September 29, 2014
How to Avoid Costly Home-Selling Slip-Ups
That's it! You've decided to sell your home. Whether it's your first home or fifth, selling your home can be stressful, emotionally challenging and time-consuming. It's easy to make mistakes that can end up being major ones that can cost you the sale.
Here are the most common mistakes that can lower your home value or even cost you the sale and how to avoid them.
1) Hiring an Agent for the Wrong Reason
Don't hire Uncle John's best friend without first checking if he is right for the job. You need to choose a real estate professional who knows your area as well as the housing market, in addition to having the marketing skills to make your home stand out. Russell suggests you go online and review ratings to help you make an educated decision, and get recommendations from people in your area.
2) Setting an Unrealistic Price
Probably the biggest mistake home owners make is setting an unrealistic price.
"Yes, it's been written to death but it bears mentioning again," says Russell. "Too many sellers overprice their homes, placing too much weight on what the price of a home similar to theirs is going for or they overinflate what their renovations are worth.
"Conditions vary from market to market. A similar house in Steveston versus elsewhere in Richmond will not be priced the same."
3) Poor Online Listing Photos
In today's technological world, many buyers look for homes online first. You do yourself a huge disservice if you don't have great photos of your home, as that is what online property hunters want. You need lots of images, at least one of every room and at different angles. They need to be high-quality, crisp and clear ones, taken preferably in natural light. The photos should showcase your home's best assets. It will set your house apart and help generate more interest. If your agent takes the photos and you are not happy with them, complain and ask for a professional photographer as part of the deal.
4) Not Doing Those Small Repairs First
You may have done some key renovations to increase your chances of a sale (see " Seven Renos to Get Your Home Sale Ready") but what about those little problems that you've stopped noticing? If an interested party comes through your home and finds broken handles, doors that don't shut properly or trim that hasn't been painted all the way through, they will be mentally adding up the cost of the fixes and will likely put in a lower offer. Or worse they are going to think twice before putting an offer at all. A home in need of repairs indicates to them that the owners don't really look after their home and they will be wondering what else is wrong with this house that they can't see.
5) Creating an Unwelcoming Ambience
If a Realtor and their clients pull up to a home with every light blazing out of the windows, chances are those prospective buyers will get a strong sense of your presence and have a harder time picturing themselves living in your home. On the flip side, don't leave the place in unwelcoming darkness or only light a small desk lamp - light it as if you are entertaining guests. And if it's high summer and viewers are seeing it in the daytime, ensure plenty of natural light floods in. (For more advice on ambience, décor and staging, see " Six Steps to Summer Selling.")
6) Hovering During a Showing
Prospective buyers do not feel comfortable if you are hovering around the house, or worse, following them around during a viewing. They get distracted, will feel like they cannot discuss your property openly and will leave before really having the chance to see your home properly. So get out of the house and leave the agent to do their job. Also, don't forget to take Rover with you some buyers are scared of dogs.
7) Showing Items that are Not Included
If you love grandma's heirloom chandelier that she willed you or that gorgeous mantel you paid a hefty sum for, and you plan on taking it with you take it down and replace it before you even list your home. Russell says those items, if left during the showing or even in the photographs, could become a bargaining issue. He has seen clients lose a sale because they would not sell those meaningful items to the prospective buyers.
8) Being Unavailable Ever
You must be flexible and accommodate potential buyers, even if it isn't convenient for you. Therefore, your home should always be neat and tidy and ready for a showing at the spur of the moment. First impressions are important. In addition, Realtors never know when an offer will come in, so you must ensure that if you are on holidays to provide a phone number that you can be reached at all times. Russell says he once had a client who never told him he was on a cruise and thus lost the sale.
Source: REW.ca, Michelle Hopkins
September 24, 2014
I have sold a property at 27923 SWENSSON AVE in Abbotsford
I have sold a property at 27923 SWENSSON AVE in Abbotsford.
Beautiful like-new 2 story home on massive 11,000 sq. ft. lot near Aldergrove!! This nearly 3,000 sq. ft. beauty has been COMPLETELY renovated with almost everything new: Beautiful hardwood floors, huge stunning custom shaker maple kitchen, cultured stone fireplaces, lighting, baseboards and trims, all new bathrooms, etc. Huge master suite w/ stunning ensuite, 2 walk-in closets, separate living room and great room, 3 or 4 bedroooms, 3 bathrooms. Long driveway with tons of parking, room for RV, boats, and more. Minutes to Starbucks, Timmies, High Street mall and bus route. Priced WAY below replacement cost for a quick sale, call TODAY for your private tour!!
September 23, 2014
Best Fall Reno's to Increase the Value of Your Home
Do you love your home but find it is looking rather dated? Perhaps you’re considering selling and want to raise your property’s value? Either way, it is time to take the plunge and modernize your home. Always think about the resale value of your renovations, says Colleen Brome, a ReMax realtor and interior decorator.
“You don’t want to put in thousands of dollars worth of renovations that aren’t going to pay off once you decide to sell,” says Brome, a 30-year veteran of the industry.
Here are some home improvements that will increase the value of your property.
New or replacement fireplaces
The wood-burning fireplace is as nostalgic as the famous Norman Rockwell’s 1927 Tea Time painting of a couple sipping tea by the roaring fire. But today, that painting would be in front of a high efficiency fireplace. Wood-burning ones are more toxic, polluting, less efficient and sometimes dangerous. Most popular for new construction and retrofits is by far the gas fireplace.
A gas fireplace is one of the most desirable assets a home can have, both for resale value and for setting the tone and ambience. “Besides the aesthetics of a gas fireplace, it’s a lot less maintenance and can increase the value of your home when you go to sell it,” Brome says, adding that on the West Coast, home owners are going for the contemporary, often linear, gas fireplaces.
Gas fireplaces have made huge advances in popularity thanks to recent increases in efficiency as well as advances in design. A gas fireplace delivers the best of both worlds – all the comfort without the mess and maintenance.
High-efficiency fireplace inserts
According to Robert Koby, owner of Vancouver Gas Fireplaces, gas fireplace inserts’increase a fireplace's efficiency.
“They are installed in existing masonry fireplaces or approved metal fireboxes,” adds Koby. “Most inserts are efficient heaters and are available with a number of features such as fans, thermostatic control, ceramic fiber logs for a realistic glowing effect, and a variety of trim options.”
Completely wall-integrated gas fireplaces are the most widespread by far, adds Koby.
To retrofit an older gas fireplace that doesn’t emit heat can run roughly $4,000 to $5,000. “That because it usually involves replacing the whole unit and cutting into the tile surround,” adds Koby. “The manufacturers are coming out with retrofits that you virtually only see the glass, you don’t see the metal or trim.”
Many of interior designer Patricia Gray’s clients are installing frameless units.
“This allows us to have the non-combustible material (stone, marble, tile etc.) to come to the edge of the fire opening. It eliminates the heavy black trim,” says Gray, who runs her own design company Patricia Gray, Interior Design. “More often than not, clients are asking for bronze glass crystals and a linear burner, rather than logs.”
One of the costliest and most important considerations is what flooring to put down. Selecting flooring that is durable, attractive, easy to maintain and healthy can be overwhelming because of the endless choices available today.
Brome adheres to the rule of threes when discussing flooring options with clients: never more than three different flooring materials in your home. The reason is simple; more than three and your home will look too busy and choppy.
“It’s all about flow. If you think of your flooring as the canvas for the rest of your décor, then imagine a seamless flow from room to room,” she adds. “Nothing creates that look better than choosing the same type of flooring throughout the common areas.”
If you have a small home or room, avoid using carpet. Carpeting can make the room look smaller. Laminate wood or hardwood is a much better choice because it tricks the eye into thinking the room is larger. Tiles can also fool us into believing the room is bigger than it is. Also, choosing horizontal lines to the floor will emphasize its width.
Lighting is often overlooked because people don’t realize the potential it has to transform a space. Lighting creates ambience and welcomes guests to your home. Often, new lighting dictates the tone for the rest of the home. Over the years, technology has provides us with endless choices to define our space.
At the forefront today are LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). Functional, energy-efficient and safer than their forefathers, LEDs dominate the industry and are what builders are putting in new constructions. When planning your renovation, change that old hallway light fixture for an LED that will not only save you money but look fabulous as well.
Faucets and Hardware
Another often forgotten elements of design is faucets and hardware. Although chrome still dominates the market, gold-coloured finishes and brass are back. And the brass is not the brash colour that was in vogue in the ’70s (think brass beds), but more a 21st-century brass.
“There’s a resurgence of brass but it’s a champagne, brushed brass that is elegant,” says Brome. “Trends come and go and even though some people shudder at the idea of gold hardware, there are some really beautiful gold-finished hardware and faucets that are more muted and sleek looking.
However, silver colours and modern shapes are still the most popular, Gray says. “When it comes to lever handles, the most requested are those with square back plate, polished chrome, satin nickel, stainless steel.”
For a clean, uniform look, Gray suggests home owners have matching door hardware throughout the home.
Finally, both Brome and Gray suggest that your renovation wish list begin with functional upgrades that make your home a healthier and more comfortable one, and then choose improvements that create a more modern, aesthetically pleasing home that will attract buyers when the time comes to sell.
September 9, 2014
Balanced Market in the Fraser Valley: FVREB
Real estate sales in the Fraser Valley saw the best August since 2011 as the market continued to outpace the last three years, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board figures released September 3.
Overall sales (including commercial, agricultural and industrial) fell 19 per cent compared with July but increased 3 per cent compared with the same month last year.
However, August’s overall sales figure was 10 per cent lower than the 10-year average for August. That’s a position that’s been typical of this year, with the exception of July when sales topped the 10-year average by 1.4 per cent.
And for houses, townhouses and condos, the typical summer slowdown saw home sales down nearly 21 per cent compared with July. Total home sales were virtually the same as August 2013, falling just 1 per cent year over year.
Single-family home prices in the Fraser Valley have risen 3.4 per cent since last August, townhouse prices have remained flat and condo prices have fallen 3.5 per cent.
The report also revealed that record-low interest rates are causing buyers to go for houses and townhouses instead of the less expensive condos.
Sales and Listings
Sales for detached, townhouses and condos reached 1,125 in August, compared to 1,136 in August 2013. Of August sales, 669 were detached houses, and they were the only category to increase over last August.
A total of 264 townhouses sold, compared to 286 last August, and 192 condos traded hands, down from 220 the year before.
Fraser Valley: What’s Up, What’s Down
|Overall Home Sales
New listings are down from July, as expected. The numbers are typical for August, with 1,956 homes hitting the market last month, 1,948 in August 2013 and 1,937 in August 2012.
There are currently 6,698 homes on the market: 3,469 houses, 1,483 townhouses and 1,746 condos.
It’s interesting to compare the demand for the different housing types. Board president Wenger says, “We have only five months’ supply of detached homes currently and nine months’ supply of condos.”
This chart shows each housing type and its percentage of the August sales, new listings and active listings. Detached houses (green) account for most of the market and their new listings are not keeping up with sales, resulting in fewer active listings. With condos (blue), on the other hand, new listings are outpacing sales, resulting in more condos on the market.
In August 2013, 55.4 per cent of sales were houses, 25.1 per cent were townhouses and 19.4 per cent were condos.
MLS Benchmark Prices
Today’s historically low interest rates have a lot to do with the popularity of houses and townhouses, says FVREB president Rey Werger.
“With interest rates as competitive as they are combined with the increase of affordable, new townhome developments in Cloverdale and Langley in particular, we’re seeing first‐time buyers bypass the condo phase to jump immediately to a larger, more expensive townhouse or a smaller single family home.”
Single-family home prices have risen 3.4 per cent since last August, while townhouse prices have increased just 0.1 per cent and condo prices have dropped by 3.5 per cent.
Fraser Valley MLS® Benchmark Prices, % Change
| ||August 2014||July 2014||August 2013|
HERE IS A LINK TO THE FULL MARKET REPORT - AUGUST 2014
September 9, 2014
Greater Vancouver August Home Sales Up 10%, Prices Up 5%
The Greater Vancouver property market continued its steady climb in August, as home sales increased 10 per cent and prices rose 5 per cent year over year, according to the latest Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) figures released September 3.
REBGV president Ray Harris said, “The volume of home sales has been higher than we’ve seen in the last three years, yet below the record-breaking levels of the past decade.”
Sales and Listings
Since July of 2013, Greater Vancouver MLS® home sales have closely tracked the 10-year average. In August the region’s 2,771 sales beat the average by 4.3 per cent.
Of the properties for sale, 1,051 were detached houses, 444 were attached (townhouses or duplexes) and 1,018 were apartments.
What’s Up, What’s Down — At a Glance
| ||Aug / July2014|| Aug 2014 / Aug 2013|
New listings dropped for the fourth month in a row — they went down 20 per cent from 4,925 in July to 3,940 in August. They currently stand at 8.4 per cent below the 10-year average for August new listings.
With consistently low new inventory, the sales-to-listings ratio remains near the 20 per cent threshold that would put Greater Vancouver into a seller’s market. August’s sales-to-listings ratio was 18.7 per cent, down from 19.6 per cent in July, which qualifies as being at the high end of a balanced market.
Benchmark Price (MLS® Home Price Index)
The composite benchmark price for the REBGV region now stands at $631,600. It’s a number that really doesn’t tell you anything except that home prices are generally rising for all housing types in all areas. It’s up 19.5 per cent over five years, and 5.0 per cent over one year.
The MLS benchmark price is a calculation of the value of a typical home of its type for the neighbourhood. Because it’s tied to housing type and area, it varies widely for the Greater Vancouver region. A good idea of home prices in a specific location is contained in the detailed MLS Home Price Index that the REBGV publishes.
August composite benchmark prices by housing type are as follows:
Greater Vancouver MLS® Benchmark Prices % Change
| ||August 2014||July 2014||August 2013|
September 9, 2014
Real-Estate Investing Tip: Buy & Hold
Real estate investing – and in particular, flipping – is getting a ton of attention these days. With the housing market making a recovery in the US and more reality TV shows coming out every month, everyone seems to get excited about the potential of a quick buck.
Nothing is as it seems on TV, though. Not long ago, a production company contacted me to discuss our business and see if they could make it into a TV show. She was the third company in less than six months to contact us about this – but you won’t be seeing us on HGTV any time soon. The conclusion of all the production companies that approached us has been that what we do, as buy-and-hold investors, is boring.
It’s true that there’s not a lot of drama or sex appeal in basic buy-and-hold investing. But there are a lot of ways to make money and build your wealth over time.
So, what is buy and hold real estate investing? It’s simply when you buy a piece of property, rent it out and hold it.
It’s the most common method of real estate investing, but most people think you’re holding on in hopes of the price going up (appreciation). Yes, that is one way that you make money, but there are actually three ways you make money as a buy and hold investor.
Appreciation is what captivates an audience. Who doesn’t love hearing stories about home prices doubling and people making big bucks on a quick flip? It’s a great story. And we do a lot of market research and carefully select the areas we buy in so we often see solid growth in the value of the properties we buy. But to a smart buy-and-hold real estate investor, the price going up is only icing on already tasty cake.
2) Cash flow
Rather than focusing on appreciation, we’re actually focused on a longer-term strategy that sees us making cash flow each month. This simply means we bring in more money through rent than we spend on mortgage, repairs, taxes, insurance and property management.
3) Paying down your mortgage
Finally, we are building our equity by other people (our renters) paying down our mortgages.
And that’s it. Appreciation is obviously pretty nice, but it’s not the foundation of buy-and-hold investing.
Doing the Math
Let’s look at a basic example. Pretend you found a nice property for $100,000 two years ago, and you bought it for 25% down ($25,000). Today, here’s how your investment looks:
1) Depreciation: Bad news, your property went down in value by 5% in those two years. It’s now worth $95,000. So this was a bad investment, right? Not necessarily.
2) Cash flow: Rent each month is $1,000. Your mortgage, insurance, taxes and miscellaneous expenses are $800 a month. Income minus expenses = $200 a month. 24 months x $200 = $4,800 in income so far.
3) Paying down your mortgage: Assuming you have a mortgage at a 5% fixed rate and 25-year amortization, at the end of the two years you will owe $71,805 on your $75,000 mortgage. You have now built an additional $3,195 equity into the property ($75,000 – $71,805 = $3,195) using the rent money you collected to pay down the mortgage.
So, your property may be worth less than you bought it for, but you’ve still made $7,995 from it in two years (adding together the positive monthly cash flow and the principal your renters have paid down).
The best part is you haven’t actually realized a gain or a loss because that only happens when you sell. You really haven’t lost the 5% that the property went down in value. Focus instead on the fact that you’ve made a 32% return ($7,995 divided by $25,000 invested) on your money after two years. And if you hold onto the property and ride the market cycle back up, when you do go to sell you’ll likely enjoy a nice lift in value to add to the other two ways you’ve made money.
Plus, the big, beautiful bonus of buy-and-hold investing is that you’ll have been enjoying some nice tax deductions along the way that can help offset income you’re making with this property and other sources of income too!
September 6, 2014
New property listed in Matsqui, Abbotsford
I have listed a new property at 35230 ANDERSON RD in Abbotsford.
Approx 9 Acres Blueberry farm with 3 Storey home perfect for a big family. This home offers 4 bedrooms upstairs with 5 piece bath in Master bedroom and Main level has Kitchen, dining, Living room, and Family room. 3 or 4 Bedroom suite on the ground level for mortgage help. Income producing blueberry is planted in approximately 6 acres of Duke, 1 acre Elliott, and 1.3 acre of Reka. Quiet location to raise your family.
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