All posts by Virani Real Estate Advisors

You only need to make small changes in your house to go green

You Only Need to Make Small Changes in Your Home to Go Green and Make a Difference.

 

Everybody is talking about “going green”. It’s easy to understand the importance of becoming environmentally friendly and how some actions negatively impact the earth; however, the difficult task is making a change. Many people do not realize that small changes at home, along with some extra thought during daily activities, can have great impact on a global level.

We have outlined some simple energy tips that are easy to implement and will save you money in the long run and most important, reduce your carbon footprint.

  1. Use a programmable thermostat. Setting your thermostat three to five degrees lower while you are asleep and when no one is at home, will lower your utilities bill and save energy. You can even adjust just one degree lower and save resources. Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system can also be beneficial.
  2. Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater. A typical home only requires the hot water heater to be set at 120 degrees, but some manufacturers have set their heaters to 140 degrees, a temperature that can be scalding. Turning your hot water thermostat down 20 degrees can save you between 6 to 10 percent in energy bills.
  3. Use more LED bulbs where possible. Light-Emitting Diode bulbs are significantly more energy-efficient than either incandescent or CFL bulbs. LED technology is nothing new. An LED bulb will last approximately 50,000 hours – five times longer than a CFL bulb. If the bulb is left on for eight hours per day, it will last over 17 years and there will be noticeable cost savings.
  4. Save water and save money. Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too. Install a low-flow showerhead. They don’t cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment. Also, make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
  5. Unplug appliances when they are not being used. Appliances and electronics when turned off but still plugged into a power outlet use energy – ‘phantom energy’. Of course there are some appliances that you simply cannot unplug everyday. Unplugging your appliances probably won’t leave you noticeably richer, but it’s a relatively easy way to save 5 to 10 percent on your electricity bill. And if you can convince your friends and neighbors to eliminate phantom power as well, the cumulative effect could be truly impressive.

 

Many of the steps we can take to stop climate change, collectively can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainably. Let’s start now by acting local and thinking global!

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Once You Have Been Preapproved For A Mortgage, Here’s What You Need To Do Next

Getting the preapproval for your mortgage is very important and means you are one step closer to owning your own home. But before you make an offer to the seller, consider doing the following three things:

 

Set a realistic budget

Your mortgage is not the only expense you will have when buying your home. There are a number of other costs that are involved that will impact your financial situation:

  • Closing costs – lawyer fees, home inspection fee, appraisal fees, land transfer taxes, mortgage default or Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation insurance are some of the notable closing costs.
  • Fixed costs such as home insurance, property taxes, strata fees, should be added to your budget.
  • Immediate updates to the home such as replacing the floors in certain rooms, upgrading some appliances to more energy efficient ones.

 

Plan for unexpected events

Owning a mortgage is a big deal. It’s comparable to paying rent, but with a mortgage you are paying towards ownership of your home. With rent, you are giving money to the homeowner who uses the rent towards ownership. What happens if you cannot pay your mortgage due to some unforeseen circumstance?

You need to protect your home by:

  • Insuring your mortgage balance with a personal insurance coverage – life, disability, and critical illness.
  • Setting up an emergency fund to cover the fixed expenses for at least 6 months.
  • Earn extra income to help cover the expenses.

 

Make a list of tasks that need to be done

Once you have done the above, you need to find a suitable home.  Here are the necessary steps that are required:

  • Make the offer with your realtor
  • Decide on closing date, possession date, and other contingencies
  • Negotiate and sign the agreement
  • Get an appraisal and home inspection done
  • Pass on the documentation to the lender
  • Get the necessary mortgage insurance
  • Pay the down payment
  • Pay the other closing costs

 

Today, buying a home in Vancouver requires a sizeable investment. We have a very experienced and knowledgeable group of real estate professionals available to help you. Call us on 604.913.1000 or email us with any questions you may have about the market or real estate in general.

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REBGV Market Update For January 2021 – Trend Continues From Last Year As Home Sales Activity Outpaced The Supply Of Homes.

The January 2021 stats released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) confirmed a continuation of the past few months, whereby home listings continue to decrease and homebuyer activity continues to remain above historical averages.

The imbalance between supply and demand is responsible for increased competition, multiple offers and an upward pressure on home prices. “Shifting housing needs during the pandemic and historically low interest rates have been key drivers of demand in our market over the last six months,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. “People who managed to enter the market a few years ago, and have seen their home values increase, are now looking to move up in the market to accommodate their changing needs.”

 

Home Sales

In January, Metro Vancouver recorded 2,389 residential home sales, which represented a 52.1% increase from the 1,571 sales recorded in January 2020, and a 22.8% decrease from the 3,093 homes sold in December 2020.

Detached Homes: 740 sold, 68.6% increase from 439 sales in January 2020.

Attached Homes: 454 sold, 42.8% increase from 318 sales in January 2020.

Apartment Homes: 1,195 sold, 46.8% increase from 814 sales in January 2020.

 

Home Listings

The number of newly listed homes for sale on the MLS in Metro Vancouver was 4,480 for January 2021. This represented a 15.7% increase compared to the 3,872 homes listed in January 2020.

The total number of listings for January 2021 on the MLS was 8,306, a 3.6% decrease compared to the 8,617 listed in January 2020 and a 2.7% decrease when compared to December 2020 (8,538).

 

Sales-To-Active-Listings Ratio

This is a good indication of the supply and demand forces in the market. Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio is below 12% for a sustained period, and there is upward pressure when the ratio is above 20% for a number of months.

For all property types, the ratio was 28.8% in January 2021. When broken down by property types:

  • 3% for detached homes
  • 6% for townhomes
  • 8% for condos

 

Home Prices

The MLS Home Price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver for January 2021 was $1,056,600.

This represents a 5.5% increase over January 2020 and a 0.9% increase compared to  December 2020.

Click here for a full report.

Working with our real estate professionals will enable you to set realistic expectations that help you achieve your housing goals. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000.

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Here Are Some Compelling Reasons Why Smart Sellers Use A Pro

Here Are Some Compelling Reasons Why Smart Sellers Use A Pro.

Probably one of the biggest expenses when it comes to selling your home is the real estate agent commission, which typically runs around 5%. With more expensive properties, this figure can reach six figures, which can be a lot of money to pay.

Your home is a big investment and you want to keep as much as possible when you sell, and this is why some sellers go the FSBO – “For Sale By Owner” – route.

But do they really save that much? Remember, selling your home on your own does not necessarily mean an agent free commission. You still have to pay the buyer’s agent his/her commission, and this reduces your savings.

So why would you use a real estate professional to sell your home?

 

Strength in numbers.

According to the NAR (National Association of Realtors), in 2014, 88% of buyers used a professional realtor to purchase their home.

A real estate agent has one of the most powerful sales tool in the industry – the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Using this service gives thousands of potential buyers access to your listing.

Your realtor will also have a comprehensive marketing plan that exposes your home to as many buyers as possible and works hand-in-hand with you to ensure that your home gives a fantastic first impression.

 

Experience.

Let’s face it, a successful real estate agent will have probably sold more homes in a month than you will in your lifetime. Their life revolves around their business 24/7.

Research has shown that FSBO sellers struggle with preparing their homes, paperwork and pricing. On the other hand, a professional realtor will help you based on his/her experience on the following:

  • Pricing your home based on the neighborhood and latest market data
  • Advising you on what repairs should be done and which should be omitted
  • Advising you on how to stage your home
  • Marketing to potential buyers
  • Scheduling with buyers to see the home and discussing issues with them
  • Negotiating with buyers to get the best possible price for your home
  • Handling all the paperwork thus relieving stress on your part

You can save money buy doing an FSBO listing.  But you can lose much more by not pricing the home at the correct market value, or by omitting repairs that will cost you when it comes to negotiating the price because you thought they were unnecessary. By doing an FSBO listing, the main method of selling your home is by a yard sign – how many people drive by your home on a given day, compared with an agent’s pool of buyers?

If you’re planning to sell your home, why not work with the best of the best? We have sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of homes. Contact us or call us on 604 913 1000.

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February 2021 Founder’s Message

A Great Start to the New Year!

Metro Vancouver’s housing market is off to an active start as we welcome in the new year. Buyer demand remains strong with home sale activity outpacing the supply of existing inventory. Historically low interest rates and changing housing requirements during the pandemic are driving the market as we continue the pattern set at the end of last year.

In January 2021, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,389, a 52.1% increase from the same time last year. Also, last month’s sales were 36.4% above the 10-year January sales average. This elevated home sale activity combined with low levels of listings for sale is resulting in increased competition among home buyers and an upward trend on prices.

Sales of Metro Vancouver’s detached homes in January 2021 reached 740, an increase of 68.6% from the 439 sales recorded in January 2020, while the benchmark price of a detached home increased by 10.8%. Similarly, sales of apartments saw a 46.8% increase and attached home sales totalled 454, a 42.8% increase from January 2020.

The benchmark price of a single family detached home in West Vancouver is now $2,906,700, up 13.3% from last year, while North Vancouver is 12% higher at $1,722,300 and Greater Vancouver is $1,576,800, up 10.8%. The benchmark price for a townhome in West Vancouver is $1,142,100, only slightly lower this year at -0.4%. However, North Vancouver has increased 7.6% at $1,020,700 and Greater Vancouver is up 4.3% at $815,800. An apartment in West Vancouver is up 7.7% this year at $1,072,900; North Vancouver rose 5.9% at $591,400, while Greater Vancouver increased 2.2% at $680,000.

This past month, there were 4,480 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale in Metro Vancouver, representing a 15.7% rise from this time last year and an 86% increase compared to December 2020.

What does all this mean for you? Now is an excellent time to call our expert advisors and schedule a personalized, complimentary market analysis of your home. You may be surprised to discover what you can afford with today’s unprecedented low interest rates. A new year brings new beginnings. We invite you to allow us to help make your dream home a reality in 2021!

 

 

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REBGV Market Update For December 2020 – Real Estate Market Ends The Year With A Bang!

A notable feature of the December 2020 market report released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) was the December home buying spree which helped the market rebound from a weak 2019, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her end of year comments about the Greater Vancouver real estate market, Colette Gerber REBGV Chair said, ” When the pandemic began in March, the housing market came to a near standstill. We knew, however, that shelter needs don’t go away in times of crisis, they intensify. The real estate community worked closely with our regulatory bodies and public health officials in the spring to ensure appropriate precautions and protocols were implemented so BC REALTORS® could help residents safely meet their housing needs.”

The REBGV reported that residential home sales in the region totalled 30,944 in 2020, a 22.1% from the 25,351 sales recorded in 2019, and a 25.7% increase from the 24,619 homes sold in 2018.

 

Home Sales

In December 2020, there were 3,093 residential property sales. This represented a 53.4% increase from the 2,016 sales in December 2019 and an increase of 0.9% from November 2020 when 3,064 homes were sold.

  • The number of detached properties sold was 1,026, 71.3% more than December 2019.
  • The number of apartments sold was 1,474, 40% more than December 2019.
  • The number of attached properties sold was 593, 62.9% more than December 2019.

 

Home Listings

There were 2,409 new listings of detached, attached and apartment properties for December 2020 added to the MLS®. This represented a 51.7% increase compared to the 1,588 homes listed in December 2019, and a 40.8% decrease compared to November 2020 when 4,068 homes were listed.

The total number of homes listed for sale in December was 8,538. This was a 0.8% decrease compared to December 2019 (8,603) and a 23.2% decrease compared to November 2020 (11,118).

 

Sales-To-Active-Listings Ratio

This is a good indication of the supply and demand forces in the market. Downward pressure on home prices can occur when the ratio is below 12% for a sustained period, and there is upward pressure when the ratio is above 20% for a number of months.

For all property types, the ratio in December was 36.2%, indicative of a seller’s market. When broken down by property types, the ratio was:

  • 2 % for detached homes
  • 4 % for townhomes
  • 331 % for condos

 

Home Prices

The MLS Home Price index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $1,047,400 in December. This was 5.4% more than December 2019.

When broken down by property types:

  • Detached home price $1,554,600. A 10.2% increase when compared to December 2019 and 1.0% increase when compared to November 2020.
  • Condo price $676,500. A 2.6% increase when compared to December 2019 and unchanged when compared to November 2020.
  • Attached home price $813,900. A 4.9% increase when compared to December 2019 and 0.1% decrease when compared to November 2020.

 

Click here for a full report.

Working with our real estate professionals will enable you to set realistic expectations that help you achieve your real estate goals. If you are looking to buy or sell a home, contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000.

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Parks

Vancouver is renowned for its gorgeous greenspaces. From the wild, untamed beauty of Pacific Spirit and Stanley Park to seaside tranquil beaches and quaint neighbourhood parks, Vancouver is teeming with scenic spots. With close to 300 parks that comprise 11% of the city’s footprint, there’s a lot to do and explore in Vancouver’s natural playground. Stunning coastal mountains, old-growth rainforests, sandy coastlines, open grassy spaces and manicured gardens soothe and inspire. Stanley Park, the city’s 1,000-acre gem, is one of the top urban parks in the world with its ancient cedars and 10 km seawall. With so many spectacular parks, you can refresh and energize right in your own backyard.

 

Virani’s Top Picks
Stanley Park
Grouse Mountain
Queen Elizabeth Park
Pacific Spirit Regional Park
Whytecliff Park

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Gyms

Known as the fittest city in Canada, Vancouver has an extensive collection of luxury gyms and fitness studios. From heart-pumping cardio, boxing and spin classes to yoga and pilates, there’s every type of way to get fit in style, whether you’re a beginner or a champ. Unique concept classes focus on strengthening and stretching while others test your limits with high-intensity training. Expert, qualified teachers and personal trainers are available at the studios to help inspire and empower. With one of the lowest obesity rates in North America, Vancouver is a health-conscious city and this is reflected in our many exceptional fitness opportunities.

 

Virani’s Top Picks
Equinox
House Concepts
Steve Nash (FITNESS WORLD)
Gold’s Gym
Pure Barre
Spin Society
YYOGA

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Universities

British Columbia is known for its prestigious universities, arts and design schools and polytechnic institute. Consistently high-ranking, the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University offer undergraduate and graduate programs to students who gain professional qualifications that are respected world-wide. Both universities are global centers for research and offer a wide range of professional studies in everything from computer science and engineering to medicine and law. Vancouver’s top art schools are recognized for a history of leadership in the creative arts. B.C.’s premier higher educational technical institute offers applied education and prepares students for practical career credentials. These leading post-secondary schools all strive to help students develop skills to succeed in today’s global economy.

Virani’s Top Picks
UBC
Capilano University
Art Institute
Emily Carr University
BCIT
SFU

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Schools

Vancouverites value education. This is evident in the many prominent private independent schools found throughout the city that offer students from preschool to grade 12 world-class educational opportunities. Implementing relevant and pioneering interdisciplinary programs, these schools help to create critical thinkers who will eventually join a broader global community. Specialized curricula such as the highly regarded International Baccalaureate, University Preparatory and Advanced Placement programs ensure students secure spots in top-ranking post-secondary schools in North America and abroad. With a commitment to excellence and providing exceptional learning environments, Vancouver’s highly regarded private schools engage and encourage learners as they prepare for their future success.

 

Virani’s Top Picks
Collingwood
Mulgrave School
York House School
St.George’s
West Point Grey Academy

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