New Condo Towers Proposed for Rogers Arena Crosstown Neighbourhood

Rogers Arena is in for an addition…. The proposal is on the table and just waiting to be approved. My opinion is positive on this as I believe any neighbourhood growth is a good thing. The more condos that are built, the more people that will join the community. The more people that join the community, the more businesses and amenities that will follow.

The Aquilini Group are the team behind this new proposed addition to the Crosstown Vancouver neighbourhood. There are 3 new towers proposed directly around & attached to Rogers Arena. The proposal on each of these towers ranges from 26 floors to 32 floors in height. Two of the three proposed Crosstown towers will offer a mixed use of both Office Space & Residential units. The third tower is offering strictly Residential Condos.

The Team at Aquilini Developments are also trying to achieve LEED Gold status on each of their 3 new proposed towers. To try and achieve this LEED Gold status The developments will offer Green Roofs, Green Walls and will use these aspects to harvest rainwater for toilet flushing etc.

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Blog post provided by Jay McInnes Personal Real Estate Corporation, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in Downtown Vancouver.  Visit his website jaymcinnes.com  for more information. 

Happy Birthday to the Property Transfer Tax

This week the dreaded BC property transfer tax turns a quarter century old. For those who do not know, the Property Transfer Tax (PPT for short) was a tax brought in by Bill Vander Zalm back in 1987, the same Bill Vander Zalm who looks like a BC hero, who recently helped overturn the HST back to the traditional PST and GST models in BC.

The tax is 1% of the 1st $100,000 spent on a home, and 2% on the remaining balance, a considerable amount for most BC homes.  In 1987, the average price of a Vancouver home was a mere $187,000.  Today the average in Greater Vancouver is about $1,034,000, what a difference a quarter century can make. The tax was originally intended to tax speculation and wealth in our province, so high earners and those purchasing expensive homes paid a transfer tax on those purchases. The threshold was $200,000 in 1987 and approx. 95% of the homes in metro Vancouver were under that mark. Unfortunately for home buyers, times have changed.

Since 1987, BC home buyers have paid nearly 12 BILLION dollars in PTT since its inception, or about 900 MILLION dollars a year goes into the province. On the purchase of a $500,000 home in a suburb of Vancouver, a family would be looking at about $9,000 in PTT on top of all their other fees. This outdated threshold is something the BC Liberals are looking at and have suggested they would review the thresholds in the near future. The problem is, if you remove 900 million dollars a year from the system, what happens?

It is definitely time for a change to make it more affordable for families in BC to purchase a home. Be sure to speak your voice when the opportunity to be heard is there, and let’s see if we can adjust or extinguish this tax to make property ownership more affordable and attainable for more BC residents.

Contact Jordan Bateman of the BC Taxpayers Association and speak your mind, I know he would want to hear it.

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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  

Overwhelmed by all the Real Estate chatter in the news?

Prices are falling! Hold Hold Hold! Don’t buy until next month! Rates are the lowest they have been since yesterday! Overseas Buyers increase market by 300%!

It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the chatter over Real Estate in the news print, on TV and radio. The challenge with what you hear or see is that everyone has an opinion and there is many ways to share them nowadays. Through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and any media outlet looking to get their story in front of you, it can be a lot to process. So how do you make the best decisions for you?

Understanding what really pertains to you and your own individual situation is crucial to staying afloat in the bombardment of information that flows our way daily. Although it is important to stay atop the latest and greatest info, you should understand what applies to you or not. Rates dropping only matters after a certain point if you are already locked into another mortgage. Overseas buyers may be in the market for properties that have nothing to do with yours. Lowering real estate prices don’t matter unless you plan to move in the foreseeable future.

When it comes to the information rushing in your way, the best way to stay ahead of the pack is to be open and honest with your real estate and mortgage professional about your plans. Every situation is unique in its own way and the right advice will guide you down the proper path. When a professional you trust is on the up and up about what you want to accomplish in the short or long term, they can provide you with the plan that DOES make sense for your situation, keeping you ahead of the herd.

No need to get overwhelmed, it’s just can be a lot of chatter.

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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  

Liability Concerns When Renovating Your Home

An accident in which a roofer was killed when he fell through the skylight of former premier Gordon Campbell’s vacation home is highlighting a little-known piece of contract law that can have huge implications for homeowners.

In a report released publicly Monday, WorkSafeBC said Campbell, as the homeowner, became the “prime contractor” because he failed to assign that written role to the general contractor whose company was doing some renovations on his Sunshine Coast home last July. As a result, the former premier had the legal responsibility for coordinating and establishing compliance with health and safety requirements.

The accident occurred when David Lesko, an employee of Weather Tight Supplies Ltd., lost his balance and fell nearly 18 feet to his death. At the time he was wearing a fall arrest harness but had not secured it to an anchor point. Three other employees of the company were also on the roof, all without fall arrest equipment. Weather Tight was registered with WorkSafeBC, but in the past had been cited several times by the provincial agency for not complying with its acts and regulations.

WorkSafe spokeswoman Donna Freeman WorkSafe said Monday that Campbell was given a written order of what he must do to comply in future as a prime contractor. WorkSafe is also considering levying a penalty against Weather Tight, she said.

Paul Devine, a lawyer with Miller Thomson who specializes in health and safety law, said the accident illustrates how little homeowners know about their legal responsibilities when they hire contractors to do work around their home.

Most people don’t realize they should check to make sure the company they hire is registered with WorkSafe or that they are financially responsible if an unregistered worker is hurt on the job. They also have no clue that they should assign the role of prime contractor to the main company doing the work, Devine said.

“Most homeowners would go out and hire as a contractor and assume they would bring in all the subtrades and make sure they are looked after,” he said. “The problem is under the legislation it says you have to assign a prime contractor in writing and if you don’t the owner becomes the prime contractor. I don’t know that most people think past whether the hiring or whether this person is going to do a good job or the cost of it, rather than about the liability if somebody is injured. Generally speaking I don’t think homeowners think in those terms.”

In Campbell’s case, there were three separate companies working on his project, two groups of carpenters and the roofers. All were registered with WorkSafe. But because no one was assigned as prime contractor, the role of ensuring they all complied with health and safety regulations fell to Campbell, something investigators said the former premier was unaware of. Campbell was not on the site when the accident occurred.

Freeman said because Weather Tight was registered, WorkSafe covered the workers’ compensation insurance for Lesko. But she said in cases where contractors aren’t registered with WorkSafe, homeowners are fully liable for any compensation costs. She said there are fewer than five cases a year in which there are serious accidents or fatalities at an unregistered homeowner work site.

Campbell, who is now Canada’s High Commissioner to Britain and lives in London, did not return a telephone call asking for comment.

Devine said most people he encounters do not know they should make sure people they hire to work around their home are registered with WorkSafe. They leave themselves exposed to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation costs if someone is injured on the job.

“Do people understand if you are a homeowner that this liability can attach both as the employer and as potentially as a prime contractor? My experience is no,” said Devine. “I see the cases where people have not appreciated that these things are required and the direct liability that can occasion if they don’t make a simple inquiry.”

Devine said homeowners, whether they are hiring one or more contractors should always assign the role of prime contractor to one company. It may be that employees working for that roofing company you hire are independent contractors who don’t have WorkSafe registration, he said. In the case of an accident, the homeowner would become liable for those independents.

Freeman said homeowners can check WorkSafe’s online registration database to ensure their chosen contractor is registered. If it isn’t the homeowner can pay a modest assessment fee to make sure those workers on their property are covered. It is based on a formula of 5.19 per cent of payroll or labour costs.

Freeman cited two examples: if labour costs on the reno job are $20,000 for instance, registration insurance premiums would be $1, 038. A job that required $40,000 labour costs, registration insurance premiums would be $2,076.

 

Source: Vancouver Sun, March 6, 2012

Real Estate Renting vs Owning

Let’s duke it out for one last time – Renting vs Owning 

It is the debate as old as time and is as entangling as trying to do your own taxes: Is it better to be a renter or own your own home? There are so many sides to the story that everyone’s opinion seems to take over rather than the facts. Renting allows you freedom, freedom to relocate on a moments notice, come and go as you please, minimizes responsibility and can be cheaper. Owning a home is a rewarding experience, you fol-low no ones rules, are in charge of your domain, and have an asset that history has shown will grow in value.

Renting vs. owning has always been a hot topic for the followings reason, each displaying their own fair advice on why. Let’s explore.

 

 

 

I may have missed some here yet what a great start. I can see how the debate can be heated and both sides have a valued argument. Whenever I am approached by someone on the rental side of the fight, there is always one failed piece of information that is never considered. If owning a home is more expensive, more responsibility and more commitment, then why in the world do it? You want to own a home because after years and years of mortgage payments, the payments stop. Imagine 25 years of paying a touch more per month for a home you could easily rent for less… Now imagine year 26 when the payments STOP. What would you do with that money? What would you do with that money if you sold? Owning a home is a long term investment and a forced savings plan, renting is not. For the short period, renting is great yet in the end, you are still just making your payments while your landlord smiles and owns a home.

In the fight against renting versus owning, count this as the knock out punch for the victor, Owning wins again.

Do you know anyone that is currently renting? There are options out there for people with average jobs and income to make home ownership possible.

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  

The Death of the Low Ball Offer

More often than not optimistic home buyers setting out for their first place are inclined to do as they have been instructed. From advice of parents, grandparents, or other friends or family they follow a rule that was popular years ago when times were much different.

Lowball those sellers. A lowball offer is a mediocre at best attempt to get the property at a price that often defies market trends, area statistics and is sufficiently lower than what a seller has offered their home for sale at. Well times have changed so why is the low ball dead? Here are a few reasons…

  1. We live in the Fraser Valley, a suburb of Metro Vancouver, one of the most attractive cities worldwide to live in. This means there is demand to live in our community. Prices will vary month over month yet unless we are in dire affairs with our real estate market, there is not much sense in a home selling for far under its fair market value because people will pay for fair value.
  2. Sellers are educated. There is an amazing amount of information you can pick up from a real estate professional and even online regarding neighbourhood trends and market prices relating to particular and individual home details.  Sellers tend to have a very good idea about what their home is actually worth.
  3. Some sellers can only go so far. With the decline of many property values after the crash of 2008 many sellers cannot afford to take a large loss on their property. If their equity is cleared out they lose their ability to move into a new home after they lose a chance at a down payment, selling fees or property transfer taxes.
  4. The homes that are desperate to sell are the ones in foreclosure. A suggestion that any family about to go into foreclosure on their property would align with the thought that a sharp asking price would attract a prompt sale.

When you as a buyer decide to lowball a seller, you do one thing. You seriously offend and upset that seller. By doing so you enter into a world of swimming against the current, provoking much emotion and pride to get wrapped up in the negotiations, which only hurts your chances of making a good deal. Now, this is not to say that a low ball will never work again because that is just not true. There are some cases that scream a low offer is a great move, yet the large majority do not. So what is the best way to get a great deal on a home? Put yourself in the seller’s shoes and ask yourself, “What is a fair market value for this home?” Once you figure that number out, try for slightly under that number. If you can save $2000-$5000 on the price of your home versus what the market tells us is under market value, you are winning. You may never hit a homerun in baseball as long as you try, but a good base hit will still help you win the game.

 

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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  

Avoid Excessive Humidity in Your Home

Bathroom and kitchen fans are an important part of your home’s ventilation system. They remove odours from your home, which improves indoor air quality. Most importantly, they also remove moisture, which decreases the level of humidity in your home. High humidity can damage building materials, therefore the diligent use of these exhaust fans is essential.

In order to avoid lint build-up in the dryer vents, homeowners can clean the dryer’s lint trap after each individual load. In addition, the dryer should be run for ten more minutes after clothes are removed and traps cleaned in order to dry out any moisture in the ducts.

In the winter months, it is a good practise to open a window and allow moist warm air to escape and cold dry air to take its place.

Ensure that window coverings and interior doors are left open for the greater part of the day and don’t keep interior doors closed for extended periods of time.

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Blog post provided by Greg & Liz Holmes, a REALTOR® Team with Macdonald Realty in South Surrey / White Rock.   Visit The Holmes Team blog at holmesteam.ca

When to accept an offer on your house: Are we there yet, Realtor?

When a homeowner decides to sell their home they usually hire a REALTOR® and the REALTOR® gets to work having the home prepared for sale, getting the home, with all the relevant information, listed on the real estate board’s MLS® system, and starting to notify the real estate industry and the public that the property is for sale and inviting interested buyers to come and view the home. In that order.

Sometimes, within a week or two, the seller receives an offer from an interested buyer. This sudden offer is quite unexpected so soon and, human nature being what it is, the seller often feels that they should wait until more buyers view the home with the hope that the offers will only get better and they may ultimately end up selling the home for more money than the first offer contained. It’s a pretty normal reaction and, at first glance, it seems logical.

In the thirty-two years that I have been involved in selling homes, both as a REALTOR® and as a manager, I have learned that the opposite is often the case. After the initial flurry of interest, things die down, there are fewer buyers looking and the offers are less than that initial offer. What’s gone wrong? How can this be? It doesn’t seem to make any sense.

Well, if you consider the local real estate market in a macro sense you can begin to see the logic behind this phenomenon. Every day, including today, I would guess that out of the almost 500 licensed REALTORS® in the Langley area at least 25 of them have appointments today to show their buyer clients some homes that their buyer might be interested in buying. Many of these buyers have been looking for some time now and have seen many homes. Some of those homes have sold since the buyer saw them and their REALTOR® has dutifully kept them informed of the final selling prices. They may have even made a low offer on one or two homes that they just loved and had their offer rejected and subsequently seen the house sell for a higher price than they had offered. They have been searching for some time, they have become acutely aware of market values for the homes, and they are tired of the search and just want to buy a home. They have seen everything that might be suitable and desirable for them and they, and their REALTOR®, are now reduced to watching for each new home coming into the marketplace. If they see one, and it looks like it meets their needs, and is properly priced in the market (and they are now very knowledgeable about market values) they want to see it right away and, if it meets their needs and desires, they will have their REALTOR® write an offer at market value right away. But they do know market value and if the property isn’t priced correctly they will just pass it by without even looking. So the seller gets a quick offer at market value and wonders if they shouldn’t wait until more buyers show up in the hopes of getting a higher price. However, after a couple of weeks, all of those knowledgeable and motivated buyers have considered the home and have made their market value offer or have discounted the home and moved on. Activity on the home has dropped and the buyers who are now looking at the home don’t seem very interested in the home. What happened?

Well, here’s what happened. The seller’s REALTOR® went through the currently available supply of buyers and now has to generate new potential buyers through their advertising. These new buyers haven’t yet seen sufficient homes to be able to make market based decisions. They are still ” just looking”. If they see your home and like your home they may make an offer but, because they are not yet knowledgeable on market prices they will make a low offer in the hope of getting the home at a below market price. Now you’re negotiating hard just to try and get the price up to the level of that initial offer that you decided not to accept in the hope of getting something better and, instead, you’ve ended up getting something worse.

So, if you get an offer soon after you have put your home up for sale don’t be too quick to reject it. It may turn out to be the one offer that you should have accepted. We might be already there.

For more information contact Stewart Henderson, Managing Broker of Macdonald Realty in Langley.
Originally printed in the Langley Times

Macdonald Realty Christmas Party Raises $25,000 for Charity

Macdonald Realty Vancouver (including the Main Street, Downtown, and Vancouver West offices) and Macdonald Commercial held their annual Christmas party on Friday December 2nd.   The annual Auction had some unique and unexpected donations this year, not the least of which was a simple loaf of FRENCH BREAD THAT SOLD FOR OVER $3,000! Veteran Westside REALTOR® and company Auctioneer Will McKitka managed to successful obtain a whopping $3,000 from one of his colleagues, which will benefit this year’s charity recipients.  Vancouver publication 24hrs included the Macdonald Realty Christmas party in a story on creative charitable giving.

“We wanted to add something simple to make the point, it was time to give to our community with little or no expectations of gain or reward. One singular item that could catch the imagination of our Realtors and staff ” McKitka said. After getting the green light to quietly slip in the unusual auction item from Company CEO and President Lynn Hsu the fundraisers knew they were on to a good thing. “We knew it would be unusual enough to titillate and catch the attention of our audience…We knew it would be a winner!”

This year’s beneficiaries were the ARTHRITIS RESEARCH CENTRE OF CANADA and the VANCOUVER HOSPICE SOCIETY, who are midway through the drive to raise $4.5 million dollars for a soon-to-be built West Side hospice at 4615 Granville Street.