Fall Winterizing Tips – Don’t Forget About Your Lawn

During the fall months, homeowners tend to neglect their lawns. This makes it harder to get your lawn back into its former glory. There are a number of important lawn care chores and related tasks for a homeowner to complete, in order to winterize the yard in fall and ready the landscape for the next growing season. 

Here are are some easy to do, important tips to winterize your lawn before the really cold stuff sets in: 

  • Remove the broadleaf weeds such as clover, thereby removing some competition for available nutrients and water.
  • Do a soil test to check the pH value of your soil. If the soil is too acidic, spread some lime and if it is too alkaline, add some sulphur.
  • Rake the leaves off the lawn. This improves the health of your lawn by removing thatch – the layer of dead grass on the lawn – which can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots. The easiest way to do this is to run the lawn mower (with the grass catcher attached) for one last time. This is comparable to vacuuming the leaves off the lawn.
  • If you have adequate levels of potassium in your soil, you don’t need a “winterizer” – a fall fertilizer that is rich in potassium to strengthen your lawn under stress – your earlier fertilizers were rich in nitrogen to make your grass green and thick.
  • Aerate the lawn to allow air, water and nutrients to reach down to the roots.

The earlier you start your fall maintenance, the more manageable your lawn will be come springtime.  What you do now to winterize and protect your lawn from the frost and chill to come will determine how it rebounds. 

Why not let us find you the property or investment that you are looking for? Our experience and know how, makes us one of the most trusted realtors on the Lower Mainland. Contact us or call us at 604 913 1000.

FILED UNDER Exterior Upgrades, Changes & Help, Vancouver, Virani Tips    Leave a comment

How Your Home Can Help You During Your Retirement

Over the last 12 years, house prices in Canada have increased dramatically. If you are one of the fortunate long time homeowners nearing retirement, you are sitting on a gold mine, and the equity in your home may far surpass your retirement nest egg.

Whether you’re planning on selling or staying in your current home, here are a few ways you can tap into your home equity to help the cash keep flowing in, during your retirement:

Sell your home and rent an apartment.

You can sell your home and invest the proceeds into instruments such as annuities, giving you a boost on your monthly income. This will enable you to enjoy a retirement lifestyle that you would otherwise be unaffordable.

You would be required to rent a home instead of own a home, and this may not bode well with some people. However, renting does offer flexibility, especially if you decide to spend time away from home.

Downsize your existing home.

If you are not comfortable with renting, then you have the option of selling your home and buying a smaller condo or apartment. This will simplify your lifestyle, as owning such a property requires much less effort and expense.

Besides, you can use the residual to invest in financial instruments that will supplement your retirement portfolio.

Rent out your home.

Renting out your home is a viable option that will allow you to travel for extended periods of time.  You can use the proceeds of the rent to give you the extra income to pay for your accommodation, daily living and travel expenses.  There is a large market for short-term rentals, which command a high premium, especially if you provide furniture, linen, utensils etc.

Convert your home and become a landlord.

If you own a larger home, why not convert your basement or part of your home into a suite and rent it out? This will enable you to generate some additional income every month. It would require you to spend money on renovation and educate yourself on how to be a landlord.

Get a reverse mortgage

Another option is using your home equity to get cash through a reverse mortgage. You don’t have to pay back this loan until you sell your home. In most cases, you can borrow between 10% and 40% of your home’s value.

A reverse mortgage depends on what your home is worth, your age and interest rates. You must pay off any other loans on your home, including any unpaid mortgage.

There are pros and cons to do this so make sure you get the right advice before you proceed.

Your retirement is your reward for living a fulfilling life. If you are fortunate enough to own your home when you retire, you have many options open to you to help you retire comfortably.

 

If you need the right kind of assistance and advice in making such an important decision, you can discuss your options with our real estate advisors. Call us on 604 913 1000 or email us.

 

FILED UNDER Buying & Selling, Vancouver, Virani Tips    Leave a comment

How To Ensure Your Home Inspector Does Not Miss These Important Problems That Will Impact Your Home Purchase

For a majority of home-buyers, buying a new home without a reputable home inspector’s report is something that would never happen.

That extra set of eyes gives potential homeowners the peace of mind that their new home won’t have a leaky roof or cracked foundation. Or something even worse. But what you might not realize, is that there are problems that may go unnoticed during a home inspection simply because the inspector doesn’t look for them.

Here is a list of things you must make sure your home inspector does not miss:

Faulty appliances.

In many cases, your new home may have appliances that are much better than your current ones. The thrill of just owning these appliances may make you think that there is nothing wrong with them.  But you must make sure that they are problem free, by instructing the inspector to check them for functionality and leaks.

Leaky plumbing.

To ensure that the home’s plumbing is functioning properly, all the faucets should be turned on; toilets flushed multiple times and drain pipes checked while the water is running. Shower pans should be filled and the drains should be tested for leaks.

Problem decks and balconies.

Decks and balconies without proper drainage can have safety issues as any dampness associated, can impact the structure and be at risk of collapsing. A proper inspection of the drainage, any cracks and rust will reveal potential problems. This will save thousands of dollars of future repairs.

Cracked sewage and drainage pipes.

Insist on a camera inspection of underground or buried pipes. This may cost extra, as most home inspections are limited to what is visible and accessible. But the extra expense is worth the money.

Corroded central air conditioning.

Many homes now come with central air conditioning as a standard feature. Because this feature cannot be tested when the temperature outside is below 13 degrees Celsius, a faulty air conditioning unit can go untested in the winter months. In this case, the inspector should go over all the connections and look for signs of damage.

If the outside temperature is over the prescribed rate, run the unit for a few hours to test the functioning of the unit’s condenser coil.

Home renovations not done properly.

A seller could have done some home improvements without proper permits, or some plumbing or electrical work that may not be up to code. Ensure that a search has been made at the local municipal council for construction permits.

If the work has not been done properly, you could face a costly renovation repair a few years down the line.

Finally, make sure you are working with a reputable and thorough home inspector. Verify an inspector’s references and ask to review the checklist of items covered during an inspection.

 

Any questions? Please feel free to call or emaiTHE VIRANI TEAM at 604.695.1000 if you have any real estate questions at all. We simply see our mission as striving to be as helpful as we possibly can to area homeowners.

 

 

FILED UNDER Buying & Selling, Vancouver, Virani Tips    Leave a comment

Mark Brand – Thinking Outside the Box With The Save On Meats Token Program

Mark Brand is no stranger to the spotlight. Being responsible for some of the most notable restaurants in East Vancouver, he bought the Save On Meats store in 2011, which had been an icon in East Vancouver from 1957 – 2009.

The store features fully licensed diner, a butcher shop and retail store, and a community commissary kitchen.

What makes the business stand out is its charitable and non-profit partnerships. It prides itself on being a strong community partner and a business that meets the needs of the Downtown Eastside residents and keeps all its prices affordable for the community.

In 2012, Save-on Meats launched its “Token Program” – where a meal token can be bought and given to a needy resident, who takes it to the store in exchange for a breakfast sandwich.

Supporters of the token program can choose to distribute them directly or have Save On Meats give them to one of its dozens of community partners to share amongst their organization.

This innovative and highly successful program has enabled Brand to be featured in a Vancity Credit Union advertisement in 2012, and star in 2 reality TV shows: “The Big Decision and “Gastown Gamble”.

Very soon, another token program will be introduced to address another big need – warm clothing. Each bought token will be good for a pound of clothing, be it a pair of pants or a jacket or sweater and gloves, etc.

Mark Brand has effectively created programs that act as a bridge between people who want to give and those who need the support.

We are proud to announce that we recently donated 2,400 tokens to help feed Vancouver.

 

Please feel free to call THE VIRANI SALES TEAM at 604.695.1000 or email if you would like further explanation on any of our blog topics, or if you have any real estate questions at all.

 

 

FILED UNDER Vancouver    Leave a comment

Is Vancouver’s Real Estate Market “A World Class Freak Show?”

Ian Young, a blogger with the South China Morning Post, has termed the Vancouver real estate market a “World class freak show”, where average – looking, basic homes in a middle class neighborhood sell for over $3 million! Outsiders looking in find this very hard to believe and understand. Yet this is the new normal.

According to a Demographia study of 378 cities around the world, Vancouver’s real estate is now among the least affordable in the world.

The study shows Vancouver’s unaffordability up 100% since 2005. Other comparable cities:

Sydney + 11%

San Francisco + 16%

New York -11%

Auckland +39%

The study showed that as of 2014, 4 of the 5 least affordable metropolitan markets in Canada were in BC, with Vancouver topping the list.

Here’s another interesting point: the 75,000 owners of single family homes in Vancouver, made more money by sitting on their assets than everyone in the entire city did by going to work.

These 75,000 homeowners earned a whopping $25 billion in property appreciation compared to the estimated $19 billion in citywide employment earnings. This  was revealed in a study done by a mathematician, Dr. Jens Von Bergmann, who posted his work entitled “Work vs. Twiddling Thumbs”, on the Mountain Math blog site.

In his article he did a number of lengthy calculations showing how much Vancouver homeowner households earned last year by “twiddling their thumbs while sitting on their property”.

Get the full article here.

In the last 12 months, the never-seen-this-before Vancouver property market has become front-page news, and politicians are busy scrambling for a solution to appease their highly charged electorates, especially with an election looming in the horizon.

The Demographia report has predicted that Vancouver’s house prices could rise much more. So the next few years, the real estate scene in Vancouver will be very fascinating to say the least!

If you are looking to sell you home in this seller’s market, you need a real estate professional that can get you the best possible price. We have a large inventory of prospective buyers both local and overseas. Contact us or call us on 604 913 1000 and let us get you the best price for your home. 

 

FILED UNDER Buying & Selling, International, Vancouver    Leave a comment

Is the 15% Vancouver Foreign Buyer’s Tax Cooling Our Hot Real Estate market?

On August 2 2016, the BC government introduced a 15% transfer tax specifically targeting foreign nationals looking to buy real estate in the GVRD. 

In early June, the BC government started collecting nationality data on residential real estate transactions. Recently released data shows that offshore buyers make up about roughly 10% of property sales in Metro Vancouver.

With the average Vancouver area residence costing around $660,000, buyers from outside Canada face a transfer tax of $99,000.

While it may be too soon to feel the real impact of the tax on foreign housing purchases in the city, sales figures are now trickling in and there are indications of a slowdown.

The MLS has released figures to realtors showing that the high priced areas with the highest percentage of foreign buyers  – according to government statistics and real estate agents  – are now suffering the steepest declines:

 

Municipality

No. of Homes Sold Aug 1-Aug 15 2015

No. of Homes Sold Aug 1-Aug 15 2016

Richmond

89

12

West Vancouver

59

9

Vancouver West Side

72

15

 

There is a general consensus amongst realtors that the second half of August will be even slower, as foreign buyers rushed into the market in late July and the first day of August to beat the tax.

It is important to note that the Vancouver region housing market has been showing signs of slowing down for months, as the year-over-year home sales (change in the actual number of homes sold compared with the same period last year) have been dropping steadily.

Even with the slowdown, the BC Real Estate Association forecasts the Province to post a record 113,000 sales this year, up 10% from 2015, led by the Lower Mainland.

So the tax may accelerate the moderating trend that is already in place in the market, but it is still early to judge the direct impact of the tax on house prices and sales in the Vancouver region.

 

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property, contact us at http://www.virani.ca/contact.php , visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

 

 

FILED UNDER Buying & Selling, International, Vancouver    Leave a comment

5 Renovation Ideas That Are Guaranteed To Pay Off For You, Especially When You Sell Your Home

If you are a homeowner, you have either renovated or are planning a future renovation. A renovation will increase the value of your home and make it look good, so later when you want to sell it, you can make a nice profit.

Kitchen and bathroom improvements increase the value of your property more than most renovations and offer the highest average return on investment.

However, there are others you can do, depending on your budget that can add value to your home:

  1. Kitchen and bathroom facelift.

Renovations to the kitchen and bathroom are the most lucrative. Kitchen or bathroom facelifts can pay back 75% to 100% of their cost, depending on the renovations you do. Most real estate professionals and professional renovators agree that homeowners who renovate for the purpose of selling their home should focus on these two rooms.

  1. Painting the interior or exterior of the home.

Painting is an inexpensive and very profitable renovation project. Rolling on a new coat of interior or exterior paint can generate a 50% to 100% return on your investment. If you’re planning on selling your house, choose neutral shades over trendy colors that may not appeal to all buyers.

  1. Upgrade your home for energy efficiency.

Any renovation that may save you money such as upgrading the efficiency of your electrical system, heating or water heating will be a very attractive bonus when selling your home. These upgrades will make you benefit from an immediate reduction in costs and will make your home noticeably healthier and more livable.

  1. Give the exterior of your home a facelift.

The front of your home and the surrounding landscape are the very first thing a potential buyer will see, and very inexpensive projects like painting, updating the garden, fixing a broken fence, etc.  will make a favorable impact. Though these little projects won’t add thousands to your selling price, they are often worth much more than they cost to perform.

  1. Roof replacement.

Replacing roof shingles offers a 50% to 80% rate of return, which is quite a nice margin of profitability. Investing in a roof upgrade increases the value of your home and, most importantly, it protects you against various problems such as water infiltration.

Whatever home renovation project you’re considering, if you want to recoup the highest percentage of the cost, remember that the work has to be done properly and the results have to be tasteful.

It is important to get the correct advice when you are buying a home. We have been in the real estate business for over 28 years and know just about everything there is about buying a home. Contact us or call us on 604 695  1000 or 604 913 1000 if you are planning to buy a home.

 

FILED UNDER Exterior Upgrades, Changes & Help, Interior Upgrades, Changes & Help, Vancouver, Virani Tips    Leave a comment

5 Important Ways You Can Avoid A Disastrous Moving Experience

June to September is peak moving season, and moving companies do a bulk of their yearly business within these 4 months.

Unsuspecting to the public, there are unscrupulous individuals that that front themselves as a moving company, ready to take advantage and profit from the vulnerable.

Horror stories abound:

  • Consumers losing their deposits to non-existent moving companies fronting on the internet
  • Extra fees charged for carrying furniture to higher floors
  • Moving companies sub-contracting to unlicensed and under-insured companies that cannot pay claims
  • No shows
  • Furniture being held hostage for higher payments

To avoid this and a myriad of other potential scenaarios, as a consumer, you must be better armed with sufficient knowledge and take the necessary precautions before you move:

Get an in-person quote

Never book a move using just the phone and or the Internet. Always get a representative of the company to make a house call and give you all the move details and price in writing.

Book well in advance if possible

If you book your July move in March or April, you will be able to get a fair price and a comprehensive quote. During the busy moving season, moving companies do not have enough staff to cover all their moves, so they end up sub-contracting. This means higher prices and you will be pressed to get the service and attention your deserve.

Get an estimate and not a price

When you get a quote, get the hourly rate and the estimated time the whole move will take. So if a move will take 5 hours @$125 an hour, the quote should be exactly that and not $625. By giving you a blanket quote, the moving companies can manipulate the move to their advantage.  So, if a move takes only 4 hours @ $100/hour, and the company has quoted you $600, you will be asked to pay the $600.

Get a number of quotes.

Don’t just rely on 1 company for a quote. Shop around and get at least 3-4 quotes so you can compare prices and services. The more informed you are, the better your judgment will be when it comes to choosing a company.

Read reviews

The Internet makes it easier to search for moving companies in your area. Reputable moving companies will post their reviews giving them bragging rights. Read the positive and negative reviews. The negative reviews are useful to learn what can go wrong.

Look for red flags

Ensure that the moving company has a bricks and mortar address. Call the listed telephone number and talk to a company representative. Make sure the company accepts different forms of payment. If some of these are missing, you should be on guard.

Moving is not a very enjoyable experience. A lot can go wrong.  So why not be prepared from the onset and reduce the stress?

Please feel free to call THE VIRANI SALES TEAM at 604.695.1000 if you would like further explanation on any of our blog topics, or if you have any real estate questions at all.

 

FILED UNDER Virani Tips    Leave a comment

Home Sales Move Off Of Record-Breaking Pace In July

VANCOUVER, BC – August 3, 2016 – Metro Vancouver* homes sales resembled more typical levels in July.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 3,226 in July 2016, a decrease of 18.9 per cent from the 3,978 sales recorded in July 2015 and a decrease of 26.7 per cent compared to June 2016 when 4,400 homes sold.

This is the first time since January that home sales in the region have registered below 4,000 in a month.

“After several months of record-breaking sales activity, home buyer demand returned to more historically normal levels in July,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said.

Last month’s sales were 6.5 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“Home sale activity showed some moderating signs in late June and this carried into July,” Morrison said. “We’ll wait and watch over the next few months to see if this marks the return of more normal market trends.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,241 in July 2016. This represents a 2.5 per cent increase compared to the 5,112 units listed in July 2015 and a 10.8 per cent decrease compared to June 2016 when 5,875 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,351, a 27.4 per cent decline compared to July 2015 (11,505) and a 6.9 per cent increase compared to June 2016 (7,812).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2016 is 38.6 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices experience upward pressure when it reaches the 20 to 22 per cent range in a particular community for a sustained period of time.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $930,400. This represents a 32.6 per cent increase compared to July 2015.

Sales of detached properties in July 2016 reached 1,077, a decrease of 30.9 per cent from the 1,559 detached sales recorded in July 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 38 per cent from July 2015 to $1,578,300.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,602 in July 2016, a decrease of 7.3 per cent compared to the 1,729 sales in July 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 27.4 per cent from July 2015 to $510,600.

Attached property sales in July 2016 totalled 547, a decrease of 20.7 per cent compared to the 690 sales in July 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 29.4 per cent from July 2015 to $669,000.

*Editor’s Note: Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

This article is courtesy of REBGV.

 

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property, contact us at http://www.virani.ca/contact.php , visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

 

 

FILED UNDER Buying & Selling, Vancouver    Leave a comment

Canada’s Hottest Real Estate Market Gets a 15% Additional Property Transfer Tax

For the last 18+ months, British Columbians have voiced concerns that they are being crowded out of their own housing market by foreign buyers. House prices in Vancouver have increased by a whopping 36% in June from a year earlier. An average single-detached home in Metro Vancouver now sells for $1.56 million and the local middle class feels that it has been priced out of this market.

So on August 2, 2016 the BC Provincial Government made good on its promise to address the highly controversial situation by introduce a Housing Affordability Package.

Amongst the measures, it has introduced an additional 15% property transfer tax on foreign nationals, corporations and trusts that are buying in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD).

“The data we started collecting earlier this summer is showing that foreign nationals invested more than $1 billion into B.C. property between June 10 and July 14, more than 86 per cent of it in the Lower Mainland,” said BC Finance Minister Michael de Jong. “While investment from outside Canada is only one factor driving price increases, it represents an additional source of pressure on a market struggling to build enough new homes to keep up. This additional tax on foreign purchases will help manage foreign demand while new homes are built to meet local needs.”

The GVRD includes Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley City and Township, Lion’s Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver City and District, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, White Rock and Electoral Area A. The additional tax does not apply to properties located on Tsawwassen First Nation lands.  

So typically, a $2m home will attract an additional tax of $300,000.

The new 15% tax applies to buyers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents and corporations that are either not registered in Canada or are controlled by foreigners.

We will comment on the fallout of this new measure in subsequent blog posts.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property, contact us at http://www.virani.ca/contact.php , visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

 

 

FILED UNDER Buying & Selling, International, Vancouver    Leave a comment