Have You Thought of Having an Energy Audit?

The world is shifting to become more aware of the impact we have as individuals on the environment. According to Statistics Canada, 76% of households composted either kitchen or yard waste in 2022, and in 2021, 97% of households reported using their own bags or containers when grocery shopping. But, there’s still work to be done, because on the flip side of things, Canadians generated 10.9 million tonnes of residential waste in 2020—the highest amount on record, according to Statistics Canada. 

There are many ways you can be more sustainable at home, from small changes to larger considerations

Consider an energy audit

Finding ways to upgrade your home that are also energy efficient sounds like a no-brainer.

The federal and provincial governments (depending where you live) offer incentives to help with these changes, and the first step is an energy audit (also known as a home audit or energy assessment). Audits are even more important depending on the age of your home. Even a home built in the 1990s would benefit from an audit, as building codes have changed over the last 30 years. 

What are the steps in an energy audit?

  • Pre-project assessment: where an assessor examines your home from top to bottom and provides you with reports on how your home is currently using energy, a list of recommended upgrades, as well as an EnerGuide label with your home’s efficiency score.
  • Post-project assessment: performed once you have completed the recommended upgrades. The assessor returns to do a new audit and to confirm the upgrades. You’ll receive updated reports as well as a rebate verification. 

Once you’ve received the rebate verification you can apply for rebates. The Canada Greener Homes Program is available nationwide as a federal incentive program. Across the provinces and municipalities there are further incentives available which can be discussed with a registered energy advisor. 


Property Transfer Tax Exemption Changes
Property Transfer Tax is 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% thereafter up to $2M (higher PTT over $2M).
Prior to the change, PTT exemption for first time home buyers was up to $500,000, and a sliding scale from $500,000 to $525,000.
With the new rules there is the PTT exemption up to $500,000, However, any purchase from $500,000 to $835,000, we ignore the first $500,000 of purchase price. So it is the normal PTT minus $8,000.

For example, a first time home buyer purchases a property for $800,000. Normal PTT would have been $14,000 (1% on the first $200,000 and 2% thereafter). However, new rules would allow for a reduction in the PTT of $8,000, making total PTT equal to $6,000.

PTT Change on Newly Built Units from $750,000 to $1,100,000. This is for all owner occupied buyers, even if they are not first time home buyers.

*When it comes to taxes, always seek the advice of your account!


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


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




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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