Took a break for a long overdue family vacation, only to test + for CoVid after escaping it for 3 years.  Too many sick people out there, no masking, & it puts us all at risk.  Luckily I didn't have much more than a dry throat but others in our group weren't so lucky.

Colds, flu, & CoVid all have similar symptoms so if you feel any of those, please take an antigen test before heading out to that office party or to visit with family & friends.  They're free at your local pharmacy.

Did much change while I was away??  one big change in BC was the elimination of both rental & age restrictions in an effort to increase housing supply.  It's a drop in the bucket compared to demand but everything helps I guess.  There haven' been rental restrictions on any buildings built from 2010 on so it only frees up homes that are older.

This also helps Sellers who are in buildings that had restrictions.  Every restriction reduces the number of Buyers & the more extreme the restrictions, the fewer the Buyers.  

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As interest rates continue to go up, borrowers have to be wondering what's the best mortgage choice?  In a time of uncertainty, it's about managing risk which looks different for different people.

Historically borrowers either have chosen a variable rate mortgage where the interest rate will fluctuate or a 5 year fixed rate.  Fixed rates are most popular with those who want or need to know what their cost will be each month.

New times call for new thinking & strategies to minimize risk so maybe a 5 year at current higher rates isn't the best choice now.  A shorter term, locking in for just a couple of years, will give certainty in the short term but allow room for interest rates to come down as they have historically.

I always recommend speaking with your lender & ideally, a good mortgage broker who has more options available to lenders.  An experienced realtor will always be able to make recommendations.

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Did you know that Vancouver is 1 of the fastest growing tech hubs in North America along with Montreal & Toronto?  In fact, the number of tech workers has grown more than 65% in the last 5 years.  That's the good news.

The bad news is with that kind of growth, where does everyone live?  Finding housing in Vancouver, whether to buy or rent is a big challenge.  We want to attract good paying jobs that will in turn help our economy but without housing, we often lose out.

For the past few years I've worked with physicians who want to move here for great jobs but were unable to find any affordable housing & had to turn down job opportunities.

Vancouver needs to address this with at least increasing the number & faster permitting of new rental buildings to accomodate our growth.

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I know it's a low bar these days but I'm always looking for some encouraging real estate news.  This week's is mortgage appraisals are coming in to support sale prices.

One could assume that in a time of market change & conservative financial institutions, that might not be the case.

Why are appraisal prices holding?  Most Sellers & realtors have gotten realistic if they are serious Sellers.  That affects list prices & sale prices which for the most part reflect current assessed values or just below.  Yes, some homes are selling over assessed value but there is always a reason, like major improvements or more than 1 interested Buyer.

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With a change in the market you may hear some terms you haven't heard before.  There was no reason to use them in a Sellers' Market.  Today, there's a better chance that Buyers can find what they want to buy but....they don't know if they can sell their home.  

What to do???  "Subject to sale of Buyer's home" is a term that we're starting to see.  There are a couple of clauses that would be used in the contract to protect both Buyer & Seller.  It's not open ended & it's specific.  Clauses would include information like the address of the home, list price, length of time allowed for a sale, a shotgun clause for the Seller should another offer come in, etc.  Your experienced realtor can explain in more detail.  I expect to see this used more often as both Buyers & Sellers try to navigate a changing market.

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Who are the Sellers in this Market?

  • the usual reasons-divorce, marriage, job move, going to retirement home or assisted living, downsizing, upsizing.
  • those who think prices may drop if they wait longer & are cashing in
  • time to renew the mortgage anyway so,,,
  • people who think they can "time the market" & will sell & rent  Not recommendedWink but it's their $$
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Historical sales information for a property up to 12 months prior is now available to the public on realtor.ca   Your agent always had access to this information to be used with clients, but it's now shown to the public & is listed under "Price History."

Sales in the last 12 months are not shown for privacy reasons as information only becomes public once listed with LTSA which can sometimes take months to register.  Another reason to work with a professional realtor who can always  provide you with sales & listing history-not always the same thing.

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Homes are selling but what do Sellers need to know about Buyers if they are serious about selling their home?

  1. Buyers want move in ready homes.  Anyone with a significant mortgage is tapped out with higher interest rates so there's no money left for renos & major updates.
  2. Price it right.  Overall, I'm seeing homes priced around assessed value, & sometimes below.  Buyers are particularly sensitive around pricing, often thinking they're going to conitinue to drop.  Better to hope for a few interested Buyers than none!
  3. Presentation matters more than ever with more competition for Buyers.  Make your home look it's best.
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I'm currently selling a colourful condo but....the Seller has smartly kept the colour to her accessories, art, & furniture against a neutral palette for walls & floors.  That means Buyers can move in with any style or colours that suit them without changing a thing.

Buyers can be put off by strong colours or even just colours that they dislike.  It means another step for them to try & visualize it differently, another obstacle to a possible sale so be smart about your choices.

I love people who embrace colour in their lives, but if you're thinking of selling in the next few years & it's time to paint, think carefully about where to put your favourite colours.  You can enjoy it just as much if you use artwork, pillows, & other accessories to make it your own.  Bonus-you get to take it with you!

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Speaking with sellers recently, they seem to fall into a few categories:

  • hanging on to those early 2022 prices because "their home is worth it"
  • waiting for "the market to pick up"
  • watching what's going on in their neighbourhoo with similar types of homes before making decision to sell
  • listening to their experienced realtor's anaylis & recommendations

The change in the market is recent but there aren't any signs that we're going back that busy Sellers' market any time soon so the first couple of choices aren't based on any facts.

Watching the market for a while is helpful to some as Buyers figure out realistic expectations for themselves but of course, sitting with an experienced realtor will provide facts, actual recent sales & listings, days on market to sell, & more &...answer questions.  Sellers have different levels of experience & concerns so having that 1 on 1 time is very helpful.

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Real estate can be stressful for both Buyers & Sellers.  My goal is always to reduce that stress & I do that through my experience & access to other experienced professionals.  Sometimes I just have to listen.

It's important that Buyers & Sellers get accurate information to help them make decisions & the best source for that is from the professionals, often third party such as an building inspector, or if needed, a lawyer or accountant.

Relatives & friends are rarely a great source of real estate information so no, your sister in Regina doesn't know Vancouver real estate & a friend or relative who's never bought a condo, isn't the best source for advice on Depreciation reports. They are great for emotional support if you need it though.

Be smart-get advice from the professionals & extra support from family & friends who want you to be happy.

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I did an Instagram Post about 3 things that both Buyers & Sellers should keep in mind when they come back to real estate after a summer break.

  • EXPERTISE-work with an experienced agent, 1 who has worked in more than just a Sellers' market.  Many realtors haven't so may not have the expertise to know how to craft a deal or negotiate with agents they've never met before.  Negotiating with multiple offers is very different than working in our current market.
  • LOCAL-get information that applies to the area in which you want to buy or sell.  Headlines in the media are general as they are providing information to a wide range of people but you need specific information to help you make decisionsIt might be the same OR it may be very different.  
  • MANAGE YOUR RISK-for both this could mean trying to "time the market" which is high risk as very few have ever done it successfully with too many factors beyond our control.  For Buyers the risk could be losing out on a home because they thought the price would come down.  What's more important-price or home?  Vancouver always has a low supply of good homes so it could be a while before another comes on market & who knows where prices will be then?  For Sellers the risk could be around when to sell.  We know approximately what a home might sell for now but don't know what that price will be in in 3 or 6 months or even next year.  How much risk do you want to take?

Get smart Buyers & Sellers!  Start with these 3 ideas as your foundation & go from there.  

Contact me with any questions.

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Time the Market??  I've been in business for 18 years so I've seen Buyers in particular, try to do just that.  About 15 years ago I heard Buyers say that prices were too high & couldn't go any higher so they were going to wait.  I think we know how that turned out. Cry

Then there were those who thought they could spreadsheet their way to success but the only logic in the market is supply & demand.  Eventually they threw their hands in the air & jumped in.

If someone has ever "timed"it, I would bet money it was pure luck.  None of us have a crystal ball & there are too many external forces that influence our market.

Here's what I would tell a Buyer now. Supply is notoriously low in Vancouver so you must decide which is most important-finding a home you want to buy or waiting to see if the price will come down & possibly missing out.  I'm finding currently that Sellers are pricing sharply & sales are then fairly close to list price.

For Sellers I would tell them that all we know to be true is what's happening right now. The risk is prices going up or down in the future. If you're selling to buy, you're staying in the same market.  Why are you selling?  Those reasons could dictate whether you sell now or wait a while.

Speak with an experienced realtor who can provide you with the facts to guide your decision.

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Summer is summer you would think.  Real estate patterns will repeat themselves each year, but...not this year, or will they??

Typically July is slower than August which is busier than you might think.  People tend to add on to the July long weekend after school is out, to take their vacations.  

With pent up demand for travel & visiting family & friends & relaxed restrictions, people are busy.  Add higher interest rates & it could be a much slower summer in real estate.  Both Buyers & Sellers are away so fewer Buyers but also, fewer listings.  That's what's happening now, but August is just a week away.

August- will you be the August we know?  or a version we haven't seen before?

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Here we go again!  This week it's "Canadian houses now selling at $200K discounts". accompanied by some variation of the "foam" or "froth" is off the market.

Yes, you can find homes that have sold well below their list price, but...what does that really mean?  Without context we don't know if the Seller was desperate to sell because they had purchased another home, the home was priced to negotiate down, the home was located in an area with a lot of homes on the market, etc.  You get the idea

When I see healdines, I want to know more to better understand what is being said.  Media want headlines that readers will click on-that's how they measure their success.

These healines are unfair as they are very general although the information is specific to certain homes which may have or have nothing to do with you.  It sets up Buyer expectations & may deter Sellers from listing their homes.


Lesson: Dig deeper-real estate is always local.

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Another interest rate increase today & it's all that we'll be talking about, that & how it will impact real estate.  

Many Buyers & Sellers have never experienced rates like we currently have but these used to be the norm.  What was also the norm were PORTABLE & ASSUMABLE Mortgages.  What are those?

Portable mortgages can be moved with the mortgagee to a new property.  They are attached to the borrower so that lower interest rate can be applied to a new property.  Check with your lender to see if this applies to you, & what additional costs or conditions might apply with a new property.

Assumable mortgages are ones that run with the property & could be assumed by the new owner if they meet the lender's requirements.  That would be a selling feature for Buyers who could assume the mortgage for the balance of the term.  Again, check with your lender to see if that's a feature of your mortgage and if so, what they would require from that purchaser to approve their assumption of the mortgage.

 There are many mortgage products available to Buyers & to offer a lower rate, some mortgages may not include either of these options so very important to check on your specific mortgage & any flexibility it may offer.

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What does that mean in real estate???

I posed the questions on my IG stories to see if people would buy or list their homes during the summer.  I mean, in Vancouver, summer is short so evryone wants to enjoy it but...finding a home is tough at any time of the year.  So what did they say??

Sellers were 50/50 on selling during summer & may assume there are fewer Buyers.  Buyers on the other hand, while they might not be actively looking, are definitely keeping an eye on the market, just in case. We all know how hard it is to find the right home in Vancouver!

What I know, based on my experience, is that most Buyers & Sellers out there in the summer, are serious.

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  • Interest rates are rising +
  • prices are coming down in some locations =
  • similar mortgage payment at a lower interest rate

Buyers talk about interest rates going up.  Buyers talk about prices possibly coming down.  Buyers just don't talk about them together!

It's very possible that a Buyer's costs for mortgage payments may not change much if we look at it as a whole rather than independent of each other.

Success in real estate depends on flexibility & creativity.  Look for all the ways a deal can be done.

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During our Sellers' market, Buyers often were in many multiple offers before 1 was accepted.  That gets expensive when doing due diligence like home inspections before submitting an offer.  What to do?

Many Buyers were skipping a proper home inspection altogether or brought in friends with some construction knowledge, & younger buyers often brought their parents!!!

A proper home inspection is not a supperficial one.  We're not so worried about turning the taps on & off or checking the kitchen appliances as those are relatively small fixes, if needed.  What we do care about is the condition of the building in condos & in homes, it's the roof, the foundation, the windows, & more  Those are all expensive fixes.

An experienced professional Home Inspector who has spent time in construction or related fields is an investment in a future home with few or no surprises once the Buyer moves in.

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If you are a serious seller, as most are, you need to pay attention to what Buyers are saying.  There are fewer of them so what are they looking for in a potential home?

I've been listening to Buyers & ran a quick poll in my Instagram Stories which confirmed what I've been hearing.

Almost 70% of Buyers want a home that is move in ready, that doesn't need much work at all..  Only about 1/3 are up for a reno & really want a space to make their own.

What should a seller do to appeal to the largest part of the Buyer market?  You might think that these suggestions have  always been true but Sellers have been getting away with doing less in the busy Sellers' market for the last few years.  Others may not have sold for many years so it's new territory.

It varies with each property but creating a home that is clean, uncluttered, has everything in good working order, & generally have eliminated any obvious obstacles for a Buyer, will appeal.  Your realtor will be a great source for suggestions-obviously!  You should assume an inspection will be done when not in a multiple offer situation as there is now time for subjects.  

Smart sellers will respond to this market & do what's necessary to make the sale. 

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