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.”
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 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!
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.
Every homeowner wants to make sure they maximize their financial reward when selling their home. But how do you guarantee that you receive the maximum value for your house?
Here are two keys to ensure that you get the highest price possible.
1. Price it a LITTLE LOW
This may seem counterintuitive, but let’s look at this concept for a moment. Many homeowners think that pricing their homes a little OVER market value will leave them with room for negotiation. In actuality, this just dramatically lessens the demand for your house (see chart below).
Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price it so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing this, the seller will not be fighting with a buyer over the price but may instead have multiple buyers fighting with each other over the house.
“First impressions are everything when selling your home. Studies have shown that the first two weeks on the market are the most crucial to your success. During these initial days, your home will be exposed to all active buyers.
If your price is perceived as too high, you will quickly lose this initial audience and find yourself relying only on the trickle of new buyers entering the market each day. Markets are dynamic, and your price has an expiration date. You have one chance to grab attention. Make sure your pricing helps you stand out on the shelf — in a positive way.”
2. Use a Real Estate Professional
Some sellers may believe that he or she will make more money without having to pay a real estate commission, but studies have shown that homes typically sell for more money when handled by a real estate professional.
Research by the National Association of Realtors (USA) in their 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that, “the median selling price for all FSBO homes was $200,000 last year. However, homes that were sold with the assistance of an agent had a median selling price of $264,900 – nearly $65,000 more for the typical home sale.” This translates to the Canadian Market as well.
Price your house at or slightly below the current market value and hire a professional. This will guarantee that you maximize the money you get for your house.
Whether buying or selling, you’re involved in an intricate process requiring many specialists. One of these specialists might be a REALTOR®, who’s responsible for and comitted to making the transaction as easy as possible for you!
By now you should have received your 2019 Assessment Notice.
Here are the things to know about your assessment -
Your Assessment is BCA's estimate of your property’s value as of July 1, 2018, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2018.
BCA’s assessment and a REALTOR’S® assessment. Why the difference?
Both BCA assessors and Realtors calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location such as on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.
The main difference is the time the assessment is made. BC Assessment's value is as of July 1 of the preceding year. So, their valuation could be vastly different from current market value.
For property tax purposes only
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, and BC Assessment is the most equitable way of allocating taxes across the over 2 Million properties in the BCA Database.
If property details are incorrect, property owners are directed to complete and submit an e-valueBC Data Validation Form.
Deadline to appeal assessment is January 31, 2019
Disagree with your assessment? Do some homework first!
Compare your assessment with neighbouring properties;
Contact BCA at 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322) and talk to staff who can make adjustments if there's an obvious error, for example if BCA included a complete renovation when there was merely a spruce-up.
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. (Step 7)
And, you can always call us for an up to date market evaluation of your home ! We are here to help. 604-984-7253
1923 – 1959 Purcell Way is currently the home of approximately 90 apartments, built in 1973; physically the residential complex closest to Capilano University. Woodbridge Northwest has applied to redevelop this property, and propose 60 market townhome and 124 market condominium units, with a floor space ratio of 1.75. In addition, a student housing building on Capilano University's land would be built that would provide housing for about 60 students. Further, there are to be 303 parking spaces on site, plus student parking on Capilano University's land and a new amenity building that will be shared with this project and the existing building to the west.If the project proceeds, it will require rezoning, and a development permit for form and character of commercial, industrial, and multi-family development, plus energy and water conservation and greenhouse gas emission reductions. As of mid December, 2017, the application was presented to Council for Second and Third Reading.A useful link to the District of North Vancouver’s Official Community Plan can be found here.
While a B.C. real estate license is good anywhere in the province, there are some compelling reasons why you should use a local REALTOR® when buying or selling property.
It’s in your best interest to use an agent who knows the local real estate market and no one knows local real estate better then a local REALTOR®. Local real estate agents have extensive knowledge of the area and unique insight into local property values. They have expertise in the local market; and current issues and trends. They regularly attend local property tours, know the listing inventory and know their way around the area, can identify areas the market feels are more or less desirable, and can also save time when looking for a hard-to-find listing.
They are familiar with local issues (traffic patterns, services, utilities, creeks, hazards); they know what’s considered above the snow line and what’s considered below, they know about local permit areas and are familiar with local municipal requirements for building, renovating and secondary suites. Those with longevity in the business will be familiar with building eras and what to be aware of over time, including things like how homes were heated when first built (oil tanks?), what areas were before they were residential (industrial? Cottage country?).
A local area REALTOR® has cultivated relationships over time with their colleagues. After all, the essence of the MLS System is co-operation, and what better way than to get to know your local colleagues and work together with them for the benefit of the people we all serve? A good & familiar relationship based on trust & co-operation makes things go smoothly for all concerned.
In the case of Royal LePage Sussex, we have over 300 local agents and are the largest volume-producing firm on the North Shore. Why is that important? We network with these people daily. We have an internal “hotsheet” so we may hear of something coming to the market before it hits the MLS system, giving our buyers and sellers a little bit of an advantage in timing. We hear some of the actual stories & reasoning behind the numbers. We can share knowledge, feedback, ideas and expertise among this group in an environment of trust & mutual respect. We have the best administrative & management staff in the business. We are all here to help one another, and that helps us all better serve our clients.
A local area REALTOR® not only studies the market statistics, but lives them, and can make sense of them to put them in perspective for their clients. Is the data market-wide? Or is it pocket oriented? (ie.) sub-area specific? Are some areas performing better than others? Which parts of the local area have always sold well over time? Which ones have traditionally been a challenge to sell? When is the best time to sell or buy? …
An agent who lives and works in the local area can be on hand for inspections and appraisals. They are involved in their community and can put you in touch with service people you may have need of.
If a buyer is from out of town, they can even play a little bit of “Tour Guide” after the home touring part of their trip is over… ..and who knows, they might even turn out to be a neighbor!
Looking to buy or sell on the North Shore? Give us a call. Looking in other parts of B.C? We have a wide network of professionals who are experts in their respective communities and we would be happy to introduce you to the right person for you!
After such a beautiful summer, the weather is changing .... Let us help you prepare for the new season with some tips and advice in preparing your home and yard for colder weather. This weekend is the perfect opportunity to check a few items off your list!
#1 - Walk it Out
Take a walk around your property and make note of any signs of damage to the roof, siding or foundation. Be sure to schedule any repairs in the next couple of weeks!
#2 - Clear the Gutters
After the leaves have fallen, clear your gutters and downspouts of any leaves or debris that could otherwise lead to clogs. Clogged gutters can cause exterior damage, so installing leaf guards may be a good investment!
#3 - Stay Warm
Call a professional to inspect and clean your chimney annually to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Consider having a home heating inspection to ensure your furnace or gas fireplace is working properly. Also, replace the filter in your furnace.
#4 - Hoses and Sprinklers Away
For next month, remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets to prevent water from backing up, which can freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Drain your irrigation system to avoid any broken pipes or sprinkler heads. A professional can assist if you're not sure how to get the job done properly.
#5 - Care for your Plants
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees - when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goals is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so that moisture won't drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your home's exterior during strong winds.
#6 - Seal it Up
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($10 - $15 per tube) and make a journey around your home's exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window & door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your home. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive and most important of your fall jobs. You'll also seal air leaks that waste energy!
Brook Lynn is a collection of 63 homes in a 4 to 5 storey wood frame building – offering 1, 2 & 3 bedrooms – at 467 Mountain Highway, developed by the Wanson Group (www.wanson.ca). At this point, we understand most suites will have 9’ ceilings – and the Penthouse level will offer 13’ ceilings. There are also parking stalls & storage lockers, although we don’t know yet if this applies to all homes. Get in to their smallest suite for as low as $299,900. Sales start soon – so if you would like more information, please CALL OUR OFFICE at 604-984-7253 and we’ll ensure you are well represented if you would like to register for updates. There are many benefits of having your own representation when you purchase a home - #1 is a dedicated sales professional working solely for you – and a close 2nd is knowing what questions to ask!
Remember, GST of 5% applies, and Property Transfer Tax will apply to all homes – unless you are a “First Time Buyer”, then there are potential exemptions for suites priced up to $500,000.
We bring this to you Courtesy of The BC Real Estate Association ...
After an initial upward adjustment in global interest rates following the US presidential election, bond markets have since adopted a wait and see approach to US economic policy. As a result, the yield on the benchmark five-year bond has stayed constant through the first quarter of the year. Consequently, Canadian mortgage rates have also remained relatively unchanged. However, we could see some upward movement in interest rates over the second half of 2017, due to a stronger Canadian economy and a large degree of policy incoherence in the United States. Indeed, for the first time in several years, US monetary and fiscal policy seem to be at cross purposes. The US Federal Reserve, seeing an economy close to its estimate for full employment, has signaled its intention to raise rates multiple times this year.
Home sales and listings trends are below long-term averages in the Metro Vancouver* housing market.
... This is due largely to reduced activity in the detached home market.
Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,523 in January 2017, a 39.5 per cent decrease from the 2,519 sales recorded in January 2016 and an 11.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2016 when 1,714 homes sold. Last month’s sales were 10.3 per cent below our 10-year January sales average.
“From a real estate perspective, it’s a lukewarm start to the year compared to 2016,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”
As for most of the Lower Mainland, 2016 was more than a banner year in the North Vancouver real estate market – and toward the end of the year, we experienced significant changes to inventory & days on the market. North Vancouver inventory climbed from 120 Active Detached Listings in August, 2016 to 306 as of November 30th – and today, back down to 218. There is a slightly longer marketing period (stats show approximately 8 days on average in the early part of this year. October showed 16 days on average in North Vancouver – & today it’s an average of 23 days). Still quick, but less frenetic.
In a year where Buyers have been ‘beat up’ through the Spring, with huge demand and very little supply, and prices rising, plus the industry being under the microscope, the new 15% Foreign Buyer Tax, the recent US election, and the hit on mortgage qualifying for those with less than 20% down, it is not a huge surprise that the end of the year market was a little bumpy, and buyers were taking a bit of a breather. Nevertheless, people want to live here, 3 weeks on the market is still quick, and we find ourselves in a market still favoring sellers – and with Spring on the way, which is usually the best time to sell, conditions are favorable to Sellers now looking to make a move, particularly in the "under $1.6 Million" detached market.
Apartment sales are still going strong, with many cases of multiple offers, although again, less frantic than early 2016. Inventory in the apartment world is still incredibly low in North Vancouver - just 117 units listed. Same in the Townhome market - only 32 active listings.
While Sales have have slowed considerably since the Spring of 2016 (May / June was the peak – and the last three months have been at levels about 1/3 of Spring 2016), and there is no longer tremendous upward pressure on prices, there seems to be good balance in the market now and the phone is beginning to ring. Spring is always expected to show a greater number of transactions. If inventory remains low, we could be saying, “here we go again!”.
OK, so we promise this is the last post about Tax Assessments- but as we are still getting calls and emails, we thought we'd outline how to appeal, if you want to go down that road:
Since you’ve opened the envelope from your Municipality, you’re likely in good company with others who have experienced up to a 35% increase over last year’s Assessed Value.
If you don’t think the assessment is fair, or believe the new value is out of line with your neighbour’s house, you can ask for a reconsideration. It will take some time & a nominal fee. Deadline to appeal is January 31st.
The process itself is relatively simple – and you will have five minutes to appear before a panel of volunteers, who will generally deliberate for another 5 minutes – at the most.
Should you bother? We’ve helped clients do it before – and we can tell you that the system isn’t perfect. However, we have heard that about half of the appeals provide some reduction in assessed value, so it may be worth the effort. If You wish to appeal should know that you need to make a really good case for your argument.
Start by looking up your assessments on BCA's e-valueBC 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, you will be directed to complete and submit an e-valueBCData Validation Form.
Don’t just compare your online numbers to your neighbors - walk around your neighborhood & take photos. You are welcome to call us for some information on neighborhood sales so that we can help you state your case. email@example.com.
Will my taxes rise by the amount of the increase? No. While typically we should steel ourselves for a heftier bill, some taxes may actually fall if the increase is below the average for the community, OR if the Municipal Budget stays the same as the previous year (Laughing yet??).
Property owners received their 2017 assessment notices the first week of January.
In the Lower Mainland, increases of 30 to 50 per cent are typical for detached homes in Vancouver, the North Shore, Squamish, Burnaby, Tri-Cities, Richmond, and Surrey. Property owners with a significant increase received a warning assessment in early December 2016.
Commercial and industrial properties will likely see increases in the 15-40% range, according to Jason Grant, assessor, Greater Vancouver Region.
The 2017 Assessment Notice is BC Assessment’s (BCA) estimate of a property’s value as of July 1, 2016, and for new construction or substantially renovated homes, the physical condition as of October 31, 2016.
BCA is a publicly owned provincial Crown corporation responsible for determining and reporting property value estimates for the 2,017,364 properties in its database. This is an increase of 1% from 2016. BCA started producing the assessment roll in 1974.
BCA’s assessment and a REALTOR’S® assessment. Why the difference?
BCA’s assessment and the market value determined by a Realtor may be different. Why?
Both BCA assessors and Realtors calculate market value by analyzing sales of comparable homes within a local market, and look at factors that affect value such as size of home, view, location such as on a busy or quiet street, number of bedrooms, construction quality, floor level, and garage or parking stalls.
Where every lot and every home on a street are typically the same, both BCA’s value and a Realtor’s value will be similar during stable market conditions.
Differences occur in neighbourhoods where lots have been rezoned or are different shapes and sizes, where architecture and views are unique, and where owners have made changes that BCA hasn’t yet taken into account.
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.
The Home Owner Grant is a provincial grant which reduces the amount of property tax an owner pays. To qualify you must be the registered owner, you must occupy the home as your principal residence, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, and you must live in BC.
The grant is available to owners of properties assessed at up to $1.2 million.
Local governments are asking the provincial government to increase the grant thresholds because the value of so many properties in the Lower Mainland has risen and many owners are losing their grants because of the increased value of their homes.
When you view your assessment
Property owners can look up their assessments on BCA's e-valueBC 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-valueBCData 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 February 1, 2017
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) and talking to staff who can make adjustments if there's an obvious error, for example if BCA included a complete renovation when there was merely a spruce-up.
The deadline to file an appeal is February 1, 2017.
Each year less than 1% of BC property owners appeal their assessments.
Note: you can’t appeal your taxes. You can only appeal your assessment.
For information about BC Assessment and to access e-valueBC visit: www.bcassessment.ca or phone 1-866-valueBC (1-866-825-8322).
Sample Property Value Changes in our neighbourhoods
The District of Squamish saw the greatest increase in the Greater Vancouver assessment region with a 47% increase for a detached home. North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley and Burnaby’s Buckingham neighbourhoods were close behind, with detached homes increasing 46%.
Additional examples may be found in these BCA news releases for Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley assessment regions.
Did you know?
Total value of real estate on the 2017 BC assessment roll is $1.67 trillion, an increase of 25% from 2016.
In BC, 88% of all properties are classified with some residential component (class 1), equating to $1.29 trillion.
Changes in property assessment reflect movement in the local real estate market and can vary greatly from property to property.
Real estate sales determine a property’s value which is reported annually by BCA.
BCA’s assessment roll provides the foundation for local and provincial taxing authorities to raise $7 billion in property taxes each year, which funds community services including the school system.
The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.