cent of annual MLS sales are now strata properties in Greater Vancouver
If you are a potential buyer for a Vancouver real estate condo, here are some tips in order to make a thorough and educated investigation of a strata property before purchasing. Vancouver buyers are advised to carry out the following steps

Review strata council minutes for the last 24 months, along with bylaws, financial statements, annual general meeting minutes, any engineering reports that may have been completed. Look for past problems, previous repairs, special assessments and upcoming expenditures
Ensure a maintenance program is in place - ask the strata property manager whether the building has a solid preventative maintenance program in place
Check the contingency fund - does the building have a contingency fund sufficient to cover any upcoming expenses? Stratas are required to put away a portion of monthly maintenance fees into a contingency fund to pay for extraordinary repairs
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Review the strata property disclosure statement that sellers are required to complete. Look for defects or potential problems
Investigate the warranty program and builder background and find out what type of warranty the building carries, noting the limits and duration of coverage
Consult with a professional home inspector who will inspect the condition of the strata nit, common area and overall building structure
View a copy of the strata property amendment act, 2009

What Vancouver Home Buyers Should Know About Grow-Ops

BC Bud is famous and Caveat Emptor. The police say there are more than 50,000 active grow ops in Canada today, ranging in size from a few plants to an entire warhouse with more than 10,000.More...

BC Bud is famous and Caveat Emptor
The police say there are more than 50,000 active grow ops in Canada today, ranging in size from a few plants to an entire warhouse with more than 10,000. It is poplar due to its high profitability, the low risk and relatively lenient sentences.

Grow ops can cause severe and expensive damage to property
including damage to the electrical, the foundation, noxious gases, pesticides which are used on the crops, toxic contaminants, exposure to indoor mould and insurance companies take the view that illegal acts should not result in a damage payment or policy coverage.

Identifying a former grow op
Grow ops often requie extensive cleanup and repair. Never assume the repairs have been made and ensure real damage is not hidden. Notable signs of former grow ops include

mould -signs of roof vents -painted concrete floors in the basement -evidence of tampering with electric meter -unusual wiring on the exterior of the house -alteration of fire places – denting on front doors from police ramming the door -concrete masonary patches on the inside of the garage -patterns of screw holes on the walls

Disclosure
If a property has been identified as a grow op, the owner must carry out the required repairs, as outlined by City Hall, and reapply for a new Occupany Permit.
Buyers should request copies of all paperwork and ask their building inspector to ensure the work has been properly carried out.
Sellers must disclose the property has Material Latent Defects, prior to accepting an offer
Landlords and Property Managers
Let your neighbours know the property has been rented and leave them your contact info.
Record the make, model, year and licence plate numbers of all tenant vehicles.
Tell your tenant you will do internal and external inspections on a regular basis.
Require your tenant to carry insurance and make sure you are named as a party to prevent calcellation.
Never accept cash for rent!

Buying or selling Vancouver Real Estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you! Call 604-328-0077

Top 5 Grants and Rebates for Vancouver Real Estate Buyers

There are actually 21 grants and rebates for Vancouver property buyers and sellers, so here are the top five.More...

There are actually 21 grants and rebates for Vancouver property buyers and sellers, so here are the top five.

  1. Home Buyers' Plan

    Home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (for couples it's $50,000) from their RRSP's for a downpayment. Homebuyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. View the Government's website and enter "home buyers plan' in the search box

  2. GST Rebate on New Homes

    New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for the new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. View the Government's website and enter 'RC4028' in the search box.

  3. BC New Housing Rebate (HST)

    Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7% of the 12% HST) paid to a maximum rebate of $26,250. Homes priced at $525,000 + are eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250. View the Government's website

  4. BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)

    Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST, up to $26,250 per unit. View the website

  5. Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First Time Home Buyer's Program

    Qualifying first time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of th epurchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. BC Ministry of Small business and revenue

    searchfor listings on your own Virtual Office Website (VOW) , sign up for a FREE subscription and receive listings before mls.ca, in Full Public Printout

    when you’re ready to buy or sell Vancouver real estate, contact Maggie, an experienced realtor marketing Vancouver condos since 1981 2009 MLS Medallion Club Master Diamond Member

Things to Avoid Before Buying a Vancouver Condo

When you decided to buy a Vancouver condo it is important to plan ahead.More...

When you decided to buy a Vancouver condo it is important to plan ahead. This may take months. During the period leading up the to purchase it is important to avoid the following items, as your mortgage lender gets out the magnifying glass!

  • Don't make an major purchases as this will decrease your downpayment and impact your liquidity.
  • For the same reasons, don't make any large investments
  • Don't change banks as you'll have to disclose former accounts. Keep things simple. Switch banks after the deal is closed.
  • Don't move your money around because your lender will have to verify where your downpayment is and they'll require statements that show where your liquid assets are. You'll also have to provide evidence that you have the closing costs on hand.
  • Don't apply for new credit cards as the additional credit will impact your rating
  • Don't change jobs until after you have moved, as steady employment is a key factor in qualifying for a mortgage.
  • Contact a mortgage broker, even if you have been approved by your bank.

What Are Common Conditions in Offers?

When writing a Contract of Purcahse and Sale, which is the document a Vancouver real estate buyer uses to set out the terms and conditions of the purchase between them and the Seller.More...

When writing a Contract of Purcahse and Sale, which is the document a Vancouver real estate buyer uses to set out the terms and conditions of the purchase between them and the Seller.

In a Seller's market, buyers will write unconditionally offers (this is a subject for another post) but in a balanced or buyer's market, there are a number of "conditions precedent" that should be in your contract.

  1. Subject to finalization of your mortgage. The bank may have approve you but they also need to approve the property and have an appriasal on it.
  2. Subject to receiving a Property Condition Disclosure Statement. All sellers of real estate in BC must provide one of these. If they're an absentee owner they have the option of not filling it out.
  3. Subject to a Property Inspection.
  4. Subject to reading and approving a number of strata documents, including bylaws, financial statements, minutes of meetings for last 24 months, a form B, engineers report - if any, a strata plan, a title search
  5. Subject to verifying that you can obtain home insurance on the property

Other subject clause may be:

  1. Subject to the sale of your current home
  2. Subject to verifying Strata Council will give approval for a specific renovation

Have a question about the above? I am here to help! I am your Vancouver real estate condo realtor! hyper-local experience!

Tips for Vancouver Real Estate Buyers -Boosting Your Credit

In today’s economic climate of tighter credit requirements, you may not fit into the banks’ financing boxes as easily as they may have a few years ago, due to tighter regulations.

Your best solution is to consult an experienced mortgage professional to determine whether your situation can be quickly repaired or if you face a longer road to credit recovery.

Mortgage professionals who are experts in the credit repair niche can help credit challenged clients improve their situations. If the situation is beyond the expertise of a mortgage professional, they can put you get in touch with other professionals.

Following are five steps you can use to help attain a speedy credit score boost:

  1. Pay down credit cards. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your credit cards.
  2. Limit the use of credit cards. Racking up a large amount and then paying it off in monthly instalments can hurt your credit score. If there is a balance at the end of the month, this affects your score – credit formulas don’t take into account the fact that you may have paid the balance off the next month.
  3. Check credit limits. If your lender is slower at reporting monthly transactions, this can have a significant impact on how other lenders may view your file. Ensure everything’s up to date as old bills that have been paid can come back to haunt you.
  4. It's best to pay your balances down or off before your statement periods close.
  5. Keep old cards. Older credit is better credit. If you stop using older credit cards, the issuers may stop updating your accounts. As such, the cards can lose their weight in the credit formula and, therefore, may not be as valuable – even though you have had the cards for a long time. You should use these cards periodically and then pay them off.
  6. Don’t let mistakes build up. You should always dispute any mistakes or situations that may harm your score. If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau aware of the situation.

Tips for Vancouver Real Estate Buyers -Boosting Your Credit

In today's economic climate of tighter credit requirements, you may not fit into the banks's financing boxes as easily as they may have a few years ago.More...

In today’s economic climate of tighter credit requirements, you may not fit into the banks’ financing boxes as easily as they may have a few years ago, due to tighter regulations.

Your best solution is to consult an experienced mortgage professional to determine whether your situation can be quickly repaired or if you face a longer road to credit recovery.

Mortgage professionals who are experts in the credit repair niche can help credit challenged clients improve their situations. If the situation is beyond the expertise of a mortgage professional, they can put you get in touch with other professionals.

Following are five steps you can use to help attain a speedy credit score boost:

  1. Pay down credit cards. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your credit cards.
  2. Limit the use of credit cards. Racking up a large amount and then paying it off in monthly instalments can hurt your credit score. If there is a balance at the end of the month, this affects your score – credit formulas don’t take into account the fact that you may have paid the balance off the next month.
  3. Check credit limits. If your lender is slower at reporting monthly transactions, this can have a significant impact on how other lenders may view your file. Ensure everything’s up to date as old bills that have been paid can come back to haunt you.
  4. It's best to pay your balances down or off before your statement periods close.
  5. Keep old cards. Older credit is better credit. If you stop using older credit cards, the issuers may stop updating your accounts. As such, the cards can lose their weight in the credit formula and, therefore, may not be as valuable – even though you have had the cards for a long time. You should use these cards periodically and then pay them off.
  6. Don’t let mistakes build up. You should always dispute any mistakes or situations that may harm your score. If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau aware of the situation.

Buyers Etiquette Guide to Viewing Vancouver Homes

As a prospective Vancouver real estate buyer you'll want to understand your repsonsibility when viewing homes with your Vancouver Buyer Agent.More...

As a prospective Vancouver real estate buyer you'll want to understand your repsonsibility when viewing homes with your Vancouver Buyer Agent, whom you will have met with, reviewed your criteria, the process, forms to be signed and entered into a buyer agency relationship (by signing a buyer contract) so you'll understand the duties of your agent.

Here are a few simple guidelines to follow during your Vancouver home hunting:

Dress appropriately - wear slip on shoes as you'll be required to remove them when entering sellers homes.

Leave young children and babies at home
It is advisable not to take kids on a first viewing as they can be too distracting.

Arrive on time for the viewing
You should always make the effort to arrive on time. Also if you are coming with others, make sure you arrive together. Showings are usually set for a certain time and it is not only an inconvenience to your Vancouver realtor if you are late but the Vancouver seller may be on a schedule. Often owners will leave just in time for a showing and may be waiting to return after its completion.

Respect the Vancouver seller's personal property
While it is expected to open kitchen cabinets, pantries and closets, try to keep the investigation down to a minimum. Avoid opening dresser drawers, looking at personal items and using the master bathroom.

Don’t criticize things you don’t like in front of the Vancouver sellers agent.
Most real estate sellers try to be out when a showing takes place but sometimes it is just not possible. It is best not to "grill" them about why they are selling or where they are going. These questions are better filtered through your agent. Although, some aspects of the house may not suit you and while you may not wish to purchase the home, it is best to have those discussions with your spouse and agent out of earshot.

When leaving the home, it is nice to say things like, "Thank you for showing me around, it's kind of you to take the time." This will work in your favour if you're making an offer....use honey not vinegar!

Most people have enough common sense to be courteous and careful when entering a stranger's home for viewing. When in doubt about protocol, just ask your agent. One of the standing rules about viewing a home is - leave it exactly the way you found it.

Understanding Bi-weekly and weekly payments for Vancouver Buyers

Most mortgages have the option to allow payments to be made on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.More...

Most mortgages have the option to allow payments to be made on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This option may be desirable for two reasons. The first is it can save you money as you can expect to pay off your mortgage about 4 years sooner.

This can save you dramatically over the life of your mortgage. The other reason why these options are so popular is that if your employer pays you on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you can simplify your budgeting by making the payment line up with the way you paid.

Variable Rate & Adjustable Rate Mortgage Tips for Vancouver Buyers

Variable rate mortgages have become popular with the consumer.More...

Variable rate mortgages have become popular with the consumer. With the lowest rate available, it is simply the most effective mortgage product on the market!

Here's how it works...

The variable rate mortgage is based on a 5 year term, however, only the first 3 years are closed. years 4 and 5 are open with absolutely no pre-payment penalty. As an introduction, the first 3 months are set at 2.24%. After this great initial rate, your payments are based on PRIME less .40% for the remainder of the term.

What if Prime Rate goes up?
At any time, without penalty, you can convert into a closed mortgage 3 years or greater. When you decide to convert, you automatically get mortgage broker wholesale rates not bank posted!

Pre-Payment Options
Pre-pay up to 15% of your mortgage, without penalty, on an annual basis. You can also have the ability to DOUBLE your monthly mortgage payment on any payment date. (banks terms may vary).

Adjustable Rate Mortgages
There is a tremendous spread between the prime interest rate and a fixed long term mortgage. This spread can be as much as 3%. The adjustable rate mortgage is quite different than traditional mortgages in that long-term mortgages are priced according to Bond market, while the adjustable rate mortgage is priced in accordance with the prime interest rate. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate.

When you select a longer term mortgage you are agreeing to pay a higher interest rate for that term. It is similar to paying an insurance premium to guarantee the interest rate but the insurance premium is the higher rate.

An adjustable rate mortgage gives you total control. Your mortgage would renew every 3 months at a fixed interest rate. If you change your mind and decide to convert to a longer term, you would be guaranteed a minimum discount off the banks posted rates.

The variable rate mortgage allows you to have the best of both worlds. Short term pricing with the ability to lock in your rates at any time.

Vancouver Waterfront Properties

Our beautiful city Vancouver has many wonderful waterfront neighbourhoods.More...

Our beautiful city Vancouver has many wonderful waterfront neighbourhoods.  The most expensive condo waterfront neighbourhood is Coal Harbour and suites in a watefront building will start at approximately $1200 pr sq ft. on the back of the building and $1500psf+ on the front.  Oceanview condos start around $800psf

Waterfront Neighbourhoods include Coal Harbour, Kitsilano, False Creek (which houses the Olympic Village), West End

Waterfront Townhomes are in Coal Harbour, False Creek North which includes Coopers Park, False Creek, Kitsilano, Point Grey Road

Waterfront Single Family Dwellings are in Kitsilano, Point Grey and UBC. Homes along "The Golden Mile" (Point Grey Road) will start at $5 million.

Put my Vancouver waterfront real estate hyper-local experience to work for you!

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