Studies and surveys indicate that more than 50 per cent of Canadian adults do not have a will, and about 70 per cent of Canadian adults do not have a signed Power of Attorney.

I believe that number would drop significantly if people truly understood the significant consequences of dying or becoming incapacitated without these legal documents.

Let’s start with a will.  What will happen if you died without one? Under the law that governs this situation (which is called an “intestacy”), your estate assets will be frozen until the courts appoint someone to administer your estate, known as an “Estate Trustee Without a Will”. This involves making a formal application to the court and always involves a certain amount of delay that is inherent in the process. This in turn could cause financial hardship for your family.

Eventually, your estate will be distributed by the Estate Trustee according to provincial intestacy laws, which vary by jurisdiction. Typically, they provide a set dollar-amount to a surviving spouse (in Ontario it is $200,000), with the balance divided in line with a graduated formula among your spouse and each of your biological or adopted children.

If you have no surviving spouse or children, then your assets would go to your next-of-kin, in a prescribed order that is set out by legislation. In contrast, common-law spouses and step-children may not he recognized by legislation as having any entitlement at all.

In these various scenarios, the Estate Trustee has very little discretion in distributing your assets. This means that – absent a will that expressly directs the distribution of your estate in the most tax-advantageous manner – you will have missed many opportunities to reduce taxes both before and after your death.

Similarly, without a will any preferences you have concerning the guardianship of your minor children or dependents may not be recognized. Payments to minor children would be held in trust by the courts, but only until they reached the age of majority. At this point, they would have a legal right to the money to spend as they wish – a thought that many parents find disconcerting and even abhorrent!

If you don’t have a will, these are just a few of the ways that your family and next-of-kin could be subject to delays, additional expenses, angst and potential conflict amongst themselves at an already stressful and emotional time.

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

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In April 2006 the benchmark price of  a detached home in Greater Vancouver reached $610,382, an increase of 21% over 2005 and an increase of 55.5% since 2004 and an increase of 79.5% since 2001. For Vanouver home buyers this isnt good news but for those who got their foot in the door a few years prior and have built home equity, then trading up is possible. 

Back at the beginning of 2006 one could buy a condo in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Ladner, Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, New West, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Richmond, Tsawwassen and East Vancouver for less than $210,000! For the West Side the most affordable condo was $214,900 which required an annual household income of $47,222, based on 5.5% mortgage rate and 10% down.

Real estate buyers could purchase a house back in 2006 for less than $300,000 in Coquitlam, Ladner, Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam if you had the require annual income of $65,922. If buyers raised the bar to $350,000 they could buy a house in East Vancouver, New West and Pitt Meadows.

History of Vancouver's Real Estate Average Sale Price 

January 2006 - $515,000

January 2007 - $611,000

January 2008 - $656,000

January 2009 - $576,000

January 2010 - $756,000

January 2011 - $1,043,000

January 2012 - $986,000

January 2013 - $944,000


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

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The mortgage loan process is a stressful and frustrating process. The idea is to make he entire process go as smoothly as possible. Be pepared when you sit down with your loan lofficer. Here are some helpful tips

1. Straighten out your finances. Make a list of your income and expenses

2. Check your credit card balance

3. Get a copy of your credit report on Equifax

4. Gather the information the bank will require ahead of time - tax returns, pay stubs etc.

5. Find out what the current lending guidelines are. Will you require loan insurance? Conventional or high ratio mortgage?

6. The Bank will require verification of your downpayment

7. Finally, qualify your lender. Look for a mortgage lender who is best qualified to meet your needs. Loan products, services, style and personal attention vary greatly.Find someone who is very experienced in the business and can guide you through the process and overcome any hiccups. E.G. if you are self-employed you'll require a lender who specializes in this type of borrower. 

Have a mortgage questions? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you! Call 604-328-0077 today!

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Laneway houses are a recent Vancouver City Hall rezoning. They permit the homeowner to build a free standing structure at the back of their lot, where the garage would have been. Some Vancouver homeowners rent out the laneway house, some let their adult children live in them, some use them for family to stay in and some elderly homeowners move into the laneway house and let their kids move into the big house.

Laneway houses are easy to rent, given that the vacancy rate in Vancouver is less than 2% and rents will be a minimum of $1200 per month. They are usually 2 storeys and 2 bedrooms, ranging from 550sf. Sometimes they are built above the garage and sometimes they take the place of the garage.

Pretty much the entire City of Vancouver is zoned for laneway housing, if your lot is zoned as a single family home.

To date the City has issued about 1,000 permits for laneway houses. View the criteria

Homeowners can obtain mortgage financing for the full cost of construction at a discounted rate.

Buying or Selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie's hyper-local experience to work for you! 

Call 604-328-0077 today!

 

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BCREA's Chief Economist, Cameron Muir, is forecasting an increase in sales which will be equal to the long term average, as well as an increase in prices. He has revised his prediction to 4.3% for 2014.

But Muir doesn't expect to see the frantic market of a few years ago, instead buyers will be less frantic and will be moving back into the real estate market in order to take advantage of the lower interest rates.

Take a look at BCREA's graph.

There are certainly more buyers in the market than there was a year ago.

Buying or selling Vancouver real estate?

Put Maggie's hyper-local experience to work for you! Call 604-328-0077

 

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Tech Vibes reports that Amazon has leased office space in the 22 storey Telus office tower on West Georgia and Richards, for 1000 employees and will be leasing 91,000 sf ft.

The company has posted nearly 100 job openings, including about 70 software development engineers.

This will certainly be good for sellers of Downtown condos and investors who rent out their Downtown condos.

Buying or Selling Downtown Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie's hyper-local experience to work for you!

Call 604-328-0077

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The BC Government has increased the Home Owner Grant threshold by $10,000 to $1,295,000. The threshold is the maximum assessed value an owner's property can reach, which still allows them to claim the full Home Owner Grant.

The grant helps keep property taxes affordable as property value assessments rise.

About 95.5% of BC home owners are eligible for the full grant.

At what value is the gant eliminted? For 2013 the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,295,000 and is eliminated on homes assessed at $1,409,000.

Who is eligible for the homeowners grant? Canadian citizens and landed immigrants residing in their principle residence are eligible for the grant.

Can I defer my property taxes? Yes, if you qualify - if you are 55+, a person with disabilities and families with children. You can defer the taxes until you sell your transfer ownership of yor home, or it becomes part of an estate.

Buying or selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you!

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It's important to maintain your appliances, in order to extend their life! 

Here are some tips for you:

  • Clean the filter and screens in your dishwasher periodically, and check for clogs, broken glass or food at the bottom of the unit.
  • Check washing machine hoses to be sure they are in good condition.
  • Empty pockets of items before putting in the washing machine.
  • Clean lint filter in dryer after every use.
  • Clean dryer vent, hoses and filters periodically.
  • Vacuum the condenser coils on your refrigerator at least twice per year.
  • Don’t use more laundry detergent than recommended in your washer.
  • Keep bushes trimmed back from your outdoor air conditioning condenser.
  • Protect your air conditioner from direct sunlight

Buying or selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you! CAll 604-328-0077 today!

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You've probably heard about Short Sales in the USA. There are a few of them in Vancouver too. I just came across one and thought I'd share some info with you.

A property can be in the early stages of foreclosure which means that the lender has not yet reached a point that it is in control of the process. The owner can still sell the property and then pay out the lender out of the sale proceeds. However if you are acting for the seller make sure to find out how much the seller owes the bank. You want to know for sure that the net proceeds from the sale will be enough to pay out the lender. If they are not, the bank might accept less but the time to negotiate that is before the deal is signed not later.

The deal may collapse at closing because there was not enough money after payment of commissions and closing costs to pay off the lender. The seller then becomes liable to the buyer for his damages. 

 Make sure to find out if the Seller owes anyone else money. If that creditor subsequently registers a judgment on title after the purchase agreement has been signed then the seller will have to find a way to clear that judgment. If he is already in foreclosure with the secured lender, how likely is it he will come up with money to pay another creditor?

Don’t take the seller’s word that he will “deal with” the new creditor and get it resolved.  The secured lender is not going to be co-operative and take less money if a subsequent judgment creditor will also get some money to clear its judgment.

The secured creditor just needs to proceed with the foreclosure and cut out the judgment creditor completely.  After the deal was signed another bank registered a judgment, the existing secured lender then wouldn’t co-operate, the deal died and the Realtorreceived no commission

Buying or Selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you! Call 604-328-0077.

 

 

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Yesterday I was invited to a high caliber Realtor’s presentation at the Trump Tower hotel/condo. which is currently being built iin the 1100 block West Georgia, opposite Shangri-la and  due to complete in spring 2015.

The hotel will have a champagne bar, Pool Bar and nightclub,6 star Chinese restaurant, Mar-a-logo spa, gym, etc.

The condo will have a Rolls Royce limo service and they’ve partnered with a company offering jet service and access to the hotel amenities.

The hotel/condo will be 67 storeys – 4-7 suites per floor and decked out with luxury.

Condos start at 600sf to 2200sf, from $600,000 for a one bedroom.

To date this is the last of the Downtown hotel/condos.

Last month a condo in Vancouver's Shangrila condo building sold for $1520psf on 56th floor.

Buyers can preview on Saturday and sales will take place on oct 26th.

The 1000-1100 blocks of Alberni and West Georgia is developing into Vancouver's Rodeo Drive.

Nordstroms will be opening in 2015 in the old Sears building, which is undergoing a major renovation.

Many luxury retailers will be piggybacking on Nordstroms and opening stores on Alberni ,West Georgia and Robson including Christian Dior, Debeers diamonds, tony burch and Chanel.

Escada, Burberry,Hermes, Louis Vutton, Gucci, St. John are already in the neighbourhood.

Please contact me if you are wishing to buy a condo in Vancouver's Trump Tower! 604-328-0077 


 

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What wonderful weather for a long weekend Laughing 

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it" - William arthur Ward

Did you know that turkey is one of the healthiest foods for you? Low in calories and nutrittious! Canadians ate 10.8 tonnes of turkey last year?

Get ready for turkey, cranberries stuffing, squash and pumpkin pie! Num!

Did you know that Thanksgiving was started as a holidy for giving thanks for the harvest? Its always the second Monday of October in Canada and dates back to the Protestant Reformation and the days of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A failed group of English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James 1 of England.

Buying or Selling Vancouver Real Estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you!

Call 604-328-0077 today and sign up for my monthly ezine to keep up to date with Vancouver's changing real estate market!

 

 

 

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Vancouver!

Voted the most walkable city in Canada, by Walkscore, with a 78% score, rating it as very walkable. That means most chores can be done by foot. Therefore its the most walkable city in British Columbia.

Current Vancouver population is approximtely 600,000. 

Which are Vancouver's most walkable neighbourhoods?

Downtown ranks #1 with a 96 score. The West End ranks #2 with a 94 score. Strathcona ranks #3 with a 93 score and Kitsilano ranks #4 with a 89 score. Fairview ranks #5 with a 89 score.

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

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The economy slowed in the third quarter of 2012, effected by the sluggish US economy and a slowdown globally. Our exports fell by 2% during the last quarter which was the largest decline since the Wall Street Crash.

Likewise, Canadian exports are expected to be sluggish during 2014. The forecast for growth in Canada is 2% for 2013 and accelarating in 2014.

Monetary stimulus in Canada -  the Bank of Canada notes that a withdrawal of monetary stimulus will be contingent on a stable global economy, as well as the state of household debt burdens. Probably a good time to lock in a 5 year term which is still 2.99%.

Mortgage rates dropped in the third quarter of 2012 and they're expected to remain flat until the end of 2013 or into 2014, according to the BCREA forecast, which sees Bank of Canada remaining on the sidelines.

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

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For nearly 30 years BC Place Stadium has sat on the edge of what was once a waterrfront industrial wasteland, an anchor for the dreams and ambitions of people who believed it could spark a Downtown urban renewal.

In its own right, BC Place Stadium, with its comfotable pillow-top roof (recently upgraded to a retractable roof), has been an icon on Vancouver's ever changing landscape.

But it has also been, along with its joined-at-the-hip Expo 86 World's Fair, a generator of change, weaving itself finely into the fortunes of the city and region. Think of the influx of Hong Kong immigrants before the 1997 repatriation of the British enclave to China, the redevelopment of False Creek, Coal Harbour, Yaletown and Downtown South, The Vancouver Convention Centre and the SkyTrain to Surrey and even the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

All those are the offspring of decisions made around the stadium and the related provincial purchase of Marathon Realty's False Creek lands three decades ago.

Buying or selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you!

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BC's Strata Property Act  underwent changes in 2010 and here are the highlights:

  1. Age Restrictions - strata corporations can pass an age restriction bylaw
  2. Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest - strata council members are required to disclose conflicts of interest and leave meetings during discussions of related topics
  3. Hearings - an owner may request a hearing at a council meeting by application in writing stating the reason for a request. Council must hold a meeting to hear the applicant within 4 weeks after the request 
  4. Strata Corp Records - a former owner can access strata corp records relating to the time they were an owner 
  5. Resolutions - only 20% of votes (instead of the former 25%) are required by owners wanting their strata corp to consider a resolution at an annual or special general meeting
  6. Email - strata corps can send and receive notices by email
  7. Votes - if there is a tie vote at the AGM or SGM, the president or vice-president may break the tie
  8. Special Levies - if a bylaw is in place regarding changing interest on special levies, and there is a surplus, fuuds for unused special levies will go to the owner of the strata lot at the time of the refund, who may not be the owner that paid the levy (simplifies bookkeeping for strata managers)
  9. Rental Restrictions - where a strata has a rental restriction bylaw, the calculation of units rented should not include rentals to family members or those exempt because of hardship. A rental disclosure statement applies to every owner of the unit and protects the right of the first owner to rent until the date the rental period expires as specified in the Disclosure Statement. New stratas cannot change rules for units already designated rental.
Buying or Selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you! Call 604-328-0077 today
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The Conference Board of Canada predicts fundamental shift in housing by 2030. 80% of Canadian housing sales will be to senior citizens.

Just over 60% of new households will be formed in the 75 plus age cohort. If you include younger seniors the figure jumps to a staggering 81%.

By 2030 four out of every five new households will be formed by people aged 65 and over. In contract to today's situation, growth in households is concentrated in the 45 to 65 age group, while those aged 25 to 34 also comprise a decent share of newly formed households. 20 years out it means much more multi-family houseing, especially condos.

In 2005, 57% of condo owners were over the age of 50, while 17% were over the age of 75.

The Board predicts that the share of multiple housing units will increase from its current 47% to 68% in 2030. As the population ages, construction will shift from single-family dwellings in the suburbs to multi-family, the most dramatic changes will take place by 2030, when the tail end of Boomers retire.

If you believe the demographics, it is pretty evident that there's going to be a fundamental change in housing demand.

Baby Boomers have had a huge impact on the housing market for years and years, and its just because they're such a big cohort in the demographic, being about one third of Canada's population.

Future demand for housing in Vancouver will likely come from immigration.

Conclusion - the future looks good for condo investors!

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

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The BC Stata Property Act includes detailed bylaws that apply to all property and operations of every condominium building.

The Act outlines the duties of owners, tenants, occupants, visitors, the corporation and the strata council, as well as the procedures at council and general meetings.

As well, the bylaws allow the strata corporatio to penalize owners who violate the bylaws. Bylaws and rules spell out the owners rights and responsibilites, and are in place to maintain a certain standard of day to day living within the complex.

Bylaws may restrict or prohibit the renting out of units in the building.

They may also restrict or prohibit pets and certain age groups.

Bylaws and rules may control the size of patios and regulate the use of the recreational facilities and other common property.

Changes in condo units such as renovations to mechanical or structural systems or exterior alterations that affect other owners will require permission from the strata corporation.

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

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.