Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Feb. 6, 2018

January 2018 Metro Vancouver Real Estate Market Update

I hope you’ve had a great start to the new year so far. How has our Metro Vancouver market done this January compared to December 2017, though?

House sales remained the same as last December, with an active ratio of 15%. Home prices are still negotiable, and some are even selling below their tax assessment. This may mean a great opportunity to buy a house this spring.

“This spring may be a great opportunity to buy a home.”

For condos, the active-to-sales ratio dropped from 58% to 27%. This drop in activity may be related to new mortgage stress-testing rules and higher interest rates. As a general rule, we tend to see decreases in home prices when we get consecutive months of active-to-sales ratios below 12%. If you own a condo, this means you’re still safe and prices are still trending upward.

If you’ve been stressing out about the new mortgage stress testing that took effect January 21, I have an update for you. Some credit unions are still not adhering to the stress test. I also found out from a mortgage broker that if you purchased a home before November 2016, you can refinance without stress-testing.

Also, if you’re thinking about increasing your down payment up to 20% to avoid the insurance premium, you may be able to get a lower mortgage rate—up to 0.5%—with a higher ratio insured mortgage. You may end up saving more money throughout your mortgage term with the lower interest rate versus a larger down-payment.  So make sure you work out your calculations properly.

If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home soon, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 25, 2018

Avoid these 8 First time Home Buyer Mistakes

Over the years, I’ve seen first-time homebuyers make some foolish mistakes. Here are eight mistakes that you should avoid:

1. Spending over your budget. It’s always a good idea to get pre-approved before you start looking at homes. That way, you know exactly what to expect from your monthly mortgage payments.

2. Not borrowing against your RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans). As a first-time homebuyer, you can borrow up to $25,000 interest-free for your down payment. If you are buying with a partner who is also a first-time buyer, you can get up to $50,000.

3. Not getting a home inspection. An inspector will check the roof, electrical, foundation, appliances—anything that could lead to expenses in the future. The last thing you need is to move in and be faced with a large repair bill.

4. Not accounting for closing costs. Closing costs can vary depending on the type of property and financing you have. Closing costs can range from 2% to 18% of the purchase price, so make sure you have this accounted for before you begin your home search.

“An online pre-approval can ruin your transaction.”

5. Secure your down payment funds for your mortgage. Most mortgage brokers and banks require savings history on the funds. The funds usually need to sit in your account for at least 90 days before lenders prepare to issue you a mortgage, so please plan ahead.

6. Not getting a mortgage approved by a live person. Most mortgage pre-approvals are automated online, which means your employment, down payment, and credit history are not being verified. Relying on an online pre-approval can ruin your transaction.

7. Selecting the wrong neighborhood. Make sure to check the school district and distance to amenities. It’s also a good idea to visit the neighborhood at different times of day to assess noise levels.

8. Not using a Realtor as a buying representative. Having a Realtor on your side is always a smart decision. A buyer’s agent understands the market, as well as how to negotiate the best price and terms for you. Would you hire a lawyer to represent you in court, or would you represent yourself?

If you have any other questions about buying a home or about real estate in general, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Posted in Home Buyer Tips
Jan. 25, 2018

4 Common Home Seller Mistakes

 

During the process of selling your home, there are certain things you should absolutely avoid. 

Today, I’d like to share four major seller mistakes that could negatively impact your home sale. 

  1. Selling your home by yourself. Doing this is a big risk. Certain data, such as the Multiple Listing Service’s sold information, isn’t available to you without the help of a professional. Additionally, when you sell your home without an agent, you are doing so without the kind of marketing leverage a professional can provide. Most homebuyers begin their search online. This means that you will need strong marketing to set your listing apart. Even if you do get your home sold, how can you be sure you did so for the highest price and with the best possible terms? Using an agent is always preferable.
  2. Pricing your home incorrectly. It’s difficult to know exactly how to price your home. In order to do so correctly, you’ll need to strike a balance between what is too low and what is too high. A home with a high price will bring buyers with higher expectations. Your home should ideally be priced to what the average potential buyer will be willing to pay. 
  3. “Having attractive photos of your home will always help you attract more buyers.”? Using poor photography. With the majority of people turning to the Internet when they begin looking at homes, the first impression your home will give off will be through photographs. Hiring a quality, professional photographer will be absolutely essential to ensuring that your home is put forward in the best possible light. Having attractive photos of your home will always help you attract more buyers.
  4. Ignoring your backyard. While curb appeal tips tend to focus on the front of your home, you should never neglect the state of your backyard. Remember to remove weeds and trim your hedges. If you need or would like help with completing this, I have a great list of professional landscapers who I would be happy to recommend to you.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

 

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Jan. 25, 2018

Changing Interest Rates what this Means to You

 

On July 12, 2017, the central bank raised the benchmark interest rate for the first time in seven years from 0.5% to 0.75%.

The Bank of Canada is expected to increase rates a second time later this year.

What does this mean to you?

The rate increase reflects the confidence in our economy. A quarter-point increase is not going to tank the housing market.

“If you are thinking of making a move, do so before interest rates go up again.”

If you are thinking of making a move, I recommend that you get into the market now before rates go up again. Get pre-approved and lock in that low mortgage rate now. Pre-approvals typically last 90 days.

For sellers, an increase in interest rates means an increase in buyer activity. Buyers will rush into the market to take advantage of rates before they buy again. This is especially true in the townhouse and condo market. Check with your lender for pre-payment penalties and see if they will allow you to move your current mortgage to a new property.

If you have any other questions about interest rates or the local real estate market, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Jan. 25, 2018

Think Twice Before Breaking A Real Estate Contract

Think Twice Before Breaking A Real Estate Contract

What happens when a real estate deal collapses? Today, I’m here to give you the inside scoop.

If you are a seller, don’t celebrate too soon when you think you’ve sold your property. Take a step back and realize that a real estate deal can collapse before or after subject removal.

When a deal collapses subject removal, no deposit will be lost unless it is specified under contract. Personally, I recommend that you get any collapsed deal drawn up into writing.

However, a deal that collapses after subject removal will leave you subject to hefty fines. CBC News recently highlighted this in a story of a person who bought a property last year. This buyer bought the property before the 15% foreigner’s tax. Once the tax was in place, the property ended up being worth 28% less than it was before.

“Always thoroughly read contracts before agreeing to them, and always honor them once they do.”

When the buyer terminated the contract, the judgement against them was $360,000. This amount was six times greater than the buyer’s original deposit. This fine included the price difference, carrying costs, utilities, and a number of other expenses.

If you’re a seller, you may be asking if this applies to you as well. Actually, it does.

The lesson that can be learned from this story is that buyers and sellers alike need to always thoroughly read contracts before agreeing to them, and to honor them once they do.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Jan. 25, 2018

Winning the Bidding War

The market can be a highly competitive place. Today, I’ve got five tips that will help you win a bidding war.

  1. Do your homework. Do you know if the seller has already bought a new home? If they haven’t, you could boost your chances by offering to let them close quickly and rent back the property from you until they find a new home. However, if they have already bought a home, you can still get ahead by offering to match their closing date.

  2. Write a clean offer without subjects. Get your financing and inspection approved before writing an offer. Submitting a subject-free offer puts you in a better position than those who have submitted offers with subject conditions.

  3. Present the offer in person and quickly sign counteroffers. Face-to-face interactions are always better than those done via email or the phone. Since most offers aren’t carried out this way, your interaction with the seller is going to stand out.

  4. Provide a deposit check with your offer. The deposit check will demonstrate your offer’s financial strength. Deposits for amounts greater than 5% will also help your offer go the extra mile.

  5. Appeal to the seller’s emotional side. If you aren’t submitting your offer in person, take a photo of yourself and attach it to a letter explaining what you love about the seller’s home. Letting the sellers know how much this property would mean to you can add a lot of weight to your offer. I’ve personally seen a number of offers win using this strategy.

“Face-to-face interactions are always better than those done via email or the phone.”

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Home Buyer Tips
Jan. 25, 2018

Why You Can't Trust BC Assessments to Value your Home

Why you can't trust BC assessments to accurately value your home?

A BC assessment is a government document whose sole purpose is collecting taxes. They’re also created using an algorithm to determine value. This algorithm compares your home to other homes that have sold in the area during July of the previous year—which means it’s not very up to date. 

“Assessment data usually comes in 5% to 15% below or above market value.”

Assessment data doesn’t know if you’ve remodeled your home or bathroom or if your property has redevelopment potential, and it usually comes in 5% to 15% below or above market value. Very rarely does a person actually come out to your property to perform this assessment. 

If you don’t want to leave money on the table, reach out to me so I can give you a true valuation of your home.

If you have any questions about determining home value or any other real estate topic, just give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help you. 

 

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Jan. 25, 2018

Why Professional Photos are Everything

 You Need Professional Photos  

Your home is your most valuable asset, and professional photography is essential to featuring it in its best light. 90% to 95% of homebuyers start their home search online, and you only get one chance to make a great impression.

The photos of your home that you post online will determine whether or not a buyer wants to come see your home in person. Make sure that your agent uses HD photography to showcase your home, and never use an iPhone or other mobile device to take photos. If you do, your photos may look grainy or small when you post them online.

“90% to 95% of homebuyers start their home search online.”

Drone photography is also perfect to showcase larger homes with outdoor amenities or large acreages.

These are just some the methods professional agents like me use to showcase your home to potential buyers. If you have any other questions or you’re looking to buy or sell a home, please give me a call. I look forward to speaking with you.

Posted in Home Seller Tips