Friday, September 23, 2016

Attention Students!

RE/MAX of Western Canada annually awards $16,000 in bursaries of $1,000 each to graduating students through the RE/MAX Quest for Excellence Bursary Program! One recipient (in addition to his or her bursary) will also win a hot air balloon ride for two!

The Quest for Excellence Program recognizes the pursuits in leadership and community contributions of Western Canadian students. High school students graduating in 2017 from British Columbia, Alberta,Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and Northwest Territories are encouraged to write an essay to convey the contributions they have made to enrich the lives ofothers and their communities through leadership, motivation, volunteering and participation in charitable events or fundraising.

The RE/MAX Quest for Excellence is now open and accepting applications! Application deadline is March 13th, 2017.

Click link for more info and to apply: http://www.remax-western.ca/blog/2017-quest-for-excellence-bursary-program-now-open/

Friday, September 16, 2016

The New Industry Buzzword - What You Need to Know

"Deleverage" - it's the new buzz word in banking and financial circles. It seems to mean, what happens after interest rates rise and house prices drop when we can no longer afford to pay our bills. This has come on the heels of study which showed that average Canadians owe 11/2 times approx. what they earn. So... our banks are moving from the not so distant mode of offering borrowers more than they wanted or needed, to denying solid, loyal customers who don't fit in the new frame.

What this means in terms of today's real estate purchasers is that when you talk to lenders in financial institutions, be sure to get their commitments in writing. Do not accept a verbal preapproval - especially for bridge financing - when you are buying before selling. We have recently experienced some very stressful situations where the preapprovals were not what they seemed, and the bank didn't care. If a bank is not prepared to give you written preapproval spelling out the terms, move on to the one which will. The real problem is that the bank employee will receive their pay cheque whether or not you get your mortgage or bridge financing. The mortgage broker is the person who is rewarded financially for making it happen, and therefore has the incentive to work with you for what you need.

No one has the crystal ball and the market forecasts are all over the map. But this does not give the big banks license to ride roughshod over their customers and move the goalposts part way through the game. Be careful out there . If you have any doubts, call us. We are here to answer questions and keep you as risk-free as possible. Feel free to call us - we always want to keep you covered. At 2.34% with 5 year term, interest rates still look rosy. Take advantage while you can.

Your partners in real estate - Sheila and Michelle.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Not Playing Ball

Changing the goalposts part way through the game seems to be par for the course these days. Just enough to keep us off kilter, but somehow we are always still surprised.

As our Federal Government talks of legalising marijuana and local dispensaries sell it, who would have thought that an admission of having once smoked marijuana to the US border officials would place you on the no go -no entry - no fly list for ever?

The fall out from the provincial government's implementation of an additional 15% property purchase tax for non resident buyers continues. The goalposts changed for those buyers who purchased weeks, months, years ago before the introduction of the tax. Suddenly, their purchase price increased considerably and in some cases the tax amount was impossible for the buyers to raise. Then...the goalposts changed for our local sellers who were left owning two properties!

As children prepared to return to school, many had to ask "which school" as their neighborhood schools closed arbitrarily to help out a stressed school district budget. Big goalpost move!

Was life always this unpredictable where cavalier attitudes and arrogance prevail, so that we can never be sure that our best interests are top priorities? Or is it that we just know more about what is going on these days? If this were the case, the movers of goalposts should be embarrassed - but no evidence of that. Never mind - election time coming up.

When did we start to accept that the goalposts would not stay in place? Doesn't take long to form a habit!
Let's be on the lookout - tough to score goals when the posts are moved!

Enjoy the beautiful start to Fall. This unexpected welcome weather is keeping our spirits up.
And, as always, we have you covered.
Sheila and Michelle

Friday, September 2, 2016

TGIF: Happy Labour Day Long Weekend!

Here it is - the last long weekend of the summer and everyone says the same thing - it flew by! This means we were all busy enjoying what summer had to offer. All the new beginnings start next week - another year of school, sports activities, clubs & organizations, choirs and theatre programs.

But first.... Labour Day on Monday, signaling the end of summer. Do you know that the very first Labour Day was on September 5, 1882 in New York with picnics organized by the city's central labour union? The first Canadian federal Labour Day holiday was in 1894 with its origins in the labour unions' push for the '8 hour day movement' - advocating 8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation and 8 for rest. Still sounds like a great balance not many of us achieve!! So we should follow the tradition and celebrate our workers on Labour Day.

Traditionally too, September is a time for homes to go on the market with their owners looking for a move before Christmas. It's a time for maintenance while the weather still cooperates - clearing out the gutters, rebuilding fences, Fall garden clean up, servicing gas fireplaces & furnaces, cleaning chimneys etc.
If you're wondering about your Fall options, trying to navigate the teal estate market statistics or thinking about preparing to sell or buy, give us a call.

We're here for the long haul and always have you covered. Have a wonderful, lingering, last long weekend of summer.
Sheila and Michelle

Friday, August 26, 2016

Heat Waves and Brain Waves

We bet the sales of fans & air conditioners have risen sharply over the past week - wouldn't be surprised to find stores sold out! So...why don't our towers with fabulous west facing views have built in air conditioning? Somewhere we have to get it across to developers that our climate truly has changed and air should be an automatic inclusion in strata buildings, as it is in other Canadian provinces. Talk to our City councillors - they are giving out the permits.

Just to put our mortgage payments in perspective: British Columbians pay more in total taxes than they do on food and housing combined! Time to make our mortgage payments tax deductible?

And....the definitive study is out! Focused monotasking is more productive - multitasking has its moments, but as a permanent state of working, distracts, then starting and stopping tasks requires the brain to refocus and the person to reread in order to carry on. Not to mention the anxious state of mind of the ultimate multitaskers. Staying on task til complete is not only more productive but easier on the psyche!

But is it productive? "Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas, isn’t convinced. She says multitasking is detrimental when you’re trying to do two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time. [The media multitasking study] shows that certain senses may be heightened as a result of multitasking. However, I would caution that though visual scanning responses may be heightened, it may come at a cost of deeper-level thinking and the effects will not be lasting," she says. [via Fast Company]

As our real estate market moves toward the unknown nature of Fall, remember that we have you covered no matter what Autumn brings. Call us with your questions and concerns at 604-936-7653 or email us.

Friday, August 19, 2016

This Week in BC Real Estate - We've Got You Covered!

Fallout from the Provincial decision to make the 15% additional foreign buyer tax retroactive to include all the sales already contracted before August 2nd continues. And...will continue as local Lower Mainland sellers struggle through the legal mess they are in through no fault of their own. As Vancouver real estate lawyer, Richard Bell (Bell Alliance) said during a CBC interview, it is "shocking" that the Government did not grandfather these sales. We think it is even more shocking that there has been not a word from the Province since, with regard to rectifying this situation for ordinary Canadians caught in the middle. The one thing we did hear was that on a recent visit to China, provincial ministers did not mention the tax! Like all real estate storms, this too will blow over, but will take longer because of the legal impact on so many people.
Our economy is driven by real estate as Alberta's is by oil, so the provincial government must watch the economic results carefully moving forward.
Right now is a great market for buyers who have been frustrated with low inventory, little choice and competing in multiple offer situations. We are seeing sellers agreeing to contracts with subjects, not relying on multiple offers to sell their home over list price AND interest rates are still at an all time low. Balance is always good in the real estate market - the frenetic pace is over for now - choose a home because you love it not just because it's available.
Enjoy the heatwave - no need to go to Hawaii or Mexico - just step outside! And, remember, whatever the temperature, we have you covered. Have a wonderful weekend.
Sheila & Michelle

Friday, August 12, 2016

Miracle Treat Day! Sweet treats in support of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

We hope there were record sales for 'Blizzards' at all the Dairy Queens yesterday! The proceeds from these treats went to Children's Miracle Network, which in turn goes directly to our Vancouver Children's Hospital. Our team enjoyed our Blizzards (melting fast!) in the new Lions Park in Port Coquitlam - a quickly discovered spot being enjoyed by many local families.

CMN is a cause very close to our heart and a donation goes there from every home Francis & Hawthorne Team sells. We are proud of being able to contribute in a small way to the amazing work being accomplished at the hospital by their wonderful, dedicated staff. For many years, Re/max as an organization, has been & remains a major donor to CMN across the country.

Have a fabulous weekend in the sunshine. We shan't need our umbrellas - but, as always, we have you covered for all things real estate.