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Why Selling Your Home in Winter Actually Isn’t A Bad Idea!

Contrary to the misconception that it is better to sell your home in the summer, putting your home on the market in winter can be advantageous.

Although selling your home in the winter does have its unique set of challenges, you will discover that there are a lot of advantages to listing in winter:

  1. There is less competition
    • There will be less inventory on the market as homeowners typically sell in the warmer months. With fewer homes on the market, there will be less competition and sellers will be in control.
  2. Buyers are serious
    • You will find that generally, those potential buyers in the winter months are more motivated. You will probably have fewer showings, but the people who come through will be more qualified and serious – they should be – braving the cold to view homes!
  3. You may get a better price
    • Because there is less inventory, if you market your home right, you have the potential to getting a great price for your home. Sellers definitely have the upper hand in a winter transaction. In the summer months, buyers might have 20 homes to choose from. But in the winter, there may only be 5 that fit the same criteria. You have a much greater chance of someone submitting an offer on your home in the winter.

Don’t forget, people need to move for many reasons: a new job, a growing family, up or down-sizing, so every day is a good day to list your home for sale. This happens all year round, and there are still plenty of buyers out there

Interest rates are still historically low compared to years past. This is good for buyers today and it’s good for buying your next home. Contact us or call us on 604 913 1000.

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Here Is The New Normal When Buying A Home With Social Distancing

There’s no doubt now that using technology has become the new normal for buying a home. Keeping everyone safe is front of mind, and online tools like those created for remote working and collaboration, are now being actively used to help home buyers look for a home. 

Fewer visits to homes 

The rules for viewing homes in person have changed drastically. While one family member may be allowed to physically walk through the home, the whole family may not be able to view together, Touching countertops, opening closets and other habits we are used to doing when viewing a home, may be a thing of the past. Finding a suitable property may take longer than before. 

Distance home viewing 

Buying a home today will require more online investigation and viewing virtual open houses. Gone are the days when real estate professionals would drive 30-40 clients to multiple listings over a number of weeks. 

Virtual staging, 3D floor plans, aerial photography, videos of the home and the neighborhood are essential to buyers, sellers and appraisers, who now rely on these  marketing tools to price homes that they may not have physical access to. 

Less paper work to deal with 

There is more exchanging of contracts and transfers through the Internet, thus eliminating the need for paper. Not only does this save time, it is better for the environment as less paper is used, and fewer trips are made to municipal offices, open houses etc. It is also cost effective regarding time spent and less disruptive to staff. 

With all these changes, real estate professionals are finding that more time is needed for transactions to go through the buying process. Everything now has a process that cannot be circumvented or avoided. 

This new virtual world is an adjustment for everyone including the real estate industry. While there is less interaction between clients and real estate agents, there is still the need for employing the services of a real estate professional, who are now using these tools more efficiently and effectively.  

Our investment in technology puts us in the forefront with regards to the real estate industry. We use the best available online tools to market your home. Contact us if you are interested in buying or selling a home in today’s market. 

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BC Financial Services Authority To Be Created By Spring 2021 To Regulate BC’s Real Estate Sector.

BC has been under pressure to deal with money laundering in the province’s real estate market, which has inflated home prices by at least 5%. Creating a single regulator was a key recommendation for cracking down on money laundering in the sector.

Currently oversight and enforcement of regulations in BC’s real estate sector remains the joint responsibility of the Real Estate Council of BC and the Superintendent of Real Estate. Both have been mandated to work closely to crackdown on money laundering.

On Nov 1, the province created the BC Financial Services Authority as a Crown agency to continue the regulation of the province’s financial institutions, mortgage brokers and private pension plans. This Crown agency consists of an independent board of directors, effectively to take over from the Financial Institutions Commission under the Ministry of Finance.

Carole James who is BC’s Finance Minister unveiled plans for the new regulator to be created by the spring of 2021. Her reason for the lengthy rollout is mainly due to the fact that “ it will take some time to transition to make sure that the Crown Corporation is ready to take on that responsibility. ” She added, “For example, we don’t want to have a gap in disciplinary hearings. We also need to give the financial services agency some time to get up and running.”

According to B.C. Superintendent of Real Estate Michael Noseworthy, the change should make for better consumer protection “to increase public confidence in the broader financial services sector.”

Our team of real estate professionals has years of experience and first-hand knowledge about the market. We thrive on working with homeowners to help them achieve their dreams, whatever the season or style of home. For more information, please call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000, or email us.

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Now Is The Time To Invest In Vancouver Real Estate, As Amazon’s New Offices Will Most Likely Create A Real Estate Shortage.

Amazon recently announced plans to convert the old Canada Post site in Downtown Vancouver, into its new base of operations, in the process creating 3,000 new jobs by 2022. This will mean that there will be thousands of extra workers needed homes in a city already facing a shortage of affordable housing.

Amazon has been gradually increasing its workforce footprint in the Lower Mainland of BC over the past few years. The current workforce scattered around the lower mainland stands at 1,800 and by 2022 will explode to 5,000. But it will not stop there.

Consider Amazon’s presence in the Seattle metro area where in 2010 the company had 5,000 employees. Today there are around 40,000, making Seattle one of the fastest growing US cities.

According to Zillow, rent increases in the neighbourhoods that experienced the greatest influx of theses workers have risen 65% faster over the past 5 years than areas with the smallest influx.

Then consider the “Amazon effect”. Amazon attracts other companies that also want that talent, so they move their offices closer to the Amazon hubs, and this causes a larger influx of people.

Experts have commented that with Amazon’s higher pay to its tech workers, they will be able to afford higher rents and mortgages, creating more incentives for higher end housing developments. This would crowd out the working class and force them to leave the city.

Vancouver has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in North America, and the price of a benchmark home has risen 91% over the last 10 years. Despite government attempts to ease prices, real estate is becoming more and more expensive.

Unless there is some drastic policy change that forces a net out migration of people from the Lower Mainland, it seems that we are continuing to experience an influx of population into our beautiful city. So would you not want to become a real estate investor in this market?

We currently have over 70 exclusive listings on our website http://virani.ca

If there is any property that interests you, please contact us or call on 604 913 1000

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The Future Of Open Houses During The COVID -19 Dilemma

Holding an open house is an integral part of the real estate sales process. With the COVID – 19 pandemic enforcing us to engage in social distancing from each other and engage in COVID-19 preparedness, holding open houses does not seem to be the right thing to do.

Having said that, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) is “strongly recommending” against its approximately 14,000 members holding open houses during this pandemic. It has also suspended its rule requiring properties that are listed for sale to be made available for showings.

“Realtors want to do their part to help prevent the spread of illness in our communities and to meet the housing needs of residents in a responsible way,” said REBGV president Ashley Smith in a news release. “We’ve heard from some in the community who are unhappy that their realtors are not holding open houses. To those people, we ask for your understanding given the public health crisis we all face today.”

“While only the provincial government or the real estate regulator has the ability to mandate an end to open houses, we urge realtors to encourage clients to take advantage of digital tools like virtual tours when buying or selling a home,” Darlene Hyde, chief executive of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, said in a statement Friday.

So the question is “How do you sell a house if you can’t show it to buyers?” And this sadly, comes when most Canadian real estate markets seemed to be on course for a red-hot spring selling season.

For sellers, the REBGV recommends taking “alternative approaches to open houses, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions.” For buyers, the board recommends limiting the number of people participating in a property viewing, sanitizing hands before and after the showing and avoiding touching doorknobs and other surfaces while inside the listed property.

While we are all sailing through uncharted territory with the current pandemic, there are homeowners that need to sell their home and families that need to buy a home. Contact us by email and we can consult with you.

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Take Heed Of Your Property Tax Assessment – There Could Be Some Savings Here

On January 1, 2017 property assessments became available on the BC Assessment website. And as expected, the increases in property values are substantial: values were calculated as at July 2016 when local real estate prices were at their peak. 

The main issue here is that your property value has risen and you are facing a higher than normal property tax rate hike. 

It is important to note that a sharp increase in your property value does not necessarily indicate a proportional property tax hike; it’s relative to how much your property appreciated compared to others in the same municipality. 

In view of this year’s higher assessments, the Provincial government just announced an increase in the Home Owner Grant threshold from $1.2million to $1.6million, in an effort to assist homeowners whose property values and taxes have increased substantially. 

Since July 2016, prices in some neighbourhoods have marginally declined while others have not.  There are a number of homeowners who strongly disagree with their assessments. If you are one of them should you file an appeal? 

You have until January 31 to appeal your property assessment.  Before you do, consider the following: 

  • There are 2 arguments for appeal: either that the assessed market value of your property is too high based on comparable sales, or that you were unfairly assessed in comparison to your neighbors. 
  • There is not a straightforward correlation between your property taxes and your property value  – the important factor here is how your property fared relative to others in your property class and local taxing jurisdiction. 
  • An appeal could work against you as a second review of your property may reveal that you were initially under assessed. 

If your property value went up 30% or 40% don’t panic. It does not mean that your property tax will increase by that much. What matters is how much your value appreciated relative to other homes in your municipality. 

If you are unsure on how to handle the recent dramatic rise in your property value and whether you should appeal or not, we have experts who can advise you as to the best course of action. Contact us on 604 695 1000, email us or visit our offices on 1280 West Pender St. 

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“Virtual Staging” Can Be Misleading. Make Sure You Are Aware Of This

We are living in a sophisticated digital era where real estate photo enhancement is being done on a massive scale. There is also sophisticated virtual staging software available, where one can completely transform the makeup of a listing in a very short period of time. Both factors have helped transform the home staging concept.

Consider this:

You find a house that appears to be what you’re after, and you tap into the photos section of the listing to see the interior shots. The house looks great for the asking price. Everything appears to be in good physical condition, you’re impressed by upgrade extras such as crown molding in some rooms, plus granite counters and premium appliances in the kitchen.

You call your real estate agent and arrange a visit to the house. You both walk in and what you find is not what you expected. The walls have cracks, the carpets are stained and dirty in some places. There are no granite countertops, no premium kitchen appliances. In fact, the kitchen looks really outdated and worn out.Your visit was a waste of time.

This is virtual staging at its best. It requires no physical furnishings like physical staging – just good software and imagination.

As home prices climbed over the past few decades, and new digital photo enhancement technology became widely available and easier to use, it has not been uncommon for sellers to distort their images, making the property look better than it really was.

Now that the market has cooled off, sellers of imperfect homes are resorting to the same tactics lest their listing be overlooked entirely. Photographs are being photoshopped to make them look sharpened, brightened and are cleverly edited. Rooms are being staged to look better than they actually are.

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia has tried to do renovate its legislation to reflect certain technologies. In Its 2013 addition to the Professional Standards Manual reads: “Photo-enhancing computer applications make it easy to manipulate photographs in a variety of ways. While editing out such items as a garbage can or an automobile parked in a driveway would be acceptable, removing nearby power lines or changing any physical characteristic of a property such that it results in a misrepresentation would not be acceptable.”

When looking at listings on line, the age of the home and room measurements should give reasonable hints as to the authenticity of the images. Remember, even the fanciest of photography is no substitute for an on-site visit.  

We are currently in a buyer’s market and an experienced real estate company that has been in business for over 2 decades such as ours, will be able to guide you efficiently and effectively towards your investment goals. Contact us and one of our experienced professionals will be able to answer all your questions and concerns. We have a number of very attractive investment properties for sale.

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