January 2016

Found 34 blog entries for January 2016.

A shortage of available homes for sale has certainly made it easier to sell a vacant home. 

Selling a vacant houseHowever, the same pitfalls that relate to selling empty houses more quickly, and at best price remain. For sellers who have experienced a job change or other event which requires they move and leave a vacant and unfurnished home behind to sell, there are often issues requiring special consideration. That's because many folks buy on emotion and have a hard time warming up to an empty house.  A lived-in home can be much more appealing.

Empty homes often present an echo when you walk through them, and because doors and windows aren’t opened to allow air to circulate, odors can accumulate.

So, you are selling a vacant home, what can you do to create an edge

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This article is a year old (so the dollar value has now changed) but has some fun comparisons as to what the vast majority of us will never need to know "What can I buy for $1,000,000, but its still fun to look.. Where would you live?

BC PropertyWhile Vancouver is continuously ranked one of the best places in the world to live, the affordability of our city seems to plummet every year. With the 2015 B.C. Assessment Roll issued earlier this month, the cost of living is confirmed to be higher this year than ever.

For instance, a single family home on Vancouver’s East side on a 33′ lot that was valued at $892,000 in 2014 was valued at $993,000 in 2015. That’s an increase of just over 10 per cent.

Overall, “the benchmark price for detached properties increased

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Use your RRSPAs the Canadian real estate market continues to rise, some investors want to put their RRSP money to work in a real estate investment. While there are limitations, there are also several options available to investors.

Unfortunately, those looking to buy a rental property with their RRSPs are out of luck. Tax-free RRSP withdrawals of up to $25,000 can be taken under the Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) to buy or build a qualifying primary residence to live in, but not for a rental property investment.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are RRSP-eligible investments that pool together income-generating real estate. Typically the pool includes residential, office, retail, industrial, self-storage, healthcare or hotel properties. REITs are a way for

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Need to use the rental suite income of a home to qualify for a big enough mortgage? Here’s how to maximize the mortgage

Basement Revenue SuiteHow much of a mortgage do you qualify for? You went to your bank and they told you $xxx,xxx – are they right? Your dream house costs a bit more, so is there any way to get the extra funds? If the property has a rental suite, and you have a good mortgage broker on your side, the answer is likely “yes”.

We have all heard the term “mortgage helper”. In fact, 25 per cent of detached houses in BC contain a rental suite and this rises to almost 40 per cent in the Lower Mainland. In Vancouver alone there are 26,600 rental suites (out of about 47,000 detached homes), and this accounts for roughly 20 per cent of all the rental stock in the

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BC Assessment

Got your property assessment and want to appeal, theres not much time left if you want to this year. IF you think that something is wrong it's always a good idea to check this year's property assessment against last year's for any kind of discrepancy.

BC Assessment determines values for all properties in BC so municipalities can tax property owners based on a single province-wide set of standards. Tax rates differ from one municipality to another because they're set by the local governments, so even if the valuation of your home goes down, you could still pay more tax. BC Assessment isn't responsible for that, only for the value it sets for your home. Your property is assessed according to its value on July 1 of the previous year.

So how do you

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Wait… What’s that on the ceiling? Is that a crack? Is the ceiling about to cave in? What does it mean?

Crack in your foundation?Cracks in the foundation, ceiling or walls are worrying. Sometimes they’re signs of trouble, while often they’re just cosmetic issues.

The simple ones are do-it-yourself projects. However, in certain cases you’ll need professionals to handle the repair: They’ll keep the problem from getting worse.

Faulty Foundation

Vertical foundation cracks that are narrow and shallow are often just indications that concrete is curing or the house is settling. These happen naturally. Though small cracks are typically not serious, check them every couple of months to see if they expand.

Even if cracks are not yet big enough to pose a structural concern,

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BC GovernmentMany governments across the country are putting the final touches on their 2016 legislative agendas, including British Columbia’s. And on the West Coast it will probably be difficult to disconnect many of the announcements and policy directives from the provincial election just more than a year away.

Holding to tradition, the spring session will open some time in February, with a budget to be tabled shortly after. While Premier Christy Clark is expected to maintain a steady-as-she-goes course devoid of any major political gambles, there will certainly be moves that will attract attention and undoubtedly controversy.

Here are some of the things I’ll be looking for.

The cabinet

Since the 2013 election, Ms. Clark has only tinkered with the

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IS it time to seel your home?It is a seller’s market. But not every house will sell. What is the best strategy for home sellers selling their home in a seller’s market?

“The best time to buy a house was last year. The next best time is right now.”

For buyers

House prices tend to go up. You can wait for them to go down. You can wait, or you can act. Waiting, in my opinion, will only lead to more waiting. You’re probably not ready to buy if you’re waiting for prices to go down.

If you are looking to buy this year, if you want to be successful with buying a home, now more than ever you have to be prepared to act quickly. You have to be fully engaged in the home buying process. With your agent, you have to see houses and revisit them (online) a week or ten days later and find

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The fixer upper homeIf you fall in love with a fixer-upper, you may find yourself in a tough spot figuring out how to pay the mortgage and cover the cost of renovations or postponing renos until you can afford them.

 Main Benefits of a Purchase-Plus Improvements Mortgage:

The little-known CMHC improvement mortgage (previously known as the purchase plus improvements program (PPIP)) allows home buyers in that scenario to borrow money to buy and immediately renovate a home with funds from their mortgage lender rather than taking out a separate line of credit that usually carries a higher interest rate and adds another layer of complication to their financial life.

PPIP is generally available with as little as five per cent down. However, buying with less than 20 per

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'It's just too good of an opportunity to pass up,' former Winnipegger Diane Olson says

Canadian owned US propertyIt's time to cash in for many Canadians who bought property from 2008 to 2011 in the United States, says Diane Olson, an Arizona real estate agent and former Winnipegger.

"My clients, when they call me, they're ready to sell. It's just too good of an opportunity to pass up," she said.

Substantial foreign exchange gains and appreciation in home value over the last five years have created a "perfect storm" for Canadian homeowners in the United States, she said.

"The houses that were more around $200,000, they're up. They can [sell for] anywhere from $275,000 to $350,000," said Olson. Add to that the loonie trading for about 70 cents U.S. and Canadians are

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