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!
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.
Celebrated chef Vikram Vij teams with Vancouver-based Arts Umbrella to offer cooking classes to teens
Feb. 28th, 2017
Local chef Vikram Vij is partnering with Arts Umbrella’s South Surrey arm to share his culinary expertise with teens.
The celebrated restaurateur will be offering three separate three-hour cooking workshops at My Shanti(15869 Croydon Drive, South Surrey), the youngest of his three local eateries, on March 25, April 29, and May 27. There, budding young chefs will learn the fundamentals of producing a family-style dish alongside Vij himself.
“I’m extremely passionate about teaching young people about Indian food,” said Vij in a media statement. “Not only that; this is a perfect partnership with Arts Umbrella. In the same way you take a script or an art assignment and add your own personality, I want these students to take a recipe and make it their own—adding extra spices, different flavours, and to adapt a recipe to something that’s uniquely theirs.”
The classes will help Arts Umbrella, a Vancouver-based non-profit that provides access to arts education for kids, expand beyond its visual art, theatre, and dance offerings to include the culinary arts.
Chef Vikram Vij’s cooking workshops are open to youth aged 13 to 18. To register for a class, contact Arts Umbrella South Surrey by emailor phone at 604-535-1127.
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!
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.
Registration begins Jan. 16 for children entering kindergarten in September 2017.
Children who turn five before Jan. 1, 2018 are eligible to start school in the fall.
Kindergarten registration must be done in-person at your neighbourhood school or school of preference (if space is available). For a map of school catchment boundaries, check here and for a list of all schools, check here.
The following documents are required at the school when registering:
* proof of birth date for the students (eg. birth certificate or passport)
* proof of guardianship (eg. birth certificate or other legal documentation)
Please note that enrolment at several schools in Surrey is already at, or over, capacity and they are therefore unable to accept out-of-catchment registrations.
Specialty and choice programs are also available. Some (French Immersion, Intensive Fine Arts, Traditional and Montessori) require online/lottery application, which begins Jan. 30. For more information or to learn about information evenings being held in January 2017, check here.
Find #SouthSurrey & #WhiteRock homes by School Catchment:
It turns out homebuyers are really into barn doors.
When Zillow looked at design features that sell homes at the best price and with the shortest listing time, that feature topped the list.
Anything craftsman-style, like rectangular farmhouse sinks, also got homes off the market at a premium.
Zillow Digs screened over 2 million listings for homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 and looked for the keywords that had the best effect on how much more than the expected price and how much faster they sold.
Here are the top 15 design features:
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 3.7%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 19
Tankless water heater
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 43
Subscribe to our Informative Newsletter
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 46
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.2%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 42
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.3%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 28
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 48
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 36
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 5.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 14
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.0%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 50
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 63
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 7.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 58
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 9.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 45
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 13.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 57
Residents and businesses are responsible under City Bylaws to clear any accumulated snow from sidewalks located adjacent to their property as soon as possible to make sure pedestrians are safe.
Report un-shovelled sidewalks by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604-591-4370 with specific details of the location.
Report a snow or ice problem, or ask any questions about our snow and ice control operations by submitting your inquiry online or calling us at 604-591-4152.
Tips for Snow:
Shovel snow onto your lawn, adjacent snow piles or onto your lawn, not the street
During snow removal operations, the snow is ploughed toward the road-edge. Accordingly, this may result in some driveways and/or sidewalks being blocked by the ploughed snow where snow plough operations occur. We apologize for this inconvenience; however, in some cases this is unavoidable. Should this occur along your property frontage, please do not shovel snow from your driveway onto roadways as this may result in snowploughs pushing the snow back into your driveway and may contribute to vehicle access problems along your street. We recommend that you place snow onto your lawn or onto adjacent snow piles or onto your lawn. This may also present a hazard to motorists or cause vehicle access issues. In an effort to minimize these challenges, consider hiring a snow and ice removal contractor.
Park your vehicle along the curb during snowfall events
This ensures snow and ice operations are conducted in the most effective and efficient manner. If this is not possible, we ask that you please make an attempt at coordinating efforts with your neighbours to park vehicles along the same side of the street within your neighbourhood.
Keep garbage and recycling bins off roadways where snow ploughing may take place
Prolonged snowfall combined with icy conditions may result in delayed garbage and recycling collection. Should this occur, the City will make every effort to resume collection the following day, or allow residents to place double their weekly limit at curb-side the following week.
Keep catch basins free of debris, especially during melting conditions
Contact us to get your home sold in 2017
If you are aware that a catch basin exists in front of your property, please help us by ensuring to keep it clear especially during melting conditions. Blocked catch basins may result in excess accumulation of water along the road area, a situation that could become dangerous if it subsequently freezes. It may also result in flooding of adjacently properties depending on the extent of the blockage and the amount of melting snow.
Snow clearing services for commercial and large residential properties
Residents or businesses using this list will be advised that the City of Surrey has not negotiated any pricing with any of the contractors listed. In addition, the City does not warrant the work nor does it endorse any one of the contractors on the list. The cost of any service provided is to be established between the contractor and the customer. The customer will be responsible for providing payment directly to the contractor for any snow clearing service performed. The City will not act as an intermediary for any disputes relating to non paying customers or complaints of unsatisfactory work performed by the contractor. Also, the burden of risk shall be borne by the contractor with respect to carrying out services to residents. All contractors must also ensure appropriate levels of insurance coverage and required licensed.