Virani

The Virani Real Estate Advisor Brand – Bringing North American Real Estate Opportunities to Britain.

Real estate sales in our global village are not just limited to the domestic market. With the advent of the Internet and the convenience of air transportation, an increasing number of real estate transactions are cross border and even cross-continents. In North America, specifically Canada, there is no shortage of real estate opportunities to invest, buy and sell real estate domestically. 

With this in mind, 10 years ago we opened offices in the prestigious Knightsbridge area of London, England.  Our London office is instrumental in introducing qualified buyers from the UK to the Vancouver and Canadian real estate market. 

Our experience has taught us that the attractive Canadian dollar, political stability and economic success have made Canada an attractive investment destination. Clients and potential clients prefer dealing with a company like ours that has considerable experience in dealing with local property, and well educated in global property transactions. 

Marketing has become the driving force behind selling properties at higher prices. In today’s highly competitive real estate market, a successful real estate company needs a team of marketing specialists that have the financial means to market your home properly.  

Our company gives the same MLS exposure and traditional real estate marketing as other companies, and in the era of the real estate digital consumer where close to 90% of today’s homebuyers use the Internet in their real estate search, we have invested in an innovative proprietary real estate search engine  – THE VLIST Search. 

All our listings at all price points use hi resolution photography and video with carefully crafted remarks.  

The Virani brand is synonymous with quality and prestige, especially when it comes to marketing luxury real estate to our British clients.  We are experienced in helping buyers wherever they are located, find their ideal overseas property, whether for permanent relocation, a holiday home or a real estate investment. For further inquiries, please contact us. 

 

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December Founder’s Message

With the holiday season upon us, I would like to send a message of gratitude for all your continued friendship, support and business this past year. We have faced new challenges in 2021, yet still managed to create innovative pathways together and bring health and happiness to others.

Metro Vancouver residents continued to show their incredible generosity of spirit this year as charitable organizations received record donations and disaster relief efforts were remarkable. Our own Human-Kind not-for-profit business relied on our community’s support to feed as many households as possible this year. To date, we helped deliver 6,500 meals.

Home gained a strong importance in 2021 as the pandemic continued to change the way we live. This past year was a record year for home sales across Canada. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) says 2021 was the busiest year ever for Canada’s housing market, with average selling prices reaching new highs.

Historically-low interest rates, increased demand for more living space and a recovering economy contributed to the Lower Mainland’s red-hot housing market this year. The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,211,200, up 16% from this time last year.

The CREA predicts that next year the average home price in Canada will increase 5.6% as homebuyers take advantage of record low interest rates for a while longer. However, rising interest rates are forecasted in the April-to-June quarter of 2022 so now is the ideal time to consider your real estate options. Rate increases will make home prices more costly in the new year. With this said, we invite you to give us a call so one of our highly experienced Virani advisors can provide you with a complimentary, in-depth comparative market evaluation on your home.

Sales overall are still well above pre-pandemic levels. Last month’s sales were 33.6% above the 10-year November sales average. Metro Vancouver continues to experience a strong seller’s market. It is an ideal time to move up, purchase an investment property or become a first-time buyer. Metro Vancouver’ s real estate market continues to remain robust. We invite you to allow us to help empower you to meet your real estate goals.

However you celebrate during this time, may the peace and warmth of the season bring hope and happiness to you and those you love. I am proud to have helped serve our community this year and for the past two decades. I look forward to exceeding your expectations in the upcoming year ahead.

Our world continued to change a great deal in 2021. We have all learned the importance of the place we call home. Being a welcoming, caring country remains an important advantage. Canada’s economy is set to grow by more than 4 percent next year as we aim to welcome 411,000 new immigrants to our country. Canada is renowned for being the jewel of the world and is a top destination for global talent. It is without a doubt that 2022 will bring us all even closer together as we ring in the new year!

 

With warmest wishes always,

Karim Virani

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Real Tips On How To Save Money On Your Energy Bills This Winter.

The price of everything is going up, including energy. While the cost of heating your home may be steadily rising, you are in a position to control how much energy you use, thereby reducing the pain in your wallet. Below are some tips to help reduce your costs while improving the comfort level in your home, ranging from simple behavioral changes to more extensive home improvements.

Get an energy audit

It’s a good idea to get a home energy audit if you are not sure how energy efficient your home is. The information from the audit will be very useful to gauge what you need to do to improve the energy efficiency of your home, and eventually reduce your energy bill.

Install a programmable thermostat

These are widely available and are fairly easy to install. A programmable thermostat allows you to program the temperature to go up when you are at home and turn down the temperature when you are not or when you are sleeping. The thermostat can be easily controlled from your smartphone and is relatively inexpensive.

Remove drafts

A home energy audit will pinpoint with good accuracy where you are leaking heat. Addressing the air leaks in your home can help you save money and increase the comfort level in your home.  Test for air loss by standing in front of doors and windows and feeling for any cold drafts. You can use your hand or a candle.

Improve the insulation

The most vulnerable area for heat loss if not insulated properly is the roof/attic. If you own an older home, adding to the existing insulation will not only increase the comfort level of your home by keeping the heat in but will also reduce your energy bill.

Adjusting your habits

Sometimes all it takes is switching lights off, taking shorter showers, hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer, drawing curtains at night to insulate rooms, or reducing the thermostat by a degree or so to make a difference to your end of the month bill. While some of these ideas may not seem like a lot, a few simple changes can really make a difference and help to reduce your energy costs.

Vancouver’s real estate market is still an excellent investment. We are a well-known brand in the luxury real estate market. Visit our website http://virani.ca to view Vancouver homes for sale and our profile.

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Thinking of Getting into the House Flipping Business? Be Prepared.

You have probably watched countless shows on TV about flipping houses and making a large amount of money in a relatively short period of time.  While this may not always happen, there is a good chance that if you do your homework properly you will make more money in a few months than what the average worker makes in the entire year!

So what steps should you take to ensure that you will not end up losing your shirt?

An important rule to follow is to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. Do your research on the crime rates, schools and the community in general. You may get a great deal on a property but if it is located in a bad neighborhood it will not sell quickly or for what you had hoped.

Learn to shop wisely. Never go for the top of the line renovations and fixtures. The goal is to make the most money possible with the least amount of expenditure,  so where you can save money by buying less expensive, do it.

Unless you have done a thorough inspection before buying, there may be unpleasant surprises – electrical, plumbing or structural, which may cost you more time and money.  There is also the possibility that unanticipated problems may show up when the buyer’s inspector looks over the house. Again, you could be in for some huge cost overruns.

Budget properly before you buy. Do some thorough homework on the costs and “what-ifs”.  What happens if the property takes longer to sell after you have renovated it? Do you have the holding power?  Have you taken the potential higher property taxes into account? Have you budgeted for delays – contractor, materials, and permits?

Many people think that flipping a house means doing a bit of painting, a few small renovations, and some cute decorating.  There is a lot more involved. If you are disciplined, work well with stress and have some cash to possibly lose, then you have a good chance of succeeding and your efforts will pay off handsomely!

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November Founder’s Message

Canadians have seen historically low interest rates for the past two years. This is about to change. The Bank of Canada hinted this month that it will be raising interest rates as soon as the April-to-June quarter of 2022.

This will make it more expensive to borrow and tends to cool off economic activity, which helps manage inflation. These forecasts have implications for current and prospective borrowers, including homebuyers and current mortgage holders. Rate increases will influence the cost of loans and credit with variable interest rates, such as variable rate mortgages and most lines of credit.

Now is the time to take advantage of pre-approvals as you don’t want to miss out on the current rock bottom low rates. Rate holds freeze mortgage rates for up to 120 days, so you want to secure a fixed rate before the era of low interest rates comes to an end.

If you currently have a variable mortgage, take time to recalculate your payment using various scenarios to ensure you’re prepared for the anticipated increases. If you’re thinking about buying a home, don’t delay getting pre-approved. Analysts are predicting the Bank of Canada’s short-term interest rates will rise anywhere between 1.75% and 3% by the end of 2023. In turn, variable mortgage rates will go up as well. Similarly, bond yields are forecasted to continue to increase throughout the year, which will cause fixed mortgage rates to rise.

Metro Vancouver’s real estate market remains strong and now is the ideal time to call our experienced Virani advisors to receive a free, in-depth comparative market analysis on your home. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) home price index benchmark price for all detached homes in Metro Vancouver is $ 1,199,400, up 14.7% from October last year. Last month’s sales were 22.4% above the 10-year October sales average. It’s a great time to move up, purchase an investment property or enter the market. Rate hikes are going to make home prices more costly, so call us soon. We are here to help.

You may want to consider purchasing a pre-sale property as Royal Bank is currently offering excellent mortgage options for pre-sales that protect both buyers and sellers. They are guaranteeing a firm, long-term approval commitment, allowing buyers to get a final mortgage approval for up to four years while their home is under construction. This is extremely valuable if your employment or financial circumstances change. They can cap today’s rates for the length of a buyer’s mortgage approval. Buyers are also eligible for creditor insurance while under construction and premiums are only collected upon possession of your new home. This is excellent risk management and a critical element of purchasing a pre-sale.

In addition to this excellent mortgage program, there are many additional advantages to buying pre-sales. A major benefit is that you’re only required to put 5% to 10% down and incremental deposits of around 20% with the balance due upon completion. Less money is required up front while you build your home’s equity.

Virani is currently offering two distinctive pre-sale opportunities in Vancouver. Ole Scheering’s highly anticipated first residential offering in North America is coming very soon. Fifteen/Fifteen is now previewing at the sales gallery by appointment. Should you be interested in booking a private appointment, please contact our sales team at fifteenfifteen@virani.ca, or 604-695-1000. With over 65 unique floorplans, the architect considered every element of the living experience and meticulously crafted each residence to maximize light and space.

Lilibet is a collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom garden homes or townhomes right across the street from Queen Elizabeth Park. Nestled in a serene residential neighbourhood, Lilibet is only one block from vibrant Cambie Street and less than a ten-minute walk to dynamic Main Street. Currently, over 75% of the homes are sold, yet there are still two- and three-bedrooms available. The two-bedroom homes feature rooftop decks with almost 500 square feet of outdoor space.

Both Fifteen/Fifteen and Lilibet offer excellent options to buy now for the future. Our advisors are experts at facilitating pre-sales and providing you with priority access due to our long-standing relationships with major and local developers.

As our country continues to climb out of the pandemic, change is on the horizon. We have experienced the lowest rates in history and record-breaking sale highs in Metro Vancouver. With that said, rates are on the rise. Take time to consider your future real estate options. Our highly knowledgeable Virani advisors have exclusive V.I.P. access to pre-sale offerings and listings. We take pride in giving you the best advice and personalized service possible. Our goal has always been to empower you to make educated decisions that suit your individual needs. Collaboration is the key to success. Together we will take the guesswork out of the real estate process and help you achieve your goals in these changing times.

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Thinking Of Helping Your Child Buy A First Home? Here’s How You Can Do It.

Remember the good old days? You began your early independent life with a nice starter home in the suburbs with a small lawn to cut in the summer and a driveway to shovel in the winter. A few years later you bought a bigger home, moving up in life and work….Not anymore.

Today the average price of a home in Vancouver is well over a million dollars, and with the new mortgage rules, first time homebuyers are hard pressed to ever own a home, unless they get some sort of relief from family or win the lottery.

You may be a parent of a millennial with the heart (and wallet) to help your child get into the property ladder. Here are ways to do it:

  1. Make a lump sum payment as a gift.

Pros:

  • No tax implications if you are gifting to your child using after tax dollars.
  • Simple and straightforward to do.

Cons:

  • The gift comes with no conditions attached.
  • You cannot demand retroactive payments or conditions.
  • You may lose your gift if creditors have a claim on your child’s assets or your child’s marriage breaks up.
  1. Become a co-signer or guarantor to a mortgage. This is useful if your child has a poor credit history or doesn’t have enough to cover the monthly payments.

Pros:

  • You don’t have to put out your own money.
  • You give your child the opportunity to own a mortgage with your help, which will help his/her credit rating in the long run.

Cons:

  • If your child cannot make the payments, you are on the hook for the payments.
  • The lender can take action against both you and your child.
  • If you are the guarantor, the lender will first go after your child, and then after you. This will affect your credit worthiness, which is not a good thing if you have painstakingly maintained an excellent record over the years.
  1. Consider giving your child a secured loan.

Pros:

  • The loan can be documented and secured to give you the parent, the legal right to enforce payback conditions.
  • If the conditions are not met, you can take the matter before the courts, and eventually take control of the property.
  • If your child’s marriage breaks up, a secure loan will ensure that your contribution is not lost.
  • If you have prior claim on the property through the secured loan, other creditors may not be able to make a claim on the property.

Cons:

  • Drawing up the loan documents that will stand up in a court of law will require the use of a lawyer, which represents an expense.
  • If the loan is drawn up informally over the dining table, it may not stand up in court.
  • Not many parents may actually take their children to court if they default on the loan.
  1. Set up a trust that stipulates that the child can only use the property in accordance with the terms set out in the trust.

Pros:

  • The child can enjoy the home without the need for a mortgage.
  • The home is secured from a child’s creditors and the fallout of a broken marriage.

Cons:

  • As a parent, you still have to fork out for your child’s accommodation
  • Your child will not build up a credit history.
  • The legal fees for setting up the trust can be expensive.

Vancouver’s real estate market has been appreciating over the past decade and is still an excellent investment. We are a well-known brand in the luxury real-estate market. Visit our website http://virani.ca to view Vancouver homes for sale and our profile.

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Three Principal Reasons Why The Condo Market Is So Hot in Vancouver

The market for detached homes may have cooled when compared to last year, but on the other hand, Vancouver’s condominium market has seen double-digit percentage increases from last year.

What is responsible for this year’s super hot condo market? A perfect storm comprising of three competing sectors:

First Time Buyers

Normally, a condo is what the typical homebuyer would invest in when entering the real estate market for the first time. During the past few years there has been a lot of dissent among first time homebuyers complaining that housing was becoming more and more unaffordable. Enter the provincial government with their BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Participation Program aimed at helping first time homebuyers with their down payment.

Instead of alleviating the problem of rising prices, the program is partly responsible for exacerbating it: with more potential buyers entering the market, there is upward pressure on prices, as supply cannot keep up with demand.

It is not surprising that first-time homebuyers are feeling that the condo market is now passing them by. Currently, each listing gets at least 4-5 offers and the final price is usually tens of thousands over asking.

Property Flippers

Speculators have also helped push up the average price of a Vancouver condo.

Research finds that roughly 5% of the condos sold in 2017 were owned for less than 1 year and nearly 11% sold within 2 years.

In any market where there is a potential for short-term profit, there are investors who find this a very hard opportunity to pass by – simple market economics.

However, not everyone who bought intended to flip. Many recent buyers have seen the value of their condo shoot up within a short period of time.

Finding the short-term windfall too hard to pass by, they have subsequently sold and made huge profits equivalent to a year’s wages, in some cases.

Downsizers

In the past few years there have been defectors from the detached market who have taken advantage of the property boom and sold their homes for huge gains. Many are boomers who have moved out of the area to other parts of the province looking forward to a comfortable retirement.

And there are those who are close to retirement, but have sold early in order not to miss on this housing bonanza. Armed with cash and patience they have chosen to downsize into smaller and more manageable homes – condos  – putting even more pressure on prices and availability.

These three competing forces have forced the condo market to explode and there are no foreseeable signs that this segment will cool down.

If you are looking to purchase a condo in this super hot condo market, we have a number of condos available in our listings. Go to the VLIST search and browse through the listings.

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October 2021 Founder’s Message

“There’s no place like home,” said Judy Garland in the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz. This time honoured sentiment resonates stronger than ever as we realize the importance of home since the pandemic changed the way we live almost two years ago. Home is our sanctuary. It represents safety, security, family and familiarity. It means many things to all of us, but one thing we’ve all learned is to treasure the place we call home.

Our homes have become so much more than just bricks and beams. It is said that home is a feeling, not a place. For many of us, it has become a refuge. A place to work, learn, play and relax. Our world has changed a great deal in a short period of time and so has the way we value and use our living spaces. Many of us are no longer leaving our homes in the mornings for work and returning in the evenings. Instead, we are now working from home and consequently requiring additional space and privacy.

During the 1918 flu pandemic, floor plans evolved as homeowners began installing small bathhrooms on the main levels of their homes so guests could wash up without traipsing through the entire house. Similarly, with COVID, our requirements from our living spaces have shifted as we work and learn remotely with the help of modern technology. This work-from-home trend has translated into a greater need for more flexible, multi-purpose spaces that are comfortable and functional.

Basements reserved for storage have become home gyms, dining rooms are centers for virtual learning and backyards are oases for relaxation, entertaining and play. Gardening has become a popular hobby as people take satisfaction in growing their own food and creating beauty in backyards and on balconies.

Throughout the pandemic we have seen record-breaking home sales as homeowner’s shift to new ways of living and learning. Metro Vancouver’s real estate market remains strong and now is a great time to receive a free, in-depth comparative market analysis from one of our highly experienced Virani advisors. We listen attentively to your individual needs so that together we can find the place you call home in a post-pandemic world. Our advisors are attuned to both local and global real estate markets and know how to help you build a successful, strategic real estate portfolio. We invite you call us today so we can empower you to make sound decisions.

Living through a pandemic has shifted our values and activities more towards home. And, while many of us are blessed with homes and family, we recognize there are also many of us who need a helping hand during these times. With this in mind, Virani is working to build a community and support those struggling with food security.

Human-Kind, our not-for-profit purpose driven business is reliant on our community’s support to feed as many households as possible. With every locally hand-crafted Human-Kind bracelet you buy from us, we feed a local family in need. To date, we have helped deliver 6,500 meals. Celebrating kindness and giving back to our community and city that has supported and shaped us for the past two decades is extremely important to us. After all, we are all in this together.

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The Land Owner Transparency Act – What Is It And How Does It Work?

Laundering money through real estate has been a thorn in the side of government over the past few years, and to combat this, on November 30, 2020, it introduced the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) in an attempt to make land ownership more visible and transparent in this province.

LOTA’s main aim is to:

  • Combat money laundering
  • Crack down on tax fraud
  • Address “hidden ownership”
  • Close loopholes

It applies to 3 types of reporting bodies that own any real estate in BC which are required to file a “Transparency Report”:

  • Any corporate entity, or
  • Partnership (general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships) or
  • Trust (express or bare) that owns any real estate in BC

How does LOTA work?

Since its introduction on November 20, 2020, for any registration or change in title to a property in BC, a transparency declaration must be filed with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia (LTSA). Individuals acquiring an interest in land are responsible for completing the declaration.

The Transparency Report must be filed online and must been done by a legal professional who has access to the filing portal.

For pre-existing registered owners of land in British Columbia, disclosure must take place before November 30, 2021. It is important to note that LOTA imposes monetary penalties for failure to comply.

What is reported?

The Transparency Report contains a significant amount of information about the Reporting Body and its Interest Holders, which can be broken down into primary and secondary information. The primary information is available to the public and includes:

  1. For individuals – their full name, citizenship, and principal residence.
  2. For corporations – their corporate name, registered and head office address, jurisdiction of formation, and current governing jurisdiction
  3. For partnerships – the business name, the type of partnership, the registered and head office address, and its current governing jurisdiction.

In addition, the Reporting Body also needs to disclose additional secondary information that is of a more sensitive nature, and which is not available to the wider public. The secondary information includes tax and corporate registration numbers, individual’s date of birth, last known address, social insurance number and individual tax numbers.

LOTA records are completely separate from Land Title Office (LTO) records and are handled by the administrator of LOTA and stored in a searchable registry (the Land Owner Transparency Registry or LOTR) developed by the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC.

Any corporate entity, partnership or trust that owns any real estate in BC has to file a declaration with the Land Title Office by November 30, 2021 disclosing all of the beneficial owners of the property. Fines can be levied of 15% of the assessed value of the property. If you have any questions about the filing requirements, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

Further information on the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) can be found here.

Definitions:

Reporting Body means any of the following:

  • A corporation or limited liability company, including incorporated associations and societies
  • A trustee of an express trust, bare trust or similar legal relationship created in another jurisdiction; and
  • A partner of a general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, professional partnership or foreign partnership within the meaning of the PartnershipAct (British Columbia) or a similar legal relationship created in another jurisdiction.

Interest Holder means any individual who:

Is deemed to be a corporate Interest Holder under LOTA, being any individual who, either alone or jointly or in concert with one or more other individual(s):

  • Directly or indirectly, has a registered and/or beneficial interest in at least 10% of the relevant corporation’s equity or voting rights; or
  • Directly or indirectly, has the right to elect, appoint or remove the majority of the relevant corporation’s directors; or
  • Directly or indirectly, has the ability to exercise control and influence over an individual that has the right to elect, appoint or remove the majority of the relevant corporation’s directors.

Is deemed to be a beneficial owner under LOTA, being any individual who:

  • Directly or indirectly, has a beneficial interest in respect of an Interest in Land registered in the name of a trustee of a relevant trust; or
  • Directly or indirectly, has the power to revoke the relevant trust and receive the Interest in Land; or

Is deemed to be a partnership Interest Holder under LOTA, being any individual who, directly or indirectly, is a partner of a relevant partnership where at least one of the partners holds the Interest in Land as partnership property of the relevant partnership.

An Interest Holder of a Reporting Body that has an Interest in Land may be required to file a Transparency Report.

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Sweeping Changes Proposed As Vancouver Fights To Get Units Back Into Rental Housing.

According to Vancouver Mayor Greg Robertson, Airbnb is effectively “Vancouver’s largest hotel”. Currently there are thousands of short-term rentals that are believed to be eating into Vancouver’s rental supply. In view of this, the City of Vancouver is proposing sweeping changes in the short-term rental market that will bring at least 1,000 rental units back into the market.

Presently, Vancouver has around 6,000 active listings on various platforms such as Airbnb, Hometogo, VRBO etc. These are not registered and are effectively “illegal” according to the City. The City estimates that at least 70% of the current short-term rentals will be able to continue doing so once its proposed regulations are adopted.

Below are some of the proposed new regulations for short-term rentals in the City of Vancouver:

  • Owners or renters would need to obtain a business license to be able to participate in the short-term rental market. This would have to be posted on the relevant platform the property is listed on.
  • There would be a one-time activation fee of $54 and an annual fee of $49. These fees are in line with long-term rental units and bed and breakfast businesses currently operating in the Vancouver. By keeping the fees low, the City is encouraging compliance.
  • All short-term rental unit operators would have to comply with Federal and Provincial tax requirements, based on the income they generate from the unit.
  • Each property would have to ensure that it fits with building safety guidelines and the surrounding neighbourhood.
  • A transaction fee of up to 3% that would apply to the guest. This would be comparable to the Provincial Government tax on hotel guests that is currently being levied.
  • Only principal residences would qualify. The intent is that long-term investment homes and secondary homes would be returned to the rental market.

The Mayor calls his proposed regulations a “balanced approach”. “Our focus is to protect long-term housing and also that we ensure that people can make supplemental income from short-term rentals”, he said during his press conference.

Did you know that we have a property management and rentals division? Contact us or call 604 695 1000 and we will be pleased to discuss your rental needs.

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105 – 100 Park Royal S West
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Tel: 604 913 1000


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