If you're in the market for a house, first of all, congrats! Buying a home is one of the most rewarding — albeit at times exasperating — things you'll do in your life. By the time you're ready to buy, you likely have a sufficient grasp on the basic necessities: a solid foundation, a roof that doesn't leak, wiring that won't cause your new home to spontaneously combust, and so on. But what about the other stuff you should be mindful of? You know, the considerations not covered during your home inspection?
These more personal assessments may not be as "dear-god-get-me-out-of-here" detrimental as a crumbling foundation, but they could likewise affect your quality of life for the foreseeable future. So here are a few things to watch for, as well as the ones you shouldn't sweat.
3 Things to Pay Attention To:
1. The amount of natural light
Unless you're particularly partial to living like a cave-dweller, you want your home to have ample natural light. Besides making everything inside look better, it just makes you feel better. Yet this is often glossed over by some buyers during the house hunt. If you have your sights set on a house, schedule viewings at different times of the day to get an accurate picture of the natural light situation.
If you need secondary motivation outside of how beautiful natural light is, consider this: The amount of natural light in your home could indicate bigger (read: more costly) issues. Too little and you may have to add or modify existing windows, which could run upwards of $15,000.
2. The driveway and parking situation
You may be thinking, "Really? The driveway?" To which the answer is, "Yes. Really, really." The dimensions of your driveway could very well determine how quickly your new-home infatuation fades. It may seem silly in the grand scheme of things, but consider your parking spot like an extended part of your entryway. If the drive is too narrow, you'll spend countless hours playing musical cars to squeeze vehicles in. Alternately, if it's too long and you live in an area prone to snowdrifts, you may never want to leave home during the winter months. Street parking may seem like a viable option, but some cities have strict regulations regarding visitors and even overnight parking. Be sure to ask!
3. The neighbourhood
This is the epicenter of the house hunt for many people for one readily apparent reason: You want to like the area where you live. But there are a few less obvious things to consider before you hit the local coffee shop in preparation for your first early Saturday open house. Are there ample sidewalks in case you want to take a leisurely stroll or go for a bike ride? Is it in close proximity to public transportation? If you have kids, there's little doubt you looked into the local school district. Even if you don't, though, keep in mind a better school district equals a better resale value. And, finally, read any HOA documents before you sign on the dotted line. It will be tedious beyond belief, but doing so will alert you to restrictions, bylaws, and other issues that could be unwelcome surprises down the road.
3 Things to Ignore
1. The seller's style
Don't let that Day-Glo paint in the kitchen be a deal breaker. For that matter, don't let any paint color put you off of a home you like. You can always repaint and, let's be honest, what first time home-buyer doesn't want to hand-pick their own hues anyway? Similarly, if the seller's fuzzy toilet seat cover stresses you out, don't worry — they'll take it with them when they go. It can be hard to envision your stuff in a home that currently clashes with your personal style, but try to remember decor is easily changed and offers you the opportunity to tailor things to your own tastes.
Hey, life is busy, you know? Sometimes a seller just can't find the time to pack up the plethora of tchotchkes littering their living room before a showing. Cut 'em some slack (selling is just as stressful as buying) and think outside the box. Just bring a tape measure to make sure there actually is enough room for your belongings and focus on the condition of the house as opposed to its clutter.
3. Unsolicited opinions
You'll soon find that everyone and their brother has an opinion about your potential new home, from the color of its exterior to the quality of the finishes inside. If you feel as though a particular piece of unsolicited advice may be helpful, by all means cull that wisdom. Fortunately, though, you can simply ignore anything else. You're the one who'll be living there and paying the mortgage. Ultimately, the only person you need to please when you pick your house is you.
WANT MORE ADVICE ON HOUSE, HOME AND REAL ESTATE? TALK TO US!
VANCOUVER — An upward trend in housing prices isn't expected to significantly change in British Columbia despite an anticipated slowdown in sales this year, economists say.
The B.C. Real Estate Association's chief economist said Wednesday that new housing stock, slightly higher interest rates and tighter mortgage regulations will result in about a 10 per cent decline in sales compared with 2017.
But demand continues to outpace supply in most markets from Vancouver Island to the Okanagan, which spurs rising prices, Cameron Muir said.
"We would need a combination of a pretty substantial decline in demand as well as significant increases in overall residential supply in order to get to the point in which prices would decline," Muir said.
Nationally, the Canadian Real Estate Association has said tighter mortgage regulations imposed on Monday, including a stress test for uninsured mortgages, would result in fewer sales and reduced prices by about 1.4 per cent to an average selling price of $503,100 this year.
Bryan Yu, economist with Central 1 Credit Union, said the changes may slow the pace of first-time buyers entering the market or lead to adjustments in what people choose to buy.
While this may slow sales, particularly in the first quarter of this year, he said B.C.'s growing economy and jobs will maintain a strong demand.
"I think the overall economic drivers are still there to support rising prices through 2018," Yu said.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Wednesday the benchmark price for all residential properties was $1,050,300, in 2017, a 15.9 per cent jump from December 2016.
Sales of detached homes, townhomes and apartments reached 35,993 last year, the third highest total in a decade.
The board considers the sales total more "historically normal," marking a 9.9 per cent decrease from 2016 and down 15 per cent from the sizzling pace of 2015.
A key aspect of last year's housing market was a decline in the number of available listings, a trend the board has said can put upward pressure on prices.
Board president Jill Oudill said 54,655 properties were listed for sale in 2017, a dip of 5.1 per cent from the year earlier.
She also said market activity across the Vancouver region differed considerably in 2017 based on property type.
"Competition was intense in the condominium and townhome markets, with multiple offer situations becoming commonplace," Oudill said in a news release.
The benchmark price of condominiums leaped 25.9 per cent in the Vancouver area last year, while townhomes increased 18.5 per cent and the price for detached homes climbed 7.9 per cent.
Prices have also soared in the neighbouring Fraser Valley with the benchmark price of condominiums jumping 40.5 per cent last year to $388,600.
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Association said the benchmark for single detached homes reaching $976,400, an increase of 14.2 per cent from 2016. The price of townhomes increased by 23 per cent.
Yu said rising prices means people will increasingly be left out of the housing market.
"We're going to see an increase in renters in proportion to the population," he said. "I think that's going to be the natural evolution of this market over time."
University of B.C. business professor Thomas Davidoff said governments could improve affordability by encouraging the development of more units in single-family home neighbourhoods and reforming taxes.
"We have high income and sales taxes and low property taxes and that says we encourage people not really to make a living and sell stuff here, but buy property. That's the worst recipe ever for affordability," he said.
Other factors, including political instability, interest rates or natural disasters, could drive down prices, Davidoff said. More likely, a major driver of prices will be what people are willing to pay.
"I do think in the long run, Vancouver will continue to be a very difficult place to buy or to rent unless you're really rich," he said.
BC Soccer is proud to be collaborating with Surrey United, Canucks Autism Network, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, City of Surrey, and Sport Surrey to offer a FREE coaching workshop supporting kids with autism
Vancouver BC, February 23, 2017 - BC Soccer in partnership with Surrey United Soccer Club, Canucks Autism Network, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, City of Surrey, and Sport Surrey will be holding a coaching workshop supporting kids with autism at Cloverdale Athletic Park and the Cloverdale Recreation Center on April 29th 2017. The workshop will include both an on-field component at Cloverdale Athletic Park in the afternoon from 1-4 as well as a classroom session at Cloverdale Recreation Center in the morning from 9-12. The Workshop is open to everyone and BC Soccer is encouraging all coaches to sign up and take part in this great initiative.
“We are really proud to be partnering with these organizations to help facilitate this workshop as it aligns with our strategic plan in helping support our entire membership and the community,” said Jason Elligott, BC Soccer Executive Director. “Having the expertise of all of the organizations collaborating on this project is a huge benefit to the coaches who will attend and I want to thank Sport Surrey for bringing everyone together as well as the City of Surrey, Canucks Autism Network, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Surrey United Soccer Club for all of their hard work.”
The on-field portion of the workshop will be split up into three separate age groups, all which align with Long Term Player Development; 6-8, 9-12, and 13+. Players will be on hand taking part in a festival like setting where coaches will be able to work on the skills and learnings from the morning classroom session. Please note that depending on the number of coaches who attend, not everyone will be able to take part in the on-field; however, all coaches will be able to observe and engage in conversation with professionals from each of the organizations during the on-field session.
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with such wonderful organizations to deliver this training workshop and try-it day,” says Canucks Autism Network President and CEO, Katy Harandi. “At Canucks Autism Network, we believe that positive change is achieved through shared knowledge, partnership, and collective capacity and we strive to inspire, teach and motivate others to be inclusive and accepting. This workshop is a great example of groups working together to create accessible sporting opportunities.”
“We are proud to partner with these organizations for this coaching workshop,” says Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “Sports should be inclusive and accessible for all. Soccer is a sport that brings people together and this workshop will help coaches ensure that all players have equal opportunities to participate and have fun.”
About Canucks Autism Network (CAN) Founded in 2008 by Vancouver Canucks Co-owners, Paolo and Clara Aquilini, the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round sports and recreation programs for children, teens, young adults and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia.
CAN programs are delivered in safe and highly supported environments across the Lower Mainland, on the Island and in the Interior. Individuals across the autism spectrum are welcome to participate. To access programming, families must complete an online membership application that includes an annual fee of $25 per individual with autism.
About BC Soccer BC Soccer is the provincial sport governing body with the mission to govern, promote and develop the game of soccer in British Columbia in a professional and progressive manner. Established in 1907, BC Soccer is the largest provincial sport organization (PSO) in BC and the third largest soccer specific PSO in Canada with over 150,000 participants. As a professional not-for-profit society and a member of Canada Soccer, BC Soccer is committed to providing the widest opportunities for existing and potential participants, as well as provide support in the most effective and appropriate way for current players, parents, volunteers, member clubs, leagues and districts.
BC Soccer is comprised of more than 120,000 registered players, over 2,200 registered referees, and thousands of volunteer coaches, administrators and soccer leaders. Working with its 40 member Youth Districts and 11 Adult Leagues as well as their affiliate member clubs, BC Soccer operates under the guiding principles of Professional Leadership, Passionate Service and Progressive Collaboration. In managing its relationships throughout the larger soccer community, BC Soccer’s vision is to ensure every British Columbian has the opportunity to be involved in soccer as part of a lifelong commitment to active, health and involved lifestyle.
Latest numbers from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) revealed that B.C.’s southwestern region has experienced significant home price growth in February, indicating a possible companion to the red-hot Vancouver market in the near future. Last week, the Board revealed that the benchmark price for a single-family property in the Valley increased by 20.4 per cent year-over-year and 0.4 per cent compared to January, hitting $859,300.
“This is the kind of February we like to see. Last year at this time, the incredible demand created a market that was difficult for consumers,”
according to FVREB president Gopal Sahota, as quoted by CBC News.
“Now, we have sales moving upward from the winter months at a typical, healthy pace and a growing inventory to support it,” Sahota stated, adding that the numbers are so far showing a “return to normal historical sales numbers.” Apartment prices also rose sharply by 26 per cent compared to February 2016 and 1.8 per cent month-over-month, up to $267,000. Meanwhile, average townhome costs grew by 25 per cent year-over-year and 0.5 per cent since January, reaching $422,400. Recently, Finance Minister Bill Morneau assured that the federal government is still closely monitoring the Canadian housing market, amid seemingly inexorable price growth in Vancouver and Toronto.
“We continue to be very focused on thinking about how we can manage what is peoples’ most significant investment. And we do watch the level of indebtedness, in particular around housing,” Morneau stated, adding that “strong underlying markets” continue to drive the two cities’ outsized performance. “So in Toronto and Vancouver, unemployment is lower in those two places than it is in some other places. Incomes are higher. The economy is doing better. So there are underlying reasons for the housing markets to do better and we’ll continue to monitor, to work with provinces and municipalities who have an important role to play here to manage what we see [as] a challenge, but not one that isn’t manageable.”
The biggest challenge Canada faces in creating affordable housing is getting people to and from home and work.
"If you think housing prices are high now - just wait." - Heino Molls, REMonline
"Census Canada figures show that Canada’s population has rocketed past 35 million. In fact, that number is going to be 36 million before the ink is dry on this most recent report and it will, without a doubt, be going at light speed past 40 million way before 2020. That means a huge boost in housing demand. It means that the privilege of living in a home in Canada, not to mention an actual house in Canada is going to come with a high cost. You think the cost of a house in Toronto, Vancouver or Ottawa is high now, just wait.
Do the math on your own. Not the math of the naysayers, the doom and gloom crowd, the people who will show you diagrams and charts with circles and arrows that pinpoint the exact time and date of the collapse of the real estate market. Rather look around, see what is going on and add it up for yourself.
We are facing many problems in our country. There is not enough time and space here to discuss all the challenges of health care, especially mental health care, as well as housing for the poor and marginalized people in our society. Another major challenge that should be mentioned in the same conversation as housing and property value is public transit.
Our governments are scrambling to build new transit ways and highways to accommodate all the people who will be travelling to and from our inner cities for business, health care, restaurants and entertainment.
How Much is YOUR Home Worth?
Our biggest problem is going to be building transit, not just within our cities but also from the towns and satellite communities that will have even higher population growth in the coming years. Communities like Chilliwack and Abbotsford in B.C. and cities like Kitchener-Waterloo not far from Toronto. The same for all other cities in the country. Transit is going to be our biggest problem.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., has updated its free guide to the process of buying a home, with an emphasis on encouraging Canadians to think long term about what kind of home they should buy — or whether they would be better off renting.
The national housing agency first released the guide, called Homebuying Step by Step, in 1998, but has updated it over the years. The latest version streamlines the document, splitting off workbook content and making it available online as a series of interactive printable checklists and questionnaires.
The previous iteration of the guide received almost eight million unique page views in 2016 alone, according to CMHC.
The guide is meant for any prospective homebuyer, but first-time buyers could particularly benefit from reading it, said Ina Wielinga, a consultant at CMHC who updated the guide. She said the new version puts a greater focus on calculating the true cost of owning a home over time, emphasizing costs like taxes, utilities and repairs.
"This used to be peppered through the document, but we're bringing it up front because people often get focused on acquisition," said Wielinga.
The new guide also encourages readers to reflect on what kind of home suits their lifestyle, and whether or not homeownership is a better financial choice than renting.
"It's not just buying that house that's brick and mortar," said Wielinga. "There's a lifestyle that goes with it also."
By asking would-be homeowners to consider how a home will fit into their lives over the long term, Wielinga said, the guide could help users feel more confident about their purchase.
Key concepts to consider
The most confusing concept in the guide is also one of the most important ideas to understand before buying a home, according to Wielinga: calculating your gross debt service ratio (also known as the gross debt-to-income ratio) and total debt service ratio (also known as the total debt-to-income ratio).
Click on image below for your copy:
The CMHC guide for homebuyers is available for free online. (CMHC)
The gross debt service ratio includes total monthly housing costs, which CMHC says should be no more than 32 per cent of average gross monthly income. The total debt service ratio covers all monthly debt payments, including housing costs. CMHC recommends that ratio not exceed 40 per cent of average gross monthly income.
"You have to understand that, even if you're the best person in the world and you know you can afford it, you have to follow that kind of guideline," said Wielinga.
Financial axioms like these are often left unexplained to potential homebuyers, said Wielinga.
"Honestly, it's not talked about enough," she said. "I think when we do explain it to people, then they do get it."
The rules for Canadian homebuyers have been changing quickly, especially as the government tries different policies to mitigate risk in the real estate market.
For that reason, the guide avoids getting into the details of certain aspects of homebuying, like calculating mortgage loan insurance. Instead, it refers readers to the CMHC website, where the details of mortgage rules can be quickly updated as the government changes them.
Lauren Haw, CEO of an online real estate brokerage, lauded CMHC for its interactive workbook for prospective homebuyers, although she's skeptical that many people will actually take the time to sit down and read the guide in full.
"People like to have it and hold it, but most first-time homebuyers don't seem to ingest the information in this format very well," said Haw. "Because even if you give them these documents, very few people are the personality type that will read it and really truly understand it."
Haw said real estate brokers often end up explaining these concepts to their clients as they go through the buying process.
"If everybody would sit down and read one of these things, I think we'd have much more informed buyers," she said.
When it comes to buying and selling homes, most contracts include a contingency that will allow buyers to back out or re-negotiate the sale based on issues found during a home inspection.
Selling a home can be stressful, to feel confident in the sale of your home check out these common home issues before listing.
We recommend a pre-sale home inspection – which may even sweeten your home sale by adding an element of transparency when you share the report with the buyers agent.
Regardless if your basement is beautifully finished or could have been the location for the latest big screen thriller, a major issue found in home inspections is moisture or seepage.
If your basement shows signs of moisture, leakage or has an air of dampness you may have an issue. Call a trusted home inspector to get the lay of the land, or a contractor who specializes in basement repair.
The possibility of basement flooding will not appeal to even the savviest of ‘fixer upper’ home buyers.
The hat for your home. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if your roof is old you run the risk of facing major leaks during the next rainy season.
If left unattended, an old roof may lead to major damage of other existing home systems and property. If your shingles are peeling and look old, you likely need a new roof – get on the phone and start calling local roofing companies.
DIYers take heed! There are (for example) building codes for things like your deck, car port, garage, retaining walls, plumbing, electrical and other home projects and systems.
If you are going to tackle these projects yourself, make sure to do your research and learn what building code requirements exist in your city. Better yet, have a professional come double check your work before you pat yourself on the back – it could save you from property damage, personal injury, costly lawsuits, or the sale of your home.
All major components of your home do require maintenance. Just as you get an oil change, replace brake pads, and rotate tires on your vehicle, your home needs regular attention and cleaning.
Be sure to pay attention to things like furnace and central air maintenance, cleaning dryer vents, water heaters, exhaust fan filers for your stove, check caulking in places like tubs and shower surrounds yearly. Prevention is better than a cure – and it costs less!
Curry battle in Surrey: It's Indian vs. Thai in special event dubbed 'Mae Shanti' - White Rock News
Chefs Vikram Vij (left) and Angus An.
SURREY — The table is set for a curry battle in Surrey next month.
A culinary showdown of sorts will take place at South Surrey's My Shanti restaurant on Monday, March 13, featuring its owner/operator, Vikram Vij, and fellow award-winning chef Angus An, from Kitslano's celebrated eatery, Maenam.
This curry fight is Indian versus Thai.
In a ticketed, $125-a-head event, the chefs will go head-to-head as they demonstrate the best cuisine of their native countries.
An and Vij will collaborate on canapés and dessert, but it is the main courses where they will duel it out over meat, seafood, rice and noodles, giving diners the chance to decide for themselves. With each course, diners will also enjoy wine pairings from B.C. wineries.
Another Reason We live in
"This Asian curry showdown will take place over five courses where both Chefs and their teams will prepare dishes in the one-night-only 'Mae Shanti' kitchen to represent their respective countries," according to an event advisory.
Says Vij: “There are amazing curries in both Indian and Thai cuisine, and while the ingredients are sometimes similar, they retain distinctive flavours. We want to highlight those differences, while giving our diners the chance to compare the dishes.”
Adds An: “It’s not often I can showcase Thai cuisine right beside Indian curry. I’m looking forward to being able to illustrate the differences to diners as they savour every flavour.”
Surrey population surpasses 500,000; doubles Vancouver in growth
Surrey City Centre
Census data released today by Statistics Canada has revealed that Surrey’s population has surpassed 500,000. As of May 2016 last year, the population of Surrey was 517,887, an increase from 468,251 in 2011 representing a growth rate of 10.6%, outpacing the national average, British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, and the Vancouver CMA.
In comparison, between 2011 and 2016:
Canada as a whole grew by 5.0%
British Columbia grew by 5.6%
City of Vancouver grew by 4.6%
Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA): 6.5%
The only Vancouver CMA municipality to grow faster than Surrey was the Township of Langley which grew at a rapid 12.6%. As a whole, the Vancouver CMA grew to 2,463,431.
With Surrey adding an average of 1,000 new residents per month, as of February 2017, the population of Surrey can be estimated to have already increased further to 525,000. It is expected that Surrey will surpass Vancouver in population to become the largest city in BC by 2030.
Looking at growth by Census Tract, the areas of Surrey growing the fastest were in the south and east, in places such as Grandview Heights, Sunnyside Heights, South Newton, and Clayton. There was also noticeably strong growth in Surrey City Centre as a result of new condo developments in recent years, with one Census Tract east of King George Blvd and south of 104th Avenue growing by 33%. This growth in City Centre will likely increase even more by the 2021 Census, with more new condo developments expected to be completed within City Centre in the next 5 years than in the previous 5 years.
Developable land and affordability in comparison to Vancouver can both be seen as driving factors in Surrey’s strong growth.
Growth rate by Census Tract in Metro Vancouver
Growth rate by Census Tract in North Surrey – Area east of King George Blvd and south of 104th Ave grew by 33%.
In all the excitement and packing, buying & selling, many people forget to take care of some essential items before they move. Don’t look past these 5 things you need to take care of, or it could cost you $$$.
1. Take care of all subscriptions: Magazines, memberships, recurring orders, gym memberships. Get a head start on updating your address or cancelling memberships before charges mount on your credit card. We suggest you take care of this at least 30 days prior to your move, as many gyms, clubs, and mail subscriptions require this much time for cancellation or updates.
2. Change your address at the post office: For a small fee Canada Post will allow you to register your new address to ensure all your mail finds its way to your new home. Leaving bills or an outstanding balance behind, may impact your credit score, as well as lead to accumulated interest charges -–neither of which you are likely o want.
3. Call utility providers: Cable, internet, electricity, gas, etc…These are all services that you should be making contact BEFORE you move. Many of these services can pivot on a dime so not much notice is required, but we do recommend making contact at least 1 week prior to your move date. Make a list of required utility providers & check it twice! Or, you could wind up paying for someone else’s electric bill!
4. Manage your motor vehicle insurance: If you are new to British Columbia here is what you need to know; ICBC allows up to 90 days to switch over your license, and 30 days to register, license and insure your vehicle.
If you are moving within the Province, you must update your address within 30 days of moving. Your auto-insurance policy must always show your current home address and vehicle use, so do not forget to update this information!
5. Get a ‘To-Go’ box ready: Whether you are moving across the country, province, or just down the street, make sure that you have a go-to box ready. This should contain items you will need as soon as you get to your new home; cleaning products, toilet paper, garbage bags, paper towels, clean sheets, fresh towels, paper plates and eating utensils and maybe even a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.