MoneySense names top 5 Victoria neighbourhoods to buy real estate

No. 1 wins for scenic views and proximity to downtown.

moneysensevictoriaIn April 2017 MoneySense.ca  selected their top Victoria neighbourhoods to buy real estate.

By the end of last year, the benchmark price had grown almost 24% for a single-family home in the Victoria area. According to Victoria’s Real Estate Board, this spike in sales price is due, in part, to dwindling listings. Listings were down 41%, when compared to 2015, even as the number of sales last year broke new records for this west coast city. As a result, buyers looking for a home in the Greater Victoria Area are beginning to look further afield.  Read the rest of the article here. 

We’ve rounded up homes for sale in each of these Where to Buy neighbourhoods to make it easy for you.

The top 5 Victoria neighbourhoods for buyers, according to MoneySense are:

  1. Sidney South-East, Sidney

  2. Saxe Point, Esquimalt

  3. Sidney North-East, Sidney

  4. Estevan, Oak Bay

  5. Uplands, Oak Bay

To view all active listings currently for sale in one of these areas simply click the neighbourhood links above or call our head office at 1-877-278-3888 to be matched to an expert real estate agent in your area.

Top 15 South Fraser River neighbourhoods to buy real estate from MoneySense’s Where to Buy report

Million-dollar communities have more to offer than just price appreciation.

moneysensefraserIn April MoneySense.ca produced their annual list of Where to Buy South of the Fraser River neighbourhoods.  We’ve rounded up homes for sale in each of these Where to Buy neighbourhoods to make it easy for you to find your next home.

The top 15 South Fraser neighbourhoods for Buyers, according to MoneySense are:

  1. Brookswood, Langley

  2. Walnut Grove, Langley

  3. Aldergrove, Langley

  4. Guildford, Surrey

  5. Fort Langley, Langley

  6. Langley City, Langley

  7. Willoughby Heights, Langley

  8. Cloverdale, Surrey

  9. Fleetwood Tynehead, Surrey

  10. West Newton, Surrey

  11. Murrayville, Langley

  12. North Surrey, Surrey

  13. East Newton, Surrey

  14. South Surrey White Rock, Surrey

To view all active listings currently for sale in one of these areas simply click the neighbourhood links above or call our head office at 1-877-278-3888 to be matched to an expert real estate agent in the area of your choosing.

Read the rest of the MoneySense article here. 

Real Estate Investment Story | Backyard Vineyards

Meet Michelle Yang, co-owner at Backyard Vineyards in Langley B.C.  Michelle shares her story as a new partner in the winery, learning the wine business, and how her REALTOR® was able to guide her through the process.

To meet a professional realtor in your area visit macrealty.com

 

About Backyard Vineyard:

With a name as true as its location, Backyard Vineyards evokes neighbourhood comforts and a welcoming environment. Top this off with their exceptional wines and well-crafted tasting room for a must-see the next time you take a jaunt through Langley. Backyard Vineyard’s effort of using 100% BC grapes allows them to take their name to heart of loving the landscape of the region and province. Focusing on quality helps their winemaker James Cambridge and the owners express the intricacies of the varietals they carry, as well as the ability to experiment to find their award-winning portfolio.

Visiting this vineyard is a treat, from their large inviting tasting room to their outdoor picnic area there is plenty of space to enjoy a taste and tour. With some grapes grown at this vineyard and others sourced from the Fraser Valley and Okanagan, there is something to please all palates.

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Backyard Vineyards – 3033 – 232nd Street, Langley, BC

What are the Top 25 Greater Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy real estate according to MoneySense?

Yes, good value real estate is possible in Vancouver.

moneysensevancouverIn April 2017, in their annual Where to Buy Now coverage MoneySense.ca selected their top Greater Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy real estate to see the best return on investment.

What’s a buyer to do? The best way is to buy based on solid fundamentals. In real estate this means finding good-value neighbourhoods that offer a good chance of continued momentum in the future. That’s not easy in a hot market, but this year’s Where to Buy Vancouver list shows it is possible.   Read the rest of the article here. 

We’ve rounded up homes for sale in each of these Where to Buy neighbourhoods to make it easy for you.

The top 25 Greater Vancouver neighbourhoods for Buyers, according to MoneySense are:

  1. Cedardale, West Vancouver

  2. Port Moody Centre, Port Moody

  3. Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver

  4. Pemberton NV, North Vancouver

  5. Glenmore, West Vancouver

  6. Glenayre, Port Moody

  7. River Springs, Coquitlam

  8. Cypress Park Estates, West Vancouver

  9. Edmonds BE, Burnaby

  10. Meadow Brook, Coquitlam

  11. Cape Horn, Coquitlam

  12. Hastings, Vancouver East

  13. Horseshoe Bay WV, West Vancouver

  14. Burke Mountain, Coquitlam

  15. Norgate, North Vancouver

  16. Eagle Harbour, West Vancouver

  17. Sapperton, New Westminster

  18. Ambleside, West Vancouver

  19. Mountain Meadows, Port Moody

  20. Steveston Village, Richmond

  21. Queensbury, North Vancouver

  22. Renfrew VE, Vancouver East

  23. Mount Pleasant VE, Vancouver East

  24. Windsor Park NV, North Vancouver

  25. Westwind, Richmond

To view all active listings currently for sale in one of these areas simply click the neighbourhood links above or call our head office at 1-877-278-3888 to be matched to an expert real estate agent in the area of your choosing.

New Exemptions to the 15% Property Transfer Tax

EXEMPTION FROM THE 15% TAX

The original announcement that work permit holders would be exempt from the 15% additional property transfer tax was made on January 29, 2017.

On March 17, Premier Christy Clark finally introduced the details of the new exemption to the 15% property transfer tax applied to certain “foreign nationals” who purchase residential properties in the Greater Vancouver Regional District.  As we expected the devil is in the details.  There are a number of categories of work permit holders.  Just as we expected, it turns out that not all holders of work permits will be treated equally.  Most work permit holders will still have to pay the 15% tax.

The exemption from the tax will only apply to Provincial Nominees under the B.C. provincial nominee program (“PNP”).  They have to be “nominated” by B.C. so that other holders of work permits such as international students, executive transferees, or individuals nominated by other provinces will not qualify for the exemption.  Moreover:

  • The exemption only applies to provincial nominees who treat the property as a principal residence;
  • The exemption may be claimed only once. It the provincial nominee buys another GVRD property he must pay the 15% tax;
  • Evidence of provincial nominee status has to be provided at the time the documents are filed at the Land Title Office.

REFUNDS OF THE 15% TAX FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS

The new rules also provide that the following buyers who have already paid the tax will be entitled to refunds:

  • Foreign nationals who held B.C. PNP certificates or were confirmed as provincial nominees and purchased GVRD residential property between August 2, 2016, and March 17, 2017;
  • Individuals who became permanent residents or Canadian citizens within one year of the date the property transfer was registered in the Land Title Office

Refunds for permanent residents and citizens can only be claimed:

  • in respect of only one property;
  • where the property has been used as a principal residence;
  • where the owner moved into the residence within 92 days of property registration; and
  • continued to live in the property for one full year after the date the property transfer was registered.

Clearly most work permit holders are still subject to the 15% tax.  It seems that the exemptions are designed primarily to accommodate the PNP holders working in B.C.’s growing high technology industry, the fear being that the high cost of housing may be an impediment to economic growth in this critically important sector.

Meanwhile, work permit “status” issues can be somewhat complex.  Foreign national buyers holding work permits and their realtor advisors who are uncertain about whether an exemption would apply should consider consulting their immigration and conveyancing lawyers before entering into a binding agreement to purchase GVRD residential property.


Written by Peter Scarrow, former immigration lawyer, currently is the Director of Asian Business at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

MoneySense names top Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy real estate

While not cheap, these are great options in a crazy market…

Renfew detached home

Renfew detached home

In their April 2016 edition MoneySense magazine selected their top Vancouver neighbourhoods to buy real estate to see the best return on investment.

 After analyzing more than 200 neighbourhoods, we found several communities that offer a chance for future appreciation, all of which have average prices above $1 million. In ­­Ambleside in West Vancouver—our top neighbourhood—a single detached home sold for an average of $2.25 million last year. Even at these prices, homes are still about 14% cheaper, on average, compared to surrounding communities. Moreover, these top neighbourhoods boast a 68% average five-year return—compared to the city’s 51% return for the same time period. While not cheap, our top picks are great options in a crazy market. See the full rankings below.  Read the rest of the article here. 

The top 10 Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods to look for well-priced homes, according to MoneySense are:

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Brentwood Park condo

  1. Ambleside, West Vancouver

  2. Brentwood Park, Burnaby

  3. Hastings, East Vancouver

  4. New Horizons, Coquitlam

  5. Renfrew, East Vancouver

  6. Vancouver Heights, Burnaby

  7. Victoria, East Vancouver

  8. Mount Pleasant, East Vancouver

  9. Ladner Elementary, Ladner

  10. Sapperton, New Westminster

To view all active listings in one of these areas simply click the neighbourhood links above.

 

New 15% Property Transfer Tax

The new 15% property purchase tax (the “PTT”) explained.

WHAT IS THE NEW TAX?

It is a property transfer tax of 15% payable by “foreign” buyers IN ADDITION TO the regular property transfer tax at the time a property transfer for residential property is registered in the land title office for properties located in “The Greater Vancouver Regional District” (the “GVRD”).  This includes places like Surrey, Richmond, Delta, West Vancouver, Coquitlam, etc. but not Squamish, Whistler, Abbotsford, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, etc.

So if a foreign buyer buys a $7 million residential property in West Vancouver the total property purchase tax would be:

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WHO HAS TO PAY?

The tax has to be paid by “foreign entities”.  That means foreign citizens, foreign companies and taxable trustees.  Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents do not have to pay.  Foreign corporations include companies set up outside Canada and Canadian companies that are controlled by foreign persons or by foreign companies.

WHAT SORT OF TRANSACTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO THIS TAX?

The tax is payable in respect of residential properties in the GVRD purchased by foreign buyers on or after August 2, 2016 at the time the transfer is registered in the land title office.  It is payable even when the contract was finalized before August 2, 2016 and the parties unaware there would be a new tax.

ARE THERE ANY LOOPHOLES?

Not many.  Non-residential property is not subject to the extra tax nor are properties outside the GVRD.   Real estate investment trusts and mutual fund trusts are not subject to the extra tax.  Penalties of $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for corporations apply to anyone who participates in illegal tax avoidance.  Presumably this includes lawyers, accountants and realtors who assist in illegal tax avoidance.


Written by Peter Scarrow, former immigration lawyer, currently is the Director of Asian Business at Macdonald Real Estate Group.

Keep the toaster, we’re crowdfunding our down payment

Websites help newlyweds raise money to put toward real estate goals

Newlyweds tend to receive many gifts that end up in the trash or never see the light of day.

Nowadays, many couples have been living together for years before they actually tie the knot, so they’ve probably got the silverware and salt-and-pepper shakers covered.

But what if newlyweds could channel the generosity of all their family and friends towards a big-ticket item of their choosing, like a down payment for a home?

That’s a strategy that people who are set to receive a wave of gifts for a special occasion may take more and more as crowdfunding continues to gain traction.

People have long been using Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other mainstream crowdfunding sites to raise cash for all manner of pursuits.

But more recently, niche crowdfunding sites have been popping up. A number of them focus on helping people raise cash for real estate-related pursuits, including cobbling together enough cash for a down payment.

Feather the Nest, for example, lets users create pages where they can use text, photos and video to describe what real estate aspirations they want contributors to help them fund. Users then share their campaigns through email and their social media accounts.

People can turn to Feather the Nest whenever they want to try to drum up cash for real estate goals, but the site was designed to help people capitalize on the outpouring of generosity that typically comes with special occasions.

The best example would be a wedding, said Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Lindsay Oparowski, CEO of Feather the Nest. The spread of honeymoon registries like Honeyfund.com and Traveler’s Joy show that many couples are keen on funneling the goodwill of friends and family towards a single purpose, rather than sitting back to accept a hodgepodge of smaller gifts.

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Screen shot showing sample DownPaymentDreams.com campaign.

Oparowski envisions soon-to-be-married couples sharing their campaigns for real estate projects with friends and loved ones  and posting them to their wedding websites. The campaigns could either complement the wedding gift menus that couples commonly offer up to family and friends, or they could replace them altogether.

That way, you end up with a house, not “mismatched placemats,” Oparowski said.

Feather the Nest isn’t the only company trying to help people crowdfund down payments. Gift registries Hatch My House and DownPaymentDreams.com both target couples who would prefer down payment assistance over cutlery and candlesticks.

Launched by Wilmington-North Carolina-based real estate agent Teresa Krebs, DownPaymentDreams.com acts as an agent referral service, offering couples a refund of the site’s registration fee and a gift card to a home improvement store in exchange for working with an agent handpicked by the site. Krebs said 20 couples a month sign up on average, with close to 800 having registered since the site launched in 2009.

“In this generation, so many people are wanting to buy a house and they already have furnishings and towels and pots and pans and things like that,” Krebs said. “Among my group of friends that’s what people really wanted for a wedding gift — cash for a down payment.”

HomeFunded.com launched last year, but the website is still listed as being in beta testing.

Hatch My House has helped people raise about $1.7 million for down payments, $200,000 for remodeling and renovations and $100,000 for furnishings and decorations, according to Rieve MacEwen, who founded Hatch My House in 2009 with his wife Erin-Marie. More than 2,000 registeries have received funds on the site, he added.

According to Hatch My House, the average price of a wedding gift is $125, while the average number of gifts for a wedding is 70. That means, theoretically, the typical couple using the site would raise $9,000 to put towards a down payment if every wedding gift went towards their campaign.

PRIMARQ is taking a less romantic approach to the enterprise: The crowdfunder is attempting to enable buyers to obtain down payment assistance from investors in exchange for slices of their home equity.

Screen shot showing Feather the Nest’s campaign directory page.

Oparowski, who was previously a marketing director for two brokerages, said that agents could recommend Feather the Nest to people who are on the fence about buying, or use it as a “touchpoint” to maintain contact with past clients.

The site will generate revenue by taking a cut of the funds users raise through campaigns, but also plans to sell sponsorships to agents, where nest owners would receive some cash for permitting an agent’s advertising to appear next to their campaigns.

This article was originally posted on Inman News, June 30, 2014.  Written by Teke Wiggin.
View the original post at Inman News.

For more information contact Macdonald Realty at 1-877-278-3888

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  

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  

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  

Investing in New Construction

Investing in new construction can be rewarding and hurtful at the same time. Let’s examine some of the benefits and deterrents of buying that brand new home.

Benefits

Everything is new
If you like shiny things and clean corners, new construction cannot be beat

Prices can be promotional
Getting into a new development with early bird or promotional pricing can help you gain financial ground in the real estate market

Developer incentives
The Developer may offer incentives for buying one of their products, such as memberships to certain clubs or business’, additional appliances or upgrades, etc.

New technology
Your building will be made of the latest and greatest advancements in construction and design

Support staff with development
Onsite development staff will be constantly at the development for the first few weeks. This is the time to let them know of any problems, while they are easy to track down

New home warranty
The new home warranty covers all new homes built in British Columbia. You get 2 years on labour and materials (some limits apply), 5 years on the building envelope and 10 years on structure. It’s the strongest construction defect insurance in Canada.

Deterrents

High rentals
Most new developments these days have a very high rental rate due to changes in our fluctuating real estate market. Renters are associated with taking poor care of the property and having a lower level of respect for the occupants. Most new developments would have no restrictions on the amount of rentals

Unestablished strata
The strata council can change and implement changes altering bylaws manipulating your resale audience

Cost can be speculative
Buying a new property at tomorrows prices have burned many people in the last 10 years, disabling them to sell at a profit or even break even

Prices are non negotiable
Developers tend to avoid price haggling at all costs. The price is usually the price

Contracts written by the developer, for the developer
Any contract you sign from a sales office was written by a very educated and determined legal team to protect all aspects of the developers behind. These contracts are heavily weighted for the developers benefit only.

Floating completion and possession dates
Your move in date can be pushed back typically, not fully ensuring an exact move in date

HST
Got to love those taxes. Similar to buying a new car and driving it off the lot, 12% HST is difficult to recover short term

Immediate resale complications
Many developments do not want to compete to sell remaining properties if you choose to sell your unit in the early stages as well. If you have purchased and decided to move, there may be restrictions on how you are able to market your property, or you may even have to pay the developer a portion of your sales money as a penalty.

When purchasing a new home, it is critical to include the involvement of me, your REALTOR®. By reviewing the contract for unfair terms or conditions, providing you with a real time market value, proper pricing forecasting, and ensuring you do not overpay, you can avoid many of the deterrents listed above. Investing in a new development can be rewarding, if done correctly and well-researched.

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  

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  

Legal Mistakes to Avoid When Buying or Selling a House

 The process of buying or selling a house seems to involve a million details.  It is important that you educate yourself on as many parts of this process as you can—this knowledge could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in the long-run.  The legal issues involved in the process are often particularly intricate, ranging from matters of common knowledge to subtle details that might escape the untrained eye.  Any of these issues, if not handled properly, could develop into larger problems.  With so many  legal issues to consider, your first step should be to seek out experienced professionals to help educate you and represent your best legal interests.  Begin with an experienced real estate agent, who can help guide you through the initial hoops.  S/he should also be able to point you in the direction of a reputable local real estate lawyer to assist you in all legal matters involved in the purchase or sale of your house.

While there are countless legal details involved in a real estate transaction, some seem to pose larger problems than others.  We’ve outlined two legal clauses that are commonly misunderstood and may cost you money if not worded correctly.  Handle these carefully and you will be on track to a successful sale or purchase!

Home Inspection Clause

Some real estate transactions have been sabotaged due to the wording of the home inspection clause.  This clause originally allowed that the buyer has the right to withdraw their offer if the home inspection yielded any undesirable results.  However, this allowance was known to backfire, as Buyers took advantage of it, using some non-issue stated in the inspection as an excuse for having changed their minds.  Of course, this was unfair to the Sellers, as they’d poured time and money into what they believed was a sure deal.  Not only might they have missed out on other offers in the interim, but their house might also now be unfairly considered a “problem home.”  Additionally, they’d now have to shoulder the costs of continuing to market the property.  All of this adds up.

In order to remedy this potential problem, the clause should indicate that the seller has the option of repairing any problems the home inspection might point to.  With this slight change in the clause, both buyer and seller are protected.

To ensure this clause is fair from one side of the bargain to the other, work closely with a lawyer experienced in these transactions and all the nuances that may affect the outcome for you.

Survey Clause

It is the right of a home buyer to add a survey clause to the real estate contract on the home they’d like to purchase.  If you are on the selling end of the contract, be aware.  If you have added an addition or a pool to your property since the last survey was produced, your survey will no longer be considered up-to-date and the Buyer may request that a new one be drawn up—the cost of which you will incur.  The price of this process will run anywhere from $700 to $1000.

Your real estate agent has the responsibility to provide you with the most recent survey of your home.  It is then the Buyer’s right to decide if it is acceptable.  An experienced agent should offer you reliable counsel if you encounter an issue with this clause, but it is advisable to talk to your lawyer if you’re unsure at all of the potential ramifications involved.  Remember, the wording of this clause could cost or save you thousands of dollars.

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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  

 

 

 

The value of an expert and why you need one in real estate

An expert as defined by Wikipedia is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. An expert can be, by virtue of credential, training, education, profession, publication or experience, believed to have special knowledge of a subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the individual’s opinion.

If your car is broken, do you send it to a mechanic or your hairdresser? If your refrigerator stops working, do you call in the technician or call you accountant? When you decide to purchase or make available your most valuable asset, your home, do you call a realtor or take advice from your neighbour? Buying and selling a home is best left to an expert.

Everyone seems to have an advanced knowledge of many things, and real estate is no different. Quite often you have someone who has bought and sold a home as many as 5 times in their lifetime, and feel that this warrants an advanced knowledge of the subject. I have baked cookies about 5 times in my life, and that does not make me an expert baker.

A self-proclaimed expert as defined by Urban dictionary is The annoying know-it-all in everyone’s social circle, or quasi-member thereof, who always insists on one-upping the person controlling a current conversation with useless factoids or name-dropping to make himself appear more knowledgeable or superior to the audience in question. Considers himself (herself) the perfect candidate for “Jeopardy.

Now this description is humorous yet also strikes to a point. John Nesbi made famous so many years ago by saying, “We are drowning in information but starving for Knowledge.” With the likes of Google making information readily available to the public within micro seconds, anyone can be a self-proclaimed expert on anything within minutes online. This does not make you an expert based on our Wikipedia understanding.

It is ever so important to have someone that you like and trust when deciding to acquire or dispose of your most valuable asset. The right real estate professional will guide you to the best practises, the ins and outs of the industry, the common pit falls, and most importantly, represent your best assets on your behalf. The right real estate professional will help you get what you want, on your terms, and ensure you are looked after. The process of buying/selling is full of major hazards, legalities, and costly ventures. Trust the professionals and experts to handle the ride as you sit back and enjoy the view. When it comes to taking advice from your neighbour, family, or co-workers, double check their day to day job descriptions and thank them for thinking of your best interest. Smile and kindly remind them, you will take their recommendations to heart, and relay their concerns and advice to the expert, your real estate professional.

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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  

 

 

A Happy Home for You and Your Dog

Let’s face it…there’s a lot of excitement when buying a home. The idea of more space, summer BBQs in the backyard, new paint colours and new decorating thoughts fill one’s mind. You want a happy home for yourself…but if you have dogs, you also want a happy place for them too!  We’re proud dog owners…our beloved Amber is more than a pet…she’s part of our family. She’s practically a big sister to our little girl, who is almost two years old. We’re very happy where we live, and we made sure we considered our dog in our buying process.  Therefore, with so much going through your mind when buying a place, it would be wise to put yourself into Rover’s shoes, or should we say, paws to consider their feelings about a new home.

Flooring:
Does the home have hardwood floors. In our opinion, a hard-floored surface seems to be great with pet owners. We all know how dogs shed hair, and cleaning up a carpet can be a big hassle. Hardwood or laminate is easy to clean, but it’s important to know that a lot of hardwood surfaces are actually quite soft so susceptible to scratches, including dogs nails. Those nails can dig into the floor and leave some pretty big gashes in the floor, especially if you have an exciteable dog that runs around inside. If you have a dog that has long and/or sharp nails, a laminate floor might be a more suitable option. We’ve found laminate to be more resistant to scratches. If you prefer carpeting, consider the length of the carpet. If it’s a long and shaggy carpet, remember that it will be more difficult to get dog’s hair out, as opposed to a groomed carpet, or something easier to vacuum. If your dog is anything like ours…she loves lying on the soft carpet in front of our fireplace…oh how snuggly!

Fencing:
You should never assume that a house is fully fenced. It’s a good idea to walk around the property and check to make sure all panels of the fence are in place and not about to fall off. We can’t imagine a worse feeling that seeing Rover running down the street due to a missing fence panel. This also includes fencing behind shrubs. While shrubs add privacy to a yard, sometimes there is not fencing behind the trees, making an easy escape for dogs.

Around the neighbourhood:
Obviously, it would be important to know whether dog parks, or parks in general, are within walking distance. Places within walking distance usually mean you (and Rover) get out more. If it involves a car (even a short drive), it’s more easy to put off that trip to the park…poor Rover won’t get to see his friends as often. Also, what kinds of pet services are nearby… Where is the closest animal hospital? How far away is a reputable kennel for those times you travel? Where are you going to get their pet food? Since these may be aspects in our everyday lives, you probably should at least think of this when buying a place.

Pet-friendly complexes:
While it is true that many strata properties (condos or townhomes) have pet restrictions (often limiting the type and/or number of pets), some complexes are “pet-friendlier” than others. Be sure to look around when you’re looking at properties. Do you see large dogs? Are there “no pet” signs? Do you see a lot of people walking with the dogs on a leash? All these are pretty good indicators as to “how pet-friendly” a complex is.

Overall, there are a lot of factors that go into buying a home. While Rover probably doesn’t get the final say, it’s important to consider how your dog will adapt to their new home. As you know, they only want you to be happy, so why not make sure that they’ll be happy too.

Happy trails!

 

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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

6 Signs it is time to buy a house – Part 2

Is it the right time for you to buy a house? Learn more about that in this article below in part 2 of this series by Janet Fowler, Investopedia.com

4. Low interest rates

When interest rates are low, it’s a great time to look at buying a home. You will be able to get a reasonable interest rate on your mortgage loan, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. A home is generally the single largest purchase anyone makes, and the amount of interest tacked onto a mortgage really adds up over the years that you’re repaying the loan. Even a difference of a fraction of a percentage point can make a pretty big difference over the long term. Consider a mortgage of $220,000. The difference between a rate of 4.2 per cent and 4.5 per cent results in an extra $13,993 paid toward interest over the course of a 30-year mortgage. That’s a lot more than just pocket change.

5. Adequate funds for a down payment

Having a hefty down payment helps in the same way as finding a low interest rate. Ultimately, the less you owe, the less you’ll have to repay and the less you’ll have to tack on for interest. If you find yourself with a nice lump of cash, putting it toward a home purchase is definitely a solid financial investment. Just think, you’ll be building equity in your home which you’ll see again when you sell, and you’ll have somewhere to live in the meantime. Though it may be tempting to put the money toward a trip, a new car or a luxury shopping spree, the return on investment on these sorts of purchases — at least in the strict financial sense — can be rather disappointing.

6. Seasonal

During the springtime, more house listings tend to come on the market. With the poor winter weather over and the kids nearly done school for another year, this seems to be the time when most people are willing to take on a move. Having more homes on the market means a wider selection — and a greater ability to negotiate price. However, this is also the time of year when more buyers are in the market. Circumstances will depend on your particular market conditions, but the arrival of spring typically revives the real estate market after quieter winters. Alternatively, if you’re willing to move during the winter months, sometimes owners of homes that have been sitting on the market for a long time are more willing to negotiate.

 

To read the full article click here.

 

6 signs it is time to buy a house – Part 1

Are you ready to buy a home? Find out if it’s the right time for you to enter the real estate market.

If you’ve been considering buying a house but you’re still unsure, consider some of the personal and economic conditions that favour home purchases. If you find that a number of these signs ring true for you, it might be time to contact a real estate agent and start shopping.

1. You’re ready to commit

First and foremost, if you’re not ready to commit to owning a home, you should not buy a house. Home ownership comes with a plethora of responsibilities, including home maintenance, property taxes and the process of selling the property when it comes time to move.

Legal fees, moving expenses, and all of the incidental costs associated with buying a home can really add up. To make the most of these costs, it’s best to plan on living in your new home for a stretch of time. Consider whether you have a stable job that will provide a solid income for a mortgage, and if there’s any chance you’ll have to relocate in the near future. If you feel you can commit to sticking with a home for at least five years, then it might be just the right time for you to buy. If you’re typically a hardened commitment-phobe, remember that you can sell or rent your property if your situation changes dramatically.

2. Owning costs less than renting

If you’ve examined your budget and realized that your monthly payments associated with buying a home are less than you’re currently paying in rent, it’s time to consider a home purchase. Talk to your bank and look at what your mortgage payments would be for a variety of different properties and gauge what you can afford. Factor in any additional costs you may have to pay, such as condominium fees or extra utility bills, and compare your total costs to what you’re paying in rent. If it’s roughly the same or less, you could be saving money by purchasing a home — plus there’s the added benefit that you’ll be putting your monthly home expenditures toward your own home equity!

3. Buyer’s market

When demand for housing is low and there’s a wealth of properties on the market that aren’t moving too fast, that’s known as a buyer’s market. You’ll have a lot more bargaining power under these conditions than if you’re buying in a seller’s market, which is when demand for homes is high, resulting in few properties on the market that are selling fast. In a buyer’s market, chances are you’ll be able to negotiate a seller’s list price down — sometimes quite substantially — and save yourself a lot of money in the process.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series Signs it is time to buy a house by Janet Fowler, Investopedia.com

All About Duplexes

I’ve had the recent experience of assisting clients buy a full duplex as a place to live in. They are two families who wish to share one mortgage, thus finding a large enough home that was equal for both parties limited our search to full duplexes. A full duplex is when both sides of the duplex share one title. Going through the process was different than buying a single detached house in so many ways, so it made sense to share our knowledge for anyone considering this option.

When shopping for a duplex, be prepared to be patient. Since duplexes are an old style of building, they are fewer of them available for re-sale. With the building boom of the last 15 years, many duplexes have been torn down because of the large land that they occupy. New style homes, such as the two-storey with basements have often replaced them, thus reducing the inventory of duplexes on the market. Furthermore, in an economy with much uncertainty, duplexes are fairly easy positive cash-flow generators, so once an owner has a duplex, they hold onto them.

Then, when a new duplex listing pops up on the MLS, getting into a duplex is not easy, either. Since duplexes are often converted (legally or not) into a fourplex, 24 hours notice to get access is usually necessary. In fact, it is not uncommon to have to give 48 hours notice to get access.  Listing agents, or the sellers, have to track down all tenants to give legal notice. Getting into all sides of a duplex is so important because of the quality differences from each unit. Sometimes owners will renovate one unit when a tenant moves out, but leave other units alone as long as there is a tenant. So while the layout might be the same from one side to another, the quality can be drastically different. Finally, don’t be surprised that when you go to see it, there will be other potential buyers there at the same time. Since getting access can be difficult, a listing agent will try and get as many buyers through at one time. So be aware, as this can also create an urgency in the buyer writing an offer (when they see other buyers).

Not only do you have to be patient when shopping for a duplex, you have to keep a careful eye on the quality of the duplex, too. It’s likely that the seller’s of a duplex are probably investors and don’t live in one of the units. Since they are investors, they often don’t treat the duplex with the same kind of care that they provide their own home. In many investors minds, as long as they get the rent cheque, that’s all they are concerned with. Now to be fair, many tenants simply don’t report problems with the place, either. But since most duplexes are older buildings, often built back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, they are showing their age. If owners have never lived there, it is easy to see how repairs can get overlooked. That’s why it’s even more important to have a thorough home inspection done on a duplex. Getting access to the attic, and the roof is of particular importance.

Many duplexes in the Fraser Valley seem to be located close to the city centres. So many also have redevelopment potential. But the word “potential” must be noted. Listing agents will tell you how prime the land is, but buyer’s agents must do their research to find out the long-term plan for the region.  Furthermore, with regards to zoning regulations, careful attention must be made to determine whether the duplex is conforming or non-conforming. A non-conforming duplex means that if the duplex was destroyed for any reason (ie-fire, or to rebuild), the city’s zoning laws would not allow it to be a duplex again. I think you’d agree that’s an important fact you’d want to discover before you buy it! Other zoning challenges when it comes to duplexes is to find out other restrictions of the land. Some duplexes are zoned as multi-family, and others are zoned as residential duplex…each with the own allowances for number of units, size of building square footage, etc. Do not buy a duplex without careful inspection of the city’s bylaws.

In the end, my experience with buyers of a duplex has been an exciting one. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. My clients exercised patience and kept a reasonable head to ensure they found the right fit for them. But be forewarned, it is a completely different ball game than buying a single detached house. So be prepared!

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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