2013 BC’s Largest Privately Owned Company Managed By a Woman | BIV

Business in Vancouver released it’s annual list of Biggest BC organizations managed by women in 2013. Overall, Macdonald Realty placed 11th however, we continue to be BC’s Largest Privately Owned Company Managed By a Woman. We are proud to see our organization on the list. If you wish to see the rest of the list, please visit biv.com

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Take a Walk on the Boardwalk (or Sidewalk)

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If you’ve played the game Monopoly then you’ve probably picked up the Chance card that reads, “”Take a walk on the Boardwalk. If you pass Go…””
That’s good advice when shopping for a new home. When you see a property you like and you’re thinking of making an offer, spend some time walking around the neighbourhood. This will give you a better sense of what it’s going to be like to live there.

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After all, the last thing you want is to buy a dream home only to find out later that there are issues with the neighbourhood that make living there miserable.

If you have kids, see how far of a walk it is to local parks, playgrounds, schools and community centres.
If you commute, you might also check out the route from the neighbourhood to your place of work. Is there a left turn that is likely to get backed up in the mornings?

Also check out how well the neighbours take care of their properties. Homeowners tend to keep their homes looking good if they enjoy the neighbourhood.

As you walk, listen. Are there noises from nearby high schools, industrial areas, or highways that are going to be unpleasant for you? Find out if the neighbourhood is near an airport flight path, or if there is a railway in the area. (Your REALTOR® can find that out for you.)
If you get a chance, talk to some of the neighbours. Ask what they like most about living in the area. You’re likely to get some candid – and useful – answers.

Finally, spend some time visualizing living in the area. Can you see yourself enjoying what the neighbourhood has to offer?
If so, then buying a home in that area will likely be a good choice for you. A good REALTOR® can help. Call me today.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

How $500 Can Save You $30,000: Why You Should Get a Home Inspection

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Many purchasers of homes decide to forgo the optional home inspection in some cases. They have a tough time trying to decipher why they would shell out anywhere between $450-$800 for a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ to come into their potential new home and tell them things they think they already know. If you fit into this category, STOP and give your head a serious shake.

Like a general practitioner doctor, a home inspector may not know a ton about one particular subject of a house, yet they do know a little bit (or more) about a lot. A good home inspector will use all the latest and greatest tools to inspect your home and should give you a full written report for you to take home at the end. They don’t need to know exactly where that leak is coming from, but they sure can point you in a better direction to figure it out than anyone else.

So why put out the expense? A familiar case sample from numbers of happy clients I have helped in the past, including a story of my own. When I set out to buy my first home, I was excited. It is such a cool experience to go house shopping and even better to imagine all of the amazing ideas, memories and plans you could experience in that new home. After a few weeks of shopping, I had decided on a 2 storey basement entry in North Delta.

The home needed some work, I could see that, and being a relatively handy guy with a good eye for what needed to be done, I wrote my offer accordingly. Now, I realize the importance of a good home inspector so as part of my conditions, I made sure to give myself some time to get my inspector into the house.

When working with clients, I have no emotion invested into what they buy and this allows me to be very unbiased. I can see many things that they typically cannot, due to the large amounts of homes I see every week and also from what I have learned from my home inspector in the past. The challenge is when emotion and excitement get involved, that trained eye can get cloudy. This was also the case for my own almost first home. I was excited and thinking more like a buyer than a Realtor.

My home inspection lasted over 3 hours and my inspector took his time to ensure he got everything I needed to know. At the end of the inspection, together we went through the list of things that needed to be done and the even bigger list of things that the average eye would not see.

There was over $30,000 worth of immediate work that was important to the life of the home that needed to be dealt with asap. This included unsafe electrical, huge drainage issues, sloppy previous home owner renovations, and more. Having a great relationship with my inspector, he jokingly remarked to me, “You need to run away from this house!”

That day was great to cement the lesson into my head that a home inspection is critical. I, nor most other Realtors, do not have a construction/electrical/plumbing/general home construction backgrounds so we cannot catch everything either. By investing around $500 in a 3.5 hour inspection, I saved myself from making a $30,000 mistake.

The moral of the story, get the home inspected everytime before you buy. You never know what yo may discover later if not. As for me, I am in a different home, with much less work to take care of. I get to save my money for bigger and better things!

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

Macdonald Realty Golf Tournament 2013 – A Huge Success

On Thursday July 11th 2013, Macdonald Realty hosted its annual golf tournament. Macdonald Realty staff, agents, friends and sponsors came together for this networking event in Richmond at Green Acres Golf Course. All the proceeds will be donated to Canadian Cancer Society, specifically research into lung cancer.

Thank You! To everyone who sponsored the event, as well as all the attendees.

Photos from the event can be found on our facebook page www.facebook.com/MacdonaldRealty

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7 Tips for Real Estate Investing

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Thinking of investing in Real Estate? Meet Don Campbell. The name needs no introduction for Canadian real estate investors. Less well-known, however, are the seven investment rules the Real Estate Investment Network founder shared for a recent feature profile. Got a pen and paper?

1. Manage Your Expectations. The road to sustainable wealth is not a straight one. There will be economic curves to navigate, tenant potholes to avoid and financing road-blocks to get around. Investors need to face the reality of the business they are entering and use a system that helps them navigate through the inevitable twists and turns while at the same time keeps them moving forward.

2. Never sign anything that’s inaccurate. A supposed shortcut that some people justify while trying to navigate the real estate investing highway is to not be honest 100% of the time. Sadly many are coached to sign documents that are truly inaccurate.

3. Numbers tell the real story. Never fall in love with a piece of real estate no matter how nice it looks or feels. It is easy to talk yourself into just about any property. A strategic investor only falls in love with the numbers and cash flow. Those who fall in love with a specific piece of real estate will always over pay for the property.

4. Gain Perspective “Don’t drink your own Kool-aid.” Never blindly believe everything you hear. Sophisticated investors never allow themselves to think they know everything about their market. Find ways to keep expanding your knowledge and expertise by speaking with investors from all different backgrounds.

5. Buy for cash flow first – value increases second. There is no more important risk mitigation factor than positive cash flow. It allows you to ride the inevitable ups and downs of the real estate market and can provide will become the basis for long term sustainable wealth.

6. Treat your real estate like a business. Unlike other investment options, the minute you buy an investment piece of real estate you become a business owner and must start thinking like one. One of the biggest mistakes investors make is considering investment real estate a passive income investment. It is far from passive and you must manage the property as you would an active business.

7. Choose your advice wisely. Only ask for real estate investment advice from somebody who has extensive history and has seen all market conditions. Find a way to get your advice and analysis from someone who doesn’t directly profit from you purchasing a piece of property. And never, ever buy based on a “Hot Tip.”

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca 

How to Be a Savvy Home Viewer

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If you’re planning on finding your next dream home, then you’re probably going to view several homes on the market that meet your criteria.

You will want to make the right purchasing decision for you and your family. So, it’s wise to be savvy when viewing properties for sale. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

  • Bring a notepad. Take notes, not only of the home’s characteristics, but also of how you feel. For example, can you imagine yourself happily cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Do you see yourself entertaining family on the back deck?
  • Bring a measuring tape. Will the furniture you plan to bring fit? Your dining room suite? Your home fitness equipment?
  • Ask about maintenance. Is the property in a good state of repair? Will anything need to be replaced soon, such as the windows?
  • Bring a camera. Take lots of pictures of the home’s exterior features. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll remember how everything looked.
  • Check out the area. Do other homeowners take good care of their properties? This shows pride of ownership. How is the noise level? Is there a playground, or another area feature nearby?
  • Make a list of compromises. For example, are there only two bathrooms instead of three and, if so, can you live with that?
  • Make a list of bonuses. What features does the home have that, are not a necessity, but would be nice to have? For example, an entertainment bar in the basement recreation room.
  • Remember your budget. Is the price within your range? Can you afford to buy this home?

The savvier you are when viewing properties on the market, the more likely you will be to find your next dream home.

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Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca  

2013 CFO of the Year Sharon Federal Macdonald Realty | Business in Vancouver

Macdonald Realty is proud to announce that our CFO Sharon Federal will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Business in Vancouver.

We here at Macdonald Realty are so honoured to have Sharon as part of our team as her dedication over these past 30 years has helped Macdonald Realty flourish and grow to become a leader in BC real estate.

Congratulations!

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If anyone wants to attend the CFO of the Year awards dinner it will be held May 15th, 2013 6:15pm – 9pm at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel the ticket price is $135.

For more information on the winners visit the Business in Vancouver

Macdonald Realty Awarded at the 2013 LeadingRE Annual Conference

We are pleased to announce that Macdonald Real Estate Group won the Global Alliance Award for Most Outgoing Referrals presented by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE). It is a significant achievement for our Referral Department as this year we were up against 600+ LeadingRE members with over 140,000 sales associate in 30+ countries around the world.

Congratulations to Macdonald Real Estate Group’s Referral Department for a job well done!

For more information on the Referral program or to place an outgoing referral in over 30 countries, please contact us at 1-877-278-3888.

BC luxury home sales above $3-million fell by a third in 2012 | The Vancouver Sun

“Based on a Macdonald Realty Luxury Report, this past year the sales number of luxury homes over $3 million has fallen one third since 2011. However, 2012 is only second to 2011 in sales. In a Vancouver Sun article, Dan Scarrow, Vice President of Macdonald Realty, commented on the impact immigrants buying patterns, investor sentiment and psychology has changed in the past year affecting the lower mainland’s luxury market.

“For the past few years, we’ve seen lots of new investor-class immigrants coming into the market,” Scarrow said. “ … They’re not just buying a house for themselves, but also three or four residential investment properties as well.”

This “exuberance” among immigrant buyers has slowed, Scarrow said, as the economy slowed in China and prices rose rapidly in Vancouver.

Macdonald Realty, REALTOR Will McKitka also commented in the article discussing his specialty of luxury penthouse homes, a segment of the market considered to be attracting buyers.

Read more www.vancouversun.com
Vancouver Sun article BC home sales above $3-million fell by a third in 2012 from March 1, 2013

Thinking of becoming a landlord?

This blog is largely written as a result of the learning and struggles, both past and current, I am going through regarding having a tenant I have personally. I wrote this blog in the hopes that anyone will be better off when entering into a tenancy as a landlord and know exactly how to protect themselves should an issue ever arise.

Now, it is important to preamble this with I believe all people are good deep down inside and know that it is important to treat others as you would want to be treated. When someone needs some help, it is everyone’s responsibility to lend a helping hand. With that being said, when all is done to create a fair and equal resolution for someone, it is just as important to take a stand and not let people take advantage of you. As I sit in the lobby of the Residential Tenancy Board in Burnaby, I am considering all of the ways a tenancy should be approached to prevent issues before and after they arise.

Beginning a tenancy

When beginning a tenancy, you must start by screening your tenants properly. A brilliant way to do this is simple. Get references from their employer and past landlords, and possibly personal references if you are stuck. Asking questions about their work history and past tenancy is a great start to knowing who you are getting involved with. Have they been at their job a long time? Is it secure? Do they pay their rent on time? If the past landlord could do it again, would they rent the unit out to this person again?

You are also going to want to ask for a credit check. This is a very good indication if you can expect your rent in full and on time. A good way to accomplish this is to mention it is a requirement in your ad. When someone applies, BEFORE you get too involved with them, be sure to get a look at their credit check. If they don’t like to pay their bills on time, your rent money has a good chance of becoming one of those late bills.

When accepting someone to rent your home/unit, you must put EVERYTHING in writing. Who is responsible for the utilities, day to day maintenance, repairs, etc. what are the terms for pets, renting to students, or any other provisions? Once you have all of the information, it is time to decide on the length of the stay for the tenant, and the type of term, either a fixed or month to month. When it comes to a damage deposit, ALWAYS take the maximum amount. This means half of your monthly rental amount and if they have a pet, another half of the monthly rent. Many tenants could make an upset about this yet it is important to remember, this damage deposit is your ONLY security that your unit will be left the way it was found. This includes cleaned, no trash or furniture left behind, and no damage to the unit in general. Use the tenancy agreement provided by the RTO on their website and be sure to add any extra pages with other details if need be.  http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

The day the tenant moves in is crucial as they should be paying you all of your damage deposit and first month’s rent. Be sure to always provide your tenant with a receipt for their rent as it is required. You also must do a condition walk through with the tenant and document it on the form provided on the RTO’s website. Failing to do this will ELIMINATE any chance of getting to keep the damage deposit in the future. Have both parties sign all documents and be sure to give copies to the tenant.

Welcome to being a landlord

During the tenancy, always remember to document everything. Rent paid and when, conversations, emails etc. this will come in useful should there ever be an issue. When dealing with a tenant, it is always best to be clear about expectations before a tenancy, yet it is just as important to give them their freedom and peace of mind. It is important to check the condition of the property regularly but always give the proper 24 hours’ notice and ask for their permission to visit. Fix issues with the home promptly, give your tenant the respect and courtesy that they deserve, and be the landlord that you would want if you we’re a renter.

A tenancy can be for a fixed period of time or a month to month time frame. You should talk with your tenant before hand to decide what works best for everyone. The day will come when your tenant is either ready to move out, you are going to end the tenancy for positive reasons (major renovations, moving in yourself, etc.), or for unfortunate reasons such as unpaid rent or utilities on the home.

Ending a tenancy

You can give a 30 day notice to a tenant to leave the property when you are in a month to month tenancy. It is important to note the tenant by law is deserving of a full calendar months’ worth of notice, meaning if notice was given on March 1, the earliest date the tenant must be out is April 30. This also works the same way if a tenant gives notice to move to you, they must also provide a full calendar 30 days, due before the rental payment of their final month. All notices to end a tenancy must be done in writing. When ending a tenancy, it is important to not include the damage deposit in the last month’s rent as this is your only security that the property will be in similar condition when you get it back as to when you rented it out. On the final day of tenancy as you are receiving the keys, you must do a final condition walk through with your tenant to review if any damages need to be monetarily accounted for. All parties must sign off on this condition report and if everything looks good, you can exchange the keys and release the damage deposit to your tenant, or forward it to their new address within 15 days.

If there is a problem with your tenant

If there is a problem, document everything. You can give a tenant 10 day notice to vacate a property for unpaid rent or utilities, and other reasons listed on the RTO’s website. The notice can only be issued on a day after rent is due. This can be done in person, posted on their door (3 day lull) or via registered mail (5 day lull) and either must be witnessed by a person or with a receipt. Your witness will need to fill out another critical form called the Proof of Service. From this point, the tenant has 5 calendar days to pay you the rent in full or it is deemed that they accept the eviction and must be out in the 10 calendar days. Evicting a tenant with a 10 day notice does not give you authority to keep their damage deposit. At the end of the 5 days the tenant has to pay you their rent, if the tenant has not paid you in full (only accept full payments), it is wise to apply to the RTO for an Order of Possession as it is illegal for you to remove them, their belongings or change the locks with them still in the property. The tenant may not move out the day they are supposed to and getting an Order of Possession expedites the process to get some help from the RTO if it goes that far.

Dispute Resolution

So what happens if the tenant buggers up your property, doesn’t pay you rent or refuses to move? You must go to the RTO and apply for a dispute resolution. A dispute resolution is a sort of a court hearing that can be done over the phone with all parties. This is your chance to speak your case, provide evidence (all the evidence you have been collecting over the tenancy, right!) and get your issue sorted out. The arbitrator who hears the story will make a decision that is binding on both parties deeming whose story is most believable and has the proof to back it up. From this point, the arbitrator can make decisions as to what happens with the damage deposit, whether the tenant must pay you more money, including any missed rent money via wage garnishing or other means, and a date that the tenant MUST vacate the property through a court order. Let’s all hope you never get this far. Once the arbitration is done, the tenant may STILL not move out. Unfortunately for the landlord, from here you need to apply for a Writ of Possession from the Supreme Court and hire a court bailiff to remove the tenant and all of their possessions from your home. The bailiff can also auction off the tenants seized items to help recover any additional money you may be owed.

Summary

When it comes to a tenancy, NEVER take it lightly. While it is important to treat people with courtesy and respect, you must do everything by the book in order to protect yourself in the future. Money is a funny thing and it can change even the most respectful relationship for the worst. If the rent is late, provide the tenant with one warning and let them know that future late payments will result in a notice to end the tenancy. Always take your full damage deposit at the beginning. Never settle for less than excellent care of your property. At the end of the tenancy, you will be glad you followed the rules and prepared yourself for the storm, if one should arise.

For a full set of rules, best practises and documents, check out http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

When entering a tenancy

Do
•Take the entire damage deposit you can
•Take photos of the property
•Do a condition walk through at the start and end of the tenancy and fill it out on the required documents
•Put everything in writing
•Give your tenants receipts for their rent payments
•Put your tenancy agreement in writing
•Document everything including all conversations and emails
•Set the intention and bar at the beginning of the tenancy
•Remember: everyone must live up to their agreements
•Fix all issues with the home promptly and with as little disturbance to your tenant as possible

Do not
•Give anyone more than one chance at late rent
•Let a pet deposit go without collecting it
•Let a day pass before seeking an order of possession after ending a tenancy
•Let rent be continuously late, the RTO may deem it okay if you let it happen all the time
•Let people take advantage of you

Documents to start a tenancy
•Residential Tenancy Agreement
•Condition Inspection Report

Documents to end a tenancy
•10 day notice for unpaid rent or utilities
•1 month notice to end tenancy for cause
•2 month notice to end tenancy for landlord’s use of property
•Mutual agreement to end a tenancy
•Proof of service

Dispute resolution
•Dispute resolution application
•Order of possession application

All documents and full guides to beginning and ending a tenancy can be found at http://www.rto.gov.bc.ca/

I hope you never end up evicting a tenant as it is a long and aggravating process. Protecting yourself properly will help avoid problems before they arise.

Blog post provided by Darin Germyn Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit Darin’s blog at Germyn.ca