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Should You Talk to a Mortgage Lender or Real Estate Agent First?

Before Purchasing a Home, Should You Talk to a Lender or Real Estate Agent First?

Ready to purchase a new home? Congrats – how exciting! Before you start house hunting, you may be wondering: should I contact a lender or real estate agent first? 

Both play important roles in the home buying process. Lenders secure financing so you can afford the home. Agents help you find and purchase the perfect property. So, who should you turn to first? 

Here we’ll compare the benefits of speaking to a lender vs. an agent first. We’ll also provide tips to help you decide the best plan of action for your situation.  


Pros of Speaking to a Lender First

Starting with a lender has its advantages, like:

– Knowing your exact loan amount helps you to set a realistic budget.

– The ability to make stronger offers since sellers know you can secure financing.

– Locking in low interest rates promptly if they’re trending up. This prevents a higher rate later.

Cons of Speaking to a Lender First

Potential drawbacks include:

– Rates and loan programs can change if too much time passes after getting pre-approved.

– You may not have defined your home must-haves yet, making it harder for a lender to advise you.

– Lenders mainly cover financing, not the home search and purchasing process.

Pros of Speaking to an Agent First

Meeting with an agent first has advantages such as:

– Gaining insights on the local real estate market, inventory and pricing.

– Defining your needs and preferences for a home.

– Getting a head start on the search with listings matching your criteria.

– Viewing homes with an expert by your side.

– Receiving insights on neighborhoods, negotiations and competing offers.

Cons of Speaking to an Agent First

Some potential disadvantages include:

– Not knowing your budget without financing in place first.

– Potentially falling for a home before getting pre-approved, which leads to disappointment.

– Making an offer without a pre-approval carries less weight.

– An agent can’t explain mortgage options like a lender can.

Tips for Deciding

So, what’s the best plan of action for your situation? Here are a few tips:

If your timeline for purchasing is tight, or rates are trending up, go to the lender first to expedite financing and lock in lower rates. In highly competitive markets, lead with the lender as well – pre-approval makes your offers stronger.

If you’ve already defined your home must-haves, starting with an agent can get the search rolling quickly. However, if you need extra care throughout the buying journey, an agent may be the better choice.

Remember – you aren’t locked in your choice. You can always meet with the other shortly after! The key is starting somewhere to gain clarity.

Reach out any time if you would like more details about these choices and more!

Bridget (604-805-6820)

Article courtesyof Stilhavn Real Estate Services

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B.C. Secondary Suite Incentive Loan Program

What is the Secondary Suite Incentive Program?

The Secondary Suite Incentive Program will help homeowners create affordable housing in their communities. The program will provide money to help homeowners create a new secondary suite on their property to be rented out for below market value.

Homeowners who qualify will receive up to 50% of the cost of renovations, up to a maximum of $40,000. The program will provide a rebate in the form of a forgivable loan—a loan that does not need to be repaid if the homeowner follows the terms of the program.

For the loan to be forgiven, the new unit must be located on the same property where the homeowner lives and must be rented out at below market rates, set by BC Housing, for at least five years.

Great opportunity if you are looking to update an old suite or add one to your current home.


Applications will be accepted starting on April 17, 2024 

Reach out if you have any questions

Bridget 

604-805-6820

bridget@bridgetross.ca

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Why Parking and Storage Assignment is so Important

Parking and storage are often key considerations when it comes to strata living. Because of that, we’re looking at the different ways parking and storage can be designated within a strata corporation.


1. Why are Parking and Storage designations important?

 It’s important to understand and be able to describe these concepts to consumers, as the rights they have to parking and storage can often impact their purchase decisions.


While buildings that were built in the 90s or earlier often came with more parking stalls and storage lockers than units, today we’re seeing many new strata developments that have less parking stalls and storage lockers than units, making these components that much more important and valuable.


2. Where can I find information about the Parking and Storage?

You can find information about a strata lot’s parking and storage on the Form B. It’s important to also verify this information on the Strata Plan or Parking Plan filed with the Land Title Office. We’ve come across many Form Bs that provided incorrect information.


3. What are the different ways Parking and Storage can be designated?

When it comes to parking stalls and storage lockers, there are 5 ways you’ll typically see them designated:

  • Forms Part of the Strata Lot - Often found in townhouses.

  • Common Property - The strata council grants permission to use a spot on a yearly basis, and while uncommon (especially if there are enough spots for each unit) can change or take the spot away.

  • Limited Common Property of a Strata Lot - The owner has exclusive use of a specific spot, and the designation can only be changed if the owners pass a unanimous resolution.

  • Limited Common Property for a Group of Strata Lots - Often found in sectioned stratas; the council or section executive grant permission to use a spot on a yearly basis and (like with a common property spot) can change or take the spot away.

  • Owner Developer Assignment (aka. Long Term Lease) - The parking and/or storage are subject to a long term lease associated with the strata lot; a copy of the master lease and assignment document(s) should be obtained from the sellers, as the strata corporation doesn’t usually get or retain copies.

Long term parking and/or storage leases can have significant implications for both buyers and sellers. Here’s an article from the BC Real Estate Association which provides a good example and cautionary note.
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How To Compete in a Multiple Offer Situation

Competing in a multiple offer situation when buying a home can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can employ to increase your chances of success. Here are several ways you can compete effectively:

  1. Offer a higher price: In a competitive market, offering a higher price than the listing price or the competing offers can make your offer more attractive to the seller. However, be sure to consider your budget and the value of the property to avoid overpaying.

  2. Get a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer who is financially capable of purchasing the condo. This can give you an edge over other buyers who may not have secured financing. It can also allow you to leave out that condition in your offer. Allow your realtor to communicate with your mortage broker to confirm your budget.

  3. Write a subject free offer. If the listing agent has all the property documents up front, you can read them before offer presentation time. You can also have a home inspection done prior to offer time as well.

  4. Make a larger earnest money deposit: Increasing the earnest money deposit shows the seller that you are committed to the purchase and willing to put down a significant amount of money upfront. A larger deposit can make your offer more appealing and reassure the seller of your sincerity.

  5. Write a personal letter to the seller: Sometimes, sellers are emotionally attached to their property and may be swayed by a heartfelt letter from a prospective buyer. Use the letter to introduce yourself, explain why you love the condo, and convey your excitement about the possibility of living there. Personalizing your offer in this way can help you stand out from other buyers.

  6. If possible, give the seller the Completion and Possession dates they need to move on to their next property.

My job is to craft a contract that legally protects you as the Buyer, and negotiate on your behalf so that you have the opportunity to put your best offer possible in the multiple offer situation.

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Should You Co-sign your Child's Mortgage?

In Canada, a co-signer on a mortgage is someone who agrees to be legally responsible for the mortgage payments if the primary borrower defaults. Mortgage with a co-signer can help a borrower qualify for a loan if they have insufficient credit history or income on their own. However, it's a significant financial commitment and carries risks for the co-signer.

A bare trust agreement, on the other hand, is a legal arrangement where a trustee holds property or assets on behalf of a beneficiary. In the context of real estate, a bare trust may be used for various purposes, such as holding property for the benefit of a minor child or managing property on behalf of someone who is unable to do so themselves.

If a parent co-signs their child's mortgage and the property is held in a bare trust, it means that the parent may have legal responsibility for the mortgage payments, but the property is legally owned by the child and held in trust by the parent as trustee. This arrangement can have implications for taxation, estate planning, and asset protection.

It's essential to consult with a legal and financial advisor to understand the implications of co-signing a mortgage and entering into a bare trust agreement, as these arrangements can have complex legal and financial consequences.

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How Do You Choose a Realtor?

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent (For Buyers and Sellers)

When taking the first step on the path of buying or selling property, selecting the right realtor is a pivotal decision that can elevate your experience and outcome. Going above and beyond facilitating transactions, a top-performing realtor raises the bar in client-care, ensuring a smooth and successful journey. Here’s how to choose a realtor that’s a cut above the rest.

Tip 1: Look for a Relationship-Driven Approach

The heart of real estate isn’t just brick and mortar; it’s people. A relationship-driven realtor prioritizes your needs, preferences, and family and financial goals. They invest time in understanding your unique situation and are committed to building a lasting partnership. This is the kind of agent who will be by your side every step of the way, offering personalized advice and support. To find them, seek out testimonials that highlight the realtor’s dedication to fostering strong client relationships and delivering tailored service.


Tip 2: Evaluate Their Local Market Knowledge

A realtor with unparalleled local market knowledge provides an invaluable edge. They bring a market-leading understanding of the nuances of your specific area of interest, which is crucial whether you’re buying or selling. This insight can be the difference between an average deal and a great one. Inquire about their grasp of local trends, property values, and community dynamics. A top-performing realtor will demonstrate a depth of knowledge in local market trends, property laws, and the ability to accurately assess the value of properties in a particular neighbourhood.

Tip 3: Assess Their Communication Style

Communication is key in the real estate process. Your realtor should be readily available and willing to communicate in your preferred method, whether it be via phone, email, or text. They should keep you informed throughout the entire process and be proactive in addressing your concerns. A good realtor listens to your needs and communicates clearly and promptly.


Tip 4: Understand Their Niche Experience and Expertise

Experience in real estate can make a significant difference. An experienced realtor will have navigated their niche market conditions and dealt with many types of transactions. They bring a wealth of knowledge and a network of contacts in their real estate expertise, including potential buyers, sellers, and other industry professionals. However, don’t dismiss a newer realtor outright; they often bring enthusiasm and innovative approaches to their work. The key is to find someone who exhibits a strong understanding of the real estate process and demonstrates the skill to handle your specific needs.

Tip 5: Request a Strategy-Led Marketing Plan

In today’s fast-paced market, a strategic, well-executed marketing plan is essential. A top-performing realtor employs a strategy-led approach to marketing, ensuring that your property reaches the right audience. They utilize innovative tools and techniques, from virtual tours to social media marketing, to showcase your property effectively and make it stand out in the market. For buyers, a strategic plan means a more efficient search for the perfect home.

Closing Thoughts

Choosing a realtor who embodies these qualities can significantly raise the bar for your real estate experience. A top-performing, relationship-driven, and results-focused agent with unparalleled local insight and full-service capabilities will unquestionably exceed your expectations. The right realtor is more than an agent; they are your strategic partner in one of the most significant transactions of your life. Choose wisely, and the effort you put into selecting the best realtor for you will serve you well during your real estate journey and beyond.

Article courtesy of Stilhavn Real Estate Services

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Why Should you Pay Attention to Lighting When You Stage Your Home?

When people get their homes ready to sell, they generally do some decluttering, deep cleaning and some minor renos/repairs.

However, I would like to add something that often gets missed and if done right, can help create beautiful photos and a wonderful atmosphere in your home for Buyers to see.

And that is lighting. Below is a list of types of lighting and you need a variety of these types to literally show your home in its best light!

What I would also add, which is equally important, is the type of light bulb you use -make it warm, soft daylight light, not operating room blinding white light.

Various types of lighting in a home serve different purposes and contribute to creating a well-balanced and functional environment. Here are some common types of lighting and their purposes:

  1. Ambient Lighting:

    • Purpose: Also known as general lighting, ambient lighting provides overall illumination to a room. It ensures that there are no dark corners and sets the overall mood for the space.
    • Examples: Ceiling-mounted fixtures, chandeliers, track lights, and wall-mounted fixtures.
  2. Task Lighting:

    • Purpose: Task lighting is focused on specific areas where activities such as reading, cooking, or working take place. It helps to reduce eye strain and enhances visibility for detailed tasks.
    • Examples: Desk lamps, under-cabinet lights in the kitchen, and reading lights.
  3. Accent Lighting:

    • Purpose: Accent lighting is used to highlight specific features or objects in a room, such as artwork, architectural details, or decorative elements. It adds drama and visual interest.
    • Examples: Spotlights, track lighting with adjustable fixtures, and wall-mounted picture lights.
  4. Decorative Lighting:

    • Purpose: Decorative lighting serves both functional and aesthetic purposes, enhancing the overall design and style of a space. It can be a focal point in itself.
    • Examples: Chandeliers, pendant lights, decorative lamps, and unique light fixtures.
  5. Natural Lighting:

    • Purpose: Natural lighting utilizes sunlight to illuminate a space. It provides a connection to the outdoors, enhances mood, and can save energy during daylight hours.
    • Examples: Windows, skylights, and glass doors.
  6. Mood Lighting:

    • Purpose: Mood lighting creates a specific ambiance or atmosphere in a room. It's often used to evoke a particular feeling or to enhance the overall experience in a space.
    • Examples: Dimmer switches, LED strips, and colored lights.
  7. Cove Lighting:

    • Purpose: Cove lighting involves hidden light sources to provide a soft, indirect glow. It adds depth and dimension to a room.
    • Examples: LED strips installed in ceiling coves or recessed areas.

Using a combination of these lighting types allows for flexibility in adjusting the lighting levels based on different activities, moods, and times of day. A well-designed lighting plan considers the function of each space and incorporates a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting for a comfortable and visually appealing home environment.

If you are unsure how to make all this work, I can help. One of my areas of expertise in my job is helping Sellers present their homes, yes, in their best light!


604-805-6820

bridget@bridgetross.ca

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Greater Vancouver Market Update – January 2024

Metro Vancouver’s housing market was off to a strong start in the first month of 2024. The conditions began shifting back in favour of Sellers as the pace of new properties being listed did not keep up with the volume of home sales.

 Residential Home Sales

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential sales^ in the region totalled 1,427 in January 2024, a 38.5 per cent increase from the 1,030 sales recorded in January 2023. This was 20.2 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average (1,788).

“It’s hard to believe that January sales figures came in so strong after such a quiet December, which saw many buyers and sellers delaying major decisions. If sellers don’t step off the sidelines soon, the competition among buyers could tilt the market back into sellers’ territory as the available inventory struggles to keep pace with demand.” – said Andrew Lis, Director of Economics and Data Analytics at the REBGV.

Inventory

There were 3,788 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in January 2024. This represents a 14.5 per cent increase compared to the 3,308 properties listed in January 2023. This was 9.1 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average (4,166).

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,633, a 9.8 per cent increase compared to January 2023 (7,862). This is 0.3 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average (8,657).


Home Price Data Analysis

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,161,300. This represents a 4.2 per cent increase over January 2023 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to December 2023.

Metro Vancouver Home Sales by Property Type

Across all detached, attached and apartment property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2024 is 17.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 11.9 per cent for detached homes, 22.9 per cent for attached, and 19.9 per cent for apartments.

 

Detached

Sales of detached homes in January 2024 reached 379, a 28 per cent increase from the 296 detached sales recorded in January 2023. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,942,400. This represents a 7.3 per cent increase from January 2023 and a 1.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2023.


Apartments

Sales of apartment homes reached 746 in January 2024, a 30.6 per cent increase compared to the 571 sales in January 2023. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $751,900. This represents a 4.4 per cent increase from January 2023 and a 0.1 per cent increase compared to December 2023.

Attached Homes

Attached home sales in January 2024 totalled 285, a 82.7 per cent increase compared to the 156 sales in January 2023. The benchmark price of a townhouse3 is $1,066,700. This represents a 4.3 per cent increase from January 2023 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to December 2023.

The Stilhavn Report

The Stilhavn Report

Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home or investment property in the coming months, or just curious about what’s happing in your neighbourhood, The Stilhavn Report has you covered. Providing in-depth market information and monthly summaries of what’s happening in the areas we service, this monthly report is the perfect starting point for first time buyers and market savvy investors alike.


All stats are courtesy of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
*Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Whistler. 
^REBGV is now including multifamily and land sales and listings in this monthly report. Previously, we only included detached, attached, and apartment sales, and these additional categories, which typically account for roughly one to two per cent of total MLS® activity per month, are being included for completeness in our reporting. 

Article courtsey of Stilhavn Real Estate




 

 

 

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Interested in Investing in Real Estate?

Buying Investment Property in BC

Why British Columbia? 

They say the West Coast is the Best Coast and British Columbia is undoubtedly one of the reasons why. BC isn’t just a province; it’s a promise of distinctly West Coast lifestyle. It’s where the Pacific Ocean meets rugged mountain ranges, where one can frolic on nature’s playground or just take in the scenery. For those looking to invest in real estate, BC offers more than just properties; it offers experiences.

The real estate market here is a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural landscapes. In a city like Vancouver with its vibrant vibe, opportunities to venture into real estate investing are as diverse as the city’s cultural mosaic. In these urban havens, every listing isn’t just a transaction but an invitation to Find Your Havn in a place where majestic mountains, abundant parks, and ocean breezes merge with diverse culture.

Meanwhile, the serenity of regions like the Okanagan and scenic spots like Whistler and Squamish, often referred to as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada”, provide a different kind of appeal. These places cater to nature enthusiasts who also yearn for sanctuary away from the city’s hustle and bustle, where a ‘home’ means waking up to vineyards, lakes, or mountain trails.

In short, investing in BC is not just about finding a property. It’s about discovering a place where your heart feels at home, where the saying “Welcome home” takes on a deeper meaning. It’s a curated collection of lifestyles, each uniquely appealing and promising unparalleled experiences.


Understanding the Market: Residential Investments 

Diving into the British Columbia residential property market is akin to exploring an abundance of opportunities. From the vibrant streets of Metro Vancouver to the tranquil ambiance of the Okanagan, the province presents a rich palette of investment options.

In Metro Vancouver, the real estate market has its own rhythm. Any Vancouver Realtor would agree, the market here is dynamic, with neighborhoods varying from the hip and happening to the serene and scenic. This region, constantly buzzing with “new listing” and “just hit the market” offers something for every investor. Whether it’s a high-rise apartment overlooking the cityscape, or a cozy townhouse tucked away in a leafy suburb, the Vancouver property market is a cornucopia of choice.

Moving away from the city vibe, the Okanagan Valley offers a contrasting picture. Here, investment is synonymous with a lifestyle close to nature. Imagine owning a property surrounded by vineyards and lakes, where every sunrise is like a painting. The region’s growing reputation as a year-round destination makes it a smart choice for investors looking for properties with both seasonal appeal and long-term value.

But let’s not forget the adventure capitals of BC – Whistler and Squamish. These areas are magnets for those seeking a blend of thrill and tranquility. Investing here means tapping into a market fueled by tourism and outdoor recreation, with potential for both residential and Airbnb opportunities. 

In BC, residential investment is more than just a financial decision. It’s a choice to be part of communities that are diverse and celebrated. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a seasoned investor, the market is primed to offer unparalleled opportunities that align with diverse goals and lifestyles.


Airbnb and New Bylaws: What You Need to Know

Navigating the waters of Airbnb investments in British Columbia can be tricky, but with the right knowledge, it’s entirely manageable and rewarding. Recent bylaws have reshaped the landscape for short-term rentals, particularly for areas like Whistler, Squamish, and the Okanagan.

In British Columbia, especially in tourism hotspots, Airbnb has transformed from a side hustle into a significant investment strategy. However, with great potential comes great regulation. New bylaws aim to balance the thriving tourist industry with the needs of local communities. In BC legislation has been enacted to give local governments stronger enforcement tools for their short-term rental bylaws, return short-term rentals to the long-term rental market, and establish a new Provincial role in regulating short-term rentals.

Whistler, known for its ski slopes and picturesque landscapes, has specific regulations that govern short-term rentals. These regulations ensure that the area maintains its charm and accessibility for both tourists and residents. In Squamish and the Okanagan, similar rules apply, with a focus on preserving the community feel while still capitalizing on the tourist appeal.

For investors, this means doing your homework is more crucial than ever. Understanding these bylaws is key to ensuring your investment doesn’t turn into an unexpected game of ‘Monopoly’. Investors need to be strategic and should consider factors like zoning regulations, licensing requirements, and community impact before diving into the Airbnb pool.

Moreover, it’s essential to stay updated as these bylaws are as ever-changing as the BC landscapes. Regular follow-up with your real estate expert and local authorities will keep you on top of this constantly evolving market. In the world of Airbnb investments, it’s not just about riding the wave; it’s about navigating it with the right strategy and profound insight.


Key Areas for Investment 

Whistler: A Winter Wonderland Turned Investment Haven

Whistler is not just a skier’s paradise; it’s a goldmine for real estate investors. This world-renowned resort town, with its snow-capped mountains and vibrant village life, offers lucrative opportunities for both residential and Airbnb investments. Properties here are not just homes; they’re gateways to an enchanting lifestyle, attracting tourists year-round. The demand for short-term rentals, especially during ski season, makes Whistler a hot spot for those looking to cash in on British Columbia’s tourism boom.

Squamish: Where Outdoor Adventure Meets Real Estate Opportunity

Squamish, the outdoor recreation capital of Canada, is rapidly becoming a sought-after location for real estate investments. With its breathtaking scenery and endless adventure opportunities, from rock climbing to windsurfing, Squamish appeals to a growing demographic of outdoor enthusiasts. Investing in Squamish means tapping into a market that’s as dynamic as the town’s landscape, offering potential for both long-term residential rentals and vacation properties.

Okanagan: A Year-Round Retreat with Vineyards and Views

The Okanagan is British Columbia’s hidden gem, known for its sunny climate, stunning lakes, and world-class vineyards. The region offers diverse investment opportunities, from lakeside condos to vineyard estates. The Okanagan’s charm isn’t seasonal; it’s a year-round destination for tourists and a beloved home for residents. This unique blend makes it an ideal spot for investors looking for properties that offer both lifestyle and rental income potential.

Metro Vancouver: Urban Investment at its Finest

Metro Vancouver, with its cosmopolitan flair and robust economy, is the heart of BC’s real estate market. The area offers a spectrum of investment opportunities, from luxury downtown apartments to charming suburban homes. Investing in Metro Vancouver means being at the center of a bustling market, where each property is part of a “Curated collection” of urban living experiences. Whether for rental income
or capital appreciation, Metro Vancouver’s diverse neighborhoods cater to a wide range of investment strategies.

Each of these key areas in British Columbia brings its unique flavor to the real estate table, offering unparalleled opportunities to experience and invest in the Beautiful British Columbia for savvy investors and homeowners alike.


Making the Right Choice: Tips and Strategies

Investing in real estate, especially in a market as vibrant as British Columbia’s, can feel like navigating uncharted waters. Here are some tips and strategies to ensure your investment journey is smooth sailing.

  • Research is Key: Research the market data. From Metro Vancouver to the Okanagan, understanding local trends, property values, and future developments is crucial.
  • Consider Lifestyle and Investment Goals: Are you looking for a sanctuary away from the city’s hustle, or an elevated experience in urban living? Align your investment with your lifestyle aspirations and financial objectives.
  • Consult the Experts: Engaging with one of our top-performing real estate agents who are strategy-led and results-focused can be a game-changer. Their insights and knowledge about areas like Whistler or Squamish are invaluable. At Stilhavn, we understand the unique opportunities and challenges that our markets have to offer. Reach out to one of our market-leading Realtors® today.
  • Understand the Legalities: Especially with the new Airbnb bylaws, it’s vital to stay compliant. Ensuring your investment adheres to local regulations will save you from future headaches.
  • Plan for the Long Term: Real estate investment is often a long game. Think about long-term potential and sustainability of your investment, considering factors like community growth, infrastructure development, and market stability.


Welcome to Your Next Havn

As we’ve journeyed through the vibrant landscapes of British Columbia’s real estate market, one thing is clear: whether it’s the snowy peaks of Whistler, the windswept beauty of Squamish, the sun-drenched vineyards of the Okanagan, or the bustling streets of Metro Vancouver, BC offers a world of opportunities for the savvy investor or a current homeowner looking for their second property. Remember, investing here isn’t just about purchasing real estate; it’s about anchoring yourself in a community, a lifestyle, a dream. So, as you take the plunge into this exciting market, may you not just find a property, but also find your very own havn.  

*Original article from Stilhavn Real Estate

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Unlocking Savings for First-Time Homebuyers: The HBTC Advantage

Are you a first-time homebuyer eager to make the most of tax savings? Look no further than the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC) offered by the government. This incentive allows eligible individuals to save a substantial $1,500 on their taxes by simply claiming $10,000 on Line 31270 on their 2023 tax returns.

So, how can you ensure you qualify for this generous tax credit? Let's break down the criteria:

  1. Property Purchase in 2023: To be eligible for the $1,500 tax savings, the homeowner (or their spouse/common-law partner) must have purchased a property in the year 2023.

  2. No Previous Homeownership: The homeowner must not have resided in any other home, either within or outside Canada, that was owned by them or their spouse/common-law partner in the year of purchase or in any of the four preceding years. Essentially, if you haven't lived in a home that you or your spouse owned during this timeframe, you can confidently claim the HBTC by entering $10,000 on Line 31270.

Additionally, here are some noteworthy details to consider:

  • Sharing the Credit: The HBTC can be split between purchasers, allowing flexibility for couples or multiple individuals involved in the property purchase.

  • Persons with Disabilities: Individuals with disabilities have the option to apply for the HBTC more than once, providing an extra avenue for potential savings.

  • Claiming for Previous Years: If you missed out on claiming the HBTC in the past, don't worry. You can still unlock these savings by adjusting your previous tax returns. Simply use the My Account feature on the CRA online platform to make the necessary adjustments. It's worth noting that the claim amount was $5,000 for the year 2021 and previous years, showcasing the government's commitment to supporting first-time homebuyers.

In conclusion, the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit is a valuable opportunity for eligible individuals to save on their taxes. By meeting the outlined criteria and taking advantage of the various provisions, you can maximize your savings and pave the way to financial success as a new homeowner. So, if you've recently purchased your first home or are planning to do so in 2024, make sure to explore the benefits of the HBTC – your path to $1,500 in tax savings awaits!

Let's chat about how we can make this work for you! Get in touch here.

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TITLE INSURANCE - WHAT IS IT AND DO YOU NEED IT?

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance protects the lender and homeowner against a number of risks related to the property’s title or ownership.

 What started years ago as a replacement for a survey certificate has now become standard on real estate purchase or refinance transactions. If you are buying or refinancing your home, expect title insurance to be a requirement of your lender.

 What does Title Insurance cover?

From the point of view of most lenders, the main coverage is fraud, which can occur in a variety of ways.

With identity theft on the rise, it is not difficult for a fraudster to obtain legitimate identification claiming to be the true owner. The fraudster then deals with realtors and lawyers as if they were the owner, and proceeds to sell the property. Alternatively, the fraudster may work with a lender or mortgage broker, again with identification, to place a new mortgage on the property. In either situation, the true owner is unaware of the fraud and the fraudster absconds with the sale or mortgage funds.

Other typical examples include spousal impersonation and lawyer fraud.

In most cases the Assurance Fund of the Land Title Office may reimburse the true owner, but this may take several months and thousands of dollars in legal fees. Title Insurance is usually quicker and less expensive.

In addition to protecting against title fraud, title Insurance can cover:

  • violations of municipal by-laws;
  • encroachments onto an adjoining property;
  • property tax arrears;
  • existing work orders;
  • lack of legal access to the property;
  • unpaid strata assessments;
  • zoning and setback non compliance;
  • forced removal by a governmental authority of a structure built without a required building permit;
  • legal status of any septic system;
  • gap coverage.
If your lawyer does not mention TITLE INSURANCE, take note and request it that it is included in your costs.


 
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OPEN HOUSE: Saturday January 27th 2-4 PM

1795 Victoria Drive

East Vancouver

$1,599,000

3 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms

1397 sq. ft.

1 covered parking

Built in 2005


3 reasons to come and view this home:

*No maintenance fees

*air conditioning

*extensively renovated

Oh and no GST!

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