Winding up a Strata Corporation

One year ago new amendments to B.C.’s Strata Property Act came into effect.   The new rules made it easier to cancel or “wind up” a strata corporation by reducing the voting threshold from unanimous approval of all owners to 80% approval.  The original requirement for unanimous approval made most wind ups all but impossible since, for example, a single owner in a 100 unit strata building could hold up the whole process even though 99% of the owners were in favour of a wind up.

West End

As a result, the owners of more and more older strata buildings are voting for a wind up.  There are a number of reasons to do this:

  1. Many older strata buildings are in bad condition and require extensive and very expensive repairs which owners do not want to pay for;
  2. Many older strata buildings were built at a time when densities were lower (fewer units permitted on the building lots). A developer purchasing such lots can build more units now;
  3. Consequently, many older strata buildings are in prime locations coveted by developers who are prepared to pay owners top dollar to sell their property.

However, winding up a strata corporation is a very complicated, time-consuming legal process requiring input from experienced commercial real estate brokers and lawyers.  At Macdonald Commercial we have a team of specialist brokers who work with strata corporations on wind-ups.

Some key points to consider if you are an owner of a strata corporation and considering a wind up:

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Macdonald Real Estate Group – Year in Review 2015

It is the season to look back with a Year in Review 2015 video of Macdonald Real Estate Group’s performance across our residential, commercial sales and leasing, property management and project marketing divisions, as well as the launch of our new office in Shanghai, China.  This success continues to position us as Western Canada’s largest integrated real estate firm.  Watch the 3 minute video for an overview of the key highlights of our last year.

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About Macdonald Real Estate Group
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG) has an annual sales volume of over $7 billion and over $2 billion in assets under management.  With more than 20 offices and nearly 1,000 staff and REALTORS®, MREG offers a full range of real estate services, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, project marketing, and the MREG Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre in Shanghai, China.  Macdonald Realty is the residential division of Macdonald Real Estate Group. For more information, visit


Ian Lawrie’s Retirement | Mortgage Services

Join Macdonald Real Estate Group in extending best wishes to Ian Lawrie, our Vice President of Mortgage Services, who has retired at the end of 2015. Ian was with us for nearly 27 years, since he joined the Vancouver-West (Kerrisdale) office in 1989 and opened our first mortgage division.

Under Ian’s care, our mortgage services have undergone many changes. In recent years, he has brought our strategic partnership with Origin Home Financial Partners Inc to our offices with a team of dedicated, mobile mortgage professionals to serve our clients. Rest assured Macdonald Real Estate Group will continue to offer mortgage solutions for our clients.

View our Mortgage information page and contact an Origin mortgage advisor in your area.


BC Real Estate is Front and Centre in Shanghai | BCBusiness with Dan Scarrow

Beyond Borders
Macdonald Realty’s Shanghai office is meeting the needs of its clients and bearing fruitful results

As seen in BCBusiness July 2015 issue.

As the demands of the BC real estate market change, realtors and their respective real estate agencies must react accordingly to stay in the game. For one agency, this meant thinking outside of the box and stepping out of its time zone.

When Macdonald Realty opened its office in Shanghai, China, last year, it was branded as “The Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre.” But Dan Scarrow, who manages the Shanghai office, says that his Chinese clients had their own words to describe it. Impressed with the office’s scope, they say that it covers “an entire dragon of services.”

Those services include residential resale, commercial sales and leasing, new development project marketing and property management. While American, Australian, New Zealand and European real estate companies had established offices in China, Macdonald Realty was the first company in China with a sole focus on Canadian real estate. The company decided to open the office as a response to their clients’ desire for better access to the Chinese market.

Scarrow is uniquely qualified to run the office. He has been working with Macdonald Realty for nearly 10 years, and has worked as an executive assistant for the CEO, and as a residential and a commercial agent. He is a born-and-bred Vancouverite, but he is half Taiwanese. “The upshot is that Mainland Chinese see me as a white Canadian, but I’m also able to communicate with them in Mandarin,” he says. “I guess you could say that, in China, I am an authoritative foreign curiosity and hence memorable.”

His company, says Scarrow, has several competitive advantages. “Our intimate knowledge of the market is what makes us uniquely valuable to investors here,” he says. “We are small enough to be agile, but big enough to provide a full range of brokerage, management and advisory services.”

Scarrow works with Chinese clients who are in the process of immigrating to Canada, with new Canadians and with pure investors. Those interested only in investment tend to look at new condos and commercial properties. “What resonates with investors in China is the perception of Canada as a safe and secure investment climate, in contrast with China’s robust, but volatile, environment,” says Scarrow.

In order to stand out in today’s highly competitive real estate market, Macdonald Realty has undertaken several innovative marketing strategies. As technology has made property information widely available to the public, Scarrow notes that the role of the real estate agent has shifted: from gatekeeper of information to interpreter and negotiator. To meet the demands of those roles, Macdonald Realty has been working with an outside training organization to offer all agents the exclusive Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) designation. Macdonald Realty has also launched its own magazine called Macdonald Realty Luxury Homes, to help market its luxury home listings in Canada and in China. Produced by the company’s own in-house creative marketing team, the magazine has proven to be a hit.

But from his own experience, Scarrow says that the most important way for an agent to get ahead is to be a competent professional first. “Doing a fantastic job with one client will generate more long-term business than even the most successful email campaign,” he says. “Start with the people who know and trust you, do an unbelievable job for them and continue learning about how to be a professional from the good agents and managers around you.” Dan Scarrow manages Macdonald Realty’s Shanghai office sults just come a lot easier.”

This article was originally posted on BCBusiness, June 12th, 2015. 


Macdonald Realty Recognized for Outstanding Referral Services

Macdonald Realty was Recognized for Outstanding Referral Services

Macdonald Realty received the prestigious Global Alliance Award for the Most Outgoing Cross Border referrals from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a global network of more than 500 top independent real estate firms. The award was presented at the network’s Annual Awards Gala this spring during LeadingRE Conference Week in Las Vegas.  This was Macdonald Realty’s third consecutive year winning this award, showcasing our position as a local BC company with strong international connections.

Also, in the Marketing category Macdonald Realty received honorable mentions for their 2014 Corporate Brochure of Integrated Real Estate Services and their 2014 Recruitment Video in the Interactive Media / Video category.

“An innovative and creative approach to marketing is critical for success in today’s real estate market. Our award-winning firms have distinguished themselves by conveying their firms’ unique character, while providing essential information to home buyers and sellers.”

Macdonald Realty is the sole Vancouver representative of LeadingRE (, the largest network of premier locally-branded firms in more than 50 countries. LeadingRE provides its affiliates with an extensive range of brokerage services, which include lead generation, cross-market referrals, branding support, luxury marketing, online exposure, technology systems, and industry-leading professional development.

For more information on placing a referral with our award winning referral team, please email or call 1-877-278-3888.


Dispatches from China: The logistics of opening an office in China by Dan Scarrow

I’m now in month 2 of a 4-month long assignment looking into the logistics of opening a Macdonald Realty representative office in China.

To recap, we have gone to China as a response to demand from our clients. We determined early on that we’re likely the only brokerage in BC that’s capable of supporting an economically feasible office in China due to our multiple lines of business: Residential Brokerage, Commercial Sales, Project Marketing for Developers, Property Management and Mortgage Financing. Having one or two of these capabilities would not be enough to sustain an office in China, but having all 4 means that Macdonald Realty and its affiliated companies – Macdonald Commercial, Property Management, and Platinum Project Marketing – can make it work.

In the first month after our arrival, the unexpected changes to the Canadian Investor Immigrant Program had a lot of people scrambling, trying to figure out what the impact would be for the Vancouver housing market. I must admit that I’ve changed my mind about how big the impact would be from Large to Minimal. The reason, as explained by some of our Immigration Consulting partners here in China, is that their wealthy clients are more interested in placing their children and a portion of their wealth outside of China than they are in immigrating themselves. Canada offers a perfect solution for this through student visas for children and an accompanying 10-year multiple entry visa for adults. These immigration consultant partners are fairly confident that many of their clients will choose this route and continue to invest in Canada and British Columbian residential and commercial real estate.

Another issue that we’ve had to deal with is representative fraud. This is something that is quite common and widespread in China and only recently has it made its way over to Canada. We have now verified 3 cases of individuals who have fraudulently claimed to be the Canadian representative of a company in China, and we have several other suspicious incidences to follow up on. The cases seem to follow the same pattern: an individual claims to be the representative of a large Chinese company, he/she knows a lot about the company or a decision-maker in the company but most of the information can be found online, and the individual tells us not to contact the decision-maker back in China because they are ‘very busy’. Through the BC Trade Office here in China, I’ve been able to get a hold of the Chairmen of several of these companies and most of them (though not all) have denied having any sort of official representation in Canada. This is just another area where having ‘boots on the ground’ can help.

Moving forward, this month’s task is to determine and solve the logistical, legal, and administrative challenges of opening an office in China. This is one of the biggest hurdles for Canadian companies and is one of the main reasons why so few have set up shop in the country.

As an aside, I recently made a side-trip to Taiwan to learn about the state of the Taipei real estate market. Much to my surprise, I found that housing prices in Taipei are much higher than in Vancouver and their wages are significantly lower. This goes to the heart of the paradox that we’ve been faced with in this business for several years now: Vancouver house prices, wages, and housing affordability. The oft-cited Demographia study is often twisted in Vancouver headlines as being a study of all markets around the world, when in actuality it only covers 9 (mostly western) countries. It explains the paradox of why Canadians often think that Vancouver is so expensive while our Chinese clients continually tell us how cheap Vancouver is. I certainly can’t explain to you how the economics of Taipei’s real estate market work, I can only tell you that they do. And if Vancouver is the most Asian city outside of Asia, it certainly lends credibility to the theory that Vancouver house prices may still have some room to grow.


Dan Scarrow
VP Corporate Strategy
Macdonald Real Estate Group

Dispatches from China
Dan Scarrow is Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Macdonald Realty.  A second generation Chinese Canadian with fluency in Mandarin, Dan will be spending several months in Shanghai investigating the opportunity to open a Macdonald Realty rep office in China.  Dan will be sending monthly dispatches with stories from his experiences in Shanghai.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Macdonald Realty has 20 offices and 1,000 staff and Realtors, and offers a full range of real estate services across the province, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, and project marketing.

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

Dispatches from China by Dan Scarrow

Greetings from China.

As explained in the Globe and Mail, I have been in Shanghai for nearly a month to explore the feasibility of opening a Macdonald Realty rep office in China. For the past few years, we have received consistent feedback from our clients asking us how they can access the Chinese market. This is our response to customer demand. Our firm has a large residential presence, along with a separate property management and commercial brokerage division, and a project marketing division so our office in China would look for investors in all three areas: residential resale, commercial properties, and new home construction. We’ve received considerable feedback from homeowners, commercial property owners, and developers who all wish to market their properties in China to Chinese buyers.

I believe we are uniquely positioned to attract investment back to BC because of:

  1. Our focus on this province
  2. The fact that we are BC’s only truly full service corporate real estate company
  3. Our knowledge of the Chinese market

Because our focus is on British Columbia, the goal of our Chinese rep office is to encourage investment back into British Columbia so our clients can be assured that they receive the widest exposure to potential buyers, be it residential, commercial, business, or new construction. Some of Vancouver commercial firms have licenced affiliations with Chinese offices, but the focus of those offices is on building business for China, not Western Canada.

A Chinese rep office is only viable because we are a truly full service corporate real estate company. A few larger local developers have some presence in China, but their focus has been solely their own projects and the results have been decidedly mixed. Our hope is that by combining all of our lines-of-business we will be able to provide the one-stop-shop for investors to look into all British Columbia real estate.

Finally, Macdonald Realty and its affiliated companies have an unparalleled knowledge of the Chinese market. Our owner, President and CEO Lynn Hsu is a first-generation Chinese Canadian who has already accrued a hefty list of Canadian business accolades. I was sent back to China to explore the possibility of an office because of my relative fluency in Mandarin and my cultural understanding from growing up in a mixed Chinese-Canadian household. As a company, we’ve been very successful at luring investment into BC from top Chinese companies and businesspeople, partly because a number of our company’s key staff have in-depth knowledge of BC real estate products and who can speak comfortably to these investors in their own language.

On a more personal note, China has been every bit as interesting as I thought it would be. I’ve been in Shanghai for most of the time I’ve been here, but I expect to go to a few secondary and tertiary cities in the near future (Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Hangzhou, and Qingdao are on my to-do list). The pollution has been noticeable, but not terrible so far. I’ve heard reports that recently Beijing and other northern cities have experienced terrible smog, but I haven’t been restricted in my movements thus far. That said, you can definitely see the difference between an Air Quality Index 50 day vs. 250 day:

For those who have never been, Shanghai is an extraordinary place that is relatively friendly to tourists. It’s transportation system is incredible, with the Metro alone moving 2.5 billion people annually. Rush hour is a sight to behold, both due to the sheer number of people moving through the system as well as how efficiently it does so. While the city is enormous, the main downtown area is quite manageable. I liken it to New York City: if you ever wanted to explore the whole metro area, it would take you forever, but Manhattan can be understood in only a few days. Same thing with Shanghai. A word of caution though, this area of Shanghai is not at all representative of China. As one expat told me: “Living is Shanghai is really fun, but if we were living in any other city in China, we wouldn’t last very long.”

I suppose that’s why they all want to come to Canada.

My plan is to be in China until the end of May, and I look forward to giving you updates of our progress.


Dan Scarrow
VP Corporate Strategy
Macdonald Realty


Dispatches from China
Dan Scarrow is Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Macdonald Realty.  A second generation Chinese Canadian with fluency in Mandarin, Dan will be spending several months in Shanghai investigating the opportunity to open a Macdonald Realty rep office in China.  Dan will be sending monthly dispatches with stories from his experiences in Shanghai.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Macdonald Realty has 20 offices and 1,000 staff and Realtors, and offers a full range of real estate services across the province, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, and project marketing.

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

Why Macdonald Realty is exploring opening an office in Shanghai, China | Inman

After 70 years in business in British Columbia, and much consideration and analysis, Macdonald Real Estate Group has decided to explore opening an office in China. To that end, my colleague, Dan Scarrow, our vice president of corporate strategy, left for Shanghai early in February.

In order to understand our rationale, it is first important to appreciate how Chinese investors have shaped the real estate market in Vancouver, B.C., where our company is headquartered.

Over the past three decades, Macdonald Real Estate Group has assisted thousands of Asian families and investors in real estate transactions in the Vancouver area and across western Canada. In the 1980s and ’90s, there were overlapping waves of Hong Kong and Taiwanese investment, and more recently we have seen the mainland China wave.

Our experience has given us the chance to develop a sizable network of Asian clients, both commercial and residential.

While the official percentage of foreign buyers in the Vancouver area is around 3 percent, Chinese clients make up a much higher proportion of certain segments of the market. The exact percentage is hard to pin down, but our research would indicate that Chinese families account for at least 50 percent of Vancouver home sales over $3 million, and our commercial division has put together dozens of major transactions with Chinese investors on a range of commercial real estate asset classes.

Asian clients are not arbitrarily choosing Vancouver as a destination for real estate investment. Our Chinese clients generally have close family and business ties to the areas in which they invest.

For example, aside from business considerations, the primary factor in shaping immigration-related real estate decisions for Chinese families will be proximity and availability of educational opportunities for the next generation.

Aside from business considerations, the primary factor in shaping immigration-related real estate decisions for Chinese families is educational opportunities for the next generation.””
That said, these clients often maintain a foothold in their country of origin, where they often have ongoing commercial interests.

If we open an office in Shanghai, we will be better able to serve our clients who are based in China, or who those spend significant time there. They will have somewhere to go to review documents, and get insight on real estate issues.

In addition, having a presence in China will give us another channel for promoting real estate opportunities.

I will be providing periodic updates to Inman as we go through our due diligence in Shanghai. Hopefully you can find something in our experience that is useful to you in your business, or at the very least you can enjoy watching the process unfold.

Jonathan Cooper is vice president of operations at Macdonald Real Estate Group (MREG). Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, MREG has 20 offices and 1,000 staff and Realtors, and offers a full range of real estate services across the province, including residential and commercial brokerage, property and strata management, and project marketing.

This article was originally posted on Inman News, Feb 21, 2014.
View the original post at Inman News

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