Does a Pool Increase the Value of your Home?

Although owning a home with a pool may sound glamorous, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will attract more buyers and a higher price. In fact in some instances a pool may be a negative factor. 

In a warmer climate area, the pool would be a significant asset, as the pool would be used more often. In colder climate areas, a pool would not feature prominently due to the weather. However, an indoor pool would be more attractive.

Here are a few other considerations to keep in mind if you have a pool or are thinking of getting one to add value to your home:

  • You may run into a buyer who was not considering a pool, but may be willing to buy a home that has one.
  • Pools take up a lot of yard space and are expensive to maintain – keeping in mind cleaning costs, heating costs and higher insurance.
  • Buyers with young kids may have the fear that their kids can accidentally fall into the pool and drown.
  • Experts say the biggest market for pools consists of buyers who skew toward middle age with teenage children.
  • In ground pools are better investments than above ground pools. So if you want to add a pool, chose either a granite or vinyl in ground one.
  • Above ground pools cost a fraction of what it costs to build an in ground pool, and have become increasingly easy to install and maintain.

If you have a home with a pool and need help selling it or if you are looking for a home with a pool, contact us and we certainly be able to help you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Having Problems With Deciding Between 2 Houses? Our Guide Will Help You Decide.

Over the years, we have come across clients who are torn between 2 houses when they are house hunting. Making a final decision and determining which house to make an offer on shouldn’t be taken lightly. The decision should be made rationally and not guided by emotion.

The best way to resolve this very difficult predicament is to take pen to paper and weigh the pros and cons of each home, outlining your family’s needs and budget.

What are important factors to compare?

1) Schools – if you have school aged children, you must take into account the reputation of the neighborhood schools. Other factors include the length of the commute, if you are looking at elementary schools, does the school feed into the high school you are considering?  There are a lot of on line resources available, and visiting the schools wouldn’t be a bad idea.

2) Crime – Check with the local law enforcement on crimes in both neighborhoods. You may find break-ins and vandalism more prevalent in one area than another.

3) The neighborhood – Evaluate how close you are to shopping centres, the highway, restaurants, etc. If you have young children, you may want close proximity to parks.  You may want to drive around and note how well are the lawns maintained. Well-maintained lawns may have a positive impact on the property values of the neighborhood.

4) Appreciation – Your real estate professional will be able to give you stats on the annual average percent increase of homes in each neighborhood. If prices in one neighborhood are dropping and in another are rising, you may have your decision made.

5) The house itself – Make a list of what attributes you would want in your ideal house. Then take each house and rate how it measures up to each attribute on your list.

As you carefully weigh all the factors, it might become clear that one house is more enticing than the other. Or, you may find the houses are still equally appealing. If that is the case, be sure you look at the homes more than once. You may notice something you didn’t the first time around – something that could sway you one way or the other.

If you are planning to purchase a new home, or sell your existing home, get in touch with us.  We have been in the real estate business for over 25 years.  Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us or follow us on Facebook.

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Ready to Own A Home? These Signs Will Indicate That You Are.

Buying a home will probably be the most important purchase of your life. If you are a first time home-buyer, it can be a daunting task, especially if you are not prepared.

Below are signs that indicate whether you are ready or not. You are ready if :

1)     You know how much you can afford to pay towards your monthly mortgage. As a general guide, your monthly mortgage payment should be less than or equal to a percentage of your income, usually about a quarter of your gross monthly income.

2)     You have enough to cover the down payment and closing costs. You have saved a percentage of the value of the property for the down payment  – at least 20% for a conventional mortgage and less than 20% for a high-ratio mortgage.

3)     You are familiar with the expenses associated with owning a home. Owning a home is not only about paying the monthly mortgage. There are other important expenses such as insurance, utility bills and maintenance costs.

4)     Your credit is in good standing. Lenders will always look at your credit history – how much debt you owe, how many credit cards you have, the frequency of your payments, etc., and based on this information, they will either approve or reject your loan application.

5)     You have been paying attention to the market. You must have a realistic view of what properties are out there and what you can afford.

6)     You haven’t made any recent major purchases. For example, if you have just bought an expensive car, the amount you will be approved for may be lowered, making it difficult to get the home you want.

7)     You have a reliable source of income. Buying a home is a long-term financial commitment, so you’ll need consistent cash flow to cover those monthly payments — not to mention the extra expenses that come with homeownership.

If you are in the market as a first time buyer, talk to one of our experienced Real Estate Advisors. We can guide you through all the important steps as you prepare to become your own landlord. Please call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  or follow us on Facebook.

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A Great Strategy For Bargain Hunters.

As a rule of thumb, if you are looking to buy a home, you can probably get a better deal in the winter months. The winter season usually has a fewer units on the market, and those that are in the market, need to be sold.

Typically, there are less people looking to buy a home in the winter than in the summer. Looking for a home in the cold weather can be somewhat inconvenient and there are not many open houses to view in the cold wet weather. Also potential sellers with kids don’t want to move to a new location in the middle of the school year, so they wait for the spring months.

With fewer buyers, you can be sure that the competition is not as fierce and the chances that the home you are interested in will have multiple offers is diminished. Depending on its reasonableness, your offer is less likely to be rejected in the winter months than in the summer months.

Remember that with less property transactions to deal with, lenders usually have fewer loans to process, less paper work and less stress. This may result in a more smoother approval process.

The best week to buy a home is during the Christmas week:

• Generally speaking, people are in good spirits, celebrating. • There aren’t as many people looking at homes during Christmas week. • People are more generous and many do come down on price. • Prices are typically at a 12-month low in December.

If a home is on the market during the Christmas period, you can bet that the seller is definitely serious about negotiating and selling the home. He or she may be more flexible in negotiating the terms of an offer and may agree to a number of concessions that would not be typically done in the summer months.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property sale or purchase, email us at admin@thevlist.com, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913 1000 .

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Home Inspection 101

If you are buying a resale home and don’t want to inherit the sellers headaches, a home inspection by a professional should be given serious consideration.  If a home inspection is ordered, your offer to purchase is usually conditional on you being satisfied with the inspection so that if the inspection is not satisfactory, there is no deal. Today, more and more purchasers are coming to understand the wisdom of a thorough home inspection prior to committing to its purchase.

There are several ways to find a professional home inspector in your area. For example, you can:

• Ask your real estate agent for names – this is probably the best way as your realtor will have a list of  tried and tested professionals that have been previously used. • Ask friends and family who have used a home inspector in the past . • Contact a home inspection association for a list of qualified inspectors in your area . • Go online to association Web sites  – a very popular way as you can read reviews, both good and bad. • Check the local phone directory. • Ask someone in the construction or housing industry • Contact your local real estate board for references

Once you have found a home inspector, you have to ask the following important questions:

• Ask if they belong to a professionally recognized organization. • Ask about their training-they should have taken courses related to this field. • Verify that they are full-time inspectors with significant experience (versus performing inspections to supplement other fields of business). • Ask for references with contact details. Make sure you call at least 3 references to see if they were satisfied. • Use only inspectors who will give you a written report of their findings. • Ask how much time the inspection will take and how much it will cost. A thorough inspection should last at least three hours, depending on the size of the property. • Ask about their limitation of liability agreement. This will let you know what they are and are not liable for if something was missed or an oversight occurred.

What is inspected?

Interior:

• Foundation walls, basement floor, posts and beams • Waterproofing, moisture penetration, wood rot, etc. • Electrical service and wiring • Plumbing supply, waste drainage and fixtures • Heating, air conditioning (summer only) and ventilation • Floors, walls, ceilings, doors and windows • Attic insulation and ventilation

Exterior:

• Slope, grading and drainage of the property • Foundation and exterior walls • Porches and decks • Windows, doors, headers and sills • Fascia, soffits and eaves troughs • Roof, flashings, vents and chimneys • Garage, carport and outbuildings

Remember that a professional home inspection does not include appraisals, exact quotations for repairs, noncompliance with building code requirements, and is not intended to provide guarantees or warranties. Knowing what to expect will help you make an informed decision about the value of your home as well as the costs of future upkeep.

If you are contemplating buying  or selling a home, why not get in touch with us for some useful advice?  Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  by email or follow us on Facebook.

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Buying a Home? Here’s How To Make An Offer That Can’t Be Refused.

So you have finally found the ideal house you would like to move into and you are pre-approved for a loan.

You need to make an offer – the first step in the negotiating process. This offer has to be carefully worded and well thought out to prevent any future problems and unnecessary anxiety.

There are 3 main elements to a good offer:

1) Offer a realistic price. Your price needs to be based on what similar houses have been sold for in the neighborhood over the last 6-8 months. If homes are selling quickly and are receiving multiple offers, you need to make sure your offer is competitive. If your offer is well below the average, don’t expect to get a favorable response from the seller.

2) Disclose your financing. If you have a mortgage pre-approval, make sure you mention this in the offer. This will let the seller know that you are serious. Many buyers make offers without any pre-approvals. Your offer will give you an edge over these buyers.

3) Include a property inspection clause. Make sure that you add clauses that enable you to reopen negotiations regarding any corrective work once the property inspection report is in.  For example what if the report mentions flaws in the electrical system – who will fix it?

4) Include any concessions that you would like the seller to make. If you feel that there is an issue that you would like to draw the attention of the seller to, write it down. For example if there is a huge stain on the carpet, ask to get it replaced, cleaned or get an allowance for it.

The offer is a very important document in the process of buying your home. Make sure you put everything down in writing. If the buyer offers to make any adjustments or changes in the home, if it is not in writing, it is not binding – a verbal agreement is hard to prove.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property sale or purchase, email us at admin@thevlist.com, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

 

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Buying a House – The Lawyer’s Role – Part B: The Buyer’s Lawyer

In any real estate transaction there are a number of legal issues that if not addressed properly, can become potentially serious for both sides. When it comes to the buyer of a property, legal representation is an important requirement.

Functions of the buyer’s lawyer.

Before the offer is signed: - Consults with buyers to review the offer, ensuring that the buyer understands the legal aspects of the offer.

After the seller accepts the agreement: - Details the exact closing costs, many of which have already been noted and estimated. - Does a search on the title, taxes, utilities, building and zoning. - Goes over the financing arrangements, the insurance policy documentation. - Calculates the land transfer tax. - Resolves any problems with the searches with the seller.

Before the closing: - Prepares the mortgage documentation. - Sorts out any Provincial tax issues. - Prepares the statement of adjustments. - Receives the closing funds from the buyer. - Prepares the documents for the Land Registry Office. - Goes over all the relevant documentation and get the buyer to sign.

On the closing: - Reviews the whole transaction and documents with the buyers and attends to the signing of all documents. - Completes the final searches. - Transfers the funds. - Registers the title deed and mortgage in buyer’s name. - Pays the land transfer tax. - Gets the keys for the property from the seller’s lawyer.

After completion - Sends buyer all related documentation including a letter certifying your title with the deed, and survey.

We have been in the real estate business for over 25 years. If you are planning to purchase a new home, or have any real estate related questions, why not get in touch with us for some useful advice? Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  or follow us on Facebook.

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Buying a House – The Lawyer’s Role – Part A : The Seller’s Lawyer

A successful real estate transaction is a complicated one as there are many parties involved – listing realtor, buying realtor, lender, appraiser, mortgage broker, insurance agent, buyer’s lawyer, seller’s lawyer, etc. When it comes to the legal aspect, in BC, the buyer’s lawyer does most of the work.

What does a buyer’s lawyer do?

•  Reviews the Instruction Letter and Contract.

•  Contacts the Buyers, confirms acting for the Buyers, confirms personal details, discusses any preliminary issues raised by the Contract, and opens the Buyers file.

•  Orders a copy of the Title and any Charges that will be remaining on Title.

•  Advises Buyers of any concerns re Charges that will remain on Title; generally the existing Charges on the Title are acceptable.

•  Reviews Mortgagee’s Instruction Letter.

•  Prepares the necessary conveyancing documents.

•  Forwards the Seller conveyancing documents to the Seller’s Lawyer for execution by the Seller and return to the Buyer’s Lawyer.

•  Advises Buyers of Mortgagee’s insurance requirements, the amount of the Cash Shortfall required and arranges an appointment to sign the necessary documents.

•  On Signing Day – reviews the whole transaction and documents with the Buyers and attends to the signing of all documents.

•  Ensures Property Insurance is obtained.

•  Registers over the Internet on the Closing Date or forwards the Form A – Transfer of Land, Property Transfer Tax form, cheque for the Property Transfer Tax and Form B – Mortgage by courier to the Buyer’s Lawyer’s Land Title Registry Agents a few days before the Closing Date for registration.

•  Requests mortgage funds from Mortgagee for Closing Date.

•  On Closing Day ensures that all the documents are registered.

•  Confirms the registration on the Closing Date and advises the Buyer, Seller’s Lawyer and Realtors that the deal has registered.  On the Closing Day, there will be a post-registration search done which will record the registration numbers of the Form A – Transfer and Mortgage (if applicable) on the bottom of the current title.  This is the first part of getting the title into the Buyer’s name.  Based on this search, payment is made to the Seller’s Lawyer and possession of the property is given to the Buyer.  The actual new title showing the Buyer as registered owner won’t be produced by the Land Title Office for at least a week. When the title is produced, the Seller’s Mortgage may still be registered on the title.  This is the second part of getting the title into the Buyer’s name.

If you are planning to purchase a new home, or have any real estate related questions, why not get in touch with us for some useful advice.  Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  or follow us on Facebook.

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What Are the Advantages of Home Ownership?

Real estate is a great investment. Canada has one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world, where two out of three Canadian families own a home. Property prices have gradually increased over the decades, and there are many individuals who have become millionaires because their property value has increased over time.

So what are some of the advantages of becoming a homeowner today?

1. Home ownership is the single largest source of savings for Canadian households.

2. Your payments build equity (as opposed to renting, where your money goes to the building owner).

3. Unlike other investments that can be volatile, when you buy a home the increase in its value is relatively steady. The average price of a house for sale on the Canadian real estate market has increased every year since 1998.

4. The return on investment for a house can be substantial. In Canada, there has not been a recorded 10-year period where average house prices have not increased.

5. Homeowners can use the equity in their homes as security for other loans.

6. Buying a home and building equity is the first step on the property ladder. It gets you into the housing market, keeps you in touch with increasing house prices, and puts you in a good position to trade up to bigger and better homes as your circumstances allow.

Remember that the professionals who helped you get into your home are always more than willing to help answer any questions you have, so don’t hesitate to contact them no matter how silly your question may seem.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or have any real – estate related questions, email us at admin@thevlist.com, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

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Is Buying A Home A Good Investment?

For those wanting a steady return on their money, houses can be a sure bet. When the baby boomers started madly buying houses in the 1980s, suddenly real estate seemed like the path to instant wealth. The real estate markets fluctuate constantly. There have been times when house prices have gone down. However if you look at the overall price of homes in your area over the last 10 years, in most cases, (depending on your region) prices have risen.

Where is the housing market headed? Nobody can accurately predict. But even if house prices don’t rise phenomenally, a home has two strong things going for it as an investment. First, any capital gains on your principal residence are tax-free. If your house appreciates by 6 per cent, you get to keep every cent of your gains.

Now 6 per cent may not sound like much, but in terms of how much you end up with, you’d have to earn as much as 12 per cent on a fixed-income investment such as a GIC to match that return, after tax.

Second, you don’t have to come up with the full purchase price, meaning you’re able to harness leverage. The conventional mortgages require a down payment of 25 per cent of a house’s appraised value. Where as the High Ratio Mortgage, requires only 5% down payment.

For example, if you buy a $200,000 home, you need to come up with around $50,000 for a conventional mortgage. If the home’s value rises to $220,000, that’s an increase of 10 per cent. But what’s really happened is you’ve put up $50,000, and made $20,000. Your real gross return on your invested funds is around 40 per cent. But notice the word “gross”. Don’t forget that your real return will be less.

Buying a home and having a mortgage is also a tremendously powerful forced savings program.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or have any real –estate related questions, email us at admin@thevlist.com, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

 

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