Why Should You Use a Realtor?

One of the questions that I get asked regularly is “Why Use a Realtor?”

This video from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver explains why you should use a Realtor in the purchase or sale of your next home

So why should you use me as your Realtor? I understand that in buying or selling your home you are making one the biggest decisions of your lifetime, and I will be with you every step of the way! My passion is real estate, and my hope is that once we’ve worked together, the next time you go through one of these big life transitions, you won’t want to do it with anyone else. For me, there is no bigger compliment than when a client sends their friends or family to work with me.

Home Buying Costs

If you’ve decided to buy a home, it’s important you understand all the costs involved in addition to the price you’re paying for the property.

Buying costs

Mortgage application
Lenders may charge a mortgage application fee, which will vary depending on the lending institution.

Mortgage insurance
The federal government requires high-ratio mortgages with less than 20 per cent down payment to be insured against default. The cost ranges between 0.60 to 3.85 per cent of the mortgage amount which is added to the mortgage principal.

As of February 15, 2016, the federal government requires a 10 per cent down payment requirement on homes valued at $500,000 – $1 million, that need mortgage insurance. Homes valued at $1 million+ require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. Mortgage insurance is not available for homes in this price range. Learn more.

Appraisal fees
Before your lender approves your mortgage, you may be required to have the property appraised. Sometimes your lender will cover this cost. If not, you’re responsible. The fee ranges from $300 to $450 plus GST.

Land survey fees
Lenders may require a survey of the property. The fee ranges and is typically $500 plus GST.

Home inspection fees
A home inspection is a report on the condition of the home and includes structural and moisture problems, as well as electrical, plumbing, roofing and insulation. The fees range and is typically $500-$900 depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the inspection. Some inspectors also charge an additional fee for an older home or a home with a secondary suite, a crawlspace, or a laneway home.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)
The GST on a new home is 5% of the price. A GST rebate equivalent to 36% of the GST paid is available for new homes priced up to $350,000 and a partial rebate on new homes priced up to $450,000.

Buyers also pay the GST on fees for services from appraisers, home inspectors, lawyers, Notary Publics and REALTORS®.

Provincial Sales Tax
The PST is generally not payable on services except for legal and notary fees. Both the GST and PST are paid on legal and notary fees.

Property Transfer Tax
Home buyers in BC pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PTT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the remainder up to and including $2 million. The PTT is 3% on amounts greater than $2 million..

Qualifying first-time home buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT if the purchase price of their home is priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil.

Qualifying buyers of new homes may be exempt if the purchase price of their home is priced up to $750,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced between $750,000 and $800,000. At $800,000 and above there’s no rebate.

Click here for the Property Transfer Tax fact sheet.

Click here for more cost saving programs.

Adjustments (see details in the Contract of Purchase and Sale)
Property taxes
Depending on the Contract of Purchase and Sale, a property buyer will likely be required to reimburse the seller for any prepaid property taxes. The lender may require the buyer to add property tax installments to monthly mortgage payments. See also Why do I have to pay property taxes on the house I’m buying.

Utility bills
A buyer is typically required to reimburse the seller for any prepayments for municipal swer and water fees.

Rent and security deposits
If there is a secondary suite or a laneway home rental and the tenancy continues, the buyer receives the security deposit from the seller with accrued interest because the buyer is responsible for reimbursement when the tenant leaves.

Mortgage life insurance
If the owner dies, this type of insurance will pay off the balance owing on their mortgage.

Fire and liability insurance
Most lenders require property buyers to carry fire and extended coverage insurance and liability insurance.

Home insurance
Lenders typically require home buyers with a mortgage to buy home insurance. The insurance should be effective on the earlier of either the completion date or the date that the balance of funds is placed in trust.

Legal or Notary Public fees
Buyers typically hire a lawyer or Notary Public to assist with drafting documents and ensuring the title of the home is properly transferred. Likely fees include a:

title search for a property, this costs up to $11
land title registration fee, which is about $75
For more information about land titles, visit the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC at www.ltsa.ca.

Moving fees
Moving fees vary depending on the distance moved and whether professional movers do all of the packing. Rates vary.

Utility hook ups
There are fees for hydro, gas, water and sewer, cable, and phone connections.

Locks
New owners should always have door locks rekeyed. Costs depend on whether the locks are standard or electronic.

Strata maintenance fees
Typically paid on the first day of each month.

Commission fees
What does it cost to hire a Realtor you may also ask?’ There is no set commission rate in the real estate profession. Most Realtors are paid after ownership is transferred. Fees are typically paid to the real estate company by the lawyer or notary in the transaction from the sale proceeds.

Compensation is always agreed to beforehand between you and your Realtor. There is no such thing as an average commission. The Commission paid depends on the services provided by your Realtor, which can vary significantly depending on your needs as a client or the business model employed by the Realtor.

When does a commission become payable?
The standard Multiple Listing Contract provides that commission is payable on the earlier of the following: completion date under the Contract of Purchase and Sale, or the actual date the sale completes.

Reported by REBGV.org

How Much Is Your Property Worth?

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The latest assessed values of properties on the Sunshine Coast are now available online with estimated increases of up to 40 per cent in some cases:

“The 2016 assessments are indicating significant increases from 2015,”says Assessor Jason Grant. “Increases of 15-25 per cent will be typical for single-family homes in Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Tri-Cities, New Westminster and Squamish. Single-family market movement in Whistler, Pemberton and the Sunshine Coast is less dramatic, with typical increases in the zero to 15 per cent range. Typical strata residential increases throughout the region will be in the five to 10 per cent range.”

The assessed values of houses in B.C. can be found at E-Value BC.

OCTOBER 2016 MARKET STATISTICS | SUNSHINE COAST SALES

Here’s an up to date look at real estate sales for the Sunshine Coast BC.

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It’s a buyers market here on the coast, and the perfect time for that move or vacation home!

Average Price of a Home in Every Major Canadian City

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After the US election last week, a lot of Americans started thinking about packing up and moving north. So much so that they crashed the Canadian immigration website.

Well, that got RentSeeker.ca – Canada’s largest real estate search website and apartment finder – thinking about what it actually costs to live in Canada. More specifically, what the average house costs in every major Canadian city and therefore how much your annual household income needs to be to buy one of those houses*.

Keep in mind that Donald Trump’s presidency will likely drive these prices even higher.

A few interesting (and expected) takeaways from the info below:
1. Vancouver’s average home is the most expensive in Canada
2. An average home in Toronto will only cost you just $2,000 more than one in Abbotsford
3. Fredericton is the cheapest provincial capital to call home
4. It costs almost twice as much to buy in Mississauga as it does in Montreal
5. A home in Calgary is almost half as much as one in Kelowna
6. If you want to buy an average home in Vancouver you need a household income of more than $140,000 a year + 20% downpayment
7. To be able to afford a million dollar home anywhere in Canada you need to be pulling in roughly $170,000 + have a $200,000 downpayment lined up

Happy house hunting, Canada!

*Based the downpayment on 20% downpayment using CMHC requirement for minimum down payment for no mortgage insurance. The housing prices were based on CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) and CMHC data.

Courtesy of Daily Hive

Teslas’ Elon Musk’s Glass Roof is the Future of Solar Energy!

Elon Musk showcased his ambitions to make Tesla Motors Inc. a clean-energy behemoth Friday, unveiling a new “solar-roof” product at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California.

As the sun set, Musk told hundreds of guests gathered in an outside courtyard on the “Desperate Housewives” set that Tesla and SolarCity Corp., the company that he chairs and which he aims to acquire, will make solar roofs that look better than normal roofs. He then showcased several houses with solar tiles gracefully embedded. Because the tiles are fully integrated into the roofs, many guests in attendance could not tell that they were solar.

“How do we have a solar roof that is better than a normal roof, looks better, last longer,” said Musk. “You want to pull your neighbors over and say ‘Check out this sweet roof.”’

Musk’s presentation was short on details about the proven efficiency of the solar cells, the roof’s warranty, cost or when it will be available to customers. The solar roof will be offered in four styles: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile — due to a variety of architectural choices. SolarCity’s website says production will begin in mid-2017 and that the tempered glass is as “tough as steel.”

“The solar roof consists of uniquely designed glass tiles that complement the aesthetics of any home, embedded with the highest efficiency photovoltaic cells,” said Tesla in a statement. “Customers can choose which sections of their roof will contain the hidden solar technology while still having the entire roof look the same.”

Paula Mints, chief market research analyst at SPV Market Research, questions the economics of the new offering, which can be combined with a home battery.

“Tesla announced a solar tile — not new — with battery that is priced below cost,” said Mints in an e-mail. “Basically Tesla announced another way to lose money.”

The larger idea is that homeowners will generate electricity for their home with solar power, then store that electricity in a home battery known as a Powerwall. You can “fill up” your battery during the day, then discharge it at night when the sun sets. The latest product iteration, known as Powerwall 2, weighs 269 pounds and is designed to be floor- or wall-mounted inside or outside.

Musk and Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel have long envisioned a clean-energy future of electric cars powered by an increasingly solar grid, with Tesla’s batteries optimizing both. The company also offers much larger Powerpack systems to commercial and utility customers and has deployed almost 300 megawatt hours in 18 countries to date, according to a blog post Thursday.

Battery-based energy storage has the potential to revolutionize electricity for the world’s poorest citizens in the way mobile technology disrupted the telecommunications industry. Coupled with solar panels or wind turbines, powerful lithium-ion batteries can store energy and provide electricity for the roughly 1.3 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to electricity and face what’s called “energy poverty.”
Friday’s event is part of an effort to make the case for the SolarCity acquisition to investors. More details, including financial information, will be revealed Nov. 1, when Tesla has said it plans to “create a clear picture of how a combined Tesla and SolarCity will make solar and storage as compelling as electric vehicles.”

The proposed merger has been controversial because Musk is the chairman and largest financier of SolarCity, and the boards of both companies are deeply intertwined. Shareholders are to vote on the proposed merger Nov. 17.

© 2016 Bloomberg News

Lead image credit: Tesla

Federal Changes in Lending Criteria

Agent Sliders

On October 3, 2016, the federal government released new rules that apply to your ability to qualify for a mortgage. The following statements will be released.

To help ensure new homeowners can afford their mortgages even when interest rates begin to rise, mortgage insurance rules require in some cases that lenders “stress test” a borrower’s ability to make their mortgage payments at a higher interest rate. Currently, this requirement only applies to a subset of insured mortgages with variable interest rates or fixed interest rates with terms less than five years. Effective October 17, 2016 (TOMORROW), this requirement will apply to all insured mortgages, including fixed-rate mortgages with terms of five years and more. Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages are not affected by this measure.

What does this mean?

1. As of October 17, 2016, any arranged mortgage that is an insured mortgage has to qualify at 4.64%. This means:

How this affects you?
Your purchasing power will likely decrease. Historically, clients have been able to qualify at the 5 year discounted rate (for example, current 5 year rates are at about 2.49%).

2. As of November 30, 2016, any mortgage that is back end insured (regardless of down payment amount or equity) has to qualify at 4.64%.

How this affects you?
The amount of equity that you can take from your owner occupied home could decrease, based on you ability to debt service. Although you can still mortgage up to 80% of the appraised value of your home, you will have to qualify at 4.64%.

3. As of November 30, 2016, any low-ratio insured loans (mortgages with more than 20% down) will have to comply to new criteria. Monoline lenders are notably lenders that do low -ratio insured mortgages.

How this affects you?
Property has to be owner occupied. No rental properties
Maximum amortization of 25 years
Maximum property purchase of $1,000,000
Minimum credit score of 600

For more information on these announcements please click on the following link:

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/data/16-117_1-eng.asp

http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/data/16-117_2-eng.asp

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/first-time-homebuyers-take-hit-with-new-mortgage-rules-1.3795836