The State of Vancouver Real Estate

Vancouver’s Red Hot Real Estate Market has become a news sensation. It’s in the headlines. It’s on TV. It’s in every other social media post you scroll through in your feed. But the question remains—what is actually happening in the market?

I teamed up with Geoff Lee of GLM Mortgage Group to cover this topic.  We are bringing you the stats, the facts, and what you need to do to purchase a home in this crazy market. Click below to read my guest post!

BC HOME Partnership Program

This new program for first time homebuyers called the HOME Partnership Program may be able to help them! In a nutshell the program breaks down as follows:

  1. Offers qualifying home buyers loans of up to $37,500, interest and payment free, for five years.
  2. The province has started accepting applications, started on January 16, 2017.
  3. To qualify, buyers must:
    1. be buying their first home
    2. obtain a high-ratio, insured first mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the purchase price
    3. have a combined gross household income not exceeding $150,000
    4. have saved a down payment amount at least equal to the loan amount
    5. be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years
    6. have lived in BC for at least the full year preceding their application.
  4. The loans will be due in full if the buyer defaults on a payment, ceases to use the home as a principle residence or resells the home.
  5. The Facts:
    1. The loans will match a home buyer’s contribution to a down payment up to five per cent of the home’s purchase price
    2. The maximum purchase price to qualify for a loan is $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees)
    3. After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at current interest rates
    4. Loans through the program are due after 25 years.
  6. The Application:
  7. Applicate/purchaser applies for loan
  8. Expected fees are $560.00
  9. Expected turnaround time is 5 days
  10. Housing Loan Approval is good for six months *** Pre Approval Certificate is required from a Bank before applying for the BC Housing Loan for Down Payment ***
  11. Applicants selects a home and writes offer.
  12. Lender approval and final contract to be sent to BC Housing minimum 14 days prior to closing date
  13. BC Housing will send instructions to lawyer/notary 4 days before closing date
  14. Please allow extra time if your client is applying for the program for subject removals.

For easy reference, please view the PDF Flow chartpower point, and scenario’s.

If you or someone you know has questions about this program, please contact me. I would be delighted to help!

4 Reasons to Buy in 2016

4-reasons-to-buyThe new year will be here before you know it! But there is still time to find your dream home in 2016—and there are 4 reasons why you SHOULD buy before we hit 2017!

 

  1. Harder for First Time Home Buyers Increased Government Intervention: With each passing month there seems to be more regulations and interest rate volatility.  From the changes on October 17th, to the new one’s coming into effect as of November 30th  buyers are seeing a significant impact on their spending ability.
  1. A Market Rebound will make Buying More Expensive The Real Estate market slowed in Vancouver for the month of October-which is good news for First Time Home Buyers. However, there is the potential of a market rebound occurring, and prices going back up in the new year.
  1. Segments of our Market are Increasing: Two segments have been growing in the real estate market and will continue to do so in 2017.  These two segments are First Time Home Buyers and Baby Boomers looking to downsize. This increase in demand, coupled with a lack of supply, tends to bring higher prices.
  1. Healthy Inventory of Homes Taper Off in the Winter: The supply of homes for sale is usually fairly low in January and February, making November and December a good time to pick up a new home. Buyers like a higher selection of homes and a lower chance of a bidding war.

The new year and holidays will be here before you know it! Take advantage of the less government intervention, lower pricing, and good supply available right now. This fall and winter could be your time to find the perfect home.

What are Closing Costs

what-are-closing-costs

What are Closing Costs

It is widely known that venturing into home ownership is one of the largest investments you will ever make. You do your research to find out how much it will cost to buy a house, determine what you can afford, and set a monthly budget to help you stay on track. From your deposit, to property insurance, to title insurance to lawyer fees, you know what you need to prepare for, but do you know what they all mean? We don’t want to keep you reading all day so we won’t dive into them all just yet, but now is the perfect time to dig a little deeper, and find out exactly what are closing costs.

Once your home purchase is finalized, there will be some additional costs you should be prepared for called closing costs. Typically, closing costs can range from 1.5% to 4% of the selling price, and are often the legal and administrative fees you are required to pay at the time of closing. Some examples of closing costs are listed below:

What are Closing Costs

Everything You Need to Know

These are just a few of the costs you should be prepared to pay, but if you would like a list of exactly what you can expect, your RE/MAX agent will be able to help! There are some costs that will be dependent on the type of property you are purchasing, and some may be worked into your negotiations with the sellers.

Home Inspection Fee

We have shared the importance of a Home Inspection many times. Although it will cost you in the beginning, it can save you a lot of money should there be any serious problems with the home.

Mortgage Default Insurance

If you put less than 20% down on your new home, you will be required to buy mortgage default insurance to protect the lender.

Land Transfer Tax

Land Transfer Tax is the tax you pay when you buy land or interest Canada. This includes any buildings, buildings to be constructed, and fixtures and is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of your home.

Legal Fees

When determining what your closing costs are, it is important to keep in mind the legal fees you will be required to pay.

Appraisal Fee

This cost covers the estimate on the value of your home and certifies the lender of the resale value.

Property Taxes

If the previous owner of the home has already paid the property taxes for the year, you may be required to reimburse them for the amount that has been paid.

These are just a few of the costs you should be prepared to pay, but if you would like a list of exactly what you can expect, your RE/MAX agent will be able to help! There are some costs that will be dependant on the type of property you are purchasing, and some may be worked into your negotiations with the sellers.

Thank you to my colleagues at RE/MAX for this article.

Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper

should you buy a fixer upper

It looks so simple on TV: Find a diamond-in-the rough with “good bones,” hire a few telegenic workers, perhaps squabble with your significant other about the interior paint color and presto – the home has doubled in value. The reality, of course, is not so easy. Here are a few things to consider before investing your money – and time – in a fixer upper.

1. Can you afford it?
After consulting an experienced building inspector to assess the home, a contractor for a time and money quote on the work to be done, and a Realtor to make sure the renovations are in line with what buyers want, do the math. Be sure to include materials and add an extra 10-15 percent for renovation “surprises” that may arise. Once you have the general price tag, you can calculate whether you have the funds to cover the cost of renovation or need (and are qualified) to take out a renovation loan.

2. Do you have the time?
Even if you plan on hiring contractors to do most of the work, coordinating with with them still takes a big chunk of time. If you just started a job, are expecting a baby or simply don’t want to commit the necessary hours to the project, it might not be prime time for a fixer-upper.

3. Do you have skills? (Or handy friends?)
Doing the labor yourself can save you money. A lot of renovation work, especially cosmetic projects, is not rocket science. But if most encounters you’ve had with power tools have ended at the ER, it may be best to go with a contractor.

4. How do you feel about living in a construction zone?
Unless you’re able to live elsewhere during renovations, think long and hard about whether living in an unfinished house, complete with workers and a power tool soundtrack, will drive you nuts.

Before you dive into a fixer-upper, talk with a Realtor who can help you identify promising homes and emerging neighborhoods where you might get the most bang for your building bucks. Find me here.

Nearly 80% of millennials agree owning a home is attainable

According to new RE/MAX poll Nearly 80% of millennials agree owning a home is attainable

Canadian millennials are optimistic about the future, including their homeownership prospects, according to a new poll by RE/MAX. The survey, conducted by Leger, found that 78.5 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that owning a home they love is attainable. In all provinces, Canadians overwhelmingly agree that homeownership is attainable, despite price appreciation in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

The survey also found that 81.6 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that finding a good job in their field is attainable, demonstrating overall optimism about their future.

While millennials are optimistic about homeownership, many expect help in order to make their dreams a reality. Of Canadians 18-34 who are considering buying a home, 37 per cent expect help with their downpayment from a family member or friend. Of those who are expecting help, 60 per cent anticipate that it will come from their parents.

“The older generation has seen significant appreciation in the value of their homes, while the younger generation is entering the market at a higher price point,” said Gurinder Sandhu, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region . “This means first-time buyers in Canada’s higher-priced markets often need a little help, which many parents are in a position to offer.”

Unsurprisingly given the higher home prices in these regions, prospective buyers in all age demographics in British Columbia are most likely to expect help, followed by those in Ontario.

The survey also found that when asked about their financial priorities, 68.2 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that saving for a downpayment is a priority and 78.4 per cent agree that saving for retirement is a priority.

“We’ve found that for many young Canadians, homeownership is an important milestone that they are actively working toward,” said Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Furthermore, while Canadians continue to value and aspire to homeownership, they are not doing so at the expense of other financial considerations, such as retirement savings.”

The survey, conducted by Leger, surveyed 1,516 Canadians between Monday, March 28, and Thursday, March, 31, 2016.

Sourced from remax.ca.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

Resharing this post, for your enjoyment, from buzzfeed.com

1. Having to scan through listing after listing after listing.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“New construction or preowned? Condo, townhome, or house? City or burbs? Do we really need a half bath? Decisions, decisions, decisions…”

2. Having to appear appealing to lenders in order to gain that coveted preapproval.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“So what credit score do I need to have in order for you to swipe right?”

3. Having to learn all the brand-new real estate lingo.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“FHLI? IAD? GDS? P.I.T.H.? You just put those letters together randomly, right?”

4. Having to deal with other buyers at an open house…

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Oh, you called dibs, huh?”

…and having a showing that seemed much larger in the pictures.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Shoulda known! Certain cameras are known to add 1,000 square metres.”

5. Having to deal with a dream home that got away.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Fine! You can have it! I really didn’t want a picturesque family home on a quiet street with good neighbours and extra closet space anyway!”

6. Having to wonder if your couch will fit in a particular room.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Will it fit through that door though?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

7. Having a mini panic attack when your apartment lease is coming to an end, and you’re nowhere near close to closing.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Dear Mr. Landlord, can I pleeeeeease go month to month until i close on my house????”

8. Having to fight off other bidders and counteroffers.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Are we lowballing them? Is that reasonable? Is this above market price? OMG! What do we do?!”

9. Having to experience the wait from the date of sale ‘til the day you have keys in hand.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“So this is mine, but I’m not allowed in it? What is this closing you speak of?”

10. Having anxiety as the inspector does his walkthrough.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

“Please don’t find anything wrong .”

11. Having to witness all the additional fees add up.

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

$$$$$ le sigh $$$$$

12. Having to learn to see beyond the “cosmetics.”

12 Struggles Of Buying Your First House, As Told By Goats

It’s what’s on the inside that counts…but not just the pretty paint colours!

Your first home should be full of excitement, not regrets. The largest transaction of your life deserves the expertise of a REALTOR®.