Blog › Informational

Depreciation Reports (Reserve Fund Study)

 

What is a Depreciation Report?

Also known as the Reserve Fund Study, this report is used to establish long term planning for common property and common assets to determine the following:

 

  • What assets does the Strata Corporation own?
  • The condition of these assets
  • The anticipated repair, maintenance or replacement of these assets and the associated costs
  • How much money does the Strata Corporation have? (Contingency Reserve Fund)
  • How is the Strata Corporation going to pay for the repair, maintenance or replacement of its assets

 

Why is this important to me as a Buyer or an Owner?

This report is a significant document in assessing the property asset value and may be used by your mortgage broker, insurance provider, mortgage insurers and most of all by you, in making an informed offer to purchase of a property.

Also, as a Buyer or an Owner, you will want to know what is the condition of all common property, as well as all limited common property in your strata, because after all, you along with all the other owners, will be responsible to pay for any costs associated with both, whether or not you are using that part of your strata.

For example, the crawl space or attic in a lot of townhouse complexes are limited common property. You may be aware of your own crawl space, but are you aware of how your neighbour is taking care of theirs?

If anything goes wrong in the crawl space or attic, you will end up paying for it as well.

 

Who is required to complete a Depreciation Report?

As of December 13, 2011, all Strata Corporations in the Province of British Columbia need to get a report done.  Every Strata Corporation is required to get this report completed by December 13, 2013 – unless they are exempt.

 

Who is exempt from completing a Depreciation Report?

Strata Corporations with fewer than 5 units are exempt from this requirement.

Additionally, those Strata Corporations who decide to not have a report done, by way of a ¾ vote at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a Special General Meeting (SGM) are exempt from having to get this report done.

If your Strata Corporation is voting on this issue, you need to consider the consequences of voting this report out before you do so.

 

 

How often does the report need to get done?

Strata Corporations are required to get a new report done every 3 years.

If a Strata Corporation passes a ¾ vote to not have the report, they have 18 months following that AGM to complete a report.

 

 

 

For more information about Depreciation Reports or any other information regarding the purchase or sale of your real estate, please feel free to contact me at 604-218-4636


Depreciation Reports

Depreciation Reports (a.k.a Contingency Reserve Fund Study):

On December 13, 2011 new regulations came into effect requiring all buildings comprising of 5 or more strata lots, to obtain a Depreciation Report from a "qualified person" by Dec. 13, 2013.

Strata corporations can by way of 3/4 votes at an Annual General Meeting, or a Special General Meeting, choose to not conduct such reporting; with this having to be revisited 18 months after the vote passes.

What is a Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF):

CRF is a portion of the maintenance fee contributions of owners in a Strata Corporation, which is usually used in the case of emergencies and in maintenance required less than once a year.

This study is a planning tools to predict the funds required for proper maintenance and addressing of predictable capital replacements.

As a part of this study, the company hired to conduct this task, usually sends out a questionnaire to owners in an effort to understand the condition of the building.

As an owner, it is highly recommended to take this seriously and to contribute with information so that this study can be as accurate as possible. It is crucial for your investment.

If you have any questions or clarification regarding the Depreciation Report, feel free to contact me.

 

 

 


Vancouver Ranked No. 1 City in North America

The Mercer Quality of Living Ranking has ranked Vancouver the No. 1 city to live in North America, and the No. 5 most livable city in the world among 221 cities.

The many factors taken into account in ranking the cities include important issues such as personal safety, economic and political stability, education and health care systems as well as public services.

Vancouver is the only North American city to rank in the top 5 cities in the world, in the same groups as Vienna (1), Zurich (2), Auckland (3) and Munich (4).

A separate survey was done on the infrastructure of the cities and Vancouver ranked No. 9 in the world for areas such as electricity, telephone, water, traffic congestion, public transportation and international flight availablity.

Congratulations to those who have made this beautiful city their home.

vancouver ib

 


September Statistics

In the real estate market, September historically marks the beginning of the fall market, which compared to the summer months is a busier time for real estate sales.

This year has been a little different. Let's look at how different:

  • Number of residential properties sold in September 2012 saw a decline of 32.5% compared to September 2011 and a decline of 8.1% compared to August 2012.
  • September sales were 41.6% below the 10 year September average of 2,597 units sold.
  • New listings in September 2012 in greater Vancouver decliend by 6.3% compared to September 2011 and increased by 31.6% compared to August of 2012.

“Today, our sales-to-active-listings ratio sits at 8 per cent, which puts us in a buyer’s market. This ratio has been declining in our market since March when it was 19 per cent,” said Eugen Klein, REGVB president.

According to Klein, "Prices in the region remain relatively stable overall, although we do see some reductions in the areas that have had some of the largest price increases over the last year or two."

For more information about the current real estate market in Vancouver or to discuss your specific situation, feel free to call me.


Oil Storage Tanks

Everyone looking to buy (or even sell) a detached home should know a little about oil storage tanks. 

Many homes built before 1957 in the Greater Vancouver area, used oil as a means of heating the furnace. When natural gas became available, a lot of these oil storage tanks, usually buried in the backyard of the house, were filled with sand or were capped. 

As the tanks started to corrode, the remaining oil in the tanks started to seep through into the surrounding areas of the tank causing soil contamination, even as far as the neighbouring property.

BC Fire Code requires that these Underground Storage Tanks (UST) be removed and any contamination be remediated, and the onus falls on the current property owner. 

The cost of removing or decommissioning the UST can be as low as a couple of thousand dollars, to as much as over $100,000, depending on the level of contamination.

The seller of the property wtih an UST should hire a qualified tank removal contractor in order to remove the tank and any excess oil from the property and issue a certificate of removal. 

If the seller does not wish to do this and wants to get indemnity through a reduction in the purchase price of the home, the seller may still be found liable, as the buyer's lending institution may not want to release money before the tank is removed.

One of the signs of the existence of an UST on the property is a vent that is attached to the exterior on the side of the house. It is a pipe with a 180 degree goose neck.

If you require more information about this very sensitive issue when purchasing a property, feel free to give me a call.


A Look at August 2012: Vancouver Market

August of this year has seen lower sales than both July of this year (by over 21%) and August of last year (by over 30%)!

When you look at attached and detached properties separately, the sale of attached properties declined by almost 20% since August of 2011 and the sale of detached homes dropped by about 39% since last August.

The total number of sales for attached, detached and apartment sales in the Greater Vancouver residential housing market was second lowest total since 1998 and is almost 40% lower than the 10 year average for August.

So all in all, as you can see, August has not been a HOT month for real estate! However, things are picking up and with the interest rates still at their historical lows and great deals out there, buyers have started snatching the well-priced properties out there. 

 


Onni's New Project

Rumor has it that ONNI has purchased the lot on the North West Corner of Pacific and Richards St to build a 42 storey condominum building.

Currently there is a Mini Self Storage on that site which is right across from Azura I, Azura II and 501 Pacific.

I will have more information for you as things progress. 


Maintenance Fees: A Dilemma

The automatic thought regarding maintenance (strata) fees in a building when buyers are looking to purchase a condo is: The lower the strata fees, the better.

But before you jump into a conclusion, there are a few things to consider:

1) Make sure you find out what is included in the strata fees. Is natural gas included for example? Do you have a gas fireplace which heats up the whole house, thus cutting down on your hydro bill?

2) Understand where the strata fees are going in the building. Is the money going towards maintenance and upkeep of the building, or towards repairs? If the building is maintained very well, then it is likely that you will not be asked to pay for special assessments very often or not at all.

3) What is the insurance on the building? The maintenance fees pay for the insurance on the building so make sure you understand what is covered under the insurance. How much is the deductible? The owners are responsible for the deductible which does not come out of the maintenance fees. 

4) How much is there in the Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF)? This fund is used to pay for some of the long term repairs on the building, like painting after 10 years or resealing the windows. A portion of the strata fees go towards this fund.

So the next time you feel like the strata fees of a condo are too high, look more closely and make sure this doesn't cost you more in the long run. And vice versa, if they're too low, make sure your investment is protected by way of regular maintenance.


Aquarius Buildings Neighbourhood Amenities

The Aquarius family of buildings in Yaletown are located on Davie St. and Marinaside Crescent. right by the Quayside Marina.

In this area of Yaletown, there is no shortage of restaurants, shops and coffee shops. 

Right underneath Aquarius I, 1199 Marinaside, there is a Starbucks, a magazine shop, and Urban Fair. There is also a clinic in the same building.

Underneath Aquarius II, 1111 Marinaside Cr., there is a Bojangles coffee shop, a few restaruants including Provence and Hurricane Grill. There are also other shops such as pet stores in the same area.

If that's not enough, there are a lot of shops and restaurants just a block away from the water and across from the Aquarius complex in the heart of Yaletown. 

Living in this area of Vancouver offers a lot of amenities within walking distance which is why this area is so attractive to buyers and owners alike.


CLUB VIVA - WEST ONE, AZURA I and PARKWEST ONE

Club Viva is one of the most desirable amenities in the downtown Vancouver Real Estate scene. A nearly 20,000 s.f. amenity located on Pacific BLVD between Richards St. and Beach Crescent serving the following buildings:

Azura I (1438 Richards St.), Parkwest One (455 Beach Cr.), West One (1408 Strathmore Mews)

The club includes a large indoor pool, outdoor patio off of the pool, squash courts, fitness centre, billiards lounge, spa, workshop, movie theatre, and a large meeting room. 

The great point about the clun being shared between a few buildings is that the fees associated with the maintenance of the club is shared among a large number of suites, as a result the monthly strata fees of the buildings will not be high. On the other hand the club is never over crowded. 

All in all, the Azura I, Parkwest One and West One are among the most desirable buildings in Yaletown because of the CLUB VIVA facilities that they share. 


Dog Off-Leash Parks in Yaletown close to Azura and Aquarius Developments

A number of my clients who are interested in the Aquarius I or other Aquarius buildings as well as the Azura buildings, have dogs and hence need to know the dog parks in the area.

In the North False Creek area of downtown Vancouver, also known as Yaletown, there are a number of "Dog Off-Leash" parks.

One option is the park at 1020 Marinaside Crescent, just west of the Cambie st. bridge. This park is the closest to Aquarius I, Aquarius II and III as well as the Azura Buildings. Off-leash times are 6:00 a.m. 10:00 p.m.

Another option quite close to Azura I and Azura II is the Emery Barnes Dog park with the same off-leash hours just north of Davie street between Richards and Seymour. 

Nelson park is another option although not too close to either the Azura or the Aquarius buildings. It's located at 1030 Bute at Comox. Off-leash hours are 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and dogs are not allowed into the school's fenced yard.


A Bit About the Current Vancouver Real Estate Market

As you know, there is a lot of talk about the Vancouver Real Estate market in the media. Mainly, there is talk about the market "crashing" and the prices to go down by as much as 20%! 

In my opinion, the claims made by the media are too generalized as the Vancouver market is comprised of many different pockets which have and will always act in a slightly different manner.

I will demonstrate with a few examples: 

1) MLS HPI Price: (HPI is the best and purest way of determining price trends in the housing market. It takes into account what averages and medians do not. Items such as lot size, number of bedrooms, age, etc).

  •  Entire Greater Vancouver Area HPI Price:                        

July 2011:             $612,200

July 2012:             $616,000

This demonstrates an increase in the HPI Price of 0.6% for all of Greater Vancouver over the course of one year. 

  • Vancouver West Side HPI Price:

July 2011:             $814,700

July 2012:             $817,100

This represends a 0.3% increase for the West side of Vancouver.

  • Vancouver Coal Harbour HPI Price:

July 2011:            $667,900

July 2012:            $652,400

This means a decrease of 2.3% in HPI Price from 2011 to 2012, where we had an increase of 3.6% from 2010 to 2011. So in 2012, the HPI Price is still higher than 2010.

2) Median and Average Sales Prices:

The median and average sales prices for almost all of the areas and subareas of the Greater Vancouver region has decreased compared to last year.

However, as previously mentioned, these indicators do not take important factors such as lot size, age, etc... into account.

As a result, using these indicators provides a very skewed perception of the inflation or deflation of the real estate market.

To sum up, I believe that the Vancouver market is becoming more stable and realistic compared to last year where prices suddently went through the roof (as much as 20% increase in some areas!). Additionaly, when my clients ask me where I see the market going, I always ask: "Which part of town are you asking about?"

For a more detailed analysis please watch the following video by the REBGV.


The Annual Summer Party

Last month we celebrated the summer at our annual Summer Celebration to appreciate clients and friend for their business. 

The event was held atop one of the most sought after buildings in downtwon Vancouver, The Jameson House building with breathtaking views of the whole city and mountains in the most unique rooftop deck in Vancouver.

About 120 guests enjoyed great music by Cory Baker (a.k.a Wildlife Division), great food and drinks and fabulous company.

 

 

 

 

 

Geat door prizes were generously provided by SKN Holistic Rejuvination Clinic, Recon Instruments Inc. and Sunflower Florist. 

 

The party was featured in the lifesyle magazine SANP! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mortgage Rules Tighten in Canada

The Canadian Government has always been one of the more conservative ones in terms of their lending rules in an effort to decrease debt in Canadian households. 

In the current ever changing economy and the anxiety that is brought to lenders by the global economic atmosphere, today, new rules were announced for mortgage lending in Canada.

I thought it best to bring a great ARTICLE to your attention outlining all the changes to the mortgage rules in Canada.


Buying in a Stabilizing Market

This week I want to talk about buying in a stabilizing market. When the real estate market is booming and the prices are going up, it is obvious that buyers should make decisions fast before the price of their favorite property goes way up.

However, in a stabilizing market, where we see softer sales and listings that are coming out faster than they are selling; it is sometime hard for a buyer to make a decision because of the notion that there will be a lot of new listings coming out and the prices will go down.

In my personal experience and also with clients, it is always a great time to buy when you are ready to buy. And in a stabilizing market, where there are listings that are not selling as fast, a great real estate agent will be able to get you a great deal. 

Additionally, in most stabilizing markets, the buyer is usually able to take advantage of the best mortgage rates available and saving as much as $30,000 in a 5 year period in interest payments. That's a lot of money!

So if you are ready to buy, a stabilizing market will be a great time to buy because you will be able to secure a great deal and have a large amount of mortgage payment savings.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 


Getting Pre-Qualified? Why?

Buyers, especially first time home buyers, often assume that the first step in the buying process is to go online, on a website like MLS or an agent's website, and start looking for the property whose pictures look good and sending that listing to their agent to make an appointment to go view it.

Contrary to this belief, my experience shows that buyers who start out this way, take about 40% longer to find something suitable and more often than not, they're either buying something they are not 100% happy with, or that the new purchase is stretching their budget.

Usually the most important step and the first step in this process, I advise, is the pre-qualification process. It sounds formal I know. But this is where the purchaser(s) go to their bank or a mortgage broker to determine the maximum amount of loan they qualify for. They can then add this to their down payment to determine the maximum budget they have to purchase a home.

When this step is skipped, a few things might go wrong:

  1. The person(s) may actually be able to afford less than what they think and when they fall in love with and offer on a property they find out they cannot afford, they will be heartbroken and perhaps give up buying for a long time.
  2. The person(s) might qualify for a higher amount of loan than they thought they might, and this will mean that they are not looking at properties, which are bigger and better.
  3. In the case of not having been pre-qualified for a mortgage, when a property is under competition with other buyers and a "NO SUBJECT" offer is preferred, it will be really risky to assume they will get the required financing without knowing beforehand.  

For these reasons, and others, I advise clients to seek professional mortgage help before starting the search process in order to be efficient and not get disappointed.



Real Estate Transaction Costs

In a real estate transaction, some costs are born by the buyer and some by the seller. This is often confusing for clients. The following, lists the responsibility of the buyer and the seller. However, sometimes through negotiations, the costs may be paid by the other party to the transaction.

The Seller is responsible for the following:

  1. Real Estate Commission
  2. Lawyer Costs for Attending to Execution of Documents
  3. Costs of Clearing Title (paying off their own mortgage and other financial encumbrances)
The Buyer normally takes care of the following costs:
  1. Inspection
  2. Appraisal (if required for financing)
  3. Insurance
  4. Property Transfer Tax (PTT = 1% on first $200k and 2% on remainder)
  5. Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)
  6. Lawyer or Notary fees
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the costs you are resonsible for in the transaction.

Market Value vs. Appraised Value

I recently had a call from a client who said he wanted to sell his home. I assumed that he was going to ask me to evaluate his home in order to determine the "MARKET VALUE" and thus a list price for his home. 

I was surprised when he told me that he had already had an appraiser in his home and that he had already determined the "MARKET VALUE" and the list price of his home!

When we met, I explained to him that although the valuation of the appraiser is valid, it sometimes may be different from the actual MARKET VALUE of a property.

We define MARKET VALUE as the price that a READY and WILLING BUYER is willing to pay a READY and WILLING SELLER at a given point in time. Whereas the appraisal is based on different criteria such as the lot value and the value of the structure of the home and any additions or renovations done to the home. Also depending on the reason for the appraisal, the criteria used by the appraiser to determine the value of a home will slightly differ.

Although often very similar, these two values might be different and therefore, if you are thinking of selling your home, it is very important to have a real estate agent evaluate your home to identify an accurate and up-to-date list price for your home.


Should I Sell Before I Buy?

More than half of the clients I work with are selling a home and buying another one at the same time when they decide to move. This always creates the question: "How should we time the two transactions to have a smooth transition?". No one wants to have to be out of their home for a few months before they find the next suitable real estate.

In my experience, the general rule is to start looking for a new home at the same time as you put your current one on the market. However, there are exceptions to this rule and there are different scenarios that can happen depending on what you are selling and what you want to buy. The market conditions in your area also play a role in this. Let me explain.

For example, if you are selling a house in an area where houses are currently selling quickly and you are looking to downsize to a condo when there are a lot of those on the market to choose from, you will probably want to start looking before you attempt to sell your house. 

On the other hand, if you know that in your market, similar real estate is selling in around 2 months and what you are looking for is flying off the shelves, you need to put your home on the market before you start looking at properties. 

The above are just examples and by no means an exhaustive list of scenarios as there are too many to mention here. But you might ask:  "How do I know what to do in my situation? How do I know the length of time it might take for my home to sell?" 

Well. These questions are all valid ones and your real estate agent can answer most if not all of them. So when selling AND buying a home at the same time, discuss the situation with your agent and together you can decide about the timing of the transactions.


How to Choose a REALTOR?

If you are like most people, your home is one of the most if not the most important asset you will have in your life. So you will want to make sure you choose the best person to either help you purchase or sell this most important asset for you. 

But how do you choose this person? The following is my personal experience and my opinion on what you should look for when looking for the perfect agent.

The most important criterion in choosing a real estate agent is trust. If there is mutual trust in this relationship, the outcome will generally be satisfactory to you as the homeowner.

If there is no chemistry between you and your agent, it will be hard to communicate and to be on the same page, which will result in frustration and poor results. You want someone who is a great communicator and is able to negotiate a great deal whether you're buying or selling.

When you establish that you like the person and they understand you, you can then move on to other factors like: 1) Their marketing strategy...2) Their reputation (don't be afraid to ask for references from past clients) and so on.

What is less important in my mind is what their commission is because you only care about how much you net out at the end of the sale and if someone with a higher commission, puts more effort and marketing budget and is therefore able to sell your real estate at a higher price for you, this will result in a higher number even after the higher commission has be deducted from the sale price. 

Choosing an agent is very important so take your time with it. 


Investing VS. Buying for Self

I often work with clients who are looking for real estate as an investment and their sole intention is to rent the property as soon as they buy. However, a lot of them get trapped into the details of the property as if they want to live there. 

It is important to keep in mind that when buying for investment purposes, there is a whole other set of criteria which need to be considered instead of what you would normally consider when buying for yourself. 

For example, when you are buying an investment property, you have to consider what ROI (return on investment) you will be getting from a property. This will be affected by the neighbourhood, the size, the reputation of the building and so on. You also have to consider the condition of the building and how easy it will be to rent your property in that given building...

However, when you buy for yourself, it becomes an emotional purchase and at the end of the day, if you fall in love with a property, it may even not bring a crazy ROI but you might still want to go ahead with the purchase. 

It is important that you have a knowledgeable agent guiding you through the purchase process to make sure you are considering all aspects of why you are making a purchase.


Protecting Your Home's Air Quality

Every homeowner should know the importance of protecting the air quality they breathe in their home. So be aware of the sources of risk and measures which can be taken to mediate these risks.

For example, the two most common household air toxins, carbon monoxide and radon, are odourless and colourless and yet can be detected inexpensively.

Carbon monoxide detectors should be active 24/7 in homes which use combustion (gas cooktops, fireplaces, etc) and radon detectors should be installed in any home which the basement is used and the neighbourhood has been identified as a source of radon emissions (which can be found in some natural soil conditions and can seap through the foundation cracks).

Other concerns such as asbestos and ureaformaldehyde insulation can be dealt with through a simple search, detection and removal if advised by an indoor air quality expert. Other toxins such as paints, varnishes and cleaning products should be kept out of the home whenever possible.

The bottom line is that most air quality concerns can be easily dealt with through proactive management, propert ventilation and filtration.

 

If you need to know more on this subject or would like to find professionals to deal with the air quality of your home, feel free to contact me.


Your Windows, Your House

One of the most prominent features of your home is the windows. When they 
are well maintained they have a positive impact on the impression people
(such as potential buyers) will have of your property. The opposite occurs,
of course, when your windows look old and worn.
So does that mean you should replace your windows? 
That depends on a number of factors. Window replacement can be an
expensive renovation. Here are a few things to consider before making your
decision.
• Do your windows get frost or condensation build-up on the interior 
side? This could be a sign that the windows are not keeping out the
cold as well as they should.

• Do you see water infiltration or mildew on the interior sides of any of
the window sills? This means that moisture is creeping in from the
outside, and you need to get those windows repaired or replaced as
soon as possible.

• If your windows are double-paned – (two panes of glass) – check for
any signs of moisture in between the glass panes. Moisture indicates
that the thermal seal is broken and at a minimum, the glass will need
to be replaced.

• Take a look at your windows from the outside. Is the trim rotted or
cracked anywhere? Are there dark spots or any signs of rotting on
the wood frames? Repairs or replacement may be required.

• Check the operation of your windows. Do they open and close
easily? This is important because some windows, such as those in
bedrooms, are often designed to be big enough to use as an exit in
case of a fire.

• Finally, are you happy with how your windows look? Do you feel that
your property will look significantly better with new windows?

Although they are expensive, replacing windows has a lot of advantages.
Depending on the efficiency of your current windows, replacing them could
cut your energy costs by 10-20%. In addition, new windows block out more
exterior noise, making your home quieter. Not to mention, buyers will be
ecstatic to see them in great shape.
If you have any questions regarding how to make your home ready for sale,
or any other real estate related questions, feel free to contact me.

When is the Best Time to Sell Your Home?

If you've been thinking about selling your home, you might be waiting until "the market is right". After all, if the local market booms, your property will likely sell for a higher price.

This may be true. However, there are other factors to consider when considering the sale of your home:

1) Will you be buying another home followig the sale?

2) Are there unique selling features in your home that will help sell it for a higher than average price?

3) Are there changes anticipated to the mortgage market which will affect the buyers' abilitiy to purchase? and so on...

The best approach here will be to have your real estate agent come in and give you an overall understanding of all of the aforementioned issue.

I will certainly be happy to assist you with this should you consider to sell your home.


5 Things Buyers Hate to See

When you show your home to prospective buyers, there is probably a long list of things you hope they will notice. For example, the brand new chandelier in the foyer or the recently renovated powder room on the main floor. 

But what about the things you don't want buyers to see? 

There are some items on the list that you cannot do anything about. For example, you cannot do anything about the unfinished basement perhaps. But there are many things you can do to make your home more appealing to buyers. 

Here is the top 5 of things you can do to appeal more to buyers:

  • Clutter: 

The rooms with too much furniture crammed into them or bedrooms with
clothes all over the bed and floor are not very exciting for buyers to see.

  • Maintenance Issues:

Buyers don't want to see too many faucets that need to be fixed or too many light bulb which need to be changed. 

  • Smells:

Buyers will notice the lingering smell of exotic cooking, pets and cigarette smoke.

  • Personal Items:

Of course buyers know a family lives in the home, however, they do not want to constantly be reminded of your family vacations and bowling trophies.

  • You:

It's nothing personal but buyers prefer to see your home without you in it.

 

Hope this list prepares you to bring your home to its fullest potential to sell your home at the highest price possible in the shortest amount of time.

For more tips on how to prepare your home for sale or for an updated evaluation of your home, feel free to contact me.


TELUS Garden Unveiled

TELUS garden spanning over one whole city block (Georgia, Richards, Robson and Seymour) in down town Vancouver, boasts to be one of the most technologically advanced buildings in Vancouver and is promising to be an icon of the city.

This development which is anticipated to complete in June of 2015, is comprised of the TELUS Headquarters Building and a residential building which features one- two- and three-bedroom residences in addition to Signature Suites and Luxury Penthouses.

The project boasts about 15,000 s.f. of amenities including a "YYoga" Wellness Centre, heated outdoor pool and gym facility.

This week (of March 25, 2012) will be the first public unveiling of the project and purchasers will have the opportunity to visit the showroom in an effort to choose what they like to purchase. 

Please contact me for a detail of pricing, dates and deposit structure information.

Telus_Garden_Residential_Edit


Interview with MECCANICA Architect: Mr. Rafii

I met with the Architect responsible for designing Meccanica to be built by Cressey in South East False Creek at the corner of FIRST + QUEBEC. He was the speaker at an event that the Society of Iranian-Canadian Professionals of BC.

 

In his speech, he talked about the role that multi-culturalism plays in architecture in Canada. Having designed buildings such as James, Donovan, Meccanica and many more in the Greater Vancouver area, he is well aware of the guidlines which need to be used to make end users from every culture happy with the end product.

 

I had a little chat with him about Meccanica:

  1. How does Meccanica differ from the previous projects that Rafii Architects have done?

Mr. Rafii responded that with Meccanica, they tried to make it as simple and functional as possible.

  1. Who do you think is the end user for Meccanica:

He said that young professionals who want to be close to downtown and want to commute to and from work, and appreciate great design as well as functionality are the primary end users for this project.

 

 

429060_309335499126786_139890259404645_809869_551406196_n 


From HST, back to PST

As you may have heard, British Columbia is going back to paying Provincial Sales Tax (PST) instead of the current Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on April 1, 2013. In the interim, for the period April 1, 2012 to April 1, 2013, the province has announced transitional rules for the purchase of new homes and the rebates associated with the taxes.

If you are purchasing as your PRIMARY residence, priced up to $850,000:

  • A new home with land
  • A new home with leashed land
  • A new float or mobile home
  • A new cooperative housing
  • A new home constructed or 90% renovated by an owner builder

Or if you're buying a secondary vacation home outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts priced up to $850,000

You will be eligible for a rebate of 71.43% rebate up to a maximum of $42,500 up from the current $26,250 maximum rebate.

 

Here's how the rules apply:

If you are taking possession of your new property before April 1, 2013, you will pay the 12% HST and be eligible for a rebate of up to $42,500.

If you are taking possession of your new property AFTER April 1, 2013, you will NOT pay the 7% portion of the tax, instead you will pay a 2% transitional tax.

If you purchase your home after April 1, 2013, then the old GST will apply to the purchase of your new home. 


What to Do to Get Your Home Prepared for Sale

Very often we get overwhelmed with a lot to do when we think of putting our home on the market for sale. We suddenly start thinking about everything that is wrong with the house and everything we need to fix to prepare for the sale.

There is the garage that needs to be finished, the backyard which needs to be cleaned and relawned, the old kitchen cabinets that need to be replaced, and on and on goes the list. 

It's easy to get carried away and before you know it, you have spent thousands of dollars without knowing for a fact that what you have done has indeed added to the value of your home.

The truth is, there is no real formula to follow here. However, what I can tell you is that deciding what needs to be done is very subjective. What you think as aesthetically pleasing, may be not so important to a potential buyer. 

Before you start doing anything in the way of renovations and updates, meet with your real estate agent and ask them to tell you what will add to the value of your home. This way, you will ensure the money you are putting in will be returned, and then some.


Property Tour: Tips on viewing properties

Ideally, the first property you see when shopping for a new home
will be the one you fall in love with and buy. But let's face it. You'll
probably end up seeing several homes before reaching the
decision to make an offer on one.
When you're viewing homes, you want to make sure that the
experience is enjoyable (rather than stressful) and that you get all
the information you need to make the right decision.
To help you do that, here are a list of items you should consider
taking with you:
 A notepad. Have something with you so you can take
notes, a pad of paper, laptop computer, iPad, even a
voice recorder.
Flashlight. Just in case there is an area in a home that is
not well lit, such as the furnace room.
Water and snacks. If you are viewing more than two
properties, take some healthy refreshments with you,
rather than relying on fast food restaurants. These will
help keep your energy level up. (This is especially
important if you're taking kids with you.)
A plan. Don't just view properties randomly. Work out an
itinerary in advance. This will help you make the most of
your time. This is also what your real estate agent will help you with.


LIVE/WORK

Live/work properties are those which allow you to legally either run a home-based business and have a home office (with a sign), or to use it as an office, retail store or a service shop.

Depending on the specific zoning and the strata bylaws associated with this piece of real estate, a number of uses are permitted which include but are not limited to:

  • Physiotherapist Office
  • Massage Therapy
  • Dental Office
  • Call Centre
  • Retail Stores of any kind
  • Design/Architecture Studio
  • Photography Studio
  • Consulting Firm
  • ...

The flexibility offered by this type of property is very desirable. As an owner of a live/work condo, you don't have to commute to work. You can legally run your business from your home and reap cost saving benefits of such arrangement.

This type of property can have a commercial zoning and therefore the annual property taxes may be slightly higher than those on a residential zoning.

Although live/work is not suited to everyone, it is very beneficial in some cases. If this is an option for you, I strongly suggest considering all aspects of this flexible piece of real estate to purchase.