There are a lot of misconceptions about buying or selling a home today, making it challenging to know exactly how to navigate the current real estate landscape.
Here's a little clarity when it comes to 5 common myths about the 2021 housing market.
With these busted myths in hand, be sure to also work with a trusted real estate advisor so you can decipher local facts from fiction along the way.
If I sell my home where am I going to go? What if I can’t find a new home? And what happens if I need to sell before I can buy a new home?
One of the hot topics in real estate right now is -- if I sell my home where am I going to go? What if I can’t find a new home? And what happens if I need to sell before I can buy a new home?
March 10, 2021 – REBGV Government Relations
The BC government recently introduced Bill 7 - Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act to extend the current residential rent freeze to December 31, 2021, create regulations to prevent renovictions, and improve dispute resolution. These changes, if passed, will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The new rent freeze means all renters who have received a rent increase notice that would have taken effect after March 30, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2022, can disregard those notices. Starting in 2022, rent increases will be capped at the rate of inflation.
Landlords will be required to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch (RTB) before terminating a tenancy agreement if they’re renovating.
Landlords won’t be able to end tenancies for renovations that aren’t substantial or don’t require the rental unit to be vacant.
Proposed changes will improve the residential tenancy dispute resolution process by expanding grounds for the RTB to review arbitrator decisions, including formally reviewing a decision where it’s clear an error has been made. The goal is to divert cases from the judicial review process to the RTB’s internal review process, reducing costs to tenants and landlords, the courts, and government. All of these changes fulfil recommendations of the government’s Rental Housing Task Force. (Opens 72-page pdf)
The industry perspective
David Hutniak, the CEO of LandlordBC, says his members of organization aren’t happy the rent freeze has been extended throughout 2021. “Many landlords haven’t been able to, and now won’t be able to compensate for inflationary increases to for their businesses for two years. Property taxes are up, insurance costs are up,” Hutniak said, noting landlords and tenants have been helped by the government’s structured rent repayment plan. As for the renoviction regulations, Hutniak explains that landlords can still make investments. “If the scope of the renovations requires ending tenancies and vacating the building, we can still do this. We just have to go through a RTB arbitrator. Overall, this will increase transparency and end conflict.”
A strata depreciation report is a thorough written, and sometimes illustrated, physical assessment of the condition of a strata property that identifies current and future issues that need to be addressed with associated cost estimates. According to provincial regulations, a depreciation report must include an inventory and evaluation of a building’s:
* Exterior (such as roofs, roof decks, doors, windows and skylights),
* Systems (such as electrical, heating, plumbing, fire protection and security); and
* Common amenities (such as fitness room, pool, bike lockers etc).
* Collectively, the items listed above are known as "common property" as they are elements that are shared by all owners of individual units within the building.
Why is a Strata Depreciation Report important?
It helps strata corporations plan for the repair, replacement and renewal of common property and assets, especially those that require considerable outlay of money, such as roofs, windows, elevators, roads or utilities.
They are also an important part of a Buyer’s due diligence as they provide insight into future repair and maintenance needs and their associated costs. It is in your best interest as a Buyer to thoroughly review strata depreciation reports and seek legal or other expert advice before making a buying decision.
Buyers should also understand that a depreciation report covers common property as part of a strata building and not individual units within that building. As such, be sure to get an independent inspection for the specific unit you are considering purchasing.
What isn’t covered in a Strata Depreciation Report?
Depreciation reports don’t normally cover every item in the common property or routine repairs and maintenance. Buyers should still do their own due diligence in having the property inspected as well as obtaining other strata documents, including but not limited to bylaws, rules, regulations, meeting minutes, strata plans, summary of insurance coverages etc. To obtain additional information, Realtors will typically request other strata documents in addition to the depreciation report.
Are Strata Depreciation Reports mandatory in BC?
In most cases, yes.
Under B.C.’s Strata Property Act and Regulations, strata corporations must obtain a depreciation report unless the strata consists of fewer than 5 strata lots. The Regulations also require the report to be updated every three years.
Yet - Strata Corporations can opt out …
Strata corporations in BC can waive their requirement to obtain a depreciation report, or defer the renewal of one, if 75% of the owners pass an annual vote in favour. Voting to waive a depreciation report can backfire however, with the long-term costs of unanticipated repairs and maintenance needs often far outweighing any short-term savings gained from opting out. In addition, prospective buyers are sometimes reluctant to invest in stratas that don’t have a long-range maintenance plan in place and as important - lenders and insurers may consider stratas without depreciation reports greater risks.
Information above - Courtesy of BCREA
Choosing the right real estate professional to work with is one of the most important decisions you can make in your homebuying or selling process.
The right agent can explain current market conditions and break down exactly what they mean for you.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home this year, make sure to work with someone who has the experience to answer all of your questions about pricing, contracts, negotiations, and more.
This year will be remembered for many reasons, and optimism is one thing that’s been in short supply since the spring. We’re experiencing a global pandemic, social unrest, an economic downturn, and natural disasters, just to name a few. The challenges brought on by the health crisis have also forced many homeowners to reevaluate their space and what they need in a home going into 2021. So, experts are forecasting that next year is one in which we can be optimistic about real estate for three key reasons:
Following a record contraction of the Canadian economy in the first half of 2020, the third quarter saw a vigorous rebound in economic growth. Real GDP grew 8.9 per cent, or 40.5 per cent on an annualized basis, bringing the economy back to within 4 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 level. The distressing second wave of COVID-19 and the restrictions it has necessitated have jeopardized the recovery that’s currently underway.
However, we still expect the economy to post positive real GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, though there is the risk that a renewed fear of public spaces combined with targeted restrictions will prompt a modest retracing of output.
The ultimate economic impact of COVID-19 by the end of 2020 will be a Canadian economy that is about 2 per cent smaller by year-end. That said, promising results from vaccine trials should lead to very strong growth in 2021 as pent-up spending floods back into the economy. We expect Canadian real GDP will grow by an average of 4 per cent over the next two years.
Courtesy: BCREA Economics
2 Interest Rates Are Projected to Stay Low
Along with a massive expansion of its balance sheet to facilitate QE, the Bank of Canada has also reaffirmed its plans to keep its overnight policy rate at 0.25 per cent until it sees slack in the Canadian economy fully absorbed. Given current forecasts for economic growth, that may not occur until 2023, meaning these low rates will be around for quite some time. There are, however, other factors in the economy and financial markets that may push mortgage rates marginally higher over the next year.
3 Future Home Sales Are Forecasted to Grow
Canadian real estate brokerage Royal LePage expects home prices to rise 5.5 per cent in 2021, building on unexpectedly strong growth this year, driven by a shortage of properties for sale and record low interest rates.
"The upward pressure on home prices will continue," supported by lack of supply to meet surging demand and policy makers promise to keep interest rates at record low, Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper said.
The average Canadian home price rose more than 15 per cent in October from a year earlier to an all-time high, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Royal LePage expects the shift to larger homes, which has driven a surge in sales and prices of single-family houses this year, will moderate as "life returns to normal," easing some of the pressure on condo markets.
Experts forecast that buyers and sellers are going to be active in 2021. If you’ve thought about buying or selling your home this year but have held off, now may be the time to take advantage of this market. Reach out to a local real estate expert to take the first step toward your new home today.
Good news continues to arrive, albeit in bits & pieces, concerning Strata Insurance rates in our province.
The B.C. Financial Services Authority is the regulator responsible for the private sector insurance industry in British Columbia.
At the direction of the Minister of Finance, BCFSA released its interim report on the rising cost of strata insurance in British Columbia on June 16, 2020. This report found that premiums have risen by approximately 40 per cent throughout the province on a year-over-year basis, with deductibles experiencing up to triple-digit increases over the same period. The Province introduced amendments to B.C.’s Financial Institutions Act and the Strata Property Act to help address the cost and availability of strata insurance in B.C.
You can read more HERE.
Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to sell their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Let’s unpack the top reasons why selling your house now, or keeping it on the market this season, is the best choice you can make. This year, buyers want to purchase homes for the holidays, and your house might be the perfect match.
Here are seven great reasons not to wait to sell your house this holiday season:
1. Buyers are active now. Mortgage rates are historically low, providing motivation for those who are ready to get more for their money over the life of their home loan.
2. Purchasers who look for homes during the holidays are serious ones, and they’re ready to buy.
3. You can restrict the showings in your house to days and times that are most convenient for you, or even select virtual options. You’ll remain in control, especially in today’s sellers’ market.
4. Homes decorated for the holidays appeal to many buyers.
5. Today, there’s minimal competition for you as a seller. There just aren’t enough houses on the market to satisfy buyer demand, meaning sellers are in the driver’s seat. Over the past year, inventory has declined to record lows, making it the opportune time to sell your house.
6. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who have been searching throughout the fall and have been running into more and more bidding wars are still on the lookout. Your home may be the answer.
7. This season is the sweet spot for sellers, and the number of listings will increase after the holidays. In many parts of the country, more new construction will also be available for sale in 2021, which will lessen the demand for your house next year.
More than ever, this may be the year it makes the most sense to list your house during the holiday season. Reach out to a local real estate professional to determine if selling now is your best move.
There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following:
1. Your Safety Is a Priority
Your family’s safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the WCB and CREA to help protect you and your family.
2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer
Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?
3. There Are Too Many Negotiations
Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:
The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.
4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage
Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.
Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was available yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.
5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint
The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:
“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.
Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money or more? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your options.
1.Maximize curb appeal
2. Choose a neutral color palette
Bold colors are great for living, but not for selling. Light and Bright should be your motto! Stick with a warm, neutral palette like tans, taupes, and greys. Avoid dark colors, especially in small spaces (like powder rooms). Keep the ceilings white to keep walls looking tall. Rule of thumb, if the walls haven't been painted in over 2 years, now is the Time!
Return on investment: 109 percent*
3. Let there be light
Lighting plays a vital role and is often overlooked when getting a property ready for sale. Dark hallways, rooms with little natural light, basements, and bathrooms should be addressed. A minimum of a 2-bulb overhead fixture with maximum watt bulbs can transform a dingy area. There should be NO overhead receptacles without a light fixture! Consider adding pendant fixtures in dining rooms and eating areas. Big box stores offer affordable options in brushed nickel or silver fittings.
Adding ambient lighting is essential especially in areas where there is no overhead outlets. Adding table lamps and floor lamps will help brighten up any room and help your property appear as "light-filled" as possible.
Return on investment: 303 percent*
This is the other main area that always increases the value of a home. It will ALWAYS cost you less to replace worn carpet or add new flooring then to leave it to the new home owners.
Most purchasers are looking for reasons to discount their offers. Flooring is one of the first things buyers see when they walk in. If their first thought is "I will need to replace these floors", I guarantee they are discounting their offers $5000-$10000 for condos and $7000 – $15000 for houses. Doing the work yourself will cost you a fraction of that amount.
Return on investment: 107 percent*
5. It's all in the details
Replace all burnt out bulbs, touch up any nicks and dents in high traffic areas, replace torn screens, and fix leaking faucets. Once the fix-ups are done it's time to focus on the pretty stuff. Fresh linens in the bathrooms, a bowl of fresh green apples on a kitchen island, fresh flowers on a dining table or in the entranceway.
Adding live or silk greenery to bathrooms and adding a new crisp bedding set to the Master all help create the impression of a well-cared for home.
6. Clean, clean, clean
7. Highlight best use of the space
Tenants may have liked to use the dining room as an office, but it should be shown with it's intended purpose. Giving a room more than one function (i.e. guest room and office) is a great way to effectively show the space. In condos, this becomes essential when space is at a premium.
Using small glass desks with a stool you can tuck in can creatively introduce a "workspace" where one wouldn't think possible. Adding a daybed to a den/office creates extra sleeping space. Determine what adds the most value to potential buyers in your neighborhood and showcase the space accordingly.
8. Kitchens and bathrooms are the places to invest.
If you have dated cabinetry, cracked and worn laminate counters, chipped or broken tiles, consider investing in repairing and upgrading these rooms.
If your budget is limited, changing cabinetry hardware to brushed nickel or silver knobs and handles will give it an immediate appeal. Consider painting cabinetry instead of replacing them.
Depending on the price point of your property it is often worthwhile to install stone counters. This immediately adds value and is very durable for long term use. If stone is not in the budget, consider a "stone-like" laminate counter. Recaulking around sinks and bathtubs is a simple improvement that can greatly improve the look of a bathroom.
Return on investment: 172 percent*
Remember, Vacant properties sit, staged properties sell!
If your budget is limited consider focusing on the main living areas and at least one bedroom. If you can't borrow furniture and artwork, rental companies carry everything from furniture to linens. Just keep in mind that the goal is to show people how to use the space effectively.
The BC government is taking its first steps to mitigate soaring strata insurance costs by introducing a bill to amend the Strata Property Act and Financial Institutions Act.
The government wants to make the strata insurance industry more transparent, close depreciation report loopholes, and end referral fees paid to property managers, while giving strata councils more tools to deal with insurance.
If passed, the changes will:
The new legislation will also give the government the ability to:
Consultation with REALTORS®
The government specifically named BCREA, which represents Realtors across the province, as a key stakeholder in the creation of the new legislation.
Since February, Realtors have made recommendations to the provincial government to help deal with rising insurance costs.
BC Financial Services Authority report
The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) found strata insurance premiums rose by approximately 40 per cent, with deductibles seeing triple digit increases over last year across the province according to their interim report released on June 16.
These increases are having a widespread impact on BC – nearly one in three British Columbians live in a strata property.
We’ll provide more information on this report in the coming weeks.
Changes to strata regulation
An addition to the Strata Property Regulation (BC Reg. 43/2000), made through an Order in Council on May 29, 2020, may make life easier for strata corporations grappling with sky-high insurance premiums.
Strata corporations can now fund insurance premiums from their contingency reserve funds without a three-quarters approval vote.
Vancouver's Real Estate Board worked with the BC Real Estate Association, and the other 10 boards in the province, to develop recommendations for the BC government that, if implemented, would help deal with the issue:
Why are insurance rates increasing?
Strata building insurance premiums are increasing for a variety of reasons, according to the insurance industry. These include an increase in the number of claims, in the cost of repairs and rebuilding, and in the growing number of strata developments. Many strata buildings date back to the 1970s and ’80s and strata owners may be reluctant to undertake major system upgrades until problems occur.
What's the impact on the housing market?
The most affordable homes in Metro Vancouver are strata units. Drastically increasing insurance rates negatively affects housing affordability. As well, some strata corporations are struggling to find insurers willing to cover their building, making them non-compliant with the Strata Property Act. This means these units can no longer be bought or sold. This is adding uncertainty and risk into the market and the economy at large.
In the "bet you wouldn't have guessed this" category - Did you know that as of yesterday, the number of homes sold YTD in North Vancouver are just 18 homes less than this time last year? Once weekend sales are reported, we may get very close to the same # of sales as YTD 2019. Put this along side inventory at 80% of last year's levels, and add favorable rates plus a lower stress test, and you can see why our market is moving swiftly.
In West Vancouver, there have been 333 residential sales YTD 2020, and 317 for the same period last year. And, residential inventory is only 75% of what it was this time in 2019. This is great news for West Van - as the turnover is much better than 2019.
Summer is the new Spring - and now we just have to keep staying cautious & safe out there in the world, so that we can keep not only the real estate market, but our economy - both broad & local - going strong through the end of the year!
Summer is the New Spring!
SELLERS: This is the PERFECT TIME to book a Strategy Session with us so that we can help you get your home looking beautiful, and on the market before everyone else lists and your competition gets going!
In a normal housing market, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need an experienced guide to help you navigate through the process. You need someone you can turn to who will tell you how to price your home correctly right from the start. You need someone who can help you determine what to offer on your dream home without paying too much or offending the seller with a low-ball offer.
We are, however, in anything but a normal market right now. We are amid one of the greatest health crises our nation has ever seen. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the journey consumers take to purchase or sell a home. To successfully navigate the landscape today, you need more than an experienced guide. You need a ‘Real Estate Sherpa.’
According to Lexico, a Sherpa is a “member of a Himalayan people living on the borders of Nepal and Tibet, renowned for their skill in mountaineering.” Sherpas are skilled in leading their parties through the extreme altitudes of the peaks and passes in the region – some of the most treacherous trails in the world. They take pride in their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.
They are much more than just guides.
This is much more than a normal real estate market.
Today, the average guide just won’t do. You need a Sherpa. You need an expert who understands how COVID-19 is impacting the thoughts and actions of the consumer (ex: virtual showings, proper safety protocols, e-signing documents). You need someone who can simply and effectively explain the changes in today’s process to you and your family. You need an expert who will guarantee you make the right decision, especially in these challenging times.
Hiring an agent who understands how the pandemic is reshaping the real estate processes is crucial right now. Find that ‘Real Estate Sherpa’ to guarantee your journey is a safe and successful one.
The benefits of Home Ownership are many - and with interest rates at amazingly low levels today - the joys of Home Ownership may be closer than you think!
Home values tend to appreciate over time. This increase becomes equity you can benefit from when you re-finance or sell.
Renting has often been reffered to as paying 100% interest, but when you own a home and a mortgage is in place, a portion of your payment goes toward the principle balance of your loan. This builds your equity and acts as a savings account
Freedom to Make It Your Own:
Experience the joy of making your own repairs, upgrades & renovations - to ensure your space is a reflection of you.
The feeling of owning your own home is unmatched. You can fix it up, make it your own, get a dog or plant a tree if you want. Doesn't that sound exciting!
The sale of a principal residence, in the right location and at the right price, can certainly provide enough to boost, if not fully fund, your retirement and /or provide wealth to the next generation.
Put Down Roots:
People who own rather then rent stay in their homes 4 times longer. This provides an opportunity to get to know your neighbors and connect with your local community.
Check out our mortgage calculator HERE and get started planning today!
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