With more than a million Canadian homeowners trying to defer payments, many with little success, five mortgage brokers offer insight and advice
But with phone lines jammed, and websites unable to process applications that are assessed on a case-by-case basis, many homeowners looking for a deferral or seeking answers have had little success.
Confusion reigns over what makes a homeowner eligible for an emergency deferral, how the program works, whether interest is payable and whether deferring payments will affect credit scores. Unfortunately, with the situation changing on a daily basis, and lenders forced to make up rules as they go, it has been impossible for most people to get any information.
To clear up some of these issues, Glacier Media Real Estate spoke with five mortgage experts who offered their insights and advice on some frequently asked questions.
You would have to visit your local pharmacy or science lab to rival the number of potentially dangerous chemicals in the average home. You likely store everything from fertilizers to acidic cleaners to gasoline and corrosive drain openers. Obviously, it makes sense to ensure that everyone in your home uses and stores such items safely.
For example, laundry detergent packs – which have become popular recently – are attractive to children. Keep them locked and out of sight. You should do the same with all laundry products. Even exposure to fabric softener pads can cause skin irritation to a child. Always read and follow the labels on household chemical products. Use and store them as directed.
Keep corrosive, such as harsh cleaners and drain openers, separate from other chemicals and in a place where, should they leak, they will cause minimal or no damage. Also never put a chemical in anything other then its original container. You don’t want to take the chance that paint thinner stored in an old water bottle, for example, is mistaken for water!
Finally make sure you have the phone number to your local poison control center in a handy place, such as your fridge door. You can find a list of numbers at www.CAPCC.ca
"Staging" you home is all about making the space in your home as appealing as possible to buyers. You may already know the basics, such as eliminating clutter. Here are some other tips that are less well known yet very effective:
- Chandeliers. Surprisingly, these are one of the simplest ways to make a foyer, dining room or living room dramatically more eye-catching. you can buy a good looking chandelier for a few hundred dollars.
- New linen. This is something many home sellers don't consider, but should. Replace any worn linen - sheets, covering, towels and even oven mitts with new ones. Believe it or not, new linen makes a big impression on buyers.
- Pedestal sinks. It may not be practical for you to replace a bathroom sink. However, if you are doing a renovation, keep in mind that pedestal sinks - especially in small washrooms - are a big hit with buyers.
- New appliances. A brand new fridge, stove, and dishwasher are motivating selling features to buyers. That's because new appliances can make the whole kitchen look brand new.
- Avoid multi-use rooms. Have a spare bedroom that doubles as a home office? That's a turnoff to buyers. Whenever possible, stage each room so that it has a singular purpose. A guest bedroom, for example, should be only that.
Want more tips on how to stage your home so that it attracts buyers? We have more ideas! In fact, every Seller receives a FREE STAGING CONSULT prior to listing their home for sale. Call us at 604-984-7253 to learn more.
It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces, but we can have deep sentimental attachments to the homes we’re leaving behind, too. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale, depending on how we manage them.
When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes. Being mindful of these things and prepared for the process can help you avoid some of the most common mishaps when selling your house.
1. Overpricing Your Home
When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask for when we price our homes. Believe it or not, that’s far from the truth. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraiser to determine the fair value for your home. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be mindful that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you to set the true value of your home.
2. Letting Your Emotions Interfere with the Sale
Today, most homeowners have been living in their houses for an average of 10 years.
This is several years longer than what used to be the norm, since many homeowners have been recouping from negative equity situations over the past 10 years. The side effect, however, is when you live for so long in one place, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought after you got married or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.
For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate, separating the emotional value of the home from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations in the process.
3. Not Staging Your Home
We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own personalized homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your home with the buyer in mind. Buyers want to envision themselves in the space, so it truly feels like their own. They need to see themselves in the space with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter your home so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through your house. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.
Today’s primarily Seller’s market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, sit down with a local real estate professional to help you navigate through the process while avoiding common seller mistakes.
1. Buying a Home is a Great Investment
Several reports indicate that real estate is a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps build equity, a form of investing for you and your family. According to this Royal LePage Report,
“Canadian home prices are expected to see healthy appreciation by the end of 2020, driven by low single-digit appreciation in both the condominium and detached home segments. The decline in high price appreciation in the condominium segment, in recent years, reflects a shift in millennial demand towards houses and is expected to reinvigorate sales activity in the suburbs.”
If you want to start building your equity, put your housing costs to work for you through homeownership this year.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Low
While interest rates have risen since 2016 (see recent history here), rates are still the lowest they have been over the majority of the last 25 years. When you purchase a home at a low mortgage rate, it will impact your monthly mortgage payment, giving you the opportunity to buy more house for your money.
3. Investing in Your Family is a Win
There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you’re paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.
Today, rental prices continue to increase, and when you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage instead of your own, you’re not the one earning the equity. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ you can use later in life to reinvest in your family. You can use it for a variety of opportunities, such as saving for your children’s education, moving up to a bigger home, or starting your own business. As a renter, it can be more challenging to achieve those types of dreams without home equity working for you.
Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings and long-term financial growth for you and your family. Reach out to a local real estate professional to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you this year.
In today’s real estate market, more houses are coming to market every day. Eager buyers are searching for their dream homes, so setting the right price for your house is one of the most important things you can do.
According to Royal Lepage’s Regional House Price Survey, The Greater Vancouver real estate market continues to see year-over-year price declines, which has attracted considerable interest from buyers and spurred sales.
With prices slowing from their previous pace, homeowners must realize that pricing their homes a little over market value to leave room for negotiation will actually dramatically decrease the number of buyers who will see their listing.
Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price their house so demand for the home is maximized. By doing so, the seller will not be negotiating with a buyer over the price but will instead have multiple buyers competing with each other over the house.
The secret is making sure your house is Priced To Sell Immediately (PTSI). That way, your home will be seen by the most potential buyers. It will sell at a great price before more competition comes to the market.
If you’re debating listing your house for sale, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss how to price your home appropriately and maximize your exposure.
January 09, 2020 - Courtesy of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Property owners received their 2020 assessment notices in the first week of January, which reflects the market value as of July 1, 2019. Assessments for strata units throughout Greater Vancouver decreased with West Vancouver leading with a decline of 10 per cent, followed by Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, and North Vancouver District which all dropped by nine per cent, followed by Richmond with an eight per cent decrease.
Assessments for detached homes were also lower, with West Vancouver again leading the way with a 16 per cent decrease. Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Vancouver all saw an 11 per cent decrease, while Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows each dipped six per cent.
Only three communities saw increases for detached homes: Whistler (5%), Pemberton (5%), and Squamish (0.3%).
For new construction or substantially renovated homes, the estimate is based on the physical condition as of October 31, 2019.
Property owners can also see a property’s assessment searching the address on BC Assessment’s (BCA’s) website.
Details include a photo, a property description (land and buildings), the total assessed value, the previous year’s value, the legal description, and property ID.
If property details are incorrect, property owners are directed to complete and submit an e-valueBC Data Validation Form. Property owners can also compare neighbouring properties and sample sold properties to decide whether their property has been correctly assessed. Deadline to appeal assessment is January 31, 2020.
Property owners who disagree with their assessment should do homework by:
- comparing their assessment with neighbouring properties; and
- contacting BCA at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322), talking with staff who can make adjustments if there’s an obvious error, for example if BCA included a complete renovation when there was only a spruce-up or an upgrade for plumbing or electrical.
Property owners who decide to appeal their property assessment should review information on the Property Assessment Appeal Board website on how to prepare for an appeal and then complete a Notice of Complaint (Appeal) Form.
Each year less than one per cent of BC property owners appeal their assessments.
Note: you can’t appeal your taxes. You can only appeal your assessment.
For information about BCA, visit their website or phone 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322).
Read more about Greater Vancouver assessments.
Did you know?
- BCA is a provincial Crown corporation. Since 1974, it’s been responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates.
- For 2020 BCA reported the number of properties assessed in the Lower Mainland is 1,014,135 properties, an increase of 1% from last year.
- Total value of real estate in the Lower Mainland in 2020: $1.41 trillion, down 5% from 2019.
- In BC, 88 per cent of all properties are classified as residential (class 1).
- BCA’s assessment roll provides the foundation for local and provincial taxing authorities to levy property taxes each year which fund community services including the school system.
Property taxation is determined by local and provincial taxing authorities after determining their budget needs and calculating property tax rates based on the assessment roll for their jurisdiction.
Municipalities determine tax rates for each property class in the spring, once the assessment roll is finalized. Changes in assessment over the year don’t automatically translate into the same percentage changes in property taxes for any particular class of property or for any individual property.
Questions? Contact BCA.
Home Owner Grant thresholds drop
The Home Owner Grant a provincial grant which reduces the amount of property tax an owner pays. To qualify you must:
- be the registered owner;
- occupy the home as your principal residence;
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada; and
- live in BC.
The Home Owner Grant threshold applies across the province. The amounts are:
- $570 for the basic grant;
- $770 if the home is located in a northern or rural area;
- Up to $845 for home owners age 65 and more or a home owner with a disability; and
- Up to $1,045 for home owners age 65 and more or a home owner with a disability where the home is in a northern or rural area.
The grant is available to owners of property assessed at up to $1.525 million in 2020, down from $1.65 million in 2019 to accommodate the decline in home prices.
The grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,525,000. This means properties assessed up to $1,639,000 ($1,679,000 in a northern and rural area) can receive a partial regular grant.
In northern and rural areas, the basic grant fully phases out at $1,804,000 and the higher grant at $1,859,000.
If you haven't yet received your 2020 Property Assessment, you will shortly. Whether buying, selling, or just home-owning, here are 5 important things to know:
(1) 2020 marks only the fifth time since B.C. Assessment’s inception in 1974 — and the first time in 20 years — that the province’s assessed values saw an overall decline. (B.C.’s overall assessment values also decreased in 2000, 1999, 1987 and 1983).
(2) Just because your Assessment went down, it doesn’t necessarily mean your TAXES will decrease. That’s because every municipality still needs to raise enough revenue to fund its annual operations. Here’s a great article to read: https://bit.ly/36oXJp3
(3) BC Assessment uses a mass appraisal system, which calculates property value by evaluating prices for homes sold in each neighborhood and then applies the information to arrive at an assessed value. This information is typically obtained from MLS sales, not by visiting the properties in question. BC Assessment has approximately 650 full-time staff positions in 17 offices throughout the province. They can’t possibly visit every residence.
(4) The most important factor is the TIME at which a property is assessed. A 2020 Assessment notice is BCA’s estimate of a property’s market value as of July 1, 2019, which is 6 month’s prior to you receiving your assessment. (and the reason why current Market Value can be different – as it reflects a more current state of the market).
(5) Good news – the Home Owner Grant threshold has been set lower! This year: $1.525M and last year: $1.65 M.
Here are the median price changes in North Vancouver, so you can see how your Assessment may not necessarily equal true, current market value:
July 2018 - July 2019 Dec 2018 – Dec 2019
(Assessment period) (Year over year data)
Detached down 9% down 7%
Attached down 9% down 2%
Apartments down 9% up 9.5%
Bonus #2 –
Here is a service that you may find helpful – available now until March, where you can view details on a single property, compare neighbouring properties, and compare sales information. http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca/
I hope that you and your family have a wonderful and peaceful holiday season. Enjoy the season with friends and family, and don’t forget to find a little time to rest and recharge. If there’s anything I can do to help you this holiday season, don’t hesitate to call.
Sales enthusiasm continues through December - ! With limited inventory - we see an 81% sales to actives ratio in North Van & 45% in West Van for last week.
December usually shows a real "Christmas Slowdown", where buyers look to holiday activities - and that doesn't usually include house shopping! Yet, this year is different - very likely due to:
- the slow start in the early part of the year.
- the gradual acclimatizing to the Mortgage Stress Test
- people want to LIVE on the North Shore !
We hope your festive season is off to a great start! Now we just need some snow ...
Success is something often worth repeating, and Brent Sutherland, a Certified Financial Planner and Real Estate Investor, has certainly made his way in a momentum-driving direction. Here are 3 tips he shares from a recent piece in Business Insider on the benefits of owning real estate:
1. Real estate diversifies your income
“While it is certainly important to be properly diversified with your investments, it is even more important to be diversified with your income. This is because the largest financial risk for most of you is the loss of your primary source of income, which is typically in the form of a day job.”
The article highlights how having multiple sources of income, such as those derived from real estate investments, can eventually lead to relying less and less on a day job. Sound dreamy? It can be. When done well, real estate investments may eventually open up your time and the financial freedom to explore other things, like travel and other aspirations you may have for the future, particularly in the golden years of retirement.
2. Real estate produces near-immediate results
“You can achieve and feel the results almost immediately. Property improvements are visible and tangible. You can cash, spend, and invest rent payments. Today! Not 30 years in the future.”
Currently, home prices are appreciating in all price ranges, and last month, Royal LePage Corporate announced that their outlook for Canada’s housing sector is for continued market expansion. With that in mind, real estate today is definitely driving immediate results!
3. Passive income can help you become financially independent sooner
“If you need $40,000 a year to live, you could alternatively invest in assets that generate an 8% cash-on-cash return. This is a very reasonable assumption. And it means you would only need to save a total of $500,000 (instead of $1 million). Yet, your investments would still meet your annual household living needs.
While returns, taxes, and inflation can, of course, affect your timeline, cash-flowing real-estate is a clear asset.”
Homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you’re contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home, bringing you one step closer to true financial independence.
If you want to increase your savings and overall net worth, real estate is a great way to go. To learn how you can make it happen, contact a local real estate professional to guide you through the process.
Who is Brent Sutherland?
Sutherland was 35 when he bought his first single home to rent out for income, less than five years later, he owns eight additional properties and part of a commercial real estate project.
After almost three decades, a program to remove thousands of toxic oil tanks from North Shore properties has had marginal success, leaving homeowners -- and the environment -- at serious risk.
Residential underground storage tanks, large metal containers that were once used to hold heating oil, are buried next to thousands of houses in North and West Vancouver. The tanks, many of which were designed to last only 25 years, are inclined to leak toxic oil products into the surrounding soil.
Municipalities have been encouraging their removal since 1989 when the province included their disposal in the fire code. But after nearly 30 years, only a small number of the containers have been taken out. That means the ground around many North Vancouver properties is growing more toxic every year, and the costs are now being felt by the environment and by homeowners. The oil, a carcinogen, sits on top of water, eventually coming to the surface. It can contaminate households by being tracked in on shoes; and it can migrate into neighboring properties and into watercourses.
A corroded tank, usually buried eight feet deep, can also become a dangerous sinkhole. Most tanks were installed between the 1920s and 1960s. When people switched to natural gas, most doing so by the 1970s, many simply abandoned the old tanks. In the absence of proper installation records some property owners do not even know they are there.
Prospective Buyers will no longer take on the responsibility of a potential buried tank - yet everyone continues to feel the sting of the public's inaction. Removal of the tanks is now required at the time homes are sold and when insurance is renewed. Straight forward removal of a tank that has not leaked costs around $3,000 to $5,000, including an environmental assessment, typically required in most Municipalities. But for a leaking tank, the cost can be much higher. Cleanup jobs range from $15,000 to $30,000 - to, well, "the sky's the limit".
For more information on the consequences of unremdiated oil tanks, click here.
If you think you have an oil tank on your property, please contact a qualified
If you’re searching for a home online, you’re not alone; lots of people are doing it. The question is, are you using all of your available resources, and are you using them wisely? Here’s why the Internet is a great place to start the home-buying process, and the truth on why it should never be your only go-to resource when it comes to making such an important decision.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the three most popular information sources home buyers use in the home search are:
- Online website (93%)
- Real estate agent (86%)
- Mobile/tablet website or app (73%)
Clearly, you’re not alone if you’re starting your search online; 93% of home buyers are right there with you. The even better news: 86% of buyers are also getting their information from a real estate agent at the same time.
Here are 3 top reasons why using a real estate professional in addition to a digital search is key:
1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online. It’s a lonely and complicated trek around the web if you don’t have a real estate professional to also help you through the many steps you’ll face as you navigate through a real estate transaction. That’s a pretty staggering number! Determining your price, submitting an offer, and successful negotiation are just a few of these key steps in the sequence. You’ll definitely want someone who has been there before to help you through it.
2. You Need a Skilled Negotiator. In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. From the original offer to the appraisal and the inspection, many of the intricate steps can get complicated and confusing. You need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.
3. It Is Crucial to Make a Competitive and Compelling Offer. There is so much information out there in the news and on the Internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates. How do you know what’s specifically going on in your area? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a lowball offer?
Dave Ramsey, a financial guru, advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”
Hiring a real estate professional who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying experience an informed and educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.
If you’re ready to start your search online, don’t skip over the support of an educated and informed real estate professional. You’ll want someone at your side who can answer your questions and guide you through a process that can be complex and confusing if you go at it with the Internet alone.
As a seller, your #1 goal is to sell your home in a timely fashion, at the best possible listing price. In today's market, where there is much more competition, it is important to put your best foot, or in this case, home forward because first impressions are critical.
Many of today's prospective homebuyers have busy lifestyles and are looking for properties that don't require a lot of work. Therefore, a home in move-in condition is much more attractive. Before placing your home on the market, you may want to invest in making needed repairs, and preparing (not necessarily 'staging') your home for sale.
Did you know ?
•ALMOST A THIRD (28%) OF BUYERS ARE MORE WILLING TO ‘OVERLOOK PROPERTY FAULTS’ WHEN A HOME IS STAGED
•Staging can save you from a costly price reduction
•A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell 87% faster than non-staged homes
•EVERY ONE OF OUR SELLERS RECEIVES A FREE CONSULTATION WITH A QUALIFIED DESIGNER TO HELP THEM PREPARE THEIR HOME TO ITS BEST ADVANTAGE
•With our complimentary designer’s service, you will receive a written plan that outlines typically a small investment of time and money, and the results will have huge payoff for you!
To get started yourself, inspect both the inside and outside of the home. Take inventory of practical and aesthetic repairs. You may want to apply a fresh coat of paint on the walls, doors, and shutters. Clean the carpet and buff and polish wooden floors. Tighten and polish hardware. Repair cracks in sidewalks and driveways and clean any stains on them. Replace missing or warped roofing. Clean or re-grout kitchen and bathrooms. Repair dripping faucets and drains or plumbing fixtures that aren't operating.
Fix sticking doors and replace old locks and doorknobs. Replace old bulbs and broken electrical sockets. Replace cracked windows and torn screens. Repair broken fencing and reseal the deck. Clean up stains on tiles and countertops.
Some experts also recommend hiring a certified home inspector to thoroughly and impartially evaluate the property. (For a list of inspectors in your area, visit the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors website, www.cahpi. bc.ca, or click here). A standard report will review the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, walls, ceiling, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement and visible structure.
If there are recommendations for improvement, consult with your real estate professional in prioritizing the list of repairs.
Depending on your goals and budget, you may want to repair only items that could cause significant deterioration to the home, such as a leak. In addition, your local market conditions may dictate how extensive your repairs need to be. Let your budget and your real estate professional guide you.
However, be careful about major items. Sellers rarely recoup money on major remodeling projects, and you may want to save funds for your new home.
A home in good condition demonstrates pride of ownership. Taking the time to make small repairs to your home can go a long way in making sure your home is presented to potential buyers in its best possible light. They also just might make the sale.
Home buyer demand picked up across Metro Vancouver* last month, making July, a traditionally quieter month in real estate, the second highest selling month so far this year. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,557 in July 2019, a 23.5 per cent increase from the 2,070 sales recorded in July 2018, and a 23.1 per cent increase from the 2,077 homes sold in June 2019. Last month’s sales were 7.8 per cent below the 10-year July sales average.
“While home sale activity remains below long-term averages, we saw an increase in sales in July compared to the less active spring we experienced,” Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. “Those looking to buy today continue to benefit from low interest rates, increased selection, and reduced prices compared to the heated market a few years ago.”
You can read the entire report here: http://members.rebgv.org/news/REBGV-Stats-Pkg-July-2019.pdf
We are thrilled to be involved as Sponsors in this very special 'gathering of community' event since its beginning in 2015!
Dinner on the Pier celebrates the special community of North Vancouver on Wednesday, August 7th, 2019. Enjoy a beautiful evening of music, amazing food, drinks, and sunset dancing with collaboration and support from local businesses.
#DOTP2019 guests are welcomed to Dinner on the Pier on a warm August evening, with cocktails and entertainment at the historical Pipe Shop venue. After announcements, introductions to the night’s contributions, and time to mingle; guests make their way to dinner by Chef Joel Green, under the lights at the Burrard Dry Dock Pier - Rain or Shine!
This year, we are happy to share that the goal this year is to raise $5000 for WISH Drop-In Centre Society. Get your tickets HERE - before they sell out!
This may be an excellent choice for Sellers in today's market that primarily favors buyers. It may give you the following advantages:
* Be well aware of your home's condition
* Sell in a more timely fashion
* Have more control of the selling process
* Avoid re-negotiation post-accepted offer
* YOU decide what repairs, updates, or replacements you wish to make prior to listing your home.
* Be better able to defend your asking price
* Have the report available to show prospective Buyers - giving them confidence in the investment they are making
It's about a $500 investment - you decide if you feel this is valuable!
MORE ABOUT HOME INSPECTION CLICK HERE
2019 marks our 8th year participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer! As proud members of Team Finn, we will be Crew Support for our 50 teammates on August 24 as they begin a challenging 2 day journey to Hope.
Nothing, however, compares to the challenge of a family facing cancer. We know we are not alone in the experience and heartbreak of cancer as it affects our families, friends, colleagues & clients - and have been very motivated to support the cause since our first ride in 2012. Through our association with Team Finn, we really see your dollars at work and making a tangible difference in the lives of children, their families, and others with cancer – here in BC, across Canada and around the world.
Thank you so much in advance for your contribution - every little bit helps! We promise your dollars will go to work and be a tremendous gift to so many people who are living with Cancer.
Jasmine & Grant Botto
Homes priced at the top 25% of the price range for a particular area of the country are considered “premium homes.” In today’s real estate market, there are deals to be had at the higher end! This is great news for homeowners wanting to upgrade from their current house.
According to Royal LePage's President & CEO, Phil Soper, "Some of the most desirable regions in Greater Vancouver are seeing home price declines. Properties in the region’s higher-end markets like West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, and the City of Vancouver are all declining in price offering buyers seeking luxury housing a rare window of opportunity to enter some of Canada’s highest priced markets"
A Buyer’s Market indicates that buyers have greater control over the price point. This market type is demonstrated by a substantial number of homes on the market and few sales, suggesting demand for residential properties is slow for that market and/or price point.
While luxury homes may take longer to sell than in previous years, the slower pace, increased inventory levels and larger differences between list and sold prices, represent a normalization of the market, not a downturn.
Luxury can mean different things to different people. To one person, luxury is a secluded home with plenty of property and privacy. To another, it could be a penthouse at the center of a bustling city. Knowing what characteristics mean luxury to you will help your agent find you the home of your dreams.
If you are debating upgrading your current house to a higher priced, premium or luxury home, now is the time!
Typically, Strata Corporation insurance policies “insure against all risks of direct physical loss or damage
to the property insured”. This is subject to exclusions and deductibles.
The insured property is the building as handed over by the developer once construction has completed, and includes the building, permanently installed original fittings and fixtures, mechanical equipment, fire system and common assets.
What Doesn’t the Strata Insurance Cover?
Contents: The Strata Corporation’s Insurance does not cover your personal belongings in the
event of a loss, regardless of the cause. All Owners and Tenants must therefore have their own
Personal Insurance Policy for their personal belongings (“Contents”) such as furniture, clothing,
electronics, etc. Further, in the event there is damage to your unit, your contents may need to be
removed during the repair. The Strata Corporation’s Insurance does not cover the move out or
storage costs – this is covered under the Contents provision of your Personal Insurance Policy.
Additional Living Expenses:
You may need alternate accommodation during repairs to your unit,
such as a hotel or rental unit. In the event of a significant loss, your unit could be uninhabitable
for one year or greater. “Additional Living Expenses” are included in a Personal Insurance Policy
to cover these out of pocket expenses.
The Strata Corporation’s Insurance does not cover unit upgrades, whether made
by yourself or a previous unit owner. It is therefore imperative you insure any unit upgrades under your Personal Insurance Policy (sometimes known as “Unit Improvements and Betterments”).
Examples of upgrades could include: hardwood or laminate flooring and upgraded appliances.
In the event of a Strata Corporation claim resulting from your unit, you will likely
be assessed the Strata Corporation’s Deductible. Please review the Notice of Annual General Meeting to obtain a copy of the Strata Corporation’s insurance policy (“Summary of Coverages”). You must ensure your Personal Insurance Policy will cover an amount equal to the Strata Corporation’s Water Damage Deductible. This is extremely important as a Strata’s Water Damage Deductible is often $10,000.00 and greater.
Unit Additional Protection:
One component of this extension under a Personal Insurance Policy
is to provide coverage in the event the Strata Corporation’s Insurance is not effective. This is very
important as there could be damage to your unit which does not exceed the strata corporation’s
policy deductible, and therefore does not trigger the strata corporation’s policy. You'd be best to ensure
your Personal Insurance Policy includes coverage for in-suite damages that are under the Strata
Corporation’s Deductible for which you are responsible.
Given the exposure to the lower mainland it is generally recommended that you ensure your Personal Insurance Policy includes coverage for the peril of Earthquake. Some Insurers may offer a specified
limit for Earthquake Deductible Coverage, for your unit’s assessed portion of the Strata Corporation’s Earthquake Deductible.
Other-Repairs and Maintenance Within A Strata Lot:
Owners must make sure that they keep everything within their strata lot in good working order and in good condition to prevent a water escape etc. This includes but is not restricted to dishwashers, washers, refrigerators with ice makers, garburators, toilets, sinks, bathtubs, water filters, hot water tanks and any copper pipes or taps and fixtures located within the strata lot, or from any alterations done by the Owner or previous owner to the strata lot etc. Owners should make sure cold and hot water shut off valves work properly and know the location of the valves, and how to operate them. Owners may wish to consider employing a professional contractor to carry out regular inspections and maintenance of these in suite items.
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