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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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Should I Build Or Should I Buy A Home?

If you are in the market for a new home, you may have considered building from scratch instead of buying a resale home. While the decision isn’t always simple or obvious, each option has its pros and cons.

Building a new home – advantages

Control over details

You can personalize the details of your home from the ground up – so you have more control over details. Everything can be the way you want right from the beginning. You can customize the paint, the flooring, appliances and much more. There will be no remodeling costs.

More efficiency.

A new home is built to meet current building codes, incorporate the latest technology and is often more energy efficient. You will spend less on energy as your appliances will use less energy and your home will be better insulated saving you on heating costs as well.

Everything is new.

The floors, ceilings, roof, siding, appliances, windows, etc. will be brand new. Most will come with warranties that are likely to be covered for several years. Chances are that the first few years of home ownership will incur very few costs for repairs, and you will not have to deal with any unpleasant surprises!

Building a new home  – disadvantages

Delays, delays, delays.

It is not uncommon for a building project to experience delays – blame a lot of this on the weather. Delays can be costly especially if you have sold your existing home and plan to move into the newly constructed home. They can also frustrate you mentally.

Issues with the builder.

Having a reliable builder is very important when it comes to getting permits, construction loans, adhering to the building code and timely completion. If you have a builder who does not cooperate with you regarding the aforementioned issues, you can experience a lot of stress and anxiety, not to mention the added financial burden that may arise from this.

Budget limitations.

You may want to factor in certain upgrades, which could be pricey, and you could end up spending above your budget.

Buying an existing home – advantages

Room for negotiation.

A resale home is usually less expensive than a new build and you have room to negotiate the price (as long as there is no bidding war.) If the market is “soft” then you can end up with an attractive deal. With a new build, once the builder has set the price, there is no more room for negotiation. If market prices have dropped, your price will stay the same.

Easier to move in.

Once the deal is closed, for the most part, you can move into your home without further delay. There is no wait time and no need for temporary housing.

Easy to visualize and renovate.

With a completed home, you are able to see the existing home’s floor plan and layout. You have opportunities for home improvements and changes from the moment you take possession of the property.

More desirable locations.

A resale home may be found in a more desirable location, with close proximity to schools, urban centers and recreational facilities; and the established infrastructure may allow easy access to these facilities.

Buying an existing home – disadvantages

May require extensive repairs/renovations which can be costly.

If you want to renovate a home that is already built, you may face a huge investment in time and money, which may not be worth the effort in the long run. Even simple remodeling can cost a lot.

Fewer amenities/older appliances.

When you buy an existing home, you could inherit appliances and home systems that may cost you money in updating or keeping in working condition. As far as the appliances are concerned, older appliances are less energy efficient and may eventually require expensive replacement.

Buyer’s remorse.

You could experience this if you end up not too keen on the existing floor plan. You may have gotten a good deal on the price, but in retrospect you may have regrets. This could affect your lifestyle, as you would be living in a home you were not happy with.

With all that said, every market is different—just like every buyer is different. The best way to choose the option that’s right for you is to talk it over with an experienced real estate agent. Your agent will know where the deals are, whether you’re interested in the long-time neighborhoods or the up-and-coming communities. And they’ll help you decide whether building a house or buying an existing home will suit your needs best.

Contact us If you’re looking for an agent who’s willing to do what it takes to help you find the perfect home.

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Here Are Some Great Ideas On Buying A Home, For First Time Home Buyers

Owning a home is a dream and a goal for most of us. But today’s first time homebuyers face numerous challenges in the form of higher prices and government regulation, which makes this dream more difficult and out of reach for some.

So as a potential first time homebuyer, you have to change the way you think and act differently. Here’s how:

Get a renter to help with the mortgage payment.

If you are buying a home, then convert the basement into a suite that can be rented out. If you are buying an apartment, get a 2 bedroom one and rent out the other bedroom. You will have to compromise your privacy, but this is a useful way to get that first home you always wanted.

Lower your expectations.

Instead of a 3-bedroom home in a desired neighborhood, settle for a smaller home in a more affordable neighborhood. Fewer people spend most of their lifetimes in one home. Think about your lifestyle for the next 5-10 years and make a decision based on that.

Share the ownership.

Buying a property with family or friends may be an easy way to get that first home. This is useful if you have friends or relatives who may have that extra cash and are keen on investing with you. You need to ensure that there is a watertight agreement that avoids any future problems when you decide to sell the home or buy out the other party.

Be patient and realistic.

Take your time to furnish or renovate the home. Yes the home may not be exactly what you want, but in time you can slowly make it into what you want it to be. So Don’t immediately jump into a large spend on furniture or start fixing things the way you want the home to look like, do it progressively.

If you cannot buy, then keep saving.

If you are determined to buy a home eventually, don’t let the prices and regulations deter you. Keep saving and putting your money away for the down payment. Eventually you will find that ideal home and your life will be changed forever!

If you have any questions about this blog, or any home-related issues, please contact us and one of our real estate professionals will be glad to help.

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